Just finished our Epic cruise; like many here, I was worried given all the negatives, so I want to make sure to write about the positive experience we had. The ship was great, the staff was great, very little went wrong at all. Embarkation and debarkation -- both a breeze. The ship rarely felt crowded. . maybe the buffet on mornings when everyone wanted to get off for excursions. We had a balcony stateroom, only downside was we didn't realize it was on the front of the ship and so instead of glass on the bottom of the balcony it was metal so it obstructed our view somewhat. About 12 cabins on either end are like this, so check yours. We were in 12008.
Food ranged from awful (the lobster reeked of iodine) to fabulous (best duck I've ever had in the French restaurant). The awful was just the lobster and the spinach dip in the pub. Loved the French restaurant; loved Cagneys, loved the buffet, particularly for lunch. Loved the martini bar. Shows were ok. We saw Blue Man and Second City and a comedian/magician. We're not big show people, but enjoyed it. We spent most of our time relaxing; didn't even get off the ship except once in St. Thomas.
I bought the hyrotherapy package in the spa with my cousin's husband (my husband wasn't interested). I strongly recommend it. It's $200 per couple, and gives you week long access to the hydrotherapy area, with lovely lounge chairs, some heated, some outside on the deck, and a huge wonderful warm water pool and jacuzzi, steam rooms, and saunas. I spent every afternoon there reading and napping. It was heaven.
This was my husband's first cruise and my second (first was years ago to Alaska) and we loved it. Will definitely go again, although may choose a smaller ship. The gambling area was a downer in that it dominated the ship and we don't gamble. I prefer when the casino is in its own room.
Yes, it occasionally got smoky but not too bad at all.
Oh, the gym is incredible. I did the spinning class package (4 classes for $60, I think) and it was awesome. We worked out every day.
Really, you will LOVE this cruise!