The cruise was amazing! What better way to see the countries of northern Europe, all while being pampered with towel animals and gourmet food?
My wife, myself, and our daughter (2 years old) travelled on this cruise in order to see northern Europe. We all had a blast. What's not to like about this cruise and cruise line?
People: The staff were great! Our cabin steward (Benson) learned our names the first day and called us all (all three of us) by name every time he saw us. He would open our cabin for us if he saw us coming down the hall. If you're lucky enough to get Benson, you're lucky! However, at the same time, the rest of the staff was great too. The thing I have to say is that a two nights we received not-up-to-standard wait staff. Other than that, all personnel were very friendly!
Ship: The ship had many ammenities. We didn't use the pools (too cold), but they were clean and maintained. We even saw the pool chairs being scrubbed (with soap More
and water) near the last day. Good to know that gets done! The only negative I found was one design flaw. To get from the Kids Korner to the balcony of the theater (both deck 7), one had to walk through the smoky casino. Kids aren't supposed to walk through there anyway, but it was a pain to walk down to deck six, then back up to deck 7. The other complaint (more of an observation) I had was that only some of the elvators went down to 3 and up to 12. However, my advice to future sailers is to find these elevators in the beginning of your cruise, and then you'll know where they are. Once we figured this out, we were fine.
Cabin: Our cabin was spacious and comfortable. The under-the-bed storage space for bags was nice. Also, the plastic on the bed in order to put your luggage out and not get the bedspread dirty was also a nice touch! There was ample closet and storage space for all of our belongings (including toys, snacks, and extra clothes for our daughter). We even brought the big jogging stroller, and it fit nicely in the closet. Even with the pack-and-play in the room, there was enough room to move around freely. Excellent!
Dining: We enjoyed the freestyle dining. It allowed us to eat when we wanted, which is very importnat when eating with a two year old. however, at the same time, it was not uncommon to see people dressed up for dinner! Freestyle doesn't mean not classy. Of course, there is always the buffet option, which had many options and different types of food. Overall, the food was good. We had a great variety and enjoyed our dining experiences!
Entertainment: The entertainment was so-so. The ship's dancers and singers were very good, but the other shows were... iffy. There was a German guy who played the marimba and many other instruments and was quite impressive the first night. He had another show two nights later that was horrid. It was advertised as a "World of Percussion", but in all reality it was him changing the settings on his marimba to make it sound like different percussion instruments. The magician was not good either. Not only was he predictable, he had to encourage the audience to applaud after every trick. On the plus side, the ship had LOTS of live music at various places and times, and plenty of variety to choose from. Very impressive on that front.
Kids Korner: Having a two year old (two years and one month), this was the first time we could use the kids area for our daughter. She had a blast! The workers were friendly and the activities were engaging. Our daughter loved going and we used it often. Great program! Less
We had the perfect cabin. We had ample space, even with a Pack-N-Play set up in our room. The closet was big. We had storage for all of our clothes and gear and didn't have things sitting everywhere! We were mid-ship and close the the elevators. It was awesome!
I almost didn't list this, because we didn't "stop" here. However, it deserves to be listed. Copenhagen is an awesome town with so much to see. We did it in two days, but I could have spent three here. Walking tours, changing of the gaurd, crown jewels, little mermaid, Carlsberg brewery, new harbor... It's all gorgeous!
Make sure you allow ample time to see this great city!
Helsinki was...well, unfortunatly, it was a Sunday and a national holiday, so most stores didn't open until after noon. We had a shore excursion booked up to Porvoo, but cancelled it when we found out everything would most likely be closed. We ended up taking the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus to its farthest point, and walking back into the city, seeing what we wanted to see on the way. The weather wasn't the greatest, but we had fun anyway. Beware, Helsinki is expensive! In fact, we were told in Tallinn and Helsinki that Finland exports good to Estonia, then Finns take the ferry to Estonia to buy back the Finnish goods because it's cheaper in Estonia.
We had been to Berlin prior to the cruise, so we didn't "excursion" to Berlin. We took the train to Rostock, walked around there, and then trained back to Warnemunde. Warnemunde is an awesome little port city. However, the sea gulls will take the food right out of your hands. Literally. I was buzzed three times because I was eating ice cream and I watched a sea gull take a bratwurst out of a guys hand as he was eating it. However, it was a good time!
Tour was good. Unfortunately, it was Friday, so the traffic was hoorible getting through the city. This caused our tour at the Peterhof gardens and fountains to be rushed. I would have liked more time to take pictures. It was beautiful, however!
The port itself is awesome! We took a shore excursion up to the oldest town in Sweden, Sigtuna. It's well off the beaten path and beyond an information point which sells touristy stuff, the town wasn't touristy at all. However, this was a great appeal! It was raining, but we didn't care!
We then visited the Vasa museum. Awesome! Even if you're not a fan of ships, you can't help but find this impressive.
The only drawback to Stockholm was the time is short. Our shore excursion took us right up to all aboard time. The only shopping we got to do was at the portside kiosk.
However, perhaps the best part about Stockholm was the outward sail. For about four hours after leaving the port, you are sailing through the archipelego, with island after island after island. It is amazing scenery, and although it was rainy, windy, and cold, I stood on the balcony the entire time! It was awesome!
This city is awesome! We took a shore excursion with city tour. The sights of this city are amazing! Historic architecture and very friendly people. Many people speak English! I must admit that this was the port i was least excited about, but became one of my favorite ports of call.