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26 Copenhagen to Europe - All Cruise Reviews

Love the Radiance Class for this 7 night Baltic Cruise, 2100 people, easy to find everything. Picked Deck 3 oceanview and for port days just walked one deck down, very handy. Food was just fine. We celebrated a major birthday and ... Read More
Love the Radiance Class for this 7 night Baltic Cruise, 2100 people, easy to find everything. Picked Deck 3 oceanview and for port days just walked one deck down, very handy. Food was just fine. We celebrated a major birthday and enjoyed Chops one night and Giovanni's another night. Ship is a bit dated, but everything was acceptable. Diamond level so we enjoyed the beverages in the diamond lounge, less than 100 people so lounge was not too congested, but could use all the bars. Always enjoyed Windjammer for buffet breakfast, and sat out at aft of the ship, where most people don't sit. Enjoyed the wake. Sail in/out of Stockholm was incredible. Get up early or make sure you view this, 32,000 islands. Cruise director David was one of the oldest we have ever seen, but did an ok job. evening shows had Martin Brock excellent illusionist. Abbamax, ABBA tribute band was very entertaining, had the clothing, hair and heels! 2 production shows. Vibeology was excellent, Stage to Screen ok but Vibeology the best. Had some Russian gymnasts last night, who were super. Schooner Bar, had Jayne great pianist and entertainer. Not a real large library, but daily puzzles. Captain Arias was from Columbia, so announcements in English and Spanish. Bed was comfortable. Ship will have drydock in a year or 2. In all the ports there was a Hop on Hop off red bus there, except St Petersburg. Stockholm not hard to walk into town, Vasa museum a must, ABBA close by, harbour tour also lots of fun. walked around town Talinn, older town, very interesting. Not as busy as other ports. St Petersburg, Russia, did private Alla tour, had to wait 90 min till ship tours disembarked. City is very busy, traffic jams everywhere. Hermitage museum and Peterhof gardens super, even though museum was real busy. Even took local Metro ride and great lunch. Need more than 12 hours in port to see more. Helsinki, also nice to walk around, hilly city, nice harbour tour recommended. Stay a few days pre or post cruise in Copenhagen for sure. One can actually take Bus 25 from downtown direct to port. Metro gets you central to Norreport and bus is close by. But large cruise bags will make it more difficult. You can also use hop on red bus and buy 2 day pass and get ride there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I chose this cruise because of the ports: departing from Copenhagen, then Stockholm, Tallin, st Petersburg, Helsinki, back to Copenhagen. Overall - Amazing location, very friendly cruise staff, great service and food, we were surprised ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the ports: departing from Copenhagen, then Stockholm, Tallin, st Petersburg, Helsinki, back to Copenhagen. Overall - Amazing location, very friendly cruise staff, great service and food, we were surprised by how swift embarkation at ports were. Just check in was a little long. We arrived CPH on day of embarkation at 7am. There was already cruise staff holding a sign asking if anyone has booked cruise transfer to port. Nonetheless , my group used public transportation to Oceankaj by train then bus 25/27. We spent about 1+ hour at check in counter, we were told that it is the first sail of the year, staff was still on training to the new system as happens that system was down. I completed online check in but staff can not locate record so we have to complete whole check in process again. Team did not collect passport from us at check in, which again create a little hassle when we are on board. Cruise staff has to come to us to collect it. Once we board, staff with yellow t shirt was at every floor to help answer questions and help people familiarise with the cruise. This is my 2nd cruise with RCI, serenade of the Seas is a smaller cruise then before (quantum class cruise) which means less people, and less crowded. Never very difficult to get table at Windjammer. Dinner at main dining room was fab. Good food and attentive service. Same table and wait staff everyday Remember to download their app if you need to know info in other language. My family benefited from using the app as info were listed in chinese for them. Not really long lines at customer service. Staff are much more friendly, Cruise Director David is always around, can feel that he cares about customers. The cruise is a little dated but well maintained. Lots of storage space. Our housekeeper Sean is amazing, always checking if we are ok. Great shows and always good music on board. Less entertainment facilities on board then quantum class cruise, but I did enjoy my ‘do nothing’ time. Amazing ports especially Stockholm. Hop on hop off bus was waiting right outside departure gate for travelers. Tallin is an easy port, within walking distance to old town. Helsinki ‘s port was a little far away from downtown. Even excursion staff is unsure which port cruise will use 2 days before arrival. Wrong info given at the leaflet distributed on board. We joined independent excursion at St Petersburg, we can only depart ship 90 min after docking time. Have to let those joined cruise shorex depart first. We traveled in smaller group and with early entry to Hermitage plus an additional subway ride. Overall good cruise experience again. I would recommend this cruise and route. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We were very fortunate to have amazing 80 degree temps and sunny skies during our entire cruise. The cruise ship was very clean and they stressed to sanitize your hands when ever we entered the dining area and they had the Purell stands ... Read More
We were very fortunate to have amazing 80 degree temps and sunny skies during our entire cruise. The cruise ship was very clean and they stressed to sanitize your hands when ever we entered the dining area and they had the Purell stands all over the ship. I really enjoyed our Cruise director Jamie. He was hilarious he had us laughing all the time he is also a singer. We enjoyed the entertainment not only in the Tropical Lounge but also in the Atrium nightly loved the live music and the shows. Alison the Activity Cruise Director was also fabulous her and Jamie worked well together great pair. We had the pleasure of having Clifford Fernandez be our waiter in the main dining room and he provided exceptional service. I also enjoyed seeing Ty's smiling face whenever I entered the Windjammer for Breakfast and Lunch she always had a smile on her face and was always so jolly. It takes a lot of work and personnel to have a cruise ship running effectively and smoothly from the shore excursions to the cabin steward to the dining service and all the entertainment on board. Royal Caribbean did a fantastic job. Also I have been on at least 15 cruises and this is the first time I joined a Roll call list on Cruise Critics so Royal Caribbean set up a small get together Meet and Mingle for the members on the Roll Call. It was nice to talk to passengers online several months in advance before getting on the cruise. :) Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My family and I celebrated my mom's 55th birthday on the cruise. The service we got from all crew members was second to none. Fantastic service from the wait staff, room attendant and especially the Head Chef. On Two of the nights we ... Read More
My family and I celebrated my mom's 55th birthday on the cruise. The service we got from all crew members was second to none. Fantastic service from the wait staff, room attendant and especially the Head Chef. On Two of the nights we were treated to a special dinner by the chef of traditional dishes fron our home island, Trinidad and my mom was serenaded by the wait staff with a special fruit cake made for her- also a traditional cake made in Trinidad. The farewell performances by the restaurant and kitchen staff were absolutely amazing and the Parade of nations at th end of the cruise was fantastic. Our room attendant was very nice and accommodated our every requeat with a smile. The service on this cruise was like no other cruise I have ever been on. Special mention should be made of Melvin Periera and Nadie in the dining room, Head Ched Benedict and our room attendant Shermon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We selected this cruise for the exciting ports. The ports were incredible and memorable. But what was an unexpected surprise was how much fun we had on the ship. The ship is incredibly clean. I know this ship is older, but I found it in ... Read More
We selected this cruise for the exciting ports. The ports were incredible and memorable. But what was an unexpected surprise was how much fun we had on the ship. The ship is incredibly clean. I know this ship is older, but I found it in incredible condition. I have to give credit to the dining areas. How they are able to feed that many people and keep things so fresh and clean is truly a feat. I have been on a more expensive cruise and I did not care for the food. The food on this cruise was very very good. Truly. My particular mother in law said she never tried anything that she didn’t like. We didn’t go to any shows but I enjoyed the entertainment on board. We have a 7 year old son and the kids club was a complete success. I must pay special mention to our cabin steward. JOHNATHAN. He was so kind and made our cabins so fresh. Also a special note about MARK who I did arts and crafts with. Also the bar tenders were very nice. Special mention to Vortex and the schooner bar. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
First of all we choose a cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. But the destinations on this cruise's itinerary were once in a life time for us. We loved each and every port. The differences in these ancient cities were not ... Read More
