My wife and I have sailed on at least 4 other NCL cruises, mostly in the Jewel class. We enjoyed the casual atmosphere. But, we always had a suite. This time we did a balcony. Oh what a difference! On NCL there are 2 classes of passengers, suite people, and everyone else. We watched as the suite passengers were lead to there finished rooms while we waited another 2 hours. We took Holland America to Bermuda in June and only had an oceanview, but we never felt second class. We did here.
The Epic had excellent entertainment with the Blue Man Group, Cirque dreams, Legends and Second City (Our favorite). We went to 5 shows in 7 days. They are the best reason to sail NCL. We dined at Le Bistro($20) twice, excellent food and service but noisy. Cirque Dreams performs above and photos are just outside the door. For an extra 10 bucks, the italian resturant, La Cucina, is a best buy. All wait staff was curtious and efficient throughout.
Our room was another matter. It's even become a joke on NCL. The cruise consultant gave a talk and said that it was the first and last time they would ever have a ship designed in France. Balcony cabin seemed cramped with its curved walls and the bath/toilet facilities were ridiculous, basically in the middle of the room, no privacy. French!
Common areas were very crowded. At first we couldn't figure out why and then it occurred to us. The common areas were the same basic size with twice as many people. It felt like Coney Island on a hot day in July(with basically the same class of people). The freestyle cruising has become slob cruising with tank tops and cut offs seen at an officer's reception. Appalling.
Embarkation and disembarkation were excellent. The cabin staff may be over taxed though. We were told in confidence that they had 16 cabins each. I had no ice my first day. Also, the aft vibration is very strong, earthquake level, when docking. Otherwise, it very smooth.
We do love NCL. They gave us free laundry one day and a number of generous credits. We have already booked again, but it won't be on the Epic.