31 Copenhagen First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We did the Norwegian Fjord 7-day cruise, departing from Copenhagen, in May. This was our first cruise. We were pleased with everything. The food was excellent, the employees were genuinely friendly and the ship was managed very well. My ... Read More
We did the Norwegian Fjord 7-day cruise, departing from Copenhagen, in May. This was our first cruise. We were pleased with everything. The food was excellent, the employees were genuinely friendly and the ship was managed very well. My wife and I are close to 60 years old, so traveling in May had a lot of people our own age, which was fun for us. The fjords were all I expected and very beautiful. I had wanted to see the fjords since I was very young, so it fulfilled a dream of mine. We also docked at the towns of Alesund, Geiranger, Flam and Bergen. Each had their own charm and unique things to see. It was very easy to get on and off the ship. Again, the ship and crew were very organized, which made everything easy and simple for the guests. We didn't purchase a special dining package, so we primarily ate at the Versailles and Aqua rooms. The food choices were great, with appetizers, entrees and desserts. The service was also excellent with attentive, friendly servers. We felt like we were at a top-class restaurant. We didn't purchase any of the cruise's shore excursion packages because they seemed over-priced. We booked our own excursion when we landed in Flam, which was the ferry from Flam through the Naeroyfjord to Gudvangen. It is one of narrowest fjords in Norway and had 30-40 waterfalls around 2,500 to 3,000 feet high. It was the highlight of our trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first cruise, so we did not know what to expect, but we are definitely going again. The best thing on board is the high quality and selection of the food. The service was fine and we never had to wait long. Sadly some drinks ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we did not know what to expect, but we are definitely going again. The best thing on board is the high quality and selection of the food. The service was fine and we never had to wait long. Sadly some drinks and soda tasted like chlorine, but the wine was great. The balcony cabin was fine and the staff real friendly and nice. The only disappointment: We booked a Shore excursion for a 4h hike in Geiranga, that was not worth the money as we could have walked to the waterfall on our own, not having to wait for the group all the time. We spend one night at the Casino which was great fun. All the ports are amazing. We enjoyed to walk up the Mountains where the views are amazing and in Bergen we went up to the Mountaintop with the Ulrik-lift. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Started off finding that our fridge was plugged into the ONLY 110 outlet in our room. Our room steward tried to get something done, when he was not able he loaned us his own personal power strip from his room. From there it went totally ... Read More
Started off finding that our fridge was plugged into the ONLY 110 outlet in our room. Our room steward tried to get something done, when he was not able he loaned us his own personal power strip from his room. From there it went totally down hill. The 2 sit down dining rooms have the worst service. Seems as they when you know you are going to get your gratuity money you could care less about service. I am not one of those people that needs to be waited on hand and foot or catered to BUT... after being seated we waited about 15 minutes before anyone came to our table to give us a menu, they poured water only after we asked for it. They then took our order, when they brought that food that was the last time we saw them until someone came to clear that table. No refills on water, no asking how our meal was. We tried both dining rooms, with the same result. We went more than once so it was not just a one night thing. One night I had ordered pork belly and it was so over cooked that I could not even cut it. It was so hard that it was like a piece of PVC pipe. It was totally uneatable and of because they did not come back until they wanted to clear our table they did not know. She did offer to get my something else, but why everyone else had finished eating. We did try to get someone's attention but since they won't make eye contact that was pointless. Passport turn in day was a nightmare, 1.5 hours in line. They also had all the EU passengers in line when they did not have to have their passports checked nor were they collected. Tender day was another nightmare. They started running the tenders 15-20 minutes early, that would have been fine but people were not ready. They then started loading all the tenders with the excursion passengers. Instead of doing 4 of the 6 tenders for excursions and the other 2 for passengers that just wanted off the ship to do their own thing. They even said that they had an extra tender from town. However, we saw that pull up and it left without filling and we never saw it again. So many of us sat on the boat and did not get into town until 2.5-3 hours after they started running the tenders. Not good when the last tender was running at 4:30. They have entertainment playing in the main area on deck 7 but the only place you can sit is in the coffee bar or the restaurant. One night my Mother was in the restaurant, we had ordered some tea and dessert. My husband and I left about 7:45 she stayed to listen to their last set when they returned at 8:15, the restaurant staff continued badger her "nicely" until she left. Once even the manager came and asked her why she was sitting in that area. It was very interesting as we moved the next night to the internet café and we say many people sitting in that area "just listening" not ordering. The other thing that I found interesting was that their Daily program that tells you what is going on for the day really is worthless. When there was a port day it didn't tell you anything about the port, there was no map, they didn't tell you the currency of the country. I know these things but what about the people that did not? There were many more things, but I am sure that I have taken up enough of everyone time. For those that have cruised NCL and have never had these problems, that is wonderful, I am grateful that you have had a good time. This was our first NCL cruise, I know that sometimes a cruise line has a bad cruise and it is not represent the whole line. Many people had our same experience, and many were first time NCL cruisers, who like us will not be back. We will stick with Celebrity and RCL Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Being a newbie and having never cruised before, we got the royal treatment, family trip with three senior adult women who booked in an inside cabin, sisters had previously cruised so they were more skilled and knew what to expect. A short ... Read More
Being a newbie and having never cruised before, we got the royal treatment, family trip with three senior adult women who booked in an inside cabin, sisters had previously cruised so they were more skilled and knew what to expect. A short time before sailing we were offered an upgrade email upsell list of possibilities and quickly took the family suite for a little over $200 each, doubling our space, closets, and adding a bathtub. We were all excited and impressed! HUGE 400+ sq. feet, Wonderful room, floor to ceiling windows on one side of the double cabin, concierge, butler, and room attendant, sweetest people, doing whatever they could for us. Flower arrangement, space, drawers, coffee maker espresso, etc. royal treatment! Room 10128, near the pool area, front of the ship, close to elevators too, really nice. Our room was in excellent condition, beds, furniture, carpet, bathroom, everything like brand new. Always coming back finding food in the room, fresh cut fruit, cookies, cheese and crackers, fruit bowl, canapés, chocolate covered strawberries, sandwiches, on and on, and we are three women virtually always on a diet, so the scale in the bathroom was helpful to keep track while we also enjoyed the snacks and the attention that comes with being in suite. Maybe because of the suite, though honestly there wasn't anything I could complain about, not one thing, personnel staff, cruise director, Cruise Next Director Paloma, they were all helpful and excellent. We bought the $250 deposit and they gave us another $250 toward another cruise, thus insuring you make an additional two cruises...which is a no brainer anyway! We purchased a 3 meal dining package, spa pass for the whole cruise, and 100 minute internet. Loved them all though would likely not do spa on busy cruises with many stops, due to time and busy schedule it was wasteful to us. Though we loved the folks in the spa, wonderful manager with great personality, and never felt pressured to buy anything, even pictures taken here and there, we waved away with a smile and no one ever put any pressure on us. Internet worked well and any problem was quickly and generously resolved by our internet steward. Special dining Meals were out of sight wonderful, and loved Versailles other wise, took only one meal at the Main street ? Café buffet, Loved Cagney's, LOVED Le Bistro and Teppanyani was ok. My favorite and best meal on the ship was Cagney's and Le Bistro, though honestly we loved Versailles and ate there most other times in evening. As suite holders we had breakfast and lunch at times in Cagney's. Aqua was ok, as was the Irish Pub place in the center atrium, food the same in both dining rooms, (Aqua and Versailles), though Aqua had lower ceilings and personnel seemed different, not as happy. And by this time we loved Versailles. Overall I totally enjoyed the evening meal dining, funny at home I have large lunches and rarely eat in the evening so it was a real treat to dine and be waited on. Don't drink much at all, though I do enjoy mimosa from time to time, and they offered them for $5.25 each morning from 800-1200 noon, so I had a few of those and rolled off the boat once with a slight buzz. smile! My sister knows what she is doing with poker and said she won about $800 bucks on the ship, poker machines....my mother gambled some, and was a winner also. I pay nickel or quarter one at time..HA! Anyway FYI it can be done! We went to a few evening shows and enjoyed them though if tired we skipped them. I am an avid walker and kept up with my steps using my fitbit and updating the dashboard using ship internet, as though I was home. The promenade on level 7 is grand place to walk and I am not sure how many miles I did around that ship though honestly likely between shore moves and laps, 5-7.5 miles a day. I kept it to about 13000 to 15000 steps a day. Zoom! That was me that just passed. There were regular walkers each day morning and evening. I did not get to the solo mixers though hope to next time and also did not know that cruise critic has mixers til today so I'll be looking into that, though we did meet some really sweet couples from Scotland, who were on our St Pete Alla Tour and another from Flowery Branch, Georgia, Quebec City, Canada. Also I did not get to the yoga or exercise classes in fitness center, so on next cruise as tie allows, will do that next cruise. Tallin Estonia, sisters did a tour that they loved, I walked into town solo and thoroughly enjoyed walking around, visiting an old church, taking pictures, enjoying the day. Lovely old town, and love the idea that they had sung their way to freedom! Sweet, non violent. Wonderful Berlin, Germany- we decided due to the distance not to do that and took the train to Rostock, walked around the downtown shopping area, sis lost her credit cards, so we hung around while that got sorted, buying candies, marzipan at a special shop, groovy! though again lovely area. St Petersburg- Here we had previously booked a ALLA tour and it wasn't cheap $300 for two full days, though we had Svetlana and she was amazing, Hermitage, Peteroff, river tour, Church of the blood, it was a full 7 hours both days, great driver, she is really, wonderful, if you decide to go with ALLA, try to get Svetlana. A remarkable young woman, it is rare to see someone who has found there true calling. It feels good just beng in her presence. On request they even took us to a regular grocery store and we were able to purchase a few vodka bottles for friends at home, which they really appreciated. Amazing days, and full. Hats off to ALLA ST. Petersburg Svetlana!!!. (Stockholm ALLA was a slight disappointment in comparison.) Helsinki, Finland- Hop on Hop off and got down at Hard rock Café and had a couple of drinks and huge nacho platter, YUM! Stockholm, Sweden- Arriving to Stockholm and watching early morning from the top side, front of the ship, there were about a dozen of us all quiet and taking pictures as to not disturb the peace and quiet of our arrival. Each side of the ship passing fairly closely to cabins, retreats, compounds, all the homes on all the small islands of the Archipelago becoming more and more dense with population as we get closer to Stockholm. Located on many islands again ALLA tour and it was ok, enjoyed Vasa tour inside the museum. Loved the yachts and amazing to observe the way they live in an geographically interesting place like this. The weather was amazing...we weren't sure how it might be, though it was really nice. Second week in September. Stayed a few hours in Copenhagen, after checking at airport via metro returned to old town and visited Nyhavn, enjoyed photos, lunch and ice cream there. Gained only 6 pounds and it is already gone and now I have already booked two more NCL cruises, one in June 2016 out of Copenhagen Norway cruise on the Star again and the other a fire sale, Mediterranean cruise on the Spirit in 3 weeks, Oct 24th. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I had a great experience. I cannot complain about the service or the amazing crew. However, I feel that this cruise did not target my age group. Ok... If you are 100 years old and you like bingo, this is for you! Or if you are ... Read More
