There had been an outbreak of gastrointestinal virus on the ship prior to our boarding. Hence our boarding was postponed while the ship was decontaminated in the port of Harwich. I appreciate the antibacterial efforts, I do. And every day entering any dining room, or shopping area, casino, etc., for the entire cruise. there was staff at the entrance dispensing antibacterial liquid which kept everyone healthy. (For the most part, because the captain kept coming on the loud speaker to emphasize hand washing and that folks were still coming to the medical facilities being treated for gastrointestinal virus ... for the entire cruise, so apparently whatever virus was there before we got on, lingered the length of the cruise.) What surprised me, was the ship was, from the moment we boarded, slathered in cloudy smearings of antibacterial for nearly the length of the cruise - mirrors, windows, all the glass, paintings, jewelry cases, elevator doors, everything was covered. And never cleaned More
off. So by the 5th day of the cruise, everything was covered in cloudy smears and thousands of fingerprints ....... it was off putting, whether the ship was dirty or not, didn't matter - the ship looked dirty. You didn't want to touch anything. Considering the sheer amount of glass on the ship you can imagine how bad it looked. Even on the way to the Windjammer (buffet) dining - someone had written into the smears "wash me" .... it was only the last 2 days of the cruise that someone finally washed the windows.
As for the Windjammer (buffet) - the food was high school cafeteria food at best. Lots of carbs. Low quality, low budget offerings. Very disappointed in the quality of the food in the Windjammer.
I rated the health club as I did because the mats STUNK ... they were gross. I had signed up for the 4 offered Pilates classes. The mats were gross, and the Pilates class was not Pilates .... I"m not sure what that was. I was charged $14.00 to stretch basically.
Having said all the above - the staff is wonderful. Really great people, helpful, friendly, they were great. (not sure who was on the cleaning crew.)
Our dining room crew became like family to us over the course of the cruise. My husband and I are both gluten free, and they went above and beyond to accommodate our special request. Less
For some reason the tour we took was not listed - we took the "Nevsky Prospect shopping" Excursion. A complete and total waste of time. First the bus was late in getting us. Second we were stuck in traffic for over an hour getting to Nevsky Prospect. Then, once we were there, the tour guide - instead of dropping us off so we could shop (remember, we were in St. Petersburg only 2 days and day 1 was taken up in Moscow, so this was our 1 and only chance to do any shopping in Russia) she has the bus take us around and around and around .. telling us all about the buildings! The tour was $39.00 per person and the intent was shopping, not the history of the buildings. When the bus finally stopped to let us off, it did so in front of a souvenir shop affiliated with the ship - which is such a joke. The prices are super inflated and you can only guess there is some kickback going on between the store and the ship. Terrible shopping experience. We had only 90 minutes before we had to be back and head back to ship to leave. A total waste of money. We heard from others on the ship many of the St. Petersburg tours were a disappointment. The usual hurry up and wait, stuck in traffic, once you get to the destination, not enough time to look around. This is a problem - 3 cruise ships dock at the same place at the same time ....... it's frustrating.