We have been wanting to cruise on the Epic since we were on the Jade in 2011 and watched the video presentation of this latest ship in the NCL fleet. Since then, we've looked at many reviews of the ship, and finally we found an itinerary that suited us. We had a balcony room just forward of mid-ship on the starboard side (10075). It was the second balcony where the side of the ship flares out, so it was wider at one end than the other, and I would say slightly bigger than the rectangular balconies. We had initially been assigned a 'handicapped' room--which we did not ask for nor need. It may have been somewhat roomier than regular rooms, but there has been so much controversy over the shape and configuration of the Epic staterooms that we wanted to experience it ourselves. As we suspected, there was absolutely no reason for complaint about the room at all. We were on back to back cruises and had to change rooms for the second cruise (Room 12125) but they were essentially identical (we chose the configuration where the bed is by the balcony.) We do not understand all the negative comments about the bathrooms or anything else about the rooms. There was lots of storage for the two of us. Having the toilet separate from the shower is a big plus. The shower was much better size than those in the smaller ships, and had glass doors rather than a curtain that clings to you while you are showering! The only 'lack' in the room was power outlets. We always bring a power bar along so that solved that particular issue. However, the head of the bed was on the opposite side of the cabin from the outlet, which meant there was no way to have your phone or tablet by your bedside, charging overnight. There really should be an electric outlet on that side of the room or at least USB ports by each side of the bed. Ordinarily I also bring an extension cord, but for some reason didn't this time. That may have been a solution to that particular problem, but then might also have caused a tripping hazard! And the extension cord would have needed to be extra long too.
As usual the NCL staff was excellent. We've sailed 8 of our 9 cruises on NCL and I don't think we have ever had a bad experience with their staff. We had a piece of luggage that did not make it to Barcelona with us, and was supposed to eventually get to us on the ship. Very long story short, we never saw our luggage until we got back home, but NCL has staff that continually follow up with this type of thing and they were very helpful and accommodating. They also gave us free laundry service which helped immensely.
On the first of our two (back-to-back) cruises we had unlimited specialty dining (a booking perk--we did not purchase it) so we took advantage of it and ate at Cagney's (twice), Modernos (twice), La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cirque Spiegel. Each meal was very good and service excellent. Food and service in the main dining rooms was very good as well and we had breakfast lunch and dinner at those venues. We ate lunches several times at O'Sheehans and we also enjoyed our food there. We were a bit surprised at that, as we had eaten at O'Sheehans on the Jewel (2015) and its predecessor (Ocean Blue? something like that) on the Jade in 2011, and were not impressed by the quality of food there at all. So it was a nice place to grab a bite instead of going to the buffet (I don't like buffets very much!) That being said, we did eat at the buffet for some breakfasts and maybe one dinner. The food was varied and excellent. We have never felt the buffets deserve the negative reviews they sometimes receive. I just don't like going all over the place to find what I want, then finding a table and balancing drink and plate and by the time I get to the table my food is no longer hot. I prefer to be served!
This was 2 back-to-back cruises, and we had to change rooms from 10075 (BE) to 12125 (BA) as we could not book the same room both cruises. Rooms were identical, except 10075 had an irregularly shaped balcony which was slightly bigger than the rectangular ones. We took the configuration with the bed by the balcony. My sister's first room was the opposite, and she said there was a lot more storage in the room where the bed is closer to the bathroom. I didn't check it out myself but she said storage was deeper. I agree that the drawers were very shallow and the closet above the drawers was essentially useless but we had enough storage for our stuff. You can put stuff in behind the back of the sofa, and there is a cupboard above the bed as well.
We were here for about a day ahead of our cruise, then stayed here for 3 days after our 2 back-to-back cruises. We did a lot of walking around on our own, checking out some of the places we had read about in a tour book. We also took the HOHO bus to reach a couple of places farther out--particularly Parc Guell. That is worth seeing--we spent about an hour here, and did not pay to go into the 'monument' area, but if we were to go back I think we would plan to spend longer here. We have now taken 4 cruises that begin in Barcelona but this is the first time we have actually spent more than a day in the city. We have kept to the area near Las Ramblas as there is a ton to see here.
We toured on our own here. We were going to catch the HOHO bus, but it was full. Instead we caught the city bus to the Old Town (1.50 EU instead of 20!!) and walked around there for an hour or so, had lunch, then went back to the ship.
Due to weather, we did not make it into this port. (I did not want to put a rating here, but in order to "save and continue" this review I was forced to complete that section!)