April 2015 - Norwegian Epic to Caribbean - Western
NCL EPIC is great - not only in dimensions, but in service, amenities, excursions offered and organized, almost nothing to complain about.
The only drawback of a big ship - rather difficult to disembark when not docking to the pier (using small boats instead). That was a real frustration.
Other than that - no problems, very pleasant trip. There were 3 of us - my wife, grandson of almost 9yrs old and me. Thus - very limited nightlife experience, extremely extensive early morning experience (thanks to our grandkid). But, even though we with my wife are two owls, we still had a very pleasant time - so much things to do with kid. Everything is clean and convenient. Pool areas, slides, various sports and games, shops, etc...
First day felt a bit crowded (4K passengers, if I am correct), all roaming around - which is understandable. However, from next day on - all was pretty normal, like on any other (smaller) cruise ship.
Specialty restaurants are OK, but this ship/cruise just confirmed my previous observations - stay with standard (complimentary) restaurants and buffet and you will be just fine. No ship's steakhouse can beat NYC Old Homestead, for example. Two main restaurants are surprisingly non-packed, nicely decorated, with gorgeous windows (and views from them). Food was great, service as well. Wine selection is the same in ALL restaurants (special or complimentary), can not tell of all, but wines we had were fine.
It was our second time on NCL, but first time with the kid, so - hard to compare. This cruise is very well suited for people with kids. It even has something like a latch-key (called Splash Academy). Our kid all the time refused to go (although he is very much social), however on the last day he went there and we could not get him back till it closed - he wanted to stay there. Obviously, he had fun.
I can not tell about GYM (although, it was big): kids under 16 are not allowed, I had no time to go there alone.
We have balcony, which is rather big (compare to other ships). We always trying to have it and always underutilize it. Nevertheless - nice to sit there and look at see or night sky.
Very good bathtub!!! better than on any other ship (Holland America Zuiderdam has the same, but NCL feels better, cleaner, newer).
Separate toilet room. Although, it is separated by the glass door/wall from the suit itself, not much of advantage, but still - some privacy.
Excursions were well organized, but again: if not first time with the kid, we would use a taxi to the beach as we usually do. Or, better yet - would stay on the ship to have all the ship to ourselves (almost).
Final disembarkation was charming! Including the bus to MIA airport.
Overall - we can not stop re-living it, and already thinking of the same (contingent kid's availability).