We sailed from September 11 to 20, 2011 - this cruise was the last cruise of the Baltic this year, after that they reposition to the Caribbean. During this time of the year, the Baltic states are cold and rainy. It is probably better to take the cruise earlier than September to get a better weather.
I like the ports of call especially the 2 nights in ST. Petersburg. Except for the weather, SPB was the highlight of our trip.
Do not even bother asking the tour desk staff about the existence of the HOHO because they don't know. Either they intentionally won't tell you or they simply just don't know. I know because I asked where to get to HOHO and I was told there is no such HOHO, but when we exited the ship, the HOHO was right there.
I also recommend attending an art lecture about the hermitage if you plan to tour the hermitage museum, it will enhance your experience if you know the artists and the arts you expect to see. The ship has an art lecturer/dealer on board. Look for schedule of lectures on the ship's newsletter.
Again, do not bother asking the tour desk about the existence of the HOHO because they are not aware of its existence. I know because I asked and I was told there is no such HOHO.