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113 Baltic Sea Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for 4 ports, but only went to one. Amsterdam and 2 1/2 days in Iceland never happened, nor did 2 of the substitutions. We were told about the loss of Amsterdam less than 24 hours before we would have arrived. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for 4 ports, but only went to one. Amsterdam and 2 1/2 days in Iceland never happened, nor did 2 of the substitutions. We were told about the loss of Amsterdam less than 24 hours before we would have arrived. Because it was so late, we lost almost $500 in private tours we COULD have cancelled with more warning. Several other cruise lines cancelled days before, so Norwegian knew days before we were notified that they would not be going. Why didn't they send a text or email, a simple courtesy? We were to go to 3 ports in Norway. We had scheduled private excursions in each which we were able to do. The 3rd port, Geiranger, is such a small town that we decided to book a one hour cruise down the fjord to see the world heritage sights, including spectacular waterfalls and incredible scenery. It seemed well worth the $350 we spent to do that. It ended in a tiny town of 250 called Hellesylt. We only found 3 people there since it was past the end of the season. We enjoyed walking around the village and our return trip to the ship. THEN we learned that the Spirit was going there the next day as a port substitution! Passengers were appalled when they found nothing there after we circled around in the ocean all night. The grumbling really started then. We were told that next we would be going to another Norway port, Alesund. By then, they had cancelled both Iceland ports. There was not much to do there either, but it was better than being at sea again. THEN they told us we would be going to Greenoch, Scotland, not more than an hour from Glasgow, so that seemed OK, until we didn't dock there either after being told there would be an hour delay due to a disabled ship in the port. Two hours later they told us we wouldn't dock there at all. At that point, there was a huge passenger protest and the ship turned off the internet. Security was called and the protest lasted a very long time, with shouts of "We Want A Refund", "Shame", "Call Miami" and more. It still got out to the media and we made international news. At that point, Norwegian offered 25% off a future cruise and people were even more outraged. The lack of communication is my main beef, especially after we were cut off from the rest of the world. We did get to the final two ports in Ireland, but the passengers were pretty much beside themselves with the losses, both financially and the loss of the ports. We spent 5 days at sea (should have been 2) with mediocre entertainment and mediocre food. They constantly played Caribbean music on a Scandinavian cruise and the food was almost entirely American. There is little I can say that is positive except that we had a wonderful stewardess. This cruise was a waste of time and money. DO NOT choose Norwegian for a cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a ... Read More
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a change from Stockholm to Nynashamn, however none of us received notification of a change from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. In addition passengers were expected to pay the cost of the transfers to the original destinations. Eventually after some protracted communications we were offered cabin upgrades. The Baltic cruise is special, with great cities on offer to explore. We had previously visited some of the cities. For new ports were Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Rostock / Wanermunde and Helsinki. We used the shuttles when available and either self guided or chose the excellent freewalks. The only tours booked were in St Petersburg. Our 2 half-day tour with CMV were very disappointing. Too much time travelling and in the same tourist shop, too little time in the Spilled Blood Church and Peter and Paul Fortress. My advice is to book through an independent operator. We also attended the evening ballet to see Sleeping Beauty which was enjoyable and well organised. Just a few comments about the ship: Staff worked hard and efficiently, although we found sometimes the crew did not understand our request. At the 1st sitting in the Waterfront waiters had no time to chat with us. The food was lovely and well presented. Other times we used the buffet where the food and service were good. The buffet can be very busy and sometimes full. They also varied meal times and these were not always matched to our needs. On one occasion we found the breakfast finished at 9 and we were too late. Our cabin boy was friendly and efficient. The daily quizzes were too difficult. Typically the winners scored 11 / 20. Some of the bar waiters were great and remembered our order, and offered packages to save money. Raffles was strange though with one particular miserable and unhelpful waitress. She was downright rude, and they often closed up when the bar was still well populated? Customer Services were not interested to receive feedback on this issue! In summary, we were generally satisfied and think the cruise provided good value for money. CMV need to ensure their staff are better trained and improve their shore excursions and caucus to receive service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because of the stop at St. Petersburg. We also booked a two day excursion through Princess and were very satisfied with the experience. The start at Copenhagen and later a stop at Tallin and Warnemunde/Rostok (we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the stop at St. Petersburg. We also booked a two day excursion through Princess and were very satisfied with the experience. The start at Copenhagen and later a stop at Tallin and Warnemunde/Rostok (we didn't go to Berlin) were new to us. The other countries, Sweden, Norway and Finland we had visited before but enjoyed going back again. We have traveled Princess for 6 trips all over the world and they are a good solid cruise line. The overall experience on the Regal was good if you subtract the introduction of the Medallion program. No matter what you read, this program is in it's infancy and very buggy. In our opinion, of course. The problem is that the marketing department touts all that the program can do but when you as a passenger are trying to use the various apps - it can be extremely frustrating. Why? because other than getting you into your room and on and off the ship it only works as advertised 50% of the time (at best). We and our 7 companions on this cruise all ran into similar problems. If you are not technologically sophisticated, forget it, as it stands, the Medallion program will drive you nuts. OK enough on that topic. The staff on Princess are top notch! And this cruise is no exception - from our cabin attendant to the dinning room staff to bartenders, etc. all make you fell pampered and appreciated. Even staff that have no direct relationship to you make a point of saying hello. Entertainers were great and every evening we had something to do that was fun. Food - this is a bit dicey because my wife and I don't eat meat, chicken, turkey, etc. We do eat seafood, some eggs and cheese. So my comments are based on our experience as semi-vegetarians. In general the vegetarian options in the dinning rooms are carb heavy and very light on acceptable protein. So if you are like us, plan on spending time at the Horizon Court where you have a wide selection of excellent vegetarian friendly choices. In closing you can't go wrong with Princess but at this point we suggest going in with no expectations for the "Medalion" program and be pleasantly surprised if things have improved by the time you sail. We have another trip booked in the Mediterranean in 2020 so we'll report back then. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was a great cruise, exceptional staff. Went to many ports all beautiful. Went to Sweden, Finland, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia and Norway. We missed Poland due to rough water, but we would have been there five hours. Food was ... Read More
This was a great cruise, exceptional staff. Went to many ports all beautiful. Went to Sweden, Finland, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia and Norway. We missed Poland due to rough water, but we would have been there five hours. Food was great and we saw a lot of country. We did many of the optional tours and some included tours, plus we did some walking tours on our own. The weather could have been better in some places but that is out of everyone’s control. On ship we had a massage which was great but a bit overpriced. We also went to the steam bat, the snow grotto, the thermal pool, the sauna and the cold pool. My traveling friend was Norwegian and Swedish and I am German and Finnish so it was great we went to all four countries. I was very happy to get to see the where the Berlin Wall was and Checkpoint Charlie. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, ... Read More
