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243 Baltic Sea First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We heard about the cruise from friends that were booked on it so that was our incentive for considering it. Our main reason for booking the cruise was the itinerary and some of the shore excursions. Although having traveled extensively, we ... Read More
We heard about the cruise from friends that were booked on it so that was our incentive for considering it. Our main reason for booking the cruise was the itinerary and some of the shore excursions. Although having traveled extensively, we had never been on a cruise of any sort so we thought this might be a good time to try one. As we found out, an enjoyable advantage of cruising is not having to pack and unpack as you move to the next destination. We stopped in Paris for a couple of days before continuing to Lisbon. We also had a couple of days in Lisbon prior to embarkation. We arranged these things independently, trying to maximize our time in Europe and to avoid any possible travel snafus that would interfere with the cruise. Highlights of this cruise included a shore excursion to Santiago de Compostela; Bilbao, Spain and the Guggenheim; docking right in Bordeaux with easy access to everything; the shore excursion in Saint Malo to Le Mont Saint-Michel, the Normandy Landings outside of Honfleur, and cruising up the Thames River - under the Tower Bridge and docking next to the Belfast battleship in the city center - Awesome experience! We had looked forward to visiting Guernsey but weather prevented us from going ashore which was only accessible via tenders. We heard that this is a common occurrence for Guernsey which made us wonder why a) the itinerary doesn't state something like there is a good chance you won't be able to disembark - or x% of our stops in Guernsey don't make it to shore; or b) maybe it should not be part of the itinerary. While we did complete all other stops on our itinerary, we felt Gijon was the least interesting destination and would not mind skipping that port. We enjoyed the entertainment on the ship - an amazing group of talented people. The crew talent show was a great deal of fun too. We were disappointed in the lecturer and felt he spent too much time talking about his interests rather than preparing us to enjoy and comprehend our next destination. The staff and service were top-notch and a real highlight of our onboard time. Our butler and cabin attendant kept everything ship-shape and surprised us with little messages, drinks, or towel sculptures throughout the voyage. It seemed that all logistics were handled with precision. There were good dining options and the food was generally good. It did seem to be a bit redundant which may be due to the length of the cruise (12 days). Because this was a smaller ship, we had the opportunity to interact with many other guests and get to know them. Most of the guests were very experienced cruisers! These interactions with diverse people were highlights of the trip. As first-time cruisers, we can not compare this experience to other cruises or cruise lines. We had heard SilverSeas was a topnotch cruise line, so we expected excellence. The staff, service, and handling of logistics were indeed excellent. We had also heard that the Silver Cloud was an older ship and was due to be renovated and repurposed into an expedition ship, so we did not expect perfection. We think every effort was made to make the ship comfortable and keep up appearances. We definitely will consider cruising again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
First time crusier, wonderful experience! We had a group of 6 from 11-78, accommodated all our needs. Staff couldn't have been nicer! Was a little concerned about the younger passengers in our group but we spent so much time off the ... Read More
First time crusier, wonderful experience! We had a group of 6 from 11-78, accommodated all our needs. Staff couldn't have been nicer! Was a little concerned about the younger passengers in our group but we spent so much time off the ship touring the cities that they were happy to come home to a friendly staff, wonderful food and cozy rooms. We had ship credits and enjoyed the spa, wonderful massage! Our room attendant, Yesf, bent over backwards to make us feel welcome. He brought in balloons for our youngest passenger on her birthday and the ship made her a special cake that was presented at dinner, very special. Madagascar Prawns were absolutely fanatastic, most all the food was wonderful! Would highly recommend for a low-key family excursion.. We did not use the ships excursions so I will not review those but from what I heard, they were average. We used an outside company in St. Petersburg which was fabulous! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
although the cruise was good in many ways the one disappointment to my friend and I was the balcony!!! we paid over 1,600 each for an outside cabin with balcony HA! Canada deck 099 room ok, balcony what a let down no glass front like ... Read More
although the cruise was good in many ways the one disappointment to my friend and I was the balcony!!! we paid over 1,600 each for an outside cabin with balcony HA! Canada deck 099 room ok, balcony what a let down no glass front like all the others, overhead blocking out any sun the bridge, also to the left a huge stantion holding up the bridge and a large light fixture on the left hand corner, the front was filled in so no view whatsoever unless stood leaning over the front we did not get any info about this nor did we get a reduced price we also never got any on board spending so what an absolute let down considering the weather was so good we could have had lots of evening drinks on the balcony very very disappointed so if anyone is allocated c o99 BEWARE!!! but on the bright side staff and entertainment brill cabin steward Helison fantastic think next time however go with cunard Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise because it was recommended by a friend who did the same Baltic cruise last year. The Eclipse is a beautiful looking ship. The stateroom was good, and included a balcony. It was kept spotlessly clean. The toilet ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was recommended by a friend who did the same Baltic cruise last year. The Eclipse is a beautiful looking ship. The stateroom was good, and included a balcony. It was kept spotlessly clean. The toilet paper was horrible. The navigation lecture was excellent as was the glass blowing. The entertainment was excellent until the last night. The Beatles Tribute band were talented musicians but couldn't sing! We found the constant background music whilst on deck very irritating. All we wanted to do was read in peace. My husband found the Moonlight Sonata menu very repetitive. However, we thought that the food in the Ocean View Bar was very good. A major disappointment was the lack of a shuttle bus when we got to Stockholm. We queued for over an hour and got the 'hop on, hop off bus' and visited the ABBA Museum but we were so concerned about getting back to the ship on time after the worryingly late return from St Petersburg, (we got back five minutes before sailing) that we went straight back to the ship and didn't go anywhere else. We enjoyed the late night dancing in the Sky Lounge. The trip to Copenhagen was another disappointment. We saw the Little Mermaid and the Palace and whizzed past everything else. No chance to even get a decent photo of Hans Christian Anderson. Went to the Village of Dragor when we would rather have had time in the city. I went to a lecture in the beauty salon but the price of the facials was extortionate. I had a lovely facial before I came away from home and it cost £32.00. The salon wanted over £100! The shop prices were also extortionate. The service was very good. The cleaning staff were very friendly and any problems were dealt with straight away. The Captain gave a lecture and was incredibly knowledgeable, which was a comfort! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I am going to focus on the positives! This is a beautiful ship with an amazing crew many of whom seek to go the extra mile in trying to give you a great time! We had an amazing trip. It was our first sea cruise and we were not ... Read More
