We spent 3 1/2 days in Amsterdam, thoroughly enjoying the city life, museums, great food, and great architecture. We booked the pre-cruise hotel through HAL, Renaissance Amsterdam. The hotel was accessible, the breakfast buffet excellent, staff helpful. There were some problems with the design of the accessible room-apparently Europeans also believe the USA theory that all wheelchair users are 6 foot acrobats. The bars in the bathroom were designed for that person, three mirrors were all above the level for someone in a wheelchair. The coffee bar and glasses were on a high shelf. The room itself was spacious, the white bathroom exceptionally clean, room quiet and comfortable.
We stopped in Rostock, Tallin, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen. We explored on our own in all cities except St Petersburg. We found transportation to be a challenge everywhere except Amsterdam and Helsinki, where trams were wheelchair accessible. Cab fares were high, as were the price of meals as compared to USA.
In St Petersburg we had two amazing days with Alla Tours. Our guide was very knowledgeable, moving our party of 4 through the busy sites in such a way that we missed most of the large group tours. In the evening we attended the Alexandrinski Ballet-which was a magical experience in an over 200 year old, ornate theatre. The ballet, orchestra, and set were all outstanding. I highly recommend Alla Tours and the Alexandrinski in St Petersburg, Wish we had been able to stay 3 days instead of 2.
Every city was beautiful and unique in its own way. We did not go to Stockholm because the ship docked, apparently for the first time, in a port that required 1 1/2 hour train ride into Stockholm.
The Eurodam is larger than we usually enjoy. The modern decor is interesting. We found bathrooms in the public spaces that were designated accessible, but had no bars and extremely slipper floors.
We loved the Silk Lounge for its views and friendly staff.
One again, we found the entertainment on HAL to be poor. We went to the first night show, left on the 3rd song, and did not go again, so perhaps they improved. The dancers and singer were never working on the same beat.
One thing that we found unpleasant on this cruise were the number of cruisers who were just plan rude to the staff and to other cruisers. We have never seen this level of rudeness on a HAL cruise from travelers who were clearly old enough to know better. People cut in line, sometimes shoving. We saw outright fits at the customer service desk and poor treatment to some of the wait staff. HAL of course has no control over this. Everyone needs to remember to bring their manners with them when traveling!
For those who want to see a number of Baltic Cities in a short period of time, this is a great trip.
Excellent Hotel Renaissance Amsterdam in the City center, near trams. Amsterdam is a walking friendly city, although there are some obstacles to wheelchairs. Many trams are wheelchair accessible.
We purchased the Amsterdam Holland card, which saved $ on museums. We never understood until the last day that we were to take our transportation card to the Central Station! Each time we got on a tram and showed it they let us stay, but never did anything with the card. Finally the last day we were told by one attendant that we what we needed to do!
Food was excellent everywhere we went, although higher prices than we are used to in US.
Sunday in Copenhagen is extremely crowded. There were tour groups everywhere. We did a walking tour and saw many wonderful buildings, a great garden. I would like to visit when it was less crowded and public buildings open.
Beautiful city, well laid out. Trams accessible!
Amos museum is a private home that is now a museum with a truly excellent selection of art.
Church of the rock is an architectural wonder.
We enjoyed the ambience. However, the city is on hills, many cobblestones, which made it difficult in the wheelchair. We had no luck finding public transportation that was accessible.
We took a cab into town-20 Euros each way.
When we left we could not find a cab. We went to the stop and cab drivers did not know where the cruise ship was docked. The third driver who came knew, and we got back in time.
We were disappointed in this port. We had not realized that it was an hour and half train ride both ways to Stockholm. Nynasham was a quaint port town and we were told that this was the first time HAL had docked there. I could not go ashore, because the steps were too steep to the tender. Husband and daughter went and enjoyed the ONE Hop on Hop Off bus. They also brought back some magnificent pastries.
Emailing the tourist bureau I was told there was accessible transportation. Not so. The trams are from Czechoslovakia, which tells you their age!
We took a cab to Catherine's home that was built by Peter the Great. A nice tour, nice accessible bathroom with an interesting amenity-a shower head and drain for a shower!
There is a lovely park, with a pond that is home to a pair of black swans.
Our cab driver came back at a set time, and took us to the city center of the Old Town. We then worked our way downhill, had lunch, and saw a number of old, interesting buildings. Our daughter bought a T-shirt from the Texas Bar in Tallin.