Family of four including two kids (4) and (2) This was our second cruise on the Epic. It was excellent. Our cabin steward was the greatest, very attentive and anticipated our every need. I was at first nervous about the location of our stateroom as it was only one door away from the entrance to the stairwell and elevators. I didn't hear anything that I thought I might like late night drunks or all day kids passing by. It was a great location and turned out to be very convenient when it was time to get out or get in. I stayed behind a couple times while our 2-yr old napped so my wife and 4-yr old could head out and swim or go to the character meet & greets, so I ordered pizza from room service and it was pretty decent. It was loaded with cheese which was a surprise, but it wasn't too much cheese. We opted to eat at the main dining rooms or the other complimentary options, mainly for budgetary reasons but we did head out to Moderno once. It was great and worth the cover charge. One thing I did notice and I've heard a lot of talk about this is the wait in the main dining rooms. It is very slow and one has to wonder if it's by design to annoy folks enough to the point that they give in and use the specialty restaurants. As a loyal fan of NCL, I hate to think this is the case but it's hard not to think that way when the service is so slow in main dining rooms even when it's not busy.
Shore Excursions were decent, the Bamboo Beach in Jamaica was a bit of a disappointment. Beach itself was nice but the service was marginal at best. This after an unreasonable wait at the pier took about 30-35 minutes off the trip itself. We didn't do any excursions in Costa Maya but did head off and go shopping. Nice little shopping village, not overly pushy but it's clear they want to sell. Had we known about the HUGE pool in the middle of the plaza we would've packed for it but we decided to go back to the ship and use the water park which turned out to be a good choice because the lines for the slides were almost non-existent. The Cozumel trip was by far the best. We spent the day at Playa Mia, which was a short drive from the ship. Again, an unreasonable wait at the pier, but it was awesome. A great beach with plenty of chairs for us, a buffet and open bar along with a water park for the kids. The whole resort was surprisingly clean too.
The Splash Academy was clearly a hit with our 4-yr old and we were very pleased with the security of the program. Schools should take note of how things are done on cruse ships.
Cruise Director (JC) was annoying. He talked too fast and was very hard to understand, especially on the loudspeaker. He managed to shift the focus of every activity he was involved with onto him...it was uncomfortable to watch.
Here's my gripes though...the slow service in the main dining rooms which I've already mentioned. The bar servers are noticeably less "enthusiastic" about you being there as the room stewards and other staff are. I can imagine they get the worst side of plenty of guests but if there was one group of people who would make me want to take back the 18% gratuity, it would be them. There were a few exceptions, like the bartenders at the Deck 6 bar right by Shanghai's and the elevators, but the rest were collectively grumpy.
Embarkation and Disembarkation were flawless, very little waiting and it was extremely well organized.
In closing, we'll be back.