Having cruised with RCI before on several occasions, embarkation was as it has been for our last 4-5 cruises, as easy as pie. We arrived at the port by taxi, the staff at the port collected our cases and within 15 - 20 minutes we were onboard. Well done RCI, this is how returning cruisers should be dealt with.
The ship itself is in need of refurbishment, there was one lift in particular that would stop at a floor and then the doors would just open and close, some carpets are frayed and edges lifting and in general it needs the upgrade that some of the other ships in the fleet have received.
We chose this cruise as we wanted to travel to see places that we had never been before. The Baltic Cruise seemed ideal. Our only issue with this was our first day in St Petersburg. We had to queue for 1.5 hours to get through immigration, something that should have been in the cruise compass. Immigration staff aren't particularly friendly either, then when returning to the ship we had to queue again for a further 30mins.
Overall the cruise was lovely, the staff were as usual exceptional. There are always a few that go above and beyond and this cruise was no exception.
In some of the ports it would have been nice to have had a little longer to explore before having to be back onboard, But I understand there is a schedule to keep to. However in St Petersburg, when we had an overnight stop, the 1st days excursion to The Peterhof Palace would have benefited from an extra hour or two, as we were rushed through the palace and had no time on our own to enjoy the grandeur of the palace. The staff at the palace were not very nice either, very fed up looking and if you took too long they would snap their fingers at you or poke you to move you on.
Tallinn in Estonia was a highlight of our trip, the people are very friendly and the old town is beautiful.
Food on the ship was of a good standard, although it can be a bit repetitive at times, the new mexican restaurant Sabor was excellent though.
The ice show was spectacular and well worth seeing, the ventriloquist was an enjoyable show also. only caught a few moments of other shows so it wouldn't be fair to comment.
On the whole we enjoyed our cruise and have booked already for next year with RCI, on the same ship. Not sure that I would do the Baltic Sea cruise again, but it is certainly a lovely cruise and I would recommend it to others to try.
Lovely cabin, very spacious and the room steward was excellent.