We sailed on the Epic on March 9, and I would describe our experience as being a "mixed bag." Some things on the cruise were very good, but other experiences were really poor. To start with the positives, embarkation was a breeze. We sailed through check-in with no problem and were on the ship within a few minutes. Rooms were ready by 1:00 so we were able to drop luggage in our cabin and explore the ship without lugging bags around with us. We had a mid-ship balcony cabin on the eleventh deck, and I found it spacious with plenty of storage. I know some complain about the bathroom set up, but we had no problem with it, and our cabin steward kept it spotless. The staff was friendly. I never left the floor without being greeted multiple times by the various room stewards, and other staff members throughout the ship always spoke and smiled. Navigating the ship was truly easy as long as I used the tip I had learned from others on Cruise Critic about the red and blue elevator buttons. The kids' aqua park was wonderful for my two year old grandson. He never tired of splashing in the shallow pool or of using the slide. The other activities planned for young travelers (under 3 years) were excellent. A family member is required to stay with the child for the activities, but they were perfect for his age and included painting, building with blocks, playing with small parachutes, and using musical instruments. He also liked the character "Meet and Greet" opportunities with Dora, Diego, and Sponge Bob. We had prebooked show times for Blue Man, Legends, and Second City so we didn't have to deal with the long lines at the box office.
Now for the negatives we encountered. Dining, dining, dining. The problem was not the actual food, but the organization and management of the dining experiences. The first night of the cruise we selected Taste for dinner, based upon the posted menu. However, that menu was incorrect, and members of our group were very disappointed because we had skipped another dining venue because of what we thought was on the menu in Taste. Eating in the buffet at breakfast the next morning was impossible. Because of the way the buffet is set up, lines wrap in front of multiple food stations with people waiting for omelets. Even if you were willing to settle for something other than an omelet, you literally could not get to food. As bad as the morning was, the night they served lobster in the buffet was worse. We had reservations for Blue Man and went to the buffet because we found service in Taste a little slow the night before. We had no idea that they were serving lobster, and it was a madhouse in the buffet. Lines of dozens and dozens of people snaked through the buffet area in front of all the food stations with people waiting for lobster. There were plenty of other food stations, but you could not get to them for the throngs of people waiting for lobster. We finally left and went to Blue Man, settling for a late snack after the show. However, the evening was spoiled because of the bad dining experience. We finally gave up with trying to select based on menu and just went where it appeared we could eat without waiting too long or being crushed. I can truly say that I enjoyed my meal of jerk chicken at an outdoor local café better than any meal that I had on the ship. My daughter and son-in-law booked at the Brazilian steak house, and they did not feel that the experience there was good either. They were only offered the premium cuts of meat one time with chicken and other cheaper meats circulated multiple times. She felt that the cover charge should have warranted a better experience than they had. Overall, the dining was truly a disaster--so much so that it impacted attitudes toward other aspects of the cruise.
I also felt that entertainment was lacking on this particular cruise. The shows we saw were very good. Blue Man was funny, the Elvis impersonator was excellent, and Second City was funny. The problem is that because those shows are repeated on several different nights so all passengers have a chance to see them, you have multiple nights with limited other options. There was partying on the top deck, the casino, Deal or No Deal, and little else.
Even though we still enjoyed the cruise, I may pick a different cruise line next time.