5 buses took fellow cruisers from Hyde Park to Dover aboard a bus. We left at 9:30 am and arrived by noon. Dover is a small terminal; we were checked in and given colored boarding passes. When our color was called we walked to the gangway and went on board.
First thing, checked out the stateroom. We were assigned a Superior Veranda (SY) 5001, which is starboard and to the fore. This is designated as a handicapped equipped room. This stateroom is large and spacious. The patio is double sized due to being all the way to the front of the ship. Nice. This was our second cruise so we knew to go up to Lido and eat while luggage was being loaded on board. After a huge lunch we walked around and discovered the rest of the ship. This ship has another premium restaurant located mid ship on the 11th floor called Tamarind, a Asian themed restaurant, along with Canaletto in the Lido and Pinnacle Grill. Get your reservations in early. Tamarind is no additional cost for lunch but reservations do fill up quickly.
This cruise is a Baltic Cruise that heads out of Dover to Copenhagen then to Warnermunde, Tallinn, Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and back to Dover. The seas were calm and on our trip at the end of June into July the weather was varied. We had warm days of 90+ and most days in the 60-70's.
I did order a expensive Internet plan to stay in touch, but found that the port of Copenhagen has free WiFi dockside. In addition Tallinn had free Wifi at the port near the shopping booths near the docks. Keep in mind that you have to share with others and it could be difficult to log on because of the crowds.
We arranged tours through HAL and liked the tours, although a little pricey. But this is vacation and we travelled half way around the world to get here we should see the sights. Warnermunde/Berlin was memorable because of the tour guides. We had Jay for the train ride from the port to Berlin, a German student home for summer but studying in Colorado, who was great. In Berlin we were lucky enough to have Berlin resident/actor/tourguide Burkhart. He was excellent and made each stop interesting, fun and educational. Highly recommend going into Berlin.
We ate most dinner's on board in the Rembrandt dining room in open seating. Because of the jet lag we always ate early. We found that the meats were cooked to perfection, unlike a year early in Alaska were we ate later. We think that in serving thousands those who eat early get better choice in doneness of the meats versus coming in for the huge rush at 7-8 pm.
As always the room stewards were great, we went to a few shows at the Mainstage and found the dancers, singers, performers thoroughly entertaining.
Our 10 year old we especially looking forward the Club HAL. She spend most days there in the mornings,afternoons and evenings playing with other kids her age. She had a great time and therefore we had a great time.