We booked our own air and arrived in London the day prior to our sailing. We hired a car and driver through Adelphi Executive company and the driver was waiting for us as we had obtained our luggage. We were concerned because our two adult daughters were with us and we had a total of 8 pieces of luggage but the van easily accomodated us all. We drove straight to Dover where we had booked one night at the Maison Deux bed and breakfast. Our room was comfortable and we had a view of Dover castle from our window. The owner, Di brought us tea and cookies upon arrival. After walking around Dover we found an Italian restaurant for dinner.
On June 15th we took our baggage to the port at 10:00 am and then boarded a free shuttle to drive to Dover Castle. We spend about 2.5 hours touring the castle and the new Dunkirk exhibit. The new exhibit is very well done and we highly recommend a visit to all age groups. After touring the castle we walked around in town and my husband sampled a local beer.
We arrived back at the port about 1:30pm. We learned there was a Code Red due to a viral outbreak on the previous cruise and were offered an opportunity to speak to a medical personnel or even get a refund. We were ready to just board. We got a bite to eat at the Lido and then had the mandatory drill. Following the drill, we went to the Spa where our youngest daughter's name was drawn for a free seaweed wrap and massage. Good start to the cruise. Attended the pre dinner show and it was very entertaining. We had the late sitting and although we had asked for a table for 8 found we were at a table for 6 but our family was alone. Our waiters were very nice and food was good.
June 16th...Day at sea...In the morning attended our cruise critic meet and mingle. Now I have faces to go with the names on the roll call. Relaxed but did attend a wine tasting. Our youngest daughter played bingo and won $299. Met some nice people and one couple ended up joining us for dinner at our table.
June 17th...Copenhagen...We took the hop on off bus that was parked near the ship. It was a good way to get around. We also took a canal cruise. Just after leaving the canal ride, it began to rain but it didn't last long. Walked a lot near the Little Mermaid. Went to the Crows Nest to listen to Gary play guitar and sing prior to dinner.
June 18th....Germany. Although many passengers went to Berlin we were meeting our former exchange student in Warmenunde and just visited this day. We did drive to Rostock and saw the Astronomical clock chime at NOON in the church. In the afternoon we went to the beach in Warmenunde and then to a cafe where I used the free wifi. We went back on the ship around 5 pm just when there was a major thunderstorm. On the ship there was a local German band from Warmenunde on board and they were grilling sausages for passengers.
June19th....sea day....Attended a computer class and read. We ate at the Pinnacle tonight and had a wonderful meal. Our daughters ate at Canelato and said that they liked their dinners as well.
June 20 Tallinn, Estonia...We booked a 3 hour walking tour with SPB. The guide met us just as we left the ship. She had previously been giving these tours in French but spoke excellent English. She was very knowledgable and we learned a lot about the history of Estonia as we walked all the way to the top of the old city. We did not go over to the new section but enjoyed our time in Tallinn.
June 21-22..St. Petersburg, Russia....We again booked an active two day tour with SPB and there were a total of 10 of us on this tour. We had a small mini van for the two days and we were encouraged to leave our bags on board with the driver to avoid any pickpockets. The two days were very full. We saw all the highlights and I was quite impressed that we were at the Petohof gardens at 11:00 when the fountains began to operate. Our guide also got us into Catherine's palace on the 2nd day just as the gates opened. The biggest crowds were at the Hermitage and since we did not arrive until the afternoon the crowd thinned out by the end of our tour. One fun thing we did was to visit a local supermarket which reminded me of a super Target/Walmart. The four of us all decided that St Petersburg was the one port that we most enjoyed.
June 23....Helsinki, Finland....We booked a SPB three hour tour. We were in a bus with about 14 people and visited the main tourist spots. We got out at several including the Rock Church and were able to take photos. We also spent some time in the center of town. It was raining and we were still tired after our days in Russis so just returned to the ship. My daughters and I were able to book massages.
June 24....Sweden...We had booked a ship excursion to take us to Stockholm for a tour, visit to the Vasa ship museum and then time on our own. We did not know that the 24th was a holiday and most shops closed at 2 pm. We tendered to land and then boarded a bus but we ended up waiting for almost a half hour to fill up the bus. We only had 45 minutes for the Vasa museum and felt it was too rushed. We drove around the city and were dropped off in town. We walked around and found a cafe for a bite to eat and coffee. We then heard music and watched locals dance and sing. The women all had flowers on their heads for the holiday. We did see the parade of the soldiers on their way for the changing of the guard. We though Stockholm was very clean and the people friendly.
June 25...sea day...Did more reading; attended a computer class; visited with some of the people we have met on the cruise. We went to happy hour at the Crows Nest.
June 26...Sea day and our 40th anniversary. Our daughters surprised us with balloons on our door and a sign; a flower arrangement in our room and they had purchased a formal photo that the four of us had taken on the 2nd formal night. Attended the diembarkation talk in the main theater. Today we played bingo and our two daughters bought a card together and won the cruise. Then in the afternoon our youngest daughter won $199 playing bingo again. We went up to the Crows Nest to listen to Gary for one final time. The four of us ate at the Pinnacle to celebrate. Following dinner we went up to the Crows nest where we met some new friends for one last visit and a farewell drink.