First time on the Epic on Norwegian cruise line. Cruised with my husband and 18 year old son. I read cruise critic reviews before boarding so I did not set very high expectations. Cruised Carnival 4 times (3 Caribbean and 1 Mediterranean) and a weekend cruise RCCL. Embarkation was terrible almost 2 hours on extremely slow lines. Once on board we went to our cabin on deck 9 Mid and was ready and luggage was there. Cabin was fine for two and yes, unique layout. No issue for us. My son was in a Studio cabin on deck 11 Aft. Studio Lounge is very nice. Studio cabin nice decor but it is a bit tight in there. Layout of the ship was unusual and took long to get to where we needed to be. Elevators were very slow. Food was average and honestly, extremely boring menu. Seafood options were not good. Wine list was OK. No lobster at all in main dining rooms. We ate at The Manhattan mostly for dinner which was OK but again, boring menu, Moderno Brazilian was very good, Cagney’s was OK and the Garden Café was good. At Cagney’s, option for a small lobster for additional charge. If you bring your own wine on board, you must pay a cork fee per bottle. I had a glass of wine for $13.50 plus gratuity and same wine by the bottle at Total Wine costs $19.99. Garden Café buffet was surprisingly very good for lunch and dinner. The buffet had Lobster with Shrimp and Pasta one night and much better food selection and desserts than the sit down dining rooms. One day at the Garden Café, my husband had paella for lunch which I missed out on and he said was very good. Breakfast buffet was always very crowded and hard to get a seat. Shows: Cirque show was excellent, food was good. Blue Man Group was OK (seen it in NY and FL). Book it early because it is not available every night and the theater is shared with the Legends show which was OK. Service was fine overall on the ship except a bit slow at Cagney’s. Very dim lit steak house, nothing to brag about. I would not consider it fine dining. Don’t bother calling Guest Services they never answer the phone. Our steward on deck 9 Mid was excellent and very helpful. He was very informative and always answered any questions we had and would go out of his way for any request we made. I can’t remember his name but he was great. Itinerary was Bahamas, Ocho Rios Jamaica and Cozumel. For some reason, this cruise did not offer Grand Cayman as a port which is usually included on this itinerary any other time but not for this Holiday cruise so we had four sea days. Very large ship, no elegant grand staircase, nothing really elegant about the ship. Casino needs better air cleaners you have to pass the Casino to get around. Lots to do on the ship but you really have to read your daily newsletter to know what is going on. We’re lucky we have cruised before because communication is lacking on this ship, you can barely hear any announcements on the PA. We knew what needed to be done to get ready to disembark (get luggage tags at Guest Services, leave luggage with tags outside cabin the night before disembarkation). I did not know who our Cruise Director was until the Deal or no Deal Game which was actually fun. Never got to see the Captain. Since I did not really read the daily newsletter in our cabin much, we missed performances at Howl at the Moon, Fat Cats Jazz singers, The Second City show, did not get a chance to go to the Ice Bar. We were in the Casino and Club Bliss every night. Disembarkation went very well.
Overall, it was a good cruise. If you love an active nightlife, not having formal nights or assigned dining, not much of a foodie, do not mind crowds and do not mind paying extra for additional dining options, then you will enjoy the Epic. I would cruise on Norwegian again.
Steward was excellent. We were satisfied with our cabin.