We sailed away on the Epic on February 9, 2013. Having traveled from New York the week before, we missed the snow storm by days, unlike some of the travelers who had to wait for flights and meet the boat later. Embarkment was easy, even with my cane. We gave the porters outside the bags, walked up, and within minutes were on our way to Taste for lunch. Miami's handicapped parking situation is a nice addition, and I wish other ports would follow that idea.
We seldom get off the ship during a cruise, so I won't go into the destinations. DH got some great pictures, then came back on board. However, fellow cruisers seemed very happy with the ports of St. Thomas, St. Maartin and the Bahamas. It was gorgeous weather the entire week. Our focus for a cruise is on the ship itself and the service we receive, as well as the fellow cruisers we meet and enjoy.
We always book an inside cabin. I sleep in total darkness, so a window is counter productive, IMO. The Epic inside was spacious. We had plenty of room to hang our clothes and the three deep drawers fit all of the other items nicely. We did a cabin crawl through Cruise Critic connections and I saw no advantage getting a balcony suite. We just are not in the cabin enough to spend extra money for a couch. The walls being magnetic helped me not miss the grandchildren as much, as my husband always brings magnetic frames for me.
The food on the Epic was as expected. Delicious, well portioned, professionally served. My favorites were the steak and mushrooms on the lunch menu, the wings and the brownie sundae at O'Sheehans for later night snacks, and the gumbo at Taste. DH often ordered two appetizers, and declared the corn and chicken chowders one of the best he has ever had. My favorite salad was the delicious Caesar salad with shrimp, again at Taste. The menus had a good variety each day, and our servers were very knowledgeable about ingredients and origins of the recipes.
On a side note, when I saw something that I thought was odd at one of the restaurants at dinner,based on a degree in food service, I placed a short note to the Hotel and Beverage captain. The very next day he called me and we has a nice discussion. He thanked me for bringing it to his attention, and I noticed it was corrected immediately. Nothing special, just very pleased with his attentiveness. He in fact, saw me later in the week and thanked me again. Very classy!
Entertainment is NCL's pride and joy. We had seen the Blue Man Group twice before, both times in Vegas. The cast again carried the night! Such fun! During the week we were able to see the "Blue Men" at various venues, out of costume, and had great conversations. They really fit in with the other entertainers. In fact, the entire week's entertainment was top notch. We loved the Cirq show (and those who complain about the meal should learn that fillet mignon and coconut shrimp is pretty impressive at a Shakespearean theater setting!)
The comedian/ magician was hilarious! We in fact, think we remember him doing a Red Skeleton tribute act in Vegas a few years back. The Epic entertainment staff kept us all busy all week, from Quest, Dating Game, Dancing with the Stars, Comedy Club, and all of the many, many other events, we just laughed all week! "Macho Nacho", Gustaf, Stephanie, and our favorite, our little spitfire from Turkey were simply awesome! They were everywhere! And that brings us to the senior staff. I have never seen so many senior staff out having fun! From the captain, the head of the entertainment crew, to the restaurant head, they were always in the public eye with a smile and a friendly word for the public, while keeping an eye out for all and everything on the ship. All in all, a wonderful week that will definitely keep us sailing NCL.