First cruise a winner
Baltic & Northern Europe
THE SHIP - large and immaculate, knowledgeable and friendly crew, probably a little biased as we were upgraded from a mini-suite to a penthouse suite...no idea why but obviously very much enjoyed the extra perks, the biggest one being the free Internet!
THE FOOD - we went for anytime dining, sat with different travellers most nights, met some great new friends. Also frequented Sabatini's as the food and service were first rate and very much worth the service charge. The theme meals were also well done, with the exception of the sushi, still a long way to go there.
GETTING OFF AND ON - pretty much seamless given that there were a couple thousand passengers. Absolutely NO issues with disembarking when were were on a non-Princess tour. If anything, it was easier to join our small Saint Petersburg tour than to go on the Princess tour. Having Princess handle all airport/hotel connections made life very simple, recommended.
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Port and Shore Excursions
Easy to do on our own, but could have skipped this stop and added an extra day to say Stockholm.
Great jumping off port, had a couple of days in Copenhage before sailing. Highly recommend the canal cruise.
Trip to Porvoo was worth the price of the Princess tour, great little bit of history and atmosphere. Great tour guide made the lesser sites still enjoyable.
Did the Princess tour to the ski-jump (not so great), the Viking Ship Museum (well worth it) and the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The tour of the park made the day and the trip to Oslo...absolutely amazing.
Skipped the trip to Berlin as we will be doing an auto tour of Germany etc. in the near future. Glad we did as the train was several hours late returning to the ship as they "lost" two passengers in Berlin. The trip to Lake Schwerin, the castle and the town were all excellent, as were lunch and the walking tour of Rostock on the return to the ship.
Joined 8 others on an ALLA tour using the Cruise Critic website. Brilliant. There is so much to see and even two full days only felt like we were skimming the surface. I think being in a smaller group (and in a smaller shuttle bus) helped immensely in getting nearer the front of the line and getting through the city traffic (awful especially during late afternoons). However, Saint P. was the highlight of the trip by far and the best tour guide, our small group and the tour program made it even more so.
A short stay, it would have been great to have another full day to wander on our own. The Vasa Museum and City Hall were first rate, but would have loved to have another day just wandering through the old town, taking a canal cruise etc.
Can't give this a 10 but every bit worth it. Did the HOHO bus but mostly walked...started at the upper town and just got lost wandering the narrow streets of the lower old town. Marvellous day.