First of all we choose a cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. But the destinations on this cruise's itinerary were once in a life time for us. We loved each and every port. The differences in these ancient cities were not always apparent, but fun to discover. And each one in its own way could draws us back for a closer look. We found the ship amazing. This was our first ever cruise and with advice of family and travel professionals we were assured that Norwegian would not let us down. The entertainment venues were excellent. The number of available places to dine or drink made it easy to feel like we were not on a ship with 4000+ other cruisers. There was always a quiet place to have a drink or just to relax. Each and every crew member except one treated us like family, usually calling us by our first name on a second encounter. The one exception was a service desk staff member that did not completely detail our disembarkation procedure after purchasing Norwegian supplied airport transfer. No real harm was done by this as we were quickly brought up to speed on that morning by others. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We have always wanted to visit the Baltics as I have Scandinavian heritage and we chose Norwegian Getaway as we have sailed with them before and liked this itinerary. We were not at all disappointed! The ship was lovely and public areas ... Read More
We have always wanted to visit the Baltics as I have Scandinavian heritage and we chose Norwegian Getaway as we have sailed with them before and liked this itinerary. We were not at all disappointed! The ship was lovely and public areas were always clean. The staff were welcoming and friendly every day and always smiling. There was a lot of choice for restaurants and we tried several of them. "Taste" happened to be our favourite but we actually liked them all. There was a large variety of entertainment options and we attended several of the shows. We found the quality of the shows to be quite high. There was always something different going on in the central atrium and we watched the games and enjoyed the variety of music. We learned a lot on our excursions and found the history and culture of the different countries very interesting. The disembarkation process was well organized and the smoothest we have seen! Thank you Norwegian Getaway! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I've wanted to sail the Baltics for a while now so this cruise was perfect for me! I enjoyed all the ports, but wished the shore excursions offered more free time to walk around the beautiful towns, especially for the late sail away ... Read More
I've wanted to sail the Baltics for a while now so this cruise was perfect for me! I enjoyed all the ports, but wished the shore excursions offered more free time to walk around the beautiful towns, especially for the late sail away ports. You can't control the weather...so we had rain from day 1 to the last day. Make sure you pack warm and waterproof clothes. And for shore excursions, make sure you bring a windbreaker/umbrella because you never know when it's going to rain. Travelled from September 10-18. Stayed 2 days before and 1 day after in Copenhagen. I would recommend going in early September if you don't like the cold. Loved the onboard entertainment. The trivia was by far the most entertaining. The escape the big top was a fun activity as well. The food was good, a lot of variety. Love the freestyle dining concept. Overall a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My husband and I wanted to see this part of the world. We love cruising and we love cruising on Norwegian so it was a perfect match. The Getaway, though a big ship, did not feel "big". We loved the way La Cucina and Le Bistro ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to see this part of the world. We love cruising and we love cruising on Norwegian so it was a perfect match. The Getaway, though a big ship, did not feel "big". We loved the way La Cucina and Le Bistro (two of our favourite restraints) were set up as sidewalk cafes. The service and food, as always were excellent. The entertainment was superb from Burn the Floor, Cirque Dreams and Steam, to Million Dollar Quartette. We enjoyed many of the lounges for pre-dinner cocktails. Upgrading to a balcony was a great idea. The extra space and the views were exciting. We did excursions in all the ports and enjoyed them all. Rostock and Talin were quaint and picturesque St Petersburg was amazing Loved touring Helsinki and Stockholm Of course, we met wonderful fellow cruisers, had many enlightening conversations and made new friends. It was a wonderful trip and we look forward to our Panama Canal Cruise on the Star in April. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had a wonderful time on this cruise. We did not participate in every event as we don’t like to be over programmed. So, here is what we did find: The food overall was very good. The Windjammer buffet restaurant was always busy ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on this cruise. We did not participate in every event as we don’t like to be over programmed. So, here is what we did find: The food overall was very good. The Windjammer buffet restaurant was always busy for breakfast and on the day of the first shore excursion, there was a huge backup. Their food was good. The one day we tried Room Service was a travesty because everyone else tried it that day due to a 6:30 am shore excursion. However, we really enjoyed dinners in Reflections, the main dining room. The food was very tasty- not an unusual selection if that is important to you. Our waiter and the asst. waiter were very attentive and had a great sense of humor. We tried Giavannis (sp?). The quality of the food was not worth the extra price. However, we got a wider range of more expensive options at Giavannis. The last nights Chef’s dance was a riot. The entertainment was incredible. Topi, the cruise director, was extremely talented (comedien, dancer and singer). We would sign up for another cruise just based on his being there. The other entertainers were very talented and we enjoyed each show. We couldn’t stay awake for the late night entertainment each evening but the one we did attend was energetic, fun and humorous. There was a wide range of shipboard activities. We enjoyed the dancing lessons, the various contests and last night’s presentations. There was bingo, the marriage game, a few lectures, and more – you could have been busy from the time you got up until you go to sleep. We only went on 2 of the St. Petersburg shore excursions (see the end of this review). They were mediocre. Our goal was to explore the cities on our own and that worked for us. However, it does take more planning and the willingness to get lost. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our 26th cruise, our 16th cruise with NCL and our 2nd cruise on Getaway. First time sailing in the summer and probably the last. The ports and ship venues were all a lot more crowded and of course there were a lot more kids on ... Read More
This was our 26th cruise, our 16th cruise with NCL and our 2nd cruise on Getaway. First time sailing in the summer and probably the last. The ports and ship venues were all a lot more crowded and of course there were a lot more kids on board (noise). Embarkation was a breeze and we were onboard by 11:30am. Headed directly to O'Sheehan's for a Stella and lunch (yummy fajitas and chicken wings). Our room steward, Mark, took great care of us for the entire cruise. He kept the cabin well stocked and clean - with a smiling face and cheerful manner at all times. Thanks Mark!! The Shrimp Cocktail, Prime Rib and Surf and Turf at Cagney’s was delicious. At La Bistro, we tried the Escargot, Mushroom Soup, Beef Tenderloin and Shrimp; excellent as usual. At both of these restaurants, the service was top notch. In the main dining, Tropicana Room, we found the food very good as well and the service was great! We still love O'Sheehans, but since the menu changed (no more prime rib nights or chicken pot pie) it gets a little repetitious. However, what is on the menu is good and the bartenders here were very attentive as were those in the casino bar and the buffet bar. The Sunset Bar on the Waterfront was one of our favourites for sailaways. Truly excellent bartenders there. Thanks Mark, Edwar and Christian!! Our entire casino experience was excellent and the casino hostess, Rimarie, deserves special mention. A very professional yet super fun lady, she made our week when she sent special birthday treats to our cabin for my 60th birthday and treated us to a meal at Cagney’s. Love this lady! Took advantage of the Perfect Day spa special for a massage and facial, which was very enjoyable; except for the noise above which seems to be a recurring thing, due to positioning of the massage rooms. NCL could do a rethink on a lot of the ships with this issue. Disembarkation was also very smooth; we took the NCL transfer to the airport. Picked up our bags there, great service. So, another enjoyable NCL cruise thanks to some excellent crew members and an interesting itinerary. Looking forward to our next NCL adventure in November! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose the Norwegian Getaway Baltic cruise from Copenhagen on June 3, 2017. Our embarkation experience could not have been better. We arrived at the cruise port in Copenhagen at about 10:30 and we were on the ship not long after 11 ... Read More