I had a great experience. I cannot complain about the service or the amazing crew. However, I feel that this cruise did not target my age group. Ok... If you are 100 years old and you like bingo, this is for you! Or if you are 13-17 and can go in the teen's lounge, you are fine! But when you are a young adult used to playing sports and staying active, then you wont find any of the organized events suit you. Yes, there is a basket ball court; but the events were: teen only! And, a Dodgeball tournament; teen only again. Pools: too small and no nets to pick a game. No climbing walls, no surfing simulators, no ACTIVENESS! And if there was some, it would be rated TEEN ONLY. I agree, there is a gym and a running track. But that's not my idea of being active. Especially when you have 2+ whole days at sea with nothing else to do. My mother loved it! She is 70, though. Enough said! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This cruise exceeded my expectations. The ship was elegant and beautiful--loved the way nature was incorporated in the decoration. The staff were friendly as well as helpful. The various types of music and food venues were most ... Read More
This cruise exceeded my expectations. The ship was elegant and beautiful--loved the way nature was incorporated in the decoration. The staff were friendly as well as helpful. The various types of music and food venues were most enjoyable. I particularly liked the quiet nooks with books and comfortable seating, but I would have enjoyed having a selection of books about the countries and ports we were visiting. However, I thought the lectures about the various ports and related topics were educational, entertaining and well presented. Having the talks recorded to view and listen to at another time was also a good idea. I took advantage of them when there was a conflict with attending the presentation in person. My daughter loved the spa. Although our luggage did not arrive when we did, Viking personnel could not have been more patient and helpful. She went with us to file a report with the authorities before we left the airport, and when we returned from dinner on the ship, our luggage was waiting for us without us having to do anything else. Thank you so much. I was glad there were no young children on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
First timers (apart from a very brief taster cruise on Costa) in our 50's/60's and not really into the idea of cruising, but were attracted by the itinerary which covered mainly the Norwegian Fjords and Scotland. We did indeed ... Read More
First timers (apart from a very brief taster cruise on Costa) in our 50's/60's and not really into the idea of cruising, but were attracted by the itinerary which covered mainly the Norwegian Fjords and Scotland. We did indeed like the destinations but also found the time on board surprisingly enjoyable. Ship Eurodam is probably only a mid sized ship in today's market but it still seemed pretty big to us. Although full, it was always possible to find a quieter spot. We liked the sleeker more liner type appearance of the ship compared to big dumpy cruise ships. Above all, we liked the fact that the decor was not as garish as many; for example we were impressed with the quality art and artefacts around the corridors and public rooms, it made the ship seem classier. The rather trashy art gallery (outsourced to a third party) and the equally trashy casino were minor blips, but overall the ship had a nice vibe. It's also reasonably stable in rougher seas and we had no problem with noise or vibration, except sometimes at low speeds in the cabin- but what you'd expect if you are afloat. Cabin We were in 4174, a VC balcony cabin. We were slightly concerned because it was the last cabin before the stern, but this didn't matter and there was no problem with the ship's movement. The big advantage of the deck 4 balcony cabins at the front and back are the bigger balconies than other decks (the ones in the middle of deck 4 don't have this and have obstructed views). Not only did we have plenty of room to sit out, it also gave the cabin itself a more spacious feel when you had the curtains open. And these are fairly compact cabins in reality, space for a big double bed and a very small sofa and sitting area. Think small hotel room. But for a ship, it seemed fine to us and became something of a sanctuary after our days out. Bathroom had only a shower but this suited us fine. Activities and Entertainment We were not really inclined to join in much and in particular, avoided the hard sell for the casino, art gallery and shops. My wife had a couple of treatments in the spa but it was quite pricey- look out for deals on board. The hydro pool was good but we avoided the main pools (though the Lido Pool area looked nicely designed). We enjoyed sitting out on our balcony listening to the commentary as we left each port. We weren't much into the entertainment either, but enjoyed the magic show and the BB King band were also OK. Liked the classical duo Adaggio but it was a little spoilt by the lead member not being able to project her voice when introducing the music. We found Silk Den was the quietest of the bars. Dining As foodies, we had some doubts about quality but were pleasantly surprised. The MDR had an interesting menu and managed to add some nice touches to many of the dishes, given we are talking mass catering here and most stuff is frozen. It's actually quite impressive how they can even manage everything- it's a well oiled machine. We tried all of the speciality dining and these were definitely a step above, as you would expect since they have their own kitchens and serve much smaller numbers. Pinnacle served an excellent Porterhouse steak, the pan Asia at Tamarind was as good as a landside restaurant and we celebrated my birthday on the Le Cirque evening at the Pinnacle; my wife did better than me with her choice, but overall it was pretty good quality. We avoided the Lido- not a fan of buffets or crowds- but did try Canaletto which is tucked away in the corner with its own menu and with table service. Felt this was well worth the $10 charge. We found the wine list to be very uninspiring at the lower end and frankly somewhat overpriced. You need to spend $35 minimum to get even a halfway drinkable bottle. I brought my own wine onboard- corkage at $18 per bottle. It meant that for the same $35, I could have some very decent bottles. I was impressed that unfinished bottles arrived back on the table next evening, even when we had moved to a different restaurant. Excursions We arranged all these ourselves- the ship's are expensive and poor value. Some ports were deep water, others needed tenders; the process for the latter was reasonably efficient, as was embarkation and disembarkation at the beginning and end of the cruise. Norway tended to be deep water ports, so you got off pretty much into the city centre- ideal! Scotland's deep water ports in Greenock and Invergordon were a long way away from the real sights and the latter proved to be a bit of a nightmare on transport. It really isn't big enough to handle such large ships, with a monopoly provider for car rental, not enough taxis and a non functioning bus service. HAL should really organise a shuttle bus to Inverness for this port. Service We thought this was excellent; professional but also very warm and friendly. We had the impression of a happy ship and crew and it does seem as though HAL takes some effort to look after them all, given how arduous their work is. I hope HAL continue to do so- it makes a big difference to be served by people with genuine not forced smiles on their face. The MDR guys were lovely to deal with, always happy to have a joke and our cabin attendants were very nice too. The people in Pinnacle and Tamarind were exceptional. Everyone seemed to greet you with a smile. We may have got lucky but this really did make the cruise for us. Beforehand I somewhat resented the big $24 per day service charge but by the end, I happily paid this and handed out a few other smaller tips as well. Summary We're not exactly rushing to go on another cruise but if and when we do, HAL will definitely be a contender. It was a higher quality experience overall than I expected and given the price we paid- which was something of a bargain at the last minute- we felt it was exceptional value for money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We are just back from our first cruise, 7 days in the Baltic, on the MSC Sinfonia. Read some pretty bad reviews from other people so was a little anxious before we left, but it was really good. We had a very good holiday, and really ... Read More
We are just back from our first cruise, 7 days in the Baltic, on the MSC Sinfonia. Read some pretty bad reviews from other people so was a little anxious before we left, but it was really good. We had a very good holiday, and really enjoyed ourselves . Very interesting places we would otherwise not get to see, and everything went like clockwork. The staff worked very hard and were very very nice. We met some people who had cruised before and they were somewhat disappointed with this ship, but to be honest we had compared prices with another company doing a similar trip , but it was almost twice the price, so perhaps we did not get all the luxuries other ships offer, but all the basics were well covered. . The food was delicious, quite Italian based, which again suited us very well, the cabin offered ample space, was spotlessly clean, and kept this way by the very genial young man who cleaned at least twice each day. The bathroom was a decent size, and the shower was very good. Our first stop was in Warrenmunde in Germany, a seaside town , about three hours from Berlin. We hadn't booked a trip there, and just wandered around the town, but as it was Sunday everything was closed except for a small market.. Nice sunny day , wandered around for a while and went back on board. In hindsight maybe we should have gone on the 9 hour Berlin excursion. We booked three shore excursions, a canal trip in Stockholm, a two hour bicycle trip in Tallin, and a day long tour in St Petersburg. We had spent a week in Stockholm a few years ago and so decided not to go back to Gamla Stan ( the old town) but took the canal trip. At first this was nice, but got a bit boring after about 40 mins as it just meandered through apartment buildings on the waterside. Not very interesting, hindsight , being wonderful , we wouldn't do this again, we would just free lance around the city The visit to the open air museum in Tallinn was just wonderful, Great guide, good bikes, highlight of the trip for us I think. Such an insight into the history of this amazing area. Would have loved this to have been longer, but again the ships timetable dictated that we go back. Next day we were at sea, and lucky for us the weather was good so we were able to relax by the pool as we were not really into the onboard activities , dancing, bingo, a quiz ( I think) and the shops were very uninteresting. Our next trip was a day long one to St Petersburg , and again this was amazing, our guide, Anastasia, was excellent, very informative and pleasant , we went to the summer palace , St Catherine's Palace, on to a bus tour of the city highlights, with photo ops, a very nice lunch in a museum ,a quick stop at a gift shop,( not rip off prices, not cheap stuff either, gifts to suit all pockets) and finally a lovely trip on the river Neva/Neve (spelling??) Despite this tour being over nine hours long, the time flew. Our last day was at sea, and unfortunately as the weather was quite chilly, we were confined indoors all day, and we found this a bit boring. We were offered an opportunity to do a self assist on the day of disembarkation and this was a brilliant idea. We did have to carry our bags down one flight of stairs, but we were off the ship in a flash. Hope this review is of help to you in planning you trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My husband is 72 and I'm 68 and It was our first cruise. We enjoyed every minute of the cruise. The cabin was very nice and comfortable, although we were surprised that there were no shower caps, no body lotion and no liquid soap. ... Read More
