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278 Harwich to Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

Chose the cruise because of the itinerary [St Petersburg] and have sailed on Marco Polo before. Marco Polo looks like a ship and not like a floating apartment block and that's why I like it. OK it has its downside when the ship is ... Read More
Chose the cruise because of the itinerary [St Petersburg] and have sailed on Marco Polo before. Marco Polo looks like a ship and not like a floating apartment block and that's why I like it. OK it has its downside when the ship is full - not enough seating in buffet; insufficient open deck seating; cramped restaurant tables [and bossy waiters at breakfast & lunch - sit where you are told [for their convenience] and not where you want to sit. But Marco Polo has plenty of upside too. No screaming kids or truculent teenagers. Small ship atmosphere. Friendly and hardworking staff - buffet Head Waiter and his staff superb as was our table waiter at dinner in the restaurant. Thank you very much Sanjay. Good food. Reasonably priced drinks. Really good entertainment and a good itinerary although the Captain, speaking from the bridge, had to cancel Stockholm and transit of Kiel Canal because the Germans don't maintain their canal locks properly. Wouldn't happen on a Russian canal Captain! Also the passengers were mainly British and of an age when good manners, courtesy and civility were deemed important educational outcomes which made for a very pleasant atmosphere on board throughout the cruise. One serious issue is that crew leave passengers to sort themselves out when having to queue for disembarkation tickets and shuttle buses. Not good practice. Queues should be orderly and controlled with clear instructions given by crew. [and to the truculent crew member in future cruise sales - I know what I am talking about having written operational orders involving dozens of agencies and thousands of people so don't try and make me appear to be a moron in front of other passengers. I did not complain about your attitude this time]. Overall a good cruise and excellent value for money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which we loved, and because we wanted to try the new Viking ships. Ship was terrific, especially public spaces--spacious and wide variety of experiences. Otherwise, not so much, as we had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which we loved, and because we wanted to try the new Viking ships. Ship was terrific, especially public spaces--spacious and wide variety of experiences. Otherwise, not so much, as we had major problems with excursions and restaurants--systems and management issues, primarily. Excursion management is a disaster. You cannot count on My Viking Journey to be accurate--in terms of what is posted as well as keeping track of those you have requested or paid for. Although you get tickets when you board, the times are not released until the night before, and often did not match what we had reserved. These last-minute changes and cancellations made it difficult to plan effective shore time, and the excursions staff was mostly indifferent. The excursions themselves were mostly very good, reasonably priced, and met or exceeded our expectations. Review forms were inconsistently passed out, however, and didn't allow capture of reactions very well. Most reviews were based on expectations, but our expectations weren't very high, based on feedback from others. Food was OK, not great, and restaurant management/staffing was very uneven; tables weren't bused, service sometimes very slow, dining reservations were totally messed up. The 'included' wine was mediocre, at best. Our Explorer stateroom was lovely; only issue was with clarification of amenities, and air conditioning. Wish guests could turn bathroom floor heating off. Technology connections were terrific--USB and 110 ports in several locations. If the ship is more important than the service, you may be pleased, but the problems we encountered with management and communication were a deal-breaker for us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
It was our goal to see Scandinavia and the Baltic. We were not disappointed! We had been on Viking River Cruises on the Yangtze and the Danube, and we were keen to try out the ocean going vessel. The four weeks were filled with so ... Read More
It was our goal to see Scandinavia and the Baltic. We were not disappointed! We had been on Viking River Cruises on the Yangtze and the Danube, and we were keen to try out the ocean going vessel. The four weeks were filled with so much to do, both on board and in the excursions. We were delighted with the quality of the lectures offered on board, and we appreciated having the opportunity to watch them again (or in case we missed out) on our stateroom television. The libraries of books available were a treat! The staff were exceptional, the food selections were superb, and the views from the Explorers Lounge were breathtaking. The arrangements for the excursions were expertly handled. The atmosphere on board was so civilized and intellectual. Our experience with the Spa was wonderful, and we were so glad to have booked massages for the day after embarkation to help get rid of the TransAtlantic flight stiffness. It was the trip of a lifetime for us, and our loyalty to Viking is strong. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Firstly we chose “Viking” based on our previous river cruising experiences. We always book our travel and transfers with Viking. As soon as we see the Viking agents responsible for getting us to our ship, we immediately relax and get ... Read More
