This was a gift for my wife who is an intermediate at cello.I wanted to buy a cello that wasn't a beginners one, and I understand this model was more traditional materials (e.g. ebony tuning pegs etc). I was looking at different models and I suppose I finally ended on choosing Yamaha because of it's reputation within orchestral instruments manufacturing.
The packaging seemed sturdy.the instrument very well protected. It came with a soft-case, which seemed pretty ordinary. I would guess few would transport/store a cello (in this price tier) in a soft case. My wife already had a cello hardcase and was uninterested in it.
I don't play the cello, so comments are what I picked up from my wife and her dad (which is an old music school principal and composer that basically can play all instruments in an orchestra),
First my father-in-law tested the cello, he deemed it well built and he thought it had a nice warm, full tone. He told me there didn't seem to be any wolf tones coming from it. I noted it didn't take him very long to tune it/adjust it. Did he think it was worth the money? He was suggesting it would cost me somewhere around ?2000-3000 to find a "decent" cello, and he was obviously content with the sound, so I assume that is a yes.
My wife commented the instrument felt solid, it had a very nice finish, she like the tone. Maybe this is nowadays standard, but she noted a nice feature is that it had a rubber foot on the endpin making an endpin anchor unneccessary.