We chose the Norwegian Getaway Baltic cruise from Copenhagen on June 3, 2017. Our embarkation experience could not have been better. We arrived at the cruise port in Copenhagen at about 10:30 and we were on the ship not long after 11 without being crowded at all. Once on the ship, it took a pretty good amount of time for the staterooms to be ready, but once they were, it was wonderful. We were in a family balcony cabin on deck 9, and it was incredible. Note that most of the balcony cabins on deck 9 have a partially obstructed view looking down because of the covering over the Waterfront deck on 8, but this did not bother us too much. We did not realize it until the end of the cruise, but there are very large drawers under the sofa that really add to the storage space in the room. Dining I would describe the overall dining experience as very good, and I am a fan of Freestyle dining, but it had its pros and cons. Pros: the buffet was always great and there was never a time where the entire buffet was closed except between midnight and 5:30 am even if it was just a small section open. I also loved the open air portion of the buffet and that it was never hard to find a table. There are also two bars in the buffet area if you want a drink. There was a different theme each night that corresponded to the port that we were in which I thought was a nice touch. We also tried all three of the included main dining rooms, which were the Tropicana Room, Taste, and Savor. We only went to the Tropicana Room once on the first night and It was not a good experience. There was loud music making it hard to talk, and the service was slow and the waitress was not very friendly. Also, there were small portions and the food was not that good. The next night, we tried Taste, which was better, but still was slow and the food was average. There were Two nights on the ship that we ate at Savor, which was by far our best main dining room experience. The service was quicker and the food was much better. The other included restaurant on the ship, O'Sheehans Irish pub was also a great place to grab a meal, and they are open 24 hours a day. Sometimes we had to wait a pretty long time, but I was a fan. The only specialty dining we did was the Illusionarium dinner show which I highly recommend. They served us Filet Mignon and shrimp, and the show was amazing. I would definitely recommend getting there about 15 to 20 minutes early because some of the tables do not have a very good view of the stage. Entertainment One of my only real complaints about this cruise was that I thought the entertainment was rather subpar compared to Royal Caribbean. The first show we saw in the Theater was Burn the Floor. The dancing was good but it matched a Miami itinerary/crowd better than the Baltic itinerary/crowd in my opinion. We chose not to see the million dollar quartet, but we did see the Russian Folklore show which seemed kind of thrown together for the itinerary. Around the ship, there were small bands playing in different locations which were good for the most part, but my only complaint regarding this is when they played in the atrium, it was right beside the internet cafe, guest services, the shore excursion desk, and cruise next, making it very hard to talk. The best show that we saw was the one that we had to pay for in the illusionarium. Overall, I thought the entertainment could have been better. Another tip would be to check out the Moderno breakfast buffet on deck 8. It was much less crowded than the main buffet and the food was great. It was also included even though it is a specialty restaurant at dinner time. Other Activities around the ship There were lots of fun things to do around the ship such as the basketball court, the waterpark, mini golf, and the ropes course. Regarding the waterpark, one of the ships biggest attractions, the five waterslides, were barely open. Also, towards the end of the cruise, the two drop out slides were not operational. One recommendation for the waterslides is that I would definitely wear a shirt because they will hurt your back. The high ropes course was a lot of fun, but don't do it if you are scared of heights. Mini golf was also fun but I did not understand why it had to be closed at 10. I did not do the rock wall, but it looked like about what you would expect on a ship. What I would call a major design flaw is the running track. It passes through the busiest part of the deck which is just too crowded to have runners. I also would not recommend signing up for escape the big top. Service Overall, the service on the ship was excellent. Our room steward was soft-spoken, but he did a good job of keeping our room made up. All of the wait staff we had was good except for our waitress in the Tropicana room. The whole ship and the bathrooms were always clean and the staff was always friendly. Ports and excursions. We were able to visit all of the scheduled ports without issue, which on this cruise included Berlin (Warnemunde), Tallinn Estonia, St. Petersburg Russia, Helsinki Finland, and Nynasham (Stockholm) Sweden. We only booked one excursion through the cruise line in Nynasham which essentially picked us up at the ship and drove us into Stockholm which took about an hour. We also got a brief city tour but it was mostly free time in old town. I think the itinerary was great but a little exhausting if you do an all day tour at every port. I think it would have been good to make it a 10-day cruise with one more sea day. All in all, it was a great cruise and I definitely would have chosen it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise to see the Baltic area. We loved all the places we visited and all the excursions we took. We loved all the activities on the ship (even though we could never have attended even half of them). The Mojito tasting in ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the Baltic area. We loved all the places we visited and all the excursions we took. We loved all the activities on the ship (even though we could never have attended even half of them). The Mojito tasting in the Sugarcane Lounge was so much fun and delicious! The dinners in the main dining rooms were so excellent that we felt no need to eat in any of the specialty restaurants. We especially enjoyed the staff and the service received in the Taste restaurant. Mary Ann, the wine steward, Ashwin, our waiter, Benjie, the head wine steward, and Platini, the assistant maitre d all treated us like we were beloved family! As a result of this we ate dinner at Taste almost the entire cruise! We did have a great time at the other restaurants (because the menu is the same - delicious) but the level of personal care and service was just a notch above at Taste! We loved our SPB tours to Berlin and St. Petersburg. Heather, our tour guide in Berlin, was phenomenal! So knowledgeable, personable and able to be flexible to change things up a little to give us the best tour possible even with the rain (which was drenching at times). Heather always gave us the decision if we wanted to brave the weather to walk around and see the sites or not (she did not mind getting a little soaked to show us the sites). Naturally, we all felt that we were there to see the sights and did what was necessary to stay as dry as possible. We enjoyed Berlin so much. Then we had Elena as our tour guide on our 2 days in St. Petersburg, who was also phenomenal Again so knowledgeable, personable and considerate of all of us. We saw so many amazing sites and felt that 2 days was definitely not enough. We enjoyed the itineraries of the tours, we loved the more manageable group size of the tours, as well as the price which was a tremendous value for what we received. But all of that would be only good if it wasn't for our phenomenal tour guides who really pushed our enjoyment over the top! We also loved the City Food and Bike tour we took in Tallinn. Christian, our guide was awesome and we really had an opportunity to learn and understand what it is like to eat and live in Tallinn. Such a great experience. Then we did Heather's Helsinki food tour in Helsinki and had such a great time. Heather is so wonderful and again we felt like we were spending the day with a beloved relative showing us inside their beloved city! The food was awesome but learning how it is to live in Helsinki as a regular person (not a tourist) was so exceptional! Our day in Stockholm was fun. We took an NCL tour to the Old Town, Ice Bar and the Vasa Museum. It was a good tour but unfortunately, we did not get away from the tourist areas to experience Stockholm like we did in the other cities. We did had an awesome traditional Swedish lunch and tried some delicious beers and even a moose burger (which was really good)! We ended our cruise with a day in Copenhagen where we took another food tour (as you can see food is our way of connecting with different people and cultures - we truly live to eat!) which was just as phenomenal as the other food tours. Gita, our tour guide was beyond phenomenal and again took us around her city like we were her beloved relatives! She was so knowledgeable and fun to be with. We were actually sad when our tour was over. We wanted to spend more time with her learning about life and the people of Copenhagen! All in all all the tours we took (that were not NCL tours) gave us such a warm and wanted feeling while we were on them and it wasn't an act - these people (Heather in Berlin, Elena in St. Petersburg, Christian in Tallinn, Heather in Helsinki, and Gita in Copenhagen) all gave us a piece of their hearts and showed off the beauty and wonder of their city! We will definitely be back! We also loved spending time on the ship but doing all these long day tours we did not get to experience as much as we would have liked. We still needed a vacation from our vacation. The staff on the ship we all awesome. Our cabin steward Marjan was exceptional. We had everything we needed without having to ask. He was there when we needed him but invisible when we didn't need him. Such a great time that we were sad to go home. But we will be back on a NCL cruise and specifically to the Baltic cities! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
SHIP AND CABIN DINING AND SERVICE WE HAVE FUNN AND ENJOY VERY MUTCH We are thiking to thake cruise every year and it will be with one of the royal caribean's ship. The service and the food was excllent. The shore ... Read More
SHIP AND CABIN DINING AND SERVICE WE HAVE FUNN AND ENJOY VERY MUTCH We are thiking to thake cruise every year and it will be with one of the royal caribean's ship. The service and the food was excllent. The shore excursiond was perfect. THE CABIN WHITH THE BALCONY WAS AMAZING/ The show during the day and nigh was also excellent. ALL THE SHOPS THE BAR AND COFFEE SHOP WERE GOOD THE DIAMOND DANCING ROOM WAS ENJOYABLE WE SPEND TIME IN THE CINEMMA THAT WAS WONDERFUL THE POOL AND PARC COFFEE WERE ALSO WONDERFUL WE TOOK THER SOMTHING TO EAT AND IT WAS VERY VERY TASTY ALL THE STAFF ARE SO GENTLE AND KINDLY AND WANT TO HELP AND SEVE US ALL DURING RHE DAY So that is the reason that we will cruising whith your company in the future. WE THANK YOU ALL THE STAFF IN THE ROOM IN THE DINING ROOM AND ALL AROUND THE SHIP Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We spent two days in Copenhagen pre-cruise making use of the Copenhagen Card which proved good value. We were able to use this card to get the no. 25 bus from Norreport direct to the Terminal at Ocean Kaj. We arrived around 11.15 and were ... Read More
