Our experience on the Esprit is two years old now (I've posted a link to my blog on a separate thread if you're interested) and I'm sure things may have changed since then. We had a lovely cruise on the Esprit but if there was one negative for us was the lack of a balcony (for the same reasons you mention). We were after all in hot, sunny, tropical weather and we were not on shore all the time during the day. BUT, and it's a big but, we did decide that the ship was perfect for the not-so-hot itineraries and we would sail on her again on the type of itinerary you're looking at or along the Dalmatian coast. There are plenty of lovely outdoor spots to hang out. As for an enrichment program, there was none on our trip. I would get your travel agent to call Crystal directly to see what if anything they offer on your itinerary.