I was a passenger on the NCL's Epic cruise of the western Caribbean from Miami from Oct. 23 to Oct. 30. I am in my late 60's and usually travel solo.
Since I am a solo cruiser, I was eager to try the new solo cabins, located inside and mid-ship on decks 11 and 12. The opportunity of a solo cabin without a single supplement was irresistible. Seems that the solo cabins are indeed more pricey than the regular ppdo price for inside cabins - they are about 125% single supplement of a regular cabin. I had hoped that the cabin price would be the same as a regular inside ppdo price, not higher considering that the cabins are so tiny. I suspect that the demand will determine the price, as always.
The 100 sq.ft. solo cabins are cleverly designed to maximize all the space. As with regular Epic cabins, the toilet is in a separate tiny room in a corner, the shower is glass enclosed in the opposite corner, and the sink is in a side wall with the cabinets. There is a remarkably large amount of storage space including large baskets under the bed. The pictures of the Epic solo cabins on the internet site are very realistic and show that there just isn't a lot of room.
The solo cabin lounge lounge or "living room" in the middle of the solo cabin area is a nice feature. It is accessible from both solo cabin decks. The living room has a bar opened in the evenings and has coffee and snacks including pastries available at all times. The Epic provided an activity hostess just for the solo passengers, and there was a daily meeting to organize group dinners and group attendance in the shows for those passengers who wanted to participate.
The only complaint I have about the solo cabins is that there is a double or regular bed in the cabin. Why there is a double bed in a solo cabin is beyond me. Most of the other solo passengers complained about it, but the only solo people that liked the double bed were a few women. They just said they like it. If the bed was a single, it would provide more stand up room and better access to the storage drawers and cabinets. The double bed is on two singe bed frames, so half of the bed could be removed.
The entire ship is a floating resort. The focus of the ship is to provide entertainment and activity constantly and everywhere. The ship really doesn't need to leave port because everything - activities, entertainment, amusements and dinning for the week - are all in the ship and the ship focuses all of this to the interior. It was almost maddening how much activity there was; in on week, I couldn't do it all the activities or dine in all the restaurants, and didn't want to. Unlike the famous quote from Mae West, too much of a good thing is not wonderful.
The NCL is new this summer, and it is huge. The ship can host up to 4,100 passengers. I don't know if the ship was at full capacity, but there were a lot of passengers. The ship never seemed crowded or overloaded. The lay out of the ship spreads the activities over several decks. Crowds were never a problem because the ship is so large, and there are many shopping, entertainment and dinning venues, except when apparently planned sale specials were advertised at some of the shops. It was a mad-house for the watch sale. The crowds promoted buying, buying and even more buying. It was fun; I controlled myself to the purchase of one watch.
The main dinning rooms are nice to look at and the service was good, but I didn't think the menus were all that fantastic. It may sound snooty, but the menus are of the imagination and quality of Ruby Tuesday. That's not bad, but its not to die for. Specialty restaurants were really excellent. The Italian restaurant has some of the best Italian cuisine I have ever had; the sushi bar it high class (I am a sushi snob having had the best in Osaka and Tokyo); and the rack of lamb in the French restaurant could not be better. All the specialties were first class.
The pool decks were extensive and seems to always have some planned activity - including Nickelodeon activities for the kids including slime contests. I had my picture taken with Sponge Bob and Patrick for my grandchildren. The activity decks have the usual pools, three water slides, a small child paddle pool with water squirters, many hot tubs, movie screens and booze and soda bars for all. These decks were always well populated and busy, busy, busy.
As is usual for NCL the boarding and un-boarding procedures were very well planned and considering how may passengers were going on and off the ship were not difficult. Transportation to and from the ship was more than adequate.
If you want constant activities including casino specials, and lots of places to dine and be entertained, and planed places and activities for kids, the Epic would be good. You will never be bored on this floating resort.