I am going to focus on the positives! This is a beautiful ship with an amazing crew many of whom seek to go the extra mile in trying to give you a great time! We had an amazing trip. It was our first sea cruise and we were not disappointed. All of the four restaurants are excellent and we eat 3/4 times int he evening in each. Even the buffet style World Cafe is great in the evening as it is quiet, spacious and has the best views on the ship! We particularly enjoyed the Chef's table and were able to enjoy 4 out of 5 of the menus offered when we were on board. The included wines repeat a bit over 2 weeks but we are not great drinkers so it dodon't bother us. We loved the entertainment programme and music which were outstanding but for us the enrichment lectures were rather highbrow...and I am no intellectual slouch at all! They seem to be enjoyed by the academically minded on board. So for the downsides...security was a bit of a shambles...with the scanning process quickly abandoned after a port or two due to inefficiency. My wife's bag was impounded as she had a picnic knife and it took us 2 hours to track it down after we had to go to Guest Services and initiate a search! Finally what must be imporved - excursions...we had a really poor experience before we went with changed excursion times ( which Viking put right under pressure) and one really bad excursion that I am still discussing with them ( awful guide and not as described) . It is a challenge to get 700 or so people off on an included excursion. Those disattisfied with their walking tour allocation learnt that groups could be gatecrashed on the quay leading to a loss of control! ( not a problem with coach trips though as tickets were tightly controlled). It is early days and I am sure Viking will sort all this out. Most of our excursions are fine but be ready for immobile people who cannot keep up with the most gentle walks! Enough of that...an amazing experience...we loved it and hope to be back on a Viking cruise ship in a year or two. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We were really impressed with Celebrity Eclipse for our first cruise. As mentioned, embarkation didnt go very well, but this was due to a technical glitch and they handled this well. The ship is beautiful, immaculately clean and ... Read More
We were really impressed with Celebrity Eclipse for our first cruise. As mentioned, embarkation didnt go very well, but this was due to a technical glitch and they handled this well. The ship is beautiful, immaculately clean and well maintained. People have said in other reviews that furniture looks tired, but this isn't something we noticed or were concerned by. We had an inside cabin because I was aware that there weren't going to be many hours of darkness in the more northerly parts of our cruise, and I like to sleep in total darkness. Despite being the cheapest 'stateroom,' it was spacious, clean and we were brilliantly looked after. The staff deserve special mention because throughout the ship, they worked so hard to ensure our comfort and satisfaction. Cleaning staff kept our room immaculate, turned down every night and even provided towel art on a few occasions. The waiters in the restaurant were a lot of fun and worked hard to look after us, and the 'Guest Services' department solved any problems we had. I thought the food was brilliant. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Ocean View buffet and felt the standard of food was very high. Yes, as others have mentioned, the norovirus meant the experience was slowed down a little, but I didn't feel this was excessive and the food was worth the wait. We ate almost every night in Moonlight Sonata (main dining room) and were very impressed. There was only one night that I was slightly disappointed with my dinner, and that was more because of my selection than the restaurant. As mentioned before, the waiters were great and we felt well looked after. We also had some on-board credit so we ate a Qsine one night which was just amazing. We loved the experimental style but that food quality wasn't compromised in trying to be quirky. We did buy a drinks package, which I know lots of people have said they weren't happy with. However, we felt we got our money's worth, and liked not having to think about the cost as we went along. We enjoyed some of the entertainment, but this was a mixed bag. The cast shows were poor, we didnt make it through 'chandelier,' and the rock show, whilst well done musically, seemed to be a chance for young performers to strut a lot, with little else by way of dancing or performing really. However, the violinist who was on during the first week was incredible, and we enjoyed the Russian dancing, and the Beatles tribute. I really enjoyed the lectures by the head chef, what a great opportunity, and the live music throughout the boat was of a very high standard. We didn't use celebrity excursions because they were very pricey. However, there was a local shuttle bus for a reasonable price in every port. We did use two celebrity excursions whilst in St Petersburg because there was no other way to see the city. The first excursion was terrible, but thankfully the second one made up for it. My only real disappointment was that someone else who went on the bad excursion ended up getting money back, but when we complained, we were told noone else had raised these concerns. I wasn't after money back, but wasn't impressed at being clearly lied to! Lots of people mention the constant 'upselling.' This definitely does happen, but actually we just ignored it and didn't find it overwhelming. Its not a 'hard sell,' they just mentioned things that were available, and although we chose not to buy into most of them, people we met along the way did, and they were glad those things were available. Agree the spa is overpriced, which is a big shame. From my visits to the USA, I think spa prices are generally much higher over there, and prices seem to be more in line with USA prices than UK prices. Disembarkation was incredible easy and well organised. Overall, a great experience. Great ports, and a lovely cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
First time cruisers, our trip to the Baltic capitals was the most wonderful experience and excelled our expectations. The staff were wonderful and they made us feel comfortable at all times, welcoming us back on board after each trip on ... Read More
First time cruisers, our trip to the Baltic capitals was the most wonderful experience and excelled our expectations. The staff were wonderful and they made us feel comfortable at all times, welcoming us back on board after each trip on land and entertaining us when we were at sea. The food was wonderful and so were the nightly shows and the lectures on the places to visit very informative. If you are reasonably active and confident, most of the cities visited can be explored with a good travel book as there are shuttle buses that run frequently to the city centres and you can explore at leisure. You do need to go ashore as an organised group in Russia because of visa requirements. Although expensive, we thought the Exclusive Hermitage excursion at night one of the highlights of our trip; a magical experience! The 40 piece St Peterburg orchestra were fantastic and the glass of champagne an added bonus. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Being a newbie and having never cruised before, we got the royal treatment, family trip with three senior adult women who booked in an inside cabin, sisters had previously cruised so they were more skilled and knew what to expect. A short ... Read More
