We walked around the old city of Stockholm after arriving from our overnight flight before going to the ship for departure. It would have been better if we had been able to have an extra day to see Stockholm without having to go to a separate hotel for the night. I wanted to visit as many Baltic countries as possible in good weather. The August weather was near perfect every single day.
I would liked to have seen Moscow but the 18-hour trip day would have been too strenuous with the early rising, 8 hours of train riding, & getting back to the ship late. It would have left me too exhausted to enjoy the following day in St. Petersburg. As it was, I enjoyed my tours in & around St. Petersburg & still didn't have time to see it all.
We had been on a Silver Cloud cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona several years ago in September. We think the staff was more attentive on that cruise. Perhaps because this was the last cruise of this ship before overhaul, the staff was just not as up on their game & anxious for the ordeal to be over & done with. At meals we often had a hard time getting our water glasses refilled. This was a real problem as we were only drinking water. Also, service was usually slow. We noticed staff simply not paying attention to what they were supposed to be doing.
The tour in Germany to see a UNESCO World Heritage site was a disappointment because it was overpriced for what you received. The guide used a microphone on the bus & that was fine. But once the group of about 33 people was off the bus, he didn't have a microphone & we also weren't provided with radio headsets so the situation wasn't conducive to hearing all that was said. We should have been broken down into smaller groups or else provided hearing sets. Also, we got an hour of "shopping" time. I would rather have had more tour time. That's what I came on this trip for. I wanted to see the sites & learn about the history of the area. On the return trip back to the ship the guide didn't give us a narrative; he let us have some "rest" time. I would rate him average, but for the price we paid we had expected above average. Several people commented that this particular tour was a ripoff.
The private tour we took to Catherine's Palace was only average because of the guide. We enjoyed actually seeing the Palace though. She took us to a shop back in St. Petersburg for a few minutes to souvenir shop. I bought a small Faberge egg there (to hold my hearing aids while sleeping). Later in other shops I saw similar eggs for almost 1/2 the price I had paid! I think the guides should not take you to places to shop where the prices are inflated. We thoroughly enjoyed the lectures on the ship given by the professor Dr. Ed Lynch from Hollins University in Virginia. He was GREAT!!! He certainly made a huge contribution to our satisfaction with this trip.
The cabin was clean & spacious with adequate storage. There was one cabinet under the TV that had no shelves & didn't seem to serve any purpose. Drawers in that space would have been much better. We liked the walk-in closet. There were too few clothes hangars but we were able to get more when we asked. It would have been better if there had been a USB charging station.
We usually ordered breakfast delivered to our room. There were errors made on many days. The ship ran out of cream cheese so we didn't have that for 2 or 3 days. I ordered mango one day but didn't get it (maybe they ran out of that too). I ordered waffles on 2 days but still got pancakes instead. Heard they don't have waffles so I don't know why it's on the menu. One day about 1/2 of what I'd ordered for breakfast didn't show up. I like decaffeinated tea but only Chamomile & Mint flavors were offered. Since I don't like Chamomile, I had to drink Mint every single day. Also, one day the hot water container was filled not with hot water but with coffee!!! So I didn't get tea that day.
The free one hour/day internet service was terrible. I spent the whole hour of my time trying to get online & then my free time was used up before I actually even got to my emails!!! My husband thereafter ended up paying hundreds of dollars for 24/7 internet service. It shouldn't have to cost so much.