Let me begin by saying that this was a very enjoyable cruise. I will talk about the good and the bad. We went on it for the ports, not for the food or pool and this cruise delivers on the Ports. How else do you get to Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden in less than two weeks. Amazing!!
We are experienced cruisers and have cruised on high-end (Regent, Crystal) and more moderate cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Carribian). This time we splurged and got a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom family suite. We traveled with our two teenaged kids, so it was nice to have the suite.
We began in Copenhagen and stayed in the Best Western on the front-end and two days at the Marriott at the end of the cruise. Best Western was in a great location, good breakfast, clean, although the rooms were very small. Marriott is beautiful and the rooms are spacious, fantastic breakfast, but the location is not at good as the Best Western. I would recommend either of them.
Then, off to the Norwegian Star to begin our cruise-Embarkation Process was smooth and we were in our suite quickly. We were escorted to the restaurant for lunch and this was nice. One of our perks in the suite was lunch and breakfast at Cagneys. This was a nice perk, although the menu NEVER changed the entire cruise. It would have been nice to have some variety here.
Food-Our dinner the first night was at the main restaurant, Versailles and it was truly Bad-Bad-Bad. We weren't overly upset, since we didn't go on this cruise for the food, but for the ports. But after three disappointing dinners, we booked ourselves at the paid restaurants for the rest of the cruise. The food quality was much better at the paid restaurants. But it was annoying to have to pay an additional $75.00 to 100.00 per night for the four of us to get decent food. We ate at the Italian restarant, Moderno-the French Restaurant, Ginza for sushi, and Cagneys for Steak. We've been on many cruises and always been very happy with the food. We were really disappointed in NCL. But again, this was about the Ports and they were amazing.
Warnemeunde-We took a train to the beautiful town of Schwerin and its breathtaking castle. I highly recommend this as an option to Berlin. we had a beer and the kids had ice-cream in the beautiful town center. We all loved it and it was a great start to the Cruise.
Tallin, Estonia-We took the Hop-on/Hop-off bus from the pier and walked around the old town. We visited several museums on our own and spent about 45 minutes in the Resistance Museum, where they show what it was like during Entonia's occupation under the Russian Communist Regime. Very interesting.
St. Petersburg-We booked the two-day All-Highlights tour with TJ Tours and they were amazing. St. Petersburg is perhaps the most beautiful city in Europe and TJ did a great job. The price was reasonable too and the whole family loved it. I would highly recommend them.
Helsinki-I was not expecting much from this stop, but boy was I wrong. The whole family was blown away by our visit to the Fort Island of Seumelinna. It was breathtakingly beautiful and I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. We started off by taking the Hop-on Hop-off bus from the pier. After getting to the Market Square Stop, we took the Ferry (only 5 Euros per person) to the Island of Seumelinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We spent a few hours walking around and took the English tour, had coffee and pastry and then took the Ferry back to Market Square. We ate a fun and delicious lunch from the many vendors at the Square. Then finished our hop-on hop-off ride and went back to the pier.
Stockholm-The only problem with this stop is that they don't give you enough time. If you want to go to the Vasa (which you should do), leave the ship as soon as it ports. You need to get to the museum as soon as it opens because the lines get VERY long. Fortunately, we got off the boat at 8AM, took the HOP-on-Hop-off boat to the museum and missed the lines. so we also had enough time to go to the Royal Place and the Gamla Stan (old Town). Very fun.
Anyway, overall, great cruise-food not so good. Service was excellent. We loved our butler and cabin Steward. Rooms were typical, but nice. I would do it again.