We spent two days in Copenhagen pre-cruise making use of the Copenhagen Card which proved good value. We were able to use this card to get the no. 25 bus from Norreport direct to the Terminal at Ocean Kaj. We arrived around 11.15 and were on board by 11.45 – very relaxed and well controlled all through. Norwegian Getaway is a large ship. This was our fifth NCL cruise, and tenth in total, and in hindsight our most enjoyable. We have sailed on Epic and found Getaway to be much better arranged. However many decks there may be on a cruise ship, most time will be spent on just four – in this case – 6,7 & 8 and 15. Our cabin was on deck 11 aft and it entailed plenty of walking to keep the weight down!! There are only two lift areas but with 8 available at each we never had any significant wait. Our preference is for the buffet rather than formal dining and Getaway has improved the food choice since our last NCL cruise. Good selections at all meals and much more seafood than previously. Because of the ethnic mix there were always Indian and Chinese selections available. Steaks and roast meats were delicious. Our only criticism would be that vegetables were usually significantly undercooked and sometimes hard. Entertainment was good, especially the formal shows Burn the Floor and the full-length Million Dollar Quartet. Howl at the Moon in Headliners was good fun. Guest singer Karl Loxley (ex. The Voice) and violinist Bernadett Nyari were enjoyable. Cruise Director Andre was the best CD we have had and was always prominent around the ship. Well done. We usually headed to the disco in Bliss to round off the evenings, although we were probably at least twice the age of most others there! The crew were helpful and friendly as usual on NCL and the Captain and officers were visible around the ship with the former available for a Q&A session that was interesting. The sheer scale of provisions needed for a ship of that size is mind-blowing!! Bar service was good and the included drinks package very welcome. Our inside cabin was more than adequate. Our steward was efficient and friendly and we were able to get our cases under the bed so space was well used. The bathroom layout was good. Leaving the tv on the webcam overnight meant we woke up to the view ahead. The tv is also interactive for checking stateroom accounts and booking activities, avoiding the queues at reception We were on board to appreciate the Baltic ports visited and had no reservations on that score. Leaving the ship at each port was efficient with little delay, except on Day 1 in St Petersburg when immigration took a long time with visa and passport checks. On Day 2 the delay was minimal. Every port had maps available as we left the ship. Warnemunde was interesting and geared for German tourists – we couldn’t face the long trip to Berlin. Tallinn was such a gem of medieval charm and an easy walk from the port. Well worth the visit. For St Petersburg we used TJ Travel and had a brilliant guide, Irina, and all worked well. There were only 11 of us in the bus and we were speeded around from one site to another. Our guide even pointed out the pickpockets lurking at several of the tourist spots who seemed to be operating openly with no police around at all. One of our party still had a phone taken but maybe it was an old model as they laughed as they returned it to him when he noticed. Beware! The sheer opulence of the royal palaces was the feature of St P. and the specific visit to the Faberge Museum was fascinating. For Helsinki and Gothenburg we reluctantly used the NCL shuttle ($15 pp) but were satisfied that it gave us flexibility to do our own thing in each port. Gothenburg particularly had no facilities to do otherwise. Both are interesting but not spectacular,cities Dis-embarcation was the easiest ever and again we used the no.25 bus to travel back to the city. It was a very enjoyable break. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Embarkation in Copenhagen was the easiest I have ever done in any country. Everyone working that day was friendly, efficient and fantastic. We were on the boat before 12pm, which was surprising. Boat overall was very clean, and upon ... Read More
Embarkation in Copenhagen was the easiest I have ever done in any country. Everyone working that day was friendly, efficient and fantastic. We were on the boat before 12pm, which was surprising. Boat overall was very clean, and upon boarding the boat, we went to O'Sheehan's for lunch. O'Sheehan's was OK-- the food quality was decent, but the table side service was the one area of the ship that I think could have been improved. Our room was ready about 1:30pm. We did the upgrade for a mid-ship mini-suite from mid-ship balcony and it was totally worth it. The only difference is the bathroom, but it was a massive difference, and made it much easier to get ready to go in the morning. We only dined in complimentary spaces, which were great. The Garden Cafe was clean and well-managed, with super friendly staff and food was good. Taste and Savor were both excellent, with great service and food consistency (try the beef papperdelle if it is on a menu-- the sauce was outstanding). After our St. Petersburg stop, the ship even added Balticka beers number 7 & 8 was a delicious addition, but only available in the pool bar and O'Sheehan's. Sweet Beats band had a fantastic singer, and we saw them a number of times throughout the cruise and once in Tropicana dining room. Andre and Lorena both did a great job getting out to meet guests, get feedback and really tried to engage cruisers outside of events, which was a nice touch.They were both pleasant and you could tell they were genuinely passionate about their jobs. We did purchase the Thermal Spa package. Do it if you're thinking about it!! It was such a great way to unwind, and have peace and quiet. Truly an oasis of calm. We did not book any shore excursions with NCL-- but here's what we did in each port. Warnemude/Rostock were wonderful. Took the train into Rostock (easily walkable), and then back to Warnemunde. Eat the fish and chips while you're there! Tallinn-- super easy. There were plenty of taxis and two companies of hop-on/off to use. We saw plenty of both, but we ended up going with City Site Seeing. They were absolutely fine, and it seemed to be an equal amount of buses for each. St. Petersburg- we went with TJ Tours. I can't say enough great stuff about them. Our guide was Dasha, and I could not be happier. She and our driver, Nickolai, truly made our experience. Please message me if you would like more details. I didn't rate it below as an excursion, but the daily published that Helsinki would have no transportation available and that NCL would provide buses for $15pp/roundtrip. Do not do this in this port if you are planning to do the hop-on/hop-off, as both are right outside of the ship waiting. Book the Red Buses in this city, as City Siteseeing, as they were not prepared for the amount of people that this ship brings in. We saw 4 Red Buses to every 1 City bus. Gothenburg was a nightmare. The city and port were both not prepared to handle this boat. We were docked in a cargo port that you were not allowed to walk out of, so the port was providing comp transport to gates or you could pay the $15 again to ride the NCL bus. We didn't trust NCL because of Helsinki, so we opted for the comp shuttle and figured there would be cabs. First, the port only had a Sprinter van there, which shows they were unprepared, so we waited about 30 minutes to get to the port gates. We were told it would be about $20 to get to town in a cab. It was $40 going there (not too bad), but almost $100 coming back because our driver had no idea where the dock was, as it was the first time that anyone had been docked there. There wasn't much to see or do, and it was an expensive disappointment. The city really didn't do a great job communicating any information to cabs and mass transit in general, and since it was their largest cruise ship docking ever, you would think they would want to go out of their way to win back business for the city. Disembarkation was the easiest I have ever seen as well. Copenhagen has there stuff together! Overall, I would absolutely cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Serenade is a nice ship, the cabins are a little tired but well maintained. Dining was good, we chose anytime dining and switched between sharing a table and having a table for two. The quality ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Serenade is a nice ship, the cabins are a little tired but well maintained. Dining was good, we chose anytime dining and switched between sharing a table and having a table for two. The quality of the food and the service in the main dining room was varied and very good quality. We didn't feel the need to seek the speciality dining. The entertainment was varied, we only found one show, not to our liking. The guitar, vocalist in the onboard pub was great, we went down every night and really looked forward to that each evening. There was a huge range of activities we could participate in if we wanted to on any day. Service in the stateroom and restaurants was faultless. We tend not to use the ship's excursions but found that we had to in Russia, because of the visa limitations. The shore excursions were well organised and provided great variety, those we took were value for money when you consider that a Russian Visa is $270 AU each not to mention the process to get it organised. Embarkation and disembarkation were not too bad, not the most streamlined we've seen, but all in all not bad. All ports were easy to access, no tenders needed. We have so many places still to see that we may not get back here again, but we are glad we got here once. St Petersburg was stunning, but each port had something unique and worth visiting. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
1. We were happy with our RCL Mediterranean & Adriatic cruise last 2016 so we booked a RCL Scandinavian/Russia cruise last May 2017. 2. The staff were efficient and helpful (esp the Filipinos) and there were a lot of choices for ... Read More