Firstly we chose “Viking” based on our previous river cruising experiences. We always book our travel and transfers with Viking. As soon as we see the Viking agents responsible for getting us to our ship, we immediately relax and get into vacation mode. We chose this cruise hoping to see the natural beauty of the Norwegian fjords and Viking came through with flying colors. As advertized, our ship sailed to locations only accessible to smaller ocean liners. During the cruise, we enjoyed several conversations with our ship’s captain. He was very approachable and appeared to enjoy the cruise just as much as his passengers did. The entire service staff took care of all our requests and needs. The in port excursions were fun and very educational. During our time on board, we utilized the excellent fitness facilities, enjoyed many satisfying meals at all of the restaurants and poolside grill. We have now enjoyed both ocean and river cruising with Viking and look forward to booking future trips. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise because we had had a very good experience with Viking on two of their river cruises and we wanted to visit Scotland. Before the trip I was disappointed that we would be spending so much time in Norway and not more in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had had a very good experience with Viking on two of their river cruises and we wanted to visit Scotland. Before the trip I was disappointed that we would be spending so much time in Norway and not more in Scotland and England. After the trip I can honestly say Norway was amazing although I would give up a couple of days to see a bit more of England. As for the ship and crew, Viking exceeded my expectations. The ship was large enough to have a smooth ride, most of the time, but small enough for that personal touch your river cruises are known for. It was also nice to have a choice of restaurants and areas to spend quiet time outside of the room. I also appeciated the fact there where only two at "at sea" days. Our trips are planned more around places new places to see and experience with the ship being our mobile luxury hotel. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Everything was perfect beginning to end. We have been on several Viking cruises and find that they pay attention to details. Our choices for food and restaurants were varied and the quality was excellent. The staff were very friendly and ... Read More
Everything was perfect beginning to end. We have been on several Viking cruises and find that they pay attention to details. Our choices for food and restaurants were varied and the quality was excellent. The staff were very friendly and efficient and genuinely cared about your experience while on " their" ship. I would recommend Viking to anyone looking for a wonderful cruise experience. The ship is small for a ocean cruise ship but this adds to the charm as you get a more personal feel. This was our first cruise of this length and we were concerned that it would be too long. Viking has so many excursions and enrichment lectures that we were in our final days before we knew it. If you choose this cruise make sure you spend time planning your excursions in advance as many ( even the included tours) are booked well in advance of the sail date. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first cruise with RCL, following previous experience with Cunard and NCL. We were a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 child of 11) also travelling with extended family. This was our first cruise where we sailed from the UK, we ... Read More
This was our first cruise with RCL, following previous experience with Cunard and NCL. We were a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 child of 11) also travelling with extended family. This was our first cruise where we sailed from the UK, we liked parking and the lack of hassle involved with flights, but while getting to Harwich was ok for us, it's not a great port. However, embarkation (and disembarkation at the end) was very efficient. From leaving the ship at 0745 we had cases and were driving off by 0805. The ship is a great size, very similar to the Norwegian ships we have been familiar with. We liked the cabin, great use of space and a decent bathroom (better than the NCL layout in our opinion). Cabin service was good, but the staff seemed very overworked. RCL were even more obsessed than usual with cleanliness on our cruise, and our corridor was closed at one point for 3 hours while they sanitised it after an 'incident'. We liked the interior spaces, the itinerary (12 night Scandinavia and Baltic was brilliant), and the general feeling of the ship. Our son liked the kids club and met loads of