First of all, we let NCL book our flights and I don't think I will do that again. They would not schedule us to come in the day before embarkation. I was so nervous that a snow storm would delay our flights. Luckily we arrived in time. Although some people were very agitated at the airport about the delays in getting on the buses, they seemed to be very organized about the whole process. I was still a bit nervous until we arrived at the ship in time and our vacation began! Embarkation was a breeze! There was a substantial delay in leaving port and the rumors flew about the reason (a medical emergency, a death, a mechanical issue).
Food - We ate primarily in the MDR or in one of the specialty restaurants. It only took a couple of tries for us to realize that the food in the buffet was very far below the quality of that on the Bliss. It was little things like there were no bagels at breakfast but they had the cream cheese and salmon mousse as though there were, and the bigger things like the day we tried a dozen different things one day at lunch and found that none of them had any flavor at all. We ate at Cagney's (the steaks were fabulous), Le Bistro (pretty good but not as fabulous as we anticipated) and Teppanyaki (good food and lots of fun). We at Shanghai's one night and thought the food was pretty good. We were told the restaurant was booked up that night until 9:30 but when we popped in early the restaurant was practically deserted! And we grabbed a couple of quick lunches at O'Sheehan's, which were very good.
So many people complained on board about the service but we thought it was great given that it was a spring break cruise and was more than fully booked. There were only a few times that we had to wait very long for a drink at a bar, and because I have a special drink that I love at Maltings (the Matador) the bartenders got to where they would start mixing my drink as soon as they saw me walk up. Impressive when there are 5000 people on the ship!
We actually liked the layout of the cabins on the Epic with the split bathroom. It made getting ready easier and if someone was showering the toilet was still available. The amount of storage in the room was incredible. We had a minor problem with our room but the staff went above and beyond to fix the problem and make it up to us. I have to say that on this cruise we hardly used the balcony. Except for when we we were pulling into port, there was nothing to look at - unlike our Alaskan cruise. That said for people who like sitting in the sun - this was a great room. It was relatively quiet considering this was a spring break cruise - except for the couple next door fighting.....remember that the walls are thin and if you go the balcony the whole ship can probably hear you!