Being a newbie and having never cruised before, we got the royal treatment, family trip with three senior adult women who booked in an inside cabin, sisters had previously cruised so they were more skilled and knew what to expect. A short time before sailing we were offered an upgrade email upsell list of possibilities and quickly took the family suite for a little over $200 each, doubling our space, closets, and adding a bathtub. We were all excited and impressed! HUGE 400+ sq. feet, Wonderful room, floor to ceiling windows on one side of the double cabin, concierge, butler, and room attendant, sweetest people, doing whatever they could for us. Flower arrangement, space, drawers, coffee maker espresso, etc. royal treatment! Room 10128, near the pool area, front of the ship, close to elevators too, really nice. Our room was in excellent condition, beds, furniture, carpet, bathroom, everything like brand new. Always coming back finding food in the room, fresh cut fruit, cookies, cheese and crackers, fruit bowl, canapés, chocolate covered strawberries, sandwiches, on and on, and we are three women virtually always on a diet, so the scale in the bathroom was helpful to keep track while we also enjoyed the snacks and the attention that comes with being in suite. Maybe because of the suite, though honestly there wasn't anything I could complain about, not one thing, personnel staff, cruise director, Cruise Next Director Paloma, they were all helpful and excellent. We bought the $250 deposit and they gave us another $250 toward another cruise, thus insuring you make an additional two cruises...which is a no brainer anyway! We purchased a 3 meal dining package, spa pass for the whole cruise, and 100 minute internet. Loved them all though would likely not do spa on busy cruises with many stops, due to time and busy schedule it was wasteful to us. Though we loved the folks in the spa, wonderful manager with great personality, and never felt pressured to buy anything, even pictures taken here and there, we waved away with a smile and no one ever put any pressure on us. Internet worked well and any problem was quickly and generously resolved by our internet steward. Special dining Meals were out of sight wonderful, and loved Versailles other wise, took only one meal at the Main street ? Café buffet, Loved Cagney's, LOVED Le Bistro and Teppanyani was ok. My favorite and best meal on the ship was Cagney's and Le Bistro, though honestly we loved Versailles and ate there most other times in evening. As suite holders we had breakfast and lunch at times in Cagney's. Aqua was ok, as was the Irish Pub place in the center atrium, food the same in both dining rooms, (Aqua and Versailles), though Aqua had lower ceilings and personnel seemed different, not as happy. And by this time we loved Versailles. Overall I totally enjoyed the evening meal dining, funny at home I have large lunches and rarely eat in the evening so it was a real treat to dine and be waited on. Don't drink much at all, though I do enjoy mimosa from time to time, and they offered them for $5.25 each morning from 800-1200 noon, so I had a few of those and rolled off the boat once with a slight buzz. smile! My sister knows what she is doing with poker and said she won about $800 bucks on the ship, poker machines....my mother gambled some, and was a winner also. I pay nickel or quarter one at time..HA! Anyway FYI it can be done! We went to a few evening shows and enjoyed them though if tired we skipped them. I am an avid walker and kept up with my steps using my fitbit and updating the dashboard using ship internet, as though I was home. The promenade on level 7 is grand place to walk and I am not sure how many miles I did around that ship though honestly likely between shore moves and laps, 5-7.5 miles a day. I kept it to about 13000 to 15000 steps a day. Zoom! That was me that just passed. There were regular walkers each day morning and evening. I did not get to the solo mixers though hope to next time and also did not know that cruise critic has mixers til today so I'll be looking into that, though we did meet some really sweet couples from Scotland, who were on our St Pete Alla Tour and another from Flowery Branch, Georgia, Quebec City, Canada. Also I did not get to the yoga or exercise classes in fitness center, so on next cruise as tie allows, will do that next cruise. Tallin Estonia, sisters did a tour that they loved, I walked into town solo and thoroughly enjoyed walking around, visiting an old church, taking pictures, enjoying the day. Lovely old town, and love the idea that they had sung their way to freedom! Sweet, non violent. Wonderful Berlin, Germany- we decided due to the distance not to do that and took the train to Rostock, walked around the downtown shopping area, sis lost her credit cards, so we hung around while that got sorted, buying candies, marzipan at a special shop, groovy! though again lovely area. St Petersburg- Here we had previously booked a ALLA tour and it wasn't cheap $300 for two full days, though we had Svetlana and she was amazing, Hermitage, Peteroff, river tour, Church of the blood, it was a full 7 hours both days, great driver, she is really, wonderful, if you decide to go with ALLA, try to get Svetlana. A remarkable young woman, it is rare to see someone who has found there true calling. It feels good just beng in her presence. On request they even took us to a regular grocery store and we were able to purchase a few vodka bottles for friends at home, which they really appreciated. Amazing days, and full. Hats off to ALLA ST. Petersburg Svetlana!!!. (Stockholm ALLA was a slight disappointment in comparison.) Helsinki, Finland- Hop on Hop off and got down at Hard rock Café and had a couple of drinks and huge nacho platter, YUM! Stockholm, Sweden- Arriving to Stockholm and watching early morning from the top side, front of the ship, there were about a dozen of us all quiet and taking pictures as to not disturb the peace and quiet of our arrival. Each side of the ship passing fairly closely to cabins, retreats, compounds, all the homes on all the small islands of the Archipelago becoming more and more dense with population as we get closer to Stockholm. Located on many islands again ALLA tour and it was ok, enjoyed Vasa tour inside the museum. Loved the yachts and amazing to observe the way they live in an geographically interesting place like this. The weather was amazing...we weren't sure how it might be, though it was really nice. Second week in September. Stayed a few hours in Copenhagen, after checking at airport via metro returned to old town and visited Nyhavn, enjoyed photos, lunch and ice cream there. Gained only 6 pounds and it is already gone and now I have already booked two more NCL cruises, one in June 2016 out of Copenhagen Norway cruise on the Star again and the other a fire sale, Mediterranean cruise on the Spirit in 3 weeks, Oct 24th. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
the title says it all, really. It was our first cruise and, within a few days we were hooked. The food was good and varied. The crew were excellent .... always smiling, always polite and attentive, quick to learn our names and tastes. ... Read More
the title says it all, really. It was our first cruise and, within a few days we were hooked. The food was good and varied. The crew were excellent .... always smiling, always polite and attentive, quick to learn our names and tastes. Hygiene was a priority. Antiseptic dispensers for your hands were situated at the gangway and at the entrance to the restaurants (with a crew member checking) as well as at other points in the ship. Handrails were regularly cleaned by the crew. Entertainment was good with a choice of several performers through the day and a show at night. Ports visited were well chosen and with a good selection of shore tours. Very comfortable bed in our pleasant cabin. Looking forward to our next cruise aboard Boudicca. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Just returned from a great cruise to St Petersburg on CMV's Magellan and thought I'd write a note to allay the fears of others who may have been concerned about some of the early reviews. To cut to the chase, CMV offer very good ... Read More
