I hadn't planned on writing this review until I was able to really put some thought into it and upload pics , etc. But, after seeing two negative reviews posted withing days of getting home, I felt compelled to speak up so that others who will be cruising on Epic soon will be able to hear some positive comments and feel re-assured that they picked the right ship and will have an amazing holiday!!!
A little background on me: I am in my late 30s, well travelled, easy going person who doesn't sweat the small stuff. I have been on 8 cruises in my life, this is my second with NCL and I love the freestyle concept and I can honestly say that no other cruise line treats pasts guests as well as NCL.
Embarkation: Easy, painless. From cab to lunch in 40 mins. Priority line for Latitudes members, even for us who are only on their 2nd NCL cruise.
Cabins: Clean, cozy, efficient (yes, you do need to bring your own bar soap, oh the horror!) HEAVENLY beds, so comfy. Lots of storage (put suitcases under bed) I loved the bathroom set up, it's different but, I think most people who have done their research are expecting something different and have open minds.
Service: Only encountered one area of the ship (O'Sheenans) where the staff wasn't very friendly, everyone else seemed to go out of their way to smile and say hello. Room steward wasn't seen much but, he did wish my daughter happy birthday and said hello every morning. These people basically work 24/7, to expect them to be there every time you need the smallest thing, is too much to ask, in my opinion (unless you are in the Haven)
Food: Food was fabulous. Buffet had an impressive variety and excellent quality, lots of options everywhere on the ship. This is not 5 star dinning, even in Cagneys but, it is much better than average and the effort is there for nice presentation and variety. In hindsight, I would probably have not paid for the specialty restaurants, although we enjoyed everything, the included options were more than plenty and of almost the same quality, sometimes even better than specialty.
Shows: All were very good, BMR was just okay for us. Howl at the moon was fantastic. Second city's late shows were better than the early shows but, still very funny and well worth seeing. Cirque was very good but, if about 20 mins of constant whistle blowing (literally) would bother you, you might want to skip that show. Legends was fun and there were several others we just didn't get a chance to see.
The ship itself: Very clean, loved that the smokers had their own section. Never experienced any smoke issues on board (and we are both very sensitive to smoke) yes, the casino was a little smoky but, what casino isn't? If you have been to Vegas , you know what I mean. That being said, there are many areas in the casino to get away from the smoke, it's not everywhere and not everyone is smoking there. Never had issues finding a chair, slides had some times with long line ups but, many times there were no line ups at all. The adult sundeck on Deck 18 is exactly like Posh without a full bar (they do have a small bar there)
Disembarkation: very easy, we walked off with our bags after a leisurely breakfast in the mdr.
Overall I can't understand the negative comments that I have read here.
There were a few negatives but, nothing that would make me rate this cruise lower. The elevators were a nightmare, long waits for them but, we used the stairs alot, I guess for some people that would be a problem if they could not use the stairs. I could understand a negative review due to that.
The only other negative is that we could not hear the announcements from inside our cabin. That could be a problem for some people, especially those who *needed* to hear specific announcements (ie for disembarkation, etc)