I have never taken a cruise I didn't enjoy but this cruise on the Epic came close! I have loved cruising for 30 years but this trip presented some new challenges that probably tainted my view of the week so let me fess up first. For the very first time, we had neighbors who really affected our vacation. There were four women in the cabin beside us and there cabin was next to one with four more family members. There were additional family members who had an inside room somewhere else on the ship. They fought constantly, screaming and yelling at each other in spanish. The only English word I heard (and it was every other word) was mf. The first night I asked them to keep the noise down. The response was "FU, B." I think you get my drift. The only time we could use our balcony was early in the morning. If I had to do it over again, I would have requested that we have our cabin changed but by the time we thought of it the week was almost over. We did call Security one night but by the time he arrived at the room, our neighbors were gone. The hallway had a constant pile of trays, dishes, and food.
The room itself was OK. The sink, toilet and shower arrangement worked OK for us but we prefer having a separate bathroom. We don't overpack but the configuration of the storage space was strange . . . like having cabinets that are 3-4 foot tall but with no shelves. The bed was very comfortable. Everything was in a-one condition and immaculate.
We spent a lot more time in the public areas than we normally do. The entertainment was great. We saw the Blue Man Group, the Circe Dreams show, the murder mystery show, and two of the magic shows (with Jeff D) . . . all of them were exceptional and way beyond the usual cruise shows. We also enjoyed the specialty restaurants and the variety of free restaurants and thought that the food was on par with any of the cruises we have taken. My husband missed the formal dining you find on Princess which he feels is higher quality but I enjoyed the choices and not having to spend as much time at the dining table. Desserts were the only area that really needed improvement.
For a big ship, everything felt undersized. The pools were so small that, especially in the adult area, it was more like sharing a bathtub. The drawers in the cabin were half-sized. The Spiegel Tent was so cramped that they had to keep reminding prople to keep their feet out of the aisles. Even the elevators were small. The ship always felt crowded. I think that this was because amost of the indoor activities seemed to take place on one deck that pretty much had one single path down the middle. To make matters worse, right in the middle of that deck was an open casino and the smoking section of the ship. The place was hazy with smoke and it drifted everywhere. Nowhere on that deck was there so much as a window that opened to the outside and the ventilation system just couldn't handle the situation. Crowded, noisy and smokey . . . that was my overall opinion of the Epic.
The port we visited were excellent. I arranged our excursions on-line (with input from cc) and each was outstanding. We did the Native Choice tour of ruins and lunch with a Mayan Family in Casa Maya, a couples massage at Sante Wellness at Roatan, and a morning at Nachi Cocum in Cozumel followed by ab afternoon of shopping. All three were fabulous days!
My conclusion is that the Epic is not well-designed for the average cruiser. I doubt that there will be a Epic II. If there is, we won't be on it, even if the cruise is complimentary.