Personally I thought the art on the Noordam and Veendam was better but that's just me and made no difference to the cruise experience. Everything esle was as before, withthe usual terrific service.
Our pre-cruise research made it very clear that apart from St Petersburg all the other ports were very easy to do on your own. This made the land days quite cheap, unless you actually bought anything whilst on land. I was so busy sightseeing to have time to shop or have lunch so this was not an issue for me.
All in all, another superb cruise, I would happily return to every port. In addition to my descriptions of the ports I have made short YouTube videos of the main sights at each, and if they are of interest you can find them by searching on my YouTube username, which is also Cornishpastyman1. (St Petersburg films to be added as soon as I can but all the others are there)
You can catch this at more than one place and we chose Nyhavn.It's an easy 10- minute walk to this pretty 17th century canal where Hans Christian Andersen spent several years of his life. The canal trip was very good, with a guide pointing out the major landmarks in 3 languages. It travels into the inner city but you get to pass the opera house, the Danish Royal Playhouse, the royal yacht, the royal pavilions, Noma, recently voted the World's No 1 restaurant, and the site where the most famous landmark, the Little Mermaid usually sits. But at the moment she is on display in Shanghai, where she can be viewed via a live webcam feed shown on a big screen mounted in the water.
The tour took an hour, after which we went into in a canal-side cafe for a quick drink before walking along the harbourside in the direction of the ship. This gives a chance to have a good look at Amalienborg Palace, the royal family's winter residence, the Royal Pavilions and Copenhagen's largest monument, the Gefion Fountain which is today a gigantic wishing well, and a replica of Michaelanglo's David. The walk from the city centre back to the boat is about 3 km but you could quite easily catch the number 26 along the way if you don't fancy the walk. All in all a great city.
I spent 2 hours here without visiting the museum. There are a couple of nice cafes and you could go for a swim if you wished but the water is cold. Reluctantly I took the ferry back to the mainland and jumped on Tram 3T to go and see the Rock Church, which is stunning. And then my nerve failed me. I wanted to go and see the Sibelius Monument and Olympic Stadium but was worried about time constraints (return bus was 4 pm) so just walked back past the railway station and national theatre to Senate Square for a proper look.
Helsinki is beautiful.
The sights are very well-documented so I won't describe them beyond saying they were fabulous. All were very crowded but being with Alla Tours meant we bypassed all the waiting lines and although you are moved on quickly that's fine because there's so much to see.
Exhausting, exhilarating and unforgettable - the cruise highlight in a field were the competition was fierce.
But once there Stockholm is stunning. On the way to the Vasa museum we walked down the side of the Grand Hotel to Strandvagen, one of Stockholm's most exclusive boulevards. Over the bridge at Djurgarden we find the Vasa Museum. We spent 2 hours there. Utterly remarkable and memorable, this is well worthy of the accolade of Stockholm's No 1 attraction.
From there we took a boat to the old town Gamla Stan, which was gorgeous and quaint, then saw the Royal palace, the Swedish Parliament buildings, the City hall and the Opera House, all set in a sparkling-blue harbour. A fantastic city that could easily sustain a 7 day holiday.
Back down in the lower town we find the market square and the old town hall, together with lots of restaurants, and a very impressive flower market outside the Viru Gate. I had high hopes for Tallinn and they were certainly fulfilled - there's plenty to admire as you just stroll around. And one other thing, getting a decent wi-fi connection is easy so bring your hand-held devices if you feel the need to catch up on your emails.