My daughter & I had a wonderful Baltic Cruise on board the Celebrity Eclipse. It went way beyond our expectations. It was so nice to meet fellow roll call members & put faces to names. The people we spoke to were all so warm, friendly & interesting & really made our trip all that much more enjoyable. I didn't want to get off the ship when it docked at Southampton!! I miss all the fabulous attention we were getting plus our delicious meals & the company of my daughter & fellow passengers on a daily basis.
The food was excellent & serving staff superb. We had dinner in the Moonlight Sonata most nights. Shortly after boarding the ship we went to the dining room to check where our allocated table was for dinner. We had requested set dining for 20.45 hrs at a table for two. This had been allocated to us but our table was next to a partition which separated our table from the serving area. I asked if it were possible to have a table for two near a window. The Maitre D' checked our booking & observed that we had booked the cruise the first day it went on sale in March 2011. He very kindly gave us an excellent table for two with a grand window view!! Needless to say my daughter & I were chuffed & felt that it was a great start to our holiday.
We had dinner in Qsine one night which was a wonderful, playful experience & definitely a uniquely unordinary culinary journey. I had great fun as Captain ordering from the I-Pad!! The cover cost for two was $40. That was a special reduced rate that night. They offer a reduced rate in the specialty restaurants on various nights' especially formal nights & when we were docked for long days. The cover charge was usually reduced by 50%.
We had dinner in the Tuscan Grill at 18.00hrs on Monday the 4th of June as I wanted dinner with a good view of our sail-away through the beautiful islands as we left Stockholm. The view was fantastic. Cover cost for both of us was $60. A good view as you sail in or out of Stockholm can also be seen from the Sky Observation Lounge or the back of the Oceanview Cafe where they have outside tables & chairs. I was in the Sky Observation Lounge at 04.15 hrs admiring the beautiful scenery & wildlife as we sailed into Stockholm!! My daughter thought I was off my head but it was well worth it!! I took some lovely photographs from the back of the Oceanview Cafe that morning. My scenic photographs taken at the Tuscan Grill also came out very well. We had dinner one night at Bistro on Five which was very enjoyable but I must admit that the Moonlight Sonata is exceptional.
My daughter & I took the Classic Non-Alcoholic Package @ $16.10 each per day which worked out very well for us. Our favourite haunt was Caffe Al Bacio where we thoroughly enjoyed our premium coffees & teas along with their delicious complementary pastries & sandwiches. They also serve an excellent hot chocolate!!
A premium coffee costs $5.25. A premium tea costs $4.75. A can of coke costs $2.25.
The 15% gratuity is included in these prices.
I had a total of 31 alcoholic drinks in the 14 days. This consisted of - 1 Martini, 1 Cocktail, 2 Irish Coffees, 1 Baileys & 26 glasses of wine.
Total cost $261.25 which included the 15% gratuity.
Total costs of drinks for me were:
The Classic Non Alcoholic Package: $225.40
31 Alcoholic drinks: $261.25
Total: $486.65 or 'Â£316.01
The cost of The Classic Package would have been $50.60 per day per person.
14 days would have cost: $708.40 or 'Â£460.00!!!!!
The 15% gratuity is included in this price.
The average cost for a glass of wine was $8.50. They ran out of Sauvignon Blanc, by the glass, throughout the ship, by the 5th day!!!!! A lot of complaints were lodged where this was concerned!!!! I did the above exercise to satisfy myself!!!! My daughter was very good -- she only had 6 alcoholic drinks!!!
The Classic Package consisted of all classic non-alcoholic package items plus beers up to $5.75/serving & spirits & wine up to $9.25/serving.
The food in the Oceanview cafe was also excellent. We enjoyed breakfast or brunch there plus their lovely scones or croissants etc in the afternoon!! I had put on four pounds by the time I returned home!! Mind you I am surprised that I hadn't put on more weight!! I am delighted to say that I have since lost the 4 pounds!!
We usually went to a show at 22.45hrs if it appealed to us. Mike & his team worked very hard to keep us entertained but both my daughter & I are quite happy reading our books & listening to nice background music.
If you go to The Cellar Masters Wine Bar there is complementary cheese in the fridge. Best cocktails are to be had at The Molecular Bar on Deck 5 -- near the shops.
Our Stateroom was on Deck 7, Category 2A, Centre of ship, Portside (odd numbers) - excellent position for my daughter & me. We had wonderful room attendants. Nothing was too much trouble for them.
When leaving the ship on Port days, especially if sightseeing on your own, take name & telephone no of Port Agent (on ship's daily information sheet). We were in no rush to get off the ship when it docked. We were usually eating our breakfast!! We walked on & off the ship at every port & never encountered queues. I felt that everything in the ship went like clockwork including embarkation & disembarkation.
At the end of the 1st week I went to Guest Relations to clear my bill as I was carrying all cash with me especially US$. I was able to check my account every day on the TV. On the 5th day of the 2nd week I cleared my account again as I didn't want them to charge my credit card when I had US$.
