Embarkation, well this was our 5th cruise with NCL never a problem, same goes for getting off the ship.
Public areas were plentiful and spacious with great views, something for everyone was active to quiet from sunny to shady.
Cabin Balcony Room 9 mid ship - Carpet needed to be replaced, across hall from the Internet cafe, we thought that might be a problem was it was not. The safe needs to be repaired four times we had to call to get it reset. Overall a good room. For us having a balcony room, if we can afford it, if there is a great last minute deal is the way to go, we had the sliding door open every night and listened to the ocean. We have had inside cabins and window rooms in the past on other cruises because at the time that is all we could afford. This was our second balcony room and there is nothing like it.
Fitness room was adequate, Basketball court had dead spots, ceiling net was to low and one rim was badly bent. The golf cage clubs were terrible, one club face actually broke and flew through the air. Oh the jogging track forget about it, many blind corners and people walk on the track all the time, better off to use the treadmill in the fitness center.
Food was a little bit under average but plentiful, we ate at the buffet except for two nights (one night was lobster night). Main restaurant food was sub par - we decided to use the buffet because because at least you could see the dish in advance. We cruise for value so we never eat at the specialty restaurants, our philosophy is we already paid for an all inclusive vacation why pay more? The total on-board account after our trip was 288 bucks the amount for the mandatory tips. If you care about value, please dont let NCL nickle and dime you. NCL's old philosophy used to be the product will draw customers and we will charge a fair price, now it appears they are trying to earn money by charging high prices for excursions and other on board amenities.
Entertainment - The best ever of my NCL experiences, the production shows were great. Jenine the main dancer, acrobat was fantastic along with the whole cast, the voices of the entertainers were first class, Second City was very funny, The Magician was great. Jose and Patti, always plenty of quality music to listen to.
The negatives - some of the ports are horrible the little bay in Samana was beautiful however you really cant explore the island by yourself that is how NCL gets you by their excursions, charging near 60 bucks just to go to a beach for one person. The same goes for Roataan. I would prefer they just dock out at their private island in the Bahamas so one could tender to the beach every day at no charge. Again we did not pay for the excursions and just stayed on the ship in Roataan and Samana.
Aruba and Curaco were great safe places with beautiful beaches, in Curaco you can book an impromptu tour and beach run for 15 bucks a person from a local company, in Aruba you can take the public bus system all over the island we went to Eagle beach a few minutes down the road it costs us $2.50 a piece round trip, let's see NCL price for a beach $120 for two people vs $5 round trip. You just cant to this in Samana and Roataan.
If you are planning on spending money on board then please to a cost analysis vs an all inclusive at a great beach resort.
For those of you who might be contemplating a trip on epic, please read the negative reviews on this site, we docked next to it, it was ugly and stacked upon one another, even though it can hold 4000 people it is only 200 feet longer than the DAWN (holds 2000). Reviews state the ship is very smoky, you must walk thru the casino on deck 6 to get across the ship, you can go on deck 7 but the casino has no ceiling so smoke goes to deck 7, there is no promenade deck on the epic, the open spaces that make up cruising are gone on the epic, it is crowded, the main theatre only holds 681, you need reservations to see the main shows, the buffet is extremely crowded and hard to find places to sit, some balcony rooms are open so items fall on your balcony. Please do your research. We were going to book on the epic thinking a new ship it must be great, then when we parked next to it and saw that is looked like a crowded container ship and we started to do a little research.