We recently returned from a fantastic cruise on the NCL SUN, touring the Baltics. This is a very port intensive cruise and the 2 sea days were very welcomed by my group! Our group was myself, DH, 17 yo DD, 13 yo DS and a friend and her 16 yo DD (they were first time cruisers). We had 2 balcony rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls.
We arrived in Copenhagen 1 day prior to the cruise. We stayed at the Strand Hotel and really enjoyed it, especially the extensive breakfast!! When we embarked on the SUN we had a short wait because the lady wouldn't let us use the Latitudes line....she said it was for people with special needs. I wasn't happy about this but the line moved quickly and when we boarded at 12:30, our rooms were ready! :)
The SUN is a smaller, older ship but in great condition. Our room Stewardess Jennifer was amazing the entire trip. Regarding the ship, the food was above average but not amazing in the main dinning rooms. We did not do any of the specialty restaurants. I found the buffet to be perfect for breakfast with a group of 6. It had a good variety. Seating is limited at the buffet but tons of seating on the back deck, sports bar and Madino's (I think I'm spelling that wrong). Entertainment was was very good, better then usual. This cruise staff was very engaging with the guest, remembered names etc, which made it more personal and fun. Also, NCL set up a room for a CC meet n greet and all the head officers and captain came!! Our group really enjoyed it and on the last sea day, they gave our group a brief tour behind the scenes of the kitchen, freezers and prep areas. It is amazing to see all the work that goes into feeding us hungry guest :)
Now for the ports:
Germany - we took a train from port to Rostck then another to the town of Schwerin. There we toured the castle and the grounds. It was gorgeous!! I highly recommend this if you don't want to head to Berlin. We went back to Rostock and walked around. Unfortunately it was a Sunday so only some restaurants were open. After this we went back to Warnemunde. We ate dinner on the ship then went back out and strolled Warnemuade, it's very cute. One word of warning, Germany did not accept ANY credit cards, including ours with a PIN/Chip.
Estonia - My personal favorite!! We walked into Old Town and did some shopping. Then headed to the Virtu Hotel for the KGB Museum tour. It was very interesting to see and hear what life was like while Estonia was under Russian rule. The Old Town is just amazing to walk through, so pretty, so friendly and lots of nice shopping.
Russia - We took a 2 day tour through TJ Tours. Our guide Alex was so interesting and knowledgeable. The palaces and museum are so extravagant and over the top. Lunch both days was at a local restaurant and was very good!! It's a very busy and full 2 days but so worth it!!
Helsinki - This was a DIY day. We took bus 14 to the city and walked to the market, passing several landmarks. Did some shopping and strolled the market area. Then we took a ferry over to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. We walked across the island and the views were stunning! It took about 1.5 hrs to walk out and back, then we got the ferry back to the market area. From there we go a bus to the Rock Church. It was very pretty and unique but not a must see. We had lunch nearby at the Cafe Red. From there we headed back to the ship.
Stockholm - Another DIY day. We meant to get up early to see the archipelagos but missed them! Stockholm was our second favorite port. We had pre-arranged a taxi through TaxiStockholm and got to the Vasa Museum before the crowds. The Vasa is amazing!! The museum takes about an hr to go through but it's definitely worth it. From the Vasa we took a water taxi to the Gamla Stan and just wondered around the quaint area. Lots of little shops and cafes. We then headed to the palace for lunch and the Royal changing of the guards. This was very interesting but the whole process takes 45 min so plan accordingly! Unfortunately time was short so we walked back to the ship. We then settled down on our balcony and enjoyed the 4 hr sail out through the archipelagos. It was so relaxing and beautiful!!
Disembarkation was easy but the line for taxi's was terrible. We left the ship at 8:30 and waited almost 1 hr!! If you booked one, I'm not sure you could have "cut" the line to get to it...I didn't see any area for pre-booked taxi pick up. We were at the airport by 10 though so all was well.
We highly recommend this cruise, particularly in the SUN. The staff and crew were the best I've had (including Disney).