Before my wife and I went on the Epic cruise this February, we checked it out on Cruise Critic. The first reviews we saw were very negative and made us wonder if we had made a poor choice. We are experienced cruisers and especially like Oceania. After seeing poor reviews of the main dining rooms, we signed on for specialty restaurants for 5 nights.
First the negatives:
- We were disappointed that there was no information in the cabin about the ship. Especially irritating was no schematic or floor plan of the ship. Epic is a very large ship (5,000 passengers and 18 decks). Not having a map of where everything was located was annoying.
- They allow smoking in the casino. This raises two issues: one is the smell which is nasty and unavoidable - even at nonsmoking tables. Another is the fact that the casino is on the same deck as the main entertainment venues, which forces everyone aft to walk through the smelly casino to get to the shows. I would encourage NCL to rethink this decision.
- The design of our cabin was strange. The toilet was on one side behind a sliding door and was tiny. The tub/shower was on the other side. The sink was separate and next to the toilet. The sink was tiny.
Now the positives:
- Food. The main dining room food was fine. We never had to wait for a seat. My wife actually had one of her best meals there. Le Bistro, Cagney's and La Cucina were very good. Tappanyaki and Shanghai were only OK. I would not bother with Shanghai. The buffet was good with a huge selection. There are several outdoor venues for simple food that are good.
- Entertainment. Best of any ship we have been on. The dueling pianos were great! Blue Man Group was fun, but not for everybody (a little strange, but that is their shtick). Second City was pretty good - a little hit and miss, but it is improv, so that is expected.
All things considered, the cruise exceeded our admittedly low expectations. The price was right and the crowds were not a problem. It did make us appreciate the quality of Oceania, tho.