We have never cruised before, and chose the specific cruise we went on, due to the availability of kid’s activities for our 10 year old daughter, the destinations throughout the Baltics and a decent price. Getting on board as newbies was a bit stressful, as we did not know the process and there was little information about what to expect. We also was more stressed than was required as we roamed around trying to find out how to register a credit card to our cruise card (which wasn’t obvious on the machines) and find out how the kids club works and how/where to go.
As it turned out our daughter never gelled with the kids club, as she was hitting the top end of her age group and felt they were being treated childishly and there were few kids of her age. I did get the feeling a lot of other kids truly enjoyed it, just not ours.
The boat was generally fairly busy and the common areas (particularly the buffet and the pool areas) could be very crammed and chaotic. At times the central inside area was blocked by other activities. The dining area was great, with a new menu every day, so there was always lots of choice.
We did ultimately enjoy our cruise and had some nice on land days, both self served and on excursion, though it will probably be better if we do another cruise now we know what to expect.
The staff was generally attentive, smiley and professional, and the fact that all gratuities were paid centrally was more comfortable, as we come from a culture where wages are fair and tipping is only applicable if the service is exceptional.
Disembarkation was brilliant, taking us 10 minutes from we were called till we were in a taxi.
By and large the cabin was nice, though the bed dropping down from the ceiling was a bit of a pain, and it took us quite a while to work out how to stow it. The biggest issue with the cabin was the amount of noise from the common areas on floor 6 and 7 with the central activities (70's night, white night, etc) and the live music events in the tv bar and the pub was very loud in our room, and made it very difficult to sleep. The balcony is deeper than the balconies on higher floors, but it comes at a cost of being partially obscured by life boats, though this was only really an issue if low to the ground.