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, the maintenance of the rooms and, last but not least, the great choice of excellent food, cannot be toppled. The major experience, nevertheless, is the disponibility and the kindness of the crew, from 41 different nations! All men and women, from the Captain to the single sailor, are kind, very attentive, helpful and friendly. The standard of the rooms is superior and the available space generous. The crew shows and lives an "esprit de corps" and a "unité de service". One point has to be improved by the management: it is not acceptable, nowadays, that a couple can only dispose of one free WLAN account and has to pay (a lot of) money for further accounts. A couple, today, has two cell phones and to tablets/computers. At least three accounts have therefore to be included in the basic offer! Please adapt this NOW. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise as a way to spend some time with dear friends. The primary driver was the itinerary, but we were also looking for a ship that would not overwhelm us with vast numbers of people and activities as the primary ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a way to spend some time with dear friends. The primary driver was the itinerary, but we were also looking for a ship that would not overwhelm us with vast numbers of people and activities as the primary attractions were the destinations. The ship was wonderful as were the people serving us. Our cabin attendants were exceptional and the food and service throughout the ship were fantastic. We ate at all the restaurants on board and without exception I can say the quality was excellent, the best I have ever had on any previous cruise with other companies. There was plenty to do each day of the trip and always easy to find a private space to enjoy the journey. We really enjoyed the included tours and they were all expertly organized and completed on time. We will definitely return for another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had wanted to do a different cruise than our normal Italy/Spain vacation and thought this sounded like a perfect fit. We flew in from a 3 day stop in Iceland and landed in Copenhagen late the night before we boarded. I don't ... Read More
We had wanted to do a different cruise than our normal Italy/Spain vacation and thought this sounded like a perfect fit. We flew in from a 3 day stop in Iceland and landed in Copenhagen late the night before we boarded. I don't like arriving the same day as embarking. The boarding process was painless. The ship has been recently renovated and was lovely. The only complaint I had about the room is having the bed dead center in the room, allowing very little area to walk around the bed. It seemed to be a waste of space to have the bed blocking the seating area. There was plenty of storage room and the bathroom was spacious; even had a tub. The food was the high point on this cruise. Normally I am sick of the buffets by day 3 of cruising but that was not the case on this trip. The food was always fresh and there was a large assortment. We also ate at of 4 of the restaurants; they were awesome! The entertainment was good; not great but there was plenty to do in the evenings. I feel the gym could have had more equipment. There were quite a few times where there were no open machines when I tried to work out and I tried several different times of the day. The shore excursions were my biggest complaint on this trip. The Berlin tour was good. I wanted more information on WW I and WW II, not just the Berlin Wall. One of the members of our group went on the tour of the concentration camp and seemed to enjoy that one better. Tallinn was amazing and we did that on our own. A little research and we were good to go. We were told we would have two days in St. Petersburg but realistically it is 24 hours. Upon docking, we did the Evening at the Hermitage which was nice but the museum was actually closed when we took the tour. A lot of the lighting was turned off and none of the shops were open. However, it is only open for cruise tours and when you see the line during the day, you are grateful to have the experience you had. I had booked the Catherine's Palace and the St. Petersburg church tour before we left the US and was told it would be fine; two tours in one day. However personnel on the ship told me I couldn't make it and they would not refund money if we did not get back in time for the second tour. One of the people in our group went on the Catherine's Palace and had plenty of time when he got back before the second tour started. I was disappointed to say the least and the four hour St. Petersburg tour I took instead was very poorly done. It was basically driving around town in a bus looking at buildings. We were leaving port 24 hours after we got there. Not a two day stay. The last two excursions were a total waste of time. We did the hop on/hop off options for Stockholm and Helsinki and didn't have even enough time to make it around the entire route once. We were in town for a very short period of time and the options were very limited. I would have liked to have a more time in port and a later time to leave. We did the Copenhagen to the airport option and that was perfect. We had plenty of time to see the city with a great guide and then we were dropped at the airport. Two of us stayed with the luggage and the rest of us took the metro back into town and went to Tivoli Gardens and spent a few hours there. I would definitely do this tour again but would hope more time could be spent in port in some of the towns and less time between each destination. The distance is not so great we couldn't have more time in port. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We choose this cruise for the uniqueness of the destination, the Baltic Countries. a great experience on the cruise but couple of things left us angry and wanting 1) Seafood Paella being served was a highlight as we love seafood and ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the uniqueness of the destination, the Baltic Countries. a great experience on the cruise but couple of things left us angry and wanting 1) Seafood Paella being served was a highlight as we love seafood and Paella, we know Halal is not offered but the paella had PORK sausages even though pork was not mentioned on the menu description. With the number of Muslims cruising with NCL, I would think they would at least be clear about that. live cooking omelets in the breakfast saw spatulas being used to turn ham filled and normal eggs, The Indian Dishes , in the garden Cafe had beef and pork dishes along with the vegetarian choices, which sort of says NCL does not care about the sensitivities of this segment of the market. The pullman beds were left out for the duration of the cruise and not closed daily which would have made the day time cabin use pleasant. Value for money, being specific an 1 year old infant being charged full 3rd person cost is not value for money in anyway as there is nothing infant friendly available or provided by the cruise line, Freestyle for adults is definitely a great way to cruise and value for money, but NCL has to look into the Muslim cruising market by making sure pork is properly marked and the utensils not used, at least by the crew handling the food, in an interchangeable manner, may be even take some pointers from other cruise line on how to avoid the same, like Carnival. We had 8 seniors in the group, for who there was no on board activity, that they could enjoy, These avoidable incidents would have enhanced the good experience Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
1. Room 8040 was terrible we keep hearing super loud thumping sounds from somewhere, my four year old who always sleeps like a baby woke up so many times and said it’s just too noisy 2. Food service was terrible, they ask you how you ... Read More