1. We were happy with our RCL Mediterranean & Adriatic cruise last 2016 so we booked a RCL Scandinavian/Russia cruise last May 2017. 2. The staff were efficient and helpful (esp the Filipinos) and there were a lot of choices for the food. The food was delicious. 3. The cabins were cleaned daily. 4. Embarkation and disembarkation were all smooth. 5. The Copenhagen departure/arrival port staff were helpful and taxis were abundant. 6. The highlight of our cruise was St Petersburg. Our itinerary included an overnight stay. 7. We had an unexpected snowfall in Helsinki and Stockholm which made our cruise more memorable. They had hop on hop off tour buses. 8. We stayed in Copenhagen for 3 day prior to our cruise. Denmark is a beautiful place to explore and they have an efficient and easy-to-understand rail system. 9. Talinn was an interesting medieval city. 10. Riga and Klaipeda were a bit boring. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was a cruise of the Baltic Sea. Chose this cruise because we had never been to that part of the world. Embarked in Stockholm and cruised to the Finnish coast (where we hiked and kayaked in a remote area); then on to St. Petersburg, ... Read More
This was a cruise of the Baltic Sea. Chose this cruise because we had never been to that part of the world. Embarked in Stockholm and cruised to the Finnish coast (where we hiked and kayaked in a remote area); then on to St. Petersburg, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and ending in Copenhagen. The historians and naturalists on board lectured about the history of the region and particularly how affected countries broke from Soviet control. There was also an ethnomusicologist on board who introduced us passengers to the music of the countries we visited by arranging for attendance at performances. This trip included anything from the bar; wine flowed at cocktail time and at dinner. Service on the Orion was impeccable, meals beautifully served, offering meat, fish, and poultry selections. Breakfast and lunch are buffets with a wide variety of hot dishes and cold salads. Ship holds just 100 passengers and has a small fitness center, a library, and an outdoor restaurant if weather permits. A minor criticism is that chairs in the lounge and library/observation area are straight, hard, and uncomfortable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Chose it for the destinations and the timing in early May. The whole "Expedition Staff" were great, especially Alizé, Jacob, Sisse and Dagny. I really like the totally all inclusive policy. I never took out my wallet. I ... Read More
Chose it for the destinations and the timing in early May. The whole "Expedition Staff" were great, especially Alizé, Jacob, Sisse and Dagny. I really like the totally all inclusive policy. I never took out my wallet. I didn't like the suggestion that maybe we should give to the tipping fund. It's either included or it not. Starting with two nights in Stockholm A 102 passenger ship is ideal. In all but Gdansk, we were right there in the middle of things The mess in the Hermitage was not Lindblad's fault but it was scary . We would have chosen not to go there rather than endure that. Someone should have known that May date was a national holiday. We really liked the three music programs organized by Jacob Edgar. His enthusiasm and knowledge are contagious. We will sail with Orion again! Klaipeda could be dropped for more time in Visby. Visby is very attractive and might even be worth an overnight visit. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We picked this cruise due to the unique itinerary, Copenhagen to Barcelona as the boat was re positioning to the Pacific for the first time, should have taken the extra holidays and stayed on board to get home. This was our 12 cruise and ... Read More
We picked this cruise due to the unique itinerary, Copenhagen to Barcelona as the boat was re positioning to the Pacific for the first time, should have taken the extra holidays and stayed on board to get home. This was our 12 cruise and had been on NCL only once before in Hawaii on Pride of America, so had a fair idea of what to expect. we also picked a stern cabin on Deck 10, which was a great choice only the spa above so no noise at night. I read plenty of reviews before the cruise and there was mixed reviews, but I have absolutely no idea how any one could complain about this boat or crew, it was wonderful and the crew were exceptional, probably the best we have experienced. We saw and heard people complaining, but it seemed they just had nothing better to do than expect everyone to drop everything just for them and change schedules just for them, some people realy need to get a life, and join the real world. Boarding was quick, if you had everything prepared like you are meant to, bags arrived quickly and meant we were unpacked and ready to cruise in no time. As a rear balcony cabin 10230 it was a bit bigger as can handle 3 people (a fold out lounge) bit would be a bit tight, it was actually our first holiday in 19 years without our daughter, so the extra room just for us was great, 2 small built in desks and a coffee table with the small lounge made it a great cabin, plenty of hanging space and draws to take the contents of our 2 large bags. Second time we have had a stern cabin and is certainly a great spot as you can see what is on bot sides of the ship. We ate in the main dining rooms most nights and food was good, hot and quickly served. We also ate in 3 of the specialty restaurants, French, Asian and Steak, and they were sensational and worth the little extra charge (at least we think so). We settled in to a routine drinking and reading at the "Is 5 O'clock Somewhere Bar" in the afternoon when we got back to the ship after the days ashore, and quickly made friends with the bar staff, who after 2 days knew exactly what and when we wanted. Plus being on a complimentary "Drinks Package" as part of our booking meant there was no signing of bar bills, except in Spanish ports and waters where we had to pay the tax (70c to $1). Didn't go to any shows, as we were happy to read and listen to a great signer in the bar every night. (and listen to people complain about a lovely young lady's English accent when running Trivia) Shore tours - yes the ships ones are a bit expensive, but remember if they are late back the ship does not leave without you. By the announcements a couple of days, some people did get left behind in a couple of ports. Having the meeting place in the theater most days was great and well organised though the people who crowed the exist thinking they would be the first on the buses was annoying. But it worked extremely well. Copenhagen, Oslo, Rotterdam/Amsterdam, ZeeBrugge, Le Harve, Le Verdon, Gijon, Lisbon, Cadiz, Valencia and finally Barcelona and 4 sea days for good measure, made for a sensational holiday and cruise. Dis embarkation was a breeze, with bags available at the correct time and a quick taxi ride to our hotels for 3 days before the long 26 hrs in a plane home. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This cruise covered so much ground from Copenhagen to Barcelona and included stops in Oslo, Brussels, Amsterdam. Paris, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Valencia and Seville. There was ample time at each port to visit and see these cities. The nightly ... Read More
This cruise covered so much ground from Copenhagen to Barcelona and included stops in Oslo, Brussels, Amsterdam. Paris, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Valencia and Seville. There was ample time at each port to visit and see these cities. The nightly entertainment was varied and plentiful: from Incredible R&B to standard jazz and piano ballads. The service in the main dining room at the back of the ship was excellent, and the food was amazing and five star every single night. We Never had to wait and didn't have to make reservations not one time during the 14 day cruise. The pool and hot tubs in the spa were so relaxing, clean and practically empty. I loved it and had a couple of great massages. The buffet had every kind of authentic ethnic food. I had coffee every morning on my balcony before going to the dining room for a delicious breakfast. Excellent hygiene on the ship with staff spraying cruisers hands everywhere near food. I Had fun and success in the friendly and fun casino. And I was able to go dancing every night to the masterful tunes on Exotique, who members were so friendly and talented. I would easily do this cruise ship again.and again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My husband and I decided we would fly to Europe and do a big cruise to see as much a possible since it would likely be the only time. Our holiday actually started on Aug 12 where we flew to London for a few days then to Budapest where ... Read More
My husband and I decided we would fly to Europe and do a big cruise to see as much a possible since it would likely be the only time. Our holiday actually started on Aug 12 where we flew to London for a few days then to Budapest where we took an eight day river cruise. We cruised from there to Nuremberg then took a bus to Prague for a few days, then flew again to Hamburg for another couple of days. We arrived by bus to Copenhagen to take the three back to back cruises with Norwegian on the "Star". We actually arrived a day early and our hotel could not accommodate us for the one extra night so stayed right by the train station at the hotel Mercur. This was a nice place, close to everything and breakfast was included for a reasonable price. The following day we checked into our reserved hotel called Saints Annes which was opened in 1851 and is only minutes walk to the waterfront and canal. The hotel rooms are very small but clean and quiet. Breakfast available at a cost. On Sept 5th our arrival at the dock by taxi was cheaper than what the hotel wanted and no round about driving. We arrived just after 11:00 a.m. and our embarkment was speedy with very few lineups. We are Latitude members and didn't realize we had reached platinum so were pleased to see a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries greeting us. Laundry once a week was included which we were so happy to have. Our room with a balcony on the 9th deck starboard was comfortable. There are lots of options for eating on board and particularly like the Schooner bar and cafe. You can order fish & chips, chicken wings, hamburgers etc at any time of day. Our Captain Matias Anderssen gave us a commentary each morning on the port we were going to be visiting. He says he is one of the last Vikings since he is a Swede and this is his heritage. Great sense of humour. The ports we visited on the first part of our