Thanks, Dave. We really enjoyed the Cirque show on the Epic, but I agree the meal is more of a distraction than anything.
Some people look at the show as paying for dinner with a free show thrown in, others consider it a fee for a cirque show with a free meal thrown in ( me ).
I personally would pay to see the NCL show even without the dinner, as to see a real Cirque du Soliel show would cost far more, and with no meal included. I don't know why they do not just offer a couple drinks with the show price instead. Not sure why folks focus so much on the meal served, as free food is abundant throughout the ship and it is very easy to eat elsewhere before or after if the meal is not to your taste.
Am looking forward to trying the Illusionarium, although magic shows are usually not to my liking.