This was our ninth cruise and the second time on NCL. Our first was on the charming, older, much smaller Norwegian Spirit which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had read about the design problems with the Epic but the timing and itinerary worked well for us.
First, the positives: the staff were excellent from our steward to the main dining room staff to the pool waiters.
The ports were why we cruised - Naples, Rome, Florence-Pisa, Cannes, and Palma de Mallorca were all great. We did our own excursions - none through NCL.
Embarkation and debarkation were smooth at Barcelona. We arrived at the port about 11:15 and were on board by noon. We had carry-on bags only and were able to drop them in our stateroom (9035) by about 12:30.
Food on board was acceptable. We ate most nights in the Manhattan main dining room. One night we went to the included Chinese restaurant Shanghai which was mediocre. We did not use any of the specialty restaurants.
We took in the ballroom dance show and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and enjoyed both. It is worth booking in advance.
Now the the negatives. This is by far the worst designed, worst laid out ship we have been on by far, Our balcony stateroom felt more cramped than any other. You cannot pass each other because of the curved design of the oversized couch. The split shower, toilet, sink bathroom area is just stupid.
The main restaurant and shops decks - 5,6, and 7 are way over dominated by the casino which seems to go on forever - with the very loud simging machines reaching all directions. That is especially true in the Taste main dining room which is open to the casino and noise from the deck above. Just what you want while dining - the constant ding, ding, ding from the slot machines above.
In fact it is hard to find any quiet lounge or sitting areas on this large noisy ship.
The bottom line: The Epic is a big disappointment for multiple reasons. I would not recommend this ship. Epic Fail!