Just returned from a great cruise to St Petersburg on CMV's Magellan and thought I'd write a note to allay the fears of others who may have been concerned about some of the early reviews. To cut to the chase, CMV offer very good value but you don't get all the frills that I suspect you'd expect from more expensive cruise lines with newer megaships and all mod cons. You're going to be upset if you want a champagne lifestyle for beer prices, but if you want to travel comfortably on a pleasant ship with an excellent crew then read on. As we live in SE London, the coach transfer from Victoria made sense, and was reasonable value at £25 return. Embarkation was straightforward and cases soon arrived at our outside cabin on deck 6 - clean, quiet, surprisingly spacious with plenty of storage space, very comfortable beds and a great powerful shower. Take extra hangers though, if you're packing clothes for more than a week or so. The ship itself is a nice size - large enough to be able to find some space to oneself if you want to escape, but small enough to feel like a ship rather than floating apartment complex. There's plenty of deck space but the sheltered spots are taken quickly; the pools are small (think dip rather than lengths). Sinatra's Bar was a nice place for a cocktail or evening drink, listening to the pianist and Hampton's Bar was a treat in the late evening when the superb pianist and violinist played some lovely classical pieces (and more modern songs that had been rearranged in a classical way). Shows in the main lounge were of a decent standard, with excellent choreography, dancing and lighting occasionally let down by average singing from some performers. The house band are superb. More variety in the style and format of shows would be nice and sight lines in the main theatre are tricky - too many pillars and screens make it difficult to find chairs with an unblocked view. The two restaurants are comfortable and self-service buffet area fine if you would prefer a more relaxed setting...as long as you avoid the busiest periods when finding a place to sit could be quite challenging. A tip - breakfast in bed is free and you avoid the crowds, so if you're happy with fruit, cereal, yoghurt, juice, toast and tea/coffee this is a very nice option. As for the food generally, it was always at least adequate and often rather better than that; not haute cuisine but decent. House wines were good (£15 a bottle for Spanish reds and whites) but if you move up the wine list to spend in the low to mid £20s you don't get a big jump in quality. Cocktails and spirits are cheap - around £3.50 each. We took advantage of the £85 voucher offer for five bottles of wine and ten litres of water, which worked perfectly for us; the £17 per day drinks package may work for people who expect to drink a lot more. Sadly tea and coffee were a let-down. You can pay extra for decent coffees but the standard fare was average at best, and tea tasted mostly of chlorinated water. PS CMV, no cruise line offering a "traditional British" experience should allow Lipton tea anywhere near their ships - inexcusable tasteless brew! The crew work incredibly hard and were unfailingly friendly and helpful. We couldn't praise them highly enough and there were numerous examples of them going the extra mile to help people have a great time on board. There were plenty of activities available, geared often for an older age group; if CMV would like to attract more younger customers this is an area they might want to develop - quizzes, craft classes and ballroom dancing appeal to a particular demographic.... And some more lectures/talks about the ports would be nice too - beyond a sales pitch for the ship's excursions. Talking of those, we mostly did our own thing but the ship excursion from Warnemunde to Schwerin Castle in Germany was excellent, and we appreciated the free shuttle buses laid on in a number of the other ports. A very full two day package we organised with SPB Tours in St Petersburg was absolutely superb and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it for people who want to be a bit more adventurous than the ship's coach tours. In summary, we booked this cruise for the itinerary rather than the ship and were a little worried about the latter. We needn't have worried - we had a great time and perhaps the best way I could conclude this review is to say that if Magellan was doing another itinerary I was interested in, I'd have no hesitation in booking again if the price was right. It's good value at the discounted and two for one prices you can often get from CMV - perhaps less so at the full sticker price, but I'm not sure many people paid that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We aren't people who spend time in a hotel room, so basic rooms that are adequate are fine. Adequate being the operative word. The room consists of a large bed with two overhead beds. Yes the bunk beds are above the adults head so you ... Read More
We aren't people who spend time in a hotel room, so basic rooms that are adequate are fine. Adequate being the operative word. The room consists of a large bed with two overhead beds. Yes the bunk beds are above the adults head so you are unable to sit up. The above bed is not able to sleep an adult and our 10 year old child is unable to sit in bed without banging his head. If you want to watch telly this is impossible as the settee sits 2 and then there is a single chair. You can't watch from the beds as the ladder is in the way. In the main dining room, the food that is actually presented to you is well presented and tasty. However we have experienced waits of 30 minutes even when booked. The other restaurants are all pay except the Windjammer, this is help yourself. This particularly reminds us of a school canteen, although some of the food is nice. There is a nice sandwich/panini place. Be careful when ordering the all inclusive drinks package. The wine and beer package is just what it says and no spirits are allowed. Freshly squeezed orange juice, latte, etc are all an extra charge. The inside pool is over 16 only accept between 16:00 & 18:00. The service is very hit and miss, with a few going out their way & others seem grumpy. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
There are lots of reviews about this wonderful ship, so I thought I would concentrate on the key issues of staff and entertainment as in my experience these are the 2 key areas that really make or break a cruise. I want to start with ... Read More
There are lots of reviews about this wonderful ship, so I thought I would concentrate on the key issues of staff and entertainment as in my experience these are the 2 key areas that really make or break a cruise. I want to start with the Cruise Director Sue Denning, and it would be easy to mention the person who has most contact with passengers, but having been on many cruises, on a number of cruise lines, Sue was like nothing we have ever encountered. Sue has that rare gift of making everyone she speaks to feel valued in a most sincere way. Too often in the past, CD's have worn shiny suites, lacked real personality and have had no awareness of the needs of the type of passengers on a particular sailing. This was not the case with Sue and her team. Leading from the front and setting high standards of engagement and behaviours, Sue reached out and touched most passengers, in a very sincere and humble way. I hope Celebrity & RC know what an asset they have. She made our vacation special. Never, have I been met on the quayside by a CD, welcoming passengers on their return to the ship after a tiring day in port. This passion extends to her team, in particular her right-hand man, Activity Manager Maarten Bruels whose charisma, personality and charm made him an extraordinary asset, maintaining incredible enthusiasm during his hosting of numerous well organised activities on board. Additionally, he was very aware of todays technological society and made guests aware of Celebrity's profile on social media sites and encouraged their use to carry on the interaction with Celebrity once the cruise was finished. Even when off duty he was always friendly and made you feel valued, whether this be around the ship or in port when he was always quick to say hello in a way that never felt rushed or disingenuous and I can honestly say he is a CD in the making and an incredible asset to Celebrity. I would also like to mention our Wine Sommelier - Marajan. What a special guy. I have never praised nor left a gratuity for a wine waiter before, but Marajan was different. He was extremely professional, courteous and respectful to me and my family. When I was slightly unwell during the cruise, he was the only crew member who asked after my wellbeing the next day. He was most attentive to my teenage children and he was a key factor in them enjoying the dining experience. A rare talent, surely ready for promotion. Regrettably, the same could not be said for the senior lady sommelier who appeared dour and miserable the whole cruise, and seemed to fall well short of the high standards of behaviour displayed by the rest of the crew. For example she could be seen remonstrating with her team during dinner which is something I don't want to see on vacation. The other disappointing team for me is the Shore Excursion Team. Hours of operation were not extensive enough, and on the 2 occasions I had need to consult them, I found them unfriendly and belittling, and providing grossly misleading information. For example, a simple enquiry into the distance of the ship from the centre of Stockholm produced a "25 minute stroll" reply when in fact it took us nearly 75 minutes to walk on a long and unsignposted journey. I really think a shuttle should have been provided, rather than relying on the HOHO bus! Food, cabin and everything else outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I read the negative reviews before we left the usa and started to get nervous. Having done the full cruise now -- they are ridiculous. This was an incredible experience from top to bottom. We are a young couple (34 and 30) and this was our ... Read More
