425 Copenhagen Family Cruise Reviews

This was our first ever cruise, so I write this with the upfront disclaimer that we have nothing to compare it to other than non-cruise vacations. We can, however, tell you some things our research didn't uncover that we'd have ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, so I write this with the upfront disclaimer that we have nothing to compare it to other than non-cruise vacations. We can, however, tell you some things our research didn't uncover that we'd have liked to know in advance and other first-timers might appreciate. We chose this specific cruise because: (a) the itinerary covered all of the ports we wanted to visit; (b) it's a family-friendly cruise line; and (c) the dates suited availability around our daughter's school terms. The itinerary only includes a few hours in Stockholm so we visited there for two days at the start of our holiday. We also went to Legoland, and had three days in Copenhagen prior to embarkation and one more after. We stayed at the affiliated Scandic Copenhagen (great location) so that we could do Princess transfers to and from the ship, which worked very well because we boarded an hour before other passengers and had a chance to explore before it got crazy. Everything about the transfer, embarkation and disembarkation processes - including luggage - seemed to go very smoothly. The Regal Princess is enormous, with a lot of little bars and seating areas tucked away all over the place. In eleven nights we still probably didn't find everything and certainly didn't try everything. Signage around the ship was handy and easy to reference. We had dinner at the Crown Grill one night and Alfredo's another, and both were good. The rest we split between the variety and happy chaos of the Horizon Court buffet, and anytime dining at the main dining rooms where we never waited more than a few minutes for a table even on the formal nights. Getting drinks was our biggest headache; it seemed like we always had to ask for a drinks list rather than being offered one, even when it was clear we didn't know what was available. There was also often a significant delay between ordering a drink and it arriving, which isn't great when you choose a particular wine to go with a certain dish and it finally arrives just before you finish eating. Otherwise the service everywhere was friendly and professional (except for the waiter who wrote down his own name and that of his assistant so that I could give them a positive review in our post-cruise survey; that was a bit too much, and I 'lost' the paper immediately). We also marked points down for the first 48 hours during which no fewer than seven different waiters tried to sell us the wine tasting event. The mini-suite layout generally is very good. Plenty of storage, full bath, and the sofa is the length of a single bed because the mattress lifts straight up when converted. It's not a fold out with a bar in the middle and becomes a proper single bed, which was fantastic for our daughter and especially when we could close the curtains between her 'bedroom' and ours. It's a long, narrow space and a few times I nearly whacked my shoulder on the TV when moving around the foot of the bed, but overall there was probably more usable space than our hotel room before the cruise. The wardrobe was big enough to hang wet washing from the laundromat, and since it's opposite the aircon return vent there was enough circulation for things to dry pretty well. Our cabin steward, Alfred, was wonderful. He was there when we needed him, always remembered our names and was a great example of customer service. Our two experiences of the Lotus Spa were both good (and both expensive with the universal day spa product up-sell at the end when one is relaxed and vulnerable). I had a fantastic Elemis facial on the first sea day, and hubby and I had a relaxing - and bruising - couples massage on the last. The book group meeting was a bit of a farce. The Princess website listed two books for July and August cruises, so I bought and read both months before departure like a girly swot. I missed the first sea day book club session in the library where they hand out copies, so I also missed the fact there weren't enoughcopies on board and they went with something else entirely that I'd never heard of. Only three others turned up to the book group meeting on the last sea day and one of them hadn't read any of the books, so it wasn't much of a discussion anyway. (For the record, 'Little Fires Everywhere' by Celeste Ng is an awesome read; at least some good came of it.) The only other structured activity we did was the Ship Tour, which we were some of the first passengers to register for because we boarded so early and made a bee-line to the Service Desk. It was $150 per person and over three fairly intense hours, but worth every penny. If you're interested in How Things Work, this is the activity for you. We visited places that passengers never normally see and learned a lot about what happens behind the scenes. Our ten year old daughter loved the kids' club, especially just hanging out with the other kids during general play and the Junior Chefs program where she got to decorate a cake in the main galley. She said a few of the structured activities were a bit boring, but she absolutely thrived on the trust and independence of being authorised to check herself in. They close for two hours at lunch and dinner, so we still got to eat as a family. She also spent plenty of time in the pool, from which she had an excellent view of the huge outdoor screen. For port days we did a mix of our own thing and shore tours with both Princess and another company. At Oslo, Warnemunde and Tallinn the ship docked close enough to the city that we could walk to many sites or use public transport. There were also heaps of hop on hop off buses sitting ready to go, which we might have planned around had we known. In Oslo we were able to buy the Oslo Pass at the cruise terminal, which included our public transport and was good value (ditto the Copenhagen Card, although we skipped the Stockholm one). In St Petersburg we booked a two day tour with TJ Travel after finding they were significantly cheaper than Princess, with the added benefit of being able to cram more into the itinerary because our group of 12 in a small van could get closer to the front door and took less time to get through toilet stops than a bus of 40+ people. We had no problems with visas, and found the representative holding a sign the second we cleared passport control. There's a new restriction that independent tour buses are not allowed into the port unto 8:30, but their representatives are there to meet people from the minute the ship docks and get passengers organised into their groups ready to go as soon as the gates open. It was very easy, even with seven cruise ships in port that day, and they got us back to the ship in plenty of time despite the traffic chaos of the FIFA semi final. TJ Travel also offered a wide range of evening add-on options, including a Russian cooking class that we highly recommend if that's your thing. In Helsinki we did a Princess tour to a national park with a reindeer farm, which was enormous fun and a blessed relief from museums and cathedrals and palaces. In Stockholm we did a viking-themed tour, partly because we saw the Vasa at the start of our holiday and it was one of the few tours that didn't go there. Both were good, and we received clear instructions of where on the ship to meet and when. Sailing under the Great Beltway Bridge that connects two Danish islands was incredible because the funnel only clears by about five meters. The first time (heading south from Oslo to Warnemunde) was about 10.30pm and we watched from the front of the Sky Deck. The second time (heading north back to Copenhagen the long way around Zealand) was about 9.45pm and we stood where the jogging track on the Sports Deck widens out. Both are excellent viewing spots for different perspectives. My biggest fear was sea-sickness (based on horrific memories of overnight ferries) so I deliberately booked us a cabin in the middle of the ship and hoped for the best. It was absolutely fine; even with high winds around Warnemunde the ship barely swayed. The only thing I felt was a bit smug seeing people with unnecessary patches behind their ears. The way Princess play up to their Love Boat heritage is enormous fun that never got as old as we felt when it went over our daughter's head. There's no towel art in the cabins, but in the mornings you should check out the kiosk on the Lido deck where they hand out the pool towels and blankets... A cruise ship is an easy and time-effective way of travelling between the Baltic capitals, and of visiting Russia without the hassles of applying for an independent travel visa. Our daughter loved cruising and wants to go again as soon as possible (destination irrelevant). My husband liked it for the port visits but felt he'd get bored with any more sea days, whereas I wished we'd had more sea days and time to do more of the on-board activities. We both accepted the trade-off between the convenience and built-in relaxation time of cruising, and the lack of control over the schedule and not getting to spend as much time in Stockholm and Helsinki as we wanted. Overall it was a holiday that we all enjoyed and can happily recommend. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
we were a group of 38pax with most in state cabins and a few in Haven suite trying to enjoy the baltic cruise starting 4th July 2018 what was good: 1. large ship with loads of activities for the entire family 2. some staff are ... Read More
we were a group of 38pax with most in state cabins and a few in Haven suite trying to enjoy the baltic cruise starting 4th July 2018 what was good: 1. large ship with loads of activities for the entire family 2. some staff are very good with hospitality 3. food is not healthy but good what can improve: 1. very limited healthy food options, like for example they don't have seeds for breakfast 2. hygiene in bad shape every time had to point cutlery wrapped in dirty napkins 3. bliss lounge on 11th July had Filipino DJ playing Indian songs on Indian night. The DJ did not have any clue of Indian songs, the DJ had a huge ego/attitude and was not willing to entertain Indians with suggestions for improvement. All the indians had no option but to enjoy on whatever was available. 4. no rules being followed, seen children in cigar lounge with adults smoking on the day of England/Croatia match. 5. server non-cuscsain people with low priority 6. $9.99 for iconcierge is a total waste as it does not function most of the times and will keep getting automatically logged out. 7. internet package is expensive and will get consumed without your knowledge...complaint and they will just say sorry bad luck?!? 8. Water is sold at $3 in a super cheap package or $6 normal. Choked for water you will shell out the price! 9. some staff attitude is very bad they just look at you like freebeeies on a ship!?! my suggestion don't waste your money...my last cruise prior to this was Sea Princes in Alaska...although not great it was definitely better than NCL. My last vacation was Sandals in Antigua and it was best value for my money! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were among 13 family members celebrating our mother's 80th birthday. The Baltic cruise destinations were very good, however our overall impression with Norwegian was inconcistent. First the good parts - booking was easy, our room ... Read More