1. Room 8040 was terrible we keep hearing super loud thumping sounds from somewhere, my four year old who always sleeps like a baby woke up so many times and said it’s just too noisy 2. Food service was terrible, they ask you how you want the meat cooked but it’s never cooked to our preference and most things are cold when they reach us. We weren’t very happy that there were many times when we were hungry but there wasn’t any food available to us other than soggy fries and pizza that tasted like plastic. The dining rotations were so bad by day 3 we wanted to skip it and just go to the buffet but only to realize there is no dinner buffet! Desserts were unbearable! Breakfast buffet was so 1980’s. No gluten free options and it’s just a bunch of flour and sugary foods but are not even considered real food. We could choose either cheap waffle pancake or donut, with lots of sugary dressings, or we go for boxed cereal that aren’t even real food but synthesized. The butter wasn't even real butter it was margarine! People who care about their bodies and health and watch what they eat don’t eat these packaged processed foods. My daughters are gluten/corn/soy sensitive, they ended up having no appetite for breakfast. I am not sure about you but from where I live everyone is aware that eating like that causes obesity and diabetes. But I don’t mind eating that stuff if it’s good but it wasn’t even good! 3. Most of us were so seasick we couldn’t really enjoy it, and I have never been seasick at all on any cruise ship, not to mention one time I was on a cruise when I was in between first and second trimester. But this time I felt so sick I was lying down one time for 36 hours straight and one of the kids threw up right in the middle of the show that’s how bad the ship was moving and swaying. 4. The Club House was terrible, they just hand my 4&6 year olds iPads! For the money we pay we would think the people there would have been giving them some more interesting things to do but our kids come back and say they are bored because they just get an iPad which my 4 year old never got any instruction and isn’t even fluent in English, so she had no idea what she was doing and was utterly bored! 5. The UK customs clearance was unbelievable, we were in line for almost two hours only to have to give up because we didn’t want to miss the Lion King premier and then had to go back in the line again after the movie! That’s just really poor coordination, we wasted so much time and it’s quite obvious that people were pissed too. They even asked us if we had any intentions to work in the UK! As if anyone would pay 17000 USD just to sneak in and find illegal work? 6. Laundry was so frustrating when half of the machines would always be broken at any time! So the functional machines were scarce and people ended up having to bite or fight each other to use them. It just reminded me of my college dorms! And people were taking my stuff out of dryer even before I got the message from Disney Cruise app! I had semi dry clothing lying all over when I got there a few minutes before my dryer time is up! 7. When we got to Dover, the shuttle bus to Dover train station actually cost 10 USD per person including our small children, that’s 40 USD in total while local taxi which we ended up taking only costs 10 pounds! 8. For all the coffee at our dining rotations, it actually costs money! For a coffee to go with the dessert after our meal, it costs 2-3 dollars I think that’s just too obvious Disney is trying to charge for whatever they could. We paid 17000 USD for 7 days and we couldn’t get a coffee to go with our dessert? 9. The Disney Cruise wasn’t even very Disney, I thought it would give us the feeling when we walk into Disney Orlando but it was nowhere near. Other than the shows and occasional characters posing for photographs (which again costs money), nothing was Disney! No Disney Music, no Disney decor, no Disney colors, not even the famous Disney parade....which we actually had even at non Disney Cruise Ship one time, the Oasis. For 17000 USD I think we definitely have many other options. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We visited Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki. This was a beautiful cruise that is very well organized in every aspect. I think it also gives you a great sense of Italy and their way of life and partying. The only bad ... Read More
We visited Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki. This was a beautiful cruise that is very well organized in every aspect. I think it also gives you a great sense of Italy and their way of life and partying. The only bad thing that I have to point out is that they have VERY small swimming pools on the ship, and this is a real problem when 3000 people want to swim at the same time. I loved the food, Italian cuisine is famous worldwide and I think there is something to eat for everyone. :))) And they have a WONDERFUL entertainment team which made me dance and stay awake every single night till God knows which hours. Important to know: - You can link your credit card to your ship card and then don't have to worry about payment. - They have totems now, so you can book your excursions there. - Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and without any crowds and problems. I will definitely travel with Costa again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The entertainment on the ship was amazing! We went to see Burn the Floor, Cirque Dreams and Steam, the Magic Show and the Million Dollar Quartet. They were all fantastic and you could tell that the performers were very experienced. The ... Read More
The entertainment on the ship was amazing! We went to see Burn the Floor, Cirque Dreams and Steam, the Magic Show and the Million Dollar Quartet. They were all fantastic and you could tell that the performers were very experienced. The dining was okay. Garden Cafe had lots of options when it came to different cuisines. The teppanyaki restaurant and La Cuchina were nice but it was really annoying because kids have to eat from the kids' menu in the specialty restaurants. The service was so-so. It took a long time for the staff to get the drinks. The pools and hot tubs were very nice. I liked that the pools were not saltwater like many other cruises I have been on. The ports were amazing. The only problem that I had was that it was a bit chilly so you need to make sure to bring jackets. I have a special recommendation for a man named Kashif from Zimbabwe. He was a photographer on our cruise and he was very kind and he is one of the best staff members on our cruise. He definitely deserves a raise!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I would just concur with the poster who wrote "Marginal and Loud" as their headline. If you like really big, really loud, really overcrowded, and really under-serviced ships, then this ones for you. Otherwise I would run and ... Read More
I would just concur with the poster who wrote "Marginal and Loud" as their headline. If you like really big, really loud, really overcrowded, and really under-serviced ships, then this ones for you. Otherwise I would run and "Getaway" as fast as you can. The ports were great though. The room attendants were friendly and spot on, so I will give kudos where due. The Starbucks was great. The sushi restaurant was not half bad, and the steak place was downright good. The rest, well...just mediocre to bad. The wait times for tables, the feeding troughes at the buffet (literally not to be able to find a table at the buffet and having to eat outside where its 50 degrees is unacceptable for any ship), the nickel and dime fees for everything, the cacophony of noise in the main sections of the ship. I waited 3 days for them to bring me a case of water I purchased the minute I got there, which I'm pretty sure is the same water that comes out of the tap but that's besides the point. At some point at day 2 I had to buy liters of water at the bars because I didn't know if I was ever going to get it. Water, you know, it's kind of important to some people. I recommend buying the bar water btw and not the case water, the bar water is actual good quality bottled water, not their crappy filtered water. I have become used to smaller ships after many years of cruising and don't like crowds, so this just wasn't the ship for me. I chose this ship because we were traveling with 4 teens and I wanted them to have more activities like the ropes course and slides etc. But with 5K people and very limited hours that these facilities were open, no one used them from my group anyway. The only saving grace for my group was the Haven which is worth the money if purchased on day 1. It's the only area of relative quiet and the pools and saunas are nice. All in all this felt like a Carnival ship sailing in the Baltic. So if you like Carnival, you'll like the Getaway. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your ... Read More
