I have only sailed with NCL for the past 10 years and finally decided to try the EPIC. I absolutely loved the Haven and I have to say it saved my cruise experience. The EPIC was too big a ship for my taste. Too many people. I prefer the Pearl, Gem and the Dawn hands down. The lack of sufficient elevators was irritating; first you had to wait forever, then when a door did open it was so full of passengers you would have to wait for the next one. When you finally found room on the elevator it would stop on every single floor. I did try to hoof it up 10 flights of stairs, but I only made it twice (definitely need to up my cardio program at home). I noticed that the stairwells were also much narrower than the jewel class ships, which would bottleneck the traffic flow occasionally.
I love to play the slots in the casino, but this casino was so packed and large it was just a disappointment but a great savings plan. The number of smoking (mostly women) passengers seemed higher then normal, but I'm sure that was due to the larger passenger capacity. I prefer clean air, as do my lungs.
The Haven was amazing. The 2 bedroom suite was a great room with a ton of storage, fantastic bathroom, and a very firm bed. I did like the Haven Courtyard, but you had to wait for the sun to get high enough in the sky to hit the center. Posh was my favorite place with comfy padded sunbeds and chairs, a private bar, unbelievable view and as many towels as I wanted to use, and I used a lot. Haven restaurant was wonderful. I liked the décor of the Haven area, but the rest of the ship was a bit dark.
We ate in a specialty restaurant every night and loved them all. I did notice that all the specialty restaurants were full compared to past cruises where you would maybe see them 50% full. I am sure the increased attendance is due to the dining packages now available. I preferred having them as my quiet dining retreat; changing times. Food was much better on the smaller ships in my opinion. Poor planning on putting Cirque above Le Bistro, it sounded like someone was dropping Volkswagens on the floor above us and I feared that the ceiling would come crashing down. Ruined the atmosphere completely. Bright move.
My greatest disappointment was the lack of the open deck to walk around the entire ship while looking out at the ocean. Walking a couple miles around the ship after breakfast and lunch was one of my favorite workout routines; that and taking naps every afternoon.
The ship design did cause the ship to sway left to right in addition to up and down. I did not feel the up and down movement, as I do on the jewel class, but the left to right was causing my stomach to turn a bit. Staff was great, ship was clean, and weather was outstanding. I had a wonderful time, but the Epic is not the ship for me so back to the jewel class and maybe I will venture to try the Breakaway/Getaway.