My husband is 72 and I'm 68 and It was our first cruise. We enjoyed every minute of the cruise. The cabin was very nice and comfortable, although we were surprised that there were no shower caps, no body lotion and no liquid soap. They did our room twice 1-day, but did not fold our pyjamas. The excursions were very expensive. They said that all nations needed visas to St. Petersburg and that was incorrect information. The embarkation and disembarkation were very professional and smooth. Bravo! The variety of food in the restarant on the 11th deck was wonderful. The service during breakfast in the restaurant on the 4th deck lacked . Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first experience of cruisng and we were delighted. Our family of two adults and three children (13, 11, 7) have come back with so many fond memories of the whole holiday. We were apprehensive at first as we had heard mixed ... Read More
This was our first experience of cruisng and we were delighted. Our family of two adults and three children (13, 11, 7) have come back with so many fond memories of the whole holiday. We were apprehensive at first as we had heard mixed reports of cruises as a form of holiday. We have come away from our first cruise with the biggest complaints being that there was too much food and not enough time to enjoy all of the activities and facilities on board so we are converted. My wife has a history of sea sickness and this is why we choose a large, modern ship travelling in relatively small seas - she did not have one day of sickness which was a relief. The younger kids thought the kids club was fantastic which is mainly due to the effort put in by the staff. Personally I was blown away by the standard of the entertainment on board and really did not expect it. Another concern prior to departure was the queues we expected getting on and off the ship due to the fact it was so large but the staff had it all under control and made it happen with ease. This was true right through to disembarkation which happened effortlessly. Alcohol was not overlying proced onboard. Self service laundry facilities are available and easy to use. We choose a mixture of the pre arrnaged tour and exploring some prots ourselves and enjoyed both forms of shore visits. I think this was mainly due to the fact they were great places to visit in their own right. The only mildly annoying thing about the ship itself was the lifts and getting between floors which many other reviewers have spoken about. Having said that to walk a few stairs or up and down the ship was a good excuse to not pass up the sweets each night at the buffet! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This cruise was our first...booked at the last minute as a "shake-down cruise" to familiarize ourselves with cruising prior to a 15-day cruise we had booked for Autumn. I chose Regent because of an ad in "Travel and ... Read More
This cruise was our first...booked at the last minute as a "shake-down cruise" to familiarize ourselves with cruising prior to a 15-day cruise we had booked for Autumn. I chose Regent because of an ad in "Travel and Leisure" magazine, and I am so glad I did. We booked a Penthouse-level suite, and so had Business Class Air and a pre-trip hotel in Copenhagen as part of the package. Regent offered Icelandia Airlines Business Class, but my research indicated we would be disappointed with them, so we upgraded (for $2500! Seemed like a lot, to me. Regent must get REALLY cheap "business class" tickets!) to Air Canada, which flew us non-stop to CPH. A Regent agent met us at CPH and seamlessly organized our transfer to the Marriott Hotel. Our room was lovely and very comfortable. We took a canal boat tour that first day, arranged through the hotel concierge, and enjoyed it very much. The next morning, Regent picked up our baggage to take to the ship, and provided us with a very nice coach tour of Copenhagen. Once on the ship, Regent gallantly helped my husband, who does not walk strongly, up the long gangplank on one of their wheelchairs. We were soon in our comfortable handicapped-equipped suite, being greeted by our wonderful butler, Samir. He introduced us to various features of the suite and the ship, and looked after us SO efficiently for our entire trip. As much as anything, he sold us on Regent! In talking with Samir, we had come to realize that some of the tours we had pre-booked would probably be too strenuous for my husband. This is an area Regent could improve on...It seems clear that they often simply take the tour operator's word for how "strenuous" a tour is, and do not check it themselves. The resulting misleading descriptions can cause real discomfort and anxiety for those who are not physically strong. Samir helped us cancel and rebook tours, but in Warnemunde, we simply stayed on the ship. No tour was "gentle" enough for him, in terms of terrain and stamina. In Tallinn, we took the shuttle into the town, thinking it would go to the scenic "tourist" area. When it stopped a 10 minute or so walk from that area, we simply rode it back to the ship. That was a disappointment. The service and food on the ship, with 2 exceptions, was exemplary. I have read a negative review written by someone on this same cruise and simply could not believe it! we never saw disarray or a lack of cleanliness. Just the opposite, in fact. One day, I noticed a maid on the floor actually POLISHING the brass strip between the carpet and the wood floor. This ship was spotless, everywhere we looked. The many glass and chrome surfaces had NO fingerprints, smudges, etc. There were giant bouquets of lovely fresh flowers everywhere, etc. The staff were all so friendly that we jokingly complained about how very many times we had to respond to "Hello. How are you today?" as we walked about the ship! We were constantly asked if we wanted anything and every effort was made to be sure we were content. Perhaps you get back what you give out. I cannot otherwise explain how there could be complaints about this crew! The food was consistently very, very good, and the desserts were TOO good! However, there was so much fresh fruit and delicious vegetables that I gained only 4 pounds...and have already lost it, 2 weeks later. We were disappointed in the steaks at exception of the steak in Prime 7, which we found to be only average...a bit tough and short on flavor. We chalked that off, with typical American chauvenism, I suppose, to the rest of the world perhaps being impressed with beef we regard as only average. Certainly, it did not appear to be prime beef, properly dry-aged. The whole Prime 7 experience was otherwise very nice. The other exception was Setti Mari, which we visited only the last night. We found the service to be disorganized and careless... the old tablecloth still on our table, no water glass at one of the place settings, ALL the utensils cleared when the canapé dishes were cleared, cold soup, etc... as if the staff were new or untrained. The Maitre de', who we normally count on to notice and correct such problems, was apparantly too intensely interested in talking to a select few special guests to supervise the quality of service in his "room," and we all suffered for it. Upon disembarkation, we were escorted efficiently to Stockholm airport by a Regent agent, who went "the extra mile" for me. I had ordered a wheelchair from the airline for the airport, but, even though we were flying business Class, none was forthcoming. It seems it was a holiday weekend in Sweden (watch out for "Midsommer"!) This lovely Regent lady found a chair for us, and then helped me get him to the baggage-check line. I am very grateful. We were so impressed that i am right now in the process of booking a 17 day Carribean cruise on Regent for November of this year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Had sailed on Riviera, Marina's sister ship, last September in the Mediterranean. This cruise, which began in Copenhagen and visited Warnemunde, Germany (Berlin); Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn,Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, ... Read More
Had sailed on Riviera, Marina's sister ship, last September in the Mediterranean. This cruise, which began in Copenhagen and visited Warnemunde, Germany (Berlin); Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn,Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden, appealed to us for its fascinating itinerary, and we knew from our previous experience that the ship would be superb. Although this is not within anyone's control, the weather was unbelievably beautiful every day - clear and sunny, calm seas. A total joy. About us and our expectations: we are not party cruisers, in fact, would hate a ship with that emphasis. We love reading, music, quiet reflection and conversation on the balcony, exercise walks around the deck, rejuvenating spa treatments, full-out touring during the day and a good meal and restful evening to prepare for the next day. We enjoy meeting friendly like-minded people who are mature and cultured. We didn't care about the casino or the lounge (though we did love listening to the charming and talented Romantica String Quartet from Belarus most evenings in the Grand Bar). In short, Marina's low-key ambiance, marvelous food, hospitable staff, refined (by this I do not mean stuffy, snooty or pretentious-- rather, gracious) fellow passengers, and beautiful appointments suited us just fine. Some reviewers have said that the shore excursions, hotels and airport transfers arranged through Oceania are overpriced -- we used them all and were pleased with the convenience and felt that we got good value. In St. Petersburg we did arrange an evening out with a local company, balletandopera.com, and attended a wonderful performance at the Mariinsky theater -- but the driver who took us there and brought us back was downright scary, raising thoughts of the fate of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. There is a measure of quality control and accountability when you use the ship's vendors that reassures new cruisers like my husband and me. You know, for instance, that you won't miss the ship if your tour runs late. However, it must be said that in Helsinki the shuttle bus arrangements made by the ship were disastrous, resulting in confusion about the pickup point and a queue that required an hour's wait at least - a huge waste of time given the short time we had in that port. Wonderful service, lovely stateroom, beautiful veranda. One quibble - I know that maintenance has to be done during the voyage to keep the ship in the top shape that it is, but when our balcony had to be varnished and painted on Day 9 it was a pain - looking at something on shore I stepped in the fresh blue paint at the edge of the balcony and tracked a little onto the teak. I was sorry about this but on the other hand felt that I should not have had to worry about freely using the balcony we had paid so much for. Our criticisms, thus, are very minor. Overall, good value and a memorable experience. I actually spent some time writing detailed port reviews below but a technical glitch eliminated them all - so, suffice it to say that all were memorable in a good way. St. Petersburg was mixed but fascinating - the dark Russian soul and legacy of Soviet oppression still evident - we'd rate it a 4 but paradoxically it was a highlight of the trip, esp. an independent outing to the Kirov Ballet at the fabled Mariinsky Theater.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I took a cruise on the Costa Fortuna departing from Copenhagen. She is 10 years old and looks her age. The good things: Size of the cabin was very convenient. Lots of cabinets and a large bed which was very comfortable. Many shelves in ... Read More
