This was the 3rd cruise for my husband and me. The first two were on Norwegian, the Epic was our first cruise. We were not disappointed.
Embarkement, we arrived from the FLL airport at 10:45/20th via a taxi, this is the cheapest and quickest way to get to port. We were able to board by 11:30, it was fairly quick. We were allowed in our rooms at 1:00 pm.
Our room, an outside balcony, was spacious enough for two with plenty of storage. Our balcony was huge. Our room attendant, Linda was great. The room was always clean and the bathroom set up was practical.
We enjoyed the pool bar and the wait staff was terrific, very friendly. I've read a lot of reviews stating the staff is less than friendly, we did encounter this twice, once at Sorrento's and once in the Windjammer. My husband was waiting for another passenger to finish up because he didn't want to be rude and the person serving the ice cream sniped at him. But this was not typical behavior of the crew. Most are friendly and pleasant and eager to assist you.
The Windjammer was usually crowded, but not early in the morning or on "off" times, and we really didn't have a problem getting a table. The food was mediocre and the selection was not very good. No omelet station? The Dining Room was excellent and I would definitely recommend. Chops was delicious and did not disappoint (we pre booked our reservations for specialty restaurants). Giovanni's was good, but did not have a lot of traditional Italian dishes. The menu needs tweaking. Central Park and the Solarium were pretty good if you are looking for a more healthy bite to eat.
Sorrentos', well if you are from the Northeast, or Chicago, chances are you are not going to like this pizza. Unless you are really into cardboard with cheese. And don't be surprised if you are glared at for asking for extra sauce. I would not recommend.
Elevators, yes, you will wait, they are sometimes pretty slow. Sometimes even when there was not a show just letting out.
Aqua Show, great, highly recommended. Hairspray, do not miss this. Very talented people in both shows.
We were disappointed that there was not more entertainment on the pool decks and we never saw the cruise director there. With Norwegian, it was more of a relaxed atmosphere, the cruise director was always on the deck motivating passengers to participate in contests and activities. There was always a live band playing Caribbean type music.
On St. Thomas we did the SeaBlaster Snorkel with sea turtles and stingrays. This was a lot of fun. Rum punch on the relaxing ride back.
On St. Maarten, we took the $7 ferry to the beach, did some shopping and then found Art in the orange shirt, we rented two lounge chairs and an umbrella, got 5 beers for only $20. This was a great morning-afternoon relaxing on the beach, well worth the money. Art was bringing me Mango Daquari's all day (for a fee). Yes, there were a lot of ladies parading their goods in front of us, but this is their lively hood.
As it has already been stated, 6100 passengers on board, but it never really seemed crowded. There are plenty of places to go and things to do.
On Thursday/25th, we found out about Hurricane "Sandy". Our Captain expertly guided us along the northern coast of Cuba to avoid the more rough seas. There were constantly updates on the TV to keep us informed. The weather did get very windy on Friday/26th, there was a lot of "motion in the ocean", but it was not bad and I didn't see anyone that looked seasick. We arrived back at the port in Fort Lauderdale about a 1/2 hour late, but with plenty of time to disembark and make our flight home.
All in all, my husband and I had a great time and I would like to book for next year on a ship in the Freedom class.