This was our first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship is large but not intimidating the crew were very friendly and helpful. We cruised the Baltic sea visiting Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Warnemunde and Kiel. We didn't take the Holland America excursions but used Cruising Excursions.com offered by IGLU, these were very similar to the Holland America but at a lower price and having discussed other peoples experiences at dinner, we believe we had the better experience. To keep fit we only used the stairs and there was 10 decks and 3 times round deck 3 was equal to 1 mile (no need to go to the gym). If you take the St Petersburg 2 day tour you will find it is a full on 2 days of 8 hours but very worthwhile. Food was fantastic and portions not to large. We would recommend open seating as this gives much greater flexibility and allows you to share with a variety of others. Embarkation and disembarkation was efficient and well organised, we had a late flight on our return so we used left luggage at the airport not cheap 80 DDK for 4 hours or 100 DDK for 24 Hours and only one large case to a box. We would recommend Holland America line as it more relaxed than other lines they had two Gala nights and a Jacket and tie was sufficient we however had a dinner suit and elegant dress and were still not out of place.