I am an NCL fan. This being said, the Epic was a strange ship. It seems to be an attempt to be all things to all passengers, which is great in theory, but doesn't work in the real world. Here's why:
1. Accomodations: The "deluxe balcony family cabin" was a tight fit for my husband and I. We are not overweight (5"'5"120lbs/6'/180lbs)or super tall. This being said, we needed to be sure cabinets were closed if either of us was walking through the cabin, could not pass each other without one of us sitting on the bed or couch, and we couldn't redress if we used the bathroom. In addition the bed was short, which left my husbands feet off the end. There was ample space to unpack clothing but other then this, I can't imagine living in this space with a child/ren. Key controled lights and tv were cool as was improved closet space. BTW NCL...the poor lighting and absence of makeup mirrors...not girl friendly!
2. Entertainment: I missed having a main theater venue. It didn't allow shared experience with fellow cruisers and there was no introduction or farewell experience. There were 3 shows to attend (Blue Man Group, 2nd City, & Legends)and once each was attended there was no major entertainment venue for the other 4 nights. Nickelodian/Dora and other children's programs seemed to be well planned and young families seemed very happy:). The poolside reggee band was remarkably bad as were the musicians in smaller venues. NCL usually delivers better.
3. Dining/Lounges: This was typical NCL...which I love. The brazilian steakhouse was great. Ice bar...sort of not worth it. I missed having an open deck in the stern to have a quiet breakfast or dinner.
4. At sea in the sun: Lounge chairs around the pool or on the first level deck were gone by 9AM. The "FUN" plush lounges that I've enjoyed on other ships were key access for suites only and weren't on the bow, so I didn't even care. There is no front of the boat area to lounge. The chairs/adult area in the stern is tiered and view of the ocean is blocked by a large movie screen.
5. Activities: These were also standard fare although less abundant as EPIC seems to be trying to compete with Disney. More children's activities...less for adults.
6. Staff/ Boarding/Deparkation/: This was 6 STARS!****** Good job NCL.
Overall, despite our missing our stop in the Bahamas (So sad not to play on the lazy river and kiss a dolphin) we had a great vacation. I will sail on NCL again, but will not return to the Epic.