We arrived in Stockholm 2 days prior to our cruise. We stayed in the Stockholm Sheraton which was a great location. We took the express train from the airport and walked the 2 blocks to the hotel. We visited Gamla Stan, Vasa, Skansen, Ice Bar prior to boarding. We took a taxi to the port from the Sheraton.
Ship was in good shape. There are no good tv stations/movies. The ship is MUCH more smokey than US travels. Food quality was good. Kids were grouped in 12-17 age group which was a bit much in my opinion-truth or dare was a bit much for my 12 year old. Service was wonderful-we had our best head waiter ever...she was involved-got to know our family and didn't just come buy on tip night! Great waiter and stateroom attendants as well. Assistant waiter seemed to be still learning-but very sweet none the less. This trip was very port intensive so we seemed to have less on board time/activities-but we managed to hit lots of trivia and accumulated our fair share of luggage tags and highlighters!
Ports-In Helsinki we toured with SPB-prior reviews in cc were mixed but Maria did a great job and we enjoyed our bus tour. Rock Church was great! Food at the outdoor market was fair at best. In St Petersburg we also used SPB tours-Victoria was great and we were on a tour of 8. We loved Peterhoff gardens and Kate knew all the ins/outs for us to see our sites efficiently/best views etc...considering we only got 1 day in St. Petersburg. The Russian pies were awesome-we ate at Stolle-yummy! We went with Andrew in Gdansk to see the concentration camp. There were 10 on our tour. I thought I would cry at the camp-no tears.No food at the camp-we brought snacks which we ate on the bus...made a yummy trail mix from the granola buffet at breakfast! Day was long so snacks were a must! Andrew's tour was good-Gdansk was lovely-should have made it more clear as to souvenir desires-we only had 1/2 hour and were on a street that only sold Amber (which we already took care of in SPB)-group was looking more for t-shirts, etc. We got back to the ship at 5:30-so a bit rushed for formal night since we had early seating. We did Riga on our own...cute-cheaper Amber than in SPB. We wondered to the church and listened to an organ concert which was lovely. Found a local restaurant and ate outside with a piano player complementing the meal! Helsinki we walked around-botanical gardens, wall, ate outside...lovely-lots of hills!
We chose to use the ship transfer to the airport which was great...off the ship at 7:20-plenty of time to make our 12:00 flight...bummer that in Munich at our stop over we had a 3 hour delay! Evening shows were terrible-no comedians...which I much prefer over the RC singers/dancers...that was my biggest disappointment.
Most frustrating part of the ship was on the first night our party of 10 was sitting at 3 different tables. In fact, my 12 year old was eating on a different deck! After being told there was nothing that could be done because the ship was full, they finally came through and we all ate together!