M V Marco Polo, well that's her name now, as she started life as an icebreaker being launched in the 60's and although she has been updated since there is an age problem in that at her normal cruising speed of 17 knots and just a hint of inclement weather then the vibrations from the propellers set in with our cabin doors, ceiling and wall panels rattling all night. At least we found a good use for the daily information sheet as when folded and jammed in doors it quietened them a little.To think we paid for an upgrade to go up and aft and where at 5am on every morning the crew would start cleaning the outside decks and lifeboats with metal buckets bouncing off metal decks, at least we were up in time for the 7 o'clock tea. Being over 6ft made getting into the shower interesting, especially when I dropped my shampoo on my toe but no matter as with the water temp. going from very cold to very hot in an instant I didn't spend long there.
Don't get me wrong, the ship is small and intimate with the hospitality crew working their socks off to please and the other passengers very amenable, with many a word exchanged, normally when standing with a full plate of food and waiting for a free table in the restaurant.
Now for the homework bit, the itinerary sounds comprehensive but timings seem to be suited more for the cruise line than the passenger. Of the 11 day cruise, nearly 5 of those are at sea, with only 1 day in St. Petersburg, 4 hours in Stockholm and the transit of the Kiel Canal starting at 11 at night and exiting at 8 next morning, that made for some interesting comments from fellow travellers who had all expected to see us through during daylight. Information on ports of call is dire with not even a city map available on board and the first day lecture on destinations is blatantly to sell their tours, so I do recommend that you get as much information as you need before sailing and find out the docking times at each port.
Sorry about the moans as we really enjoyed the trip to visit places we have longed to see and were quiet proud to return home more sober and less heavy than when we started.
I won't mention the gym, honest. you would cry.