friends, which was a major bonus. We ate at Chops Grille, which was really good, but felt the other specialty restaurants were less appealing, so missed those out. We were less keen on the restaurant service in the main dining room, and felt there was a lack of choice in the main restaurant and the windjammer, especially if you are a veggie. Over several nights the same stuff kept cropping up, while the food quality was almost always good, the choice seemed narrower than the similar options on Cunard or NCL. Theatre shows were average, with a few high points. In particular the ventriloquist, juggler and final night magician were good, the rest was poor. Cruise director and staff were in federal good with one exception, which was dealt with professionally by Steve (the cruise director). Overall, we loved the destinations (especially St Petersburg and Stockholm); that made the holiday. The ship was 'fine', and we will probably use RCL again, but only if there is a a really good itinerary on offer. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I rarely bother to write reviews, but I felt that his one had to be done. We boarded in Harwich for a Baltic cruise, and then stayed on board for the TransAtlantic cruise to Boston. I combined my thoughts on this cruise with the cruise ... Read More
I rarely bother to write reviews, but I felt that his one had to be done. We boarded in Harwich for a Baltic cruise, and then stayed on board for the TransAtlantic cruise to Boston. I combined my thoughts on this cruise with the cruise taken just before it. It was a back-to-back. Generally, individuals working on the ship were very nice and gave good service. Gerald, our room steward, and Mariana, one of our waitresses were excellent. But, it seemed like the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. We had requested Traditional Dining but there was no Dining Room or Table on our SeaPass cards when we first got on the ship (Aug 25th). When I went down to Reception to see about it I also asked about the lifeboat drill because my friend had hurt her knee. We were told 4 different things by employees. 1 - someone would come to the cabin and help her. 2- We could go to Cafe Latte-tudes for the drill so she could sit down. 3- only one of us had to go to the drill, and 4- she had to go on deck to the proper muster station. Which we did, and some nice person found a chair for her. I'd hate to think what would happen in a real emergency. Another problem that we had was with wake-up calls. We received 3 unsolicited wake up calls, all at 12.57 AM! And we did not get at least 2 of the wake up calls we had requested. The last one was requested through reception so that there wouldn't be any mix up, but we never got it. On these days we very nearly missed our shore excursions. We also had both our Stockholm excursions cancelled. We were told it was because there weren't enough people who wanted to do them. But they cancelled the excursions 4 days before arriving in Stockholm. There might have been other people wanting to go. One of the excursions we were really looking forward to was the Ice Bar. When we went to the Shore Excursions desk to see about our cancelled excursions we weren't told that the Ice Bar was easily done on your own. We were sold another excursion. I realize that is their job, but it might have been good business to put the customer first. On one of our shore excursions our ticket had the wrong meeting place on it. We were told to meet at the theatre. When we got there the theatre was closed for rehearsals and there was no one else there. I phoned reception and explained our situation. I was told just wait. After awhile I asked an employee that was going by. She also said just wait. I also asked an entertainer when I peeked into the theatre. She said just wait outside the theatre. We eventually went on the pier and found our tour and a nearly full bus. They apologized to us. After the tour we went to the Shore Excursions desk to tell them what happened and they said that tour always meets on the pier. Where's your ticket? Of course, our tickets were handed in to the tour guide so we couldn't prove that the meeting time on there was wrong. It really sounded like the shore excursions person didn't believe us. When I suggested that the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing he told us that an email was sent every night to each employee to let them know what was happening. I don't think employees are reading their emails, if this is the case. We also got emails from Royal Caribbean saying that we needed ESTAs before arriving in Boston. We are both Canadian and that was news to me. So, I went to reception to ask about it and I was told he would ask someone else and get right back to me. Two or three days later I went back to reception for an answer and a different employee was able to confirm we, as Canadians, did not need ESTAs. In Halifax my friend was sitting on her bed and was sprayed with water. When she looked out there was a man hosing down the ship. She yelled to him about the balcony door being open. He rudely yelled back, Well, close it! We were given no notice that that could happen. An officer came down and apologized to her about it. Our steward said he couldn't let us know because we had the Do Not Disturb sign on our door, but he had phoned us for other things when we had the Do Not Disturb sign on. Another irritation was that the ship was always running out of things. Some days there were no bananas, some days there was no ginger ale, and once there was no pineapple juice to make one of the drinks in the bar menu. And the Cosmos were $14! They are $8.25 on Princess. How can you justify charging $5.75 more for a drink? Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We aren't people who spend time in a hotel room, so basic rooms that are adequate are fine. Adequate being the operative word. The room consists of a large bed with two overhead beds. Yes the bunk beds are above the adults head so you ... Read More
We aren't people who spend time in a hotel room, so basic rooms that are adequate are fine. Adequate being the operative word. The room consists of a large bed with two overhead beds. Yes the bunk beds are above the adults head so you are unable to sit up. The above bed is not able to sleep an adult and our 10 year old child is unable to sit in bed without banging his head. If you want to watch telly this is impossible as the settee sits 2 and then there is a single chair. You can't watch from the beds as the ladder is in the way. In the main dining room, the food that is actually presented to you is well presented and tasty. However we have experienced waits of 30 minutes even when booked. The other restaurants are all pay except the Windjammer, this is help yourself. This particularly reminds us of a school canteen, although some of the food is nice. There is a nice sandwich/panini place. Be careful when ordering the all inclusive drinks package. The wine and beer package is just what it says and no spirits are allowed. Freshly squeezed orange juice, latte, etc are all an extra charge. The inside pool is over 16 only accept between 16:00 & 18:00. The service is very hit and miss, with a few going out their way & others seem grumpy. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Crew was outstanding in servicing our family during meal times. They made this cruise less disappointing to us. The itinerary is perfect, great selection of cities with good range of excursions and tour options. Royal Tots was ok. Our room ... Read More
Crew was outstanding in servicing our family during meal times. They made this cruise less disappointing to us. The itinerary is perfect, great selection of cities with good range of excursions and tour options. Royal Tots was ok. Our room was not properly cleaned, esp. the balcony (there were slippers, pills from previous guests underneath the bed and plates from breakfast were left in the balcony for days). The windows throughout the ship were dirty, floors in common areas were disgusting by dinner time. The worst entertainment program and cruise director we ever experienced (dull bingo and questions activities, a couple playing songs on playback at centrum, four presentations of MJ's thriller with guests and the list goes on). There is a feeling that the crew is overworked and that a bad working environment is affecting the quality of service. We heard rumours that crew's salary were paid by our gratuities. We were appalled to receive an envelope for extra gratuities the last day, given we paid 18% mandatory gratuity in advance and over each service we bought on the cruise. We gladly tip services that are excellent but we dislike the effect of "being invited" to do so in such a forceful manner. We did a wonderful caribbean cruise with RC but this trip made us reconsider our next travel arrangements. I hope you read my review bf booking this. Plus, if you can, leave from Stockholm. Nothing to do in harwich and it adds 3 days to the cruise that are a killer... Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I just joined CC after years of reviewing information on the site. Thought I should go back and post some information from my cruising experiences; hence the long delay between cruise date and posting date. The ports and excursions on ... Read More
I just joined CC after years of reviewing information on the site. Thought I should go back and post some information from my cruising experiences; hence the long delay between cruise date and posting date. The ports and excursions on this trip were spectacular. The highlights were St. Petersburg Hermitage museum (quickly run into the square before the tour starts for a picture because you won't get any time to do this otherwise), a bike ride in Skagen, Denmark which included a short hike on the beach to put your feet in both the North and Baltic seas at the same time, and especially the flight to Moscow for a full-day experience in that city which included the Red Square, a Kremlin museum (exceeded expectations and a definite "don't miss"), a subway ride (amazing artwork underground), and a dinner at an upscale restaurant with caviar and blinis and, of course, beef stroganoff (nom nom). I would have given this 5 stars, but there were too many unruly and unsupervised kids to make this cruise fully enjoyable and relaxing. Several people had made complaints, but the CL didn't seem to do much about it. Hopefully, RCI has instituted appropriate procedures to deal with this issue by now. The entertainment quality was not that great, We went on this cruise for the ports and excursions, so the lackluster evening entertainment was not an issue for us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The Brilliance of the Seas cruise to the Norwegian fjords and Iceland was far below what we have come to expect and appreciate from RCL. The ship looks "tired" and well worn, with very dirty areas seen as the glass elevators ... Read More
