We went on the opening of Epic to the travel trade and as a travel agent i have travelled on all the competitions best offerings so am well placed to compare.
The positives for the ship are many. It has a light airy feeling on board which gives the perception that you have more space than on most ships. The bars and restaurants are superb with such a wide choice and the truly revolutionary ice bar which looked stunning.
The shows were amongst the best I have seen at see the Blue Man Group being the highlight of the trip. There are so many activities on board you would struggle to find nothing to do unless that is exactly what you wanted. The Aqua park is truly the best i have been on at sea, children and adults alike will love this with some true fast paced water slides. There is a great younger children's splash area and the other children's clubs looked fantastic. Children aged 2-12 are separated in one large room which is great for families with mixed aged children as siblings will be able to see each other.
Staff were friendly and attentive and i was generally impressed so will i be sending clients on this ship?? If you just looked at the above it would be a resounding yes but then.......
The Negative is almost baffling when such time was spent designing the rest of the ships. I can only imagine that the cabin were designed by someone who had never been on a cruise before. The staterooms are probably the worst designed i have ever been in and that is truly no exaggeration. Slightly frosted see through glass doors on a toilet makes it uncomfortable for sharers who are unrelated. The shower is just the same and to make it worse you step out of the shower straight into your stateroom soaking the floor and in full view of your cabin mate. Maybe realising the problem NCL have put a shower curtain across the middle of the stateroom to separate the bed from this shower but this compounds the problem because if you are on the outside of the cabin and step in while your cabin mate is in the shower you are virtually stepping into the shower with them in full view of anyone walking down the corridor....what were they thinking??????? Oh and the sink, cleverly NCL have placed the only sink, (yes you have to leave the toilet and walk across the the cabin to wash your hands or face), under a cupboard so you cant fit your head under it, the tap is fixed meaning there is only a tiny space to put your hands under it and all in all once you have stopped laughing at the stupidity of it frustration starts to set in!!
So as it stands i can only see myself sending related clients and in room grades higher than balcony rooms as staterooms i saw below this are quite simply to poor in all faith to put a client in. This is such a shame because the positives for the ship are obvious to see and for families i couldn't imagine a ship with better facilities.
Come on NCL there is still time to delay the sailings and re-design those cabins, i know it will be expensive but will make what is currently an average ship a great one!!