I wore a Samsonite double pocket money belt when ashore & found it very comfortable to wear.
I bought Luggage E-tag Holders (plastic reusable) from www.cruisegiftstore.co.uk & found them invaluable for protecting my luggage tags for the ship. Ships luggage tags can tear!!! Seal opening on the E-Tags with clear sellotape.
6 holders cost me: 'Â£13.50
Shipping: 'Â£ 2.95
BRUGES (ZEEBRUGGE) BELGIUM: CURRANCY EURO
The ship docked at 07.00hrs on the 27th of May & sailed at 15.00hrs that day.
We had to take the Celebrity coach from the ship to Bruges. We did Bruges on our own (half day).Total cost for two - 'Â£50.00 (Had booked this from home).
As soon as we arrived in Bruges we took a super 30 min canal ride, near The Church of Our Lady, otherwise there would have been very long queues. Cost - 7 Euros each
We then strolled around The Markt (Market Square), The Burg, Stadhuis (oldest & finest Town Hall in Belgium) etc & enjoyed a drink in one of the Squares in the sunshine. We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours in Bruges. It is a beautiful city & so easy to get around.
BERLIN (WARNEMUNDE) GERMANY: CURRANCY EURO
The ship docked at 09.00hrs on the 29th of May & sailed at 23.59hrs that day.
I walked off ship & spent hours wandering around enjoying the fantastic seaside atmosphere, admiring their buildings, taking photographs or relaxing with a coffee, reading my book & watching the world go by -- superb!! - So picturesque. Quite a number of passengers went to Berlin for the day. I heard that SPB-TOURS did an excellent excursion to Berlin that day.
HELSINKI FINLAND: CURRANCY EURO
The ship docked at 10.00hrs on the 31st of May & sailed at 18.00hrs that day.
We took the ship's shuttle bus from the ship to The Swedish Theatre (near centre of Helsinki). We then walked to Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral in Senate Square where we took the open top Hop on Hop off Sightseeing City Tour - Red & Blue Tours (1hr each) which cost 50 Euros for both of us. On the Red Tour we got off at the Rock Church to see it & we then walked back to the city centre. We loved the Market Square. The Lutheran Cathedral, the Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral & the Rock Church were well worth seeing. I personally liked them. We could probably have caught the Hop on Hop off bus at the Port but we couldn't see it. Helsinki is a lovely city but I probably wouldn't want to spend a few days there.
ST PETERSBURG RUSSIA: CURRANCY RUBLE
The ship docked at 07.00hrs on the 1st of June & sailed at 18.00hrs on the 2nd of June.
We ordered breakfast in our stateroom the two mornings we were in St Petersburg because of our early starts. The breakfasts were excellent.
DISEMBARKATION: NO MISTAKES ALLOWED ON RUSSIAN MIGTATION CARD.
We used SPB-TOURS for the two days we were in St Petersburg. They were excellent. I would highly recommend them to anybody wanting to make the most of their time in St Petersburg. Cost for the two of us: - $600 + $90 in tips - $30 for the driver & $60 for the guide. Total: - $690. Our guide was Elena Skidan & our driver was Vladimir. Elena took us to an excellent souvenir shop at the end of day one. It was the most reasonably priced of any shops that I had seen including the ship. They take $ therefore you don't need Ruble. We had 16 on our tour.
Ship's crew are not very helpful to passengers who are doing private tours!! Don't let this put you off. When disembarking for your tour go to one deck above where you would normally disembark shortly after ship docks. You will probably meet up with other passengers who are doing the same as you. Don't smile or talk to Border Control Officer unless they speak to you. Our officer was a very attractive, young, red headed lady who wished us a nice visit as we left her which then put us at our ease. We had no problem getting on & off the ship in St Petersburg once we had our necessary paperwork etc. Tour Company provides you with the necessary paperwork.
DAY 1: - We were driving away in mini-bus from ship at 07.35hrs & returned at 18.35hrs.
DAY 2: - We were driving away from ship at 08.00hrs & returned at 17.00hrs.
We paid for tour at the start of the 2nd day. I paid in US$. We had sunshine the 1st day & rain the 2nd day. St Petersburg was absolutely beautiful & an unforgettable travel experience.
SPB DELUXE TOUR
June 1st, 2012 June 2nd, 2012
Two-day tour programme in St.Petersburg/Russia
** 16 pax: 300 USD per person
in cash (USD, EUR, RUB) or by credit card (Visa, Mastercard) in St.Petersburg*
you can cancel your tour reservation in a written form minimum two weeks prior to your arrival
07.00-07.30 am Meet at the ship as soon as the ship is cleared
07.30-09.30 am City sightseeing tour. Subway ride. A brief stop
at the Grand Choral Synagogue.
