By way of introduction, my wife and I are seasoned cruisers with more than 25 cruises. We decided on this cruise based on the entertainment, not the cruise line or the port stops. We have been to these ports many times. We went with 4 other couples, all experienced cruisers. After reading numerous reviews I was concerned with my decision to go on the Epic, but it turned out ok.
Ports: To begin, I agree that getting on and off the ship in all ports was easy. I think one reason at the port stops is most people don’t take tours, so they don’t care when they get off the ship. I would strongly recommend not paying for a tour. Most of the time you can get a tour on your own for half the money.
Dining: Dining rooms were average. Personally, I think it’s so you will pay for specialty restaurants, which we did. Le Bistro, excellent; La Cucina, wouldn’t go there again, below average food; Cagney’s, again excellent with excellent service; Teppanyaki, very good and entertaining. Based on some reviews the service was better than expected. The staff was excellent in handling our dining requests, we always got a table for 10. But, there are too many specialty restaurants.
Speigal Tent is a special case, both entertainment and food. DO NOT waste your time or money on this venue. The food is awful and they claim this is an upgraded menu. The entertainment is fair, but too loud and disjointed. We did pay for premium seating (now $30), again not worth it, half of our table could not see all of the show, that was after we lined up one hour before the show. We complained and got part of our money back. They admit how bad the food is, because they now have an “upgraded menu”. I could write a book about how bad this was. We decided to ignore other warnings, DO NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Entertainment: We were not disappointed by the rest of the entertainment. The Blue Men Group, Second City (late show), Legends, Howl at the Moon, Roadside Louie & the Dusters and the comic magician were all very good to excellent.
Room: “Family stateroom” 245 square feet including balcony. Big enough for a family of 2. It was ok. Bed is extremely short. We had 4 rooms side by side so we had the balcony doors opened between the rooms. Seemed to make the rooms bigger. The cruise line said they couldn’t be opened at sea for safety reasons, but our room steward solved that problem. The faucet issue has been solved they are replacing all of them with a smaller version, much better.
Overall impression: Crew was very good. Missing was a Captain meet and greet, also nothing for prior NCL cruisers. We have always had this on other cruise lines. I did miss not having a formal night. Too many bars and venues. Not a fan of freestyle dining since it also includes no dress code. I would rather be on Princess or RCL, they appreciate you more. It was probably a mistake to choose a cruise based on entertainment. They all have good shows.