We flew into London then bus to Southampton and stayed at the Dolphin Hotel for 2 nights. Embarkation went smooth, the room was well appointed. 1st problem came with the people smoking on their balcony. I called management and they dealt with it right away. I am very allergic to Smoke
Ship Info: Daily schedules were delivered the night before and were well done.
Dining: Breakfast - buffet was good. Served Breakfast in Dining room - food arrived cool. Didn't return to served breakfast. Lunch - good. Tried several areas for lunch. Dinner: meals were good (not excellent) except for 2 that had to be sent back. We were not the only ones who had returned their meals. We eat at 2 of the specialty restaurants at 35.00 each and both were excellent.
Activities: We sat in the lounges, shopped on board, swam, exercise room, walked the decks. All were enjoyable.
Staff Service: Room service - excellent, Dining service was excellent, Specialty Wine tasting room service - excellent, Bar servers - very good, Breakfast and lunch servers- very good. Service Desk - one lady was very abrupt.(more on that under Entertainment)
Entertainment: So so but missed the demographics of those on board. We got to meet many others on board who were also disappointed of the type and quality. I must say this was the lowest rated entertainment compared to all other cruises we have taken. Next - we went to the upper deck to hear the musicians and looked forward to Dancing only to experience a large portion of this room was for smokers. We had to leave and never went back. The Main Atrium - there was always live music and when part of the Big Band played the tiled floor
area was filled with couples dancing. We did as well and really enjoyed it. That was one day then the rest of the time there was a Jazz group, however the music they played - nice to listen to but not the beat to dance to. Couples just stood around hoping for a number they could dance to. After the 3rd day of this I went to Customer Service - located in plain sight of the Atrium floor area, and mentioned to the young lady could she get a message to the entertainment manager regarding a change to the music. She was abrupt and told me that the Jazz group was requested??? Well my request fell on deaf ears because this same group continued day after day with no one able to enjoy a dance. I have been on so many other ships where dancing in the atrium is enjoyed by so many.
Shore excursions: Brugees- great time there. Had the best Belgium ever at a restaurant in the town square.
Berlin: 3 hr bus ride each way. The bag lunch was not only unhealthy but whatever that 1/2 sandwich was - was uneatable. Ever the Apple was bruised. Guide was good except we spent more than an hour driving in circles in the city then rushed to look at some sights - too rushed. Sharon and I broke away to go through the Jewish memorial - one other couple from our bus joined us. Best part of OUR tour.
ON bus ride back to ship - given another bag snack - the other 1/2 uneatable sandwich. If ever again I will get the ship to make us a bagged lunch.
Helsinki: Great time there
St. Petersburg - 2 days - go go go but overall - rushed through palaces, etc, it still was worth seeing. The arranged lunch was OK.
Tallinn: Great city to tour - forget the other tours. We went to the Farm - OK then to visit a home (this was a set up by the home owner) waste of time.
Stockholm - we loved seeing the City. Problem was our tour guide had an appointment for another tour a 4pm and rushed us through the Ship museum. She actually got off the bus early and the bus driver took over. He knew more history and points of interest than the guide.
Copenhagen: After that tour in Stockholm I decided we would do our own walking tour. We got to see so much more than others on board that took Cruise Tours.
We took river boat tour - few on board and had plenty of one on one with the guide. We would go back. We went off the tourist beat to where locals shopped and eat and had a great lunch at a sidewalk cafe.
Disembarkation: This went smooth. We took a bus to a Heathrow Hotel, spent a night then flew home.
This Cruise cost us approx 1000.00US each more than we could have paid for a similar cruise on another cruise line. Unfortunately we have had better consistent meals, service and entertainment on many others. Since this cruise we and 9 other siblings took a 7 day Alaska Cruise in mid September on Carnival. It was better in so many ways- surprise!