This was a nine country cruise through the Baltics. Overall the cruise was great. Our weather was fantastic with sunny skies and highs in the 70's. We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck (nine). Our cabin steward was the most efficient we have ever had. This was our fourth cruise with Princess. We have taken three with Royal Caribbean. The seas were very calm throughout.
The negatives: We got an email from Princess three days before the cruise indicating a norovirus outbreak that they were taking extra sanitation efforts to contain. On our cruise we had no issues, so maybe the efforts worked. This however led to a delay in our embarkation which was a nightmare. Princess took us to a hotel and fed us only pastries. We were at this hotel for four hours waiting to go to the pier. Unfortunately the plan to board by deck number fell apart as everyone arrived at the pier at the same time despite Princess indicating they would board by deck. The line at the pier was outside and took two hours. Princess totally dropped the ball on this. Not the way you want to start your cruise. Worst embarkation ever. We also noticed while waiting in line that the crew unloading luggage from a Crawley bus was flinging it intentionally and having lots of laughs watching luggage flying into walls etc. No excuse for this. If I had seen my luggage handled like that I would have gone ballistic. They should all be fired.
The dining experience with Princess is never as good as with Royal Caribbean. The servers are indifferent.
We dined at Sabbatini's also and got a server named Frinco who was all smiles at first, but when we turned down dessert and coffee because we had a show to catch, he scoffed at us and turned and left in a huff. What a moron. Made us feel uncomfortable.
The Horizon Court buffet is decent, but the corral they make you enter is too crowded. Royal does this better with spread out stations with food. Also the real flaw with Princess here is the coffee station. There is no hand sanitizer there and they make everyone grab the same pitchers for cream and milk. They are just promoting the norovirus with this poor system. Evidently they do not want to spring for individual creams like Royal does. And since they do not provide individual creams you cannot ask the server for coffee. They have no idea how much to put in and inevitably ruin it and you have to get it yourself anyway. Dumb system.
That is it for the grousing. No travel experience is perfect. Some of these beefs could be avoided however.
The cruise itself was fabulous. The ports were all fascinating and charming except for Helsinki which is kind of a dud in my opinion.
We go with Princess or Royal Caribbean solely based on itineraries. Whichever has the itinerary we want is who we sail with. Royal Caribbean has it together a bit more than Princess I think, but that does not stop us from going with Princess when the itinerary is better.
Fun canal ride.
Charming. Beautiful architecture. Horse drawn carriages.
Walked to Nyhavn. Very easy walk.
Took city tour and canal cruise. Very enjoyable.
City is kind of a dud. And Porvoo is equally uninspiring.
You really don't need to take an excursion, the dock is very close to main city.
Just walk up and down Karl Johan's Gate and visit the Fort.
Beautiful, but wall to wall people.
Incredible city. Hard to describe.
Beautiful, but wall to wall people.
Less crowded on this day. Absolutely stunning.
Went to Gamla Stan and the Nobel Museum and City Hall. Could have stopped at better places.
The harbor and entrance to it are the best of the cruise.