We stayed in Miami the night prior to our cruise at the Hilton Downtown Miami, what a great hotel. We got a cab the morning of our cruise and headed to the port of Miami. Embarkation was a breeze, we were with my dad who has trouble walking and we were swiftly pushed through and on the ship within 15 minutes of arriving at the pier. We arrived at the pier at 11am. We were allowed into our staterooms by 2pm. This gave us time to get some lunch and tour the ship. Its a big ship, not so well laid out.
The Garden Cafe is where the buffet was - Food not so good in there at all, no matter what meal you were having - it was actually horrible. The best thing about it was the ice cream machines. The Manhattan and the Taste were the 2 main dining rooms with no extra charge. Food was ok, but not the greatest. Not a very good selection. We found very quickly if you wanted good service and food you had to eat in the specialty dining venues which of course cost you. Service lacked in a big way. Our best meal was in the Spegial Tent Cirque Dreams and Dinner. The show and meal were well worth the extra charge. I highly recommend this to anyone on the Epic.
We enjoyed O'Sheehans that was a nice touch. We love pub food and they had it just right. The Bowling was great but didn't like the cost of $5 per person per game, I feel that is a little too over priced - that is something that shouldn't have to cost you.
They had great shows on board, but not enough. The Blue Man Group was fantastic - the best show on board by far. Nice touch with them coming out after the shows and meeting the people. My kids loved this. My daugther got kissed by one of them and wouldn't wash her face for 2 days. Legends in Concert was good as well, but since when is Lady Gaga a Legend??? Second City Comedy Group was good as well.
You were only allowed to see each show 1 time and then if you wanted to see it again you would have to wait to see if there was any empty seats that you could take on a stand by list.
So 3 nights had something to see and do, the rest of the nights they had nothing much going on, it was quite boring to tell you the truth. The Assistant Cruise Directors where horrible and the Cruise Director Andy - not good - way too young and boring.
The waterslides were great, as was the repelling wall, rockwall, bungy trampoline and spider web. Kids really enjoyed that. The guys running the Waterslides were awsome and great with the kids and us. They took the time to talk to you and know you and learn your names. It was nice of them.
Our room attendant we never met, he/she never introduced themselves to us, no idea who they were. They never put our bed together for my husband and I so we had 4 single beds in our room. No personal service here or interaction. I'm use to speaking to them and getting to know them.
I beleive we over paid for this cruise. Service not so good, food not good. It was the first cruise ever where i've lost weight and not gained. Food service times were all over and lots of gaps. Many people on board complained about the service and food. And people getting turned away from the dining rooms due to how they are dressed - even if they followed the NCL guidelines - and given pagers for dinner in the 2 main dining rooms with 30 - 50min wait times for dinners. So for a free style cruise - eat where and when you want - well that didn't happen much at all.
Kids club was good for the kids, they enjoyed it and wanted to go every night as it was more exciting then just sitting around with nothing to do.
It was an ok cruise, the kids had fun, but would never return to NCL again - a cruise to us is about service, interaction, entertainment and food, unfortunately NCL had none of that really and they try and nickle and dime you for everything. And not to mention it was the rockyest ship ever the ship never stopped rocking the entire week - it was horrible - they really need to look at their stablizers as they definately weren't working at all. There were nights people complained they had fallen out of bed due to all the rocking.
And Cabin sizes were horrible I have never seen anything so tiny in my life.
Too bad NCL you missed the boat on this ship.