1. The deluxe cabins are definitely smaller than the penthouses with less closet space and less bathroom space. Plus the PH are butler cabins. Once you're out of the cabin, the experience is the same for everyone with the exception of if you decide you want to eat in the specialty restaurants a third or fourth time, if you're not in a PH or higher, it will cost you extra.
2. The big difference is if it's at all possible, the butler will be able to get you the excursion/specialty restaurant. And yes, embarkation normally (may be different because of covid) means those in a PH can ar