We were among 13 family members celebrating our mother's 80th birthday. The Baltic cruise destinations were very good, however our overall impression with Norwegian was inconcistent. First the good parts - booking was easy, our room and steward were great, the bartenders at Mixx and Shakers were great. We got to know each other over the trip and it really made us feel welcome. The cruise director staff was very good - fun, friendly, entertaining. We enjoyed many of their organized activities. We saw Burn the Floor and Rock of Ages and both shows were fabulous! The ship is well laid-out - we really felt it was crowded, even on sea days. I think its how they have a lot of interior and exterior walking areas. It also was nicely decorated and did not seem tired or dated at all. Our cabin, 11840, has a slightly larger balcony than most, as there's a bump out on one side. This was very nice to have the extra space. One downside was that we had a view only toward aft, but that did not bother us. Cabin space was plenty for 2 and there was lots of storage. The bathroom and shower were not as small as some ships. Our Steward was great - our rooms was always serviced, promptly and thorought. We encountered a couple issues during the cruise and he always had them resolved promptly. All the stewards in our area were very friendly. Our dining experience was not very good. We could not get reservations for 13 until 9pm. The first night we all ate in Manhattan, and it was such a late seating that they turned the bright lights on early during our dinner and all around us they were noisily resetting tables. The rest of the trip we dined in Taste & Savor. and service was poor. Here's just a few examples: our table would be make-shift in front of the kitchen area with tons of noise and staff running by throughout dinner, our servers would disappear (e.g. up to 30 min sometimes), we'd order wine and it'd take forever to come (e.g. white wine would show up after our 1st course was done) or it would be incorrect, menu offerings were generally redundant night after night, with only a couple new options, etc. They really try to push you to specialty dining by providing a mediocre experience. When just 2 or 3 of us dined in Taste or Savor, service was much better, but more of us dined together it was a really bad experience. If you have no expectations for fine food and good service you'll be fine with their dining experience. We were the only 3 family members who got to see shows. Having to make a reservation to see a show really hindered others' ability to see a show. The theater is quite small, relative to the size of the ship. We have been on smaller ships with larger theaters. If you are staying in Haven, they have a section of reserved seats for shows, which would enable you to not arrive so early to ensure you get a seat. The only other show we saw was the magician/comedian, who was not entertaining at all. We did not book excursions with NCL as they generally were price compared to alternatives. We used private company (Alla) and had great experiences and say more for less money. While the cost of the cruise was very reasonable, in reality I believe all the extras they want to sell you, including for dinners, make it more expensive. I would prefer to pay more for higher quality. I would also prefer a cruise were port talks were more education and less focused on sales. Overall, I don't believe we will ever rebook on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Felt packed like sardines all the time! Way too crowded for me. Long waits for elevators, no place to sit for buffet meals. Ship boasts gluten free products and options, but are not fully trained in cross contamination. I have ... Read More
Felt packed like sardines all the time! Way too crowded for me. Long waits for elevators, no place to sit for buffet meals. Ship boasts gluten free products and options, but are not fully trained in cross contamination. I have celiac and was sick from day 1, no matter where I are. You can preorder meals in the dining room, but it doesn’t do any Good when they are not actually gluten free. Nothing in the buffet is gluten free except fresh fruit. Workers do not change gloves consistently, prepare and use ingredients from shared sources and prep areas. 2/3 of workers looked st me crazy when I asked if certain menu items or dishes were gluten free. So very frustrating. Cabin steward was awful- forgot towels, wouldn’t makeup the room for days on end. Russian shore excursions were a rip off- felt taken advantage of. Overpriced with guides that took us to toutrist traps. Awful. Rooms were large and spacious. Outlet picture window was foggy and dirty, but it was better than nothing. Linens were smooth and beds were comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
A lot of good aspects were offset by them moving 1 of our rooms. We reserved 2 rooms that were close together and we specified that we did not want upgrades and wanted our rooms together. They did not notify us that they moved one room to ... Read More
A lot of good aspects were offset by them moving 1 of our rooms. We reserved 2 rooms that were close together and we specified that we did not want upgrades and wanted our rooms together. They did not notify us that they moved one room to th eopposite end of the boat. When we identified the error their response was that we signed an agreement stating they had the right to move us at their whim. They did not solve the issue. Much of The sports equipment was broken missing or inadequate. The basketballs were no longer round. There were no tees for the golf mat. The staff was fantastic in general with very few exceptions. The only complkmenrary beverages were water milk and juices. The buffet was great and they had a great selection with the minor exception. Of stale pancakes most mornings. We had lobster in the dining room one evening and it was good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My brother likes the cruise line & booked it. The service was generally good but we had some really bad service also. The last night in The Manhattan room was a disaster. We waited & waited for a waiter. He finally came (seem very ... Read More
My brother likes the cruise line & booked it. The service was generally good but we had some really bad service also. The last night in The Manhattan room was a disaster. We waited & waited for a waiter. He finally came (seem very Harried) which not puts us on edge. Took our drink order & wanted to take the whole order. Appetizers came before our drinks did. We had to beg for a second drink. Some got them, some never did. My 2nd wine got poured in someone else's glass - when I turned to tell him - he was gone. We liked the pub but had to serve ourselves most of the time by going up to the bar. When I asked the waiter for a drink one day he told me he had to run for food so I could go up to the bar myself. We did this just about ever day because the service was so poor there The chef we had in the hibachi grill was fantastic & I will find out his name. He really made the whole trip. So entertaining & a fabulous chef. Our best dinner ( all 12 of us) Vijay Pednekar (Deck Steward) was one of my HERO's as he got us all blankets when we were cold outside sipping Lemon Drop martinis made by my other hero Alejandro Barragan (Bartender) best Martini ever!!! Guest services was horrific! Not enough people working there when you need them. Some woman really nasty to my husband when he asked for luggage tags. Trying to get $4.14 taken off our bill the last day by guest services was harder then the US & Chinese sanctions. Guy had no personality whatsoever - we are talking $4.14 here for a charge that was rung up by error of the staff. So who wants to go on a shore excursion without a headset with 30-40 people and not hear a word that the tour leader said? Totally unacceptable & horrible. Heard nothing in Stockholm with the soft spoken leader & nothing in Helsinki either. Really do you expect us to hear these leaders when we are in places with thousands of people? Your cruise line has really cheaped out! And saving money by not docking in Stockhom and making the passengers add in a 2 hr bus ride round trip - Not HAPPY! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold ... Read More
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is another’s trash. That said please remember this is our personal impressions and yours, of course, will vary. We ignore postings that are made in response to our reviews that merely seek to flame. We will review subsequent posts in order to provide answers to questions asked. We appreciate this understanding. Please ignore any spelling or grammar errors – we want to get this posted swiftly before we lose focus on our experiences. Thank you. Travel and Embarkation - We are a semi-retired American couple (both 65 years of age) living as expats in an Asian country. This was our sixth cruise (3 on Princess and 3 on Norwegian). We were accompanied on this cruise by two of our granddaughters (age 14 and 12). We chose to make all our own arrangement for this trip including direct reservations with Norwegian Cruise Lines, air travel, hotel, and transfers (control freak syndrome). We flew in two days ahead of the 25 June sail date so we could enjoy some time in Copenhagen with the girls. Our pre-cruise stay was as the Scandic Copenhagen (Vester Søgade 6 Copenhagen V) located just across the street from the Tivoli Amusement Park where we spent a good part of Sunday. We also visited the statue of the Little Mermaid. The weather was great. On boarding day we took a taxi cab from the hotel at just after 10:30 AM and arrived at Passenger Terminal #2 just prior to 11:00 AM. After dropping off our bags we walked directly to security and then to check-in without waiting in a single line. We walked on to the ship within 15 minutes of exiting the Taxi. The Ship – It is big. The Breakaway had just come out of dry dock recently and I have to say that the ship looked to be in excellent condition. We saw no signs of damage from sailing into Winter Storm Grayson last January. We also saw no evidence of on-going maintenance during our cruise such as what occurred on the Norwegian Sun during March 2018. Our mini-suite was Port Forward on the 8th deck and we generally walked the stairs and rarely took an elevator so crowded elevators were not a concern. We did notice that often there were many waiting to ride. We did not use the casino but we did walk through the area a couple times and noticed a very heavy tobacco odor permeating the area. We decided that after the first day when walking from the front to the rear of the ship we would simply walked down a flight of stairs, crossed under the casino and walk back up the stairs on the other side. The odor, while evident, is not in our opinion, something to get into a huff about. The often mentioned vibration in the rear of the ship is a fact. As our cabin was forward the only time we noticed it was when we were having a meal in either the Manhattan Room or the Buffet. It seems that at certain speeds there is a very noticeable “rumble and shake” at the stern. Our granddaughters thoroughly enjoyed the swimming pool, rock climbing wall, rope course, and basketball court. The weather was agreeable most days. There are two swimming pools on deck 15 (one adult and one open). Both are small and certainly could be a real problem during a cruise in a warmer location but this cruise was in the Baltic. Our Cabin – We had a mini-suite with large balcony on Deck # 8 Port Side Forward. Our cabin steward was very intuitive and was always available but never intrusive. He was very friendly and always helpful. Towels were replaced almost as soon as used and the room serviced regularly. The room was kept very clean. We had a large sized bed located by the balcony door. The two girls used a convertible sofa and a Pullman bed. Both reported that the beds we comfortable. The room is more like a superior balcony then a mini-suite in size. The bathroom was very large and had a big glass door shower with a rain shower head and multiple body jets. If you would like separate shampoo and rinse you should consider bringing your own. We were not a fan of the product provided. The bathroom was spotless. With the four of us I must say that storage space was a commodity. We managed. We had two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, and a large table on our balcony. The television was surprisingly small and the channel selection was non-existent but useful for checking your shipboard accounts and reservations. Ship announcements were not broadcasted into the rooms so you had to listen from the outside if you wanted to hear the public announcements. We had a 250 minute Wi-Fi package which lasted for the entire cruise and was fast enough to use our Voice over Internet Protocol application on our Cellular Telephones to made calls the girl’s parents. There was a coffee maker with free coffee provided in our cabin but we did not use it as the coffee available at many locations around the ship provided plenty of very satisfactory coffee. Dining & Entertainment - We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet on deck 15. Breakfast was the standard fare with omelets made to order and a wide variety of breakfast foods to choose. In our opinion the buffet was well designed with adequate seating. The staff was very fast at removing plates and silverware and cleaning tables as people left. We never had a difficult time finding a seat. We found the food in the buffet to be generally good but quite repetitive. One thing that both my wife and I found a bit irksome was the nightly themes in the buffet. Highly advertised Russia Night, American Night, Grill Night, etc. never materialized. There may have been a couple of added entrees but certainly not a “Theme Night”. Others may have had differing impressions. The girls fell in love with the self-serve soft ice cream machine in the buffet. We had dinner twice in the Manhattan Main Dining Room. Both were excellent meals. Having reservations we were seated immediately. We did notice a slight lag in service but the menu items were always appropriately hot, warm, or cold. On the first sea day we ate at the Cirque Dreams and Dinner Entertainment venue. It was an excellent show that the girls obviously enjoyed very much. The food was OK and of adequate quantity but the menu was very limited. On the second sea day we had dinner at Norwegian Cruise Line's hibachi-style Japanese restaurant -Teppanyaki. It was very entertaining and the food was very good. Tours – We booked all our tours through NCL. As everyone knows this is a more expensive option but the benefits of ease of booking, guaranteed return to the ship, and tour operator vetting are hard for us to ignore. We did not want to take any risks with our grandchildren. A note to those of us who need to take a bathroom break often – Make sure you avail yourself at every opportunity as we found that facilities in all ports are somewhat limited and there are usually long waiting lines. Rostock Germany – Picturesque Views & Molli Train. It was a great tour with an engaging guide. The short train ride on the narrow gauge coal fired steam train was very interesting with the shake and rattle and smell of the smoke was such a treat. We had German Chocolate cake and coffee/tea after the ride in a local hotel. Helsinki Finland – Highlights and Architecture. We toured the former home of Finnish architects Eliel Saarinen, Armas Lindgren, and Herman Gesellius. The home was built in 1902 by a beautiful lake. The home is meticulously maintained and contains much of the original furniture. Later we stopped at the Senate Square in Helsinki where we saw the Lutheran Cathedral, and the Presidential Palace. We later visited the Temppeliaukio Rock Church (the highlight of the tour for us). St. Petersburg Russia (2 days) – We visited the Hermitage Museum, Catherine’s Palace, and Peterhof Grand Palace along with an extensive bus tour of the city. Tours at all venues were extremely crowded with many (many) busses and tour groups all contending to view the exhibits at the same time. Our guide for the two days was a wonderful lady who was extremely knowledgeable and personable. She kept us all together and engaged with commentary and interesting conversation. There is very much information available on line and in other places concerning the exhibits in these locations so I will skip and lengthy dialog except to say that anytime you can get to see a da Vinci painting or a Michelangelo sculpture almost within arm’s reach you should jump at the chance. I remain in awe. Tallinn Estonia – Upper Town and Kadriorg Palace. We did a walking tour of Tallinn Old Town where we entered the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral which has numerous gold icons and mosaics. We visited the Kadriorg Palace (now a museum) built by Peter Great in honor if his empress wife Catherine I. Our tour guide was an engaging lady who kept everyone’s attention with knowledgeable and interesting dialog. Stockholm Sweden – Best of Stockholm. We visited the museum of the Swedish warship 'Vasa', once considered one of the world's largest and the pride of Sweden's mighty navy. The present museum is built around the 17th century warship which sank in Stockholm's inner harbor on her maiden voyage in 1628. Next we visited Stockholm's oldest and coziest quarter, the old town of Gamla Stan. We viewed the exterior of the Royal Palace and walked through the narrow, twisting alleys and cobblestone streets. No opportunity was provided to enter any of the buildings. Our tour guide was somewhat inflexible and allowed no one to divert from his schedule or direction. Several of the tour participants asked to use a restroom but he continued to talk about glacial retreat while we suffered. We finally bolted from the group and went around asking for directions to facilities. We regret having taken this tour under these circumstances. Otherwise – Stockholm is a very beautiful city with much to see. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend the Norwegian Breakaway and the Baltic itinerary. The Breakaway is a great ship for families having facilities for everyone. The one area for which we would like to see change is more family entertainment in the theater. Mature themes kept us from attending all but one of the shows – Burn the Floor – which we greatly enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were very lucky as to weather, wonderful the whole trip. Yes, some days of course were a bit cold and had some drizzle-but not bad for the area. Embarking and debarking were better than we've had before. However, we watched the ... Read More
We were very lucky as to weather, wonderful the whole trip. Yes, some days of course were a bit cold and had some drizzle-but not bad for the area. Embarking and debarking were better than we've had before. However, we watched the first night's show on TV and got an overview-that was enough-we didn't go to any shows. Did enjoy the dinner theater. Hey, let's face it, food is important on a cruise. It was OK, not great. Kind of boring actually, and lunch seemed to repeat. Didn't like layout-both sides aren't necessarily the same, so have to walk all the way around to see what's there. Missed the stress and singing for Washee Washee. But there were real sinks available. Liked the room and layout. Spash Academy gets a thumbs up and the workers there were more personable than the rest of the crew we had contact with. Cagney's was outstanding as always. We booked shore excursions at each port through NCL and were satisfied with all of them. Guides were knowledgeable and spoke clear English. Seeing a review on apparently the cruise just before this one, although there were soccer fans, they weren't obnoxious. Smoking was only in designated areas, and there wasn't much in the smoking areas of the casino-in fact ash trays were difficult to locate there. Outside in smoking areas-rarely more than two people at a time. And never saw smoking in non smoking area. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The Preziosa is not maintained well. All big windows are not clean. The cables of room vacuum cleaners are worn and repaired by insulation tape. The hand disinfection devices very often were empty. In one of the floors the floor number ... Read More
The Preziosa is not maintained well. All big windows are not clean. The cables of room vacuum cleaners are worn and repaired by insulation tape. The hand disinfection devices very often were empty. In one of the floors the floor number peeled and they didn't repair it at least 4 days. The buffet is big but nobody manages it. So couples occupy 4 seats tables and it is very difficult to find a table for the family. One day we tried to have our breakfast in restaurant Gold Lobster. We were disappointed. The choice was poor. Not like in the buffet. But the most awful for me was free smoking in every open deck (including near the swimming pool) and in Casino. The Casino is in big open space .So the smoke smellies far around. The dinner restaurant is very crowded and noisy. The employee in the reception didn't explain what need to do with the tax free for the shopping in the Kiel. It despite the fact that the ship comes there every week. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our 10th cruise and first with Princess, after sailing with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, HAL, Cunard, Carnival and Costa. Overall it was the best cruise so far. We were upgraded to a suite which obviously added to the ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise and first with Princess, after sailing with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, HAL, Cunard, Carnival and Costa. Overall it was the best cruise so far. We were upgraded to a suite which obviously added to the experience, but I think Princess beats Celebrity in every category. Food and entertainment were excellent. Very good selection in buffet and very high quality food in the MDR. Good daily activities, including lectures from guest speakers. Service was top notch. Internet was the best we have experienced so far. Very fast, and very reasonably priced - we paid $90 for 12 days of unlimited surfing on one device. You cannot beat it. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and well organized. Entertainment was excellent, especially the production shows and Beatle mania. Cruise director was very good. Few slight negatives: the dining room felt a bit overcrowded, especially on sea days, although we usually didn't have issue to find a table. And the excursions - very expensive. We used a third party operator, Alla Tours, and highly recommend them. Small groups at half price. Overall, excellent experience. We will definitely be back. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
