As i used this site a lot when preparing for my cruise, i thought it was only fair to post a review and offer tips.
The first impressions of the ship were great, but because everyone had been told to arrive at 2pm the que to get on was huge!
As this was my first cruise i have nothing to compare it to, but in my humble opinion the ship was beautiful. The cabins were spacious and well equipped and the attendants were excellent.
The food was generally good and was available around the clock.The waiters in the dining room were efficient but their 'catch phrases' got a little wearing.
The shows were not really to my taste but i did spend many happy hours rushing from quiz to mini golf to shuffleboard to Wii competitions. I turned into a bit of a joiner-in, which is unusual for me.
The ports of call were generally interesting-see reviews
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Port and Shore Excursions
walked into town (25mins) and then used a sightseeing boat trip-good value.Harbour area very pretty. Walked to Tivoli, which is a really nice old fashioned theme park.A word of warning here- we had typical lunch in one of Tivolis restaurants which was VERY different but the beer/lager was about £10 per glass! Its a good job i am not a big drinker.
This was my least favorite port.Again there is transport available at the dock, you don't need to use royal Caribbeans transfer.I found this city so congested with traffic that i just wanted to leave.We used the hop-on/off buses again but spent ages waiting at stops and then the bus crawled through the traffic. I don't have the details but would recommend looking into using the tram system which seemed to move about much better.Also recommend trying cloud berries with bread cheese(available from market near harbour), it is a local fruit a bit like a yellow raspberry.
This port was the main reason for taking the cruise-but be warned you need stamina to see it all.We pre-booked a two day tour with Alla tours and i can not speak highly enough of them. From the booking e-mails through to the return to the ship they were fabulous.Our guide was Natasha and she constantly checked our progress and ensured we were in the best places at the best times.Its worth noting that the museums in St Petersburg have a policy of allowing small parties of 4 to go ahead of the long ques of tour bus groups.We sometimes got funny looks from the people we were passing but it ensured that we saw a lot more than the ships tours.The only area i was disappointed in was the Hermitage gold room-it takes an hour and is very boring. There are some fancy jewels but if you've seen the British crown jewels, you will be disappointed with these.The Faberge eggs are in Moscow-you have been warned.
Hop-on/off water-buses available once you are off the ship.Recommend you visit Vasa ship (long ques so go there first if possible). Another place to go is the Ice bar but book before you leave home as lots of people were being turned away when we went.Also its not as great as i expected but its still fun to have a vodka while wearing a fetching blue thermal poncho!
Hop-on/off buses available again.Town very pretty with cobbled streets.If you like shopping for souvenirs-you will love this.