I am not sure that I sailed on the 2/11/2012 sailing with the reviewer that had such a bad experience.
I am picky and a high maintenance traveler and I enjoyed every minute of the Epic experience. I was nervous about the freestyle concept, because I am very traditional in my cruise taste.
We arrived at the port and had an easy embarkation. After check in I found a lady holding "The Daily", and checked out the events for the day. We entered in Terminal C and stopped for lunch at O'Sheehan's. After the Noro Virus scares on another line that week, I decided to skip the Garden Cafe Buffet for at least 48 hours. We toured the ship and found our Mid Ship balcony. It was clean with storage galore and the bathroom that some cruisers complain about. Since I was traveling with hubby, the bathroom was okay with me. It was convenient to have the sink in the cabin because I could get ready while hubby was in the shower. Luckily, I read on a review that you needed a card to place in the slot to keep your lights on in the dimly lit cabin.
We found our awesome Cabin Steward, Rusti, who graciously secured wine glasses and chilled our champagne for us. He was exceptional in keeping our cabin tidy, clean, and anticipating our needs. He
went beyond the call of duty to get a bottle of wine opened that I made a mess of with my own wine opener. Speaking of wine, prepare to pay the $15.00 corkage fee for your wine wherever you plan to drink it. I didn't mind paying this time because we were celebrating two special occasions and I brought two bottles of my favorite champagne. I don't think that the fee is work it for a cheap bottle of wine. It would be a better deal to buy a bottle from NCL.
Meals: Since we cruise to enjoy the food, we were not disappointed. We ate breakfast several times in the Manhattan Room. Sure the service was not the fastest, but most of servers worked all night and I am sure that some of them didn't get much rest the night before. I had a vegetable egg white omelet and the grapefruit every morning. We had the French Toast a few mornings. When they brought us the wrong order a few times, we smiled and either ate it or waited for them to give us our order.
We had Lobster served in Manhattan the first night. Since we had dinner reservations for Cagney's , I didn't try it. We found that Taste had the best service and the best food. Le Bistro was our favorite
Specialty Restaurant. I don't remember the waiters name that night, but he was a 5-Star waiter. He enhanced the total experience. The Lobster was tasty and covered my entire plate! Try the chocolate fondue! Cagney's had great filet and shrimp cocktail, but the service wasn't that great. La Cucina was not a good choice after dining in the other restaurants. I had to return my return my dish.
Enough about food, because I gained at least 10 pounds last week.
You must try the Ice Bar! It was fun just putting on the garb and trying to drink two cocktails to stay warm. I doubt if there was very much Vodka in mine, since I was able to drink two and not fall asleep.
The Blue Man Group and Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club (with Charlie Love and Band) was great. I left Second City after 10 minutes . Legends was okay, but I didn't care for any of the entertainers.
The Casino was one of the best at sea. I donated a little money to the slots, as well.
The Wine Tasting Seminar is a must, if you enjoy a glass of wine. I didn't learn much, but the pours are generous.
I felt that they were of good value. We took the ferry to St. John. It was scenic and relaxing tour.
We didn't spend time at the beaches, but I am not a beach person. We took a ship tour in St. Maarten.
We took a taxi$4 per person) to Atlantis for a few hours.
I have hear a lot of criticism of the short beds. We are both tall, but I slept like a baby. Normally, I don't
sleep well on vacation. My husband had problems sleeping. I don't know that if that was from the bed or from the allergic reaction that he was having onboard.
Hint: Balconies on the 8th deck are partially covered. Cabin 8080 had the bed next to balcony. There's not a lot of room for two people to pass each other in the cabin. Pack an old gift card to keep your lights on in the cabin,
All in All, I enjoyed every minute of freestyle cruising and cruising like a Norwegian. My hubby loved the relaxed dress code but remarked that he missed the cookies and Coke Products that he enjoys on another line. On Wednesday, I found the cookies and I brought him a 6 pack of Coke onboard. Happy Hubby!