My husband and I had wanted to try the Epic for a while and we decided to go when we knew most children would be in school which also made this cruise more reasonably priced!
We flew in the day before and stayed at the La Quinta Miami East hotel near the airport. Nothing special but a good deal and fine for a pre-cruise hotel with free shuttle service to the airport. The staff was very nice and you get free breakfast.
We took the 10am shuttle to the port and within an hour or so were on the Epic!
We loved our B6 balcony and had lounge chairs. This was one of the best aspects of our cruise as we loved to relax and read on our balcony EXCEPT when our neighbors were smoking!! Whenever, they smoked, we had to go inside and wait for the smoke to clear. They smoked more as the week went on and as much as I love NCL, I can't afford to continue take the risk on cruises that allow smoking on balconies.
The room itself was fine and even though I wasn't crazy about the bathroom layout and room layout it worked out fine. The curved couch is very uncomfortable. Also, the lighting was awful by the sink area and I could hardly see when putting on my makeup!
The entertainment was very good! BMG was a top notch performance. We enjoyed Legends but Second City was a disappointment. What made SC even less enjoyable was that the venue took place at Headliners, a smallish space with may columns that obstructed the stage area. So, unless, you were seated in front, it was very hard to see.
A big surprise was Slam Allen. We are not big jazz fans but we really enjoyed this band! We also went to see Howl at the Moon which was fun and good music.
We have no complaints and there was always something to eat at any hour day and night!! I loved breakfast the most and love their muesli! We loved the Great Outdoors seating area off the buffet.
We ate at Cagney's where my husband had a steak and I had the salmon which was nicely prepared. We also ate ate at La Cucina which was fine as well.
St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau:
We have been to all these ports before so we had no desire for major sightseeing. We went off the ship for a short time in St. Maarten and took a water taxi to a nearby beach and shopping area which was very pleasant. We stayed on the ship during St. Thomas. We should have stayed on the ship in Nassau because there were so many ships in port that day. We went to Atlantis to walk around but it was an absolute zoo!
Nice but considering the size, they really need to add a non smoking area.
We had a fun evening bowling!
There are a lot of shady spots by the pool which was nice!
We visited the fitness center which looked great and we really need to use this on a future cruise!
Elevators were the worst of any cruise I have ever been on; unbelievably slow. The only upside was it forced me to take the stairs and get some much needed exercise!
The staff and CD were really a lovely group in the most part and always tried to be helpful!
All in all, the Epic was a fun ship except for the balcony smoke!