We've just returned from 22 wonderful days on the Epic. We found the staff exceptionally friendly with many greeting us by name. As advertised, the entertainment is superb. The big name acts were as expected: Blue Man Group, Legends, Second City. All were enjoyable, especially as the transatlantic sea days provided time for special "meet the performers" sessions for BMG and Legends. In addition to these, there were many other talented performers in bars and the atrium. Our favorite of all entertainment was the Slam Allen Band which performs in Fat Cats Lounge. This New Orleans style blues band was absolutely fantastic. Second City left after the TA. Stephen Sorrentino, a talented musical comedian came on and was very enjoyable. I did not care for the marionette group which also came on after the TA. We did not see the Spanish ballet which came on in Barcelona.
Much has been written about the stateroom and bathroom issues. The standard balcony room was smaller More
than any we'd been in before. The bathroom didn't cause any problems for the two of us but I would not like that style rooming with a friend rather than spouse. Two days into our cruise we were notified that we would need to move due to noise from a repair on the spa above. At this time I requested a handicapped room to make using my knee scooter easier and having a place to park it. We had paid more in order to not have to move during the three cruise segments and I was not pleased to have to do so. No handicapped rooms were available. (I had not booked one since the accident happened after booking and I'd hoped to be well by the cruise.) None were available but the desk staff very kindly provided an upgraded room which helped a lot. I met someone during the cruise whose travel agent had booked them into a handicapped room because they are bigger. This is an unacceptable practice, IMHO.
I had never before traveled or cruised as a handicapped person. I now admire those who seem to do it easily. The design of the Epic did not help me with my first such attempt. Our rooms were both aft at the very end. I never went to breakfast at the buffet as it was too much of a struggle to get there, going the length of the ship to get there and again to get back. I tried to coordinate meals and activities, minimizing the trips to the far end. Whoever designed this ship did not consider the needs of the handicapped. If you wished to go to the Taste dining room, you literally could not get there from the aft elevator. This is not a problem if you walk and take the escalator from the sixth floor. If you must use an elevator, you have to travel the length of the ship, take the forward elevator, and then go back half way. Mid-ship elevators would have helped me get around much better. I'd advise booking a forward room if you have mobility issues. Not all public restrooms had handicapped facilities. The ones which did were very nice, but if one needed wheelchair access, you might have to go up or down a floor to find one. There was no elevator available at the time of embarkation in Miami as it was still being used by those leaving. No reason was given for the delay but being told to sit and wait while others got on was not acceptable. Fortunately, I could stand, so my DH carried my scooter up the escalator so I could board rather than sitting for an unknown amount of time.
I booked the spa package for the TA and found it well worth it. It was not at all crowded as the ship was not full. It was easy to get to for me as it is located aft which was right above our room.
Food was certainly plentiful. We had one dinner at Cagney's which was excellent. Dining room food was not quite as good as on other NCL ships in past years. I do not know if the more limited menu is just the Epic or change fleet wide. However, if you didn't find something you liked, the "anytime" items such as salmon and steak were always good as was the garden salad.
We booked this due to the Med itinerary. If you want time in Pisa, I'd advise not booking a tour that combines it with others. We had only five minutes there..would have been fifteen, but I spent ten in the bathroom. All tours varied according to the guide, I found by comparing notes with other cruisers. It seems there is not enough quality control on this.
All in all, we had a great time. I look forward to returning to the Epic when I'm completely back on my feet and can enjoy all of it. Less
Norwegian Epic Cruises to the Western Mediterranean