First, let me repeat all the other reviews: this ship was more beautiful and magnificent than expected, even after reviewing hundreds of comments, pictures, and videos. It's beyond compare. I agree with all the positive reviews so I won't elaborate more on that end.
Since almost all the reviews are positive I've decided to elaborate a little on my less than positive experiences, not to dissuade anyone from missing out on a wonderful ship, but to possibly avoid some of my first time mistakes.
Here's the things I would change next time.
PICK A DIFFERENT STATEROOM THAN A BOARDWALK BALCONY if you are a light sleeper.
We correctly guessed the views from the boardwalk would be magnificent. You can see the blue water and shows from any of these rooms. The only downside is the crowd noise is constant and gets louder as it gets later into the night. If you ever plan to sleep or nap before midnight it might not be the best room for you. I am a light sleeper so it bothered me, but not my wife.
PICK A ROOM CLOSE TO THE STAIRS AND ELEVATORS if you have any physical disabilities or if you tend to come back to your room a few times a day. The long walkways can be brutal if you forget something. Then again, there were a lot of people who could afford to lose a few calories.
TRY OTHER RESTAURANTS THAN THE WINDJAMMER. The first few days we went to the Windjammer out of habit. Then we discovered the wonderful Solarium restaurant and Central Park cafe. Although we had read the Windjammer was too small for this ship they seem to have responded well by posting screens throughout the ship showing how full the restaurants are. Furthermore, the have blocked the port side stairway as well as two other main entrances into the buffet making it harder to get to. There were constant announcements in the buffet encouraging people to leave as soon as they were done eating. Service in the Windjammer was excellent. We never had a problem finding a table. Why not try other restaurants anyway.
DON'T EXPECT TO FIND A QUITE PUBLIC SPACE ANYWHERE. I tried reading my book in several spots on the ship. There are just too many people to really focus. There were a lot of foreigners. Not to be racist, but Italians are particularly loud.
They seem to all talk at once and the one who screams loudest gets heard I suppose. I did see someone with BOSE noise reduction headphones and they are going to be on my shopping list before my next cruise.
AVOID THE ELEVATORS IN THE EVENING. Kids everywhere. They seem to love riding elevators. Several times we could not get into elevators because they were full. Not to mention the elevators had no a/c so it could get quite stuffy at times.
I wish they could keep people from taking elevators just one floor unless they had a physical disability. I'm sure the passes will soon have computer chips so you will be instantly recognized throughout the ship and they will be able to better track our walking patterns. This would be nice if we were looking for our kids or loved ones on the ship. It's coming soon I'm sure.
THE SLOTS SUCKED! We never heard any ching ching. Lost $100 in two minutes, without winning once.
WE DID WIN AT ROULETTE. I'm beginning to like that game. :)
THE VENUES WERE SMALL. We were really surprised the dancing on the ship was so limited. Very few people out dancing.
BOOK ALL YOUR ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCE. Everything is booked once you get on the ship.
THE SPECIALTY DINING cost about as much as you would pay at home. On other ships like Norwegian, we paid a fraction of the price for excellent food. Then again, everything on this ship is a little more expensive.
FACE RECOGNITION (good point). We couldn't figure out how they kept getting our pictures together in the same place even though they didn't have our room number. They use facial recognition to group all your photos into a book. Look at your room pass for your number and voila! All your pictures are in one place.
DINING ROOM SERVICE WAS VERY HURRIED. We like to enjoy a drink before dinner. On most nights the menu was thrown in front of us and we were immediately asked to make a selection. We never saw a drink person unless we asked but the drinks usually didn't get there before our entree'. We learned to pickup a drink before we got to the dining room and politely, but repeatedly, asked our server to give us time to enjoy a little conversation before dinner.
POOLS. The solarium is a blessing if you want to get away from the kids. It has the only fresh water pool on the ship and it gets very crowded. We met some nice people there, but unfortunately some people start talking politics and that makes me want to leave.
FINAL OBSERVATION. You have to go on this ship at least once. Although it doesn't have the personal feel of some of the smaller cruise ships, it's clean from top to bottom and your jaw will drop the moment you walk on board until the moment you walk off the plank. You should give yourself an extra day or two before going back to work after this ship as it can be exhausting.
FAVORITE CRUISES: NCL to Alaska out of Vancouver (1), Jewel of the Seas out of Tampa during Xmas (2), and this cruise (3). I've done about 12 cruises altogether. I prefer a little more peace and quiet but this was still great.