I'm going to make this short since I really don't have a lot of good things to say about my sailing on the Epic. It was a short 2 night trip to introduce the ship and show us all the WOW factor. Unfortunately, I left feeling like "WOW, that was not good!"
Our balcony cabin was beautiful to look at, horrible to stay in. The bed was by the door/bathroom so there was hardly any space to stand and use the sink. If my partner was by the balcony and needed to use the bathroom we had to pass by one at a time, since there's only room for one person to walk near the end of the bed. The balcony was fine, not a huge space, and we could see next door since the separation wall was curved. I felt like I had to say hello to the neighbors every time I went out there. Not private at all. I did think that the rooms had a ton of storage space and that was impressive. But I would have traded all of that in for just a bit more room to move around. And the fact that I can be sleeping and my partner could come in at 2am and want to brush her teeth, which would be right next to my feet. Stupid design, period. As for the bathrooms, huge failure IMHO. But it's not because they are divided and have see-through smoked glass(not a problem for us, but I heard a ton of complaints about it from families). And it's not because of the 'privacy' curtain or the sink in the living space (although that is ridiculous). And it's not because of the curved bed(but anyone over 5'10" will have their feet hang over end). It's because you have to use the toilet and THEN open the door to go wash your hands!! Can you say unsanitary?? I sincerely hope that those door handles are scrubbed daily and between sailings! Just plain disgusting.
As for the entertainment, they had plenty. As others have said, if you want to party and dance and gamble, this is the place. With Blue Man, Second City, and Cirque, you're good to go. Second City was ok, passed on Blue Man (we've seen them 3 times already) and loved Cirque, although the food was blah and the show a bit long. (but come on, the things those acrobats can do...) My other BIG issue was the smoking. It was everywhere. The cabin below and next to us were smokers and it kept us inside. In the casino, you might as well wear a gas mask to play the tables. O'Sheehans Pub is a great concept, but to allow smoking indoors with food? Come on, almost every state in the country doesn't even allow that anymore. And we tried to enjoy the pool bar on 3 separate occasions but there were always a ton of smokers there. So by the pool, casino, up on deck, on the balconies, everywhere. They need to look at cutting back on smoking areas. We live a smoke-free life and like to vacation that way. A land-based vacation includes non-smoking flights, non-smoking hotels, non-smoking rental cars, non-smoking bars and restaurants. But go on NCL, and you're constantly in a cloud of smoke. You go back to your cabin and your hair, your cloths, everything smells like smoke. It amazes me that others are allowed to ruin someone else's health all in the name of making them happy. (Sorry to rant, but honestly, the smoke really got to me-my contacts, my nose, my throat, all a mess-and this was only for 2 nights!!)
The pool area was silly. They have 2 pools the size of postage stamps and they were crammed. It's crazy. They used most of the deck space for the slides. However, kids will love, love, love the water slides and activities. BUT the pool deck gets so over-flooded in certain spots that you can't walk without slipping. NCL actually has workers there all day just pushing the water out of the way. Again, poor design.
They say "Freestyle Cruising" but not on the Epic. You have to pre-plan and PAY for most of the dining. How is that "Freestyle" if in the first hour you are on the ship, you have to book your whole week of meals or you'll miss out?? And at lunch, we tried to go to Wasabi but they only seat 20 people. So if you are not there right when they open, it's an instant 45 minute wait. Again, poor design.
All in all, not my kind of ship. No quiet spots (unless you get a studio room or suite with the private pool area), too much smoke, very loud, lots of partying, and too much pre-planning. Most of my friends and family would never be around that much smoke, would want more healthy-choice options for activities and dining(and breathing), and would need some quiet time/romantic areas. This ship reminds me of adults reliving their spring break days combined with a thousand mini-vans unloaded in one spot. Fun for some, a nightmare for others.
I prefer Royal Caribbean and I will stick with them. I like having a solarium for adults only, mostly smoke-free(however even RCCL needs to change their balcony-smoking policy), and plenty of space. The Epic just seemed crammed to the gills with too much "stuff". Families will probably do well if you have little ones(not teens), but other than that, you are really taking your chances by booking this ship.