We embarked Copenhagen and did Scandinavia and Russia.
The ship is in great condition as you'd expect given its young age. Room size was adequate, we had a balcony stateroom which had space for a bed and a couple of ... Read More
We embarked Copenhagen and did Scandinavia and Russia.
The ship is in great condition as you'd expect given its young age. Room size was adequate, we had a balcony stateroom which had space for a bed and a couple of chairs (no settee). Bathroom had a shower (no bath) and was small, not a problem for us as we aren't large people - so comfortable enough. Surprisingly dressing gowns need to be requested and aren't there automatically, but do arrive quickly upon request. My biggest gripe about the ship is the layout, I really can't understand how this was ever approved. We were on there for 11 nights and by the end we still hadn't worked out how o get around easily, there were numerous occasions where we'd just hit a dead end on some stairs or corridor, then have to walk somewhere else to find a way up to the next level. We did a lot of walking due to the unhelpful layout which did get a bit tiresome, not just physically, but also mentally as you had to really think about your route from A to B. On a plus side, the outdoor pools are heated, and were never crowded.
Cabin staff were very good, though we didn't get any towel animals.
Plenty of variety, all good quality, I'm sure you'll be happy.
Only gripes about the food are the following: no grapefruit for about 9 of the 11 cruise nights, any time you ordered a mixed fruit dish it would inevitably be a bowl of different types of melon (was there a fruit shortage? - did they get a really good deal on a whole lot of melon??? I now hate melon!). At the informal dining (Horizons Court) you can't help yourself to orange juice in the mornings. You have to wait for a waiter to pour you some into a tiny glass. I didn't feel like I had the access to the level of orange juice that I required - ever other cruise I've been on has just let people help themselves. Btw... orange juice was all that was on offer juice-wise. Horizons Court itself is a bit like the rest of the ship, very spread out, and it takes a while to walk past all the serving stations in order to understand your options for food. Other than that it was very good.
Formal dining was good, the waiters weren't too over the top so didn't feel uncomfortable. We did anytime dining, and most of the time were able to dine any time, occasionally we had to wait if we wanted our own table, but not for very long. Waiter's were hit or average, some extremely good, one was a bit sarcastic, e.g. asking if I'd like pepper on my dessert. It also seemed odd to me that some of them would hand you the menu, leave you to choose what you want, but when they come back, you had to listen to them list everything on the menu and any specials - why not do this when they first give me the menu? By the time they return I know what I want and don't feel like a lecture, as I've just read the entire menu and am unlikely to change my mind - plus no point telling me about certain dishes when I really don't like that type of food.
The breakfast in cabin options were very disappointing.
Non-alcoholic drink options were limited, if you like tea and coffee you'll be very happy as a lot of variety. If you like juice, smoothies, coconut water, etc, then expect to be disappointed.
I normally play a fair bit of poker when I cruise, but they have no poker dealer in the casino, instead you play against the other players by use of an individual electronic screen at the poker table. I didn't bother playing as I do a lot of online poker at home but when I'm playing in a physical casino I expect a dealer to be there to dictate the proceedings and keep everyone in line. Also, it was only ever cash games, no tournaments.
Plenty of recent releases to watch. The shows were very good - other lines were just some good dancers doing some good karaoke, but on this ship they obviously spent the money - the sets and actor\singing quality were brilliant. Comedians were good too.
On board activities:
Pretty dull, in fact worst I've ever know of the three cruises I've been on. Most were just talks followed by someone trying to sell you something you don't want and don't need at an inflated price. I'm glad this trip had a lot of port calls! I went to the art auction but left in disgust at the way they rigged the entire thing to disadvantage the bidders - essentially, they remove your annonominity (sorry for spelling!!) by getting you to indicate what you're interested in, they then check every ones bidding number to know who is sitting where, and when something comes up that you showed an interest in, a sales person will run (literally) over and sit next to you and cajole you into bidding. They also give the impression that every item is selling (by talking very quickly and incoherently) even when no one bids on it (why do we have to applaud a non-sale?). They also get you to pre-bid if they can, which basically is a way of them setting too high a reserve price, and then selling slightly below the reserve price when some silly person puts in an offer before the auction starts. This is not a good deal you are getting - it means they have a culture of setting too high a reserve as evidenced by a willingness to sell 10% below.
They have got a fair few shops on board, and whenever they can will put you off buying on-land, either by telling you a story about how someone got stung for $10k on their credit card (yer right!), or by how any expensive item you buy on land is worthless without a certificate of authenticity (what a gimmick!). I don't know if it was a coincidence, but we always seemed to arrive at the best shopping places on the one day of the week when most of the shops were closed - make of that what you will.
Most Scandinavian ports were fairly quiet, clean, and not much going on. St Petersburg was as good as you'd hope, though clearing immigration was a nightmare, a riot all most broke out after the port police started advising people to push in front of people who had already being queuing for an hour. Princess' attitude was that it wasn't their responsibility.
I enjoyed this cruise, I usually use my reviews to point out the best and worst aspects, so although I've written a few negative things, don't let it put you off too much, a lot went right, and we mostly had a good time. Still prefer Celebrity though! Read Less