When we cruise I often ask seasoned cruisers their favorite destination. The Baltic was frequently mentioned and it worked out for us to go this year. We were scheduled to embark on the 23rd of June. We took off from LAX on 6/20 and ... Read More
When we cruise I often ask seasoned cruisers their favorite destination. The Baltic was frequently mentioned and it worked out for us to go this year. We were scheduled to embark on the 23rd of June. We took off from LAX on 6/20 and arrived in Copenhagen on 6/21 and checked into the AC Bell Sky (Marriott property) which was a short metro ride to downtown. Bella Sky had an airport shuttle, daily breakfast, and cruise transfer available. We visited Tivoli Gardens, wandered around downtown, explored by HOHO bus/canal, ate at Hard Rock Cafe and a local restaurant. We purchased a shuttle transfer through the hotel and embarkation was seamless. We were offered an UPSELL to a mini suite and took Princess up on the offer. This is our favorite category of cabin and I am glad we were able to do it. Enjoyed things about all of the ports but Berlin and St. Petersburg were highlights for us. We booked excursions through TJ Travel. The days were long and we packed a lot in. Our guides at both locations were AWESOME (Matt/Berlin & Svetlana/STP). Our big complaint was that there was very limited time in Stockholm. We would have loved to have been able to spend more time there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The Regal Princess Baltic Sea cruise marked our 12th cruise. The trip was booked as a high school graduation present for my son. He and our 16 year old shared a room, while my wife and I enjoyed our own peace and quiet. The trip was ... Read More
The Regal Princess Baltic Sea cruise marked our 12th cruise. The trip was booked as a high school graduation present for my son. He and our 16 year old shared a room, while my wife and I enjoyed our own peace and quiet. The trip was incredible. The itinerary is perfect for sampling the Baltic countries. Two days in St. Petersburg was definitely necessary to properly explore. (Obviously, in any of these countries you could spend weeks!) The Regal Princess was the best experience we've enjoyed in all our cruises. Highlights: Food-We ate in "Anytime" dining room and buffet. Best tasting and generous portions of all our cruises. Buffet was phenomenal. Fresh shimp, mussels, and oysters on ice (not the tiny little shrimps!) Sushi(no corner cutting...tuna, shrimp), carved meat, and hibachi chicken were highlights. Burger, pizza, and ice cream on pool deck. International cafe on deck 5 could be a restaurant in itself...tasty desserts and the sandwiches, salads... Waitstaff: Anytime dining was terrific. A couple of different wait staff, but all friendly and exceptional flow to service. This has been an issue on other ships where service is inconsistent in this dining format. Drinks were brought to your table during every buffet meal...nice touch which eliminated the normal frenzy at coffee, water, ice tea area. Ship: Mature crowd on the ship, but everyone seemed to have fun. The house band was great in keeping the energy high in the atrium and on pool deck. Ship was in wonderful condition. Perfect set up to me. My wife runs and enjoyed the track which did not weave in and out of pool chairs. Fitness room was equipped with up to date machines. Deveon kept our room impeccable. Embark and Disembark: Could not be any easier!!! I don't know what else to say...on and off in a blink. Russia customs took a couple extra minutes, but that is to be expected. Entertainment: Nice mix of cruise productions and outside acts. Beatles were fun, MacDonald Bros from Scotland brought house down. The Voice contest was very cool! Staff: First class! Smiles everywhere. Rarely saw dishes at tables in buffet area. Bartenders (Peter and Benny!) are pro's. We have never considered sailing the same ship twice, as we like to explore. However, we anticipated another trip on the Regal Princess soon. The Baltic should be considered on your list, along with Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
For a long time I wanted to visit the Scandinavian countries/capitals and The Amber Room @ Hermitage (St. Petersburg). This cruise was the perfect fit. I was not that concerned with what boat we were on, but what the itinerary was. Luckily ... Read More
For a long time I wanted to visit the Scandinavian countries/capitals and The Amber Room @ Hermitage (St. Petersburg). This cruise was the perfect fit. I was not that concerned with what boat we were on, but what the itinerary was. Luckily for us, we liked the ship enough to enjoy the whole vacation! Embarkation and disembarkation was pretty smooth. In: Enough processing people that even with long waiting lines, the time it took us to board was very acceptable. We chose to embark toward the beginning of the schedule. As a result, after the boarding we went and eat, got accustomed with the ship, and only after that the room was ready for us. The room was OK. The bathroom was very small, of course, but bigger than what I expected. I had a problem with the cleanliness of the room/bathroom. I did not plan to check the quality of the work our steward did, but I noticed that some cuticles I threw on the floor of the room (at the beginning of our trip) were still there at the end of the trip. What aggravated me the most was the stink in the bathroom; I highly doubt that the toilet was even touched once while we were on board for the whole 10 days (except at the beginning). On the other hand I did not say anything to anybody, not even the steward. Too bad that out of the bulk tips I paid with the account, some got to the steward- he did not deserve any! Another thing that bothered me –significantly- was about the tips. Princess has a policy to automatically assess a certain percentage (20%? I am not sure) of the trip cost as tips to be divided among the on-board workers. One can opt-out, in person, at the beginning of the trip, at the concierge. I didn’t like this! I consider that Princess should pay their workers a fair wage for their work and not me (pay their workers)! I would rather prefer to pay more and not have to deal with the tips. Food was good. Lots and lots of choices at the buffet. My husband’s and my personal opinion was that the formal dining was better (quality/tastier) than the buffet. The downside was that one had to be there at the designated/registered time (it worked well for us). I did appreciate the Sudoku puzzles available each day of the trip. We did not use any of the fitness/recreation, enrichment activities, children’s club, and most of the entertainment. We attended one show, almost by “mistake”. The 2 days at see were appreciated as down-time after the excitement from the shore-excursions. Shore excursions: we did not buy shore excursions, with the exception of Warnemunde and St. Petersburg. We just walked around the city-centers and hit the one, max two, objectives we selected before the trip. We like to absorb/observe the local atmosphere and not run like chickens with the heads cut-off. For us, this trip was more of a decision-point to determine if we want to go back or not to visit the respective countries at a more leisurely pace. Warnemunde: For Warnemunde- we booked an excursion to Schwerin Castle- with Princess (our cruise line). I could not find better prices for what I wanted to do (considering the repairs scheduled to the train lines to Schwerin). Very good trip: good guide, not too tiring (compared to trips to Berlin where just the bus portion was 4 hours-one way). St. Petersburg: For our shore trip in St. Petersburg we chose the TJ Travel’s 2 days “All Highlights St Petersburg Excursion” and could have not chosen better! I would recommend this company and this excursion to any family member interested in the destination. The price TJ is charging is about 1/3 (one third!!!) less, compared to the price available for basically the same schedule for an excursion offered by the cruise-ship. In other words, for two people, I paid less than one adult price with the cruise-ship; same excursion. Starting with the booking and prior communication and ending with getting onboard on time and hassle free, all went as expected: very well. We contacted the US rep for TJ- she was very professional and helpful! Do not get fooled by the cruise-companies statements implying that (only) when one books the St. Petersburg shore excursion with them you get a hassle-free disembarkation in St. Petersburg. That is not true! TJ Travel process is very easy and does not take more time than the cruise-ship offered excursions. Our guide, besides being a very pretty girl who spoke very good English, kept our group on schedule and informed of what to expect at all times. The bus driver left us very close to the entrances to the objectives we visited (and picked us up) so we could use the energy to walk the museums. We liked the lunch we were served both days. At the end of the excursion, before the return to the ship, we were taken to the store TJ owns (for “select” items some prices were better at the cruise-terminal). We paid there the excursion (not in advance, at the time of reservation)- the exchange rate was OK (in that particular day). All in all- an very good experience! This cruise vacation for us- was enjoyable. I would do the same things as I did. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We cruised the Baltic with the the Norwegian Breakaway expecting a quality of service similar to Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Despite it being my 8th cruise, I am disappointed to report that I have never been on a more disinterested ... Read More
