Hi Gyro (and Goldy) ,
I play on digital myself, but I don't agree, there's no way to compare digital to acoustic.
The feeling of playing a real piano (if I haven't in a while, I'll drive to a showroom or something.) gives me a lot extra feeling, even if all else being equal. But it's not equal, a huge showroom about 40km/25miles away from me (in Culemborg) has a huge acoustic piano showroom (I sat there playing a 3 meter/9 foot Bosendorfer grand piano last time I went.
) and many digitals on the top floor, so you can get a good feel for all sorts of piano's. Side by side, there's so much more expression possible on a grand, and the mechanisms of the actions feel different too. Not that the action of digitals will hinder your play, it's just different.
The sound of a real acoustic sounds 1000x better then anything digital to me. Simply because it is real, real strings produce the sound, and it's "alive", with so much more depth and caracter. Striking the first keys on an (any, even a lousy one) acoustic after months of playing digital gives me goosebumps everytime.
And the expression that's possible is always amazing to me. When I struggle with dynamics on a digital, I seem to be able to get it spot on the moment I try on an acoustic piano.
Indeed digitals are great for practising, are adequate for almost any pianist, and are also adequate for most casual performing. (like on a cruiseship, as you mentioned. I'm sure casual public indeed doesn't hear/care/know the difference. That's not true for a pianistic audience though.)
However if you have some pashion for piano, there's no way to compare, and for that reason alone digitals (no matter how good they'll become) will never replace acoustic.
Now I got to stop to get some practise in tonight, on my digital. :rolleyes: