On March 23rd we set off from Miami for our first family cruise. Our kids (20 & 17) were very excited. We are a family who loves to be near, on, in and around water in any capacity, so we thought cruising would be a neat thing to try all together. Our rooms were perfect. I know many complain about the EPIC's rooms or shape or bathrooms etc, but really...unless you are an overindulged, spoiled brat, the rooms are excellent and have enough storage to lose things and enough room to maneuver. We were lucky enough to have a mini balcony suite and our kids had a balcony suite as well (speaking of spoiled). I feel privileged to have had the opportunity. I love nothing more than waking up to the sound of water and seeing the bluest of water, rushing by. The kids were blown away when they first walked not their room. The first of a zillion firsts on this trip and we enjoyed watching them absorb every second.
The pools on the EPIC are a little disappointing. They are much too small and littered with children all day. The one adult pool is even smaller (like an oversized jacuzzi) and littered with adults all day. So, we indulged in the evenings when no one else really was. During the day, we never had an issue finding our spot on deck. We chose the upper deck as there is really nowhere else to see view. The garden cafe even has scuffed plastic glass you have to look through to see the views. So the upper deck was best. It would get mighty hot, so cooling off with water was a tough battle. They have showers to go into to wash off, but they only have hot water. That made no sense to us. If cooling off choices are the cesspool of kidlettes or the, I must say, awesome water slides (but long line-ups), then, why not make the showers have cool water? We would dip into the kiddy, play area and dunk under the big mushroom waterfall to cool off. Ces la vies..It was what it was and we were still so happy to be there.
Food on the EPIC was fantastic, so many restaurants to choose from. It's a wonder we didn't just roll off the ship. We did find that at the restaurants, the staff were abundant, so much that it seemed like we could never catch a break to continue a conversation. They were either constantly checking on us, bringing something, or doing something. And if they weren't, they were watching us like hawks to see if/when we would need anything. Someone was always interrupting. It's their job, and they did that well. The staff were so friendly and offered suggestions and places to see at the ports. That was very helpful.
All in all, it is a massive beautiful boat. What I would prefer: is more outdoor seating areas to eat and actually see the views (NOT through scuffy plexi ). Even the Tranquility deck with amazing seating and lounge beds and chairs, the view was only through scuffed up glass or was it plastic. To see the water with our own eyes, we had to stand. I'm all about views, as you can tell.
One thing I did notice and kind of broke my heart, because I enjoy cruising so much....is the massive amounts of garbage that flies off the ship and into the water. It is obvious they try to control this. but here is no controlling the thoughtless human who doesn't seem to care. It's windy on the upper decks. Don't let your garbage blow away..SERIOUSLY!!! How senseless can you be? We watched people simply watch their garbage blow off the ship and without a blink, turn their heads or shrug their shoulders. I wanted to strangle them. One night we enjoyed some rougher water and a wee storm. We strolled up to the upper deck (after all the chairs had been tucked away for the night) to watch the lightening show in the horizon. Passengers left so much garbage and staff was trying to gather it all as best they could. I watched as big gusts of wind would pick up plastic bags and cups, before staff could get to them and off they went into the sea. Sickening. At that moment, A realization came over me... given the amount of cruise ships on these waters, just how much pollution they cause. I would pay more to use biodegradable cups and utensils. There has to something that can be done. You can't teach a thoughtless human to be aware. So what are the alternative ideas?
It was still a trip of a lifetime. I feel honoured to have taken my children to see what they saw and I wave fantastic photos to prove it. We have never tried another ship. This was my 3rd. They were my first. If I strayed, I almost feel like I would be cheating on them. I love the freestyle concept. I can't imagine any other way!!!