I had the pleasure of spending 13 fabulous nights aboard the beautiful (well, at least from inside) NCL Epic. The ship still looks brand new, everything is in great condition. I stayed in a courtyard penthouse #17008 and did not regret my choice. Friends stayed in a courtyard 2 bedroom villa and I actually preferred my smaller penthouse due to it's size and airy feeling and not to forget due to it's bigger balcony with 2 loungers, 2 chairs and a table.
The decor of the stateroom was very chic and modern with a great colour choice. Well done NCL!
The shower (in the tub) might be difficult to use for older travellers (you have to literally climb into the deep tub) but was perfect for myself. The toilet was separate with a glass door. Suite also had the famous Lavazza coffee machine, lot's of storage (most of it not deep enough to store clothes though) and the truly heavenly bed that NCL provides in all of their suites. I have never slept better on any cruise !
The crossing was a bit rough this time. Once we left the Med the movement began and did not end until we reached Ponta Delgada/Azores. After Ponta Delgada enroute to St Thomas, the seas were smooth, but the ship moved a lot for a day and a half due to large swells coming in. Even the captain claimed he was seasick.
Being on the 17th floor upfront I could definitely feel a lot of movement but was fine after taking some medication. I am not sure if I would want to get one of the suites facing front after this experience, but I had the chance to visit one of the front corner Owner Suites and must admit they are fabulous with views that can't be topped. You just have to find your sea legs I guess.
Staff in the courtyard area and throughout the ship were outstanding. The courtyard provided two additional decks (besides the courtyard and Posh) for sunbathing and thus never ever felt crowded, despite all suites being booked. The premium you pay for a suite on NCL and especially on the Epic is really worth every penny. Prices did go up a lot since I booked and I am not sure I can still afford a courtyard suite ever again on Epic. Suite life does come with a price but since NCL really does it right ( in contrary to RCCL who still have a lot to learn to please their premium passengers) , one can't complain. Adrian our concierge did a fabulous job to please everyone and so did all the staff at Epic Club and Restaurant, as well as our butlers and room attendants.
Food was really good, although after 10 days, breakfast and lunch due to it's never changing menu in Epic restaurant got a bit boring. Dinner was a different story due to it's daily specials. Lunch and breakfast could be extended. Taste and presentation was very good.
Garden Cafe food was very good but a bit repetitive and seemed to have very little fish dishes at lunch.
We tried almost all restaurants with the exception of Cagney's, Sushi, Noodle's and Le Bistro. The Italian and Shanghai's being the best value , Teppanyaki being surprisingly good. Moderno was OK. O'Sheehan's in contrary was awful in presentation and taste. The free dining rooms were very good both in food and in it's atmosphere.
Bar staff were always friendly, drinks were good , but expensive. The Ice Bar is like a tourist trap. Pre fixed mix-drinks for $20. Some people however seemed to like it. To me it was wasted money.
Entertainment was good although I must admit I did not care for Legend's and Blue Men (which I found very boring). Cirque Dreams was worth the money and very enjoyable!
Now on to the negative! Listen up NCL !!! Why on earth do you think that people want to listen to your awful music selection literally EVERYWHERE ? There is simply no escape from it. Music blares on every deck in every corner of the ship, often way too loud. The music selection ( tries to be contemporary I guess ) was absolutely terrible and suited no one over 25. Truly not the target group that fills the ship. If people want to listen to music, they bring their own, period ! Stop making all passengers having to listen to your awful selection !
Another negative was bowling. Not once (!!) during 13 nights were we able to bowl in bliss at night when we wanted. Always closed. Bowling at O Shehan's is not the same , especially with TV's showing football and the smell of fish and ships. Complaints were not heard. A shame.
Other than that a great cruise. I would go again anytime if I can afford a suite.