Our Family Had a Baltic Blast!
We booked this cruise for our 3 single 20 something children, my husband and myself 10 months prior through an internet cruise specialist agency. We booked our non refundable direct flight the same week through an internet travel site. The prices on the air fares dropped significantly around Christmas and January for "Summer Specials". No price adjustment was allowed without canceling and rebooking and suffering severe penalties from the online travel agency and the airlines. They only came up to our price a few weeks before our departure. Our cruise price also dropped significantly, just prior to the cruise. NCL did however give ourselves and others stateroom upgrades to help compensate, but it still didn't come up to the price that we paid. I will say though that I turned down an NCL offer of a more expensive state room, because there's be no improvement of stateroom and it was located in what I felt was a lesser location. Next time I think I would book the airfare and cruise More
directly with the actual companies and push for a lowest price guarantee.
I found the NCL Sun to be just fine. Embarkation took about 30-40 minutes at noon, but our rooms were ready. Our stateroom was on the starboard side which I think was better. It was also pier side for all stops except one. (Helsinki I think.) Our midships balcony stateroom had plenty of storage, a great steward Alvin and friendly food service. The shower is definitely small, so I got wet,turned off the water and soaped up and then rinsed and repeated. You'll have good water pressure. I wore everything from a heavy fleece jacket under a windbreaker to a tank top on this trip. I packed too much and with the Freestyle Dining I could have packed in a carry on. We ate at Seven Seas most nights and it was fine. Nice jeans and a polo were acceptable in the MDR's for the men. Roll up pants, capris and a maybe a dress for the women. We were a family of 5, so tried most of the entrees and found very few things to be really bad. I was tiring of the choices by cuises end though. We some breakfasts in the Seven Seas and some early ones at the 2 Aft Buffets. We ate at the buffets throughout the day as though crowded they changed up their menu a bit. We ate at the Teppanyaki Japanese Steak House and the kids liked it, but I thought it was overpriced, didn't feel authentic and service was definitely rushed. We celebrated a birthday in Moderno Churrascaria and had great service and a great evening.
The kids went to the Magician's show and weren't impressed. I was wiped out every night, so we mostly attended Trivia and Name That Tune with a Pina Colada in the afternoons and did not attend the evening shows in The Star Dust. The sky is light until late at night, so you'd look at your watch and it is 11PM! Walking all over these towns will make you love the ship's beds. Be sure to play "Where's Waldo?". Waldo was working Bar Service at the Topsider Bar for our cruise and is one of the Sun's greatest non stop concierge assets.
We transferred back to the airport by 7:30AM NCL bus,so Disembarkation was no trouble. We arrived at the airport quickly, which made for a long wait till noon boarding though. Was this trip on this ship worth it? Absolutely!!! Less
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Cabin review: BA
Stayed in BA Midships Balcony
Need King Beds- Don't know how though
Bigger Showers WITHOUT Curtains
Need to sound insulate balcony floors, so chair legs don't scrape LOUDLY at all hours
Bigger TV's with more English entertainment channels- Most were news
StateRoom had LOTS of Storage
Need New Balcony Curtains that go all the way to floor, because
Baltic White Nights Shine Under Curtain
Need a Night Light in Bathroom
Port and Shore Excursions
We arrived the day before, took a van sized taxi for the 5 of us from airport into CPH and paid by credit card. We stayed overnight in at The Scandic Front near Nyhavn. It was very nice, Scandinavian, was well located and had a fantastic breakfast included. We arrived in the early morn from NY, which unfortunately made our arrival at the hotel 1AM our time. Our room would not be available until 2PM, so we dropped our bags at front desk and started walking towards town. It was like touring CPH through the overnight hours due to the time change, which was not optimum. We walked part way down the Stroget, stopped for a pastry and cut over to Roseborg Slot where we all suddenly became exhausted. Luckily a HOHO Bus arrived there, so we jumped on, paid with a credit card and rode around all over both sides Copenhagen. If you are exhausted or not able to walk forever it is the only way to see everything in one day. We had no problem using our credit card with the driver or actually throughout the whole trip. If they ask for a pin tell them
"No Pin...Signature" There IS another way they can process your card. DO NOT give them your PIN~ The HOHO dropped us very near our hotel. We took a nap- Walked to dinner at a very upscale Danish restaurant named KoeFoed somewhere near Amelienborg. It was worth the high price and has a web site. The kids and I continued on after dinner to Tivoli round trip by taxi, as the HOHO tours had ended for the day. We spent a couple of enjoyable hours, since it was on our Worldwide Bucket List. We had bought slightly discounted Tivoli admission tickets at our hotel. We were just too tired to work the metro or bus system our first day there so taxis, though not cheap, were the quick and easy answer for us. They all have meters,pleasant English speaking drivers and are safe.
