It has been over a month since our Epic voyage and I have had some time to reflect on the experience. I will attempt to be informative, yet brief. We began our cruise vacation with a pre-cruise stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Miami and I recommend doing this. It was close to the airport and there was no worry about flight delays etc. and they had a great pool.
Embarkation the next day, no problem. Boarded the ship and had a blast checking it out and having lunch and a beverage or two while we waited for our cabin to be ready. After the announcement was made we headed to the cabin (hull-balcony and found it to be a little smaller than I had expected, but not a big deal. We absolutely loved the balcony. The hull balconies are kind of enclosed and make it a little more private, I liked it. The bathroom/sink /shower arrangement were different, but as there were just the two of us it worked out fine. Bed was comfy and mini fridge stocked. Overall I give the cabin and the cabin steward an A plus.
The food: We ate at the following specialty dining; la cucina, cagneys, modern churrascaria and the cirque dinner and found them all to be pretty good. No complaints about the Garden Cafe or outdoor dining on deck.
Entertainment: Blue Man Group, Legends in concert and Cirque Dinner were great! Second City show just was not that funny to be honest. We had a cruise critic meet and greet which was a great opportunity to meet fellow cruisers and the ships officers and management team.(Great idea.)
Activities: Pools and slide get an A plus. Lots of activities on deck, music, dancing, etc, all good. As far as the bars; the ice bar was cool (sigh) and there is no shortage of beverages or places to enjoy them. My favorite was buckets of coronas complete with ice, limes, and opener. H2O spice was a great place to get away from the little childrens.
Shore excursions: St. Maartin - we went on the combo beach tour and it was ok. could have used more time on orient beach to be honest. St.Thomas - we went on the St. Johns beach escape and that was one of the best beaches that we have ever seen and been on, but again, would have liked to have had more time there. Last but not least was Nassau - We have been there many times before and am quite familiar with the area so we just took the water taxi to Paradise Island and walked to cabbage beach, did a little shopping and headed back to the ship whence we came.
Overall we had a great time, enjoyed the daily freestyle which listed the activities and port info. I could have done without the shopping lecture and did not partake in the art auction as that it is just not "my bag." Lost a small amount of cash in the casino, and spent a fair amount of cash in the on board duty free shops. Would I do it again? Heck yeah. Purchased a cruise reward certificate on board and next spring we will be on the Jewel! (the $100 on board credit came in handy)