The Brilliance of the Seas cruise to the Norwegian fjords and Iceland was far below what we have come to expect and appreciate from RCL. The ship looks "tired" and well worn, with very dirty areas seen as the glass elevators traveled up...the spaces between elevator and outside wall were, in places, filthy, making one wonder what the level of cleanliness throughout the ship was! The stop in Alesund was a total waste as there was virtually nothing to do except ride to the top of a mountain, look over, take photos and leave. There were no shops or attractions...very boring. The rest of the Norwegian stops, Iceland and the Faroe Islands were lovely. We asked for wake-up calls 5 times while on board, got 2, a 60% failure rate , which is unacceptable in any type of business. However, we did get unasked-for wake up calls twice, in the middle of the night. (12:10 and 12:15 AM on 2 different nights) We told the guest services desk after each problem, were told "everything has been fixed". We booked a ship sponsored excursion for our last half-day in Iceland. The description of the excursion did not match the actual experience at all. As with all ship excursions, it was not cheap and we really wanted the 1.5 mile hike around a volcano as described but we ended up touring the same basic areas that we had seen the day before on our all day trip (privately arranged). The guest services staff, while very friendly, did not seem to have a firm grasp on most aspects of the ship's services. While waiting I line for at least 10 minutes each time I needed to speak to them, I watched as 2, once 3, members of the staff consulted over the computer to "fix" a guest's issue or answer a question. At dinner, one of our table mates called this a "training ship" and perhaps that was the answer....had we known that, we probably would have booked elsewhere. The food served on the ship was never more than "average", and the Windjammer dining experience as awful as usual. Never a place to sit, a virtual "feeding frenzy" . For a North European cruise could RCL maybe make doors for the currently exterior eating areas to increase the seating area that is truly useful? The Windjammer staff could do SOMETHING to motivate diners who have long-finished eating and are reading/chatting/playing cards on tables other people are needing to Had this been our first Royal cruise, it would have been our last. We have been "loyal to Royal" for years, but it may be time to switch. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We arrived in London 3 days before departure . We took the train to Harwich which is an easy one hour journey. Check in was easy and took about 10 minutes The food was hit and miss. One night I ordered a medium steak but it was so ... Read More
We arrived in London 3 days before departure . We took the train to Harwich which is an easy one hour journey. Check in was easy and took about 10 minutes The food was hit and miss. One night I ordered a medium steak but it was so tough even to cut it. The Windjammer cafe is always busy, however service was excellent. The shows were very interesting. We loved the Graffiti Classic and the hypnotist. We were lucky to have good weather in Iceland. We rent a car and drove to the Golden Circle and visited Blue Lagoon. It was fantastic, really worth to go. We joined only one ship's excursion in Faroe Island to visit the countryside. It was expensive and feel like we are being ripped off. We had one really rough sea day on our return to Harwich. It lasted for about a few hours. Finally it died down when we approached the Scottish coast. We enjoyed this sailing very much only the food was under our expectation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
RCCL has been our favorite among the five different cruise lines we have traveled. We were not disappointed on this cruise. Food in the dining room was outstanding. For casual dining we loved the Solarium with the sun, pool and food ... Read More
