Overall in general:
I had a great time. The food was very good, the public spaces were attractive, clean, well lit and very user friendly. I loved my studio cabin. The entertainment was good. The Freestyle dining concept worked great, I found that I liked it quite a bit. The ship itself has a few issues, but I left happy and well rested.
My initial impression was that he NCL terminal is not as nice as the RCCL/X terminal.
Many of us in the "priority" Latitudes line were disappointed that the "everyone else" line was moving faster than the Latitudes line was moving. A couple of "priority" guests even moved to the "everyone else" line and were checked in BEFORE those of us who stayed in the priority lane. Not a ringing first impression of the Latitudes Loyalty program. Other than that, check in went smoothly.
I was not disappointed. I absolutely love the Studio cabins. The Studio cabins (inside)are stylish, compact, and yet somehow quite roomy. I've never been a fan of outside cabins, as sunlight always seems to find its way through any curtain, long before I am ready to begin my day. NCL does a great job creating opportunities for solo cruisers to interact as much or as little as they like in the private Studio Lounge.
The Garden Cafe Buffet
Everything was fresh, appealing and delicious. As another reviewer mentioned, there is absolutely no day to day variety in the breakfast menu. Don't get me wrong, every thing is fresh, tasty and served hot and there is a lot to choose from. Great bacon, excellent grits, fresh omelets, and much more, and the BEST croissants of any cruise line I've sailed. But it's all exactly the same every day.
There were lots of choices for entrees and lite fare for lunch and dinner, and everything one would expect to be hot, is served hot. (temperature) Unlike RCCL that lately seems to only be able to keep hot items on their buffets, lukewarm. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to purchase a soda package, your cold, non alcoholic drinking options were very limited. Days 1,2,3 iced tea only, days 4,5,6,7 lemonade only. The beverage dispensers have four spouts, why not offer four choices? (Look for the details of my less than satisfactory encounter with Fleet Executive Chef Mar Andreas Dymke in my other posting.)
Standard Dining Rooms
Great service table side, good variety and good quality. However food timing and delivery were slow. It was also difficult to navigate most dining rooms due to too many tables and chairs for the allotted space. I can't imagine how difficult it would become if the ship were full.
Excellent food and service. It's a shame, but worth it, that one has to pay extra for the quality and personalized service that used to be "the norm" in standard dining rooms.
Completely enjoyable, and worth the effort needed to get a reservation. It's a little pricey at $75, but worth it.
Blue Man Group
Very entertaining, quite loud at times, funny and interactive.
Legends in Concert
Artists vary greatly from the posters on board. We had Whoopi Goldberg :(
Jimmy Buffet :( Donna Summer :) Michael Jackson :)
Deal or No Deal
$20 and they sell the game cards with the promise of cash prizes, then you learn,
once the game has started, that "cash" is really ship credit. Slightly deceptive I thought.
Especially if you were to win the $5000 grand prize. Who's going to be able to spend that much money on board?
The other side of the coin.
This ship rocks, and rolls, and I don't mean in a good way. I've never been on a cruise ship that swayed, up and down, side to side as much the Epic. In average seas there should be practically no perception of movement on a ship this big. Other frequent cruisers I met on board agreed that this was the most unstable ship they had ever encountered. First time cruisers might fare better on another ship. Frequent cruisers will be able to tolerate the constant swaying and jerking on board the Epic. I also missed being able to circumnavigate the ship on the uppermost decks as the layout of the pool deck and those decks above is very disjointed.
Although personally, she wouldn't be my first, second choice or third choice, I can recommend sailing on the Epic. I do whole heartedly recommend NCL and Freestyle cruising. I'll see you on board the Sun, cruising the Baltic in August 2013. Then again in 2014 on board the Breakaway.