This was my second cruise experience and I have to say that overall, I was very disappointed. A few years ago I cruised through the Panama Canal with Celebrity, and I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it. This cruise, by comparison was a real let down.
The Baltic ports were wonderful, but the atmosphere and service aboard the ship was poor. Most of the staff seemed fairly jaded, tired and impatient, as though they had seen one cruise to many. On several occasions, I was addressed incredibly rudely by customer-facing staff. In the duty free, I waited for over 15 minutes while the shop assistant chatted to the only person before me in the queue. She made no recognition that I was waiting, no eye-contact and no acknowledgement (which is all it takes). Eventually, I left without buying my perfume. Smiles were very sparse indeed and every request seemed like too much trouble. This was the polar opposite of my Celebrity experience.
The shore excursions were very pricey indeed and there were no practical lectures aboard the ship to inform you about the forthcoming destinations. Nobody wished to help you work out how to explore the ports independently. If there wasn't a big handful of bucks in it, nobody was interested in helping. Even a galley tour to the kitchens and the laundry cost $79 per person, which is pretty inexcusable I feel. Everything combined to make me feel as though I was part of a battery tourist operation that was interested solely in the size of my wallet.