The cruise started out great. One week before the cruise, NCL called and offered to upgrade us to a mini-suite from a outside cabin with balcony for a minimal charge. It was an easy decision since we increased floor space by 50%. Embarkment was easy.
The room we had was beautiful. The largest we have ever had and nicely accommodated. We had a wonderful cabin stewart, Michael When we sailed from Dover, you could hear a whistling coming from the outside balcony door. We temporarily fixed with a towel. It was reported to cabin stewart and fixed the next day by carpenter putting in weatherstripping. A few days into cruise, the paint and primer from the balcony of our neighbor's cabin fell onto our balcony in middle of the night. Hopefully this was corrected once shipped docked in Dover. Overall--ship is in need of updating--worn carpentry and fading paint.
Destinations were great. We did private tours or walked on our own in all locations except Stockholm. There we used an NCL excursion and was sorely disappointed since it failed to come close to matching the description. Including being short on time. It confirmed our decision to arrange our own tours as the best approach.
Tallin is a beautiful stop and very easy to do without a planned tour. Same is true for Copenhagen and Helsinki. St. Petersburg and Berlin you need an arranged tour. Many people have private tours. Our tour in Berlin was higher price than NCL, but St. Petersburg arrangements lower cost. Both times we had great tour guides. Stockholm is where boat doesn't dock and you tender. An hour trip into stockholm. We did note that many cruise ships appear to anchor closer to stockholm to avoid the one hour trip. No such option for the Berlin stop. Since all cruise ships dock at Warnemunde and there is a 2-3 hour ride to Berlin
Food on Board was mediocre compared to other cruise lines. There was a sameness each day. As others have noted, the buffet is a zoo--too small an area for the ship. Where possible, we had breakfast at Seven Seas The outdoor cafe (next to the inside buffet) is only place available for food between 2.30 & 5 pm. Ship is not flexible. On day it poured rain (Copenhagen)--rather than open indoor buffet, ship made all passengers go out in rain to get food. Most passengers came back to ship early because of rain. No one was happy to go back out in rain to have lunch. We did not use any of the specialty dinner sites. We also discovered late in cruise, that if you ask for something not on the menu (like a baked potato)--you could get one. This is a good tip to know from the beginning of the cruise.
Back to our primary theme. We are very glad we took the trip and enjoyed all of the destinations (particularly Tallin, St. Petersburg and Berlin). However, in future we will look at other cruise lines, unless NCL is offering only trip that meets our destination and timing needs.
To all, have a great trip.