Although we have traveled extensively, we have always done it by land. SPB, Russia has long been on our bucket-list and my brother recommended a cruise (he had done the port of SPB on another cruise line). After a lot of research, we booked NCL.
I must say, after reading many less than favorable reviews of the SUN, we were pleasantly surprised. Love the free-style concept! Never have to dress-up (saves valuable luggage space).
Liked the buffets (food was always edible although often somewhat bland ... but for the price, I am NOT complaining). There was never a wait in either of the main dining rooms. Many options available ala specialty restaurants (we didn't partake).
Ship was very easily to navigate .... room was just dandy (inside cabin, deck 8)...much more spacious than I had anticipated, beds much more comfortable than those to which we were accustomed in 4 star hotels in many european cities. Our cabin steward was super ... kept our room More
Staff very polite and helpful. Used only one shore excursion thru the ship ("Stockholm on your own" - just utilized the transfer to and from Stockholm) and that was only because we tendered in Nynashamn. For SPB & Berlin, we utilizes a private tour company, Alla Tours. Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Tallinn were easily done on our own.
All in all, we had a wonderful time and we would not hesitate using NCL in the future. Less
OMG!! The reason we took this cruise was because of the 2 days in SPB. We were simply awestruck! On our first day, we took a ride through the city to familiarize ourselves with some of the venues (with stops along the way for photos). We were then treated to a canal tour of SPB by boat.
During our 2 days, we toured the Catherine Palace, Hermitage (Winter Palace), Peterhof, Peter & Paul Fortress, Yusupov Palace, St. Isaac's Cathedral, and the Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood. We also visited the farmer's market, took a subway ride, did a little shopping and took a hydrofoil ride out to Peterhof (which is located on the gulf of Finland).
Gorgeous city! We spent more time in the Vasa museum than we had anticipated, visited the Royal Palace (Royal armory and treasury were fantastic) and spent the remainder of our time wandering around Gamla Stan.
In a word, charming! We really enjoyed walking thru old town which is only about an easy 10 minute walk from the pier. We toured the kiek in de kok and the bastion tunnels (rented an audioguide at the TI) and saw just about everything we wanted to see. Had an outstanding lunch at Von Krahli Aed.