We did the Baltic cruise with MSC after looking into Royal Caribbean's rate, which were DOUBLE. Baring that in mind, I did not expect the same level of accommodations or boat as Royal Caribbean. The boarding was quick and flawless, much better actually than Royal. The boat was smaller, older and did not have the amenities that Royal did, but we expected and embraced this for half the price. We would not have been able to afford Royal Caribbean so we were happy so far.
Our room was comparable to Royal's! The service was just as good or better. Every single time we left our room, room service was perform and we came back to a made bed and refreshed towels. We left our cabin attendant a well deserved tip.
The spa was awesome. The rooms were beautiful and the Balinese women performing the services were excellent. And for what we saved NOT taking Royal Caribbean, we could purchase a spa package every day and still come out well ahead...
The food service was OK. Our waiter was new and apologetic. The food was average and a little salty at times. WAY way way too many carbohydrates. This is main issue on the ship, not enough fruit or cooked vegetables and way too many carbs. The quality of the pizza and pasta was fine but they desperately need more vegetables as did my poor rear-end by the end of the vacation, if you know what I mean.
Don't do the St. Petersburg tour through the ship, it was terrible. Try to book through an independent tour guide. We didn't get to leave our bus or see any of St. Petersburg outside museums and churches which was heartbreaking.
All in all, four over HALF the price we got almost as much as what Royal Caribbean offered. No major complaints.
Oh- and I counted. There was a total of FIVE announcement on the ENTIRE cruise, most of which were on speakers OUTSIDE the cabin. So to all the ignoramous's complaining about "unending announcements in 5 different languages" you're ridiculous. This was a total non-issue.