We flew into Heathrow on an overnight flight. The only glitch in the whole cruise was the staff meeting us at the airport to bus us to Dover. We had to wait about 45 minutes before we left for the ship. After travelling all night, it was difficult. Embarkation, however, was a breeze. We walked in, stood in line maybe 5 minutes and then headed in. The line was a little large getting through the metal detectors, etc., but shortly we were on the ship and able to go directly to our cabins.
Thank goodness for the first day being at sea. We were exhausted from the time change, etc., so the day at sea was one to recover. Right off the bat, however, we found that all over the ship, the staff would ask our names...AND...remember them. Each time we saw a staff member we had met before, they would call us by name. It was wonderful.
All the ports we went to were great. I will only go into detail on two of them. We stopped in Germany. Here we took a tour booked through the ship. I did not realize until the tour that we were actually in east Germany. Our tour guide was extremely informative and was able to describe to us the before and after the Soviet Union reign. It was very educational.
Our best port was St. Petersburg. By far one that everyone should visit. What a beautiful city in its' own way. We booked a tour with TJ Travel...which is a must for anyone going there. They were wonderful. The two days, however, were grueling. Because there was so much to see, we did a lot of walking. We never, however, rushed. From the canals (which are amazing...to Catherine's Palace...to the Summer Palace or the Church of the Spilled Blood (amongst many other places) TJ Travel gave us plenty of time to see everything. If anyone goes there...please look into TJ Travel. It was only $255 for a two day tour, which also included lunch each day in small Russian restaurants...which was a treat in itself.
The last two days on the cruise were sea days, which were good as we were allowed to recover from this very port intensive trip.
Disembarkation was quite easy. There were numerous busses...very well organized...waiting to take us back to the airport.
All in all...this was the best cruise I have ever been on and I have travelled on many other cruise lines.