This was my first cruise, so I don't have a point of comparison other than what I have read here. But my overall impression was good. Galveston is unfortunately pretty far from the nearest airport, so if you are not driving in, you will have to work out how to get to port. We ended up flying into Bush a day early. We stayed the night at the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson. It has a shuttle from the airport and another to the port. It is located right on the southern beach near the pleasure pier and a bunch of other restaurants, so it is a good place to stay if you plan on coming in early. It is one of the only ones in Galveston that has an airport shuttle. We arrived at the port the next morning a little after 11 am. There was a porter ready immediately to take our bags and when the rooms opened our bags were already waiting for us. Embarkation seemed fairly painless. We were on the boat and eating in the buffet well before noon. We were not really impressed with the Windjammer and after eating lunch there the first couple days, we just stopped going back. Rooms opened a little bit after one. Our room was clean and everything worked, our room attendant, Golda, was very friendly. She came and introduced herself the first day and knew our faces and names after that and was always friendly and accommodating every time we saw her. She left us two towel animals, a snake and a dog (even incorporating the sunglasses I left lying around into our dog). The view from the balcony was nice and we felt the movement of the ship a lot less in our room than other places on the ship.
We were part of BGG@SEA and we spent a lot of time in the conference room. It was nice, although hard to get to. You can only get to it from the forward stairs. If you go down the wrong side, you have to go back up to the fourth floor and then over through the casino. The casino was always packed and there was no easy way to get from one side to the other. Plus, this is one of the only areas where people are allowed to smoke inside the ship. I'm sure it is convenient for those who do smoke, but it is pretty gross to travel through if you do not. And the smoke bleeds out into the bar areas on either side sometimes since it is not enclosed in any way. I honestly never went to the casino, in part because I couldn't breath for all of the smoke in there. There are a lot of different bars on the ship (about 15 in all). They all have a different feel and each has their own specialty drinks (as well as being able to make all of the usual ones). Most people tend to find one or two they like better and frequent regularly. We tended to go to Two Poets (an English style pub) and R Bar, a kind of zany looking little bar. For food, we primarily stuck with the Main dining room and café promenade. We always enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the menu changed every day so we never got bored and never ate the same thing twice unless we really liked it and wanted some again. Our waiters Leonardo and Atarulla were wonderful and we stayed in their section all week. They were very accommodating to a surprising degree. My husband mentioned he was debating between two food options, the waiter gave a recommendation, he ordered and then the waiter brought both out for him to try. He was always willing to bring out extra at the slightest hint that we wanted it (even bringing an extra lobster out to us on the 2nd formal night, which was the last port day without a word from us, just because my husband was excited to eat lobster). We did my time dining and we got a table to ourselves unless we wanted to go with a big group and then they sat us together. Overall the main dining room was one of our favorite places on board.
Café promenade has snack food like little sandwiches, cookies, etc. (the muffaletta is really good). It is attached to a starbucks and a ben and jerry's which are both good options if you want them, but they do cost extra. Overall they tend to overcharge you for anything extra you buy (normally two mixed drinks would run us a little over $20, two frappes at starbucks would cost about $10, etc). Overall the only food we weren't super thrilled with was the Windjammer, but it worked if you just wanted to dash in, eat and dash out again. It was always busy so I guess most people liked it. Because we were with a group, we did not do too much of the normal on board activities.
Our cabin was clean and well maintained with a good view. It was midship so it did not rock very much. Our room attendant, Golda, was very nice and helpful.