We cruised the Baltic on MSC Orchestra Aug 8 ~ 15 2009. The ports of call were Kiel, Stockholm, Tallinn, Saint Petersburg. This is our third cruise. Previsouly we cruised in Alaska with RCI and Carribean with Carnival.
We flew into Copenhegen on Aug 7 and spent a day looking around the lovely city. On Aug 8 around 3:30pm, we embarked the ship. The embarkation process was very easy.
Once we are on the sip we found the ship was absolutely beatiful! Everything was well maintained. The cleanness of the ship was better than RCI or Carnival.
We really liked the food on the ship. While we also liked the food on RCI and Carnival, those food are more Americanized in terms of flavor and taste. They taste more like the food you would eat in a local American resteraunt. The food on Orchestra is more Europeanized. It is lighter in taste, lighter in salt content, and healthier. They also have some selections that you would be able to find on Carnival or RCI.
What we do not like about the dining, is the crowdeness of the dining area during breakfst and lunch buffet. You can take your plate and wonder for 10 minutes w/o finding a seat. I think the ship under designed the buffet capacity. The dinner seating was fine. The bottle water costs 3.5 Euro. We asked for ice water which was free. All the tables around us have wine and bottle water. We were probably viewed as the cheapy Americans. I cound not jusity spending $5 for a bottle of water.
Regarding the Port of Call, the ship makes a stop in Kiel, primarily to pick up German cruisers. Over half of the passengers on the ship are German. I wish they can make the stop in Helsinki instead of Kiel.
The ship crew understands and speaks English. Keep in mind this is an Italian ship and the Italians may have a different way of expressing certain things, which may not be the same as the Americans. Some people may think this is rude, but I think this is more of a culture difference. You can tell that the crew tried very hard to please the passengers.
The entertainment was pretty good. Since the population was very mixed on the ship, there were no comedy shows! The dancers were very professional. The Irish dance was fantastic! The shows were 30~45 minutes, a little shorter than RCI or Carnival. I enjoyed all of the singers, except an older female lady. I did not know why they hired her: no good voice, no good looking, no good figure.
We had a great time!