Myself, my husband, my aunt, my mother in law and two friends all sailed out of Miami for a Western Caribbean cruise itinerary. My husband and I as well as our friends have sailed before on Carnival. My aunt had cruised once many years ago and my mother in law has never cruised. Both my aunt and mother in law stayed in the studios. My husband and I as well as our other friends had balcony rooms on deck 10. Our room was the extended balcony and our friends had a standard balcony room.
I know I can speak for all 6 of us when I say we all LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Epic.
My husaband and I had no issues at all with our room. For a married couple the bathroom situation is not a big deal. However, I can see where it could be a little uncomfortable for couples who haven't been together for very long or friends traveling together. The shower was great - nice and roomy. Excellent water pressure. We had no issues with the sink - no water spillage, no More
wet carpet, it was al good. We loved the firm mattresses. This was the first time I have ever gotten off a cruise ship without my back aching.
During the cruise we ate at both included restaurants, Le Bistro, Cagney's, Teppanyaki, Cirque and La Cucina. All the food was excellent. If I cruise again on NCL, I will probably eat at the included dining rooms more often. While all the food was excellent, I would skip Teppanyaki and La Cucina if we go for round 2. I thought Teppanyaki was really nothing special. Just like any old Hiabchi restaurant. La Cucina food was just OK (However, I am spoiled because I live in an Italian neighborhood in Queens, NY). The one thing I will saw about La Cucina was that the view was PHENOMENAL. The restaurant is located all the wa forward. We were seated at a table by the window and because we were sailing westward, we were pointed directly at the sunset - it was GORGEOUS! We also stopped by O'Sheeans for lunch one day after coming in from port. Great bar food. It was just what we were craving that one day!
WINE LIST -
I thought the wine list had some nice selections. Typical 50% - 60% mark up. We brought a bunch of our own wine from home. NCL lets you bring on your own wine but they charge a $15 fee. If you are going to bring on wine that costs $20 or less it really isn't worth it to carry it on. However, if you like to drink more expensive wine $30 and up, I suggest brining on some bottles of your favorites with you. It was really nice to have some of our favorite bottles to enjoy in the restaurants.
POOL DECK -
I learned ahead of time about the "Posh Pass" It was absolutely worth it! Posh was a nice quiet sundeck above the chaos of the main pool deck. They had nice cold water misters up there and a variety of tables, chairs, lounges, etc. Some in the shade some in the sun. It was usually very quiet up there and never any trouble to get a spot. I never hung out on the main deck, we stayed at Posh, so I don't know anything about the chair situation there.
SPA FITNESS -
We purchased the Hydro Therapy access from the spa which was totally worth it. We would go to the gym in the morning and then go do the hydrotherapy pools, steam and sauna before heading up to the pool deck. Great way to start the day. I have read that some thought the pools were too crowded but I never had any issues.
If you like steam room, you need to get the spa package. There is no locker room for the fitness center so if you do not buy the spa pool package, you do not have access to a changing room, sauna, steam, etc.
We gym was great. Biggest I have seen on a ship. I thought I would have issues with the treadmills facing sideways as opposed to into the directtion of travel but it turned out not to be an issue at all. I mainly did cardio. I did weights a few times but never took any of the classes. One thing I will say is that no matter when I went to work out, I never had to wait for a treadmill.
Blueman was amazing. Very similar to the NY show.
Loved Legends in concert. Although I do wish it could have been a little longer of a show.
Jazz Bar was GREAT! This is the only entertainment venue we went to twice.
Howl At The Moon - we walked out 10 minutes after arriving. This is the only thing on the ship I think I can say I did not like.
Bliss - Great night club. DJ played a nice mix of music. Mostly 80s stuff and some freestyle.
We received impeccable service for the duration of the cruise. No complaints.
SHORE EXCURSIONS -
We went scuba diving at every port with excursions arranged through NCL. Al operators were extremely professional and provided excellent service.
I definitely think we will book another cruise on NCL and would definitely not hesitate to go on the EPIC again if the itinerary and timing were right. We purchased cruise rewards to sail on 2 future cruises while on board so its needless to say - we loved NCL. The freestyle dining works great for us and I loved having a huge choice of food every night. Less