RCCL has been our favorite among the five different cruise lines we have traveled. We were not disappointed on this cruise. Food in the dining room was outstanding. For casual dining we loved the Solarium with the sun, pool and food court. Ship is mid size and easy to find one's way around. Evening shows were top notch; especially liked the singer Romano from Italy. The Graffiti Group surprised us as their name did not indicate just how talented they were. We had cool and rainy weather so did not use the outside parts of the ship as we have on other cruises. We took independent tours in each port and found of them to be very enjoyable. In Iceland and the Faroe Islands we booked ahead of time (Geoiceland and 62 Degrees North). In Bergen, Alesund and Geiranger we simply joined a tour at the pier. Were disappointed in only 1 1/2 days in Iceland. The second day ended at 12:30 and we would have liked a full day there. Could have eliminated Alesund as there is nothing there. Cruise ships are new to this port and there is no shopping and little to see. Enjoyed a trolley tour in Bergen and a small boat trip in Geiranger. During our days at sea we would have enjoyed more crafts in appropriate settings. The card making class was held in the bar with no room to work. We traveled with another couple and did play a lot of cards. Work out area is adequate; amazing how few people were using it when I was. Too cool for pool use. Enjoyed the music at the small bars and the Centrum. My wish...that cruises could be smoke free! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
After several years bringing up young children, working busy jobs, generally getting older, more tired and fatter, this was a much anticipated 1st real holiday for us and the children. We got our first taste of cruising on Serenade of ... Read More
After several years bringing up young children, working busy jobs, generally getting older, more tired and fatter, this was a much anticipated 1st real holiday for us and the children. We got our first taste of cruising on Serenade of the Seas in Alaska in 2005 and loved the experience of seeing some pretty inhospitable but interesting places from the comfort of a floating hotel. The Baltic Cruise seemed like a fantastic option for us- leaving from Harwich, visiting countries that possess intrigue and rich history without a searing hot sun to exhaust us and render our fair complexions charred. We also felt, correctly as it turned out, that this sort of destination might 'self-select' the other travellers better than a sun and booze seeking crowd usually attracted to the Mediterranean at this time of year. It was great being on board with so many nationalities- the Hispanics brought some much needed colour, the Americans the usual positivity and energy, a spattering of Germans, Dutch and French to balance and our fellow Brits to generally complain about everything and feel hard done by. Check in was seamless and whilst hectic and busy, from pulling into the car park to sinking our first beer it took less than 1 hour. Had this been Heathrow, I'd have probably only have got to the stage of re-packing my hand luggage and retrieving my children from lost property within a similar timeframe, assuming, of course, that the M25 had got me there at all. The ship, to the uninitiated is well laid out, easy to get around and provides ample space for the number of people on board. The bars are great- spacious, comfortable, good range of drinks available and regular entertainment. The cabins are cleverly designed and smart. There are signs of wear, as other people have commented. I'd be very interested to see how their houses fare with 2000 guests traipsing through every 2 weeks as overall our stateroom felt appropriate for the price paid and any bumps and scrapes were minimum at best. I was particularly impressed by how quiet the rooms are. I didn't even realise we had a next door neighbour until the last night. The service was, at all times amazing. I spent a few minutes watching the waiting staff during dinner one evening- they do not stop working and smiling whilst they do it. I can barely cope with 2 hours at my work without wanting to cause bodily harm to someone with a biro so how they achieve such standards of positivity is worthy of close scientific study. On at least 2 or three occasions I heard other guest whinging about waiting for a table, or food not quite being right. Feeding 2000 demanding people in a confined, constantly moving, hot, uncomfortable space every night for months on end is a task of epic proportions and the RCI staff are real pros. It was really apparent to me that you get out of a cruise what you put into it, the families who took the time to engage with their waiters / cabin staff / bar staff, work with them and learn a bit about them get so much more out of the experience. We found Rama and Simon to be excellent, consistently. Rana brought us the wrong food twice. He also brought us extra food because he knew we liked certain dishes, made the kids special deserts, ensured we got tables we liked and helped us get the best out of the menus. Was the food perfect? No, but compared to an all you can eat cattle trough at a '4 star' hotel in Palma Nova, it was excellent each and every night. The entertainment was generally very impressive. OK, Donimo the mime / slapstick / clown act wouldn't be on my top 5 list, but the Argentinian Tango night was surprisingly good, String Fever excellent, Siobhan Phillips hilarious and Pete Matthews had the entire room in stitches. The acts were diverse, polished and a welcome end to a day's touring or sitting around drinking beer and taking in the views. Certainly a positive experience for all of the family on this cruise. The kids clubs seemed to be well run and fun- both of our children (4 and 6) can be shy yet came bounding out with stories of fun games they'd played or proudly showing off things