Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise. But compared to other cruises I have been on, the service was inconsistent.
Embarkation and disembarkation at the home port and at the port of calls all went very smoothly.
Our cabin (Deck 10, balcony) was in fairly good condition and maintained well by the cabin steward.
The port of calls were all very enjoyable and interesting. We used a non-NCL tour company (Alla Tours) for all ports except Warnemunde. The tour company was excellent and informative in all ports. In St. Petersburg they limit the size of their tours to 16. The tour size in all other ports were no larger than 20. This was extremely beneficial when visiting the very crowded sites and getting on/off the bus. (I understand that the cruise-sponsored tours can be as large as 40-50 people,)
Since the weather never got warmer than the low 60's, few people we able to use the pool area. This led to everyone being inside, which made the ship feel crowded all the time. It was also difficult to get seated in the (non-specialty) during prime dining time.
I think NCL wins in their entertainment department. Excellent specialty acts and performers in the theatre and the lounges. And the NCL dancers were also excellent. Definitely Broadway caliber.
The most frustrating part of the cruise was the inconsistency of the service in all of the dining rooms, even the specialty restaurants. It was sometimes very good and friendly, and sometimes slow and inept. I blame the management for this. Most of the wait staff appeared to be trying hard but seemed rushed. Not sure if they were under-staffed or just disorganized. But we found the menu and quality of the food to be good, and sometimes very good. We ate in the buffet very few times due to it being perpetually crowded. A very early breakfast or late lunch are the best times to attempt a visit.
We chose NCL because they had the best price for the Baltic itinerary. Therefore, I'm not too disappointed with the few annoyances we had to put up with.