I wonder if we traveled on the same ship of some of the people that reviewed here. Our experience was completely fantastic.
We have been on 7 day cruises in Hawaii and Europe and a few of weekend cruises (all with NCL). I loved all of them, and I have to say that the Epic is my favorite ship from now on!
Stateroom: We had a balcony on the 9th floor. The rooms are great; we liked the bed a lot!! We did not have any problems with the bathroom; there is a curtain that provides more privacy. I could deal with the bathroom sink (many people here complained about it) but they changed the faucets in our floor during the day in St Thomas and eventually I guess will change the whole ship. I like the fact that you can check your expenses and restaurant menus on the TV system. It is very convenient. There is a lot of storage and the luggage fits under the bed.
Dining: The best food of all the cruises I have been on. Lots of choices! If you don't want to pay cover charges, there are the Manhattan Room (the polenta appetizer was delicious), Taste (had lunch and dinner there, both great), O'Sheehans (loved the spinach dip), and the buffet (Garden Cafe, we chose to have breakfast there every day). We NEVER had to wait for a table in any of them. And there is plenty of room in the garden cafe to accommodate a large crowd.
We also had dinner at Moderno for $18 pp (so worth it, except for the Brazilian caipirinha that needs some improvement). Le Bistro was really nice (the best was the mushroom cream soup and chocolate fondue for dessert!). I also recommend La Cucina, which I have been in other ships and it is always great (especially for $10 pp!!).
Cirque Dreams and Dinner was amazing. I can't understand why some people complained about it. Someone here said they left after 11 minutes and complained the show was bad, but he/she did not see any of it!!!! One of the reviewers here compared the show to Cirque du Soleil, but there is no way to compare the 2, they are totally different things (beginning with the space they have for the show). The acts were great, beautiful costumes; I would say one of the best things on this cruise. They also recently changed the menu, and I really liked the appetizer, the entrEe...and the dessert was awesome. I would suggest getting the upstairs seats; we thought they were the best!! When I left the show, I was thinking if these reviewers saw the same show we did.
Pool area: There are a lots of lounge chairs on this ship. We never had any problems finding two open chairs at anytime during the day. The pools are small, but it is a ship, we can't expect an Olympic size pool!
Activities: there was plenty to do on the ship during sea days. Check your daily newsletter for the schedule. I really like the concerts they screened at Spice H20 around 7PM every evening. James Taylor's concert was really nice.
Service: we have no complains about the service, everything was good.
Entertainment: Blue Man Group was really cool and on the last sea day I had the chance to attend the Q&A session which was a special treat! Very interesting!
Second City was funny, we saw the 9 PM and 11 PM shows.
Howling at the moon was really nice, we saw a little bit of it, the guys are really talented. Legends in Concert was really good. They had Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Rod Stewart. All of them were really good; the voices were so alike the real artists. MJ was the best, everyone was very impressed. Rod Stewart was really good and Britney was a great dancer, even though I don't like her songs, the girl sounded just like her and her presentation was really nice.
Ice bar was worth it for being a different experience. We had so much fun with the bartenders and the other people there. The pictures came out really nice. I loved the sour apple drink. We stayed the whole 45 minutes, but everyone else left. Don't wear flip flops (a lot of people do), it is 17 F or -8 C inside. Really cold, and after 3 to 5 minutes you start feeling it.
Port & Shore Excursions: we didn't do any excursions. We have been to Nassau a few times and I suggest taking a taxi to the Atlantis. This time we decided to stay onboard and enjoy the ship. There is not a lot to do in St Thomas, but St Maarten was fun. We took a taxi to Maho Beach and stay there a few hours watching the airplanes arrive and take off. It was a lot of fun. The sunset bar charges for chairs and umbrellas (2 chairs and 1 umbrella $20 per day). They provide free internet wireless if you have lunch over there. We had beers for $3 and a great pizza for $11. The atmosphere is really nice, the ocean is so beautiful.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: both organized and smooth. There was a line on embarkation, but if you go to the airport there will be one. So be patient! On disembarkation we were out in less than 10 minutes (including immigration and customs).
Summary: great experience. The cruise was smooth, except for one night that was a little bit rough, but nothing major. Don't let the reviews influence your choice...go on Epic and have fun!!!