We left on Aug. 20th for a land package and Baltic cruise with Princess Cruises sailing on the Emerald Princess which we had sailed before 3 times.Let me start by saying the pre-cruise was fabulas-Princess contrats with Globas and our 8night package began in Budapest. We then went by bus transport to Vienna,Prague and Berlin then joining up with the cruiseship in Copenhagen.Our land tour was very comfortable, the hotels lovely and our tour guide Martina was outstanding. She was a wealth of knowledge who knew her history as well as any historian I have ever heard-She even knew little known stories about kings and queens that would make you understand how oppulant and crazy these people were back in their day!! She was a joy to be with and you could tell loved her job!! It was a fantastic 8 nights!!!
Once we got on the cruiseship we were a little disappointed. The entertainment was awful and they had 5 production shows where the singers and dancers weren't even dancing together with each other or the music. They only had one decent show the whole 11 nights and that was a ventriloquist who was hysterical,but otherwise all the entertainment was not good. Princess has really cut back on that and that is very disappointing.
The food was just mediocure and the head waiter not very accomadating,saying if you wanted this or that he would ask the chef and then came back saying no to me (I am a funny eater and don't like most items on the menu)I have never had this on any other Princess Cruise we've been on. The ship was well kept up and our room was excellent, service by our cabin steward very good. The ports of call were great and our two day call in Russia fantastic. We did NOT use the ship tour and instead used SpB tours which we found on cruisecritic and they were FANTASTIC!!! Half the price of the ship 2 day tour and we saw more and were in all the places the Princess tour takes you.They have a folkloric show right on the ship which is very good on the first night you are in St.Petersberg so going with SpB tours was GREAT!! You also don't have to worry about a visa because they take care of that all for you-so don't believe the cruiseline when they tell you-you can only go with a ship tour-NOT TRUE- In the rest of the ports we did Hop on Hop off buses which are right outside the ship right on the dock and very convenient and you save a lot of money by not using the ship tours. In all I would sum it up as a good time and for the money a very good choice if a Baltic Cruise is what you want. If you have the time I would highly reccomend the Pre-Cruise package! Budapest,Vienna,Prague and Berlin were the highlight of the whole trip.