Food- very good to excellent- ate in Manhattan Room and Taste several times- food was overall very good but being a New Englander I did not care for the lobster and seafood extravaganza night- (lobster definitely not Maine lobster!) loved the mexican quesadilla appetizer (always on menu)- ate at the Buffet several times and food was surprisingly good especially the pasta station where the chef prepares your sauce and the crepe station. Good eggs benedict in the morning as well. Le Bistro- excellent food, service and ambiance; Cagneys' - filet mignon was excellent. I'm not a big meat eater so I didn't go to Moderno as I've been to these Brazilian steakhouses before and was overloaded on meat- others however loved it. La Cucina- Big disappointment- hated the pomodoro sauce (nasty fishy taste) the pork saltimbocca was bland- they no longer mix the balsamic v and o oil together- the tiramisu was boring; Shanghai- quite tasty; Noodle Bar -very good; Cirque dinner- the steak was good the rest was average. O'Sheehans' -excellent meat loaf, burgers, corned beef, hash and eggs, fish and chips- great spot to eat anytime.
Entertainment- omg- the BEST at sea! Blue Man Group was better on the ship than the show I saw in Boston; Cirque Dreams was Cirque de Soleil meets Moulin Rouge- fast, over the top, bawdy, funny, awe inspiring, erotic, beautiful. I had premium seats ( well worth it if close to the stage)- stood in line 45 minutes and would recommend that if you want the best seats;Howl at the Moon- fantastic! went 5 times and closed it 4!- the entertainers change every 4 weeks- this was Eddie from NY, Vince from Milwaukee and Rome from LA the first week and TC replacing Rome the second (first week was better with Rome but I still loved it the second week); Fat Cats- Roadside Louis and the Dusters- thoroughly enjoyable blues bar with the most uncomfortable chairs!; Second City- the adult show (11pm) was great, the early shows had kids up on stage and frankly, they are boring to watch. Didn't see the magician or Legends as the Michael Jackson guy was ill;enjoyed the Atrium duo before dinner.Ship n Males- fun, good looking young guys taking their clothes off- what's not to like? Dancing with the Epic stars was fun to watch and watching the Patriots beat the Jets and the Bears on the huge Atrium screen was great fun! My only issue was that if you wanted to book a show you had to go to the Box Office, wait in line and they were only open for 2 hours in the am and 2 in the afternoon. They never answered their phone and you'd have to get back early from a shore excursion if you wanted to book for that night. You were not able to cancel or re-book on the interactive TV so it wasn't terribly customer friendly.
Pool- don't use them- but there were enough lounge chairs there. People seemed to love the water slides and the rock climbing wall. I went up to the Freestyle and Quiet Zone to read and sunbathe- deck 18)
Staff- Paul Scalley(who I've sailed with before) was Cruise Director- I like him overall (still miss Colin from years ago though, anyone know where he went??) Cruise staff generally fun and energetic; cabin steward was wonderful and so helpful; shore excursion staff in general were very nice; guest services mostly were nice and helpful; bar staff attentive but not intrusive ( a nice change)
Decor- LOVED the design of the ship- NEVER felt crowded after the first day; I had easy time learning where everything was (although I heard some ...mostly older (ie: 70+) complain that the ship was too big and they didn't know where they were. Lots of nooks and crannies. My only two complaints- wish there was a walk around deck (although you can find a spot on deck 7 where you can actually see the ocean...not many people ever there so it was nice and quiet- same side as shuffleboard)...and no dedicated library. I missed the quietness of a library- I did manage to get to deck 18 but in inclement weather it is hard to find a quiet spot to read without hearing music or other people talking.
Cruise Critic party- ALL the senior officers were there including the Captain-I felt like CC members were taken seriously (I remember trying to book a CC party years ago and having difficulty even getting someone to respond to me- times have changed) We had a lot of people there and the officers appeared to talk with everyone and they left a card with all their phone numbers on it. Nice touch!
Shore excursions- booked last minute and had a ball on the Macarena Party bus in St Martin..(being alone I booked only the ship excursions as I felt safer as a female traveling alone but wouldn't hesitate to book from CC member recommendations if traveling with another); St thomas- catamaran sail and snorkel- great trip; Nassau- stayed on ship; Roatan- monkey reserve and beach..enjoyed the monkeys but didn't like to see the recalcitrant and very young ones tied- also HATED how dogs are treated onthe island...am contacting Rescue Leagues this week to see if we can do something about it (dogs have to forage for their food and when there are too many the govt lets people round them up and shoot them as a method of controlling the population..yech!!); Cozumel- really fun time at the mexican cuisine cooking class! Costa Maya- stayed on ship.
Would definitely book Epic again- maybe the transatlantic next October! Happy to answer any questions you might have.