Just back from our cruise and would first like to say that hubby and I had a wonderful time.
I will not go into a day by day detailed report because I'm certain that y'all have read enough about embarkation, where the first meal was eaten, what time the room was ready and when the luggage arrived, so I will just focus on what mine and my hubby's thoughts were about the Epic.
First, the ship is massive in size not particularly appealing from the outside (not really important though) but it is beautiful inside.
We stayed in a standard balcony cabin which was okay for the 2 of us, but I'm not sure how 3 or more could manage. Anytime I sat at the mirror to do my hair and makeup, my husband had to climb on the bed to get by to get to the balcony. There was a ton of storage space though and the closets were great. They do not give you enough hangers, but I always pack my own so it was a not a problem.
The bathrooms, we felt were a non-issue and had little problem with the sink. We did notice that our faucet was turned towards the back of the sink. We are not sure if that was done intentionally to avoid the overflow on the floor, but it did splash the back on the counter quite often. We just kept a towel back there and had no problem.
All the restaurants are very nice as well as the venues for the shows.
The shows were all top notch entertainment, but did not like the fact that you have to wait on line every time. It did not, however stop us from attending all of them. BMG, Crique and Legends were all fantastic. The comedian/magician Jeff Hobson was hilarious. He actually walked around the audience while people were pouring in and introduced himself which I thought was pretty cool. We also attended the Murder Mystery and Second City show. Both of which we enjoyed immensely.
We also spent some time at Howl at the Moon and had a lot of fun. The guys that were there I felt, did not have great voices, but nonetheless they were enjoyable. The only one that was halfway decent was Eddie Hathaway (I think that was his name).
Slam Allen in the Fat Cats Blues lounge was awesome and should not be missed. (That boy can sure play the guitar!)
We ate most of our meals in Taste and were not impressed with the service, but the food was good. We managed to get into the Manhattan Room one time (due to the long wait times) and found that the service was much better than Taste. We ate several times at O'Sheehans and the food is really good. My hubby loved the fish and chips and had many a late snack of them.
We also ate at Teppanyaki where the food was excellent and the chef was quite entertaining. He made it a lot of fun with some of the things that he did; for instance, he fried an egg and chopped it up into 10 pieces. After he finished cooking, he put one piece on the end of his spatula and tossed it in the air towards each guest to see who could catch it on one try in their mouth. Of course, I managed to get it in the first try (as most did). We laughed alot and enjoyed the meal very much.
We had a very nice meal at Cagneys as well, where we found the service to be very good as well as the filet that each of us ordered. It was cooked to perfection and all the side dishes were very tasty.
We ate most of our breakfasts at the Garden Buffet and found that the food was very good and hot all the time! And yes, the pretzel rolls are delicious!
When we arrived we decided to go straight to the spa to get the couples pass and we are very happy that we did. The spa is wonderful and we went every day to the jacuzzi's and hydrotherapy pools. We also spent some relaxing time on the stone loungers which are awesome!
They had to change our itinerary twice because of high winds in Costa Maya. We went to Roatan first, Cozumel and then Costa Maya at the end of the trip. One thing I have to say is that when we had extreme high winds and 20ft swells, you barely felt it (at least my hubby and I did'nt) because we imagine, of the size of the ship.
Each excursion we went on were beach getaways. In Roatan we went to Tabayana Beach and it is one of the nicest beaches I have ever been to. Cozumel we went to Playa Mia and it was nice and had lots of activities and all the booze you can swallow. The buffet was mediocre at best but we didn't really care about the food. In Costa Maya we did the Jungle beach getaway and if you have that excursion booked, be sure to bring some bug spray because they have these annoying stinging flies. By the way, we found no issue in Roatan with sand fleas. Also in Costa Maya they have a pool in the middle of the shopping area. We heard that someone had their stuff stolen so be careful about leaving your things unwatched. Also, if you go to any beach in Mexico, bring water shoes because it is very rocky on the bottom.
We spent several hours in the casino and found that the staff there was outstanding. They all knew our names after the first day and took good care of us. (and what we lost could pay for another cruise!!)
The picture process is great with the touch screens. I thought that made it very convenient to see your pictures. They also have all the prints in a book marked with your room number.
The touch screens outside the elevators and around the ship are also a nice touch (no pun intended). Here you can see the availability of the restaurants and what shows are on for that day.
Now I will go into some of the things that NCL needs to work on.
The food in the Speigel Tent as far as we are concerned is inedible. I literally got sick to my stomach from it after the Murder Mystery. I had such an upset stomach that we had to cancel our reservation for Moderno that night. Luckily the matre'd was nice enough not to charge us the 50% for not showing.
The pools......WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???????? You have a ship that holds over 4000 guests (4800 on our cruise) and you have 3 pools that hold maybe 200 between the 3? I dont understand the thought process behind this design. It makes no sense to me. I spent a total of 1 hour at Spice and never went back. This was very dissappointing to me because I love to spend time at the pool, especially on sea days. We wound up spending alot more time in the spa because of this.
I also don't understand why there was no elevator midship. Yes, there is an escalator, but it only takes you from the 6th floor to the 7th. Again, made no sense to me.
Overall, I will say that it was mostly a positive experience for hubby and me although we felt the ship was way to big for us and too crowded.
Would we sail the Epic again?....probably not. Would we sail NCL again?..most definetly because we like the freestyle.
I know other posters have made comments about the additional fees and the nickel and dime stuff, but in actualilty, you don't have to spend any additional money if you choose not to. You certainly can eat in the MDR's daily and I believe there is enough on the menus to have a different choice each day. In addition, there is no cruise that I have ever been on that you don't tip the staff. I like the auto charge so I don't have to worry about filing envelopes the day before we disembark.
Unfortunately, we forgot to buy the cruise rewards this time so we missed out on the $100 on board credit. We will most likely try a different line next time depending on where we want to sail.