This was our second cruise, our first being on Celebrity last year. We chose this Epic cruise as the ports sounded interesting and the price was phenomenal with the AARP discount. My husband and I are both in our late 50's. Yes, we read all the reviews prior to booking and were slightly concerned but also realized you just can't please some people. We had a fabulous time. Sailed April 20-27,
CABIN - We booked BX and were assigned a balcony cabin on deck 10. At first sight, we thought the cabin was small but I guess we adjusted pretty quickly because it never felt small or crowded to us. We actually liked the bathroom setup. Similar to the bathroom setup in our RV. It allows one person to "do their business" while the other showers. We found the storage in this cabin to be astounding. We had empty cabinets and shelves. TWO nice sized closets that easily held all our hanging clothes for a 7 day cruise along with multiple drawers, nice sized medicine cabinet that held all our toiletries and makeup, over bed storage that held all my husband's camera equipment, adequate sized safe, tons of shelving - well, you get the idea. Cabin steward Eric was wonderful, personable and no matter when we left our cabin, it was clean upon our return.
ACTIVITIES - We booked three shows prior and didn't make it to any of them. Shameful, I know but we were exhausted by 9pm at night and just chilled in our cabin. We spent most days in Spice H2O - an adults only pool/bar/buffet area in the rear of the ship. Simply perfect area for us. Never had a problem finding a table or lounger. Wait staff here was incredible (as were ALL the staff we encountered). Did partake of Deal or No Deal once and that was fun. Loved the cooking demos in the atrium. Lost a little in the casino. Bought a few trinkets in the shops - we thought they had good prices on most things. Loved the various music acts throughout the ship - Awesome Twosome was our favorite.
FOOD/BEVERAGE- We ate most nights in Manhattan and had wonderful service and great food. We never waited more than 3 minutes for a table and service was prompt once seated. Food was at proper temp, presentation was beautiful and tasted good. Loved having live music and dancing during dinner, too. We were told that they had all new menus and that this was the first week . Every night we were given comment cards to fill out asking about our food and service. Our comments were always favorable for both. We purchased the unlimited beverage package and it did not disappoint. Everything we ordered was covered under this package and saved us a bundle. And I would not consider us heavy drinkers by any means. We spent pre and post dinner time at Shakers - great bartender (Loralie) and atmosphere.
EXCURSIONS- We went river tubing in Ocho Rios and had a blast. Do it again in a heartbeat. We took the Mayan Ruin (Chachoben) tour - fabulous guide, Daniel, It was a great tour. In Cozumel we just shopped and walked around.
SHIP - It's gorgeous and huge and super clean. You'll walk a lot (which was fine with us). We took the stairs mostly but never waited longer than a minute or so when we need an elevator.
FELLOW PASSENGERS - I was amazed at the friendliness of the vast majority of people. Every elevator ride resulted in conversations with others that frequently ended with a shared drink or stroll to dinner. I know another reviewer stated that there were 800 kids on the cruise. Really? Where did they hide them all? We really only encountered the younger passengers at the main pool and breakfast at the Cafe. And every single one was well behaved. I witnessed no screaming, temper tantrums, running through hallways, nothing. Must have been sailing with some fabulous parents. Kudos to them.
CONCLUSION - We will absolutely sail with NCL and probably on the EPIC again. We loved the freestyle cruising concept - nobody telling me when to be hungry - and excellent service, awesome staff and cleanliness of the ship. NCL allowed us to make the cruise vacation what we wanted it to be. Thank you very much for a wonderful time.