Embarkation was busy, as we arrived just after noon. Suite and platinum level rooms I believe got more priority, but it was relatively smooth, and took less than 45 minutes. As boardings go, this was middle of the road. It's possible things were a bit slower because of the numerous nationalities and languages spoken on the ship.
We were greeted by a flamenco dancing couple, and got a sense of this amazing ship - by heading to lunch at the buffet! The buffet and dining room food for the entire cruise ranged from good to excellent. So, if you think you need the specialty restaurants for good food, you don't. If you had your heart set on seeing snails or lobster tails on the menu every night, then you'll need to pay extra (or go on Crystal now or the Celebrity line 10 years ago). We did do two specialty restaurants for comparison - teppanyaki was delicious, and fun to watch, but you can see the same "show" of that type on land, so I don't quite rate it as "worth it". The moderno churrascarria was a real meat orgy with a fabulous salad bar - well worth the extra funds.
Rooms were as spacious as any cabin we've had - we really didn't mind the bathroom layout, although I can see it bugging some people. Don't really understand the complaints about the size of the rooms - its cruise cabin. If you want the size of a hotel room, splurge for the Epic Club.
A word about that club for a moment. We had friends who invited us to their room on the 16th floor. If you have the means, definitely consider the upgrade - its a separate, luxury universe contained within the ship - really stunning with its own private pool and dining room.
The entertainment and casino on the ship was the best i've ever seen on a ship - without question. Cirque dreams and dinner was definitely worth the money, as they have upgraded the food recently (supposedly). Blue Man Group was outstanding, and the talent at Howl at the Moon was excellent, although a wee bit "tame" for my taste until after midnight. Fat Cats blues club was also excellent. Spice H2O was the dance club that also had a few great party evenings.
Attention gamblers - this is your ship. Very helpful staff, very good odds on the craps tables, and the size of the casino seems to be the largest at sea.
The spa was fantastic as well - it has its own thalassotherapy pool and spa section, but you can get access via a special pass available for $199/ week - excellent value as they have a special balcony with recliners all to themselves, and their saunas have glass walls also looking out at the sea.
I'm trying very hard to recall the negatives. There was one - i set a wake up call, but the phone's volume was so low that we slept through it. We rectified that with the help of an assistant manager.
Not much else was wrong in my opinion. If the casino or ship was smoky, I either didn't notice or didn't care.
Will definitely book the ship for the Caribbean. i'll let my wife go through the ports - suffice to say they were all terrific.