Having just returned from two weeks on the Norwegian Epic, I am able to reflect on what this ship is and is not. Here is what it is: Huge, Innovative, Comfortable, Focused on Passenger Service. Here is what it is not: Crowded (surprisingly), Subtle, Intimate.
All in all, this was a great cruise experience. Norwegian really has recast the mold and set a new standard in how passengers can make choices while on board. Gone is the huge showroom - in its place multiple venues with multiple types of quality entertainment. It also recasts the dining experience. If you want, during a 10 day cruise, you can eat dinner at a different venue each night. While we didn't eat in every restaurant, every meal we had was excellent, well prepared, well presented.
I cannot say enough about the courtesy and politeness of the crew.
I do wish Norwegian would offer fewer announcements over the public address system during the day but this problem isn't unique to EPIC but is, nevertheless, annoying (Carnival is worse). Yes, the cabins were funky without a contained traditional bathroom but this didn't detract from the cruise experience as much as offer an opportunity to experience something new and different. I read about the complaints about privacy in the shower and commode areas. Any intimate couple won't find this at all a problem but I would imagine it would take some courtesy if, say, a brother/sister were in the cabin together. The curved wall was really nice and added interest in the cabin design.
This is not a ship with its own art collection (although the Park West gallery area is huge if that interests you - it doesn't interest me). The artwork in the cabin hallways is pleasant and soothing but not remarkable. In fact, the lack of significant art in the ship illustrates its personality - friendly, welcoming, fun, varied but not elegant or overtly luxurious (but then again, NCL isn't known as a true luxury line).
I particularly liked the design and vibe of O'Sheenan's pub - which has 3 bowling lanes, pool tables, and has the feel of neighborhood pub - it overlooks a lower floor in the atrium area and looks directly upon the immense/massive high definition screen midship.
I did hear some people comment that without elevators midship (but fore/aft only), passengers with midship cabins had longer walks from elevators to their cabins. There were a total of 16 passenger elevators, 8 fore and 8 aft.
Would I sail on EPIC again? You bet. But in the Caribbean, not in Europe where the ship will be next summer. Why? Because part of being on the EIPC is the experience of the ship itself and the European itinerary for the ship has daily port calls. I'd consider sailing her again next time we cruise the Caribbean (especially since we missed the Eastern Caribbean ports due to Hurricane Earl - calling twice on Cozumel and Roatan and missing St. Thomas and St. Marteen.
It was a wonderful two week vacation - I came away happy, relaxed, impressed, pleased and feeling that I had a huge bang for my buck on this amazing, creative and impressive ship.