I'm booked to go on the Epic in May (round trip Rome) with a few mates - first time NCL cruiser.
I've previously done 3 Crystal cruises.
The first main point is expectations and state of mind. I do not expect NCL to be like Crystal (size, no. of passengers, service etc) and I'm going with a very positive state of mind to enjoy what there is.
The itinerary and the dates, and the price, were just right so that was 3 strong positives from the off.
So, I looked at the reviews and of course noticed a lot of negative reviews recently, but I did see that most were because of the embarkation mess in San Juan which bear no relevance to a Mediterranean cruise.
I also saw that the bathroom layout was a bit weird (and I'm sharing with a male friend) but we'll just get on with it and not dwell on it.
If it's really bad and a deal-breaker - then I just won't come on another Epic cruise - but I'll give anything a try once.
I also looked at the overall traveller ratings for the Epic.
Over 54% of the reviews on Cruise Critic were either "Excellent" or "Very Good", and when combined with "Average" that percentage goes uo to over 75% of reviews.
I normally go by the 80 - 20 rule, but as I've said the itinerary, dates and price were so suitable that I compromised and took the 75% rather than 80%.
And there's the free drinks package. Even with the 20% gratuity charge it works out very very cheap for a 7 day cruise.
As DinaS posted towards the top of the thread, the Epic bathroom would be a deal-breaker for her - although she loves the Gem whilst others hate it.
It's very important that each individual works out what's most important for him/her and on what they're prepared to compromise.
I intend to fully enjoy the Epic, and hopefully I'll let you all have a positive review after sialing.