I took a cruise on the Costa Fortuna departing from Copenhagen. She is 10 years old and looks her age. The good things: Size of the cabin was very convenient. Lots of cabinets and a large bed which was very comfortable. Many shelves in the bathroom and safety measures not to fall or slip. The balcony we booked was small but with a table and two comfortable chairs and it was nice sitting there. Staff was very friendly, the steward efficient ,the elevators speedy and lots of them. Evening performances at the theater were quite entertaining despite lasting only 45 minutes. 5th floor has several bars with singers and dance floors. quite enjoyable. Before going on the cruise we were often in contact with the company's representatives and they did their best to help us with anything. The bad things: The air conditioner was very weak and hardly noticeable. And it was hot. In the bathroom we had almost no hot water and it was very unpleasant. TV was huge with a small screen (TV not even LCD). Both the TV and the remote only allowed to jump forward one channel or change volume. The picture quality was poor and unclear and that could not be improved. There were a lot of the ship's channels and the rest were Italian. There was only one news channel in English, the BBC. We talked with the steward on these issues and we were told that's that. The room's water had terrible taste, no way we could drink that. We had to buy the ship's water, each liter for 3 euros!!! Even that had very funny taste. When I talked to other passengers who were on other companies' cruises no one has encountered such a problem. I understand the ship is 10 years old but is that an excuse for such disregard? Breakfast and lunch were very scarce and very poor selection. The same the whole seven days. Other people from other cruises were just amazed. For example, there were only two Yellow Cheese kinds, throughout the voyage. Everyone is familiar with the disaster that happened last year to the Concordia. I'll have to assume that because of fall in demand Costa is looking for every way to cut expenses and get passengers to pay more... Another example of that would be the outrageous cost of 10 euros for one hour for the ship's Wi-Fi! Tours: The ship was not sailing to Bergen although most other tours do. In Geiranger we had to get off not directly to the harbour but through a boat and on return everyone had to wait half an hour in the heat for their turn to get back to the ship. On the third day we came to Skjolden from nine in the morning till five thirty. It's a tiny place with nothing realy to do if you wanted to go ashore. We took a tour of the glacier and drove for three hours there and back ond then only saw it from afar. There was no nice scenery on the way as well. At Oslo we arrived at seven in the morning and stayed only until 12 which wasn't enough for a proper tour. We were told the reason for that was that the ship wanted to get in time to the next stop, Warnemunde, so that people wanting to do a tour in Berlin could get there in time. As we didn't need that tour and there was nothing to do in Warnemunde we had to stay in the ship from nine and a half to eight in the evening! Another annoying problem was that in each of the docking points there weren't any taxis or other means of transporatation besides that of the ship's. Friends who cruised other companies in this area told us that wasn't their experience. In conclusion, this was my first cruise and next time, if there is one, I'll be wiser in choosing the right cruising company. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
As others have said, we took this cruise for the itinerary. Since it was our first cruise, we did not know what to expect. I booked our extra nights before & after the cruise in Copenhagen through the Radisson's website. This cost ... Read More
As others have said, we took this cruise for the itinerary. Since it was our first cruise, we did not know what to expect. I booked our extra nights before & after the cruise in Copenhagen through the Radisson's website. This cost half of what Princess would have charged so I don't know why anyone would book through them. We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Princess was going to charge us $120 to get to the hotel and we paid $40 on our own. There was a Princess table set up in the lobby & the woman told us to wait until 3 or 4 in the afternoon to board the ship after all the groups had checked in. it was great advice & we breezed through. The ship itself was grand. It was everything I expected. it was huge, well organized & super clean. Our mini suite with balcony worked great for the 4 of us. It was well thought out. I never felt cramped. There was plenty of storage so we were able to unpack everything. The bathroom was a good size - bigger than expected. We saw maintenance people working all the time. I had always heard people rave about cruise ship food so I was coming in with high expectations. I know cooking for thousands cannot be easy but really - can't they cut the rind off the pineapple before serving it? It took a lot of sawing to get it off with that butter knife. We ate mainly in the Horizon Court because it was convenient. We spent the extra $25 per person for dinner at Sabatini's & really should have saved our money. It was heavy on atmosphere & short on food. The menu was very limited with the pasta course being "chef's choice" which means zero passenger choice. I felt nickeled & dimed with the food. I wanted a Diet Coke one day & was asked for my room number so they could charge me so I skipped it. I had hot tea at no charge in the Horizon Court, dining rooms and through room service. I was surprised when I ordered tea at the European style cafe in the Atrium & they wanted to charge me! Ice cream was available at no charge near the pizza counter but if you wanted the "special" ice cream at the cafe, there was a charge. That said, the food was adequate & nobody starved. We loved the $3 flat fee for room service. The staff are very friendly & well trained. I found getting on & off the ship surprisingly easy. The only port I did not like was Aarhus. I cannot figure out why the ship stops there. I would rather have had another day in Stockholm. the ship docks in an industrial area with lots of commercial traffic so passengers are not allowed to walk off the ship into town. We had to wait for a bus to take us a mile into town. Plus it was pouring rain & we went back to the ship. St Petersburg was the highlight of the trip. We booked a private tour through SPb tours & it was fabulous. Because we were a small group, the tour guide was able to get us to the front of every line. it was expensive & worth every penny. It was hot when we went to Peterhof & my kids loved running through the fountains. I had read that we might have to wait to get off the ship because we were not on a Princess shore excursion but that was not the case at all. My 9 year old went to the kids club one afternoon when we were at sea. My 14 year old did not go at all. I know Princess is not really geared towards kids but Disney Pictionary for 13-17 year olds?? They were so tired from sightseeing that we watched movies or swam in our free time. Princess really pushes on-board shopping & art auctions. I think having shops on board with nice souvenirs is great but please don't clutter up the hallways with tables of stuff. And don't tell me not to buy souvenirs in Russia, that I should buy them on board. I wanted to buy a book or magazine but the selection was almost non-existent. The onboard travel guru was great until they started broadcasting his lectures over the PA system. The entertainment was pretty hokey although we enjoyed the crew talent show - they were very genuine. Overall, the trip went smoothly & we have great memories. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I am 42, and DH is 47. We have been on one Regent Navigator cruise, one Silversea Silver Spirit cruise, and one Paul Gauguin cruise. I still consider us cruise newbies. We have specific needs as we are "quirky" at the best of ... Read More
I am 42, and DH is 47. We have been on one Regent Navigator cruise, one Silversea Silver Spirit cruise, and one Paul Gauguin cruise. I still consider us cruise newbies. We have specific needs as we are "quirky" at the best of times, and we have been looking for a cruise line that meets both our specific travelling eccentricities. Crystal seems to be able to meet this! This is my first review for cruise critic as feel compelled to share joy at discovering this wonderful cruise line. I get very seasick. I get bus sick. I get train sick. I get plane sick. Gravol and ginger pills are my friend. DH does not understand this AT ALL. Crystal Serenity provides a bigger ship experience, and I found that I did not need to wear my anti-nausea wristbands. The motion from the ship was negligible. This was helped by good weather and smooth seas. In comparison, I could not tolerate the buzzing that was a normal occurence even on smooth seas that I experienced on Regent Navigator. We booked a Penthouse Suite due to information from cruise critic that usual verandah rooms are smaller than Regent or Silversea rooms. We had 11029 mid ship near elevators. Despite proximity to the elevators the room was very quiet. The room was beautiful and spacious, and the decor was like a boutique hotel in Las Vegas (we usually stay at the Skylofts in LV). The balcony was so nice that we both spent lots of time outside here, and this was not cramped at all. DH wished there was a recliner, but the two chairs with one ottoman and a table was fine. I liked that the sleeping area was demarcated from the rest of the room. The two single beds pushed together works well for us, and we both had no trouble sleeping. DH had lots of choice from the pillow menu, although they did not seem to have buckwheat pillows. Firm worked just as well. Wi-fi two hours free with this room was a very nice touch. Skype does not work, but we were able to facetime no problem. Since the room is close to midship elevators we were able to get wi-fi reception in the room if we stood by the door. We did not use the free phone call time. Another reason that we booked the penthouse suite is the room service ability to choose from the specialty restaurants. I LOVE that there is Nobu restaurant on board. When travelling, I need to have soup, and was able to have Asian soup every day. Rock shrimp, mushroom soup "tea" and kelp salad was an added benefit! Sushi took too long for room service, so I stopped ordering this (sushi bar ws very popular). DH ordered room service from a mix of main dining, Nobu and Prego, and there was never too much problem with this erratic ordering style. Our butler was amazing- oh I'll start a new paragraph about Ural. Ural our butler. He was the most professional butler that we have ever had!! He was pleasant, efficient, and even jokey which put us very much at ease. We probably drove him crazy, but he was always smiling. Iced tea in a pitcher... no problem! A big tea pot... no problem! Room service dining from three places... no problem! Special order