We cruised the Baltic with the the Norwegian Breakaway expecting a quality of service similar to Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Despite it being my 8th cruise, I am disappointed to report that I have never been on a more disinterested ship in my life. I really expected more of Norwegian. You'll find that the statistics of the ships size are deceiving, as most of the space is used to onboard 3600 passengers over the provision of passengers amenities. By far the worst factor is the disinterested service. We don't have any special requests, but don't expect anyone to smile, or to act mildly enthusiastic. Shows are basic without any effects, and the cruise often tries to upsell you with paid shows for 50 USD a person. At St Petersburg, our tour operator sadly confirmed to us that Norwegian is notoriously one of the most inefficient Cruise lines in off boarding their guests, reportedly because the cruise line wants to discourage guests from taking outside tours. While the staff blame it on immigration, our immigration officer told us that celebrity, regent and princess guests are often off board in no more than 30 minutes, whereas Norwegian guests can be made to wait over 2 hours. I'm sad to say that the ship kept us waiting in the theater for over an hour blaming it on immigration. Food is deliberately cheap to encourage you to spend in their myriad of onboard resteraunts. Cabins are about 20% smaller than normal size so they can cram the ship with more guests. Bottom line: we chose this ship because it was mildly cheaper than our usual choice of princess. We're regretting it everyday. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We found the itinerary for NCL breakaway in the baltics to be very interesting and as we had heard reasonable feedback about their "free-style" cruising, we booked their cruise starting 16th June on the breakaway from ... Read More
We found the itinerary for NCL breakaway in the baltics to be very interesting and as we had heard reasonable feedback about their "free-style" cruising, we booked their cruise starting 16th June on the breakaway from Copenhagen. Our overall experience was poor due to the low motivation level of staff and the consequent poor quality service which we experienced at every touch point in the ship - as well as poor processes with low flexibility that made every interaction with the ship- painful, long and usually unsatisfying. We are a family of four with 2 adults and 2 girls aged 11 and 6 and this was our second cruise as a family. Copenhagen cruise terminal is best accessed from the city center via taxi - we paid 220 DKK from danhostel in the city to the quay and on return to airport, paid about 380DKK. NCL tried to take 100 USD for 4 of us for the same transfer - avoid them. Taxis are not difficult to find if u don't mind a 5 minute wait as you exit. On embarkation day there was a 90 minute wait to board as the staff took very long to check people in. It would have been v easy to change the amount of time people spent waiting in a queue -as there were plenty of chairs available - but no - no one was thinking about the customer. They offered lime juice and water as you stood in a queue but would not think of letting people wait in seats rather than standing in a queue. The luggage however was waiting for us when we reached the cabin which was great. The ship has great infrastructure overall and cabins and public spaces are good quality. Kids club- splash - has weird timings. It operated from 1030 AM -1030 PM with closures from 12-2 and then 5-7 which means that you are either shuttling kids to and from splash most of the time and never get a reasonable stretch of time without bothering about what is happening to them. This was a big dampener for us as, one of the reasons we like to cruise, is that we get lots of couple time while the kids are engaged - and this did not happen with NCL. They also do not take kids for lunch/dinner. Post 2230 hours, there is a paid option to keep them till 0130 hours - which is okay if you want to use it. Garden cafe served good quality buffets throughout the day with reasonable variations in the menu and this was good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However the 3 main dining rooms offered very little choice and after one meal there, it was all repetitive and boring. They offer simple 3 course meals and essentially had 70% of the menu fixed for the entire cruise with 30% changing day to day- but that was largely stuff you could have at the buffet that night or the previous one. The dessert selection was particularly poor except for the final night's dinner. Staff were largely disinterested - with the exception of one in Manhattan room on the final evening. Pools were decent and water slides and rope courses were good too - however, the crowd made each of these activities so tiresome that it took a lot of effort to force one to go. The rope course for example took 15 mins in a queue for 15 mins on the course (roughly)! Further, with so much of demand, the timings on these things seemed ridiculous..why would you not consider advancing the hours a bit so that people can access these services with some flexibility. So much for "free style cruising". Coming to entertainment, Russian folk show in SPB was good. The musical was average at best (it may have been good 10 years back but today, it cannot be above average) and burn the floor was OK. Given that the range of unpaid entertainment is poor, I did not get value from the cruise in terms of entertainment. Do not book NCL port excursions as they are 30-100% more expensive than similar ones offered locally in Baltics. As all the forums will advice you alla and SPB are very very good in this region and it is totally seamless and reliable in every single port (although we did not experience helsinki as breakaway cancelled the visit at the last minute - and SPB tours refunded us promptly). Communication from the bridge was patchy at best and left a lot to be "deciphered" by passengers. The cruise director was proactive with his communication however. We experienced several instances of poor quality service throughout the cruise but i must recount this - in stockholm, as the port of docking changed to nynashamn, NCL arranged a transfer to and from stockholm. We were supposed to board the shuttle back at 440pm and we reached to see a long queue - not only of people waiting to board but buses waiting to pick people up - after 20-25 minutes in the queue, I spoke to one of the girls from NCL to ask why this needed to be so - and she said that she had a process that she had to follow. At this time, the hotel director (his name was Nuk or Muk - I do not recall) who was standing around and watching this, came up to me and said "I am sorry for this - may i please have your cabin number and I will make sure to redress this issue".I shared my cabin number promptly. I did not ask for it, he did.. AND that was the last I heard from NCL on this. To me, this tells a story of how leadership is happy to mouth platitudes and then the rest of the staff follows suit and is the root cause which made this cruise a painful one for us. Our cabin steward did a poor job of cleaning mostly and looked sullen and spoke rudely with us - which was of course only when we could find him - which was not very often and usually took some 20-30 mins of trying over the phone. When asked about why we did not get our laundry back on Friday as was communicated when the laundry was taken, he said " i don't do the laundry here you know...". We did get the laundry on Saturday night and it was well done. The conversation and the bitterness it evokes, persists. Both my kids felt that Costa offered much better and engaging activities on board than what they experienced in NCL and that the facilitators in "splash club" were not engaging enough...we felt the overwhelming need to follow a process - with no concern for the customer - on display here too. My eleven year old summed up her experience as "I thought we were not supposed to get bored on cruises but I was often bored.". The disembarkation process was seamless and efficient - took no time at all. I would definitely not go on another cruise with NCL as things stand. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose the Baltic cruise on the Breakaway as a family vacation. Our son, his wife and child, my daughter and her boyfriend, my husband and myself had the time of our lives, Excursions to different ports, ship's' activities ... Read More
We chose the Baltic cruise on the Breakaway as a family vacation. Our son, his wife and child, my daughter and her boyfriend, my husband and myself had the time of our lives, Excursions to different ports, ship's' activities and of course the delicious food cuisines at either the buffets or restaurants were first rate. To make the voyage even more memorable and with the assistance of the NCL staff, was our daughter's engagement to her boyfriend took place in the Manhattan restaurant. Entertainment opportunities aboard the Breakaway were good. There was no lack of talent, however the selection of Rock of Ages as a major show was questionable. Given the diverse cruise population in age and cultures, a more suitable selection could have been chosen. Those patrons in their late twenties who grew up with hard rock and heavy metal songs raved about the show. Older passengers disliked it and some walked out. Loud song volumes do not necessarily mean better enjoyment. On the other hand, the Tenors of Rock group, looking the 80's appearance had tailored their song selections to entertain a wider cruise population singing songs ranging from British rock to finishing with the Phantom of the Opera. The atrium on the Breakaway was always noisy, With guest services, cruise next, excursion reservations a bar area, and the big screen located there, programs like bingo, deal or no deal,,or demonstrations might be moved to outlying areas This would allow people to socialize easier. In February we cruised the Panama canal on the Star with NCL where this was the case. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Norwegian Breakaway 9-day Baltic Cruise June 16 – June 25, 2018. Issues: Port of Rostock Ship docked in cargo port in Rostock Germany, not the tourist port. Shuttles (fee paid by guests) were needed to get to Rostock for a ... Read More
Norwegian Breakaway 9-day Baltic Cruise June 16 – June 25, 2018. Issues: Port of Rostock Ship docked in cargo port in Rostock Germany, not the tourist port. Shuttles (fee paid by guests) were needed to get to Rostock for a promised several hours of shopping. All businesses in Rostock were closed for Sunday. Very poor planning by NCL. Excursions were sold by NCl for Berlin trip (over 1-hour bus trip each way). Again, most businesses and attractions were closed because it was Sunday. Very poor planning by NCL. Port of Stockholm Ship docked in Nynashamn instead of Stockholm 1-hour bus shuttle (fee paid by guests) to Stockholm Reduced time in Stockholm Chaotic bus logistics for the return to the ship – exhausted seniors told to wait for 2 ½ more hours for the “correct” bus transport to return to ship, even though seating was available on the existing buses. Ship docked on Saturday following Midsummer Festival kickoff – most shops and stores in Stockholm were closed. This is an event known to occur at least 1 year in advance. Extremely poor planning by NCL. Port of Helsinki The captain decided to bypass this stop. The first reason given to the passengers was the Baltic was too stormy to allow docking in Helsinki. After the crew learned the passengers had checked the live feed from the Port Authority of Helsinki online and saw the Royal Caribbean ship Navigator (which had been docked in St Petersburg next to our ship and left approximately the same time the NCL Breakaway did) safely docked in Helsinki, the story from the captain changed to “abnormally low tide” in the port. Once again, tidal charts are available years in advance. The suspicion among the passengers was a business dispute between NCL and the Port of Helsinki. NCL has gone to the same business model as the airlines – charge for services