Norwegian Epic is not the prettiest cruiser afloat and lacks classic features such as promenade decks, spacious public areas and grand staircases, but if you like a ritzy Las Vegas experience, then you will not be disappointed.
On the plus side there is a lot of choice in terms of on board activities ranging through water slides, climbing walls, sports courts, video arcades, internet cafe, 10 pin bowling,a massive casino and choice of shows. Also if you like to keep fit, the gym is huge and the best equipped we have seen on any cruise so far.
The downside is that there are a lot of people using these facilities, so early reservations are usually essential and as the best point of access for booking and information is via interactive TV in staterooms, technophobes are at a distinct disadvantage. Also, although there are a number of entertainmemt options they do not vary greatly over the course of a week, so those taking longer cruises may find the show experience a little repetitive.
Contrary to what we have read in other reviews we never experienced or witnessed any delays in access to general dining, but if you want choice via the speciality restaurants you have to pay for it, which we think compromises the Freestyle ethos and can become expensive if you are a family / group. As a couple we also found ourselves shunted to the back or sides of the Manhattan Dining Room. Food quality throughout was excellent, although in the Garden Restaurant where most people take breakfast and lunch the choices were the same every day.
We felt service throughout the ship was excellent and although many of the options are at a cost, unlike some other Cruise Lines there was no pressure to buy and the staff were genuinely keen to please. Also in our case the stateroom steward was exceptional.
Stateroom lay out is unconventional and although small is not unattractive but the semi opaque bathroom certainly takes some getting used to and provides an alternative viewing experience to the TV. For those with privacy issues there is a modesty curtain, but this is unlikely to eliminate sound effects ! That said, with the exception of the very small wash basin, all the equipment works exceptionally well and the lighting is great, provided you can find the switch. Non smokers beware smoking is not prohibited in staterooms so there is no guarantee that you will inherit a nicotine free atmosphere from the previous occupants and of course you can expect to encounter it in the Casino.
As previously reported there are issues with the short length of the bed if you are over 5ft 8in but in the end form wins over function and you will get used to the overhang !
As a couple of young 50 somethings overall we really enjoyed our 7 night cruise on Epic, but would probably in future opt for a smaller (up to 2,500 guests)vessel, with a decent promenade deck, library and a non-smoking policy - there are plenty of alternatives out there !