This is our 4Th cruise, second on NCL. We chose the Epic because we wanted to experience a mega ship as well as introduce our friends to cruising- felt a large ship would alleviate the fear of sea sickness. Well, I was wrong, you could feel this ship move about 90% of our time at sea. Luckily, no one got sea sick.
Let start with the stateroom. Small but very nice and quiet. We chose to be at the end of the hall right under the bridge. We did this so we wouldn't have noisy neighbors beside us or above. Our friends we on the other side of us. It paid off- our room was very quiet. This was better than our last cruise on the NCL Dawn where we had to change cabins because of the loud talkers next door.
The large balcony was very nice which we spent a great deal of time on and was able to chat with our friends on the other side. Balcony is a must since this ship has very few place to go outside and enjoy the view--see my comments below about decks.
The bathroom was okay even though the sink was right at the foot of our bed. The layout did cause problems as there is not much room to move around the bed to get to the closets near the balcony doors.
Overall, the cabin was very comfortable.
Our stateroom attendant was not very good. I do believe he chose not to speak English and just answered "OK" to virtually everything we said to him. The first day we left a tip on the pillow so that we would get good service. It didn't pay off. He didn't vacuum our cabin and had to ask him to come back. The glass walls and cabinets never were wiped clean. This was the worst clean job we have ever experienced. Not sure why since it was the first cabin on his list to clean--hate to imagine what the other cabins were like at the end of his list. Needless to say, he didn't get the daily tip on the pillow.
We ate in the Buffet, O'Sheehan's, Taste, Manhattan
Was pretty good choice of food but the hours of operation were weird. It actually closed completely down around 10pm. Other ships we've been on had at least one part open late. always managed to find a spot to sit near the window no matter what time we went. They said the ship was full but I don't think it was based on the easy access to tables.
Open 24 hours- great wings and burgers- service is slow and found the staff not very friendly. Never had any trouble getting a table. The only problem we had was one of my wings had a long hair cooked right into the batter. We called the manager over to let him know and he told us they come prepared by a third party. He took our cabin number but nothing came of it. Not sure why he needed our cabin number but it did imply he was going to send us something. We didn't expect anything but don't do that if you have not intention of doing something. If you go, just be aware of the hair in the wings.
We went there for one dinner and a couple of breakfasts. The food was good but the service was extremely slow. Most of the staff were very nice and we never gave them a hard time when it was slow---why bother, where did we have to go? Just allowed us to spend more time at the table with our friends.
By far the best place to east. Food was awesome with the menu offering different options each night. Service was great too. This was our favourite place to eat. With the free style, we took advantage of this since we don't like to dress up while on vacation. We never felt out of place even when there were people all dressed up at tables next to us. Most didn't dress up.
We did the Murder Mystery on the first day for lunch. The Second City troop were pretty good with a few actors better than the others- Food was nothing special. Show was good. overall, it was not bad even though we paid $20 each to go.
Second City Show was not very good. One of our group left because she was bored. Had to agree but we stuck it out. Have seen Second City on our last cruise and it was better. It all depends on the chemistry of the actors. It was free so don't not go
Blue Man--WOW! what can I say. It is something you can't explain..you just have to see it. We saw it twice. You do have to book ahead but we found it easy to get in on standby. Worth seeing more than once..sit near the front so you can see their facial expressions--that is the best part.
Pool Deck area--not too hard to find a lounger unless you want to be right near the pool. We chose the adult areas and always managed to find loungers for the 4 of us.
Water slides were fun--even for adults.
If you want to be outside, the pool deck area is really the only place to go. On the 7Th deck there was the running track that was only on one side and only a portion of the length of the ship. If you wanted to enjoy the view, you would be in the way of the runners or walkers- And, the smell from the kitchen was awful in this area. The exhaust blew out onto this deck. Any other ship we've been on, you could walking completely around the ship with the cover of the deck above. If it were raining or windy, you still could enjoy being outside. We suspect they want you inside at the Casino.
One big disappointment on this ship is they don' t have big atrium like most ships. It was broken up into so many rooms on the decks. You could not appreciate the size of the ship because how enclosed it was.
Not much into gambling-if you are, apparently this is one of the biggest casinos at see--two floors. Problems with the layout, you couldn't avoid the casino to get to one end of the other or to go to the restaurants. If you hate second hand smoke, you can't avoid it on the Epic.
Overall, this was probably 3rd place out of 4 for all our cruises. (NCL Dawn is 4Th). We have been on the Carnival Liberty and RCL Navigator of the Seas--they were far better then the NCL ships. Our expectations of the EPIC were not met on many levels including services and overall layout of the ship. When we were shopping for the cruise, we thought this ship would be comparable to the RCL Oasis-- We saw the RCL Freedom of The Seas at one of the ports and it was bigger than the EPIC-- our next cruise will likely be back on the RCL or Carnival. NCL has not met our expectations twice now so it's time to go back to the other cruise lines.