I sailed on the Epic for the first time two weeks ago. I believe that a vacation is what you make of it-but there are some highlights as well as some that are not so high about this ship.
First-The restaurants included in the cruise price are fair. No spectacular meals at Taste or The Manhattan Room. Yes, the menu does change daily, but only on the right hand side of the menu each day. The Manhattan Room is beautiful, the music is a delight, but the food was just okay. Taste is a typical restaurant, and the food is the same as in the Manhattan Room. The pub was good-and we always had fast and friendly service here.
I did go to two pay resturants on the cruise. La Cocina-I was not a fan, but another in my group loved it. For $10, I would check it out if you love Italian. We did also dine at the French restaurant on board-$25 a person-and was quite impressed with the service as well as food. This was the best meal of the entire cruise.
Second-This is the BEST cruise for nightlife. If you want to be entertained, this is the best ship on the water. That being said...It was NOT Blue Man Group or (Gasp!) Cirque. (More on that later). It was the Second City Group-You have to see the adult show-that was amazing....The crew on board has different theme nights-Fabba, White Hot Party-which are fun-let yourself go and dance in the middle of the ocean outside! Legends was entertaining.
BUT THE BEST is the Blues Cafe. WOW!!!!!!! This is a place where you connect with the entertainers, can relax on some big couches, and sip wine. I was so impressed with this group. It was like a big Jam Session-and if you are good at it-they will allow you to get up there.....singing, guitar, drums. It felt like we were all just hanging out having a great time.
The Blue Man Group-I just didn't get it. Some points were impressive-playing tubes, etc. But-Fake Vomit?!? It was gross. Not my idea of prime entertainment.
Cirque Dreams? More like Nightmare. I have seen over 9 Cirque shows and this is embarassing for the name Cirque to even be on it. I stayed for 25 minutes, enough time to get a slab of lettuce with russian dressing....and that was WAY too long. Each one of us walked out of this show. (Some had seen Cirque shows, some not) But, we all agreed it was AWFUL. Spinning food on plates? Lettuce moracas? Please....go back to the drawing board. They asked us not to leave after the beginning of the show....for the safety of the crew....I couldn't take it.....even the guilt couldn't keep me in there. If you go, do not expect Cirque like on land!
The layout of the ship is strange....First-Cabins. Yes, the sinks and bathrooms are laid out differently....we had to knock loudly when entering so we would not catch someone nude out of the shower.....but, the room? Not a dealbreaker for me. I was hardly ever in it. The balcony is nice, the beds comfy. If you are on a girls trip....bring an over-the door shoe organizer to stash toiletries, as there is not much space in the sink area. Also, ask your room steward to empty the fridge and stash your goodies in there. The only thing that was realy annoying? The toilet. So loud you woke everyone up in the room every time you used it!
No mid-ship elevators? Yes, a problem if you are handicapped or in a hurry. You have to walk a lot back and forth. P.S. The elevators are ALWAYS slammed, so plan on walking some stairs.
The Spa/Fitness Center-Great. Buy the spa pass, and use the pools and lounges in this area. Take the tour on the first day if you are unsure. I loved it, and spent many hours outside on the balcony on a lounger! (But-one suggestion to the crew...PLEASE put up a quiet sign. People are resting, and pay a premium for it! At times people used it like a hot-tub reunion.)
Overall, I had a great vacation-I had great company and I am the type to not let the small details of anything while I am on vacation get me down!