Overall, we loved our cruise. My boyfriend and I are in our early thirties, Americans. He's been on many cruises, this was my first. We really liked the freestyle dining- it was great to be able to eat when we wanted to. Breakfast buffet was our favorite- the omlettes were great! Sit down dining options for dinner were a step up, but not that great. We ended up doing the buffet for dinner several times- don't miss the crepes! Or the night they do the chocolate buffet! There were plenty of entertainment/activity options. I loved the acrobatic couple. The last show of the cruise didn't really impress me- it was sort of a take off of Cirque Du Soleil, but not nearly as good.
In terms of ports, we went to Berlin instead of staying in the port town. Both of us had never been, and it was great. It was a long day, but we loved Berlin. We went with SPB tours, had a wonderful tour guide, and saw a lot!!
The tour company provided bus rides to and from Berlin. Very easy and we thought well worth it.
In Tallinn, Estonia, we explored on our own. We heard from others that the SPB tour there was short and worth it. If you want to see the KGB Museum, make sure to book early in the day. We really liked the Museum of the Occupied- a little off the beaten path, but very interesting. Lots of pretty views and some pretty churches. Lunch at Olde Hansa Restaurant was amazing! We are still talking about it! The dark honey beer was the best beer I've ever tasted!!!
St. Petersburg- we did SPB tour. Overall, it was good, but we didn't get a lot of information about modern Russian life or the Cold War years. Not sure if this is typical or just our experience. The highlight was going to the ballet. We saw a ton of things on our tour- it was exhausting but very interesting. Make sure to bring some cash- lunch was not included.
Helsinki- we did 1-2 hour bus tour that left from the port. Hit up all of the major sites. It was great, as it was a quick overview but left us time to explore on our own. We had lunch at the market which was really good. Salmon and veggies are cooked in front of you.
Stockholm- we did a hop on hop off. Don't miss the Vasa Museum. Lunch at a cafe was extremely expensive- like $70 for 2 sandwiches and 1 coke. Didn't realize it until the bill came- be weary of how expensive things are. Wish we had time for the Nobel Peace Museum.