The Epic is one of the newer Norwegian ships and accommodates over 4,000 passengers, but it never really felt crowded. It has a tall narrow design, which had us thinking that maybe that contributed to a little more swaying than we have felt before even in calm weather, but not being a nautical expert I can't say this with any authority. I loved the big screen viewed from 3 floors in the atrium, the childrens water park, where my daughter played daily on the small water slide and the different entertainment venues, including the Spiegel tent, comedy club and ice bar.
The cabins are a new set up with a separate toilet and shower, clearly not designed by a female, as once you step out of the shower you are right next to the cabin door and if you travel with friends or in groups the frosted glass does not give much privacy. You have a curtain to pull across, but this denies access to the sink and mirror, which are also separate. The sink is tiny and not well lit. The cabins are narrow and I was surprised that the couch did not open in to a bed for my daughter as on previous cruises. It remained a couch which was ok for a 35 lb 4 year old but an older child could easily roll off. There are hidden storage spaces, which are quite smart if only we had discovered them on the first day, eg behind the couch cushions and over the bed. Our cabin steward never cam to introduce himself, never stocked our minibar or provided pool towels, until we asked repeatedly. One of the adjoining couples waited 20 minutes for toilet paper and the other gave up on pool towels and had to argue with the guy on the pool deck to give them some. The Breakaway which is the new ship has gone back to the old set up according to the cruise loyalty rep, maybe due to negative feedback re the toilet shower set up.
The food was excellent and we ate in the main restaurants and buffet, only opting for the sushi paying restaurant. We never waited more than 20 minutes to be seated and we had 7 people. If we waited they gave us a voucher for a glass of champagne free, which is a nice touch. The wait staff were good most of the time. There is plenty of variety and everything was well prepared. The buffet had a great selection also and was clean and well run. In my opinion the food was much better than the Allure of the Seas, which we were on in September.
The entertainment was a little lacking with respect to shows. The blue man group were good, but you had to pay to see Cirque, which I've never had to do before. Otherwise there was a comedy group, a magician or Legends, a group of celebrity impersonators. They were good, but we would have liked to see more than 3 acts and were left wanting more. One thing that I liked compared to our last Norwegian cruise in 2011 was the addition of a family white hot party, as we could take our daughter. It was outside, not in the club, which was also great for dancing and staying cool.
Check in and check out were easy and efficient. I enjoyed that after a day at port they handed out cool towels, had a rest area with cold water and couches and also had music and staff dancing and entertaining while you waited to get back on board. I felt bad for the Carnival folks next to us as they were greeted by a dumpster full of broken chairs when they disembarked at port.
I would recommend this cruise to anyone who enjoyed a laid back atmosphere. They know how to have fun despite less entertainment options than RC. There is plenty for kids of all ages, singles, now that they have cabins designed for 1 and for couples or groups. I will cruise Norwegian again, as it has less expensive options for children than RC and other than the entertainment measured up well.