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your eyes.Viking does cruising the best! Always attentive and best value for the money. No hassle vacation. Everything included, you just have to show up. Food is amazing, great quality and variety. Staff are great and go above and beyond. Ship is comfortable with plenty to do. You won't be bored. Entertainment is professional quality. One performance received a standing ovation! Staff said this was a first for them but it was well deserved. You get front of the line to every side trip. We never waited. VIKING's passenger capacity is lower than the big ships which I like as you get to know the crew and make friends. You are catered to. You have to try Viking, either a river cruise or ocean cruise. You won't be disappointed, promise! Can't wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of ... Read More
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of arriving at Tilbury we were having lunch in the World Cafe and our holiday had started. Very impressed. Our stateroom was ready early and we were given a guided tour of the facilities in the cabin. On my mentioning that I did not drink coffee (there is a coffee maker in the cabin) the steward straight away fetched me a kettle and kept the teabags topped up - he kept the cabin spotless for the cruise and chatted and laughed with us every day, making the experience a bit more personal. We ate mostly in the World Cafe as it was very relaxed and the food was tasty and plentiful. We tried the pool grill and the afternoon tea which were both great and Manifredis italian had great service and great food, The service in every bar and lounge and dining was second to none, Very impressed. There were plenty of interesting lectures to attend, and we enjoyed sitting in the Explorers lounge watching the fjords go by with a tasty waffle and fresh fruit. We relaxed in our cabin most evenings and watched a film on the TV so cannot comment on the evening entertainment. The included excursions were informative and gave us an oversight into each port. The highlight of the trip was 'Chasing the lights' at Tromso where we were treated to a spectacular display of the Aurora about an hour or so outside the town, so many photos ........ On the way home we had the honour of a glimse of 2 Killer whale from our balcony,,,another hightlight. a quick photo and they were gone. March is certainly a good time to take this cruise. The weather was great, even a sunny day in Bergen !! Disembarkation was fairly uneventfull although there was no rep at Oslo to help out. All in all a fantastic holiday and thank you to all the ships staff for a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Just completed the cruises in search of the Northern Lights. Embarkation was very slick and easy, having been picked up from home and transported to Dover by a very efficient and professional driver. A great added bonus with Saga. Cabin ... Read More
Just completed the cruises in search of the Northern Lights. Embarkation was very slick and easy, having been picked up from home and transported to Dover by a very efficient and professional driver. A great added bonus with Saga. Cabin was large, (inside deck 7) bigger than the normal cruise liners we have sailed on like HAL, RCL etc. Decor not quiet up to a brand new cruise ship but plenty of space for hanging clothes and draws . Shower and toilet efficient and clean if a little smaller than the top cruise liners. Dining and entertainment were superb. Top quality, attentive and pleasant staff and all inclusive in restaurants and drinks. The Sapphire was above the mainstream cruise liners and just below the six star Silverseas, Seabourn, Viking cruises which we have done. Value for money, quality, ambiance and enjoyment made for a memorable cruise. Not the last time we will sail with Saga, who have two new ships coming into service. Do not let Saga’s reputation for catering for the very old put you off, this is not true. Whilst it is for the over 50’s the age profile was no different to those other lines like Silverseas, Seabourn, Viking. It did cater very well for those with mobility issues, but I have seen many more mobility scoooters on Caribbean cruises. Lots of people got up dancing to great dance music in both the main Britannia lounge and the Drawing Room. Sunday lunchtime was just fabulous. Lunchtime jazz in the drawing room followed by transitional sunday lunch in the main dining room. Just idyllic. Entertainment was outstanding. Great lectures by Gary Fildes on the Northern Lights and astronomy in general. Had 700 pax enthralled. The cruise was well worth the money just to listen to him speak. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this itinerary because I wanted to travel somewhere to see the Northern Lights. This was our third Viking Ocean cruise and we received the excellent service we have come to expect from Viking. We have our fourth already booked ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because I wanted to travel somewhere to see the Northern Lights. This was our third Viking Ocean cruise and we received the excellent service we have come to expect from Viking. We have our fourth already booked for August 2019. Our trip to Bergen to embark was interesting due to the snowstorm at the Bergen airport when we arrived, but KLM did a fine job, diverted us to Oslo to refuel and then back to Bergen. The Viking representatives were still waiting for us at the airport when we got there and we were quickly delivered to the ship. Embarkation was a snap and within 15 minutes of arriving at the ship we were in our stateroom, our luggage arrived about 30 minutes later. We booked a Penthouse Veranda, 5014, and were very happy with the room size and storage. The closet had plenty of room for all our hanging clothes and there were 10 drawers available for other clothes. Each night stand has two USB port, a US outlet, and an European outlet so there is plenty of support to keep your devices charged. We especially like the Chef's Table specialty restaurant. it is a set menu of a 5 Course meal and each course has it's own wine that changed every three days. Small individual portions, but plenty of food for us by the time the meal is over. We like the Asian Panorama and Xiang. When we don't eat at the Chef's Table, We eat our evening meal in the Restaurant where you get several choices of local food or their "always available" (food for picky eaters) menu for a three course meal. The first thing all the waiters asked was if we had any food allergies. Beer and wine are always included in meals, you can upgrade your wine selection with the Silver Beverage Package. The World Cafe is the buffet style restaurant and seems to have almost everything available that is on the Restaurant Menu and again beer and wine are included with the meal. Be sure to check out Mamsen's on deck 7 for a quick sandwich and some really good soups. All dining venues are included. There is always some sort of live music in the Explorers Lounge or the Viking Living Room. This cruise had a guitarist, pianist, and string duet. The Band playing in the Torshavn was outstanding. Viking provides enrichment lectures that cover local history and culture on all their cruises. This cruise had lectures on the Northern Lights and other astronomical occurrences. The service we received from our room steward and the wait staff was outstanding. Two of the bartenders and several of the waiters were on previous Viking Cruises that we were on and remembered us. One thing everyone that booked this cruise should have remembered was that it was January/February in Norway. It is going to be cold and dark. Take warm clothes. I heard some of the passengers complained about the dark. The cold made the Pool area cold, it is a glass enclosed space and when it is 5F outside it is going to be cold inside. Our room was comfortable and I was usually comfortable in my shirt sleeves anywhere other than the pool area and we live in Florida. We hit all the ports on the itinerary except Bodo. The weather forecast at Bodo was 30 F, with 35 MPH winds. I think the captain made a good decision in not stopping in a non sheltered port. The excursions would have been miserable. The other ports were interesting and informative (and cold). The Thermal Spa was a great place to go after an excursion out in the cold. There is a large warm pool, a hot tub, snow grotto, and steam room in the coed part with lounge chairs. There is a Sauna and Cold Plunge in each locker room. This is included and there are robes and towels available in the locker rooms, all you need is your key card to lock and unlock the lockers. The Silver Beverage Package (SBP) is worth a look. At $19.95 a day per person you only need to have three cocktails/beers/glasses of wine to pay for it. It covers everything they have on the bar. We are considering going on this itinerary again, just in the summer for the midnight sun. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was ... Read More
