We went on this cruise with another couple, we both drove to Harwich as we had made full use of the sailing from the UK and taken far too many suitcases - hence the 2 cars to put all the cases in!!
We got there really early and they had just opened the car park - both paid at the booth £5 a night per car and then proceeded into the car park area. We dropped the (many) cases off and then parked. All aboard the laid on buses and off to the checking in area...10 out of 10 for HARWICH. We were allowed straight onto the ship at 11am - but the rooms were not available to 1pm - we tried to sneak in them but they shut all the passages off to the rooms so we couldn't really get to the rooms!! Still this was no hardship as it was a hot and sunny day so we crashed out on a sun lounger and grabbed a coffee.
After a while we ventured to the Windjammer buffet restuarant, they have many big round food stations each with certain foods, salads, hot foods, rolls and puddings etc - and it felt a much nicer way to get the food of your choice much better than waiting in line in a school canteen manner. It was nice spending several minutes wandering around looking at it all then going back to the 'food pod' of your choice. We ate in the Windjammer every lunch time and I can honestly say that all 4 of us never tired or got bored with the food choices.
1pm on the dot- in the rooms we went, very nice and seemed very spacious, the balcony was lovely and we all spent a lot of time looking at the fantastic views of the sea and fjords (Stockholm & Oslo) our nice cabin steward kindly found 2 extra balcony chairs so we could all sit together and look out to sea...plenty of room. the bed was very big and cosy and the shower very powerful and had hard doors rather than a wet cold stick on yer bum curtain!!
We had asked for 2nd sitting in Tides and our preferance was a table for 4 - which we got how lovely was that - we thought the large round tables rather hard to talk to all the other diners (we did unfortunately have to sit at these some mornings until we got friendly with the staff and they always managed to get us a nice table for 4). The food in Tides was wonderful - only one meal I never really liked but I still managed to eat it all - hence the 7lb weight gain!! Our waiters were brilliant, Izhamir and Bozidar table 461.
I loved the pools and they had a nice indoor one which was nice when the weather was not so good but it did sometimes resemble a rest home........and the alternating bird and cricket noises could after 24/7 drive you rather dotty. The outside pool had a large bronze figure sitting on the side who got the nickname of Fatboy and unfortunately I could have been his partner Fatgirl by the end of the cruise.
All ports were good and we only did organised trips in Russia the metro one was really good and quite hair raising in case you didnt manage to get of the tube in time!!
The nightlife - Me and hubbie only got to see the Mr & Mrs show which was made good by the cruise director Jof (or a name similar) our friends see the comedian and thought he was funny and I was sorry we had missed that - we choose the cinema which sadly only ever showed films so old it was daft...
W loved the Vortex bar on floor 13 this area had 180 degree view and the views were lovely especially as it didnt get dark to 12pm some nights, we had a fantastic view of the Queen Victoria ship all lit up racing past us cheek!! Shame they allow smoking in the some of the bars as it made it unpleasant when lots participated.
All too soon we had to get off but that was as easy as getting on - I thought Harwich a good port (been to S'hampton and Dover) and the service we got from RCI was outstanding
I loved the towel animals much better than a chocolate on your pillow