curry as room service.. yes, tomorrow for dinner! A question about the next port..... he knows the answer! Some things we asked about were not doable, but there was an explanation that satisfied us and we were not disappointed about this. We ate at the main dining room rarely, but each time the service and food was pretty good. We are not wine drinkers. However, we enjoy tea (eg high end high mountain oolong and Mariage Frere teas) and we found that although bagged tea is fine for everyday, high tea should be loose tea, not the same bagged tea. This was the only real glaring "not five star" thing we noticed about Crystal. Even silversea had high end loose tea with timers and everything, for their tea time. We eventually chose to not even bother with their teatime. However, I really love the self service element at the Neptune bar area for just helping yourself to iced tea and juice etc. This saves time and makes me instantaneously happy. The bar guys were helpful and friendly too, but I can help myself just as well. Breakfast at the Lido was crazy busy. This was also one area that they can improve on. I suppose it may be due to port intensive itinerary with everyone leaving for morning excursions all at once, but the omelet line was just too long (too many people, too much time). There seemed to be much confusion about breakfast, and it felt crowded and "grabby". An unpleasant morning experience. The coffee was not very good! The Bistro was not open early enough for breakfast for morning excursions. Excursions- these were some of the best I have ever attended. As this was the first time we have been in this region, we wanted to do an excursion at every port, and chose a Crystal excursion for every port. Our Copenhagen acquarium visit was cancelled, but this actually enabled us ot see Copenhagen itself, walking around everywhere, so we were not too disappointed. The complimentary shuttles were very convenient even if we did not use them all the time, as they provided an option for us if we decided to venture out later on our own. We took the 3 hour Sachenhausen and Berlin tour and were not disappointed. Our tour guide was informative and objective. He provided interesting facts mingled also with personal anecdotes. President Obama was in Berlin at the time of our visit, and many sites were closed, but our tour guide was able to walk us to many of the sites, parking the bus further away. A great experience, and makes us want to visit Berlin again. The 3 hour bus ride was not a problem for me as the autobahn was very straight. St Petersburg- a problem with initial immigration! Crystal let us know what to fill out on the immigration forms, but the immigration officials seem to take affront at the lack of filling out the info so everyone had to enter their birthdates etc on the forms once there at the front of the line. A long long delay. The next day, the Reflections noted that you should have your forms ready but we didn't need them for day 2! This was very confusing and I think Crystal could have done a better job with the information dissemination. Otherwise, despite disclaimers about limited bathroom options and possible poor english speaking guides, these were not issues at all with the tours. Tour guides had understandable english and were very informative about.....everything! Bathroom breaks were provided at set intervals. However, these are long long days!! Worse than work! Worse than a bootcamp conference! Catherine palace and peterhof palace started at 715am and you get back the the ship at around 5pm. However, this was worth it. Tour group dynamics apply (It's difficult to keep together and to keep up! ). The people on the ship were generally older than us, but we found many interesting and friendly folks. Granted there were a few people that tried to push in front of the line at Russian immigration (really? here?) but people are people.......Overall the passengers were friendly and quiet. The ship was noted to be full, but we never felt like we could not do what we had chosen to do due to crowding (except for breakfast at the Lido). A note on the Laundry rooms. Five washer/dryer combos! This means no fighting or awkward situations. Laundry baskets and magazines were provided. This was so thoughtful it made me want to cry with joy. Disembark/embark - no problems. We did not have to tender at all with these ports, although we docked at a yucky industrial area in Stockholm. All transfers were without a hitch. We had private car pickup at Copenhagen, and there were no issues. Smooth and seamless. Overall, we had a great time on this cruise. If DH continues to want to cruise, I will now press to have it to be this on cruise line.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
My wife and I usually take a two-week vacation in May each year to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year we chose to try for the first time a cruise, figuring that with destinations like Copenhagen, St. Petersburg and Stockholm we ... Read More
My wife and I usually take a two-week vacation in May each year to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year we chose to try for the first time a cruise, figuring that with destinations like Copenhagen, St. Petersburg and Stockholm we couldn't go wrong. With only one exception, the destinations didn't disappoint us. As for the cruise itself, there were certainly some highlights, but a few other things were mediocre and disappointing.We began our vacation by flying to Copenhagen, arriving two days before sailing. If you're going on one of these Baltic Sea cruises from Copenhagen, I highly recommend the Adina Apartment Hotel. We had stayed in an excellent Adina property two years ago in Berlin and when I found that there is one in Copenhagen near the cruise port, I figured it was a no-brainer. We stayed two nights pre-cruise and one night post-cruise. See my review on TripAdvisor.com for more info about the hotel.We arrived at the port shortly after noon for a 5PM sailing. Embarkation was fairly well organized and took about thirty minutes. Although our hotel was close enough to walk to the port, we had done some reconnaissance and determined that the route is not luggage-rolling friendly. Although we saw some passengers dragging their luggage to the port, I recommend taking a cab.Our initial impressions of the ship were pretty positive, as we were able to get lunch pretty readily and found our state room easily. Since we had not been on a cruise before, we decided to join an organized orientation tour of the ship at 2PM. This was our first disappointment. The guide was not very personable and not well-informed regarding details of the ship. Why she was assigned this duty is a mystery to me, as all she was able to do was give a cursory overview of where services were located.Since our sailing date was also our wedding anniversary, we decided to eat in LeBistro, one of the specialty restaurants with a surcharge. This was definitely one of the highlights, as we had a terrific dining experience, which was made all the more special by the maitre d, who comped us an after-dinner liqueur.After dinner, we went to the evening show in the Stardust Theater, which is a pretty decent venue. The entertainment for the evening was Steve, a comedian/juggler who was very funny, very unpredictable and very entertaining. This was one of the two best shows of the entire cruise, the other being the Elements show on the last night of the cruise. However, there were problems with other shows. One show was canceled due to an equipment malfunction, which is understandable. However, a rather big fuss was made over the fact that other performers hastily put together a show in three hours, and it showed. The replacement show was haphazard and disjointed musically. Given that equipment malfunctions are bound to happen occasionally, there should always be a prepared replacement show ready to go. Either this was not planned for (bad management) or the cruise director lied to us by telling the audience at least four times how quickly the show was thrown together and that we should be very appreciative of the effort. Also, during the replacement show, which was supposed to be family-friendly, one of the songs done by two female singers was sexually inappropriate. Another show was advertised as PG-13 (which it was) and that no younger children would be allowed in, yet there were several attending. Yet another show was advertised as having no late seating after the show began, yet people were still being seated up to ten minutes after show time, which was disruptive. Apparently, NCL doesn't enforce its own policies. During the cruise, I had four sessions in the casino, where I only played poker. The dealers were more competent than I expected them to be. The games usually didn't begin until about 10PM and ended when they threw us out around 2AM.On board ship, I have to give kudos to three personnel who provided us with excellent service: Rani(sp?) the maitre d at LeBistro; Lillibeth, server in Versailles restaurant; and Dominador, server in Aqua Restaurant. Ask for any of these personnel to serve you and I guarantee you will receive top-notch service.As you should already know, dining options are plentiful, but the quality is a bit uneven. We thought Versailles is best for breakfast and dinner and the Market cafe is best for lunch. On-board entertainment in the bars and lounges also is a bit of hit and miss. It seems as if the overall mindset of the staff and entertainment was that we were on a cruise in the Caribbean and that the passengers were mostly young party-goers. This was definitely not the case. NCL needs to reconsider its passenger demographics and tailor its entertainment options accordingly.Our stateroom was excellent and we received good service. I thought the laundry service was a particularly good bargain.Embarkation/disembarkation at all ports except for St. Petersburg were easy, quick and convenient. St. Petersburg was just the opposite, slow, confusing and uncomfortable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We are well traveled seniors. This was our first cruise because I always thought I would not like cruising. Would there be crowds and long lines, would I be bored? Norwegian's Freestyle seemed very appealing to me coupled with a great ... Read More
We are well traveled seniors. This was our first cruise because I always thought I would not like cruising. Would there be crowds and long lines, would I be bored? Norwegian's Freestyle seemed very appealing to me coupled with a great itinerary made this trip very appealing. Embarkation: I wanted to arrive early because I did not know what to expect and was prepared for a long wait. Thirty two minutes after getting out of the taxi, we were sitting at a table in the MDR. Yes, way less waiting than expected. Dining: We chose to eat at most of the venues during our two weeks on board. Overall we were impressed. II Adagio was our least favorite restaurant and East Meets West was our favorite. Most meals were eaten in the Seven Seas. I thought the Seven Seas was quite good. The menu can get stale on a cruise of two weeks so I ate the nightly specials most of the time. The food at the buffets was good but I tend to avoid those because of chaotic lines. Entertainment: Cripton the Magician was outstanding as was "Flash and Fever". The shows we attended were pretty good, I enjoyed them. If a show did not sound good, I didn't attend so can't rate them. we were able to go to most shows and was more than satisfied. Of-course there were other activities going on around the ship and they were all well run and entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My boyfriend and I sailed on NCL's 9-night Baltic Capitals cruise on August 29th from Copenhagen. This was my 5th cruise, 4th on NCL (other non-NCL cruise was on Royal Caribbean), and it was his first cruise. We are in our ... Read More
