I read reviews about the Epic, but decided to take the trip to be with friends who had never cruised before. Bear in mind, this is only our second cruise. Both on NCL. Huge ship,never felt crowded on the ship except for the pool area.
Embarkation and disembarkation smooth for such a large crowd. I did expect a "WOW" in the atrium, but didn't find it as beautiful as I would have expected.
The stateroom is odd, can't say that I like the bathroom, shower and sink situation, go to youtube and you can see it online. Little space to dry off and dress after a shower,no privacy if you want it, except behind a curtain which is right in the entryway. However, plenty of closet space, nice bed and bedding.
What we disliked the most was that the main deck area which housed the two small, narrow pools and music/activity. This area was really for the - children. They were never in my way, though there were many. In the adult area, at the other end of the ship, the adult pool was small, and I mean SMALL! tough to find room to sit and not enough umbrellas or ones that worked. No music, even some nice soft music for the adults. All pools were accessed by ladders, tough for some to enter and exit.
Next- the main dining room food was terrible. I didn't care for it on the Spirit either, and I am amazed that the same people cook for the buffet. We tried the Italian, the steak house and the Chinese restaraunt. Cagney's was just okay- I have had better steak. I thought it was better on the Spirit. The Italian was very average, and the best was the Chinese- food, atmosphere and service. Loved the buffet- gave me plenty of choice and the food was quite good. Did find it difficult to find a drink, or just a snack at night, except for O'Sheehans. Chicken wings still great, but waitstaff not that friendly.
Lots to do on the ship. the shows were average. I have seen Blue Man Group, so no surprise- ok- the kids enjoy it. Legends, just ok, have also seen them before. Didn't go to Cirque de Soleil, not very interested, so can't say.
Did enjoy the guys at Howling at the moon, nice movies at times, and plenty of other activities if you want them. Casino area smokey when full, but not as bad as Foxwoods! Bearable. I would have liked to see more shops, and better shops on the ship, especially for a large ship. I think the activity director was better and more experienced on the Spirit, and was at each major event.
I found staff friendlier on the Spirit, though nothing specific. Just a feeling. We had a good time because we were with friends. Got off at all ports, didn't like Cabbage beach in Nassau because water was too rough, but that's a quirk of nature, not NCL's fault. All in all, a good time with friends.