We considered several other cruise options, but picked Silver Sea for several reasons. 1. the schedule suited our time frame. 2. I like the no tipping policy, although we did leave a gratuity for our cabin butler and his assistant. (their service was too good not to be recognized). I Like the smaller ship ( can't imagine being on a ship with three thousand plus other passengers). 3. However St Petersburg was the main reason for this particular cruise, been on our bucket list for a long time.
As far as the other ports go. Bruge is really a cute little town, but if I were to do it over again, I would skip the guided tour, and simply take a cab into town. our tour guide although knowledgeable, was often difficult to hear, and had a habit of continuing to talk as cars and trucks rumbled by over the cobblestone streets, completely obscuring his voice.
The crew was exceptional, our treatment was first class in every way. Alex, our cabin butler went beyond my expectations to make us comfortable.