Let me get the only negatives out of the way first...the embarkation meant standing in line an hour and 40 minutes. Apparently they had computer problems. The line on the other side of the room seemed to breeze through, no idea why. We use room service a lot and they sent the wrong thing several times. Amazingly, the "wrong thing" was good every time. Lastly, we ordered the Chateaubriand and it was tough. That's it, we enjoyed every other aspect.
We have always had good room stewards but these guys, Bayou and Chris, were amazing. Everyone who cruises frequently has had the experience of returning to one's cabin after hours away to find it STILL hadn't been made up. Not these guys. No idea how they did it as they service 27 cabins but if we were out 15 minutes our room was done. I told them on day one I use a lot of ice and I never went a minute without it. They were smiling and never seemed to be in a hurry. If we ever get to return to this ship we would want the same cabin. These guys created a stress-free environment for us, towel animals and all.
Speaking of our cabin, we enjoyed it. Bedding is awesome, instant and plentiful hot water. Cabin 4212 was perfect for us, directly above the main dining room by one deck. A quick elevator ride (the elevators are the most efficient we have ever experienced, never had to wait) to deck 9 and we were in the buffet or the pool. They only guarantee Internet access in the Internet Cafe and hot spots but we had in in our cabin, a bit slow but always there.
We enjoyed the food and were thrilled to have lobster and escargot on the menu in these austere times. Breakfast buffet was good and had no trouble finding things we liked for buffet lunch. We did late "My time" dining and after being waited on by Aliaksandr, we asked to be seated at his table every time. He was funny and amazingly quick. We had no wait at all. He took the time to chat with us in spite of the fact that I have never seen a busier human. We have nothing but praise for his service.
As mentioned, we use room service a lot. It arrived sooner than promised each time. Again, for example, we ordered a Fajita and got a Ruben, but the Ruben was very good. I have to mention 2 waiters that served us more than once...Neboja and Bojan. These busy young men asked us about our day, bantered with us, and gave the impression that they cared that we were pleased with our service. The stamina of these guys, rushing about while maintaining a pleasant and interested attitude is admirable. (You don't see any fat ones!) It is not fair that I have no names for the early AM waiters as they were pleasant and professional, too. The reason is that they came while my husband was still sleeping and we spoke only what was necessary.
The Captain's party was good..they were generous with the drinks and kept canapes going. The welcome back party as well. No sign of the recession here.
The pools were nice and we always found a chair. Bar service was there but not pushy. Spent a little time in the casino, service helpful and friendly. We liked the fact that you could choose either cash or cruise card in the machines. Library was well stocked with new releases. Shops were large and we got good deals on sale items. No problem with our bill at all and embarkation was a breeze, best organized we have ever seen. My only suggestion would be to give out a little more port information. We always enjoy the little port history that some other lines put out. Here we just got shopping info.
Bottom line is this is an excellent ship. Great service and overall attitude is "we want to please you." They did. Hope to cruise again on this ship.