I read the negative reviews before we left the usa and started to get nervous. Having done the full cruise now -- they are ridiculous. This was an incredible experience from top to bottom. We are a young couple (34 and 30) and this was our first cruise. I mostly want to address the negative stuff that has been written or that I noticed. First of all, the rooms are fairly small - it's a boat folks. Whatever you have you have to float on the ocean and sail. Our room was def cozy but 2 people lived there and felt luxurious from day 1 on. The shower blasts high pressure water, there are his and her sinks. Oh and btw you can order whatever you want whenever you want. We would get a wake up call at 7:30a and then at 7:40a there would be the steward with out piping hot coffee and english muffins. The rooms is just not going to be the same size as a suite at the Holiday Inn in Mobile, AL. Anyone who complains about the food on this ship needs their head examined, it is all-you-can-eat fine dining, full stop. I was incredibly skpetical of the all you can eat concept; I've been to plenty of crappy all inclusives in my day. This is 1 Michelin star quality every night and that's just the dining room. The service is incredible from top to bottom, my wife couldn't carry a plate to her table at lunch without having 3 guys swoop in and take it from her. The clientelle is older but so what? If your goal is to party hard don't got on a cruise. Go to Mykonos, Ibiza, etc. We had tons of fun meeting new people. Guess what folks? Senior citizens are more interesting than 18 year olds. If you're like me and you were worried that you had overpayed for this stop worrying and get ready for the trip of a lifetyime. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was a first time cruise for myself and my family. I was a it dubious of cruising and quite anxious to be truthful. We did encounter a problem when we first went to the airport to check-in as we had no allocation of bags and we had to ... Read More
This was a first time cruise for myself and my family. I was a it dubious of cruising and quite anxious to be truthful. We did encounter a problem when we first went to the airport to check-in as we had no allocation of bags and we had to pay for the 3 pieces of luggage. This was quickly sorted out when we arrived on board ship (it was a problem with KLM and not Costa). Our cabin was an exterior with a porthole, it was a very decent size with plenty of storage space, I've had smaller in hotels! The cabin were cleaned three times a day and were kept spotless. Even though the cruise was fully booked it never felt overly busy. Yes we had a short queue sometimes for the buffet service but it always moved along smoothly. The meals in the New Yor New York restaurant were outstanding and the two waiters at our table were more than helpful, even for my fussy eating 15 year old son. We went on two excursions, one in Lithuania and a two day excursion in St Petersburg. On both the excursion ladies were very knowledgeable of their tour and also added some of their own interesting facts. It was a lot of walking but then again we enjoy this (it also worked off some of the calories that we had consumed). We only went to 5 evening shows in the theatre and 3 of them were the singing an dancing shows and we were all blown away with the standard of the dancers in these shows, with slick quick changes and smiles on their faces they certainly entertained us. My only criticism would be that the shuttle bus should be a free service and that coffee/tea/water should be available all day. Overall though we had a great cruise, lovely weather and the Baltics is such a fascinating area of the world. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My wife and I just completed a 12-night Baltic cruise on the Marina. Our previous cruise was a 12-night Med cruise in the summer several years ago on the Celebrity Solstice. I honestly have to say that the experience was as about the ... Read More
My wife and I just completed a 12-night Baltic cruise on the Marina. Our previous cruise was a 12-night Med cruise in the summer several years ago on the Celebrity Solstice. I honestly have to say that the experience was as about the same for both cruises. That is, until you compare prices. The Med cruise was about $2500 pp. This one was over $7000 pp. So, the price performance ratio was WAY out of whack. For this cruise, we were on the Concierge level, but didn't really see any substantial difference between what we just experience from what we had on the Med cruise. For this cruise, we had some friends on a lower level and, after comparing our room to theirs, didn't really see any difference, except for a few better toiletries. The food and wine were very good on both cruises. The on-shore excursions were, as per most cruises, a rip off. With a little homework and research, you can book any number of excursions on the internet for a lot less money. On the Med cruise, we often walked off the ship, jumped in a cab and had a great tour of a wide variety of sites for considerably less money. The last negative is the internet charges. This was true on both cruises. I heard this complaint from many of the passengers because they didn't understand why the charges were so high. If there is a hidden reason why there are charges, it would be nice to hear them. If it is because the ship is charged for satellite usage by the minute, then I might understand. The funny thing is that Oceania has published in their 2016 catalog that the internet would be "free". However, when comparing this year's pricing with next year's pricing, the costs have gone up. Hmmm... To answer the question if this cruise is 3X times better (based on price) than our Med cruise, the answer would have to be NO. Ocenaia has a really good marketing department which entices you to spend more than you really need to in order to have a great cruise to a lot of interesting destinations. The choice is yours. Buyer Beware. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Before I start it’s maybe good to know that this was my first cruise ever. So I don’t know if my expectations are maybe too high. For me I compare this 5* ship with an at least 4* hotel. I travelled together with my brother who was ... Read More
Before I start it’s maybe good to know that this was my first cruise ever. So I don’t know if my expectations are maybe too high. For me I compare this 5* ship with an at least 4* hotel. I travelled together with my brother who was cruising years ago with Costa. The embarkation was very smoothly. On-board they told us that the rooms were not ready yet, but if we wanted to lunch we may use the buffet restaurant. This, I found very kind of them. For me the interior of ship was good enough, although it certainly can use some refreshments. On the eye it was clean. I found the ship itself very stable and sailed very comfortable. I was very afraid to become sea sick (as I become already sick from a canal boat), but thankfully no sick at all. The tour which we made was very wonderful. We were blessed with very good weather. All ports were very nice. And at all ports there was good transportation options for to go to the main city (hop on/off bus, shuttle bus etc.). Everywhere we met very nice and interesting people. We only booked for St. Petersburg a 2 days excursion, what was very nice and good. As most of the excursions by Princess cruises are very expensive, I found the price of those two very reasonable. The service on board was very poor. Staff was not always well willing and the security staff was very unfriendly and even sometimes rude. Customer service is a laugh, they don’t solve any problems. When you lay on the sundeck it takes a while before a waiter is coming. Even sometimes (after waiting for over more than an hour) you go by yourself. Used glasses/plates etc. stay laying there. In the buffet restaurants it also take a while before somebody came for to pick up the orders for drinks and to take the plates from