they had made. Other activities were good time-wasters. The crazy golf provided plenty of fun, the basketball court was both a social hub and good source of exercise, climbing wall challenging and well run and plenty of music, quizzes, competitions and classes throughout the ship all the time. People seemed to be complaining about on-board 'hidden extra's. There is a simple solution to this. Don't: Eat in the speciality dining restaurants Drink lots of cocktails Go to the Spa Buy art / amber / inches of gold Use RCI to book excursions Have your picture taken We found this pretty easy. We had a picture taken on the formal night and the £40 we spent on the pictures was worth it compared to hiring a professional photographer at home. The excursions were really enjoyable but you need plenty of stamina to do 5 consecutive days. St. Petersburg is a big, beautiful, crazy and overwhelming place and will take it out of even the most hardy of guests. Copenhagen was fabulous, Tallinn quaint, interesting and attractive, Helsinki a surprising and interesting stop and Stockholm warrants a further trip. It would be beneficial if geography allows to amend the itinerary to give a sea day between Helsinki and Stockholm. It is a fantastic, beautiful city and we struggled to take it all in with grumpy, tired children. Still, the tours with SPB were well worth the money- George in Helsinki particularly deserves a mention for his wit, engaging story telling and ability to bring Finland to life for us. Skagen was OK- too small to comfortably cope with a cruise ship in port on a wet day but the shopping is good and the food was excellent. In summary, I would recommend this cruise to anyone who demands a bit more from the actual destinations of their holidays. This is not a good trip for sun worshippers or purveyors of reality TV and gossip magazines. St. Petersburg, in particular requires a bit more historical and cultural awareness than your average Spanish Coastal town- it helps to read up on Russian History (1700 to 1960). Think carefully before taking younger children or sulky teens. Ours loved the shorter more active excursions but struggled with the size of the Hermitage / walking in Stockholm. You can't expect good weather in the Baltics also, so expect a congested solarium and Spanish families filling the hot whirlpools (I'd recommend getting in with them. They can be hilarious). Get up a bit early for breakfast to get a decent seat and try to get dinner in between 6pm and 7.45pm or after 9.30pm to avoid a bit of sitting around. On the whole, this is an informal, fun cruise company who seen to get the basics right for the most part. It's not a 5 star, high-end experience and they do want to empty your wallets, but if you go into it with the right attitude you will love it. We will certainly be booking again with RCI and will seriously consider a return to the Baltics. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Unfortunately we never anticipated the huge numbers of bored and badly behaved children that would prove to be the downfall of this cruise. We had decided that this was not a child friendly itinerary and how right we were. Unfortunately ... Read More
Unfortunately we never anticipated the huge numbers of bored and badly behaved children that would prove to be the downfall of this cruise. We had decided that this was not a child friendly itinerary and how right we were. Unfortunately many parents just used the ship as one enormous playground for their unruly offspring who insisted on displaying their athleticism and vocal strengths on dance floors, corridors, stairwells and at the back of the theatre whilst shows were in progress. The Cruise Director Staff were totally unable and unwilling to deal with this problem, in fact a couple of the cruise staff admitted they were actually quite apprehensive about doing anything about it in case they were reported by the offenders and that would go against their record. How absurd! We struggled to find quiet areas without either music blaring ( why is it the cruise staff think we are all deaf?) or children yelling and screaming. OK so that is my main whinge out of the way, in future we cruise during term time, lesson learnt. Other than that we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and simply loved the layout of the ship. On the whole the food was well presented and tasty with the odd evening of poor quality dining but I guess that is just par for the course with modern day cruising and the necessary cutbacks. Now onto the Ports and my tips for saving bucket loads of money : Copenhagen :Langeline Pier is about 40 minutes walk to the city centre, a level and interesting stroll. You pass The Little Mermaid, watch the changing of the Guard at midday at the Palace and onto the old city with all it's old churches, museums and statues of Hans Christian Anderson. Copenhagen has 1300 'free' bikes that anyone can use between May and December. Insert a 20 krone coin in to release the bike and return to any one of the 125 City Bike Parking Lots. The bikes are all blue or red. There is free wifi on the Pier but it is very slow, better to buy a coffee in the internet café where they will put the password into your phone for you. Catch the water bus by the Polar Bear Statue at the end of the Pier. Maps etc can be picked up from the Tourist Office on the Pier. Tallinn : You have no choice but to use the ship Tender but once at the Port it is only a 5 minute stroll to this beautiful medieval fortified city. Be warned there are lots of cobblestones and steep streets but it is well worth every painful step. