We are a husband/wife in our 50's. This was our 16th cruise; the third with Norwegian. This was our first time to cruise in Europe.
We boarded in Rome and found it a simple process. To save money we took the TrenItalia from Rome to get to the port. Quite simple and hassle free. I believe it cost less than $20 for both of us one way.
We followed the advice of Rick Steeves in all of our port destinations and had a fantastic time.
The ports were 90% of the reason we took this trip. We have never had a bad cruise, and this experience was at or near the top. The price we paid for the cruise I believe was more than fair. The prices once you get on board the Epic are a totally different story. Not unexpected.
Our large balcony cabin on deck 12 was just right. We're not big fans of the toilet arrangement. We would much prefer a real door to seal it off from the rest of the room.
The service provided by the crew was outstanding, especially our cabin steward.
The meals we took in the Garden Cafe buffet were consistently good, probably the best we've had in all of our cruises. Most everything seemed to be freshly prepared, not sitting in warmers for extended periods.
I would agree with comments that the Epic is more functional than "showy". We didn't like that the ship does now have a deck where you can walk completely around the vessel. There is no central atrium, few places where you can sit, have a drink and people-watch. The casino is "the largest at sea" - too large. Obviously a profit center. My wife the gambler didn't see anyone winning big on the slots. There is one area of the casino that's a bottleneck, clogged with traffic at night - perhaps a design flaw.
We enjoyed all but one of our dinners in The Manhattan Room. The food and service were good every time.
On the one sea days the pools were jammed and chair hogs were out in full force. If you do find a chair, it's the best place to people watch.
The Blue Man Group show was OK, but a bit long.
I will say compared to our two previous NCL cruises in 2004 and 2008, the experience on board the Epic was much improved. The size of the ship wasn't really an issue.
I would conclude the Epic is best suited for "port intensive" cruises. If the ship itself is your main reason for taking a cruise, I believe there are better choices.