This was our fourth cruise with HAL and we loved it. The others have all been to hot-weather locations. On this one the weather was good on all the land days and ideal for sightseeing but it was too cold to use the swimming pool (other than for a bracing wake-up call !) I missed lazing poolside on sea days but that's not HAL's fault. We chose this cruise for the destinations and they more than met our expectations. All 5 were memorable.
Personally I thought the art on the Noordam and Veendam was better but that's just me and made no difference to the cruise experience. Everything esle was as before, withthe usual terrific service.
Our pre-cruise research made it very clear that apart from St Petersburg all the other ports were very easy to do on your own. This made the land days quite cheap, unless you actually bought anything whilst on land. I was so busy sightseeing to have time to shop or have lunch so this was not an issue for me.
All in all, another superb cruise, I would happily return to every port. In addition to my descriptions of the ports I have made short YouTube videos of the main sights at each, and if they are of interest you can find them by searching on my YouTube username, which is also Cornishpastyman1. (St Petersburg films to be added as soon as I can but all the others are there)