I wanted to visit the Baltic capitals and Saint Petersburg. This cruise visits Copenhagen, Berlin (with a 3-hour drive), Tallinn, St. Petersburg (2 days), Helsinki, and Stockholm with the comfort of a cruise. I travel alone and for solo ... Read More
I wanted to visit the Baltic capitals and Saint Petersburg. This cruise visits Copenhagen, Berlin (with a 3-hour drive), Tallinn, St. Petersburg (2 days), Helsinki, and Stockholm with the comfort of a cruise. I travel alone and for solo travelers, NCL is the cruise line to go. NCL dropped the solo markup on a cabin for the Star cruise that week, so it was a deal I could not pass. This cruise was, by far, the best solo cruise I have enjoyed so far. The Star is a 15 year old ship built when NCL paid more attention to the comfort and pleasure of its cruisers, unlike its newer ships, like the escape, which is a behemoth designed to maximize profits at the expense of passenger well-being and comfort.
The Star is beautifully decorated with art on all its staircases, and walls, a tastefully arranged atrium which spans several decks. Deck 7 has an outside balcony that goes all around the ship (blocked view at the forward side only). It is very well decorated all around and its cabins are spacious enough to be actual cabins, as compared to the NCL Escape where the inside cabin I had is better described as a closet.
Even though the Star was built before NCL started including solo cabins on its ships, NCL organizes a solo meeting every evening to allow solo travelers to meet, get to know each other, and plan activities together. The folks I met on the Star where eclectic and diverse and a lot of fun to be with. They were wonderful cruise companions and I greatly enjoyed all the activities on board and in the various ports of call. As an example, 4 of us, decided to rent a car and drive to Berlin together rather that book the exorbitant tour offered by the cruise and be herded without any control over timing and places to visit. In spite of crazy Debi :-) who drove like at German at 120 miles an hour on the Autobahn, the trip was a blast.
The entertainment was top notch and high quality every night of the cruise. The cruisers were more diverse with more Latinos, Asians, french and other Europeans than you typically find on Caribbean cruises. However, the karaoke song choices did not reflect this diversity, which indicates that NCL still has some progress to do with its international cruises. Its karaoke song choices are still largely US country, which makes me suspect that the person in charge of karaoke fro NCL is a redneck from Nashville :-).
The food is average in the included restaurants, following NCL's trend to move away from the "all inclusive" nature of cruising and push their a-la-carte, pay extra restaurants that seem to become more and more numerous. I suspect that, in a few years, NCL will be offering only water and cold sandwiches on its cruises, and will charge for coffee and warm foods.
The weather, a bit colder that the Caribbean in May, was nonetheless wonderful for us. In a region that has only 60 days of sunshine a year, the weather gods grated us 8 out of 9 days of sun.
Anyway, as far as cruising goes, I highly recommend this particular cruise to all and especially to solo travelers. May you have as must fun as I did. Read Less