I don't know why there are so many terrible reviews for the Epic. I've cruised with Carnival and Royal Caribbean before and Epic didn't disappoint. The majority of the complaints from other reviews were debunked when I sailed the Epic.
Food: Definitely no complaints here. Food always came out hot and tasted great! The Manhattan Room and Taste have the same menus so if you want to dress down a bit then eat at Taste. Our servers were very friendly and one had a great sense of humour.
Smoking in the casino: I hate the smell of smoke and did not have a problem with passing by and playing in the casino. The only time I smelled a lot of smoke was when someone beside me was smoking.
Elevators: I don't know why people complained about the slow elevators. We were able to grab an elevator very quickly every single time. I guess people are very impatient.
Shows: I only got to see the Blue Man Group, Legends in Concert, and Howl at The Moon. The Blue Man Group and Legends in Concert were pretty good. However, the Katy Perry impersonator wasn't great and I wouldn't consider her a legend. We weren't into Howl at The Moon probably because we haven't heard of the music being played before.
Drinks: Pretty expensive! Even if you buy pop they include a 15% gratuity. Beer was about $6 and change. It is better to get the bucket deal. NCL allows you to bring pop on board the ship so do that instead. We brought on a case of Coke and saved money. You can also bring your own wine on board but you are charged $15/day for the corkage fee.
Room: We stayed in the Mini Suite and loved it! We didn't mind the weird bathroom layout because it allows one person to shower while the other has to use the toilet. Our steward was very friendly and always filled our ice buckets without us even asking!
Overall, we loved the cruise and are glad we got to experience the Epic before it left for Europe.