I was looking forward to cruising on the Epic by NCL. It is a new ship and the third largest passenger cruise ship in the industry. After seeing the videos on online posted by folks who had been on previous cruises I was excited.
The ship has a poor design. There are over 4,000 guests (some reports were 5,000) and they had only two passenger elevator bays. So on days at sea the elevators ran mega slow and were mega crowded.
There were never long lines for eating, and the food was of average cruise quality. However, they had great specialty restaurants that served better than average meals for a fee. That is where they get you, their fees add up to big spending and the cruise nickle and dimes you every where!
They have a "Las Vegas" design where they have a ton of upscale merchandise that the average even above average cruiser can't afford and their gift shop is mega small with poor selections.
The service is average as they have mandatory tipping, so folks don't usually go above and beyond to assist you.
Our Butler Armando was outstanding, he was the best person on board. Overall the "freestyle" was too restricting and limited.
The shows are at odd times and REQUIRE reservations and are not "first come first serve." This made it hard to schedule dinners as the shows would have you eating when the dining rooms were not open or very late at night . .
There are no dining rooms that are open 24/7 (They have a pseudo Irish Pub that is always open but limited menu) which really isn't "free style" at all.
Overall, they charge you for many things, don't offer many or any of the free amenities that other cruise lines do and I would not recommend them. The ship also looked cheap and non glorious to be so new.
Avoid it . ..