My family and I cruised for the first time ever in June. We were nervous that cruising wouldn't be for us but we absolutely loved it!
We arrived in Copenhagen a few days prior to embarkation which I would highly recommend. Copenhagen is a beautiful city and very easy to get around. It was also helpful to adjust to the time change before beginning the cruise. The embarkation process went extremely smoothly and there was barely a wait to board the ship.
The ports of call were phenomenal! We opted to stay in Warnemunde and Rostock rather than go to Berlin and thoroughly enjoyed both small cities. My favorite stop was Stockholm but I wished we had more time there. Traveling through the archipelago was stunning! For travelers going to St. Petersburg for the firs time, be aware that the ship excursion desk if very serious when it warns about long wait times. Disembarkation in Russia was lengthy because of passport control and the museums and sights were very crowded. Be prepared to be patient.
We loved the ship itself. It never felt crowded and there were always public places to escape for serenity. We enjoyed the shows, especially the aerialists and Elements on the last night.
As for the food, we were told by friends to avoid the buffet and eat in the main dining rooms. The Versailles room was our favorite and we enjoyed the variety, presentation and flavors of our meals. The staff were amazingly attentive and accommodating. We never waited for a table either and usually were seated near the aft windows. We did eat at the buffet out of necessity once and it was just OK. We found that between Versailles, Aqua and Blue Lagoon that it was fairly easy to avoid the buffet and have a nice, sit down meal or snack.
Service on the ship was wonderful all around. We will definitely do another cruise with NCL!