and conveniences that were previously included in the base fare. I find this highly distressful. Charge a fare that covers all these items and don’t “nickel and dime” your customers. This added a layer of stress and aggravation to the cruise experience that was not needed. I will investigate this policy with the utmost scrutiny on any future cruise. This cruise was marketed as being sold on primarily North American customers. Among the 4,000 passengers barely 40% were North American. The majority were South Asian (Indian) and Chinese. The usual North American societal norms of behavior (no pushing, wait your turn, the concept of “indoor voice” vs “outdoor voice”, observe disease prevention protocols when dining) were completely foreign to these passengers. There was no venue on board to escape the constant noise and pushing and shoving of this demographic, other than to hide in our cabin or try to drink ourselves into a stupor. The food, usually a selling point of an expensive cruise, was bland at best. There was no effort to provide any good fish dishes that we had been looking forward to. The Director of Restaurants was Indian, and most of the dishes offered were either Indian, Chinese or fast food American style. Extremely disappointing. I would have no desire to book another cruise in the near future. I will never book another cruise with NCL – that door is closed forever. As this event required air travel to and from Europe, 2 weeks vacation and significant other expenses and efforts, my expectations were understandably high. I paid for an NCL experience and got Carnival service. That business model is not long term sustainable in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My health limits me, medication makes it difficult to drive. My wife has poor feet and it pains her to walk. We desired to go on a vacation and the honeymoon of a lifetime and after considering all options we decided on a cruise. Our ... Read More
My health limits me, medication makes it difficult to drive. My wife has poor feet and it pains her to walk. We desired to go on a vacation and the honeymoon of a lifetime and after considering all options we decided on a cruise. Our documents arrived early, and one morning after prayer we decided to visit a travel agent and book a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway the Baltic cruise. We thrive on cool weather, the history, and the chance of a world class tour appealed to us. Our travel agent assured us we were too late to book passage, as it was early May 2018, but checked at our urgent request. Amazingly a mini-suite on deck 14 was available. We took it immediately and had a wonderful amazing time. The food, shopping, ports, entertainment. were all fantastic. I recommend a beverage package. Food was superior everywhere we ate and we ate almost everywhere. Making sure to hit all 3 meals a day a snack as desired and room service. When I die, if heaven is like the cruise on the breakaway plus God then I am ok with that. There were lots of people, a great wonderful mix of culture. The crew was well staffed and equal to the task. A bit of overcrowding could be expected at the fantastic end of cruise sail. We enjoyed the art auction put on by Park-West and purchased a few to proudly display around our home. Not normally a person to play bingo, I did at the request of my wife and won $105. dollars. Not much of a gambler I did play some craps; after the staff explained the game patiently to me the casino was great. I quit even. The free raffle was moved after the time announced, on a you must attend to win, so much for integrity of gaming standard regarding raffles, but no big deal I left rather than hang around. Our mini-suite was comfortable, well equipped, the shower was super with an unlimited supply of hot water. The queen size bed was comfortable, the balcony wonderful, we lived there nicely. Mr. Karl Loxley was wonderful we caught two of his shows. The Cirque was extraordinary. The "off Broadway" play Rock of Ages was just putrid, no humor to speak of, we left mid show as did several others. It wasn't the vulgarity, or the adult theme it was plainly not funny, boorish and of low quality acting. John our house keeper was terrific our super crew member was a vast store of knowledge, a hard worker who as always right there for us. The spa was great, two Swedish massages and a bathing ritual, I so enjoyed working with their assistant Manager Frank. Thanks you. Port excursions were we chose to be selective and limit our spending. We did not have a visa for Russia so a crews ship tour was required to enter the country; and I would not have missed it. In Finland we used a bus tour hop on hop off saw lots got off at two stops and were able to re-board easily both times. Enjoying an outdoor market on the bay. In Sweden we took a local cab with the same type of hop on and hop off service and visited the little town by the anchorage. It was wonderful, visited a local supermarket, ate at a local breakfast establishment and shopped at the local stores. In Estonia we took a cab into Talen, were a lot of things were closed as it was Sunday, but the mall was open, a wonderful stroll and we did some shopping. Returning to the ship we bought most of our goodies from Estonia from the shops on the pier. Love it, will do it again if my health allows. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
WOW! What a nice trip! Our family loved this cruise! The weather was so warm we wore shorts! The weather reports said high 50s to low 70s. It felt much warmer than that to us! We brought rain jackets but did not use them. The Breakaway was ... Read More
WOW! What a nice trip! Our family loved this cruise! The weather was so warm we wore shorts! The weather reports said high 50s to low 70s. It felt much warmer than that to us! We brought rain jackets but did not use them. The Breakaway was equipped with blankets on deck if it got a little breezy. Make sure you pack sturdy shoes with a lot of support because the cobblestone streets kill your feet. We wore tennis shoes and still got blisters on the bottom of our feet. This cruise involved a lot of walking, an average of 12,000 steps while in port. We have cruised many times but this was our first 9 day itinerary. I found we packed too many clothes but not enough basics, socks and underwear. The ship has a laundry special on day 4, $19.95 a bag, but it takes 4 days to get it back. Embarkation: in Copenhagen. Wow! This was the smoothest Embarkation on any cruise we have been on. We arrived at the cruise port after a short taxi ride from our hotel at 10:45 am. Check in took less than 10 minutes for our party of 5! If your stateroom is on an even number floor have your taxi drop you off at Terminal 1 of the cruise port to check in. If your stateroom is on an odd floor you check in at Terminal 2. We went to the buffet and it was open with hot brunch food! Our cabin was ready when we checked after eating! Ortiz was our room steward and he was amazing! He always greeted us by name and our room was spotless! The Breakaway: We had never been on a ship this size and we were worried. Most of our cruises on NCL have been with the Jewel class ships. We loved it! The ship had so many bars, restaurants, and fun activities. We did not feel that the ship was too big. Our favorite spots were O’Sheehan’s, the card room, and our secret find on deck 16 outside Vibe where there was a quiet bar and comfy chairs! My family loved Bingo and Deal or No Deal. We played trivia and took the Canvas 4 You painting activity. The painting was the only activity that was disappointing. The instructor struggled with English and just said paint flowers without directions. Then he criticized my painting! Best Place to Eat: O’Sheehan’s! They had the best wings, nachos, and burgers on the boat! It is open 24/7. They have a prime rib special one night that was great! Our Room: Mini Spa Suite with balcony, 14766. We originally booked a balcony cabin and we bid $150 and were upgraded to the Spa Mini-suite. We had access to the Thermal Suite in the Spa. WOW! We went in after a long day ashore and we had it to ourselves! It was amazing! There is a hot tub and a plunge pool as well as saunas and a salt room, and rain and steam showers. The stone loungers in the Thermal Suite were heated and felt incredible! The views off the front of the ship were the best! It was so peaceful and a great place to rest your weary feet! This perk came with our cabin and is available to purchase if you are not in a spa suite. I’m not sure if I would have paid over $200 a person for a Thermal Suite pass but I would for sure bid on this type of Suite again! Our room comfortably slept 3 with plenty of storage. My 6 ft 4 in son slept comfortably on the converted sofa. We brought a small fan and it really helped us sleep! The Breakaway was very well constructed because we heard no noise from our neighbors. The pool deck was above us and we only heard music one night. The room was able to stay cold enough for our tastes, we like it very cold. One time it got warm and our room steward told us to turn the handle on the balcony door to closed even though the door was not open. We bought the 12 bottles of water package and our room steward cleaned out our minibar so we could stock the fridge with water. The 1 liter bottles came in handy and lasted for our 9 day cruise. We had the unlimited drink package and it was totally worth it, especially for a 9 day cruise you get your money’s worth. We also had the dining package and made reservations before the cruise. I will not make reservations for Cagney’s the last sea day because half of our group didn’t want to go. They were having too much fun on our last day to go to a sit down restaurant! Warnemunde: Super Warm Weather! High 70s! We took a Friends of Dave tour called Mega Mecklenburg! Christian was our guide and he was amazing! This tour is packed with information. We learned so much about the region. I especially liked the perspective Christian had about his mom’s view of growing up in East Germany and then living through the transition to united Germany after 1990. This tour is very intensive and if you struggle with walking it might be difficult for you. The cobbled streets are very hard to walk on. Warnemunde is very beautiful and the beach was breathtaking! Christian had so many stories to tell. Ask him about the dogs in the windows! Tallinn: Cloudy and breezy but warm, high 60’s. We took a taxi into the Old Town, 25 euros for all five of us. Beautiful city! We did not do a tour just walked around on our own and shopped. There were a lot of stalls set up in the knit market. They sold beautiful sweaters and scarves. It was too warm for us to want to buy a heavy sweater. We took a taxi back to the ship again 25 euros for all 5 of us. St. Petersburg: Sunny and hot in the 70’s! We took the SPB 2 day Deluxe Tour. Our guide Kate and driver Alexey were amazing! Kate knew so much information! The first day was in the outskirts of the city and there was a lot of walking involved. Peterhoff and Catherine’s Palace were so amazing to see! The second day was more in the city center. The lunches provided by SPB were very good. I thought the shopping stops were expensive and had arrangements with SPB. This stop