We couldn't fault the itinerary - Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Taillin and Zeebrugge - all well worth visiting. Our only organised tours were in St. Petersburg, preferring to make our own discoveries in our own time, but recognising that the Russian visa system is sufficiently daunting to be best left as someone else's responsibility. The cabin was as roomy and comfortable as you'd expect of a "Standard Inside", and was kept consistently clean and tidy for us.
Most of the staff were excellent - Entertainment staff particularly so. The glaring exceptions were at the Reception Desk, unfortunately, ranging from vague and unhelpful to argumentative and rude.
Can we justify Cunard's 6 star rating? I'm not so sure. The Old Queen is nicely fitted out, to be sure, but not twice as good as the 3-star Pacific Dawn, for example. The food and wine in the Britannia Dining Room were excellent and well worth their rating, but the Lido Buffet, while perfectly acceptable, simply wasn't notably better than less lauded competition.
The biggest complaint is communication breakdowns. Not just language barriers - staff in public contact positions on a supposedly English-speaking vessel who seem barley able to understand or be understood, but systemic communication problems. A few examples:
* not knowing/advising that it was a public holiday in Helsinki on the day we were there
* totally conflicting travel advice within the same daily programme e.g. two different "official currency" listings for Estonia on different pages - and a rude response from the Reception Desk when this was enquired about
* when all four of the on-deck jacuzzis were closed at once, deck crew were unable to advise why or for how long (it turned out to be nearly two days, and we never did get a clear explanation of why). After several passengers, weary after a long days walking had asked the same questions, the deck crew, some of whom had already retreated behind a defence of not understanding the language, deserted completely and left the poolside unattended. When I tried to get an answer from the Reception Desk I was told "the jacuzzis are open from 8am to 8 pm." "Well, they're closed now", I replied. "No, they are not!" "I've just been there - yes they are." "No, they are not!" I didn't appreciate being told in effect that I was either a liar or an idiot by someone who was paid to provide me with 6 star service.
The experience may be (hopefully is) significantly different for 'first class' passengers, but we are all paying 6 star prices for a 6 star experience. I'll travel Cunard again - the good far outweighed the bad - but my expectations won't be set as high.