Thoughts from experienced (17) Cruisers Sept 2010
Cabin (7 out of 10) - We always take inside cabins. We've had larger inside cabins but the size and layout were acceptable and as we expected. I did not like the lack of privacy for the commode. The sink set up was poor, small and splashy. Electric outlets were inconvenient. Good shower but no goodie basket with sample sized products. The low rating was not because of size but because of lack of privacy for the bathroom. Two would be the people maximum for the standard inside cabin. All outside cabins are balconies. I heard they were tight also, the room & the balcony.
Food (9 out of 10) - We don't need or expect 5 Star dinning for free (the food would have earned a 10 with that). The free dinning rooms had a set menu with a couple different featured items each night. The cafe, which was very big, basically had the same items every day but there were so many different items in a week you did not have a chance to try it all. All he food was good, especially the pretzel bread. They have several "Premium" restaurants available for fair cover charges.
Personnel & Service (10 out of 10) - The cabin was not always done up timely but I would blame that on our use schedule of the room. All other service on the ship was great. The friendliest crew we have ever had. Our luggage never showed up the first night so things got a little tense. We reported it and the solution was to fill out a lost luggage report, NOT much relief! I went out looking for it and was fortunate to find it all on the same level as our cabin or it may have taken a long time to search every floor. The pre-printed luggage tags had a different cabin number printed on it so I can't blame the personnel. Hint: Make sure you reprinted luggage labels match the cabin number on your ticket!!! It ruined our first nights dinner as I didn't come up with the luggage until almost 8:00. I was disappointed they did not offer some free drinks or something, as it was clear we were not happy campers. The next day while stopping by the service desk the young lady recognized the name and talking with Karen the previous night and she gave me a coupon for a free birthday cake for Karen. (Don't tell her she thinks I sprung big bucks for the Cake). Getting on and off the ship moved quickly.
The Ship (7 out of 10)- The interior flowed well and was very nice. The exterior was a let down for us. We enjoy walking all around on exterior walkways and finding quiet areas to spend time. The top decks were a little chopped up. Since all the exterior cabins had balconies there was only one level that had outside walkways and you could not walk all the way around the ship. That level had a walkway on each side, one with shuffleboard courts and one with jogging lanes. There was only about 50' on each side that the lifeboats did not block the view. There was no exterior open eating area to the back or front of the ship off the cafe like almost every other ship we have been on. The only open area to eat was the pool area, which was large but not private.
The 3 pools were small. I did not see that being a problem but we stayed primarily in the adult area, Spice H2O. We enjoyed that area with a lot of lounges, chairs, 2 hot tubs, a small pool and a huge outdoor screen for movies, shows and games. We did not use the pool areas in the afternoons so I don't know how crowded they got. The 3 water slides were great. We use the slides and other recreational facilities on Port days when they are not so busy. The sports deck was good as well but there were limited hours of use for the Spider, Bungee Jump. I was using a cane all week and did not get to use the fitness area. I hear it was huge.
Entertainment (10 out of 10) - The best we have experienced on a ship maybe land too. True Vegas shows including Blue Man Group, Legends of rock & Roll (a 25 year running impersonation show featuring Tina Turner, Madonna & Elvis), Comedian/Magician, Cirque Dreams and Dinner Show and Second City. We saw a couple shows multiple times and would experience all again. The other venues had very good musicians and singers. The 17 Degree Ice Bar is a One of a Kind on the seas. We are glad we spent the money to go in but it would be a one-time event. The cruise Director and assistants were great. They did not have a ship variety show every night like most have but it was not needed with all the other entertainment. They did have the Newlywed Game and several other similar programs.
Ports of Call - Not an issue for us as we do not do shore excursions any more since we have been to most of the Caribbean ports.
At a little over $100 per day for inside cabin, the negatives on this ship for our style of cruising is not worth the price for us. While we are glad we cruised the EPIC, at full price we probably would not go on this ship again, however if they had completely NEW acts with more Vegas style Entertainment we might consider a second cruise.