We have recently returned from our Baltic Cruise on the beautiful Jewel of the Seas departing from Harwich, which I must say was weird as we normally fly to a ship but I thought it a good experience and would go from here again. The embarkation procedure was very smooth we filled in the health questionnaire, signed the waiver and had the welcome aboard photo, before we knew it we was on-board the ship. The food in the main dining room tides was variable as the only thing to fault was the lack of vegetables and some were not cooked how we would have them. The service in the dining room we could not fault as our waiters always catered to our needs and would always have a spare dessert waiting for us. Also, the food in the Windjammer was varied as there was always something to meet everyone's food requirements. However, one recommendation would be the Seaview Cafe up on deck 12 as this was something a little different being free and having waiter service bring the food to your table, as well as being a great spot to watch the ship depart from port.
The activities going on around the ship was also good from bingo to dance lessons and would recommend walking a mile with HelloClo. Both pools on the ship were great as you had the outside pool and the solarium for various temperatures, the solarium however is adult only. I must mention that we thought our cruise director HelloClo was fantastic and always made a joke of walk a mile and the Great Belt Bridge.
We thought that all of our ports of call were fantastic with the only exception being Gothenburg, Sweden. Firstly we arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark here we jumped on the HOHO bus waiting for you when you get off the ship and departed on the three line route going to all the major sights. We also did something a little different which was going to the Carlsberg Brewery and I must say it was well worth the price as you get two free beers with entry or soft drinks, as well as it being an experience as you can find out the history of the beer that was made famous in Copenhagen. I would also recommend getting off the bus at the royal palace and walking back to the ship as on the way back you can stop off at the little mermaid (be prepared she is little!!). Next stop was Stockholm, Sweden home of ABBA yet again we took the HOHO bus around all of the sights we mainly did this to stop off at Vasa Museum which is a major sight well worth seeing we paid for the entry and walked ourselves around the museum, which was a lot better than taking a ship's excursion. Our third stop was Helsinki, Finland things to see here are the rock church, train station, Olympic stadium and Senate Square we did all of these on yet another HOHO bus as they are often the best value for money considering how much you can see. We also made our way to some of the shops close by and was amazed at one of it's department stores Stockmann everything you can imagine is in this shop. I would also look out for Santa at the Rock Church as he looks like how we would imagine him to look.
The next two stops was St Petersburg, Russia where we spent an overnight here on this stop I had decided to pre-book a private tour with TJ Travel and was one of the best things we did to date as I cannot praise our tour guide Viktoria and the driver Leo enough as she was very knowledgeable and always made sure that we had a toilet stop at least every hour. During this tour we got taken to all the fantastic sights St Petersburg has to offer and also had two lunches included in our two day tour package as well as all the entrance fees. The lunches I thought were fantastic and the cost of the package was outstanding considering what we got out of it. Overall this company were just simply fantastic and we definitely recommend this to anyone considering a private tour especially our guide, another good thing about these is that you are not required to pay until the end of the second day and included a little goody bag as a thank you gesture.
The next stop on our cruise was Tallinn, Estonia here we walked to the old town as it is definitely not worth getting the shuttle bus or a taxi as you can do it yourself, it is a very picturesque town but you can only spend three hours here. Our final stop was Gothenburg, Sweden which was not a great stop but we walked around the shopping areas and the avenue, after this we got on the Padden Boat so that we could go under the Cheese Slicer but on this day we could not due to high water levels but did however go under the Hairdresser Bridge the second lowest in Sweden.
The entertainment on-board the ship was very good and varied we had a motown tribute act, a violinist - Gary Levini who was absolutely fantastic, a comedian though not to English humour only american, an illusionist yet another outstanding show, Tango Buenos Aires and finally the Graffiti Classics a string quartet that were very good and even played a second day in the Centrum. Another different factor about the ship was music nights in the Centrum area from British pop to 70's night both were amazing and had everyone up dancing and singing along.
Finally to comment on our cabin which I must say was very nice and provided a good amount of storage for everyone in the cabin, also our cabin steward Tatiana always provided a towel animal every other night and always made sure the cabin was kept tidy. Overall, this Cruise was fantastic due to the excellent ports of call and an outstanding ship to visit them on. I would definitely recommend this ship to anyone considering a Baltic Cruise.