My husband and I booked this cruise not realizing it fell on Spring Break for some colleges in Florida. The cruise ended up being filled with Spring Breakers. We didn't mind - but we also didn't plan to hang out at the main pool much. College students dominated the main pool area. Also our itinerary was affected by a nor-easter so the Great Stirrup Caye port was cancelled. The Nassau Port was pushed back a day. We basically cruised in circles. Since we had a balcony we still enjoyed the cruise. We may have gotten a little stir crazy if we had booked an interior room.
Ship - the ship overall was how we expected from reading other reviews. The layout is odd, the Epic doesn't flow like other cruise ships we've experienced. For example, the deck above the main pool doesn't connect with the deck on the front of the ship.You have to climb interior stairs or use the elevator by the outdoor buffet to get to the front area. Bring your own drink because once you do get there a bar is not easy to get to. That area does have nice loungers and is quiet.
Cabin - we had a balcony on the 11th floor. As stated in other reviews, the bathroom situation is odd. We didn't mind the toilet and shower being separate but could understand how others would not prefer that set up. The room had a ton of storage areas which was nice.
Dining - We ate at the Garden Café Buffet for breakfast and lunch. We were satisfied with the options. If you want a quiet place to eat at the buffet and are willing to walk down stairs - go to the front of the ship and walk down to La Cucina. The restaurant is open seating for the buffet during breakfast/lunch.
We ate at Taste once, the food was above average and the service average. We ate at Cagney's 2x and Wasabi once with our dining package. The crab cakes were our favorite at Cagney's. All of the sushi at Wasabi was delicious, there was a small upcharge. We thought it was worth it.
We tried to eat at the Manhattan Room the last evening. We thought there would be something prime rib for the final night (or something comparable) and were disappointed. We ended up checking out the Garden Café Buffet instead and found pretty good prime rib on the buffet. We were impressed with the options on the evening buffet.
Bars - The bar service was greatly affected by the Spring Breaker crowds. There were long lines at the bars on the main deck. There were several people from the main deck that were riding the elevators up and down to the lower floors to get drinks at the other bars (Maltings/martini bar/etc) because it was quicker to get a drink that way! We also found that the Martini Bar wasn't using martini glasses and would put "martinis" in plastic cups. Again we didn't mind but we heard others complaining about it. Overall we were not impressed with the bar service. We've experienced various ships and cruise lines and thought the bar service was below average, even when the bars were not busy. We usually find a bar or two that we really enjoyed on each ship but none stood out on the Epic.
Entertainment and Activities - We spent a lot of time in the Cavern Club in the evenings. We loved listening to the band Siglo. They were the best cruise band we have experienced. There were a few other bands that played in the Cavern as well.
We enjoyed the rock climbing wall. It was open for a few hours every full day. There were never too many people waiting to climb. The provide shoes and chalk. We were pleasantly surprised that some of the route options were quite challenging.
Even though the cruise didn't end up being what we expected, we had a great time. We will cruise Norwegian again and would consider trying the Epic again, but probably not around Spring Break.
If you are considering the Epic feel free to watch our vacation videos from this trip on youtube channel Explorcation:
Epic Cruise: https://youtu.be/iBxOtS8EEi0
Rock Climbing on the Epic: https://youtu.be/C52ZJvXtt3M
We always enjoy watching others' vacation videos when preparing for our cruises. We also have videos of the Norwegian Escape. Happy Cruising!!