I traveled alone this cruise and was a bit concerned about that. However, it turned out to be no problem, friends were everywhere. This was the most international and age diverse cruise I have ever been on, by far. I absolutely felt like I was part of a little UN.
Acommodation -- Since I was alone, and it costs about double to book alone, I tried an inside cabin. The cabin was nice for what it was, but I won't do it again. It is so like living in a box. I had a little mix-up early on with the card key -- put it into the electricity slot, got ready to go out and pulled it out, decided I needed the bathroom and laid it on the desk. While in the bathroom, you guessed it, the cabin went pitch dark (one of the reasons not to be inside.) I managed not to kill myself working out this problem, but remember, I was alone and there is a step into the bathroom. Size and storage space in the cabin are fine, and I love the new TV system.
Food service -- Fantastic this time. I was at a table for 6 by the window. Only 4 of us ever showed up. My table mates were wonderful, some of them may be friends for life. In addition, the wait staff was superb including the head waiter and his assistant, all of them really. We had a great time at every meal. The Horizon Court never seemed crowded as it has been on other cruises I have been on. I also used the International Cafe' and Alfredo's and enjoyed both of those experiences. Being alone, I did not do any specialty dining.
Excursions and ports -- I had been to a lot of these ports, so took some off the beaten track excursions, including Lake Bracciano outside of Rome. I use Princess excursions and enjoy them. I know they are a bit of money, but I like feeling safe and cared for. One of my faves was Myccanos, the beach, and would have liked to have stayed there longer. I also fell in love with Provence, and now want to return to France, the sooner the better. Croatia remains the undiscovered Paradise I have found it to be, and I got to eat raw oysters there for the very first time (and I am old, so that is saying something.) Seeing Ephesus and Pompeii was marvelous, but enough ruins for this trip. The disembark tour in Barcelona was not as great as the others. The procedure was mixed up and it was stressful getting the luggage to the bus, and just generally not up to par. I would agree with those who have noted that some of these excursions are difficult for anyone with mobility problems, and pacing is necessary. A cruise with only 2 sea days is not generally my choice, but I just had to do this one. Ideally, I like an even balance of sea days and ports, or even more sea days.
The ship -- It is exquisite. Everything is new and it gleams. However, one day the hand railing in the piazza was dirty. Horrors! Mostly not though. The piazza is gorgeous. The main pool area is, well, puzzling a bit. I spent time at the retreat pool, which is quiet and easy to access without paying extra for a cabana or the Sanctuary. I am ashamed to say I did not make it to the walking track although I did walk through the work out area a couple of times. The Promenade has some nice seating, but lacks a walk around the whole ship, so I didn't spend much time there either. Where I did spend some time is The Enclave, which is kind of pricey, but would definitely be worth it on a cruise with more sea days. I still managed to go there 5 or 6 times, and it is really relaxing, fabulous, well, just unique. It is really the pool that makes it special. It is so much more than just a hot tub.
Entertainment -- Well, now it is time for the embarrassing truth. I came on this cruise so that I could see and hear again my favorite piano player Eric Stone. He played every night in the Wheelhouse Bar, except one night in Crooner's, and did not disappoint, ever. In spite of being there most all night, every night, I still managed to work in some of the other entertainment. I saw the shows of Lavina Fox and Jessie Alexander (I think that was his name.) Both of these were fantastic. I saw both of the new production shows and thought they were great also, and, by the way, they were not crowded the way I have gotten used to the big shows being. This may be because of the number of kids on the ship or, whatever, I don't know. I also saw some of the entertainment in the Piazza. There was an excellent band with a fantastic singer on board and one night she did a tribute to Edith Piaf that was pretty great. So, you see, I am not just a groupie (sounds like a fish). However, I did not get to see the music/light show, and did not experience movies under the stars on this cruise. I did do Princess Pop Choir, which was pretty much of a comedy act on this cruise, since we only had two practices.
Nickled and dimed to death -- Yes, I have learned to pretty much ignore them. It's the only way. I bought a soft drink card so as not to get drunk every night, which one would do with the all inclusive card, but I could have even done with out that and just had water. I usually decide what I am going to spend money on before I leave home.