We have just returned from a 7 day Med cruise on the Epic, and had a great time. I thought it would be useful to point out some pros and cons for people reading these reviews:
Excellent choice of restauarnts, bars, things to do in general. We saw the Legends and Blue Man show and we enjoyed both. You can tell that the ship is new as the decor is fresh and tasteful. Although it is a massive ship, everything is fairly well signposted and there were plenty of lifts. We had an inside cabin, which was very modern and there was good use of space (considering any inside cabins on any cruise aren't very big). I was impressed with the use of technology in the cabin. You could book shows and speciality restaurants from the interactive TV in the rooms. The use of technology on the ship as a whole was very good, eg. any photographs taken by the staff use a facial recognition system which matches them to your cabin number. The pool area was nice and the water slides were fantastic!(Especially the rubber ring slide) and there were attendants on every slide. The casino was huge- plenty of choice if you fancy a flutter. The staff were all very friendly and polite, and are more than happy to bend over backwards for you. With this in mind, it is a real shame that not all passengers will give them the common courtesy of treating them with any form of manners.
We found that the food on Ocean Village was far superior with every single meal we had regardless of restaurant was exceptionally well prepared with good quality ingredients. Unfortunately on the food on the Epic was very much pre manufactured and processed. Examples of this include the ham that is served at the deli counter is processed meat, whereas the ham on OV was fresh, carved and off the bone.This theme continues throughout a lot of the range and is very much geared towards American dining of quantity over quality. The variation of food is not particularly great with many of the same things being served on a daily basis and on the case of Taste vs Manhattan Room the menu is a reprint all bar the name. If you are a lover of desserts, you will feel a bit hard done by as these are all either pre manufactured or from a packet, and tend to taste so, ie. powdery and bland. (With the exception of a choc brownie that we ate in Cagney's which although was perhaps not made fresh did taste ok)It is a shame that one dessert all week was passable. I'm not saying the food is not edible by any means and you will find a nicer dining experience in the speciality restaurants, which did contain very nice food, it's just a shame that the 'free options' were very much a school dinner type arrangement with tighter pursestrings.
VAT and auto gratuities really bumped up the bill, and especially paying a 15% gratuity to pass a drink across a bar to me and then to have another optional gratuity you can add was a cheeky bitter pill to swallow. I do not mind tipping for service, but when I am stood at a bar I don't constitute that as table service that warrants a tip. I do not believe that this makes me in any way mean, as the staff on board do deserve tips as any other service provider anywhere else would, so long as they are providing me an additional service over and above completing a straightforward purchase. In my opinion, a gratuity should be an option not an enforcement.
Pool area and Garden Cafe was far too busy on 'at sea' days, with the live music volume being set far too high for a relaxing time on deck. 2/3rds of the volume would have sufficed to be background music but when my Ipod on full volume could not drown it out, I feel the volume was too high.
The ship is fantastic and is laden with lots of activities and forward technology, very clean and presentable. Staff are fantastic, very friendly and exceptionally hard working. (Please remember that as a passenger as we felt that some people didn't!) The biggest let down for us was the food which although was ok, was not what you would call exceptional. This ship appeals to people of all ages as the ship caters for many tastes with it's wide range of activities and choice. I personally would not book this ship again, but I am a huge food lover and we have experienced far superior dining on another cruise we would like to sample a different cruise line for that reason. However, if we were offered an exceptional deal for another NCL cruise, we would rebook and just accept the food situation.