My wife and I sailed from Miami for a seven night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Epic December 1, 2012.
We stayed the night prior to the cruise at the Hilton Miami Downtown and had a great view of the Seaport. We took a cab for the five minute ride to the port and dropped our luggage with a very friendly porter. After the usual security scan, we literally walked up to the counter without a wait (even though it was about noon...we just hit a perfect little break in arriving passengers) and within three minutes, or check-in was complete. We sat in the waiting area for no more than 20 minutes and we were on board.
One of the challenges for the first day on any ship is just trying to figure out where you are and where you want to be. We took the elevators to Deck 11 and headed towards our aft cabin, 11317. Our luck continued as when we arrived to the Deck, the doors to the cabin area were just being opened and we were able to drop our carry-on luggage in our room.
If you have seen pictures, of Epic's cabins, you'll know the rooms are curved and makes for a bit of a challenge with more than one person walking around in the cabin near the bed. The sink is near the foot of the bed and on Epic the shower stall is on one side of the cabin doorway and the toilet stall is on the other side of the doorway. If you are traveling with someone you aren't intimately acquainted with, these room set up with probably help you become better acquainted! The toilet area isn't very soundproof -- let's leave it at that.
The balcony was covered, which was great for a couple of fair-skinned Northerners such as my wife and me. There were two chairs and a small table and it is a decent sized balcony.
We left Miami on Saturday 12/1 and spent that night and the next two days at sea. Although the waves were 9-11 feet, due to the sheer size of Epic, the movement was not nearly as bad as I expected.
The weather cooperated and we had a great time on the sea days. My wife was "drafted" by Fernando (one of the cruise director's more visible staff members) to take part in the Miss Epic contest. We said we wanted to do new and different things on this cruise and that sure fit the description.
The ship also has a rock climbing wall with different areas that are designated as easy, medium, hard and extreme. I opted for the medium course and did ok for my first attempt at such things.
The ship has two bowling centers with three lanes each, one in Bliss at the front of the ship and the other in O'Sheehan's.
The ship has three water slides and my wife and I had a lot of fun killing time on them.
We did not dine at any of the specialty restaurants with the exception of getting sushi the first evening at the Wasabi Sushi & Sashimi Bar. The sushi there was very flavorful and the staff very friendly.
We often dined at the less-formal Taste restaurant (although on NCL "less formal" is a way of life), which featured the same menu as the dressier Manhattan Dining Room.
One thing I will say about NCL is that the staff, in general, just seem friendlier to me than those on other lines on which I've sailed.
Our cabin steward, Edmundo, was fantastic. If we needed anything, we would leave him a note or catch him in the hall and it was done right away.
Disembarkation, always a downer of a day for me, was fine as we did the self-disembark and we were off of the ship by 9am.