We were a party of a late-50's couple with an adult daughter. We had no problems in Barcelona, coming from Germany where we had spent the night with friends. Getting onto the ship was a breeze. Our bags were delivered promptly. Our mini-suite was tight for moving around, but with plenty of storage. For three adults, the mini-suite, with balcony, was a plus. The bathroom was quite nice. Service to our room was fine. They kept us well-supplied with fruit and ice.
We made the mistake of booking in August when many other nationalities were on holiday. There were tons of children running around, crashing into us, and not able/willing to read the signs in English about no children under 12 in the hot tubs, or in the adult pool. We were able to use the adult pool once. Complaints to the attendant helped minimally. He explained to us that most of the people on the ship did not speak or read English. Cultural differences were obvious in dress, smoking and demeanor. Other than that, we enjoyed the pool decks very much.
We discovered Tsar's Palace early in the cruise and ate there every night. The dishes were well-prepared and interesting enough. Wine choices were what we were used to. Service was excellent. Families with children were well dressed (resort wear), and well behaved. Eating in the buffet area was very much like being in the pool area - children careened around like crazy! But it was very close to our stateroom and we enjoyed the convenience for quick breakfasts and snacks, and drinks. We appreciated the "free" tea, coffee and tap water.
Another note about room choice: We were on the 11th. level, mid-ship. Excellent choice, being very close to the elevators, stairs, restaurants and pools.
About the excursions: We were very pleased with the guides and transportation. There is no way we could have seen so much, in so little time, on our own. We recommend the Naples/Pompeii trip and the Taste of Florence. Don't buy gold jewelry from the stores recommended by the ship without comparison shopping. Listen to your guides - they know what they are talking about. The prices for the trips seemed reasonable. Note that the all-day trips are grueling even for people in great shape, as we all are. Several people complained, but they probably had not read up on how much walking and climbing was included. The weather was perfect, but very warm in Rome. The guides kept us in the shade as much as possible. Nice.
The shows were enjoyable and it was nice to have something to do after dinner. We enjoyed the live bands around the pool deck.
Disembarking was a breeze, too. We chose to carry off our own luggage, secure our own taxi, and it took no time at all. Having a late-afternoon flight out of Barcelona back to Germany, we went into the city of Barcelona and enjoyed a walking tour on our own. There were tons of people rolling their bags, too, so having our luggage with us was no problem. I cannot reiterate enough - pack light!! You won't need much.
All in all, our family had a fabulous time! We expected to use patience with others and it helped! We expected to spend a lot of money and that helped, too. We expected good value for our money and we got it. We would highly recommend this ship and trip to others.