We just got back from our second ever cruise and second this year! The Westerdam is a gorgeous ship with wonderful service and excellent food.
The Baltic Cruise was everything we thought it would be. The on shore excursions offered by HAL were good. The ship was elegant and the entertainment was very good. There was something to do for every taste: movies, shows, casino, lounges of various kinds from piano bar to small dance band.
HAL did shut down the jacuzzis at 10 p.m. which annoyed my husband since on our first cruise (on Princess) he went to the jacuzzi every night at about 11 p.m.
The highlight of our trip was the two day St. Petersburg tour that we booked with Red October. Everything we read about this company was true. They give excellent value and have superb tour guides. They really do 'go to the head of the line' at the Hermitage and St. Catherine's Palace. Our tour guide (one of the Helens) Alena was knowledgeable and patient with all of our questions. She shared her political views with us and brought us to an authentic Russian restaurant for an excellent lunch. The tour was less expensive than that offered by HAL and let us see more of the city.