Creatine is one of those things that works best the first time you use it. It's like sex: You remember it more the first time.
I still believe in the loading protocol. Many of those who suggest against loading are basing their suggestions on studies that used very wimpy training programs. These wimp programs didn't need a creatine loading program.
The advanced trainer should take a small dose (5 grams) of creatine pre-workout and a small dose post-workout.
By the way, most of the so-called "side effects" of creatine, like gut upset, were caused by using cheap forms of creatine that contained heavy metals. For example, some of the Chinese creatines were analyzed and shown to be 97% creatine and 3% heavy metals.
I've never seen cramping, bloating, diarrhea etc. from a good quality creatine (unless of course you take way too much.) I've used the Biotest brand of German creatine for years with no problems.
Something else to keep in mind: Creatine has other functions besides increasing strength and size, like the prevention of brain aging and for the alkalization of the body. Good stuff.