cruise to the Baltics was - Warnemunde (Germany), Tallin (Estonia, St. Petersburg (Russia) Helsinki (Finland) Stockholm (Sweden) and then back to Copenhagen. The second portion of our cruise was from Copenhagen to Bergen (Norway), Alesund (Norway), Lerwick Shetland Islands (Scotland) Thorshavn (Faroe Islands), Revkiavik (Iceland) Greenock (Scotland), Dublin (Ireland) and back to Copenhagen again. Final part of the three cruises in one - Oslo (Norway), Rotterdam (Netherlands) Zeebrugge (Belgium) Le Havre (France), Bordeaux (France), Gijon (Spain),Lisbon (Portugal), Cadiz (Spain), Valencia (Spain) and disembarking in Barcelona. We took many excursions from the ship as well as a lot of Hop On/Hop Off bus tours. A lot of these ports visited were container ports and out of the city limits so too far to walk to town. Places like Rotterdam was a two hour bus ride to Amsterdam and wouldn't want to travel on our own that far. Paris was the same so no option but to take the excursion to be safe.This was apparently a trial cruise to check out the ports for new destinations even though it was considered a repositioning one. The Star was continuing on to Dubai, Singapore and Australia instead of the original port of Miami which meant we would disembark there in Barcelona. We booked the cruise Royal Caribbean" Brilliance of the Seas" but had five days before it would be leaving so took a bus to a seaside resort called Sitges. Loved it!! We liked our stateroom on the ship although the shower stall was a bit cramped but lots of cupboard space in the cabin. We enjoyed the entertainment, crew were exceptionally friendly and helpful, the food was a good selection at the buffet. The dining room food was good but the appitizers always came luke warm. They did not have a cafe for hot snacks like the Norwegian but did offer food after the buffet closed. Our overall impression of the ship was very good and would not hesitate to book with them again. Our holiday ended when we flew from Tampa to Victoria, British Columbia but from Aug 12th - Nov 1st 2016 we had a wonderful venture with many picture and memories. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Went on the 11-night Baltic sea cruise with Serenade of the Seas sailing on June 17th. This was our first time cruising with RCL and we were quite impressed with the service. The entertainment exceeds our initial expectation. The dining ... Read More
Went on the 11-night Baltic sea cruise with Serenade of the Seas sailing on June 17th. This was our first time cruising with RCL and we were quite impressed with the service. The entertainment exceeds our initial expectation. The dining service as well as the food also were great. Our group consisted of 13 people ranging from 1.5 year old infant to 70+ years old. But they were able to arrange a big table fit for us every night. The ports that we visited were: Copenhagen, Rostock, Klaipeda, Visby, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Stockholm. The most memorable port is St. Petersburg. It was really a beautiful city. We docked there for 3 nights. We booked our city tour with TJ Travel since we didn't have Russian visa (without visa, you need to go with a guided tour). We were very happy with their service. Their price was way cheaper than the one from the ship and we have our own private minivan for 13 of us. Tatyana and her group really did a good job in arranging all the schedule. We even got a chance to try Russian delicacy at a great places for lunch. They also arranged and booked us a very good seat for an evening ballet show of "Swan Lake" at Alexandrinsky Theater. The next memorable port is Visby. It was a nice small island with a medieval touch. The old town is small so you can rent a bike and have a tour around old-town just within few hours. The least memorable port is Klaipeda. Lithuania just joint the EU recently (in 2015) so I think this port was added to the tourist itinerary very recent. It was really not a tourist town. There wasn't any shop that sell souvenirs. Luckily, there were some flea market at the old town square where local artists displayed their creations. Overall, it was a very memorable trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
A little background on me; I am 54 (Turned 54 on this cruise), DH is 58. This was our 23rd cruise, 2nd time on Holland America, 3rd cruise in Europe. Have mostly sailed with Princess & Carnival, but also on NCL, RCCL, and 2 river ... Read More
A little background on me; I am 54 (Turned 54 on this cruise), DH is 58. This was our 23rd cruise, 2nd time on Holland America, 3rd cruise in Europe. Have mostly sailed with Princess & Carnival, but also on NCL, RCCL, and 2 river cruises. We flew out of IAD (Washington Dulles) the day before on Brussels Airlines. We had a 2 hour layover in Brussels, and then about an hour flight to Copenhagen. We met the HAL representative at baggage claim as we had bought transfers to the ship. We had to wait about half and hour or so for the bus, and then the drive to the cruise terminal was about another half hour. Embarking was fairly fast and easy. We were at the new (less than a year old) cruise terminal and I didn't notice the chaos others have reported. I don't remember exactly what time we boarded (Jet lag was already settling in), but we were able to go to our cabin as soon as we boarded. I know the Eurodam is a few years old, but she appeared to me to by in fairly good shape. After dropping off our luggage we made a quick trip to the spa to make sure about our thermal suite passes. I had paid $499 for a couples pass before sailing, but on board noticed that the price was actually only $299 per couple for the cruise duration. I did receive a $200 credit back to my on board account. That credit quickly evaporated when we went to the nearby lido deck, and the spa staff was giving neck & shoulder massage samples. My DH decided to join me for a couples massage for later that day (First time ever he had a spa treatment). Then it was on to the Dive In for a hamburger. We both ordered the Cannonball (Burger with gouda cheese, bacon, tomato, sauté onions, and a special sauce) and proclaimed it delicious. We would have several more burgers there before the end of the cruise. My DH also liked the Dog Paddle hot dog (Sauerkraut, bacon bits, German mustard, and melted cheese). We then took a quick tour of the ship, just to get the lay of the land, and then it was off to muster drill (3:30 local time). We did not have to take our life jackets, just show up to our assigned muster station and give our cabin number and names to the attendant and pay attention to announcements. It was over fairly quickly. As far as our cabin, we had a Signature Suite. Normally we have interior cabins, but I was able to upgrade us for a very reasonable cost, and I am glad I did. While it was too cold most of the time to use the balcony, I did appreciate the extra space in the cabin, and having double sinks in the bathroom as well as a tub and a separate shower. Ports: Kiel, Germany-We were here on a Sunday, and most shops were closed. We had signed up for a ship sponsored excursion; Lakes and Villages of Schleswig-Holstein. This area of Germany is known as "The Switzerland of the North", but don't expect to see the Alps. It gets that nickname, because like Switzerland it has rolling farm land that is dotted with lakes. We were blessed with a great guide who had interesting and informative commentary. Our first stop was the small town of Eutin, known as the City of Roses. After a quick restroom stop we walked a short distance to the local schloss, or castle. We were suppose to tour the gardens, but apparently they are closed for the year for restoration. We did walk across the bridge over the moat, and go into the courtyard. Then is was a short walking tour through the lovely town. There were a lot of roses, most in very small plots of land. The part of town we walked through was very quaint, and we were given a bit of free time. Then it was off to another schloss, this one in Ploen. This one is a bit more impressive, but as it is currently in use as a school, so no interior tours before 4 pm. However, it does afford a very nice view of a Grosser Ploener Lake from a terrace. From there is was another walking tour through a charming village on our way to a dock to begin our boat trip across a lake. After the boat ride it was off to a local restaurant for an excellent lunch, followed by a stop at a church called St. Nikolai. Part of this church is very old, dating back to the 1300's, but what I personally found most appealing was the cemetery. Not eerie or scary in any way, the individual plots are more like small gardens tended to by family members. It was beautiful and peaceful. Sea Day-As this was my birthday, my DH as a surprise, had rented a Lido Cabana for the day ($50 sea day, $30 port day). We were waited on hand and foot. We had gone up at about 8:30 just to check it out before going to breakfast. It was already set up for use, and the attendant came over very quickly to explain our perks (Lunch served to us, water, fruit, champagne). When we said we were going to breakfast, but would soon return, he offered to go get our breakfast and told us to relax. Later, he would bring us lunch. We could have something from the Dive In, or the buffet (He brought us a menu) or both. When lunch was done I was surprised when our attendant brought me two cupcakes (So I could share with DH) that said Happy Birthday After lunch we drew the curtains closed and promptly took a nap, and slept most of the afternoon. That night for dinner we ate at Tamarind, and had a wonderful meal. The service was top notched. Once again I was surprised by the singing of a birthday song, and a cake that had written in chocolate on the plate "Happy Birthday Ms. Laura" our waitress even gave me a little note that said Happy Birthday, we love you Ms. Laura and signed it. I felt that the crew I interacted with went out of their way to make my day special. Tallinn, Estonia-When I got up I drew back the curtains and had a wonderful view of Tallinn. I could see Fat Margaret's Tower, and way in the distance, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. I knew there was no way we would be able to do a self guided walking tour, so we opted for the HOHO bus. It was 15 euro each, which was a special price. Our first stop was near