09.45-10.30 am A visit to Peter and Paul's fortress and
cathedral, the burrial place of the Russian Emperors
11.00-11.30 am Hydrofoil ride to Peterhof
11.30-01.00 pm Walk in the Peterhof Lower fountain park and
the Upper gardens
01.15-02.15 pm Lunch at a local restaurant
02.15-03.15 pm Drive to the Tsars' Village (summer residence)
03.30-05.00 pm A visit to the Catherine's palace with the Amber
room and a walk in the park
05.00-06.00 pm Drive back to St.Petersburg
06.00 pm Return to the ship
Tour price includes the following services:
1. all port fees for two days and all local Russian taxes
2. english-speaking guide for two days
3. A/C vehicle for two days with this timing (every extra hour costs $30)
4. admission tickets to all the museums shown on the itinerary
5. early entrance to the Hermitage Museum
6. hydrofoil ride
7. pass for the camera in the museums except for the Yusupov palace (camera pass $6, video pass $12)
8. lunches on both tour days
9. one bottle of water per person per day
11.canal boat ride
12.audio head-sets for groups of 10+
Tour price does not include gratuities to the guide and driver. Suggested tip is 10% to the guide and 5% to the driver.
*If you want to pay with a credit card we will charge the sum of payment for the tour from your credit card in Rubles. The currency exchange
rate will be established according to the current rates of the Russian State Central Bank. 3% will be added to the tour price for banking services.
**1 USD of your total tour cost will be donated to the Orphanage House No. 40 in St.Petersburg. Thank you for your help!
08.00 am Meet at the ship, paying for the tour
08.30-09.30 am City sightseeing tour by boat
09.30-12.00 pm Special early entrance to the Hermitage
12.00-01.00 pm Lunch: traditional Russian meal at
the Russian pie place
01.00-01.30 pm Excursion in the Church of Our Saviour
on the Spilled Blood
02.00-03.30 pm A visit to the Yusupovs' Palace
03.45-04.30 pm A visit to St.Isaac's cathedral
05.00 pm Return to the ship
Note: Tour sequence may vary depending on overcrowding at
venues, museums' closing days and traffic conditions.
TALLINN ESTONIA: CURRANCY EURO
The ship docked at 08.00hrs on the 3rd of June & sailed at 17.00hrs that day.
We took a taxi from the ship to the top of the old town & walked down. Total cost of taxi for two - 15 Euro. It is a beautiful old medieval city. We loved it. We took the ship's shuttle at the edge of the old town, near the flower market, back to the ship. Cost of shuttle - 4 Euro each.
STOCKHOLM SWEDEN: CURRANCY SWEDISH KRONER
The ship docked at 08.00hrs on the 4th of June & sailed at 17.00hrs that day.
We took the Stromma Hop on Hop off boat with sightseeing when we came off the ship -- we followed the red line. Tourist booth on quayside will advise re boat. Excellent boat trip--skipper was very informative. Total cost of boat for both of us - 200 Kr. Make sure to take boat that stops at the palace as boat next to it doesn't. We got off at the palace. Changing of the guards is at 12.00hrs-worth seeing. Best view is from the right side, as you face the palace, in the Square. Stockholm is beautiful. Strolled around the old town etc then took boat back to ship. I would love to return to Stockholm for a longer visit.
COPENHAGEN DENMARK: CURRANCY DANISH KRONER
The ship docked at 09.00hrs on the 6th of June & sailed at 23.59hrs that day.
We took the City Sightseeing Ho Ho bus when we came off the ship. We did the Combo Route with Tivoli Gardens which consisted of the red, purple & yellow links plus entrance to Tivoli Gardens. Total cost for both of us - 510 DKK.
LAST TOUR BUS DEPARTS AT 16.30 HRS - depending on the time of year!!!
We did the Ho Ho tours first. The tours lasted two & a half hrs. We then went to Tivoli gardens which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It has class & charm. We saw peacock chicks much to my delight!! This was the only place I had to use my credit card in the whole trip. We had a club sandwich between us, my daughter had a coke & I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc plus an Irish coffee. Total cost -- 256.06 DKK. We then walked to Nyhavn. It is a lovely picturesque harbour with old sailing ships & numerous bars & restaurants. It was a hive of activity as it was a beautiful day. We took the Stomma canal tour at 18.00hrs. Canal tour took 1hr & cost a total of 140 DKK. There was a cheaper canal tour close by but it had finished early!! We then walked back to the ship passing the Palace, Little Mermaid etc. We arrived back at the ship at 20.20hrs just in time for dinner!! It was a fair walk but I was also taking photographs!! We had thoroughly enjoyed our day. The changing of the guards at Amalienborg Palace takes place at 12.00hrs. It is also nice to stroll along Stroget which is the world's longest pedestrian street!!
I feel very fortunate to have had such a wonderful trip with my daughter in relatively good weather. I hope to sail with Celebrity again sometime in the future.