This review was written by my friend Jim Walker after cruising on the Epic in September 2010.
"There is no such thing as a bad cruise. You can dislike the ship, the service, the ports of call or the people, but you have to really be an ugly person to not have a good time on a cruise. With that said, as an avid cruiser on multiple lines, here is my review of NCL's Epic:
This ship incorportates lots of great ideas, but few of them were very well executed in the actual design and product. My biggest complaint would be the impossibility to walk from bow to stern on any deck. Virtually all of the decks are so chopped up, you must go up and down floors to get where you'd like to go. Additionally, large portions of the ship are sealed off to those paying more for suites. While all of the lines have started doing this to some degree, it feels a lot like First Class and steerage on this ship.
Epic has no impressive public spaces. No ten story atrium. No three story dining room. All of that has been chopped up into smaller venues including speciality restaurants where you pay a surcharge to eat there. The food in these speciality restaurants isn't anything special or different than in the two free dining rooms. The food was good, but not excellent. The service was very inconsistent but there was always a huge lag between the end of the main course and dessert/coffee- like 20 minutes or so.
The pool deck is impressive with its waterslides, but the pools are tiny compared to those on Carnival or RCI. They devoted most of the wet area to small children and sprinkler animals. There is an adults only Spice H20 area on the back of the ship, however, it too is a small pool and there is a massive TV screen blocking what would be your view of the ocean. They show mostly pictures of landscapes from around the world on it. The pool deck also rises up to be a dance floor, which was seldom used on this trip as a dance floor.
The entertainment aboard Epic was top notch. Cirque Dreams is incredibly homoerotic which muscled guys doing all kinds of circus acts in next to nothing. There is one scene with a guy in a pool "washing dishes" wearing nothing on his bottom half but tight spandex. This scene is right out of Chippendales. "Legends In Concert" is a collection of entertainers actually singing the real music of the stars they're pretending to be- Tina Turner, Madonna, and Elvis. They were excellent and some, including the very hot, and very sexy Elvis actually flirted with the GUYS in the audience. Overall, the ship was VERY gay friendly with lots of gay staff.
The rooms on Epic are really incredible. Very well done and different from any you've ever seen on a ship. With that said, privacy is lacking if you are traveling with someone you don't know well. Be prepared for that.
The Epic is not a bad ship, but a sad ship. It COULD have been so much better designed. It's exterior is not nearly as pleasing to the eye as it's competitiors. The interior is a nightmare. I have never seen any structure so poorly designed.
If you have to choose between Epic and Oasis, or even RCI's Freedom Class, choose Royal Caribbean. You'll get more for your money."