The staff from the captain down to the deck painter and flag raiser were all friendly and welcoming ( I love to be up on deck early with my camera) and they still greeted one with a cheerful Good Morning - how are you sir and seemed to mean it. The cabin although described ass bigger than previous balconies on Costa appeared when we first checked in to be smaller. The hanging area between the main cabin and washroom facility however turned into a great dressing area.
A revelation for us and the highlight of the cruise was the opportunity for any time dining which we elected each time to "share a table" and met so many brilliant helpful erudite people that I could have stayed all evening talking except the need after a few hours of going to the theatre shows of which the on board cast provided a great experience. The food was excellent and with the attentive but not obtrusive staff added to the experience. One thing I learnt and is worth having in mind if a show is an essential part of the cruise is that many of the larger shows stay on the same ship for up to 7 years or the next wet or dry dock so any early return would be greeted by the same show!!
A further plus was a photo workshop delivered by a photographer who ran the platinum studio I learnt more in one hour than in many other courses++
The downsides were the limited number of formal evenings and the chance to dress up allow the moths flying time from my DJ and give my wife excuse for new dresses (which she looks wonderful in) there were only two in the 12 days and some fellow guests came for dinner those nights in the Da Vinci / Michelangelo dining rooms in less than even smart casual - and no one turned them away. On previous Costa cruises they would have been sent to the buffet to avoid spoiling the experience and ambiance for others.I was also disappointed with the "Enrichment and port lecturer" both were boring and did not add to the experience such that we only went to see each once. The final irritant was the Bergen stop at half a day, moored in the industrial port with the last shuttle return at 13.00 did not give opportunity to really enjoy the port.
Overall the pluses far outweighed the any negatives and I will certainly be travelling with Princess again and recommend them I agree with what they say "exceeding my expectation".