At first, the concept sounds appealing, especially for guests in triple and quad occupancy cabins. Married couples traveling together probably won't have an issue with privacy in the bathroom arrangement, but we're not certain guests traveling with friends will feel the same way. Even families with children might have issues with this freestyle design.
In a typical bathroom on other cruise ships, you would open the shower door and grab a towel from the rack inside the enclosure. Notice that the towel "rack" is a hook on the outside of the shower door on the Epic. There is a privacy curtain that can be pulled to hide you from others in the cabin however if someone is using the toilet, you'll want to time your exit from the shower properly.
What happens when you take a hot shower at home? Steam billows out from the shower when you open the door. The same thing happens on a ship too. In a typical ship bathroom, that isn't an issue since you are still within a confined room. On the Epic, you are in the main cabin area and sensors which keep you safe from fire could be tripped. So much for privacy as you hear a knock on the door as a ship's crew member makes sure there isn't a problem. Steam rises as you know, so the cabin ceiling will now become wet and unless properly cleaned on a regular basis, could lead to a build up of mold in the cabin area.
Norwegian Cruise Line has already announced that the sink situation will be reviewed and it may be necessary to replace them with a different model that won't splash onto the floor. It is common for new ships to have some "kinks" that need to be ironed out. In many cases, the problems don't surface until the first passengers set sail on a pre-inaugural cruise. We are certain there will be changes on the Epic, but in the meantime, guests need to be aware of the current situation so that they can plan accordingly.
Getting to the bathroom at night could become a challenge in some of the cabins since it is necessary to get past the sleeper sofa or the main bed, depending on the room's arrangement. The wavy wall design may impact the amount of room for navigation in some cabins.
Looking back ten years, there were "kinks" in Freestyle Dining which have since been ironed out. In fact, onboard the Epic there are 21 dining options, some of which are first time offerings. So, to be fair, we need to give "Freestyle Bathrooms" a chance. Perhaps the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks - time will tell.
One thing is for certain, the Norwegian Epic's design is a conversation starter. Right now the bathrooms are definitely the talk of the town. We'll keep an eye on this story as time goes on to see what changes are made.
Learn more about Epic in Related Blog Posts