the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. After taking a few photos of the striking exterior we had our first misadventure. I believe we came very close to being robbed. We had started walking around, down some of the narrow streets when I felt we were being followed. I noticed a young man that appeared to be following us, he definitely was not a fellow tourist, I felt like he was casing us, trying to figure out how easy of a target we might be. When we turned into a small park that had an overlook of the city, and I realized we were alone in the park, I turned around, and sure enough the man had followed us. Fight or Flight kicked in so I turned around and faced him with a look, and body language that clearly said "I see you, and I am aware that you may be up to no good" after a few second stare down I am guessing he realized I wasn't the easy target he was looking for, and he turned and left. Later, I heard from several other passengers, that the police stopped the tours they were on and told their guides that there were a large number of pickpockets in town, working in small groups, and to warned their groups. Our next stop was to Kadriorg Palace. Built by the husband of Catherine the Great, while not as grand as the palaces we would see the following day in St. Petersburg, it was still very pretty and had a lovely little lake with fountains. St. Petersburg, Russia-The night before we were to arrive in St. Petersburg we, along with every other passenger, had received a note telling us because of the early start to most tours the next day they were expecting a large demand for room service, and your order could arrive anywhere from 15 minutes before or after your requested time. I thought it a smart move to keep expectations in check. They also opened the buffet at 5:30 am for breakfast. The second day, as tours started even earlier the buffet opened at 5 am. We would receive the same note the day before we arrived in Warnemunde because of the large number of passengers taking the train/bus to Berlin. For St. Petersburg I had selected Alla Tours. We signed up for their 2-Day Imperial Splendors & Faberge Museum group tour. I selected them because of their mostly excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. Our tour was to begin at 8:30, but we had been warned to give plenty of time to go through Russian Immigration. It didn't move as slowly as expected, but compared to every other port I had ever been to, it was slow. One must wait in a line to have your passport and tour ticket scrutinized, and do they ever! Several looks back and forth between you and your passport photo (Probably in shocked disbelief on just how bad your photograph is) and the name on your tour ticket. Your passport is then stamped, and some kind of ticket is placed inside. We have to go through the same steps when returning, and each time you leave and return. Once through immigration it was off to meet our tour guide. We had an excellent guide, by the name of Katherine, and our driver's name was Alexi. As promised our group was no more than 16 (We had 15) and rode around in a fairly comfortable 16 passenger van. We had a driving tour of St. Petersburg, with a couple of photo stops; A pair of sphinx on a bridge, originally from Egypt, and a statue of Nicolas I, where we could take photos of the gold dome of St. Isaacs. Both places were mobbed with tourists. Then it was to the obligatory souvenir shop to use restrooms, and shop. However, this place did have an added attraction, free shots of vodka! Yup, 9:30 am and I was doing shots. Hey! When in Rome...... Then it was off to Peterhof, the summer estate of the Tsars. There we toured the stunning gardens, with the magnificent fountains. It is also where I thought I was on a one way trip to Siberia. We had walked down the steps to the bottom of the main fountains and were standing to the side, listening to our guide explain how the fountains worked (Readers Digest version-Gravity) when I noticed that I was hearing whistles being blown, a lot. I had no idea why or at whom. I thought maybe people were going into the water or something. Suddenly a man, blowing his whistle was before me, glaring at me. Who was he? Guard, police, KGB? And what had I done? He pointed to my feet, and there it was, the left heel of my shoe was not on the pavement, but on the grass! I quickly removed the offending foot, and after another glare the man went off to find more people to blow his whistle at. I need to add, that like nearly every stop we would make in St. Petersburg, there were crowds, no hordes of people. Even in the great open spaces of the Peterhof Gardens, the crowds were immense. After a rather forgettable lunch, it was off to the Catherine Palace. Mere words cannot begin to describe this place. It's huge, vast, enormous, and crowed. But worth the crowds. One only tours a portion of the rooms. It's one drop dead gorgeous room after another. Photo taking is allowed, except in the Amber Room, which was beautiful. That was it for day one of our 2-day tour, except for the ride back to the ship in the notoriously crazy St. Petersburg traffic-whew! However, our day wasn't quite over, for I had bought tickets to see "Giselle" at the famed Mariinsky Theater. This was not the tourist ballet, but a performance by the Mariinsky troupe. We were about half an hour late getting back to the ship due to traffic. We were suppose to meet our car and driver (Also hired through Alla) at 6:15, but as we arrived back to port at 6:00 I knew we would never make it. It was one misstep after another. First Russian Immigration to get back on the ship, then we raced to the cabin to get dressed in what I thought was appropriate attire (shouldn't have bother, we were way over dressed, something I had thought you couldn't be in St. Petersburg). Then I grabbed the wrong tour tickets! Stood in line to go through immigration again, only to be turned away because my tour ticket had the wrong date. Frantic, and with the clock ticking away I raced back to the cabin, found the correct tickets and raced back. We met our car/driver (Who did not speak a word of English) at 7:00 pm, the ballet was to start at 7:30. I was very grateful that he had waited, but truth be told I almost threw in the towel at that moment. Naturally, traffic was horrific, and we got to the theater late. I was worried they wouldn't let us in, at the Washington Opera if you miss the curtain, you miss that act. We ran into an almost empty lobby, to be greeted by a woman that I assumed didn't speak English. I thrust my Russian language ticket receipt in her hands, she read it, direct me to the ticket booth where I picked up the tickets I had ordered online 6-weeks earlier (Needed order number and passport to retrieve), we raced up the stairs, and although the ballet had started, wonders of wonders they let us in! We had missed maybe the first 5-10 minutes, but I didn't care. We had wonderful seats. Dress circle, front row, 10 seats from the Imperial Box. I forgot all about Russian Immigration, St. Petersburg traffic, crowds, and language barriers and fell under the spell of a beautiful ballet. That was my highlight. Day 2 Day two started even earlier, as we were to meet our tour guide at 7:30. After such a grueling day, and late night it was a wonder we were on time, actually we were early. Our day started with a tour of a subway station. It was interesting, and the subway was beautifully decorated with mosaic murals and stain glass. Then it was off to a tour of the city by boat. we went by palace after palace, including the Hermitage and Winter Palace, as well as many more. After the boat ride, we toured the Hermitage, with early entry, which allowed us to escape some of the crowds. The art work was amazing; works by Leonardo Di Vinci, Rembrandt, Goya, and a statue by Michelangelo. Then it was off to lunch, this time to a Stolle pie shop, where we had choices of various meat pies (beef, chicken or fish) as well as sweet pies. This was very good, and we all enjoyed it. After lunch it was a quick visit to the Peter & Paul Fortress, just to the cathedral to see the burial places of the Tsars. There was a little chapel off to the side which held the remains of Nickolas II and his family. You couldn't enter as it was roped off, and the doorway was mobbed with people. You would think that would be enough, but our day wasn't over. It was off to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, a breathtaking cathedral topped with colorful onion domes built on the site of Tsar Alexander II assassination. And then finally it was to the Faberge Museum, housed in yet another palace, to see a Russian billionaires collection of Faberge, including 11 eggs, 9 of which were Imperial Eggs. This was the one place where picture taking is forbidden. Finally, it was back to the ship, where our band of weary travelers took our leave. A much needed soak in the hydro-pool in the thermal suite, and time on the tile beds, followed by a quick bite to eat, and early to bed. Helsinki, Finland-Quite frankly we were tired and sore when we got up on Midsummers Eve, a national holiday in Finland. We had a tour scheduled, also with Alla, and gamely went on it. I really thought Helsinki with it's large amount of green space, and more modern buildings was very pretty. True, no palaces, but we had palace overload after 2 days in St. Petersburg, so it was a nice change of pace. First we had a city driving tour passed a number of impressive buildings including their Art Deco Train Station, and modern Opera House. Our bus stopped by a square where we could either go the Helsinki Cathedral, or walk down to their famous market. We chose the Market. That is when we found the one negative of Helsinki. Because it was a national holiday, everything was closed (Except a few tourist sites), and I mean everything. No restaurants, no shops, no restrooms. The market was opened, and we spent an enjoyable 45-minutes looking at the various products offered. We bought a liter of cherries, and 2 pastries that were filled with sour milk (Think a sweet cream cheese). I wanted to try the reindeer meatballs, but didn't want to spend 9 euro for a plate. I later found out I could have bought just 2 meatballs for about 2 euro. Then our guide & bus driver decided to mix up the tour a bit, going to Temppeliaukion Church (Church in the Rock) next so we could use the restrooms there (1 