Royal Princess Cruise Review by SparkleBee: Wonderful cruise - fantastic experience
Overall Member Rating
Wonderful cruise - fantastic experience
Destination: Baltic Sea
Wow, I am the 1st person to ever write a review for this ship/route, as I just got home from the Royal's inaugural sail to the Baltics. This was an intense trip due to the large number of amazing ports.
The Ship: very clean and well-maintained. The piazza is very glitzy and attractive. there always seemed to be something going on, from a string quartet, dancing to a band, or dance lessons. We had an interior room with 3 people. Two of us felt there was plenty of space but one of us felt cramped. I think it's perfectly fine, especially if you have no expectations. I get sea sick but didn't at all on this trip due to the huge boat and calm seas. The passengers were generally on the older side. I'm pushing 50 and I was among the youngest. I could have counted the children on one hand! I'd say the median age 60-75. Very nice people but we would have enjoyed meeting more people our age. The ship was DEAD at night... the poor DJ in Club 6 was a lonely man indeed.
The Food: More Overall the food is good, not amazing. The buffet is huge and has a fabulous selection. Mostly I found the buffet offerings "eh" although at times some of the dishes were excellent. The eggs were awful unless you ordered a fresh omelette. Food in the MDR was overall quite good, but plenty of my dinners were bland. A few were excellent. We were not thrilled with many of the menus but you could always find something you wanted! The creme brule was good, as was the chocolate heart thing. The second formal night was lobster night and that was delicious, it came with large broiled prawns. I really wanted to go to the fondue night but someone told me the wrong date so we missed it, I think they could have publicized that better. We were all somewhat disappointed in Sabatinis. It was decent but not to the level of the Crown Grill. The fist meal I ate at Crown Grill was outstanding - have the onion soup!!!!! Also the whiskey shrimp is fabulous, as is their melted chocolate souffle. Make sure they don't overcook it as they did the 2nd time I ate there. We are pizza snobs and didn't care for Alfredo's, although I know most people love it. I think most people will be very pleased with what Princess is doing foodwise.
Entertainment: Was really good!!!! I wasn't expecting much and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the performers and shows. The singers and dancers were terrific and their costumes and stage setup were really good. The comedian, juggler, hypnotist, etc all great! The piano player, string quartet and band in the piazza all great too. We didn't do any of the Princess Live stuff, seemed a bit weird to us.
Service: everyone was super nice and did a good job. The customer service group helped me out immensely but getting back my lost luggage (NOT Princess' fault). Other than that though the service was not outstanding. but again, it was good!
The Ports: 8 ports makes for an intense adventure! We did no organized tours except for St.P. Was perfect for us, although most people said they had a marvelous time with the Princess excursions. To me they were unnecessary and pricy too. Many people who didn't do the excursions did HoHo busses. They seemed happy with them. There are 2 sea days... these were a bit slow.
Copenhagen - wonderful city! definitely do the canal cruise, Christiania, the Stroget, and if you are there overnight Tivoli. Precruise I stayed at Hotel Opera in Kongens Nytorv area. Excellent location but $277 for a tiny room. Post cruise stayed at Hotel Nebo, which is next to Central Station. Amazing location and cheap but seedy people close by. Also did a day trip to Malmo, which was quite charming.
Oslo - bought an Oslo card. loved the Viking ship museum! but beware, the ferry over to the the island with the museums only comes once per half hour so if you miss it you waste a lot of time. did a quick run through of the Folk Museum which was good. Really wish we skipped the Kon-Tiki and Fram. Got to see The Scream at the National Museum and LOVED Vigeland Sculpture Park, which you can access best from the Metro. Beware this is a very expensive city. A bagel with cream cheese is $11.
Gothenburg - it looks like they have switched this to Aarhus, which is good because this port was a total waste of time. Royal is too big to dock there so they had to bus us in, after charging $20 each, which was not cool. Not much good to say so I am happy for you if they changed the port.
Warnemunde - we went rouge and rented an Audi A5! this was a great way to go... we got to Berlin in 2 hours while the people on busses and trains took 3 hours. Not a problem to park and then we simply walked around. Need more time here but we did what we could. Couldn't get in to the Reichstag due to long lines, reservations are advised if possible. We had time to walk around Warnemunde and found some great deals on candy and alcohol.
Tallinn - super easy to walk around and really cool exploring the streets. Don't worry about seeing specific buildings as much as just enjoying the atmosphere. We took a taxi to Patarei Prison, an old Soviet prison which was left abandoned. Interesting! and only 3 Euros admission.
St. Petersburg - we went with SPB Tours and were pleased. 15 people in our group and an excellent guide. Were itching to go off on our own but couldn't of course. One of the lunches was awful and the other passable. the mini van was new and clean and comfy. Saw all the major sites and they do not disappoint!!!! Be advised that disembarking here is a nightmare so try to get off early and know the process beforehand.
Helsinki - not the best city. Sibelius Monument is a nothing, certainly not worth going out of your way to see. The Rock Church was ok but it didn't do much for us. Try to get there slightly before it opens at 10 because it is a mob scene. We found the flea market to be a bunch of junk and the regular market not great either. Did get to try a reindeer meatball in the market and that was pretty tasty.
Stockholm - be advised this ship is too large to dock in town. from the port you can walk to the train station. then buy an all day transit pass. the train trip is 1 hour into town. This is a VERY charming town! you can use your pass to take the ferry over to the island with the Vasa Museum, or you can walk along the water to get there in about 15-20 minutes. The old town area Gamla Stan is super cool. Would have liked more time here for sure. Less
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