I traveled on the Norwegian Epic the week of Thanksgiving. It was a fully packed ship. I am a frequent cruiser and this was my first time on the Norwegian cruise line. This will also be my last time. Of all the cruises I have taken, this was my least relaxing. Imagine vacationing on a NYC street and you will understand how this boat feels. I agree totally with the other reviewers.
The pay restaurants were great! Excellent service to match the delicious food. The complimentary restaurants were the opposite. After waiting 30-45 minutes for a table, you get OK food with terrible service. At one restaurant, I ordered pasta with butter for my niece and they brought out plain pasta and said, "butter's on the table." Water glasses were never refilled, even when repeatedly asked. At one restaurant, my order was forgotten completely. I would have told them when they came to refill my water but despite desperate attempts, no one ever came back.
Be prepared to pay an extra charge for just about everything. Want to eat somewhere besides the 2 restaurants that serve the same food, extra charge. Rock climbing, bowling, bungee cords, extra charge. Ice bar for some "cool" drinks, extra charge!
No worries if you don't want to pay all the extra charges for activities, there are free things to do. There is Blue Man group which is the only free night show worth seeing. You can desperately search for a deck chair by the pool. Just bring ear phones because the DJ is so loud, I had to yell at my spouse who was next to me just to be heard. Want to watch a movie, they start at 11:30PM in the middle of the ship, with the lights on, as people pass by making all sorts of noise. Care to hang out by Spice at the rear, sure but your view will be blocked by the giant screen showing commercials. You can jump in the pool. It is tiny and cramped and be prepared to be thrown into other guests once the waves start. Want to take a run, the track is really back and forth on the same deck and you get to enjoy the views of the beautiful life boats. You can take a class or two but they are mainly infomercials to get you to buy a spa treatment or jewelry.
The rooms are tiny, even for cruise ship rooms. It is very uncomfortable to be using the toilet in ear shot of everyone in the room. Heaven forbid someone comes in while you are in the shower and they all get a show. My brother in law was tall so he had to come out of the bathroom before pulling up or down his pants! You have to sit on the bed to brush your teeth and water runs down your arm all over the bed and floor. The bed also becomes the way to get from end of the room to the other as there is no room to really walk in front of it.
The hallways are very small but they are still better to walk through then the main ship hallways. The feeling of the ship is like the mall at Christmas. People everywhere and just as the mall has those middle aisle Kiosks, that is how the ship is set up. To walk anywhere, be prepared to walk through the smoky casino, or the picture studios, or the ICE bar changing area, or the lobbies and bars of restaurants. It is so crowded and loud in the hallways, it is overwhelming. The elevators are far and few between and always packed. There are almost no quiet areas on the ship. I went on this cruise to get away from the hectic life, it turns out I went right back in it.
One more comment on the service, guest services is a joke. They billed my key card wrong. When I went to correct it, after waiting in line for almost 30 minutes even though I was second in line, they told me it was my fault for not noticing it sooner. After insisting they reverse the charges, they told me they would but they would take it out of my service fee. Dirty but fine. The service was terrible anyway.