This was my fourth cruise (2 on Royal Caribbean, 1 on Princess), and my fiance's first.
We chose a cove balcony. It was very private, very close to the water, and mostly protected from the sun. I could hear the water (and, on the day it rained, get splashed by larger waves). I would definitely get this type of room again.
The first sea day we went to the Tides pool around 9:30 am. It was mostly deserted, and we had a hot tub to ourselves. I went back to the Tides pool several times (usually in the morning or around 3 pm), and there were always empty chairs. The Serenity area seemed to remain more full, but there were usually seats available on the deck overlooking the pool, and there were loungers available at the Beach pool at almost all times (unless there was some kind of contest/activity at the pool).
We spent some time in one of the hot tubs on Deck 5 (wonderful views), and relaxed on loungers on Deck 5 forward. It was a little windy there, but usually no one else around.
The water slides were disappointing. We went on both in a half-hour span (morning of first sea day - lines not long at all), and they both hurt! It was very rough where the different sections are joined together and I felt like I was being jabbed over and over. Did not go on those again.
The ropes course was fun, and not the least bit scary - in actuality there's a floor just a deck below you. The miniature golf course was a lot of fun and a little challenging.
I liked the food in the dining room MUCH better than what I was served on Sapphire Princess last year. For the most part it appeared well seasoned (although if you are from the Southern US, do not get the fried chicken). The buffet was mediocre, with long lines and inconvenient hours. I did enjoy the breakfast buffet (and discovered on the second-to-last-day that waffles are at the grill by the pool), the Mongolian Wok, and the lunch pasta bar. The lines for burgers/hot dogs were always incredibly long (and they weren't that good), but the mini burgers at the Oceanside BBQ on sea days were pretty good. French fries were small and crunchy - not my style. Pizza was sometimes available, sometimes not. I purchased desserts at the Ocean Plaza coffee bar and they were well worth the price. The candy store was also decently stocked.
I did not go to any shows, but saw most of the comedians. The 9:45 adults-only-show seemed to fill up very fast (the first night we were there 25 minutes early and could not find a seat), but it was a lot easier to get a spot at the later shows.
There was a wide variety of music in the evenings, including a piano bar (which I didn't like - he spent more time talking than playing), an acoustic guitarist, a duo who played slow songs in the main lobby, and various bands performing in Ocean Plaza. We danced all over the ship ;) The nightclub had a wide variety of theme nights that played good music - country, 80s, 50s/60s, disco, but the nightclub allows smoking and I couldn't stay in there very long before it made me feel sick. The stairwells near the casino also smelled like smoke from a floor away.
We did Anytime Dining. There was a looong wait on the first formal night (do not get there at 7:30), but usually we were seated within 10 minutes. On the nights we ate a little later, the waitstaff knew they wouldn't need to put a table back in service quickly, so sometimes they'd leave the tables with empty glasses and dirty napkins - not a great view when you are eating. The buffet area was worse; they didn't seem to be cleaning the tables off very quickly.
The fitness center was very nice, and there were employees available to answer any questions.