My boyfriend and I sailed on NCL's 9-night Baltic Capitals cruise on August 29th from Copenhagen. This was my 5th cruise, 4th on NCL (other non-NCL cruise was on Royal Caribbean), and it was his first cruise. We are in our mid-20s/30s and don't really consider ourselves "cruise people" -- but we chose to go on this cruise because it would allow us to see a lot of different places without the hassle and expense of trains and planes between cities. This area of the world is quite expensive, so we thought that having our meals included on the ship would also help make it an affordable trip (more on the food later). We arrived in Copenhagen a day early and spent the day exploring this beautiful city. We took the Hop On Hop Off bus around to get acquainted with the layout, and then explored on our own. It was one of my favorite ports of the trip and I wish we had planned another day or two there. We spent the night at the Copenhagen Plaza Hotel. When we arrived in the morning, they kept our bags for us until our room was ready. The hotel was literally right across the street from the Central Station on one side, Tivoli on the other, and the HOHO bus picked up on the other side. The location was the best part of the hotel and we paid for it! The room and the breakfast were pretty underwhelming. The day of the cruise, we asked the front desk to order us a taxi to the cruise port but the price they quoted us seemed high. So we walked over to Central Station and, sure enough, we saved about $10USD taking a taxi from there and not going through the hotel. We also noticed the that HOHO buses were running shuttles (not their regular route) from certain hotels to the port but we didn't know about that in advance nor do I know the cost of that service. I am a Silver Latitudes member so once we got to the port around 1:30pm, there was a separate line for us and we did not have to wait at all. It did look like there was quite a long line for everyone else but we were on board in 10 minutes max and our room was ready for us. Our bags showed up a few hours later. We had our first meal at the poolside BBQ, and it wasn't bad. It made us hopeful for things to come -- unfortunately, on the food-front, it only went downhill from there. Our first port was Warnemunde, and we went into Berlin on our own. The train station was right across the street from where the boat docked, so we walked over and bought tickets for the first train to Berlin, which connected through Rostock. We got to Berlin before lunchtime and set off exploring on our own. We skipped the HOHO bus here and just walked. We ended up in Alexanderplatz and had a couple of beers and some street food, and from there we hopped on the underground and went to Prater Biergarten -- the oldest one in Berlin. It was in a trendy neighborhood that was fun to explore and we were glad we got away from the touristy areas. We can imagine that on the weekend it would be packed with Berliners, but on a Thursday afternoon, there were only about 20 people there. The way back to Berlin proved to be quite the adventure! That morning we had purchased a round trip ticket into Berlin that left Berlin at 4:30pm and got back to Warnemunde around 7:30pm. When we got to the station to catch our train, we discovered that some WWII bombs had been discovered near the train tracks and that our train was being re-routed as the bombs were being disarmed! What was supposed to be a quick 3-hour journey with one connection turned into a train, to another train, to a 45 minute bus, to another train, and then yet another train. Needless to say, this new "itinerary" made it so that we, and the 20 other or so NCL passengers who had also ventured into Berlin without a cruise-line excursion ended up back at the ship at 10:10pm (all-aboard time was 9:30pm). My BF and some of the other cruisers stranded with us were able to call NCL's Miami offices, who reached the ship to tell them what happened, and they did end up waiting for us. I know that the ships like to use all tactics possible to coerce you into taking their excursions, including telling you they will leave you behind if you're late and not on one of their trips. Luckily for us that was not the case! The sea days were unremarkable -- we played some bingo with the tiniest prizes I have ever seen; with 100 people playing and paying $60 each, the prizes were $110 and $230! What a joke! We did get 2 massages each that were very good, and did not get too much pressure to buy products. We used the gym several times, but found it to be TINY and always packed at peak times. The hot tubs were nice after a long day in port, but the water was just warm, definitely not HOT. We really looked forward to St. Petersburg, and paid over $600 to do the 2-day deluxe tour with SPB Tours in a group of 16. To be perfectly honest, we were completely and totally underwhelmed by the tour and the guide. After hearing such rave reviews of this company on Trip Advisor, we were very disappointed. Our guide was dry and scripted, and at times, even smug. We were hoping that going with a local guide would give us some insight into modern Russia, but so little time was spent talking about anything current we felt like we were stuck in 1919! Any questions that were asked about modern Russia were answered briefly and without much insight. The palaces were grand and all, but all of them had been destroyed in WWII and rebuilt in the 70s. It felt like all the grandeur was fake and for tourists, as much of it was not even replaced with the real thing -- even some of the Amber Room was actually made of enamel! Our itinerary with SPB was supposed to include a subway ride, which ended up just being a walk into the subway station to hear about its historical significance. And the "local lunch" on the second day was at a tourist restaurant -- there wasn't a "local" to be found. At the end of the trip, instead of giving us a survey to fill out, the guide had one of the ladies in the front read out questions about our satisfaction with the tour and the guide (she was right there!) over the bus microphone and have us yell out our answers! And then, we got a speech about how we should go home and give them good ratings on Trip Advisor! Not so much. The absolute highlight of St. Petersburg was the Church of the Spilled Blood -- I have never seen anything like it and it was truly amazing. Tallinn was OK -- it rained and was cold our whole time there, so I am sure it tainted our experience. It seemed like a cute town with some good shops, but not much else. We took the HOHO bus to the main square, but we easily could have walked from the port and saved the money. Helsinki was BEAUTIFUL! We saw all the main sites from the HOHO bus, but also got off and walked through the great market by the water, and took sightseeing boat tour that was included with the HOHO. It was such a beautiful way to see the city and have a few drinks on the boat while doing it! We ended up walking from the heart of downtown back to the ship, so really we didn't need the HOHO bus at all. In this case, as in most of the cities, we just used it as a crutch to get quickly acquainted with each place, then got off where we wanted to explore, and made our own way back. Stockholm was also a beautiful city -- my only complaint is that we did not have enough time!! Especially since I spent a good bit of our time shopping at the H&M Flagship store!!! But really, such a stunning city on the water. This is one place we DEFINITELY plan to return. If I have one point of advice -- DO NOT MISS THE SAIL OUT OF THE STOCKHOLM ARCHIPELAGO! It was stunning, even in the gray and mist, and one of the highlights for us. We had a drink and watched as we sailed through from the Observation Lounge on the 12th floor, forward. Great views. If I can say one thing about this cruise, it would be that if you like good food, you will be sorely disappointed. We tried pretty much all of the dining options, hoping that the next one would be better than the last. Breakfast in the buffet was pretty bad - I saw them pour the eggs on the buffet line out of a boiled plastic bag. Definitely wait for the omelet station! Breakfast in the dining room was not much better -- it seemed as if they just took what your ordered from the buffet and served you! Dinners in the main dining room were terrible -- there is really no other way to put it. We ended up ordering two options each just to find something we liked, and left pretty much every meal disappointed. We tried the Italian specialty restaurant -- DEFINITELY not worth $10 each! The steakhouse I would say was on par with Outback, not Ruth's Chris. The French restaurant was decent, but the vegetables in my Coq au Vin were raw! It is supposed to be a slow-cooked, braised dish! If I can repeat -- if you are doing a cruise for the food on board, DO NOT DO THIS CRUISE! The ports were definitely the highlight of this trip, but if there was one bright spot on the ship, it was the casino. The dealers and staff there were excellent -- well-trained, professional, and friendly. We played a lot of blackjack and craps, and while its certainly not Vegas with the free drinks, the casino staff did comp us rounds a few times and it was much appreciated. All in all, the staff was nice, not outstanding, the ports were beautiful, and the food was awful. Not a bad vacation overall, but I think we will try another cruise line next time and try to improve the food and on board experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
first of all don't look at my English, I'm dutch speaking. well this was our first cruise and I was terrified because of all the bad reviews, but I got surprised! ( in a good way) ship : the ship is beautiful, lot of bars , ... Read More
first of all don't look at my English, I'm dutch speaking. well this was our first cruise and I was terrified because of all the bad reviews, but I got surprised! ( in a good way) ship : the ship is beautiful, lot of bars , lovely room ( not that big but what do you expect on a boat) and easy to find your way, the only bad thing is that there is no gangway so sometimes we had to go through the restaurant to go to somewhere little bit annoying. activities: lots to do on the boat, pool( in and outside) 4d cinema gym .always lessons ( Italian origami dance... ) bingo quiz .. in the evening music and free theater (its short only 45 minutes max but its beautiful! cirque du soleil in mini:p) service: people are very friendly! ( the Italian staff less than the other staff) excursions: for me they are to expensive, there where always hop on hop off busses at the boat ( don't buy ticket for shuttle buss!) so you can go on a ride with them they take you through the city and there not expensive. we embarked in Copenhagen, it was around 250 kronen to get a cab from the airport to the port. when we came there ( around noon so early) there was almost no one there so we checked in in like 5 minutes en we could straight to our room! and we could have dinner at the buffet immediately. also disembarkation went smooth! didn't have to wait long and busses & cabs to bring us to the city the buffet was terrible! I'm not that picky but it was Gross! but you can also eat at the restaurant( free ) and that was great! the food was very good! so if you don't like the buffet just go to the restaurant . we also ate at the a la carte restaurant and that was just amazing! I have eaten in a lot of good restaurants but that was very high quality! the only thing I thought was a shame was that you have to pay for water in the restaurant ( in the buffet you can take water and coffee for free) the drinks where very expensive! 5 euro for a 33cl Stella! but you know cruising ain't cheap so make sure you count that in! my overall comment is that magnifica is magnifica indeed, just take enough money with you for the drinks, or if you wanna buy something ( or you can also pay everything with credit card) Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We are a senior couple who have done quite a bit of traveling, both domestic and international, but have largely traveled independently and had never taken a cruise. However, we were interested in seeing a bit of the Baltic countries and ... Read More
