Azamara Journey - Northern European Cruise - Baltic Sea
Back in July 2010 my mother and I went on this cruise and we had such a spectacular time I had to write about it two years later. We arrived in Copenhagen about two days before departure. I was glad we decided to do this because it allowed us to get used to the time change a bit before we started cruising. The ship was very beautiful and I loved the smaller size - about 650ish capacity. We had a small ocean-view room. Very small but modernly decorated. We really were not in our room that much at all, just to sleep and shower so it didn't bother us one bit. The food was really outstanding, even in the buffet. The main dining room was perfect for when we wanted to sit with a large group or just be on our own at a table for two. I can't say I ever had a bad or even mediocre meal. The service was outstanding in every part of the ship. We were treated like Queens, even after a full day sightseeing when we were not looking our best. Oh, and everything is casual. You can be as dressy or as casual as you would like for dinner, no formal nights! Most went casual. We did eat at both of the specialty restaurants. Both were very good and were a nice change of pace from the main dinning. I made reservations on the first day we were on the ship, so I never had any problems, but I did hear some people had difficulty making them days later. We usually ate breakfast at the buffet/cafe. It was just faster and more convenient than going to the main dining room. Buffet was excellent. Sometimes crowded in the mornings but we always could find a table and had plenty of time to eat before the days tours.
All the ports of call were spectacular. Stockholm and St. Petersburg were my favorite. We had three whole days in St. Petersburg so were able to see most of the sights we wanted to see, even Peterhof Palace south of St. Petersburg. We chose the cruise ship's package of tours which had us doing something each day in port. We loved it. While I'm not a huge fan of big 'bus tours' everything was taken care for us and every tour guide we had was amazing. And we did have time to strike out on our own so we weren't herded around the entire time. In St. Petersburg we had the same tour guide for all three days so we really got to know her and the history of St. Petersburg and Russia in general. Some of my favorite places: You must visit the VASSA ship in Stockholm. We did this on our own on a free afternoon we had. Very easy to get to and back to the ship. We ended up staying there for three hours. That ship is so amazing. Berlin - seeing some of the Nazi buildings still standing and the Brandenburg Gate. St. Petersburg - Peterhof Palace and gardens one of the most spectacular palaces second only to Versailles. Cruising up and down the Volga river seeing the wonderful buildings and famous sights. Tallin - walking around the walled city. There were many more but those stick out in my memory the most. If you are thinking of taking this cruise - do it! You will not regret it in the least.