Just got back from the EPIC's western caribbean sailing on Oct.30th out of Miami. This is the first review I've ever wrote so please bare with me. I wanted to write this review because when researching the ship I could not find a review on the suite experience on the Epic. When spending this kind of money on a cruise I needed some guidance and there wasn't any I could find. I hope this helps.
I traveled on this cruise with my wife and two children (10&7). I booked an A3 Suite ( 2 bedroom court yard villa approx. 500 sq ft.)
Suite: The decor was real sharp and modern. The second bedroom is small(like a a large walk in closet) but good for small children. they had there own TV and bathroom with a shower. The dinning area had a small table for four. The table isn't big enough for four people but good for the kids to eat on comfortably. In the same area was a beautiful bar area with a stocked mini fridge with soda and water (not free) and a nice Lavazza espresso and cappuccino machine(free). The living room had a nice flat screen TV with a couch that doubled as a bed and a couple of end tables and coffee table. The balcony was nice but small. The main bedroom was great, comfortable bedding and another flat screen TV in the room. The master bathroom was awesome for a ship. There were two sinks, the obvious separate toilet area with a glass door but the star of the bathroom was the tub and shower. The tub and shower bump up against floor to ceiling windows...gorgeous. The shower is big enough for two with Growhe rain-shower head and six jets. The rooms lighting was great. Each room had at least five different ways of illuminating the room and cabin. It was pretty cool, from TV mode to dining mode to reading mode etc...Almost forgot storage in the suite. It was abundant we stored a family of fours items and nothing was ever left out because there was ample draws,shelves and closet space. NCL hit it out of the park with the design and comforts of this suite. I hear and read all the complains about cabins but no one can say a word about the suites.
Butler: It was nice to have one but really we used him only for room service items. He was very nice but just OK service. I've had butlers on Celebrity, they seemed to go out of there way for us. Maybe not NCL's fault but just the luck of the draw I guess. Also don't think he's your go to on the ship they make that clear at the beginning of the trip. The concierge is, which I found kind of odd. He deflected pretty much everything to the concierge and even a couple of times to the room steward.
Steward: Very nice did a very good job.
Concierge:She was very nice and helpful. We made all our reservations for the shows and dinner the day we arrived. We received all the dinning times we wanted. We also received private balcony seating when seeing the shows. She waits for you at the entrance of the theater and seats you so there is no waiting on line.Great service.
Suite Area: The suite area which is about 4 floors was great. It was really a ship within a ship. only people with suite access can enter. It was beautiful. We had our own lounge (Epic Lounge) stylish, great service and drinks and wonderful snacks and appitizers . The private restaurant (Epic Club) Fantastic food and service, one of the better meals and service I've ever had. The courtyard pool, gym and spa rooms. This area was awesome private,private,private. That says it all. Posh (private outdoor bar and sun lounge) and private sunning decks were great with comfortable beds and lounges. They also had rain showers to cool off when sun tanning up there.
Food: We had a very good dining experience on the Epic. We dinned twice in the Epic lounge,and once at the up charge restaurants,Le Bistro,Shanghai,Teppanyaki,Cagney's and La Cucina. All were very good, from Le Bistro and Epic Club begin my favorite to Shanghai least favorite but all very good.
Ship: The outside is not so appealing to the eye. The inside is a different story. The ship's decor is right up my ally hip, sleek and modern. There are no big open atrium's and glass elevators. It is all either one floor or three at the most. It is kind of chopped up due to all the dinning options and entertainment choices. Also having the biggest casino at seas also takes up a lot of room. This didn't bother me at all the ship was different but beautiful. I know your saying to yourself but where's the bad, well here it is.
The bad: The ship has serious maintenance and mechanical issues. There is a reason why NCL scrap the two other ships to be built in the same ship yard in France. I'm scared to see whats it's going to be like in a years time. I met people with plumbing issues and AC issues all over the ship. They were moving peoples cabins like crazy. I guess I lucked out. The mechanical issues were nuts. We actually did testing one day at sea all day. They spun the ship and tested it's thrusters and stabilizers. The ship vibrated and shook all day. That ridiculous when your on a cruise. The ship stood still for most of the day while doing these tests. I saw many french engineers on the ship from the ship yard company there to try to fix the problems. I guess it's still under warranty LOL. This is not NCL's fault but it makes them look real bad. I guess that's why they are building the two new ships in Germany again. Thank goodness.
I also felt like you get nickled and dimed all over the place. Even as a suite guest no free water and soda in cabin that's crazy. We pay a lot for the suite yet still payed every night for dinner. I know we chose to pay but for price of the suite you would think there wouldn't be any extra charge to eat dinner anywhere on the ship. I totally understand the alcohol part of it but the food though very good but cost us every night.
Itinerary: Not great. I probably not do it again. Costa Maya don't even get off. Roatan, did a nice beach day at a private plantation but very poor island. Cozumel, spent a beach day at the Intercontinental hotel very very nice.
Overall: NCL is setting the standard for suite cruising. They are the only one in the big cruise line market that spoils you like this. Don't let the "wrong" deter you.This is really a one of a kind ship and would do it all over again. You will never cruise the same if you choose to experience the "SUITE LIFE" on NCL.