I was really looking to my cruise on the Epic and seven days later I was never so glad for a cruise to end! While the ship is new and the staff really seem to be friendly and helpful - that cannot make up for what a disappointment the ship and how it is managed.
This was the LOUDEST ship I've ever experienced. Anywhere with amplified sound had the volume cranked up all the way. I ended up wearing earplugs so that I could endure Blue Man Group. Trying to have a conversation on the pool deck results in one having to shout to be heard. NCL must own stock in a hearing aid company!
This was the smokiest ship I've ever been on. The central feature to the inside public spaces is the all-smoking casino. The result is that in order to get to the main dining room, one must walk through the casino. The casino is also adjacent to many extra cost dining options, to which end I declined to eat in any of them. I did not see any noticeable signage to define smoking and non-smoking areas, with the result that people smoked pretty well everywhere. One plus was that I avoided the inside public spaces and thus saved a bundle on gambling, a bar tab, and the extra cost dining venues.
My standard balcony cabin felt like a designer jail cell since I was sleeping next to the toilet. The toilet and shower are right in the room with you, behind translucent glass. The toilet flushes explosively, such that if your travelling companion gets up in the middle of the night and flushes it will raise the sound sleeper as well as the dead. Plus, any extra noises generated while using the toilet are audible throughout the cabin. And whomever put the sink on the counter in the cabin next to the TV was either a woman, someone who never shaves, or both. I ended up wrapping my pool towel around the sink to try to control the splashes onto the counter.
Whomever designs cruise ship cabins for NCL should be forced to build a prototype and then spend a week living in it.
All in all, if you and you travelling companions are bearded, constipated, deaf or hard of hearing, chain smoking, and can hold it all night without getting up to use the toilet in the middle of the night - the NCL Epic is for you.