BACKGROUND: I am 25yrs old and my boyfriend is 35. This was my 2nd cruise and his 4th. We live in Vancouver, BC and we enjoy great meals, live music, shows and getting dressed up to go to the occasional bar or lounge. We both prefer a more "adult-only" type atmosphere and were looking for a relaxing but fun trip!
We arrived in Miami very early at 6:30am from Seattle so we went to the Epic Hotel which is very close by to the cruise terminal. We were able to have breakfast in their restaurant and I had a $30 manicure which allowed us all day access to their spa/pool facilities for the day. This was great because we were both tired from the red eye flight the night before. It also meant we didn't have to wander around town with our luggage waiting until we could embark. Embarkation was smooth and quick which is exactly what you want when you are eager to begin your holiday!
This was the first time we had stayed in a balcony stateroom. We both loved having the balcony for the fresh air and being able to enjoy a cocktail while taking in the beautiful view. There was a ton of storage in the cabin and this is coming from a girl who habitually over packs! There was plenty of space for all my dresses, his suits, shoes and miscellaneous belongings. I also liked that we could put the suitcases under the bed so they were not in the way. We have read a lot of comments about the semi-transparent shower/bathroom stalls. This wasn't an issue for us but for those who lean towards more privacy there is a curtain that can be pulled across to separate that area from the rest of the cabin. We both weren't particularly fond of the sink being so close to the room as water seemed to end up on the floor a lot but at the end of the day, not a major issue. The bed was extremely comfortable so we were able to get some great sleeps! My partner is 6'4" and his feet only hanged a bit off the end of the bed. Overall we enjoyed the cabin and I think there is always going to be some minor space annoyances when you are sharing smaller quarters than many of us are used to!
We would both say the food on the ship was fairly good. We have been fortunate enough to have had some amazing meals and there wasn't a particular dish or restaurant that stood out to us.
-Garden Cafe: The food was quite good but by day 5 or 6 we were getting very tired of the crowds. There was always a line up at the popular food stations and we always seemed to spend a great deal of time trying to find an open table. It doesn't seem that the space is designed to feed the amount of people that go there during popular dining hours.
-The Manhattan Room: Food was also quite good here and it was nice to be able to enjoy some live music while we ate! We didn't understand the "Freestyle" cruising as we always had to wait to get a table, sometimes as long as 45 minutes. This was very inconvenient especially when you have a show that you have reservations to see. We also didn't like the lack of personalized service as we had a different waiter every night.
-Teppanyaki: Food was excellent and we have been to a lot of teppanyaki restaurants.
-Cagney's Steakhouse: We loved being in a more quiet, relaxed atmosphere and we chose this restaurant to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday. We both enjoy the soups, salads and starters however we were both a bit disappointed by the quality of the steaks. Overall we would say that this was not worth the $25 cover charge.
-La Cucina: We chose this restaurant for our last night on the ship. This was a great choice as it is extremely quiet and romantic. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meal and did not leave hungry!
We have both been to Vegas many, many times and have seen a lot of the shows there. We both enjoyed the variety of entertainment and there really is a show/music for everyone's tastes!
-Cirque Dreams and Dinner: The show was fabulous and we never fail to be amazed by these performer's talents. My partner preferred his meal more than I did, but ultimately we were both there to see the show as opposed to the meal. Get there early to choose your seat! We paid for Premium Seating and we had quite a good view of the whole show.
-Blue Man Group: I think we fell into the minority of people who did not enjoy this show. We both had high expectations as we have seen so much advertising for it but we just didn't seem to get it and ended up leaving early along with a few others. This is a show you either really like or don't.
-Legends in Concert: They had Jimmy Buffet, Donna Summers and Michael Jackson this time around. Jimmy Buffet isn't really from my generation so I didn't enjoy this part of the show as much. Donna and Michael were both great and the energy in the crowd was awesome. Everyone really seemed to be enjoying themselves.
-Jeff Hobson- Comedian Magician: This guy was SO funny. We definitely didn't know what to expect but were both pleasantly surprised.
-Second City: We saw a late night show which is supposed to be a little bit more adult oriented but we didn't like it as much as we were hoping to.
-Shaker's Martini Bar: We went here almost every single night for a cocktail or two. The man who played the piano was really good and also great at interacting at the crowd. He also knew a large repertoire of songs. My boyfriend requested a song that he didn't know how to play and the following evening he learned it and played it for us.
We spent the majority of our time at the Spice H20 Adult-Only pool. We never had difficulty finding a lounge chair even in the early afternoon. The pool is quite small and really isn't meant for anything more than a quick dip to cool down. I do wish there had been a bit more "atmosphere" here. There was no music being played or entertainment of any kind. I don't necessarily need bass thumping top 40's, but a little music would have been nice. The main pool area was the opposite where it was always very loud and lots of children yelling and screaming.
During the day time everyone is extremely casual with most people sporting bathing suits and cover-ups. At night time I wore a nice dress and heels and never felt or looked out of place. Many men and women did wear more fancy attire but a lot of people also kept it casual. You could really dress either way which was really nice!
GETTING AROUND THE EPIC:
We never had any difficulty getting around the ship even though it was so large. Once you find your main areas of interest it becomes pretty easy to familiarize yourself with the ship. The casino is located right in the middle of the ship and it is rather difficult to go somewhere without having to pass through it. It wasn't too smoky but it did become a bit crowded during popular hours and could be a bit difficult to walk through especially if you are in a hurry to a dinner or show!
We both had a great time on the Epic. We enjoyed the foods and shows and it truly is an impressive ship. We wouldn't sail on this ship again simply because we want to try different cruise lines.