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was our first sailing with Viking Ocean. We’ve wanted to try another upscale, luxury line after sailing on Azamara a few years ago, but have never been ready to spend the extra money, which typically cost $400 to $500 a day, per person. We picked this cruise largely because it was a Northern Lights cruise in an area of the world we had never been, the Arctic Circle. The question is was the Viking Sky worth three to four times the cost of mainline cruises? One note of caution: even though we thought were prepared for the cold temperatures that awaited us, we discovered that we had not anticipated the severity of the bitter cold temperatures we would face and the length of time we would be exposed to them. On several days temperatures dropped to -25 F and we spent up to 5 hours on day without a break other than a camp fire. More about this later. Overview The Viking Ocean is a smaller ship than many of those found with the major lines, but not the smallest of the luxury lines, with 930 passengers. One of the more noticeable differences about sailing on some smaller ships is the lack of public areas from which to choose, less entertainment choices, and smaller cabins. Those deficiencies were really not present on the Viking Sky, which is one of the finest ships we have sailed on in terms of style and amenities. I really didn’t feel like I was on a small ship, even though there were fewer common areas. I can’t really say there is any more or less feeling of crowdedness on the smaller ships than with a larger ship. It seems to be all relative to the space per person. Where I did notice a difference was embarking or disembarking the ship. The smaller number of passengers reduced the lines and wait times considerably. Another benefit of sailing on a smaller ship was the nimbleness they have over their larger brethren to alter their itinerary or add a fresh food to the menu. The public rooms are nicely done and have a feel of warmth and elegance. There are four dining options aboard the Viking Sky making it equal to or a step above larger ships. The state rooms are among the most efficient and modern we have encountered. I loved the heated floor in the bath room and linens are a step above what you would expect from the more major cruise lines. Unlike many other lines, Viking Ocean is an oenophile’s heaven as wine is embraced and welcomed. You can bring onboard as much wine as you can carry and there is no corkage fee! All totaled, we noticed very few weaknesses, and there really wasn’t a lack of things to do, especially if you enjoy lectures, which is a feature of Viking. I think what was noticeable is what was missing, no art auctions, pushy promotions, a casino, baked Alaska parades, and much of the other glitzy fluff found on most other lines. Many frequent sailors of Viking Ocean that have tried other luxury lines like Oceania, Azamara, Seaborne, Regent and Crystal, swear that Viking Ocean is the gold standard for luxury cruises. The bottom line question: is Viking Ocean worth four to five times the cost of other upscale lines like Celebrity? I will address that later, but first a few more details. Embarkation The embarkation experience was one of the best in our 31 sailings. It took about ten minutes from start to finish. There were no lines, no customs, no waits, and no hassle. I only wish all our embarkations were this easy (see my 2013 review of the Infinity). Wine lovers will love that, unlike Celebrity who confiscated our wine when we sailed them in 2013, Viking Ocean welcomes bringing as much wine and spirits that you wish on board. While we often bring wine onboard cruises from our cellar, we’ve learned to become very creative in how we bring our wine onboard so as to avoid confiscation. Not so with Viking Ocean that also charges the lowest corkage fee of any line we know, which is zero!! Viking Ocean’s attitude toward wine certainly is one of the benefits that may bring us back again. The Ship The ship was new in 2017 and it really shows. We haven’t taken pictures of a cruise ship in years, but we did of the Viking Sky. The contemporary design coupled with the modern efficiency of the ship were stunning. There were a lot of places to sit and read a book, or write a cruise review, while enjoying a cup of espresso or a drink. One benefit is that the elevators were the fastest I’ve encountered on a ship and almost always available without a long wait. Dining If food is your thing, like it is mine, then you will be very satisfied on the Viking Sky. All of the dining rooms feature “anytime” seating. While the main dining room, The Restaurant, doesn’t accept reservations, we never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a table for two. Every other evening we skipped the main dining room and spent our evening in one of the two specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s or the Chef’s Table. One tip is to book your reservations immediately when you board. These fill up quickly and getting reservations later in the cruise, especially at Manfredi's can be difficult. The food quality and presentation in The Restaurant was certainly above average and what you would expect for an upper end cruise line. All of the waiters and waitresses who served us were extremely personable, helpful, and attentive. However, we enjoyed the service in the specialty restaurants a bit better than in the main dining room. The specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table, have no cover charge. They offer passengers a break from the main dining room with a quality of fare a slight step above. Manfredi’s features a wonderful Italian menu while Chef’s Table offers a set menu that changes every three days. One experience we’ve come to enjoy on other ships that would be fitting to an upscale ship like the Viking Sky would be an automated wine bar where guests can enjoy an assortment of wine available in 1oz, 2.5oz, and 5oz pours. This allows you to inexpensively sample a broad variety of wines you might not otherwise have the courage to try. One thing we appreciate about Viking Ocean is the fact that juice and espresso coffee drinks are available anytime during the day at no charge. Some lines make free juice available only in the mornings and charge for all espresso drinks. Wine As we mentioned earlier, we were especially pleased with how Viking Ocean embraces and welcomes wine lovers who want to bring their wines on board to enjoy. One of my perennial complaints on other lines, like Celebrity, is the high price of their onboard wines, which are priced about 4x’s retail, they also have the highest corkage fee of any line at $25 a bottle. Of course, since Celebrity will confiscate all but two bottles of wine you bring on board to enjoy, what’s the point of having a corkage fee at all? We found the Viking Sky was unequaled in being the most wine friendly cruise line we’ve sailed. The per bottle charges were reasonable and there are no corkage fees. One deviation from other lines is that the Viking Sky had noticeably fewer wine events than other lines. They had a few whiskey, vodka, and aquavit tastings, but no wine tastings that I recall. Fitness and Spa This is an area in which the Viking Sky is slightly above average. While they don’t have a lot of cardiovascular machines (three stationary bikes, two elliptical machines, six treadmills, and two stair-steppers) I never only had to wait for a machine once in 12 days. Notably, and unusual for most lines, every cardio machine was working for length of the cruise. Another abnormality, the men’s locker’s worked perfectly and there were a sufficient number of lockers which were all keyed to your stateroom key. The men’s locker room featured a dry sauna and plunge pool. The sauna was perfectly hot and in working order for the cruise. On many other cruise lines the saunas just don’t get hot enough to break much of a sweat, but this is not the case on the Viking Sky. There was also an area with hot tubs, cool rooms, and a steam sauna. One unique feature was an individual dryer for your swim suit that was really helpful. An extra bonus was the spa did not have a daily charge, which can cost up to $20 a day on other lines. Entertainment We thought the entertainment was surprisingly good for a smaller ship. The Cruise Director, Drew, and his assistant, Courtney, had amazing voices and both did their own shows which were very enjoyable. This is more probably due to the lack of a theater than anything else. It was refreshing that the Viking Sky had a live band rather than rely on sound tracks, which is becoming common on other cruise lines. The theater is quite