Our first cruise in over 30 years, so no, I was not thrilled the first time either.
However, this eastbound cruise was worse than expected. The weather certainly didn't help being uniformly grey and chilly. We only managed a half hour sunbathing on deck for the entire week at sea. The 'sail away' from New York was by far the best bit with the stirring music and wonderful views.
We had an inside cabin which didn't help either, as the low energy lighting is a bit gloomy. The bed was extremely comfortable and we slept well, almost too well, I found myself falling asleep during ther day also (I don't do this normally).
Most of the activities took place in dark theatres, lecture rooms or cinema, we were nowhere near the windows in the Britannia Restaurant and I think I must have been suffering from light depravation as I became more gloomy as the voyage progressed. We walked the deck a lot and sought out seats in windows to read our books.
Another problem for me was the quality of seating. None of the chairs have lumbar support and my back really suffered.
I have no complaints about the food, the breakfast was especially nice.
I used the gym every day, no complaints there either, plenty of space in the afternoons for my excercises and I never had to wait for a machine. Was a bit sweaty in there though.
The entertainment was not my style at all, much too old fashioned. The dressing up was not as bad as I had feared, I hadn't worn a dress for years before the cruise but I actually enjoyed it.