We got up the next rainy morning had a great breakfast and took 2 taxis to the ship around noon. Temp. was in low 70'sF Women were wearing leggings with tunics and feminine gauzy shirts at almost every port.
We took a taxi to town and the driver gave us a little insider tour on the way.
We wandered around town up to the Railway Station and Senate Square and then down to the Esplanade. After the St. Petersburg marathon tours it was so relaxing to have less to see and more time to sit and enjoy people watching, etc. We leisurely lunched at a hotel's outdoor cafe along The Esplanade. After lunch we went to Market Square. We sampled Reindeer Balls, which tasted more like sausage, but were good. This was the first port where my shopping interest was awakened by all the colors and handcrafts and the smell of the produce and fresh air. We spent an hour walking around the market and then took a taxi back to the ship. Never did do the 3B & T trams, but saw them.
Maybe next time...
We took the NCL Molli Steam Train Tour in the morning. It was a great way to see the surrounding Rostock countryside, but we spent over an hour at the beautiful Bad Doberman Minster/Abbey which was WAY too long and much more history than anyone cared about. We were only on the Molli train for about 15 min. through the streets of Bad Doberman and then back on the bus to
the sea side resort town of Kuhlungsborn, where everyone said they would have preferred to have more time. Then the bus ride back to the port. I might add that the tour guide never stopped talking from beginning to end, which was informative, but exhausting. I would recommend doing it yourself by train for much cheaper. Our son explored Rostock on his own and enjoyed it.
I loved walking to Warnemunde after a nap in the early afternoon. They were having a festival, so it was crowded, but a quaint little place to explore, photograph and shop for the day. We sat in an outdoor cafe and had a wine and a beer and then bought great take away fried fish sandwiches from a boat doing a brisk business about half way down on the far side of the canal. Weather in mid 70's.
We did the 2 Day Deluxe Tour of 16 people with tour guide Maria of SPB Tours. What a great choice we made going with SPB. A very reasonable price. It is definitely a test of stamina, with all the standing and walking all over, but we saw almost all there was to see. I wish that I received a dollar for every time I heard the word "Wow...". The palaces, churches and museums are just truly jaw dropping.We really enjoyed Yusupov Palace too We were blessed with good weather, but it was warm out and pretty hot inside with the crowds at Hermitage and Catherine's Palace.I'd recommend light weight shorts, tank tops, a jacket or sweater and a sun hat.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!
Stockholm is breathtaking from even before you pull into port. I got up at 4:30AM and enjoyed the sunrise in the archipelago for about 40 min. till I got too cold and hopped back into bed. The view of Stockholm from the aft of the ship in port was a postcard. We took the 9:45 from the port HOHO (Bus Only) around the city. There is also the HOHO Ferry and a Combo offered, but the ferry seemed to take a long time to get around and we didn't have a whole day. The kids got off the bus at different spots. We chose not to go to the Vasa, as it was later in the morning with crowds and we have been through many ship museums. We thought Stockholm was interesting and classy and deserved more exploration in the future. We saw the end of the Changing of the Guard and shopped on the pedestrian street and by then it was stormy skies, sprinkling rain and cooler temperatures, so we took the HOHO back to the ship around 1PM to have lunch. As soon as we got on board it down poured and HAILED! Those poor folks at home in 98degree weather... The weather had been in the low 60's. Most of the people arrived on a HOHO bus 20 min. before our "back on board deadline", but a few were 10 min. late and running from the HOHO Ferry down the pier. The skies cleared and everyone just hung out on their balconies or the outer decks mesmerized by the archipelago for the next 3 hours. A Glorius afternoon.
Tallinn was challenging for me as I was having a knee problem. We took a taxi at the port to the top at Troopea for a fixed 16EUR. I think a metered taxi might be cheaper. We walked down slowly winding along the steps and cobblestones along walls and through passage ways. Gorgeous architecture in every direction.. We covered a lot of the Old Town It was not an ideal walk for anyone with mobility problems. I talked to some gal whom said she had jumped on a little novelty tourist train to rest her legs, but it was so bumpy she felt worse afterwards.
Most of the menus offered full meals, which was more than we wanted, so we finally found sandwiches at at a pub a block off the Town Square on Pikk St.
We walked to the bottom of the hill near the Mariner's Museum and flagged a taxi back to the ship. Weather was the full range of 70'sF. Wore capris,
t-shirt and a windbreaker jacket, which I had on and off all day.
Great view of Tallinn from the ship in port.