We cruised on the New Year cruise between Dec. 28 2014 to Jan 4 2015. We have never cruised with NCL before, but we really liked the freestyle concept and the Epic specifically.
We really enjoyed the variety of dining options that we had open to us. That is not to say that all of them were great, especially Shanghai, but overall the restaurants were very good. We did not try any of the main dining rooms,as we had the UDP, but from what I heard from fellow travelers, they were at least decent as well. I really liked the Garden Cafe as well. We mostly ate there for breakfast and I am fairly easy to please when it comes to that as long as the eggs and breakfast meats are halfway decent. Our kids ate there for every meal except for one, so I did get to see what the options for lunch and dinner were. I was pleased with what I saw and even regretted having reservations for another restaurant a couple of times. My son is a very picky eater, so I was pleased that there were options that were to his liking as well.
The pool area worked well for us, but I could see how it would not for someone who spends a ton of time in the pools or spends all day in a deck chair. For the most part what we did was grab a chair or two to use as a base of operations, but never as a place we stayed all day. We had way too many people traveling with us to expect to find a chair per person, but we had a group that didn't mind standing around a bit during those infrequent times we were all at the chairs. Finding one or two chairs were not an issue as long as you were not picky about your sun/shade positioning. The pools were the perfect size for our kids who are too old for the kids area, but still not so big that they can handle a full size pool without a ton of supervision. They pools are not big, nor are they deep. However, this was perfect for us based on a general lack of interest in the pools by adults in our party and a safe place for our children to play. The slides were a big hit with our kids as were the chess board and the ball court upstairs.
The room was very much as expected. It was a long narrow passage from the hallway to the balcony, but the size only ever annoyed us a bit when preparing to go out. If you are on good terms with your traveling companions it should not be an issue to say "excuse me, can I squeeze by?" once or twice per day. The bathroom setup is unique as we all know, but my family's bodily functions aren't anything new to me, so I wasn't bothered. The huge shower was nice. There was plenty of storage as has been commented on endlessly, but I'll confirm it. The only real issue we had was that the hair dryer almost set the room on fire and then ceased to work.The drop down bunk from the ceiling worked well and the view from the balcony was nice and unobstructed by the life boats since we were high enough. This room is very convenient to the stairs and elevators without any of the noise that can accompany them. It is also just one floor below the spa and fitness center which was perfect for us. Two decks up from here was the aft bar which made for a quick place to run and get drinks from your room. I think we hit the jackpot with this room overall and we would stay in something like it again.