expansive and comfortable. We never had a problem finding a seat in or near the front row. The onboard entertainment found in the lounges was very good. There wasn’t a disappointing instrumentalist or singer in the lineup, which is certainly unusual on a small ship. In contrast was our experience on Azamara where there wasn’t a lounge entertainer that rose above substandard. The enrichment talks were really outstanding, again in contrast with our experience on Azamara where they were consistently disappointing. We had four lecturers on board who were all phenomenal in their field. We were especially treated by having Dr. Ed Kopp from the Griffin Observatory in Los Angeles who was outstanding. Internet I run a small business and being connected to my staff is imperative, even on vacation. I depend on having a functioning Internet while on board any ship. The Internet on the ship was as good as or better than any I’ve had at sea. I got access 95% of the times I attempted to get online. And the fact the Internet was free was an experience I’ve never had with another line. On Azamara I paid $0.43 a minute for their lease expensive package. Having access to the internet on all my devices whenever I wanted it without having to pay attention to my usage was a game changer for me. For that reason alone Viking Ocean will be at the top of my list for future cruise consideration. Shopping The shopping experience is on par with most every other cruise line, boring! There is nothing exceptional to highlight here, except that they did not bombard you with specials and promotions which was refreshing. Afternoon Tea I have never reviewed an afternoon tea experience on a ship as most are not worth mentioning. However, the afternoon tea on the Viking Sky was the best we have had at sea. Not only are you served a three tier plate of sandwiches and desserts, they will also bring you proper sconces with jam and Devonshire cream. Yes, real clotted cream not the standard whipped cream. I don’t recall Cunard Line served clotted cream, but I can tell you no other ship I’ve been on has. This was a real treat! Ports of Call, Port Talks and Shore Excursions Our 12 day cruise started in London, England and went up the west coast of Norway, stopping at Stavanger, Bodo, Tromso, Alta, Narvik, and Bergen where we disembarked. The specific theme for this cruise was chasing the Northern Lights. And “chasing” is the right term. I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to see the Northern Lights. I assumed we would see them often or every night from the ship. I was wrong! The guides will tell you there are four things necessary to see the Northern Lights, but I say there are five: solar activity, cold weather, darkness, a clear sky, and luck. If any one of those is absent you will not be successful. The hardest one of these was a clear sky, which thwarted our efforts to see the lights continuously. While there was one really good sighting from the ship, it came and went very quickly. To see the lights really necessitated booking a Northern Lights tour that attempted to find a clear sky within a few hours’ drive of the ship. Even then spotting the lights was still a crap shot. We did have one night where we got to see a nice display of the lights for less than five minutes returning from an outing where we waited in -25 degree weather for 3 hours with nothing but a campfire to cut the bitter cold. This leads me to the most unexpected aspect of this trip, campfires and frozen food. We returned home with our clothes smelling of smoke because of the many campfires we encountered on our excursions. Whether it was dog sledding, reindeer sleighs, Sami camps, or Northern Light tours there was a campfire present in everyone to help with the bitter cold. There were very few heated buildings or shelters expect for a few tepees with campfires. At times the temperatures were so brutal that even the bread offered us was frozen. Which leads me to another unexpected aspect, the extreme bitter cold and the randomness of the tour vendors providing thermal suits, boots, head gear, and gloves. About ½ of our tours provided such apparel, and believe me we needed it even though I was wearing 5 layers of clothing, three pairs of socks, winter boots, two pairs of pants, a balaclava, knitted wool beanie, and a hoodie, a down vest, an outer coat, and gloves inside mittens. Which meant that the other ½ of the time the vendors provided no additional clothing. And in -25 degree weather, where you are outside for up to 5 hours at a time with only a campfire, this is a problem. My hands and toes were perpetually cold, even with hand warmers stuffed in my boots and gloves. Many people on our tours were simply unprepared for this and suffered because of it. I cannot stress enough how critical it is you don’t underestimate the cold. Here is the crazy thing, the tours we booked off ship provided thermal gear while those booked on the ship did not. The tours provided by the ship were significantly over priced and under delivered. Which leads me to this very important tip: don’t book tours with Viking Sky. Instead book only off-ship local tour providers. For example, with a local tour provider of dog sliding we were provided thermal gear and able to drive our own team of dogs. The tour provided by the ship offered no thermal gear, you could not drive the team, and was very poorly organized. Many in our party waited up to two hours in 15 F degree weather with no shelter and no campfire before getting a 30 minute ride. There was no food offered except for some frozen cake midway into the trip. The bus was so late arriving back at the ship that many missed their second tour. And for this, we paid $430 per person. Our request for even a partial refund fell on deaf ears, which really disappointed us given Viking Ocean’s stellar reputation for providing a top quality experience. We were told other tours that had similar misfortunes did remit refunds to passengers. Typically we save 25 to 75% off the ship’s prices by making our own arrangements prior to departure or using the Internet onboard the ship to contact several tour companies that are highly rated by TripAdvisor.com. Another great place to book private tours prior to departure is by looking under “Tours” and on the chat boards on CruiseCritic.com. We’ve never been disappointed following the advice of previous travelers. Our favorite ports were Stavanger, Bodo, and Tromso where the ship docked in the middle of town. However, even though in Alta and Narvik the ship docks some distance from the center of town the ship did provide shuttle buses. Quite frankly, there was really nothing to see in the town of Alta, where the emphasis is on booking tours to see the Northern Lights and staying warm. In Summary So, back to the question I posed earlier. Is the Viking Ocean experience worth three to four times the cost of other lines like Celebrity or twice the cost of Azamara? Certainly Viking Ocean has Azamara beat for value. Celebrity is often a good value for what you get, but Viking Ocean is in a whole different category and price range, so it’s a hard question to answer. However, if price is no factor, Viking Ocean is the only way to go! The service, stateroom amenities, ship amenities, free inclusions like wine and Internet, and dining room experience are undoubtedly among the best at sea. So is the ability for a smaller ship to get into, or nearer, ports the large ships can’t. For many people, this may be reason enough to pay the extra fare. For me, I will certainly sail with Viking Ocean again when I find an itinerary that is highly unique (like this cruise to the Arctic Circle) or heavily discounted. But I will be absolutely certain not to book any of their shore excursions!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to ... Read More