euro ea.) I liked the church, built in the 1960's, it was very different then all the medieval, Baroque, and 19th century churches we had seen. Then it was off to the Sibelius monument. We were suppose to go on to Seurasaari Open Air Museum, but our legs just refused, so when the bus took back those that had signed up for the 3-hour tour, we got off as well. Stockholm, Sweden-I awoke the morning we were to arrive in Stockholm, with sun streaming in my eyes. A quick look at the clock and it was only 4 am! However, I am grateful to Mr. Sun, because when I drew back the curtains I realized we were cruising through the beautiful Archipelago that leads to Stockholm. While my husband slept, I sat on the balcony, wrapped in blankets and watched manor houses, churches, and windmills go by. While eating breakfast the skies began to darken and it wasn't looking real good weather wise for Stockholm. In fact it began to rain, the first serious rain we had experienced the entire trip. By time we docked at 10, and met our tour at around 10:30 it was coming down in buckets. We had signed up for a combination driving/walking tour, also with Alla Tours that started at 11:00. We docked at Stadsgarden, which is the best place to dock in Stockholm. Close by are the HOHO buses, and even better, the HOHO boats. The boat alone runs about $30 pp for a 24-hour ticket. They stop running at about 6:30 PM. More on them later. We met our guide, and it was raining as we got on the bus, but by time we got to our first photo op, the rain had stopped-Yea! After a brief driving tour of the city we went to the Vasa Museum. Next door to the Vasa is the Nordic Museum, which is housed in a very impressive building, you don't even notice the Vasa until you are right on it. Inside the Vasa one is met with crowds and very dim lighting. This makes for a combination that is tempting to pickpockets. One must take care and watch out for pickpockets. While we were there a man from the ship, but not on our tour was robbed. I didn't see the pickpocktors, but our guide did. He couldn't run after them because of a leg injury, but he began screaming for security. Of course I was oblivious to what had just occurred and wondered "Now what did I do?" and looked down at my feet to make sure I wasn't stepping on the grass. After our guide took us around the museum, and after giving us a lecture on the tricks employed by those that would relive us of our wallets, he gave us some free time. Never one to pass up an opportunity to eat, we went to the café and shared a plate of real Swedish Meatballs. They were served with dill cucumbers and fingerling potatoes. Oh my, but it was good! Next we were driven to the Old Town, Gamla Stan, just outside the Royal Palace, where we had a quick tour of the palace chapel, and where a royal wedding had occurred just the week before. When we came out the sun was shinning and the skies had cleared. We had a walking tour of Gamla Stan, including a walk down the narrowest street in the area. It's so narrow I don't think you could get a bike down it. After that we had a bit of free time before it was back to the ship. Day 2 I am so glad that we had an overnight in Stockholm. The next morning we bought tickets for the HOHO boats, and enjoyed Stockholm from the water. It is such a pretty city, and is best viewed from the water. We finally got off at stop # D for the ABBA museum, but at $25 pp I thought the price was too steep. Instead we walked up to Skansen, which is an open air museum that is filled with historical buildings collected from around Sweden, and for about $20 pp IMO, a better value. The weather was glorious BTW, and we really enjoyed Skansen. All too soon we had to walk back to the dock to meet the HOHO boat (They run about one every 15 minutes). We had planned to go back to Gamla Stan, but ran out of time. Warnemunde, Germany-It seemed most of the ship had left at 6:30 AM to catch the train to Berlin, which may be why when we went to breakfast at around 7 AM the buffet was nearly empty. We had signed up for yet another tour with Alla, this one Hanseatic Rostock and Fairytale Schwerin. Mostly a walking tour, we did have to use a combination of trains and trams as well as our feet. After meeting our guide we walked a short distance to the train station for a the short train trip to Rostock. From there we changed trains and took a longer train, about an hour to Schwerin. Once in Schwerin we had a walking tour of the town, that included a history class on Henry the Lion, founder of Schwerin. Finally it was off to the castle. I had seen pictures, but I wasn't prepared for just how beautiful the castle is. Truly out of a fairytale, I personally find it as lovely, if not more so, than the famous Neuschwanstein in Bavaria (Germany). We had the opportunity to walk around the outside before going in. The castle is situated next to a pretty lake, so the setting is picturesque. This castle was home to the Dukes of Mecklenburg, and our guide told us some of the history of the family, and it's castle, including a tragic love story. After we toured the castle it was off to lunch at a restaurant housed in what use to be the castle laundry. I think we were all tired when our guide announced rather than walking back to the train station we would take a taxi. She had arranged while we were eating for 2 taxi vans and a regular taxi to drive us back for 2.5 euro each. Loved that guide. After an hour rest on the train back to Rostock we walked around and looked at buildings, and visited St. Marien's church, which had a really interesting clock inside. Then a tram ride, followed by short train ride back to Warnemunde (Pronounced War-da-moon-day). We were beat when we got back, but still managed to go up to the lido deck where a oopah band from Rostock was playing and a German buffet was laid out. The crew was dressed in German costumes, and the bratwurst, German potato salad, & beer were never ending. A couple more notes about the ship before I write about Copenhagen. All breakfasts were eaten at the buffet. Lunch was eaten on shore if an all day tour, the buffet or the Dive In. Dinners were a mix between the dining room, and the buffet, which had most, but not all of the same items being served in the dining room. Besides the Tamarind on my birthday (Cost was $20 pp) we also ate one night at Canaletto ($10 pp). Service was good everywhere, as was the food. We didn't go to any shows, but on the second sea day did attend an interesting lecture about the Vikings that was very well attended. Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen-Our final stop was Copenhagen. Here we had our final tour booked through Alla Tours; Classic Copenhagen & Castles of North Zeeland. The plan was to tour the two castles, and during the city highlights tour that was suppose to end the day, be dropped off at Tivoli Gardens, and make our own way back to the ship. However, the best laid plans of mice and men.... Ship arrived in port at 11 AM. The ship was running shuttles at $10pp each way to Tivoli Gardens starting at 11:15, the last shuttle would leave Tivoli at 6:45. Our tour started at 1:00. There were a total of 10 of us, so a smaller van was used. The tour started with a stop at the Little Mermaid statue. As in most stops it was completely mobbed by tourists, but I did manage a good shot. Then it was to a souvenir shop for restrooms, and free time where we could walk to Amalienborg Palace, home of the Danish Royal family, who, according to our guide Louise, are very popular. The weather was not very good; dark, stormy clouds, and it was quite cool, only about 50 degrees or so and very windy. Finally we were off to Frederiksborg Castle. Wow! Really beautiful. My personal favorite rooms were the dining hall and chapel. Another highlight was in the ballroom there was an exhibit of dresses worn by the current queen, Queen Margaret, including her wedding dress. This castle is no longer used by the royal family, but a museum. Our tour guide, a young, personable lady, studied history in college and hopes to be a teacher some day, but unemployment is at 25% for young people in Denmark, but even as a part-time tour guide she still pays about 38% of her salary in taxes. If employed full-time and made more money she would pay up to 70%. I mention this because I loved her enthusiasm for Danish history, and her love for Christian IV, her favorite Danish king. She told us lots of interesting, gossipy details about this merry monarch that loved war, women, and wine, not necessarily in that order. He had 25 children that are known about by a number of women, including his three wife's (Wife #2 was divorced and locked up in a castle for straying. I guess what's sauce for the goose, was not for the gander in this case). He involved his country in number of wars, losing every one, and loved a good party. His coronation party is the biggest party in all of Danish history. See, I paid attention. Then it was off to Kronborg Castle, the setting for Hamlet. Learned that Hamlet was based on a Danish prince that lived around 800 AD, who pretended to be mad in order to plot his revenge on his uncle, who yes, murdered his father. Then we drove back to Copenhagen along a pretty coastal road. Before starting our tour, our guide had told us, in an effort to stay on schedule, if we were one minute late we would have to sing a song, if two minutes late we would have to dance, and if three minutes late we could sing and dance as we watched the van drive away! However, if we stayed on schedule she would sing to us. Well, she was suppose to sing, but chicken out, so the driver took over and sang "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" (In Danish) as she drove up to the ship. It was a lovely way to end the tour. So in wrapping up, did not make Tivoli Gardens due to weather (Good excuse to go again), but for the most part had good weather. met a number of lovely people on board the ship and in port. I thought every port had something to offer. There are crowds everywhere, just get use to it. Many of the major buildings we saw had some scaffolding in place as repairs/restoration seem to be an ongoing project. Experimenting with different angles should allow you to get a shot without scaffolding, and if that fails there are always postcards. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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