was the reason we booked this cruise and we were not disappointed. Helsinki: Sunny and warm in the high 60’s. We did not take a tour here. We walked into town because we took a wrong turn looking for the tram. We went to the Market Square where a lot of vendors sold a variety of hand made crafts and the usual souvenirs. They were less expensive than the tent at the ship. If you don’t want to walk in the tents are fine. We struggled to find a taxi that would take us back to the ship. We asked three taxis in a line and they all acted like they couldn’t understand English. The fourth driver got angry because the first drivers didn’t want to take us because it wasn’t very far. He made the first driver take us because that is the rule. It cost 25 euro to get us back to port. Stockholm: Partly cloudy and breezy in the mid 60s. We took a tour through SPB because we wanted to go into Stockholm and they picked us up at the ship. There was a group through our Cruise Critic Roll Call that wanted to add a canal ride to our tour. So for about $30 more we switched to the Stockholm Highlights with a canal ride. Our guide Suzanne met us in downtown Stockholm and she was a disappointment compared to the guides we had in St Petersburg. Our 7 hour tour became a 5 hour tour when we added the canal ride, which doesn’t make any sense because we added more and ended up with less time for more money! There was absolutely no free time to shop or get a bite to eat. Our guide showed us items in shop windows but didn’t allow us to go in. When we complained she gave us 10 minutes which was not enough time because the shops were packed. Suzanne’s transmitter died and she didn’t have any spare batteries so for the second of the tour we couldn’t hear anything. She became irritated with our group and didn’t bother to hide it. The canal ride was the best part of the trip! If I had to do this again I would have purchased ticked to the Hop On Hop Off buses at the dock then bought a ticket for the canal ride. There was a small souvenir shop at the port but the prices were inflated, the exchange rate was bad, and the selection minuscule. Disembarkation: Super Easy! We purchased airport transfers from NCL and it was a good choice. I noticed that NCL sold the transfers before the cruise for $5 less than if you bought them on the ship. We walked off the ship with our carry on bags about 10 minutes before the scheduled time and got on a motor coach for a 45 minute ride through Copenhagen! The city was quiet and it was beautiful. NCL took our baggage the night before and we picked them up at a tent at the airport. It was much easier and quicker than getting your bags at the port. In Conclusion: NCL Breakaway was a great ship and this was a trip of a lifetime! The weather was hotter than we expected and we came home with sunburns. The staff was superb especially our room steward Ortiz and our favorite waiter at Cagney’s Ericcson! Everyone we encountered on our tours was delightful and I felt like we made some new friends. We would definitely book with Norwegian again and we wouldn’t hesitate to book on their large ships again! We loved our Cruise Critic family that we met on our Roll Call! We made many friends especially Bonnie and Nancy! We love you ladies! Thanks for working so hard to plan events and being a smiley face every time we saw you on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise mainly because it had a port visit in Germany and my wife has relatives that came to Warnemunde to visit with us there for the day. The weather there was clear and 86 degrees so we had an awesome time shopping and ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because it had a port visit in Germany and my wife has relatives that came to Warnemunde to visit with us there for the day. The weather there was clear and 86 degrees so we had an awesome time shopping and conversing with relatives. The ship also went to Tallinn, Estonia, where we walked to the old part of town(just 15 minutes) and admire the architecture and shop for souvenirs, which were cheaper there than in the other ports. We then moved on to Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm with each city being more beautiful than the last. We took excursions in Russia and Stockholm in order to see more of each city. If you do not take an excursion in those cities, you could not see much of the city. The ship was awesome, as we have sailed on the Breakaway previously(New York to Bermuda). We had the dining package and the beverage package and enjoyed three specialty dining experiences. The rest of our dining was one time in the Savor dining room, O'Sheehan's, and the buffet. The Baltic Sea is very calm and we hardly noticed any movement of the ship while sailing. The ships crew were generally pleasant and eager to make your cruise a good experience. This was our 13th cruise with Norwegian and it continues to be our cruise line of choice. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I am French Canadian so forgive me if I make mistake in my review... That was a destination that we wanted to explore and we chose Norwegian because it was a first for us. On our first day and as soon as we got on the ship we met ... Read More
I am French Canadian so forgive me if I make mistake in my review... That was a destination that we wanted to explore and we chose Norwegian because it was a first for us. On our first day and as soon as we got on the ship we met Abigail from the spa. What a wonderful day...Abigail and Midu were absolutely wonderful. My husband and I had 4 treatments each...Great treatment. Good care. It was the best spa on all of our cruses. We love great wine and our wine stewart Lazar Doslo took the time to really make our diner time a great experience. It was like he new our taste and proposed us really really good wine. It was like a wine tasting experience and that made our vacation even more enjoyable. The last cruse we were on had a VINOTECA and it was like repeating this experience again. He was more than a wine stewart, he was a sommelier. Over all, this cruse met our expectations and I should say way more than that! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our 4th MSC cruise, which I think is pretty rare for North Americans. We were early risk takers with MSC Fantasia when it first came out, then Poesia, Splendida and this last time with Preziosa. Although we are Americans, both my ... Read More
This was our 4th MSC cruise, which I think is pretty rare for North Americans. We were early risk takers with MSC Fantasia when it first came out, then Poesia, Splendida and this last time with Preziosa. Although we are Americans, both my wife and I lived in Europe in the past and enjoy the experience of seeing Europe with fellow Europeans rather than exclusively with other Americans. This cruise was no different, although we do think that we ran into a few other American families on the ship which was a pleasant surprise to see how other Americans have discovered this cruise line. Look, it's no Royal Caribbean, nor NCL (although I find it most like NCL), and definitely not Carnival. MSC ships are stunningly beautiful, modern and clean, but the style of cruising is different. Not a ton of activities, but we always pick MSC for the ports and the ability to spend quality extended family time while seeing sights. On this cruise, we were a party of 11, from 7 to 71. We had 4 people in our group who had never traveled with MSC. The good... Again, beautiful ship, great stateroom- we had family connecting rooms, so plenty of space and an oversized balcony. The package with the room also gave us coupon books for included alcoholic beverages as well as bottled water. We weren't expecting the included alcoholic drinks, as we had never seen that in the past. Room was always well maintained (no towel animals until the kids requested them), and something that pleasantly surprised us was how well the wi-fi worked and how reasonable it was for a package lasting the entire cruise. Ports were awesome, especially Tallinn and St. Petersburg. We booked our own shore excursions with a Russian tour group, so they took care of the Visa issue- no worries. Just get off the ship and clear passport control by showing your reservation bookings. On this cruise, we were expected to go to Stockholm, but due to weather, we diverted to Helsinki. Helsinki is not really that interesting of a port (sorry my Finnish friends!), but I'm glad we went there rather than just another sea day. Overall, the ship didn't move at all (like nothing) over the course of the cruise. The shows in the main theater were very good, but a bit redundant as far as the circus acts were concerned. The performers were primarily from Russia, and of really high caliber. They kept trying to repurpose the circus performers into different themed shows. One night they had a "Grease" theme, another "Ghostbusters". It was kind of weird to see (and hear) Russians and Italians playing out American cultural iconic shows, but they did a solid job (despite some phrasing issues when singing). Dancers and costumes were phenomenal. A very personal touch that left an imprint on my three young daughters on this cruise, was how they just happened to run into the Captain as they were practicing their own show, inspired form watching the evening performers. The Captain said he liked their dancing and asked if they would perform for him and the show dancers the following night. Of course they responded yes. The next day, upon returning form port, the girls returned to their stateroom and there was a note on their beds at the request of the Captain that they meet him by the elevators an hour prior to the evening show. Alongside the note were 3 backpacks full of MSC branded goods, such as stuffed animals, keychains, etc. The girls were ecstatic. They met the Captain and he and two crew members escorted the kids to the crew area of the ship and backstage to meet the performers. The girls got autographs and took pictures with the Captain and the performers. Instant brand loyalty! Service is typically noted as a fault on MSC, and yes, we have pretty regularly had issues with our bill prior to leaving the ship, inconvenient (especially late on the last night), but not fatal. Kind if something we just expect now. Food- on our previous MSC cruises meals were longer at 7 courses, but now they have streamlined down to 3- probably for speed, complexity and cost. I had the fish meals every night. Sometimes hit or miss. Still, not a strong point. Also, they don't have free ice cream on the ship anymore, only gelato for sale. Same goes for free beverages in the buffets, not limited to water (which was fine, but a cut back). Again, for the alcoholic drinks, we used the free coupons we received, which included all gratuities as well when buying beverages. I heard that the MSC Yacht Club food is quite delicious from fellow American passengers that we met onboard- the standard fare is passable, but nothing to write home about. The breads though were a highlight, and the breakfast buffet, although pretty much the same daily, had a large variety of items. Smoking- still a European experience here. More smoking on MSC than the American ships for certain, but I think it has gotten better from our