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to be one of the best aspects. We saw the elusive northern lights twice, pretty but not spectacular, and the trip would have been almost as good without them. London in January isn’t for tourists seeking green lawns, sunny skies and shirtsleeve temperatures, but it wasn’t awful; mostly 40s F, rain off and on, and the most pleasant aspect was lack of summer vacation hordes. The hotel, Royal Horse Guards is perfectly fine, and in a superb Central London location. The guide, Don Brown, was with us the entire time, and of many fine Viking guides over several years and 5 cruises, he was absolutely the best! The tour sites; Churchill War Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Blenheim Palace, and Bletchley Park, could not have been more fascinating. Transfer to Tilbury to begin the cruise was effortless. The first couple of days in the North Sea were quite expectedly adventurous, and not for faint hearted or weak mid-sectioned amateur sailors. Lots of Vikings stayed in staterooms, and many who appeared were quite pale and subdued. Luckily, we haven’t ever become seasick. Between Stavanger and Bodo we entered the Norwegian Inside Passage and the rest of the cruise was like a quiet lake. The onboard experience was mostly up to Viking’s very high standard. Food was superb. Entertainment was better than average, particularly guest pianist/singer Tom Seals. Staff built snowmen on the rear deck; a fun photo-op! Some shore tours could have been better planned on this inaugural cruise. There was quite a lot of uncomfortable bus riding in the dark. Luckily we brought clothing suitable to the Arctic; had we not, some tours would have been miserable. Our best shore tours were a family visit near Tromsø although the tour description did not mention outdoor fun and thus we were notprepared clothing-wise. Sami reindeer camp near Alta -22F, the Ice Hotel near Alta, cathedral concerts in Bodo and Tromsø, and husky dogsled riding were also great. A 19th Century Island village near Bodo was also interesting and fun. The Alta museum offered spectacular views and interesting displays. We did get the feeling that with Viking’s recent rapid expansion, possibly some shortcuts are being taken, and that attention to service and plannning detail might have slipped a bit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this trip as we wanted to see Norway and the Northern lights. When we got to Tibury we were sent round in circles. The signs were few and far between and not very well positioned. We followed the signs only to be told that we ... Read More
We chose this trip as we wanted to see Norway and the Northern lights. When we got to Tibury we were sent round in circles. The signs were few and far between and not very well positioned. We followed the signs only to be told that we were in the wrong area. It was like Custers last stand! There were cars going round and round in circles all being in the wrong place. We finally got to the right area and had to sit under a marquee with rain, whipped up by high winds, blowing through!! The first impression of the ship wasn't good. It looked pretty unkempt . We were on deck 7 and the smell of sewage and fuel oil was overwhelming . I made a comment to one off the crew and we were told " It's an old ship " and that this was it's last trip before a refit. The smell got worse over the next 4 days particularly when the Captain made a decision to sail with a force 11 predicted!! We had 7/8 metre waves and hurricane force winds. This was a full day at sea. The opinion if the guests was that we shouldn't have sailed. The smell after was REVOLTING. It made your eyes sting and you held your breath until you got away from the stairwell. The food was bland and pretty much the same every day. The trouble was seating. There simply wasnt enough seats and tables to cater for everybody. We had to sit on the window sills on two occasions!! They were constantly running out of cutlery and crockery. Mugs were at a premium. The room staff were SUPERB, as were the waiters, but other bar staff had a couldn't care less attitude. We were served the wrong drinks numerous times and had our cards swapped on 3 occasions. The shows were, well what do I say?. Queen tribute night summed it up. The backing ' band' were terrible. The 4 singers went from English to their native tounge if the couldn't remember the words. I didn't know if to laugh or cry! We walked out after the third song. Some people did say they enjoyed it to be fair. The comedian we saw had the oldest jokes you could think of. To make matters worse he tried to play the guitar! He couldn't keep up with the back music AND played out of time and time. The tours were good and we saw the Northern lights, which was the reason for the cruise. The tour guides were very helpful. We wouldn't sail again on the Meggelan. I know this was it's last trip and it showed, but it just lacked the things that make it a nice ship. Perhaps after a refit things might be different. But going on our experience, this was a outdated old smelly ship and had we known that, we wouldn't have booked it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
It was mine and my partners first cruise. I really didn’t know what to expect after reading some of the reviews some good and some where dreadful. We went with an open mind and no sort of expectations as it was all new to us, as long as ... Read More
It was mine and my partners first cruise. I really didn’t know what to expect after reading some of the reviews some good and some where dreadful. We went with an open mind and no sort of expectations as it was all new to us, as long as we got value for money we would be happy. Well I don’t understand the negative reviews about this ship she is a stunner. We had a balcony cabin and the all inclusive drinks package that was exceptional value for money. Our cabin was 10096 it was spotlessly clean. Clean sheets and towels everyday and we had everything we needed. The tea and coffee facilities were a nice touch for an Italian ship as I do love a brew in the morning when I get up. We had second sitting dinnng 2030 in the Quattro Venti restaurant and the food was spectacular, with excellent waiter service. Our wine glasses never went empty. The entertainment in the tiger lounge was what you would expect sometimes a little cheesy!! But entertainment staff really friendly especially Ray. The T32 nightclub was good with a variety of music for all tastes. Gym and sauna and pool facilities were excellent and very clean. Casino really big for a cruise ship I thought. Overall a magnificent experience on the Magnifica will definitely be back as we thought she was a stunner. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
When we got to the ship we were told that we were not going to our first stop and we were staying another day we then sailed to tallian after we got back to the ship we were told that we were spending another night if they would have told ... Read More
When we got to the ship we were told that we were not going to our first stop and we were staying another day we then sailed to tallian after we got back to the ship we were told that we were spending another night if they would have told us that when we landed we would not have rushed to get back to the ship .When we were leaving we were told we would not stock in finland or stockholm what a disapointment. During the cruise we were kept in the dark about why we did not stop at the three port . Since we spent more time on the ship no new enterment was provided. we did receive a $44 credit for port fees .I feel NCL needs to compensate each guest This was my first NCL very disapointed We have Cruisde with other lines he do take better care of their guest We have book a other cruise withNCL i am looking for some compensation if we do not hear from them then i will have to relook at our vacation plans Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was sailing to the destination we desired and because of the raving reviews. We can fault NOTHING and praise EVERYTHING. From the luxurious and stylish design of the ship, to the amazing, warm and sweet ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was sailing to the destination we desired and because of the raving reviews. We can fault NOTHING and praise EVERYTHING. From the luxurious and stylish design of the ship, to the amazing, warm and sweet service we received, to the food, oh my God the food was amazing. To the room, cleaned twice daily. To the itinerary, the entertainment (thank you Eddy!) To the bedroom and bars. We had awesome servers in the MDR- Jerry kept filling my husband's glass with wine, Myo and Rajni were so attentive to us! Filip in the Sunset Bar was great, Gina, our room attendant, was the best. Eddy, the cruise director and Jayne Curry with her wonderful voice and amazing personality. We loved every second of it and although it has been a few days since we returned home, we miss it. My husband opted for the Standard Alcohol Package which offered him quite a variety of house wines, beers and spirits. I had the standard non alcoholic package and enjoyed treating myself to lush teas and premium coffees. The food both in the Ocean View Cafe and MDR was amazing. We did not try any speciality restaurants because we were super impressed with the MDR food. All in all, this was one of the best holidays of our life. We are in our mid 30s so we have def changed our view that a cruise is for the older generation! It was full of young and young at heart 40, 50 and 60 year old holiday makers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is ... Read More