We are a senior couple who have done quite a bit of traveling, both domestic and international, but have largely traveled independently and had never taken a cruise. However, we were interested in seeing a bit of the Baltic countries and in visiting St Petersburg, Russia. A cruise seemed like a good way to do it, so that we did not have to deal with language issues and making travel plans for each of the places we wanted to see. Having never taken a cruise, we were totally unfamiliar with any cruise lines, but had received some information regarding Oceania and its Baltic cruise, so began our investigations with it. Since it was our first cruise and might be our only one, we thought we wanted to select a ship with fewer passengers and a reputation for quality service and accommodations. We wanted to have a good experience and were willing to pay a little extra for it. Since we were unfamiliar with cruising and what types of things to ask, we elected to use a local travel agent, whom we had used a number of years before for a special situation. In retrospect, we will not do that again. Although she handled our initial booking efficiently, once she received her fee, we had very poor response to questions and issues that came up over the several months between booking and embarkation. After meeting other passengers on the cruise, we learned that they received much better service for no fees from other agents or online booking services. The Oceania cruise included airfare, but required them to handle the booking. We wanted to travel on our preferred airlines to earn miles for all that we were spending on this trip and Oceania agreed to do that. That eventually became the source of most of our pre-trip difficulties as Oceania of course wanted to use the cheapest flights which weren't always the best connections. We accepted that until Delta changed times on one of their flights, which made it impossible to use because of the ship's arrival time in port. Oceania switched us around to partially use a non-preferred airline and then when those flight times changed switched us totally from Delta, even though they and one of their partners had flights that would match our connecting requirements. Eventually, we were put on those flights, although by the time it was over, the choice seats were gone and we ended up paying for an upgrade in order to sit together. In the future, I would handle my own booking and just take whatever flight credit the cruise line would provide. Our departure date finally arrived and all went well. Our flights were on time and we arrived in Copenhagen at the expected time of 7:51 a.m. on July 21. Processing through immigration was a bit slow at first, but finally moved along pretty well and our bags were waiting when we finished. We were staying at the Copenhagen Marriott for the night and had considered taking the train from the airport as an economical transportation choice. However, we were tired from jet lag and just didn't feel like figuring out where and how to buy tickets, where to catch the train and how to recognize our stop. So, we just grabbed a cab, which took only about 15 minutes to reach the hotel and cost about $35, which we were able to charge to a credit card since we had no Danish kronor. For anyone who feels up to taking the train, it seemed like it would have been relatively simple. The access to the train was right from the main terminal and the stop for the hotel was only about 2 blocks from the hotel and immediately across the street from Tivoli, so undoubtedly would have been well-marked. We chose to use to arrive one day early to Copenhagen to make sure no travel difficulties would affect the start of our cruise. We also chose to use our Marriott points for a night at the Copenhagen Marriott. It is a large, very busy and expensive hotel. Our room was fine and we had access to the Executive lounge, which helped save a little, as they served a decent complimentary breakfast and appetizers at night. Their appetizers were not as extensive or as readily replenished as those at other Marriotts, but were still adequate. We had been told the hotel restaurant was not that great and very expensive. They did have free Internet, but you could only access it in the lobby. Supposedly it was available in the executive lounge, but it never worked for us. The Marriott is within walking distance of some of the tourist attractions, especially Tivoli Gardens. We had seen some of the attractions on a previous trip, so did not repeat those. We did, however, walk to Ny Havn, which is not far for people who like to walk. Much of the walk was along the canal, which was pleasant, although construction eventually forced us away to a less scenic route. We did repeat our visit to Tivoli, since it was so close. We had tried to avoid obtaining any Danish currency, since our time here was so short, but we ended up using an ATM at Tivoli to get a little cash for a snack, a souvenir gift and for the next day's taxi to the ship. The Marriott is also fairly close to the cruise ship port. Oceania had notified us that our embarkation time was 1:00 pm, so we caught a taxi at the hotel about 12:40 and reached the port in about 10 minutes. The cost was about $20. At the Marina, we were greeted promptly and pleasantly by the shore gang, who took our bags and directed us to the boarding line. We received a bottle of water and took our place at the base of the gangway in what seemed like a long line. It moved quickly, however, and we were soon on board and, after passing through scanners, were directed to the Marina Lounge, where workers with computers were set up to check in guests. We waited only a few minutes for our turn and were quickly checked in and given small folding wallets with a deck map and our room keycard. As we left the area, another person scanned our cards and checked the photo that had been taken at check-in to make sure we matched our photos. Since rooms were not expected to be ready until 3:00, we were invited to have lunch at a number of venues. We went to Deck 12 to the Terrace Cafe and enjoyed a delicious lunch from the buffet while sitting outdoors on the aft deck on a lovely sunny day. Afterwards, we wandered around, familiarizing ourselves with the features of the ship, until it was announced that all rooms were available (about 2:45 p.m.). We were pleasantly surprised to find our accommodations quite roomy with a nice veranda. Our bags were delivered about 4:45 and we proceeded to find places for everything. It was not difficult and we had plenty of empty drawers left over. The bathroom was spacious enough, although we would agree with some reviews that we have read by other guests, that we would have been happy to sacrifice the large tub, which we never used, to have a slightly larger shower. I had also read reviews about a lack of electrical outlets for charging electronic devices, but we found plenty for our use. The mandatory emergency drill was announced about 6:00 p.m. Instructions in our room told us to proceed to our mustering station, which A4 located in the Marina Lounge. It took about 20 minutes to assemble everyone. Then, we were given instructions for donning our life vests, which we had all been required to bring with us. After proving that we could do that and being checked that we had done so correctly, we were dismissed and allowed to return to our rooms or whatever. We enjoyed another meal at the Terrace Cafe buffet for dinner. On subsequent evenings during the cruise, we ate one time each at the specialty restaurants: Polo Grill, Red Ginger, Toscana and Jacques. We never did eat at the Grand Dining Room, but all of the restaurants were very good. Of the specialty restaurants, we enjoyed the food at Red Ginger the best. We had a hard time passing on the Terrace Cafe, as the buffet had so many choices and they varied every day. All were prepared very well and not overcooked from sitting on a steam table. Because of jet lag, we were in bed and asleep before the 10:00 p.m. ship departure and I never heard or felt the ship leaving port. Even when waking during the night, there was hardly any sensation of movement. Not knowing if I would experience any sea sickness, I came prepared for the cruise with various remedies, but never needed anything. The entire cruise was extremely smooth. The two weeks prior to the cruise, the area we were visiting had experienced unseasonably cold and rainy weather every day. We had packed expecting more of the same, but it had become unseasonably warm. We had rain one night, but all the days were sunny with temps in the 80s and even 90 in St Petersburg. We did not participate in any entertainment or shows, other than attending a lecture on St Petersburg, which was of an appropriate length and informative. Some reviewers for other cruises have noted embarkation gatherings of Cruise Critic members, but if this cruise had one, we were not aware of it. We found on board Internet access to be pricey, slow and not always dependable. We had thought we could use free internet on shore at some restaurants and other public areas, as is easy to do in the U.S. However, it is not readily available in Europe, although was available at a couple of McDonald's. To keep in touch via email, we found it necessary to purchase 100 minutes of time for $85. I think a lot of time was wasted with the poor transmission time. Although we have no other cruises with which to compare, we were pleased with how orderly the arrivals and debarkations were at each port, with a smooth procedure in place for the tour groups to exit and board buses. The only exception was St Petersburg, which probably was more of a mad house because 1) more passengers were going ashore than may have been the case at other ports and 2)the lengthy time it took for Russian immigration to process each visitor. The newsletters delivered to the room each evening were very informative and helpful regarding the next day's port and shipboard activities. If we were to cruise on this ship again, we would have no objection to the same room. It was quite comfortable and its location near the gangway made it interesting to just sit on the veranda and watch the goings-on. Watching the crew lower and raise the gangway was interesting, as was seeing other passengers coming and going and watching port activities. At Riga, as the ship pulled away from the dock, we observed several elderly Latvian ladies standing near the dock for a long time, waving to the departing ship passengers, until our ship was nearly out of sight. Other comments continue in the port reviews, except for Ronne on the Danish island of Bornholm. That was our second port of call and we chose to take an Oceania tour called "Taste of Bornholm". Although it did not include a brewery, as we had expected based on tour description, it still was interesting and by taking a bus around the island, we were able to get a better feel for the island than just going to the little town of Ronne. We gathered in the Marina Lounge on the ship at 8:45 and were soon dispatched to our waiting bus. Our local guide was Hans who did pretty well at speaking English although he stumbled occasionally on the pronunciation of a word. The first stop was a farm where the owner had a butcher shop. We had a close-up tour led by the owner and then had samples of various sausage products in the retail shop at the end of the tour. At the little harbor town of Svanake, we stopped at a hotel where tables were set up outside for us we were served a plate with grapes, a couple of slices of bell pepper, a few slices of the local, award winning blue cheese and some biscuits. Along with the snacks, we were given a sample two varieties of the local akavit. The last stop was Nexo where the first Danish vineyard was planted about 10 years ago. The owner and winemaker gave us a little tour and then let us sample a few varieties at tables in the winery. Will have to say that the wine was nothing to write home about. We returned to the ship about 1:00 and took a shuttle, arranged by Oceania, for a 5 minute ride to Ronne. There were some shops to visit, but would not have wanted to spend much time in town. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Having looked at some of the reviews for Silver Cloud I was worried - talk of it needing complete refurbishment and not having a good range of wine and drinks to choose from and even some real criticism about the food. We therefore ... Read More
