We were on the Epic Fail Cruise, meaning the engines died on the 2nd day, we didn't go to any of the 3 ports we paid to see, and they took us, limping, to San Juan to work on the engines, where the Epic crashed into and sank 2 docs while trying to come in to port. The cruise was an epic fail and the service by NCL was very much below average after the chaos began to ensue. However, my review is going to be based on the ship, not the mechanical problems or the lack of planning and care for customers on the part of NCL.
The Epic gets horrible reviews. We didn't think it was nearly as bad as what people say, so I want to address the main concerns I read before our departure:
Cabins: Yes, the cabins are uniquely laid out. The separate shower and toilet was awesome! No, you can't see through the glass. The room curtain will block whatever you need. Because the shower is separate, it comes with glass doors!! This means to moldy shower curtain sticking to you and WAY more shower space than any cruise I've been on. The separate toilet is also kind of nice. The sink is separate and placed by the end of the bed, but this was in no way a problem for us. Of all the rooms I've had, this room had TONS of storage space!! We had no problem finding enough room to put things. AMAZING! The beds- yes they are shorter than normal and rounded at the end. There's not a fitted sheet in the universe that would fit on that oddly shaped mattress. My husband is 6'5. His feet were off the end of the bed. If this is a deal breaker for you, this is not the ship for you.
Layout of the ship: People complain that the layout is confusing. It's no worse than any other ship. Everything you need is either on Deck 5, 6, 7, or 15. That's it! A common complaint is that you have to walk through the casino on Deck 6. This is true. The casino is spread out all over deck 6 and you do have to walk by machines and tables to get from one end to the other. It's hard to avoid deck 6 because not all elevators go to deck 5, so if you get on the wrong one, you'll have to walk to the escalator to get to 5, which is where Taste is at.
Elevators: People complain that the elevators are too slow. We were on the ship with 4200 people. With the exception of getting on the ship, we had no issues. Our ship didn't do a normal port of call because of engine issues; I would imagine that elevators would also be slow on port of call days as well. Other than that, they are fine. Tip: USE THE DOOR CLOSE BUTTON. It dramatically speeds up the process.
Food: Food was great! Buffet was wonderful, and I've had some crappy NCL buffets. This one was very good. They made crepes every night in the buffet. Trust me and go indulge at least once. Taste was excellent. We ate there 4 nights and once for breakfast and didn't have a bit of trouble. Food and service were fantastic. Taste and Manhattan offer the exact same menu, so we did not eat at Manhattan because we do not like dressing up. Shanghai and O'Sheehans got mixed reviews. I loved O'Sheehans, hubby hated it. I hated Shanghai, he loved it. It's free, so just go try them and decide for yourself!
Pool deck: Lots of people complain about the layout and size of the pools. Yeah, the pool is probably on the small side, but most pools on ships are small. Not uncommon. We loved the layout and had a great time. We never had trouble finding deck chairs, as most people complain to have that problem.
Bars: We had no issues getting drinks. There are servers everywhere taking orders and they are very efficient. Sometimes H20 and the main pool bar get crowded, but what do you expect on a sea day? Lighten up! They have mobile carts that do frozen drinks, so if you are a frozen drink person, hit up the carts. They are very fast!
Our cruise was pretty much a disaster from start to finish and I fault NCL for that. But I wanted my review to be specifically about the Epic because the reviews are so horrible. It's not nearly as bad as what people say, and I'm a regular cruiser.
The balcony for this room is huge. I called on day 1 and requested a lounge chair. If you get a large balcony room, call and request a lounger. You won't regret it. The balcony is huge!! I read complaints about the smell of fumes from Shanghai, and yes, you can smell the exhaust from that, but it smelled delightful! I imagine the whole side of this ship can smell the food.