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is significant .... The route was a good one. Copenhagen to London. The stops along the way were well thought out and the guides were good. Cabin service was excellent and we especially enjoyed the laundry service. We did not attend any of the theatre shows but did go to the various bars. The guitar player was very good and he had the room all up and dancing. His name was Aidan. The last stop was Honfleur and we especially enjoyed the cocktail mixing class. The instructor was excellent. The trip up the Thames River will rank as one of the most memorable of the whole cruise as the song that was played as we travelled under Tower Bridge was "Hail Britannia". It was 9 PM, and a dark night so very dramatic. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting ... Read More
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting major cities like, Berlin, Helsinki and Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg whilst also visiting quieter destinations such as Kristiansand, Klapeida, Tallinn, Karlskrona, Riga (listed in order of increasing preference). • 1- 2 more sea day would be relaxing but we had to fly out. There were scammers who attempted to scam us at London and Berlin. • Mostly smooth sailing with minor waves at night time in the Baltic seas. We do appreciate good stabilisation system with deep hull in the ships. EMBARKATION – No lines, straight through at the later part of the day. ROOMS – Very neatly appointed, the smaller bathroom meant a larger ratio of living space. • The showers are small but have been told they will refurbish in the near future. • The cabin is kept clean and stewardess Rosario was nice. I personally like the current bed style a lot and find the new design of the proposed refurbishment a bit tacky. • The bed and pillows are very comfortable, probably the best I have had at sea. PUBLIC SPACE – Spacious, lots of elegant seating in different decks. A few other cruises I have been on, felt like you must buy a drink to sit in the bar area, or must purchase this to lounge at a corner, i.e. less inviting. This ship had a lot more “free” space that you can comfortably sit and have a chat with friends. Dining alfresco in the Terrace café is great when warm; the sunset view (quick photo) is worth the chilly wind! OTHER PASSENGERS – most demographics lean towards retirees from North America, Europe Australia etc. • Some passengers are very warm and friendly, some others were very discerning, a few were ageist and slightly chauvinistic towards non Anglos because there is hardly any non Anglo passenger on board – no wonder other Asian male passengers were mistaken for crew and there were lots of staring. • In Australia, we see a variety of nationalities like Middle East, East and South East Asia, Africa, South American people. Perhaps with a few of the passengers, they don’t see much of the greater world as much and developed more curiosity as such, hmm. • I have also witnessed a few passengers been rather rude to the crew and are quite demanding, my guess is there is a correlation between more luxury cruises with more discerning cruisers. Contrastingly, I have witnessed people pushing in lines at buffet…but you probably expected this on any cruise. • Passengers on other mass and premium lines saw happier looking passengers who are on holiday, Nautica passengers appears that this is the everyday life (probably because they cruised with Oceania a lot and this became their normal home). CREW – Mostly excellent and friendly: only some very minor hiccups with some waiter and lady at the bar near the casino area. John the cruise director was amazing and the chef (not sure of the name) grilling lobsters, steak and fish in the terrace cafe for most part of the cruise is a master, the best grilled lobsters I have ever tasted. The chef changed on the last two days, the lobster quality dropped significantly and not cleaned properly (accidental slice of the excretory glands by the chef when cutting the lobster meant a unique taste…). FOOD - Having cruised with Celebrity (same menu in different ships rotating), RCL, Carnival, Princess, this line has the best food out of the above. Celebrity and princess are still decent and I enjoyed my meals with them. Carnival was good value for money and fun, but RCL was cost cutting. 1. If food is important to you, as it is for me, you are likely to enjoy this cruise. 2. The only comment I will make is that the sashimi is not that great, i.e. powdery and breakfast was getting boring after 2 weeks of continental breakfast. This is likely because I am spoiled in Australia where the café brunch options are excellent and access to other cultures like Chinese dumplings, dim sums with congee and fresh sashimi etc. I am not sure how adventurous the other passengers are with trying “non-western” style breakfast. .. 3. The fruit options for breakfast are impeccable and fresh. I can’t rave enough about the grilled lobster done by that particular Chef in the buffet, simply the best, he needs a bonus. 4. The main dining room is mostly great, tip: the daily menus are better than the Pepin inspired ones. Miso glazed Sea Bass was delicious. 5. The Russian evening buffet was outstanding with lots of choices and interesting dishes. We really appreciated trying other cuisines and the culture, especially when the food is made nicely. 6. Desserts – I have not had a bad dessert on board and have gotten seconds, very nicely presented and produced. You will be eating with nice silverware and plates. Afternoon tea with string quartet is very good but often hard to find a seat. SHORE EXCURSIONS – • Did a private tour for SPB for Catherine palace + Peterhof and it was great. • The complimentary shore excursion to Hermitage was disappointing, I could only look and take pictures of the ceiling because it is too crowded to see artworks on the side. Perhaps I needed to grow a few inches taller. Good thing that the ceilings were intricately beautiful. Because of the massive crowds, I did not see the peacock clock. Your face is literally up behind someone’s back. It was like a battle against time and the 50-60k people per day to take a quick peak of some highlights and get out ASAP. Don’t get me wrong though, the rooms within the hermitage were very opulent. • The local guide who gets on board at the ports Is quite good – provides a local maps with tips and answers. Also the shuttle to city centre, both very nice touches added by Oceania. • The complimentary tours for the 3 cathedrals however, were very good. See the ports info below for tips. • In general the ship excursions and transfers are very expensive for what they offer. ENTERTAINMENT The lectures on history of the ports were interesting and John’s magic show and talks were excellent. You are more or less expected to entertain yourself on board, which is perfectly fine given the intensive itinerary. Take the extra time to recharge, read a book and relax somewhere. I will be more than happy if Oceania spends the money on other things to improve vacation experience. There was minigolf and a shuffle board. Summary of tips: take naps in the very comfy bed and deck chairs with good cushions, try the afternoon tea listening to strings, try Toscana, try the miso glazed sea bass, eat the desserts, relax in the public areas, read in the library and relax after a long day (30k steps per day sometimes) of sightseeing ! Baltic cruises are definitely not only for the retirees. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This cruise: The Viking Homeland's offered many ports of call throughout Northern Europe. My husband and I have always wanted to visit this area. It was our opinion, THIS cruise must be among the most popular for all cruise ... Read More
This cruise: The Viking Homeland's offered many ports of call throughout Northern Europe. My husband and I have always wanted to visit this area. It was our opinion, THIS cruise must be among the most popular for all cruise lines as was witnessed by the large number of cruise/passenger ships we saw at sea and in ports. The experiences we encountered both on board ship and shore excursions offered inspiring sights, breath taking views filled with enormous amounts of historical and cultural wonders. We enjoyed fabulous dinning experiences in the Manfredi's Restaurant, as we ate there often. We were served some of the best food we've ever eaten, anywhere. As for service on board ship and in Manfredi's, was amazing and made for an awesome Cruise from start to finish. Three ports amongst our favorites were Tallinn, Estonia, Berlin, Germany and Eidfjord, Norway. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018

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