We arrived in Copenhagen a day early and took the Metro which was very easy and stayed at the Hotel Bethel. It was a nice old hotel with a small room overlooking the Canal. While in Copenhagen, we went for an enjoyable canal boat ride, visited the Rosenberg Castle with the Danish crown jewels and the botanical gardens. We easily walked to all places. After the cruise we stayed at Clarion Hotel Neptun with a huge room, with included buffet dinner and breakfast. Much better than the Bethel at the same price.
Embarkation was easy. We got to the port at about 11:15 and went right thru the NCL registration line with no wait. In the terminal, NCL had chairs set up for the early arrivals to wait until we could board the ship which started about 11:45. On board we went to the buffet on12th deck. It wasn’t busy and we had a decent, but not great lunch.
Cabins were ready about 1:00, much earlier than on other ships! At dinner, we went to the Aqua which is one of two main dining rooms. It has low ceilings, many families, was noisy, so we didn’t go again during the trip. We ate our breakfasts in the Versailles, the other main dining room, and in the buffet. Both were good, with the service in the Versailles excellent. I don’t know which restaurants the previous cruisers who had numerous complaints ate at, but our food was very good throughout, and my wife is a sous chef.
We used the SPB deluxe tour package at all the ports. Our guides got us into the attractions before all the rush and we avoided all the long lines –tour groups have priority. We really walked a lot, but saw a lot. We would highly recommend them.
St. Petersburg is spectacular; there was gold leaf everywhere, both inside and outside. However, but I kept wondering how the normal Russians suffered building all those marvelous palaces. There was about a half hour getting through Russian immigration on the 1st day, but no wait on the second.
We particularly liked the Stockholm archipelago – fantastic scenery, a real highlight.
The entertainment was top notch. The singers were much better than on other cruise lines – they were really good.
We dined in numerous specialty restaurants. When we didn’t, we went to dinner in the Versailles and never had to wait. As stated above, the food in Versailles was very good. The Le Bistro was the best of the specialty restaurants. The staff was attentive, efficient and happy throughout the trip.
Disembarkation was easy, as we walked off with our own luggage and got a good taxi driver.
Al-in-all, it was a great trip. We hadn’t had great experiences on previous NCL trips, but this one met all expectations. Although NCL is not our favorite, we will be cruising with them again.