We are relatively new cruisers at age 60, with the Epic being our fifth cruise; first on NCL. We have loved every cruise line we have sailed with. For instance: we love the terry cloth bathrobes provided for each passenger on Carnival, the funny and friendly "relationship" with the cruise director (specifically, John Heald on the spectacular Carnival Splendor) We missed that on the Epic. Although it was fun, the upbeat attitude, jokes and lively music was missing on the Epic. Epic's food was as good as any other.
The free style dining was great. Not having to adhere to any schedule... The down side being no " bonding" with the wait staff or nightly dining with new friends. We managed to do both regardless but it was more difficult to achieve. Another plus: NCL offers both hard and soft ice cream at no charge like others.
Cirque Dinner Theater: Glad we saw it- the cute lady who changes outfits was great - how did she do that??
Room Service: Prompt service every morning for coffee, juice, and pastry on our balcony
Garden Cafe: Good variety; we liked the Pasta station, sausages, and the speciatly bar
Spice H2O: Hmmm strange combo smell of bake bread and garbage
Atrium: Nice dance floor not used too much; Apollo band was vert nice; terriffic widescreen TV
Manhattan Dining Room: One reason we chose Epic was for the Dinner and Dancing available at the Manhattan Room: We loved it and ate every night except one (we canceled our specialty restaurants). The food was good - we really enjoyed the varied menu - similar to the sit down dinners provided on other ships. Service was pretty good - we did get to know Agnelo and Melody; but again not having assigned dining doesn't allow for relationships. The wait staff didn't offer many of the little niceties - name recognition, favorite drinks, placing napkins etc. that you will enjoy on other lines. But if you make the effort to get to know them - they are appreciative and more than happy to please . So why did we go every night - the dancing! The Manhattan Band (2 horns, keyboard, guitar, drums and a really good female singer) was the best music on the ship. Their music varied from jazzy, latin, slow nightclub to good ballroom dance tunes. We danced romantic slow, cha cha, samba, rumba, salsa, foxtrot, swing, waltz and an occasional night club 2step when we had the floor to ourselves - which wasn't that often.
We got to know quite a few other dancers: Richard and Vicky; Bob and Kathy; Fred and May; Moses and Myra to name a few (thanks guys - you made this cruise FUN).During the slow dances and some salsas there would be up to 6-8 couples on the floor. Many dances would have 2-3 max. The Manhatan Room has a great wooden dance floor - one of the largest we've seen at sea BUT for some reason they cut it down to a small area by placing dinner tables on the dance floor. What a shame. We wished cruiselines would give more room to dancers - it seems that every cruiseline cuts dance space. Ballroom dancing should be encouraged - for we like many cruisers enjoy watching the dancers as much as dancing ourselves!
O'Sheehans: Try their fish and chips - delicious at 1 a.m. after dancing. For some reason their coffee tasted better than the Garden Buffet, though we slept late every day and never had a real breakfast. Overall loved the cruise and would do it again - though we'll continue to try other cruise lines first.