After reading some of the reviews, we were so pleasantly surprised to find all the staff were really very good! If you take the time to exchange pleasantries, they certainly remember you and are happy to engage with you. We were amazed at the different nationalities of all the staff and the fact they could easily interact with guests in several languages! Impressive, compared to our uni-lingual English capability!!! We endeavored to learn how to say 'thank you' in their native tongue, out of respect and a chance to get to know the staff better. It was very rewarding! Anwar was particularly helpful organizing many things for us and any time he saw us on the ship (which was quite often), he would always ask how things were going and if he could help with anything. That's pretty amazing! Excursions were very good, especially the bike tours - see Maria! The prices are cheaper on the ship than I could find looking separately but they sell out fast. Even if they are sold out before you board, you can still see if there is room. We were lucky enough to be able to book the Cinque Terre tour for a very reasonable price. We didn't really eat in the buffets, the Golden Sands provided very good breakfasts and really decent meals that were varied. We mostly ate in the specialty restaurants where the food was very good. We highly recommend the Steak House - hopefully you will have Roman and Tapewa (sp?) as your wait staff, they are fantastic. The Asian was very good as well! We upgraded our current (Aurea) drinks package to the Premium one for $9EU/day - well worth it as you could have all the cappuccinos you wanted, as well as fresh juices, upgraded wine and drinks selection. The bartenders all remembered us, if not exactly what we drank, as we often tried new drinks. I can't remember all of their names but they were almost all great! We didn't make it to the shows at night. It is a big ship, there is no two ways about it, and it is quite modern in styling, however, we didn't find the line ups to go ashore or for excursions were onerous. Some were to be expected. The ship didn't seem crowded, there was always room at the bars and restaurants (make reservations at the specialty restaurants). We had a balcony cabin and really enjoyed being on the balcony when entering and leaving ports. It was much warmer than we were expecting and the pools were definitely in use and a bit crowded.
small bathroom and shower, rooms are a bit small but not bad considering you are really never in them. Enough room for a couch, nice to have a closet to unpack clothes. Laundry service was well worth it, as we were continuing our travels for 2 more weeks in Italy.