Since we were in London in May of this year, we just flew in the day before the curise. We took a British Airways non stop from the West Coast of the U.S. and stayed overnight at the Sofitel Hotel at Terminal 5 Heathrow. This is a great hotel at the airport, easy for late night or early morning flights.
Our journey to Southampton, was with a Princess transfer. We did have to take our cases to Termial 3 to meet the transfer. Good thing because we found out there that the ship would have a delayed boarding due to Noro the last cruise. Princess took us to the nearby Marriot hotel to wait it out until the all clear to go. At first there were enough chairs, then people streched out taking up to four chairs. This left late arrivals no place to sit.
Boarding was easy, though a line we had prefered status so were on board within 10 minutes of coach arrival at port.
We had fixed dinning and service was great, but due to the ports we seldom ate there. We did eat in both of their Speciality resturants. One was good but the other the Crown Grill, was a waste of time and money.
Ports.Please note we have been to these ports several times and also did see most by land.
Zeetbruge, we took the port shuttle to the tram, from the tram, got the train to Bruge. Though it was a Sunday, we found plenty to do. Did the canel trip, theBrewerery tour, went to our favourite choclate shop and walked around.
Oslo, again we did our own thing, we were took tram 13 to Vigeland park, as tram 12 was under construction. We then walked to the Royal Palace (Slottet) City Hall,National Galley, down to the Opera House.
Also on return visited the fort .Copehagen, we walked from the docks close by the Little Mermaid down the waterfront to the
Amalieborg Palace. Next along the waterfont, to our next site the Nyhavn, area along the canal, going to the SToget street to the City Hall, Tivoli Gardens, Return found us walking to the Christianbog Castle and Rosenborg Castle to the Langelinie Pier.
Stockholm, found us again, walking from the Terminal near the ferries, to the Royal Palce, visiting the Museum and walking around the old town.
Helinksi, we again choose to walk downtown, but there was a tram #9 near the ferries, very close to where we docked. We went to see the chruch in the rocks, and the market places, that was very crowded with three other cruise ships.
STPetersburg, we did a private tour, with other Cruise Critic members. The Private tour was great and certainly hit all the highlites of St. Petersburg, The guide was excellant and with a small group we could easily get around. (SPB Tours) Tallin We walked downtown, went up to the Toompea Castle, and then walked the walls, before returning to the ship.
Gdynia, we had never been to this part of Poland before, but we walked into town and took the train to Gdynia, visiting the old town with city hall , St. Mary Church waterways with mills, The town was very crowded with other tourists and school groups. We did not stay long as we wanted to get back to the ship early.
Overall notes, we loved to walks so our trips were geared to that.
ALSO THE BALTIC PORTS ARE VERY EXPENSIVE. Prices, in Russia, Estonia and Poland are nearly as high as those in other Baltic ports.