The Epic's positives are the excellent service staff, the food and the relative newness (thus freshness and cleanliness) of the ship and it's décor, and the elevator ceilings, which looked like starry skies. The food was generally quite good, with some stellar preparations, such as the irresistable Rack of Lamb main course and the equally delicious Chocolate Volcano dessert served in the two main dining rooms. The upper level Garden room restaurant was also good on a number of fronts, with good variety, including some Asian and Indian offerings. We dined in the main dining rooms and ate breakfast and lunch in the Garden Café, so we tried a lot of the food.
It's negatives include that it is a very large, long ship...too large and long, we thought. Long distances from front-half cabins to the two main dining rooms, both of which were on lower floors at the rear of the ship is one example. Longish waits for front-half elevators at meal times, which many passengers More
took to the casual dining on an upper deck were also a bit annoying.
The biggest problem for us was the general noise level on the public decks. The two-level casino seemed to take up much too much space and was especially noisy on sea days. The shopping deck was very commercialized, taking up most of one floor. There was little public space that offered quieter places to be. All the public floors had several bars as well, often with their own entertainers. Even the pool deck was frequently very noisy, mostly with the chosen musical offerings, which did not seem to be selected for the variety of ages of cruisers. It seemed like a ship for people who liked to drink and gamble.
If would have been nice on each public indoor level to have a glassed-in public room with a door that would allow for reading or games without so much noise. We had to retreat to our balcony for quiet. We also were all interested in finding other Bridge players, but found only four other people who also played. There was no game room or bridge instructor as some ships have. The tiny library (with few books) was also the games area but was not closed off from the noise, being located instead near the opening to below on the floor above the center of the casino.
Overall, we had a good time, but more because we enjoyed being together than that we enjoyed the ship atmosphere. We could see that plenty of the younger people were enjoying themselves in all the venues, but I would not recommend this ship for first time cruisers that expect to have a calm and peaceful voyage. For me, I would prefer not to experience NCL's Freestyle Cruising again. Less