the table. The buffet restaurants on the ship looks indeed like a canteen (incl. plastic plates). The diversity of food was very simple, cheap and not prepared well. Although in the evening it was much better than in afternoon. Even the canteen at my work offered much better meals than on the Caribbean Princess (they also have to prepare meals for over more than 3000 people). For us the breakfast buffet was very disappointing. If you like sausages and eggs, you will be satisfied. Positive aspect to mention: they bake the bread daily fresh and the croissants are excellent! For us it was also frustrating that you always have to walk with your food, as there was most of the time no free seats in the horizon court, from one to the other buffet. This because the assortments on both buffets was not the same. We had traditional dinning (2nd seat), the food was not always prepared well and taste was very flat. We missed the love of the Cook (finesse in the dishes). All food on board was ok but certainly not excellent (and this we expect on a 5* ship) The only menu which was excellent, was the 50th anniversary menu. Entertainment on board was to us good enough (some performing’s are wonderful and some not), but this is very personal. Pools and Fitness area are very good and in good/clean conditions. The prices of the internet on board is way too high and should be even offered for free (as extra service on a 5* ship). We had the whole time the feeling that Princess more care about making as much as possible profit from the guest on board than about giving services. To find out if my expectations are indeed too high, my next trips will be 1x by a 4* ship and 1x again on a 5* ship. My next trip will be with my 2 teens daughters, so any suggestion are welcome. For me I will definitely not going anymore with Princess cruises as they don’t care about good quality and good services. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
went as a family to the Baltics for a fortnight and got back yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to embark and disembark and despite the 5 hour drive to Southampton certainly feel a lot less tired than when I have ... Read More
went as a family to the Baltics for a fortnight and got back yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to embark and disembark and despite the 5 hour drive to Southampton certainly feel a lot less tired than when I have flown to destinations I liked the cabin and was surprised at how we fit everything in easily for our family of 3. We had a balcony and that was lovely, I am not sure we could cruise again without one! The sailing was very calm and we did not experience any seasickness. The service from our cabin attendant was excellent and we were also impressed with the moonlight sonata restaurant and the ocean view café. We also enjoyed Café al Bacio on a few occasions but struggled to get a seat here whenever we visited. We ate in the Tuscan Grille one evening and they only charged us for the adults, the food here was excellent but we did not feel the need to go back as the food in the restaurants that were included in the price were great anyway. We did try to eat in the Qsine restaurant on the last formal night as a treat but it was fully booked so if you want to do this worth booking in advance I would say, especially on the formal nights. As a family we all enjoyed the entertainment and found Sue Denning the entertainment host very friendly and excellent at her role. My only criticism here would be that we heard some of the same jokes from 3 of the acts! (not sure what can be done about this though!) I used the spa on the first day in St petersburgh as we had some time on the ship and was temped by an offer of an hours massage of 99 dollars (yes it is very expensive and this was a reduced price!) I found the massage really painful despite telling the masseuse and was actually bruised on my legs the next day so didn't rush back! There is also an 18% service charge which is added to all the prices which I felt was a bit much. We loved the destinations, especially St Petersburgh, Brugge and Copenhagen. We only booked the ships tour in St Petersburgh and yes it was expensive but as a first time visitor to Russia and being a bit nervous about this I was glad we did as it was so well organised and our guide Yana was excellent with a great sense of humour. My son used the kids club a few times but seemed happier to spend time with us, He is looking forward to when he is a little older and can go in the 'teenagers club' as he was the oldest in his group at the club. All in all we had a fantastic holiday and are now 'cruise converts', would definitely recommend to families especially those who do not like flying! Cruising from Southampton was really easy and we are looking at where our next destination will be! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Just back from my first ever cruise and it was the greatest holiday both I and my Mother, who accompanied me, have ever been on. Nearly everything was superb from the food, the ports the cleanliness of the ship, the staff and the bars. ... Read More
Just back from my first ever cruise and it was the greatest holiday both I and my Mother, who accompanied me, have ever been on. Nearly everything was superb from the food, the ports the cleanliness of the ship, the staff and the bars. We only went on one planned excursion, the 2 day 'Splendor of Saint Petersburg'. The guide was amazing and we saw some unforgettable sights. However the itinerary was so packed we were knackered and Mum's knee barely survived it. At the other ports we used the free shuttle buses provided, never having to wait for even a minute for one. I thoroughly recommend skipping Brugge and walking round the seaside resort of Blankenburg instead, beautiful town with shops, a pier and some excellent Belgian beer cafés. Helsinki and Tallinn are also fantastic but Stockholm did nothing for us with lots of homeless beggars as well as parks with sleeping tramps. Our favourite time of day was dinner, we never took a table for 2 instead sharing with fellow passengers for amazing food, superb (and very well priced wine) and stimulating conversation. Entertainment fell below expectations. The Headliners put on some amazing shows (particularly Killer Queen) but old fashioned comedians and a passenger talent night which included a dramatic reading of the Diary of Anne Frank (no really) failed to cut the mustard. This was a shame as the woman in charge of entertainment was putting in hard shifts. The cabin was fine enough, we had a deck view right at the stern. Savio kept it immaculate, servicing twice every day. Not huge but met our needs. Overall it was a fantastic holiday that will give us fond memories for the rest of our lives. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
30th wedding anniversary treat and first cruise. 5 star luxury afloat. We had an Aqua Class stateroom so could dine in 'Blu' restaurant. Top class food and service. Nothing too much trouble. Destinations all really pretty and ... Read More
30th wedding anniversary treat and first cruise. 5 star luxury afloat. We had an Aqua Class stateroom so could dine in 'Blu' restaurant. Top class food and service. Nothing too much trouble. Destinations all really pretty and very interesting. The entertainment on board was OK. Not that much to do in day during days at sea which didn't include additional expense wine tasting, Zumba, etc. Booked our tours through celebrity and the organisation was excellent with exceptional guides. Only two downsides which were at first continually bombarded about taking up the drinks packages which we refused and at end of cruise calculated that based on what we actually drank, and we didn't stint, we would have spent an additional 500 dollars if we had taken the package. Didn't like the constant sales pitch on this. Secondly and only a small point - it would have been nice if the bathrobes were changed at least once during the 2 weeks. However these are only small points and my husband and I loved every minute of this holiday and would definitely go with celebrity eclipse again. Very efficient embarkation and disembarkation, really impressed and so less stressful than flying. Amazing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Viking did an amazing job. Was it perfect? No. Was it above expectations? Absolutely! This was a belated 40th anniversary celebration and it was obscenely luxurious-- fit the bill! Ship: Flawlessly beautiful, smooth, and gracious. From ... Read More