Having looked at some of the reviews for Silver Cloud I was worried - talk of it needing complete refurbishment and not having a good range of wine and drinks to choose from and even some real criticism about the food. We therefore boarded with trepidation - immediately we were met by friendly and competent staff, welcomed with a glass of champagne our cases taken from us and we were escorted to our cabin. Our butler introduced herself and asked about our choice of bathroom toiletries and what drinks we would like in our room fridge. The room was spotlessly clean and although it could maybe do with an updating we had plenty of room - furnishings were smart and comfortable - the bed was also extremely comfortable. Good to see that the ship is going in for refurbishment later this year. Three restaurants to choose from - one needing a booking fee of $30 but was quite select with real fine dining - a great experience and well worth the additional cost. Other two restaurants were super - no being given a set time to dine and told you are to share your table with potential people you might not get along with - booked a table as you would any other restaurant. Food was superb - from breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with a good selection of wines - you could select from the extensive wine list but there is really no need. In fact no wonder people say that they put weight on you really could eat and drink as much as you liked - that said no-one seemed to abuse this. Entertainment every evening - a good range of artistes providing very good floor shows. Lots to do on board and many things organised. Panorama lounge providing a leisurely place to sit and read and while away the hours - great afternoon tea with the super much under rated Mario playing the piano - what talent. The cruise itinerary was good apart from possibly Russia - spent several days at sea going to and from Murmansk and Archangel - but both places were very disappointing - although they did make us realise how fortunate we are - such poverty. Weather was not marvellous and this spoilt photo opportunities but obviously the cruise line cannot influence this. Never had better service anywhere. Would highly recommend. Easy transfer to and from the airport - well managed and timely. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This eleven day tour of scandinavia and the baltic region with Princess was a great experience. All of our expactations were met and exceeded. Pre cruise concerns...sea sickness, lack of interest in drinking, gambling, dancing amounted ... Read More
This eleven day tour of scandinavia and the baltic region with Princess was a great experience. All of our expactations were met and exceeded. Pre cruise concerns...sea sickness, lack of interest in drinking, gambling, dancing amounted to nothing. There were heaps of things for us to do both aboard and ashore. I loved the art history and gem lectures, jewellery shopping (excellent prices for amber), art auctions, scenery, tour of the galley, variety of dining experiences, quality of food. We had three full days at sea...one unexpected as we couldn't land in Oslo due to a general strike and seven ashore days. We were disappointed in missing Oslo but actually appreciated the day (first day of cruise) to explore the ship and recover from our jet lag. On two of the shore days - Aarhus and Tallinn - we did our own thing and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On the other five days we did Princess shore excursions. All of them were managed brilliantly. They were exhausting days but absolutely brilliant. Of 3200 passengers only 11 were children. There were people from all over the world but mostly Americans. Many people we talked to were seasoned cruisers...quite a few had clocked up over 10 cruises many with Princess. The food, service and entertainment were much much better than I expected. Don't use " The Love Boat" as a reference guide! We used the specialty restaurants, Crown Grill and Sabatinis for formal nights. Other nights we did Anytime Dining in Michaelangelo and Da Vincis. A couple of times we had room service. We had breakfast at Horizon Court most days. All of the food was high quality and the service was excellent. We hardly felt any boat movement...mostly we had calm or mild seas. We will definitely cruise with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
From August 9th to 20th we took our first cruise and it was just fabulous, fabulous to the point that we are now planning a European river cruise for next summer. The Emerald Princess was a beautiful ship which was well maintained by an ... Read More
From August 9th to 20th we took our first cruise and it was just fabulous, fabulous to the point that we are now planning a European river cruise for next summer. The Emerald Princess was a beautiful ship which was well maintained by an excellent staff who were more than helpful. The quantity and quality of food was as good as we have had at numerous 5-star resorts and the specialty restaurants were well worth the extra fees. The Internet Cafe was somewhat disappointing as internet service was quite slow even while in port which resulted in our spending a lot of money just to keep in contact with people. Due to inclement weather we were unable to dock and consequently missed our excursion to Berlin, that was disappointing. We were so impressed by the fact that our ship took us right into the middle of Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn,Aarhus and Oslo. The only negative item about our whole cruise was the harassment inflicted by Princess Cruises organization and staff on those of us who did not take their excursions at St. Petersburg. We had an excellent excursion there with SPB! Last but not least, we would like to thank CRUISE CRITIC and its members for all the help we got prior to setting out on our first cruise. Sincerely, Kate and Jerry Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My wife has never fancied a cruise. She was seasick on the Isle of Man ferry. However, so many of our friends have talked about how much they enjoyed theirs I managed to persuade her. I did listen to stories of cruising from friends with ... Read More
My wife has never fancied a cruise. She was seasick on the Isle of Man ferry. However, so many of our friends have talked about how much they enjoyed theirs I managed to persuade her. I did listen to stories of cruising from friends with great interest. Dining at 6pm with the same people every night; 15% added to a $2.50 bottle of water; tipping for just about everybody; long queues on arrival at ports; ships docking 5 miles away from the actual town etc. etc. the list goes on. Enough to put us off completely until I heard of a great experience on a Silversea cruise. I investigated further. It looked a great ship, small number of people, no tipping, all food and drinks. It sounded just what we wanted even if it was more expensive than we wanted to pay. I investigated further and found 3 more cruise lines which tempted me besides Silversea:- Seabourn, Regent and Crystal. How did I decide? By producing a speadsheet with all the good and bad points (sad Aren't I?). Which cruise line won? Well I narrowed it down to 2 actually - Silversea and Seabourn. Both ticked all the boxes but in the end Seabourn won as our choice of cruise was the Baltic and whilst both did this area Silversea's was 7 days and Seabourn's 12. We went in July on a cruise with flights and transfers included and managed a decent discount off the brochure price. (A regular cruiser on board said aim for half the brochure price). We flew to Copenhagen and were collected at the airport and taken to the Admiral Hotel for the first night (we paid for this ourselves). A very wet Copenhagen meant no sightseeing and had to even stay in the hotel in the morning as the rain was torrential. On embarking on the ship which was docked very near to the city centre and easily walkable from the Admiral on a dry day, we were welcomed with proper champagne and canapes and following a very quick check in we were soon in our suite to be welcomes by a full bottle of champagne on ice, a bowl of fruit and flowers. We also received a free gift of some premium soaps as well as the more ordinary Molton Brown in the bathroom. There are 2-3 choices of where to dine on the Pride - main restaurant which is a traditional style of restaurant where head waiters accompany women to the table; Restaurant 2 which is more casual but with excellent food and choice of food and sometimes the outdoor sky bar for barbeque type food. If you don't like the menu of the day they will always cook you what you want but when choices are fillet steak, lobster tails, rack of lamb, proper halibut etc. why ask for anything different. They are cooked French style and I could only describe them as excellent. Most nights in the main restaurant are smart casual and men do need a jacket. I thought I only needed a jacket for the formal night and took a black suit and I could wear the jacket with ordinary trousers on these nights. An extra lightweight jacket would be useful. Entertainment is excellent with a band, two different duos, guy who played piano/guitar, excellent entertainment manager who also sang together with guests artists eg. McDonald Brothers and magician, Russian dancing troupe etc. Drinks flow freely and the wine with meals is excellent - they have daily choices but if you don't like what they have you can request others. Cocktails are available in all bars and they do not skimp on the spirits. Staff are encouraged to call you by name and about 50% of them do - they memorise your surnames from pictures taken as you board. most are friendly, some over friendly, some polite but do not engage and others merely do their job and just say Hi. I only took exception to one member of staff for lack of customer care skills. The ports we visited were fine although I would have preferred Tallin to Klaipeda. We did not do shore excursions as we found we could find better selection locally at a much better price and fellow cruisers joined us on some of these. St Petersburg was out of this world - so many palaces, churches, statues - cannot take it all in - just wish the Russian people were a bit more friendly - it is as if they don't want our foreign currency. Also, it is impossible to go out on your own in St Petersburg without a visa - would probably be quite difficult as it is such a big city and the language is difficult. To sum up: Ship - really nice, spoilt now and would not want to go on one much bigger (can't really get much smaller though) but I would say it's a 4 star ship with 5 star food. Staff, entertainment, drinks, ports all excellent but just watch the bill at the end - I had to point out a $50 charge for non return of DVD had crept on for some reason and casino chips cashed in had not been credited. I also thought I had paid for transfers from the ship at Stockholm but apparently I had not. Not entirely happy with Seabourn customer service on line though - I had to remind them that they had not responded to my emails about various issues and when a reply was forthcoming there was no name of the person who actually sent it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
First time for us - two female friends of a certain age from the UK. From the outset the staff of NCL made us feel welcome and special. Embarkation was smoothly and efficiently achieved and we were soon able to access our stateroom and ... Read More
First time for us - two female friends of a certain age from the UK. From the outset the staff of NCL made us feel welcome and special. Embarkation was smoothly and efficiently achieved and we were soon able to access our stateroom and feel at home. Without exception the staff were polite and friendly - nothing was too much trouble. Our stateroom stewardess, Jill,was very conscientious and amused us with the 'towel sculptures' she left on the beds each day. The Shore Excursions were all very interesting, the only questionable one was to the Hermitage in St Petersburg where the local guide did not allow us time to explore on our own and treated us like wayward children. On board we dined each evening in Four Seasons (our favourite) and Seven Seas restaurants after pre dinner drinks and mellow musical entertainment in the Observation Lounge. We went to the evening show in the Stardust Lounge every night and found the standard to be very high. All in all this has been a very positive introduction to cruising and NCL should be proud of the happy atmosphere they maintain aboard Norwegian Sun. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011

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