NCL Star Baltic Cruise June 24th 2014: Norwegian Star Cruise Review by MrCoffeeGuy
Overall Member Rating
NCL Star Baltic Cruise June 24th 2014
Destination: Baltic Sea
Check in quick and painless, on board by 12.15pm, bit of lunch by the pool, lovely sunny day and in our stateroom by 1.30pm. Inside cabin on deck 5, plenty big enough with a nice big shower. Bit of a nap before the boat drill then unpack cases and meet room steward. Delightful Indonesian guy, couldn’t do enough for us for the rest of the cruise.
Feeling a bit tired from the early morning we decided to have a quick look around the ship (first time on the Star) and have dinner in the self service café. Great choices, great food and whippy whippy ice cream on demand!
Don’t ever be reticent about having an inside cabin. It means that we can cruise more often More than perhaps we might and you get a wonderful nights sleep due to the total darkness. You can leave the bathroom light on if you are scared of the dark! Comfortable beds and pillows help of course.
Breakfast always taken by the pool as the weather was fine and the poolside facilities were open. In fact we did not use any of the free or pay formal restaurants partly because dressing up is not really my thing and the food in the self serve areas was so good. Not including the Blue Lagoon of course which is open 24/7 and always a great place for a snack.
First day in Warnemunde which is a quaint Baltic seaside resort. Ships docks in the town so nowhere is far to walk. Train station across the road for the independent traveller. Since the ship did not leave till late (to accommodate the Berlin excursioners) we got off in the evening and had a nice cold beer in the town.
Helsinki next. Bit boring really. Had to get a local bus into town (8 euro each for a day ticket) as NCL did not run a shuttle bus. Aida did so why can’t NCL? Had a wander round and eventually founds a Starbucks in the big department store. Good coffee about £4.50 each. Finland is not a cheap place either!
Overnight in St Petersburg was what we really came on the cruise for truth be told. Arranged three excursions, not cheap but necessary if you have not arranged your own visa. Big queues for immigration in the terminal, about 40 minutes wait but once you do it the first time it gets quicker as long as enough staff are on duty!!
We did Peterhof on the morning of the first day. Well worth it. A Russian Folk event in the evening. This was surprisingly good, (I did not want to go but my wife said I must) Russian Army and Navy singers, dancers and musicians put on a great show. Again, well worth the money. We did the Hermitage museum on the afternoon of the second day. Bit of a problem with the guide only being interested in paintings (we got a 50% refund on this one) but a must do nonetheless. The theatre where the folk evening was staged proved to be the best place to buy souvenirs closely followed by the shops in the cruise port building.
Tallinn was up next, the old town is easily walkable from the ship. Bit crowded as there were 4 other cruise ships in that day. Charming old cobbled streets and old buildings. Lots of shops and restaurants. A very friendly lady directed us to a coffee shop (Reval). Excellent coffee about the same price as Helsinki.
Next was Stockholm. Bit of a trek into the city so we didn’t bother in the end as NCL (again) did not lay on a shuttle bus, Aida did!! We were still a bit tired from our St Petersburg exertions anyway so we stayed on the ship and ate most of the day.
Back to Copenhagen where we got the Hop On Hop Off bus at 25 euro for the day each. We had booked a night in Copenhagen so that we could explore the city and what a lovely place it is. Couldn’t find a Starbucks so we just took pot luck and it was ok. Just a word of warning to anyone staying in a hotel in Copenhagen in the summer, make sure that it has air conditioning. Ours did not and I had to upgrade. I don’t know if it was a typical disembarkation but there was a monumental queue for taxis. Best advice would be to book a transfer either NCL or private limo. Nice coffee at the airport Starbucks before Easyjet back to LGW. You gotta love Easyjet – cheap and on time.
The ships entertainment was good but not up to the standard of the NCL Jade. The theatre is very good though. Well laid out with adequate aircon.
Did not use the Casino or the Spa. I did the crossword and my wife the Sudoku from the library every day. Trivia was fun. World cup games were shown in the atrium with free popcorn, a nice touch.
We have now travelled with NCL five times and like it a lot. Excellent staff and lots of smiley faces, except at the customer service desk!
If anyone has any questions about the cruise I will be happy to answer them if I can. Less