Viking did an amazing job. Was it perfect? No. Was it above expectations? Absolutely! This was a belated 40th anniversary celebration and it was obscenely luxurious-- fit the bill! Ship: Flawlessly beautiful, smooth, and gracious. From the Explorer's Lounge with loads of glass to the tip of the infinity pool and from the window seating in Manfredi's to the Deck Nine ports area, the views were great and the amenities wonderful. The piped in sounds of birds in some of the public area bathrooms were a bit surprising at first. Our stateroom (Penthouse Veranda) was HUGE and had a wonderful outdoor space. Wishes: I wish there had been a few more places to sit in the comfortable lounge areas with feet up after a long day. The few wing chair/ottomans combos were snapped up immediately! Also wish I had realized they have to drop the water level in the infinity pool while underway. No pics of me "swimming" in the Baltic with the water flowing over the top of the glass. Oh darn. Food: Incredible. The best were the surprises like Shanghai dumplings (as would be served in the Chef's Table) and specialty pastas (as would be served in Manfredi's fine Italian rest. ) showing up on mini-plates at World Cafe (buffet rest.) at lunchtime. If you kept your eyes open, the World Cafe was sometimes a sneak preview of the best dinners to come. Amazing Ravioli with lemon sauce. Sounds mundane, tastes unbelievable! Chef's Table fixed menu (every 5 days) great for foodies and wine lovers. Manfredi's is very popular for good reason: fine Italian food, impeccable service, and no huge plates full of red sauced spaghetti. The real deal for fine Italian-- EXCELLENT food. No extra cost for ANY restaurant. Make reservations early once on ship for popular nights, like last few days! We got everything we wanted just by asking, including our favorite window seat at Manfredi's. Oh, room service took no more than 5 min when we ordered (also free), though our requests were not "cooked" items. Service: As you can tell from above, it was outstanding. Excursions: Costs were typically more than DIY, and these were a bit heavy on motor coach tours (not our fav). Where possible, take the WALKING tours. DO NOT take the included trip to Berlin. This was Viking's major faux pas. 3.5 hr each way PLUS time "touring" sites in Berlin -- still on the bus! And ours had broken A/C on a 90+ degree day. Scott, the Excursions director, told us they are evaluating how to handle Berlin. We suggested dropping it entirely and just staying out near the port. Viking did offer included options closer to the port, but we, like 600 others, were lured by the prospect of seeing Berlin. Resist the temptation! We also had two much-anticipated excursions in other ports cancelled the day before due to tour operator issues or lack of sufficient interest. We have no experience to know how "normal" this is, but were disappointed. Rescheduling another option was made easy for us. Still waiting to see how quickly they process our refunds. (It has not been 10-14 days yet.) Best excursion: Chocolate making and Old Town in Tallinn. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our first ocean cruise, having done three river cruises with Viking River Cruises. This time we tried their newly-launched ocean liner, the Viking Star, on the Homelands Cruise in Scandinavia. The countries visited were ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise, having done three river cruises with Viking River Cruises. This time we tried their newly-launched ocean liner, the Viking Star, on the Homelands Cruise in Scandinavia. The countries visited were beautiful - our favorite was Norway. We were not disappointed in the overall experience. Viking goes beyond wanting to accommodate you in all aspects of travel and we had no complaints and no regrets making the cruise. We had a fantastic time; and Viking keeps you busy with shore excursions and on-board activities if you so choose to participate. The ship itself is beautiful and topnotch. We liked that it is not the mega-cruise ship you normally see. The food was excellent, our stateroom was perfect (and all rooms have a balcony with a table and chairs), and the staff from the captain down to those who clean your stateroom are friendly, helpful, accommodating and ready to listen when you talk. The tour guides on all our excursions were just as friendly as the Viking staff. All in all, we had a fantastic cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises and will not hesitate to recommend Viking to anyone and have done so many times. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We booked our cruise after reading a promotional flyer in July 2013. The next two years we spent following the progress of the ship's being built and tested. This to say that, as seasoned travelers who had never taken a cruise and who ... Read More
We booked our cruise after reading a promotional flyer in July 2013. The next two years we spent following the progress of the ship's being built and tested. This to say that, as seasoned travelers who had never taken a cruise and who live in Europe, we were very much anticipating this different adventure. We were not disappointed. Since we handled all our arrangements in terms of arrival and departure, we cannot write about theses issues, but can say that our embarkation and debarkation were handled smoothly and professionally. The ship itself was wonderfully laid out, with so many different lounges, the spa, and quiet corners that I'm not sure we discovered all of it on our time aboard. The Explorer's Lounge is quiet, seemingly private and very comfortable. I met with a group of friends (who all met for the first time on the second day out) nearly every day in the upstairs of the Explorers Lounge. We all had a common issue and, for the most part, were able to share our experiences, solutions and challenges in some privacy. The artwork displayed throughout the ship was excellent and we enjoyed being able to read about the artists and the works in the book provided in our cabin. I'd suggest a lecture or a tour of the artworks as an activity for those who are inclined. So much of the work was thematic for the region in which we were traveling that it was a subtle enhancement to the experience overall. We didn't participate in many of the shipboard activities, lectures, etc. so I can't say much about them, except that we watched a few of the port lectures on the tv in our cabin and found them informative. In Bergen, we skipped the tour as we'd spent three days there in advance of the trip, and is our style, had discovered much of its hidden enchantments on our own. The cruise into the fjord with Flåm as our destination was, by itself, a highlight for both of us. Waking to those cliffs, waterfalls, and draped with long low clouds and mist was absolutely magical. The fact that the Viking Star is so quiet and smooth enriched the experience. We booked, in advance, our own rail trip in Flåm, so we cannot speak to Viking's excursions there. Our excursion was enjoyable and informative, although we hadn't left ourselves enough time to explore much. The Pulpit Rock cruise was great fun and our guide was informative and entertaining. As we are both active and fit,we'd have preferred a hike to Pulpit Rock, and would have scheduled and paid for it on our own, but there wasn't enough time in Stavanger for us to do that and be assured of returning to the ship on time. After our fjord cruise in Stavanger, we had precious little time to explore this charming town which we would have liked to do. Our time in Aalborg, on the walking tour, was well spent. The guide was thorough and spoke nearly-flawless English. My husband got tired of being in a group, but stuck with it. Because the walking tour was long, we also didn't have much time to explore the town, however, we'd already seen most of it so it wasn't necessary for us. We skipped the Copenhagen tours during the day and went out on our own. The added excursion of the Canal Jazz (actually Dixieland, not Jazz) was sensational. The band was great fun and the cruise gave us a view of Copenhagen we'd otherwise have missed. We almost missed the cruise itself as it wasn't well-publicized, and we only found out about it from friends. We didn't take any of the Berlin tours as we planned to spend the month of August, and are now, in Berlin. Gdansk was great, albeit a bit hurried. I