We sailed the Epic from Miami on Dec 17 and had a great time. We are a family of four. My husband and I are in our late thirties, kids are 5 and 7.
Embarkation was a totally disorganized disaster and we stood in line well over an hour without moving at all.
We had a balcony stateroom (13165) - as with all cruise cabins, the rooms are not spacious but there was plenty of storage. We had a queen bed, a little bench/seat thing that doubled as a bed at night, and then a twin that pulled down from the ceiling. At night, when the bed was pulled down, it was definitely a tight squeeze to get out to the balcony. The separate sink/bathroom thing didn't bother us but we are a pretty open family.
Kids program is GREAT. My kids begged to go every night. My daughter came back with her face painted most nights, and made crafts a few nights. My son had a lot of fun playing the games. The counsellors are really funny and have silly names like Seashell, Rhino, Tofu, Moonlight, and Pickles. The age groups are 2-5 and then 6-9, so they were separate, and ncl won't make exceptions to which group the kid goes to.
Shows were spectacular. Blue Man Group was my favorite. Kids enjoyed it as well. Yes you need reservations, and if you want good seats you should still get there 45 min early.
For Cirque Dreams the extra $10 for the good seats is well worthwhile. The tables are a little crowded and you get seated with strangers but that wasn't a very big deal. Food at the show was mediocre. Show itself was phenomenal. Kids were mesmerized the whole time.
The food in general was very uneven on the ship. I think that if you are someone who goes on cruises for the food, you will be disappointed. We usually had breakfast at the windjammer. I usually had fruit, kids had cereal or croissants. They have an omelette station and plenty of variety.
Dinners...we ate at a specialty restaurant every night-
Teppanyaki- my favorite meal on the ship. Very good show, delicious food. Kids loved it. You need a reservation! Make it early!
Cagney's- also good. Went on a date night alone with my husband. Filet was very good.
Le Bistro- the fruits de mer was superb and worth the extra $10. The salmon was too salty (actually I think it was the sauce/ swiss chard that was salty). Took one bite of our 2 desserts, didn't bother (not worth the calories!)
La Cucina- do NOT bother- absolutely disgusting. Pizza, chicken parm, pasta- all inedible.
Moderno- Brazilian steakhouse- very good meat.
The food at Le Cirque show was so-so at best (and a set menu).
Desserts in general were not great BUT there were made-to-order crepes at the Garden Cafe and so I did that most nights.
The fitness center is really big and has plenty of machines though one morning I did have to wait for a treadmill. Also I found it hard to do fast running (intervals) on sea days. The waves just made it hard to run fast. Spin class was excellent and they give you a heart rate monitor that is displayed on a big screen so you can monitor it.
Kids loved the slides (as did I!) They also did the climbing wall and the spider web (another climbing contraption by the basketball courts). At night they enjoyed the shows and we also went to a night of Deal or No Deal. And we bowled once.
Ports were so-so. In St Maarten we went to Loterie Farm which was really fun and went zip lining and for a short hike. My daughter was too short to do the zip lining but they have a very cool ropes course there that the kids really liked. They also have a nice pool but it is expensive (25 euros pp). We took a cab there.
St Thomas- went to Blackbeards Castle- what a tourist trap! Blackbeard was never even there! It's just a small Dannish fort. Skip it. Even my easily-impressed kids were unimpressed. We left and went to Kokie Beach. I know from previous cruises that Magens Bay is way better (wider, less crowded) so if you want a beach, I'd say go to Magens Bay.
In Nassau we didn't get off the ship and spent the day on the ship which was great- no lines for waterslides/ climbing wall etc.
Lastly, the ship does sway quite a bit more than I expected so if you are prone to seasickness, bring a scopolamine patch.
Overall a fabulous time!