This was our second ever cruise and our first on Holland America. We could not have been more pleased with the experience. The total experience exceeded our high expectations. We did not know what to expect from Holland but soon discovered they were outstanding. The ports of call were excellent and the transfer from sea to land were quick and easy. We were fortunate to have the very best server on the ship for our dinner meals. He was superb in every facet and made the dining experience special every night. We were amazed at the quality of the food...it is truly 5 star quality. The cabin crew was also number one and went above and beyond to ensure our every need or desire was met. The Ryndam is fine but we spent most of our time doing land excursions which was the purpose of the trip for us. If you like to visit other countries and cultures this is a must cruise. You will see and do more in three weeks than you could ever imagine. As my "Bride" said, she really enjoyed the few days at sea to rest for the next land excursion. The pace is heavy but the reward is worth the effort.
We were fortunate on our first cruise to find the Cruise Critic Roll Call site for our Alaskan cruise. We made friends before boarding were able to learn from them the art of cruising. We also were able to share best sites for land tours. This carried on to our second cruise and paid huge dividends. If you want to get the most out of this cruise, you will need to invest a lot of time planning the land excursions. Early is better than later in preparing as tours fill up quickly. You are going into some small towns and the supply is limited.
One of the best things we did was to go online and find a company providing a five city tour of the Baltic Capitals, TJ Travel. We started corresponding with them 8 months out and they were outstanding. They quickly responded to emails or calls. We could not have arranged better tours or tour guides to provide us such an unforgettable experience. They met us at each of the Ports with a very nice van , on time, excellent drivers and ready to go. The guides were highly educated, spoke fluent English and knew everything about the cities and cultures we were visiting. We talked to others on ship that had other tours and we realized very quickly we had the best. Not only do we think they are the best, you cannot beat the price for a four or five City Tour Package. You can find them at http://st-petersburg-tours.ru; firstname.lastname@example.org;
This is an outstanding cruise and worth all of the effort you put in to make it special and worth pushing yourself to do the most you can on your land excursions. There will be time to rest later. Be sure to find the Roll Call site for your cruise and participate to discover ways to improve your cruise experience. Enjoy!!!