appreciated the accommodation to my motion-sickness on the bus tour. The front seat was reserved for us even though we hadn't given much notice. Our guide was very good, well informed and professional. Our only problem came during the walking tour. Our guide was very short, and she either couldn't or wouldn't hold up the group sign, nor, apparently did she did ask anyone taller to do so. As Gdansk was extremely crowded, I got lost from the group on more than one occasion. This was quickly remedied as my husband alerted her and once I walked into the range of her voice on my listening device, I rejoined the group. The day spent sailing was fine and relaxing. However, most of the window area lounge chairs were taken up the whole day by people who camped out on them, left their belongings for long periods of time in order to save their places, and made it impossible for anyone else to use them. Bad manners. St. Petersburg: the bus tour wasn't the best. It was difficult to see much. Fortunately, we'd booked the canal cruise and the weather cooperated by giving us clear skies and mild temperatures—a fortuitous happenstance. The cruise was informative and we had much better views and viewpoints than on the bus tour. As an added bonus, we toured the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood and the St. Isaac's church. Our guide, Irina, was excellent, the best we had on the whole trip. She was our guide again the next day for The Hermitage. The next day, we started early for our tour early and arrived at the Hermitage before the crowds, being admitted to what amounted to be a nearly-private touring. Our guide, once again, was knowledgeable, complete and very well educated in both history and art. This s an excursion not to be missed! Especially with Irina. She knew how to navigate this huge museum, allowing us time to see many masterpieces without any crowds at all. We had time to linger with the Rembrandts and many others. Quite a few of my fotos have no people in them—remarkable considering the time of year, the venue and the extremely long line waiting to get in after we left. Definitely the best excursion of the whole trip. We cancelled the walking tour of Helsinki and went in on the shuttle. It's a charming city, and it's one we may return to on our own. We took the bus tour of Stockholm, and as I hadn't reserved the front, we were farther back. Fortunately, I had no motion sickness, but the tour was a wash in that we couldn't see anything. We stayed on our own a week in Stockholm, so we got to know the city fairly well. As to dining: we ate only once at the Chef's Table and had the Sweet and Salty meal. It was sublime, and spoiled us for all our other meals. We ate lunch and breakfast almost exclusively at the World Cafe. The food was very good, not excellent, but not at all common cafeteria food either. The selection was good. The Pool Grill was also good. Service at both was very good. All the wait staff were polite, friendly and professional. Our favorite restaurant was The Restaurant and we had dinner there frequently. The choice of meals varied nightly, with some constants. The quality never varied—it was always excellent. As was the service. The Beef Wellington is to die for, absolutely great, as were all the fish dishes. Our only dining disappointment was at Manfredi's. The waiters were very good, and apologetic that out food took so long to arrive. The chicken one night was overlooked, and my one pasta dish wasn't al dente, nor particularly tasty. When we spoke to the maître, he was surly and defensive. He tried to explain to us how each meal was individually prepared, etc. as if we had no idea how a well run restaurant of reputation operates. Rather than argue with him, we simply didn't return there. We heard from others that they'd had great meals there, so I assume the quality varies. In summary, I'd say it was a wonderful trip, made all the more so by the friends we made on it, and the sights we saw. We may taking a Viking Star cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean in the future. It depends on if one is scheduled for the Fall, as we normally spend our summers in the States and return to Barcelona for the Fall. 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Sail Date July 2015
My wife and I chose this cruise as our first cruise ever because it was going to destinations that were on our list in the Baltic, and the ship would be newly built and crewed. It was also smaller than the large vessels at under 1000 ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise as our first cruise ever because it was going to destinations that were on our list in the Baltic, and the ship would be newly built and crewed. It was also smaller than the large vessels at under 1000 passengers and every cabin had a balcony. We weren't disappointed. Passenger service was very good and the staff was friendly. The only down side was an excursion to Berlin which, due to traffic problems, didn't live up to our expectations. We filled our stops with excursions, perhaps too many. There were stops in Norway (Flan, Stavanger, Bergen), Denmark (Aalborg, Copenhagen), Poland (Gdansk), Germany (Berlin), Estonia (Tallinn), Russia (St Petersburg), Finland (Helsinki), and Sweden (Stockholm). We certainly enjoyed our visit to the Hermitage in St Pete. We didn't participate much in the onboard entertainment since we usually rested after our excursion packed days. However, we did enjoy the pre-port lectures on the cities and cultures. The food was very good with a large variety of settings. We really appreciated the choices of gelato after lunch and dinner, which came with complimentary house wine. All in all it was a memorable time. We have booked another different trip on the same ship for 2016. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I had a great experience. I cannot complain about the service or the amazing crew. However, I feel that this cruise did not target my age group. Ok... If you are 100 years old and you like bingo, this is for you! Or if you are ... Read More
I had a great experience. I cannot complain about the service or the amazing crew. However, I feel that this cruise did not target my age group. Ok... If you are 100 years old and you like bingo, this is for you! Or if you are 13-17 and can go in the teen's lounge, you are fine! But when you are a young adult used to playing sports and staying active, then you wont find any of the organized events suit you. Yes, there is a basket ball court; but the events were: teen only! And, a Dodgeball tournament; teen only again. Pools: too small and no nets to pick a game. No climbing walls, no surfing simulators, no ACTIVENESS! And if there was some, it would be rated TEEN ONLY. I agree, there is a gym and a running track. But that's not my idea of being active. Especially when you have 2+ whole days at sea with nothing else to do. My mother loved it! She is 70, though. Enough said! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our first cruise and everything about it was first class from our original booking contact with Viking to our disembarkation. Prior to our embarkation we had a number of questions and always found the contact person to be ... Read More
This was our first cruise and everything about it was first class from our original booking contact with Viking to our disembarkation. Prior to our embarkation we had a number of questions and always found the contact person to be knowledgeable and courteous. The trip itself was outstanding. The ship was absolutely beautiful, quite comfortable, and offered a wide variety of spaces to enjoy/things to do. A number of dining options were available offering a wide variety of excellent food beautifully presented, and always top notch service. Shore excursion guides were excellent in both their knowledge and spoken English. As a person who likes organization, I was very impressed with the organization of everything from our airline reservations to shore excursions and extended tours. If there was any type of snag, Viking was quick to rectify it in some way. My only suggestion for Viking would be to be more explicit when describing excursion options for each port. We found that some tours overlapped and you saw the same thing twice when you could have gone somewhere totally different. Still, overall it was a wonderful trip, and I wouldn't travel with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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