Spent a couple days prior to the cruise in Miami which really makes a huge difference. We could relax and not worry about getting to the ship on time. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami which was very convenient to Bayside Marketplace and a CVS Pharmacy was only one block away. Embarkation took about an hour. I had a cane; standing hurts and I could have used a quicker check-in.
Although the EPIC holds about 4,200 passengers, it never seemed crowded. Once onboard, people find their favorite bar, restaurant, deck, chill out place and are spread out. I enjoyed sitting on my balcony reading and enjoying the beautiful scenery. I did not attend any shows but did pay to attend the Mystery Luncheon; food was not good and did not settle well with me or my son.
We had connecting balcony cabins which was wonderful. Joel, our cabin steward, was hardworking, personable and attentive. The new opaque shower and bathroom doors were a concern and that is why I got my own cabin. If you are not traveling as a couple, they may cause an issue. There is a curtain to separate this area from the rest of the cabin; however, if someone needs to come into the cabin or out, they would need to pass thru this area and the curtain does not help.
We met several ship staff that provided excellent service, including Irra in the Wasabi Restaurant. She made me a flower after the meal. We ate at three upcharge restaurants. Moderno had great food and excellent service, as did Wasabi. We also ate three times at Cagneys, where the food was mouth-in-your-mouth delicious. I had breakfast in Taste twice and enjoyed it very much. We also ate at the Garden Cafe Buffet and the food was very good. There were double stations of nearly every choice and plenty of tables. Staff cleared the tables quickly.
Ship pictures were easy to find located in folders with your cabin number. They have face recognition software so they do not need your cabin number in order to properly place your pics. (Although, there were two pics of a couple in my folder whom I did not know, so it may need some work or was a simple mistake.)
I loved the fact that since the ship does not serve Diet Dr. Pepper, I was able to carry on several unopened bottles. Joel cleaned out my fridge at my request and opened the balcony door between our connecting cabins on the second day. We tipped Joel three times during the week. I spent my time relaxing and enjoyed the balcony so much. I am allergic to cigarette smoke and was concerned about the reviews that mentioned too much smoke from the casino. Not a problem, so perhaps they have improved the air circulation or filters. There is a nonsmoking area in the casino and I spent a little time there. We took a taxi ($9 each for 3)over to Maho Beach in St. Marten where the huge jets fly just a few feet over the beach. It was awesome. Had lunch at the Sunset Bar and Grill there. Hired a taxi for a private 2 1/2 hr tour of St. Thomas in a Cadillac Escalade. Our driver George was a great narrator with a great personality. We had a restroom and cold drink stop about half way through. At Nassau, we walked off the ship and down a few blocks to Senor Frogs where we had lunch.
Debarkation was easy; we walked off with our own luggage around 8:30. Eastern Caribbean is very beautiful. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I LOVED the EPIC; however, it was the excellent staff who spoiled me that helped make it a great trip.