The Epic is my favorite of all the NCL ships I have sailed thus far! I love the wY it feels like a city on he sea! All the entertainment venues are on floor six and seven so they are easy to find. NCL should get major props for offering accommodations for singles without a huge upcharge!!
Yeah NCL!! The studio rooms, or pods as we called them, are fantastic. Just enough room for one and plenty of space for your clothes and such. It feels like you are in a modern space capsule. Padded off white leather walls surround the bed, slick white enamel cabinetry, walnut flooring, and a curved shower sub-capsule. Within the cabinetry there and the bed was mood lighting which changed colors from white to cobalt to pink. It is just totally cool! They should pipe in David Bowie's Space Oddity! I don't understand why people were making such a fuss about the bathroom sink. I had no problem using it without getting water on the floor. Another much appreciated feature of the studio cabins is the full length mirror! I don't recall having one in any other cabin on any of my 10 previous cruises.
And then there is the Living Room lounge which is a wonderful gathering spot just for studio guests which you need a key card to enter. Each evening they send in our personal bartender to serve us two for one top shelf well drinks at 5:30 and snacks, surely the best deal on the boat! (for some reason the wine and beer is not two for one.)
In the morning you can go there for cappuccino, French pastries, cereal, and yogurt. In the afternoon and evening they stock the fridge with salads, sandwiches, cruditEs and such. That was convenient when you came back from dancing at 2 a.m. and didn't want to wait for room service!
Each evening during the happy hour the activities director comes down and gets everybody talking. She is very personable and makes sure that everyone gets to know each other. The second night she talked a few of us into being a contestant in the dating game later that evening in Bliss lounge. She also coordinated group dinners so people didn't have to eat alone, unless of course they wanted to. It was interesting that the people in the studio rooms ranged in age from early 20s to early 70s.
The living room lounge itself was very cool looking and much larger than I had expected.You can only have access to it if you are staying in a studio room, which is great because otherwise it would be too crowded since it is such a nice hang space. During the day I hung out there when I wanted to have a quiet space to just read, go on my iPad or watch tv on the large screen. They also had some board games on a shelf.
I did the Ice Bar one night with group of people and frankly the novelty wears off in about 45 seconds. Basically you stand around in faux fur parkas and drink the most godawful sickening sweet "vodka" drinks while your toes are freezing. They could at least given you a good stiff drink instead of the muck that they served. Save your $20 for a real drink or two elsewhere.
The bowling onboard was a hoot but you have to bring your own socks. I only brought sandals on this trip so I couldn't partake, but the rest of my group loved it. This ship has so many activities for kids and adults. The casino was the largest and nicest I have seen on any ship. I don't understand why so many people complained on these boards about the smoke because I hardly ever noticed the smell.
There were rarely ever any lines for the water slides, and if there were they were only a few minutes long. I am sure during holiday weeks or in the summer the lines get long but not on this voyage.
I spent most of my pool time at the back of the ship in the adults only area called Spice H20. it was much less frenetic than the main pool area which is where all the kids were, as well as the parting adults.
Lunch at the specialty restaurant Teppanyaki was excellent, and a great deal as they only charge half of what they charge for dinner yet it is the same meal. I choose salmon and it was incredible! They gave me two salmon steaks plus grilled veggies, fried rice, miso soup and dessert. There was no way to finish the meal so I took the leftovers to my room for dinner as I felt it would be unconscionable to throw away that much salmon.
The lobster night was a tad bit disappointing as they served "lobster extravaganza" which was two shrimp, two mussels, and one baby lobster tail over pasta. They did bring you seconds of the lobster tail but if you are expecting Maine lobster this is not it. Cagney's has Maine lobster but I have found it hit or miss on previous NCL cruises so I didn't go this time.
Blue man group was really a lot of fun and not too loud as some other person posted. Before the show I stopped off in FatCats where had a guitarist/ singer who was pretty good. We went to the late show and the room was only half full so no lines at all.
The legends show was standard cruise ship fare, pretty corny. I left after two songs.
Roatan- You have to be careful in this port because there are a lot of shenanigans going on there. It starts when you walk off the ship and all these workers are trying to get you to buy their beach transportation. They want you to pay $20 per person. If you walk past the transport stalls there are tons of taxi drivers waiting to negotiate with you. We had a large group of about 30 people. I negotiated with a guy claiming to have a van to taKe us for $10 per person round trip. he said we wouldn't have to pay any money upfront, that we would just pay on the return trip. Then he hands us off to other drivers ( he clearly did have his own van) while taking a cut from each of the other drivers. When we arrive at the beach our driver insists that we pay half of the fare upfront so we did. Unfortunately the driver of the rest of our group made them pay the entire fare upfront, which would have been ok except for they had no assurance their driver would come back for them later. So back to my driver...we sit on the beach in front of a hotel and are told we can only sit there if we patronize their bar. Fair enough. But when we ask if we can rent chairs from them we are told no. Then we ask if we can rent umbrellas. Suddenly our driver is one negotiating to get us 4 umbrellas for the day for $10 each. So we pay our driver $40 plus a twenty dollar tip. She disappears and about an hour later some guy who works for the hotel is now taking awaY the umbrellas we rented, saying that his boss said we could just borrow them for an hour and that we couldn't rent them! So we are out of the $60 and sitting in the burning sun! Eventually the bus driver returns and I ask what she did with our money for the umbrellas that we rented/borrowed. She claims she gave it to the guy who took the umbrellas away from us! So I get the guy and have a face to face with him and our driver. She claims she gave him the money, he claims there was no money and I don't know who to believe. So we just wanted to leave and some of us came originally on her bus and some came on the other drivers bus. She insists on charging the people who prepaid the other driver. At this point they were just so fed up they paid again. When we all met for diner we found out that the other driver also scammed the the rest of our group by making them pay again.
Costa Maya - I had heard how bad this port was from others on cruise critic so I didn't bother getting off the boat. Based on what others in my group experienced this was a good decision on my part. There was nothing to see, the beach wasn't clean, and they felt unsafe.