Alright, let me get you nicely oriented with my group: Me- 46, pediatrician Wife- 40, small business owner Older son- 16 younger son- 13 We live in Richmond, VA, USA
We have been on two previous cruises: Carnival, Celebrity.
Before the cruise we spent 3 days in York, and a week on this fabulous canal boat, followed with two days in London. EMBARKATION: We hired a driver to take us to Harvich, a leisurely 1 1/2 hour drive, made go by quicker with my nose in the latest Harry Potter book. We got there and had trouble unloading our luggage, and the assistants were not helpful at all. My motto for this: if you can't carry it by yourself, leave it at home. But once we got in the terminal, it was a different story. We were on board 40 minutes after we got in the terminal, not bad for us but the Celebrity line was about 1/2 a minute, so it took a minute to realize that we were going to have to wait. We got on the ship and got lunch at the Windjammer. It was alright, but what annoyed me was that a nice man was handing out complementary glasses of wine, or so we thought. My wife and I asked for one, and after we took it, he asked for our SeaPass cards. The ship was mostly British, with a lot of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Gibraltereans, Americans were the minority.
STATEROOM: We had ordered two staterooms, midship, and connected by a door in the wall. The stateroom was kept very nice by our fabulous steward. He got our names the first day and cleaned our rooms at least twice a day.
DINING: I was disappointed in this category. Windjammer wasn't very tasty, and in the morning, you had to fight to get a seat. Dinner in the dining room was par, but the lunch was fabulous! Crepes in the Solarium are not to be missed, and the Seaviews Cafe, although hard to find, was always empty and delicious. Room service was nice, the wait was not too long, and it was quite convenient after everything had already closed.
ACTIVITIES: Karaoke is not to be missed, it was hilarious and some people were quite talented. Bingo was nice, and the Pub Trivia was very fun. The entertainment was mostly "British Humor" so I didn't find myself rolling in my chair.
CHILDREN'S CLUB: I was very disappointed by this one. The whole day was unsupervised "chilling" until the reggae dance party at 11. Nobody liked "chilling", nobody liked reggae. They say they just sat in Fuel for the whole day being bored out of their skulls. Also, the 12-14 and the 15-18 group are together, so if your 12 year old isn't into "chilling" or reggae, then consider another ship. They brag about the kids making non-alchoholic smoothies or daiquiris, but it never happened. No PS2 either. The children's club staff is incredibly unnattentive and unprofessional.
OSLO: Very underrated port. Viking museum is a waste of time. Go to Kon-Tiki museum and FRAM museum. They are both visual and fun for the whole family. Get a hot dog in a baguette at one of the stands outside Kon-Tiki, they are absolutely delicious.
COPENHAGEN: The little mermaid sure is little, seriously, it is tiny. So I recommend skipping it and going on a walking tour of the city. Don't miss Tivoli Gardens, but don't bring along your kids, they will hate it. The roller coasters stink and they are the side-attraction, its the beautiful gardens that are the main thing there.
STOCKHOLM: Boring, go on a tour, the city is a bit dull.
HELSINKI: Excellent market, try he fish, and the caribou sausage and bratwurst. So much fresh fish and meat. There is also a fantastic selection of shoes and shawls. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MARKET.
St Petersburg: MUst sees: A city tour of St. Petersburg, and Peterhof. That's pretty much it. You should definitely look at All of the brilliant cathedrals. Also try the Hermitage, don't drag your kids though, it is incredibly boring for the young ones.
Tallinn: Also an underrated port. A very walkable city, but don't bother with getting an excursion, just walk around, wander...
In summery, it is the 2nd best cruise we have taken, Celebrity is better quality. Pros: Cabins, service, public rooms Cons: Children's program, food
If you have like traveling without kids, are not a picky eater, and love impeccable service, definitely go on this cruise!