Having choose the Epic on its facilities and this being our first cruise i can say that apart from a few dodgy weather days we had an absolute blast.
Embarking - easy quick check in then greeted on board by our cabin maid at the room who was a lovely lovely lady called Putu say hi if she ends up looking after you.
Cabins - small but hey your on a cruise and what are you in your cabin for apart from changing and sleeping its not there to live in. We were a family of four hubby and i are very tall, a 14 year old who slept in the pull down and a 9 year old that slept on the sofa, Putu puts the bed away every morning and turns down the beds every evening which was a nice touch we werent expecting. The shower and the loo issue that people mention isnt an issue at all really they are enclosed and when your in there you cant see whos in or what they are doing and theres a huge curtain to conceal both for privacy, our 14 year old is a very private girl when it comes to that and she had no complaints over it.
Kids Clubs - fantastic facilities and staff, 9 year old was there when the weather was a bit iffy and on an evening they can stay till half 10 then its only 6 dollars an hour to stay until half 1 if they wish or if you want a night in the bliss club or fat catz jazz club.
Layout of Ship - Yes you have to go through the casino a lot however i dont smoke and to tell you the honest truth the only time i ever noticed it was playing slots one afternoon when it was raining and i happened to sit next to a guy smoking other than that i never really found it a problem, and if you dont like walking through the casino, go up or down a floor then back up to where u need to be. The ship is massive but its incredibly easy to get about after 1 day we had it sussed but did notice that people were still using the interactive maps on the lifts until the very last day lol.
Food - never had a bad meal, never felt like there was no choice either the garden cafe caters for every taste , we did the tepanyaki night which is excellent and the cirque meal which again loved the food and the acrobats but the singing was a total screech and hurt my ears but again just my opinion.
Blue Man Group - hilarious i was actually crying so hard i couldnt breath it was so funny but a lot of that had to do with the girl from the audience she was a real blast.
On Board Activities - brilliant so much to do, downside is you have to pay for a lot if it which is a bit annoying but not so much that it spoiled things. Bowling is $5 a head, the spa is extra even just to use the saunas etc, without having a treatment and some of the classes in the gym are extra $20 to do a spin class :( hence we didnt bother plenty of other things going on for free.
Bliss - great club good tunes and atmosphere
Fat Catz - excellent jazz club, the slam allen band are just first class loved it
Negatives - drinks are expensive average $14 FOR two drinks but you can drink beer for $28 for a bucket of 6 bottles which is cool.
Staff - friendly enough never really got to know any of them apart from our cabin maid majority of staff are philippino and just so nice :)
Service charge - $12 a day per head we got a heads up and went on the last day and opted out filled in a form with the reasons why and it was taken off immediately - they tip the drinks at 15% anyway and i wasnt prepared to pay on top of the top if you get me.
Medical team - didnt plan on using this but our 14 year old fell and needed stitches on the first day these guys are brilliant but next time i hope we wont need them.
OVERALL - BRILLIANT HOLIDAY, but again make up your own mind :)but do take the negatives with a pinch of salt the world is full of people who complain for a living - we heard one couple complaining over having to sign the kids into recess and out again......!!!!! however, for a first time cruise it more than exceeded what we thought it would