previous cruises on MSC. Smoking relegated to only one side of the ship outside. Just hold your breath when walking by. Kids club- this time the kids didn't really take part in the kids club that much. The ship, although quite full, was primarily an older clientele (which we have found pretty much across our MSC cruises, but this one took things a notch higher). Maybe it was because it was the Baltic and not the Caribbean, but there were few children on the ship, so the kids stayed closed to the family. They had a few fun events with the kids club, but nothing too unforgettable. I will add that they have a special kids buffet area in the buffet area that is lower and has kid friendly foods, so that was a nice touch. Embarkation/Disembarkation- Super easy getting both on and off the ship every stop. Because MSC picks up passengers at more than just one port, it divides up the number of new guests boarding every port. Also, we are never rushing to get on the ship so let others get there early and as a family we wait until later in the day to leisurely board without any lines. At the ports, we typically were among the last to board too, so no wait! On the last day, in Copenhagen, we had only a short wait, grabbed breakfast and walked off. Our luggage was ready and we were off. Overall, we had a great time. My wife (who is very picky!) said she wants to cruise no for every vacation, and she wants to do it with MSC. My sister and brother-in-law are already booking the MSC Seaview cruise and this was their first MSC cruise. They had been on other cruise lines, but were so impressed with how clean and modern the ship was. As I said in the beginning, they don't have a ton of activities all the time (although this cruise they added informational sessions about the history and what to see in each port seminars), so it is a little more kick back than other cruise ships we have been on. Next year, to mix things up again, and because we are cruising from New York to Canada, we are going to take Royal Caribbean. But when Europe calls, I would definitely recommend MSC. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see the beautiful Norwegian fjord landscapes. We also did touring and sightseeing before and after the cruise in Copenhagen and in the Danish countryside. The ship though older, was beautiful, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see the beautiful Norwegian fjord landscapes. We also did touring and sightseeing before and after the cruise in Copenhagen and in the Danish countryside. The ship though older, was beautiful, clean and well maintained. Only the cabins (sofa and furniture) show the age of the ship. All of the common areas were beautiful, well-cared for and looked like new. We sailed a few years ago on both the Celebrity Solstice and the Regal Princess when they were brand new, and neither were the equal of the Serenade of the Seas. We loved this ship. The cabins were comfortable, with plenty of storage space. The bed, though hard, was comfortable. The food in both the dining room and the buffet was good to excellent. Service by our room steward, Fostor, and our dining room waiter and assistant waiter, Marie and Miguel, was impeccable. The ship's singers were mediocre to poor and the dancers were good. The entertainment that was brought onto the ship though, was excellent. The irish tenors, the big band singer (sorry, forgot his name) and the Beatles group were all fabulous and provided the best shows we have ever seen on a cruise. We also enjoyed the magic show. The ports were all incredible. The fjords, sailing into both Geiranger and Flam were equally beautiful, green, waterfalls, etc. We rented a car in Geiranger and drove out into the country side for breathtaking views. We did a fjord boat trip in Flam with spectacular views, but the boat was very crowded and we didn't get good seats so that experience was less than optimal. Honningsvag and the Nordkapp, though the arctic landscape is barren, were really scenic. (Be sure to take the bus into the Nordkapp.) We did sightseeing on our own in all of the other ports and enjoyed each of them. The weather was cold and windy and we didn't enjoy our balcony as much as we have on past cruises. We did love having the balcony for sailing into and out of the fjords in both Flam and Gerainger. We viewed the sail-in to Flam from the front of the ship as well, which was spectacular. Overall, this is a cruise and a ship that I would highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I've only been on 9 cruises, so I may not know it all but this is my experience on the NCL Breakaway: I booked this cruise for a group or family and friends against my true desires to sail on NCL again. The first time with NCL was ... Read More
I've only been on 9 cruises, so I may not know it all but this is my experience on the NCL Breakaway: I booked this cruise for a group or family and friends against my true desires to sail on NCL again. The first time with NCL was the Hawaiian cruise in 2007 - it was not good either. 1) Staff- NOT the friendliest as other ships. They do their job, but that's it. No going the extra mile to cater to their passengers. You are a number, nothing else. Except for a handful of people, including my room steward who I only saw 3 times, when we boarded, when we needed a laundry order form and when we left, and a couple of people on guest services. 2) Dinning- Even whit the many options, I didn't eat anything that I would crave to order again. Expect to pay if you want different food at the specialty restaurants. At the main restaurants it took way too long. Sometimes it took too long to get our food. Granted we had a couple of large tables, but food for 10 per table shouldn't take so long! Two morning we had breakfast at the main dining room, just my husband and I and it took as long! plus my order was wrong, so I ate what they brought, because I was so hungry by then! Buffet selections are good. the food lacks flavor, It's bland. Nothing I ate was impressive. On the buffet some days it was super hard to find seating and it took longer than usual to have a clean table. I love the lobster on formal nights... I guess since NCL has free cruising style, no formal nights mean no lobster for me :( or anybody else... 3) Ship- It's ok but not impressive at all. Just big. Nothing to be "wow" by. Nothing special on the main attrium or public areas. I usually want to take pictures of the ship, this one I took pictures of the rope course and some slides. that's it. My son's bathroom had a faulty light so for 2 days he had to use the bathroom and take showers in the dark!!! My cousin's balcony was small. Rooms over all are much smaller than other ships and not enough place for storage. It was very clean. 4) Entertaiment- It was good, but nothing to WOW me. We chose not to go to the paid shows. I have never seen other ships charge for entertainment. I expect it to be included. I loved the violinist and some of the dancers where REALLY good. The theme parties, games etc were just "Blah". Music on other lounges were ok, but not great. 5) Ports- The ports and cost were the one of the main reasons we booked this cruise. The Berlin tour was the worse. I did not enjoy it. Too long for just being on the buss for 5-10 minute picture stops. NO real visit anywhere. My favorite and unexpected was Tallin Estonia!!! Loved it! I was super impressed by the stops in St.Petersburg. The russian ballet was held at a beautiful venue, but besides the main dancers, the rest seem to be students at the academy next door. They were good but not impressive. It was nice though. 6) Booking a group though NCL- We were promised several things and it was super hard to get what we were promised. If you book directly with NCL make sure everything is in writing. Apparently they can change what they quote. 7) We were celebrating my anniversary and had b-days on board. NCL did NOTHING in regards to the special event even though we told our NCL cruise consultant. SO there was NO special treatment AT ALL. 8) Rooms- Smaller than other ships. AND they charge even for movies. TV has poor selection. Over all I enjoyed my ports but traveling with NCL left me with the desire to book elsewhere. I will not be bringing my groups to NCL again. Twice I got burned by NCL. I guess you get what you pay for... It seem to be the less expensive option, but it wasn't. They nickle and dime you for so many things! Other ships include a lot of what NCL charges for. I should have kept my booking with Princess. Their itinerary was better and service is the best. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Hi We are back from our Baltic Cruise. Except for some ship board issues we had a wonderful time. My wife put together an addendum to my daily cruise trip note critiques. Flight: Flight with SAS was smooth, service at check in ... Read More
Hi We are back from our Baltic Cruise. Except for some ship board issues we had a wonderful time. My wife put together an addendum to my daily cruise trip note critiques. Flight: Flight with SAS was smooth, service at check in was fast and clerks were very pleasant and food was pretty good too. Seating that we upgraded to near the bulkhead was very roomy on the way there. Coming back we sat in the economy seat and there was still enough room. Next trip maybe upgrade to plus or business class. Addendum: our fourth NCL cruise. Ship the Breakaway, Sail date May 29, 2018. The positives, excellent service, amazing food, wonderful excursions good entertainment. Exceptional service from Alvin Villorente, wine steward, Manhattan Club. Ricky, waiter at Moderno , Kadek and Heidi, servers at Taste, Vincente, Ice cream man, at the buffet, who went above and beyond to get us cookies early. And Andrew Fernandes, excellent waiter at the Manhattan supper club. The negative problems : after boarding ship, we waited for announcement that staterooms were ready. Went to our “upgraded mini suite, opened door , room was still messy. Our friends cabin a few doors down was ready, so we went to the atrium to wait. We were paged, met with a junior officer, who told us people in our stateroom were staying on the cruise, so we were given a ”upgrade to a spa suite”. So we went to room 14756 instead of 11194. Amenities, like our free wine, ordered case of water, ordered cheese tray took 3or4 calls to be delivered. Two important notices, transportation to Stockholm and luggage tags and transportation to airport were never delivered. If not for our traveling companions we would not have been aware of these important events. We booked next cruise credits before these problems arose but this matter not being resolved right away gave us pause about our next cruise. We felt our room change was never properly fixed in computers, as we were still listed in room 11194 at the guest services computer where we went to solve this problem. Eventually all matters were resolved and we hope we don’t have any problems like this on future cruise. Our excursions to Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden were great. We had a couple of glitches but above that it went well. Restaurant food was very good as well as the service. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018

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