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an absolute must, quite incredible. Again there is free wifi at the Port. Souvenirs are cheaper here than in St Petersburg, a 5 piece Matryoshka Doll of reasonable quality will set you back around 15 to 20 euros. St Petersburg : Don't bother with arranging a Visa, ridiculously expensive for just a couple of days, just join a couple of walking Tours. St Petersburg is a fascinating place, the tour guides excellent and well informed as well as being very interesting. We did the walking tour of the Church of the Spilled Blood and also the Nevsky Prospekt Walking Tour which were wonderful, both giving us plenty of free time to explore. Helsinki : Pick up a good map from the tourist office on the dock by the ship and ask them where you can find the local bust stop to town. It is just at the end of the Port. Take Bus no 14 to Pajamaki and get off at Kampii from where you can explore everywhere. When you board the bus ask the driver for a day Ticket which will cost 8 euros per person and gives you free access to all buses, trams and public ferries. Fantastic Value! Coming back get the same number bus but to Hesneraari, you will see the cruise ship so it is fairly obvious where to get off. Tram no 2 does a complete loop so stay on that and if you want, just use it as a Hop on Hop off. Must does are Sibelius Park and the ferry to Suomenlinna island. Stockholm : The sail in around the myriad of islands is maybe one of the most impressive entrances to a Port. Everything is within walking distance from where the ship docks, maybe a 20 minute amble. Visit Gamla Stan, the old town, full of cobbled street and pavement cafes. Skagen : OK so everything is within walking distance again. the locals really went out of their way to be friendly but to be honest there was no appeal for me here. Maybe the drizzle and grey skies didn't help. I just loved these Ports of Call, luckily for us the weather held up for most days as long as you got up early. I was told that mornings always have the best weather in the Baltic and I am so pleased we took heed of that. We watched many soaked passengers make their squelchy return to the ship, caught in afternoon squalls and showers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We are semi-regular cruisers with RCCL, with Platinum status. We last cruised with them in 2012 (Serenade around the Med). I am mobility disabled and typically travel with my husband. This is a long review, apologies. Ship - I find the ... Read More
We are semi-regular cruisers with RCCL, with Platinum status. We last cruised with them in 2012 (Serenade around the Med). I am mobility disabled and typically travel with my husband. This is a long review, apologies. Ship - I find the Radiance is a good size if you are not a keen walker; you can get from one end of the ship to the other in fairly quick time and everything seems within a decent distance. Usual bars, with the welcome new addition of a pub layout to replace the sports bar, and three included meal locations (MDR, Windjammer and Park Café). Whilst overall the ship was well maintained and very clean, we noticed various areas where the recent "refit" had not had an effect eg damage/peeling paint on top floor of theatre. Cabin - we were in 7114, which is a disabled balcony E3 cabin. Hence you have more space and a walk in shower - this was very helpful. Whilst the cabin was kept very clean and tidy, we did have a couple of small problems - our attendant did not seem confident in her towel animals and we only got two through the whole cruise, plus the balcony door was consistently left closed but not locked. I know these are minor but we look forward to our animals, and it formed part of our overall sense that the quality is being downgraded. Dining - we always did WJ for breakfast and this always had decent choice. Tables always busy but that is nothing new and we often took spaces on the open section. We did MDR most nights for dinner. Service was strong for us, but the choices were disappointing - nothing regional, often repetitive. Most of our table chose the steak more than once, and lobster was never included on our menu without a price supplement. The park café did custom made salads and roast meat rolls, which we had on occasion for lunch. Custom dining - we attended Chops Grille and Giovanni's during our cruise, and enjoyed the extra attention and separate table very much. We did not attend Izumi or Rita's Cantina as it was strongly our view that these should be included in the food price and not charged as extra. Beverages - we elected to take the premium package for beverages. We calculated this as being a couple of cocktails/beers pre dinner, a glass of wine or two with dinner and a closing cocktail. This was the right choice - on reaching the ship, all cocktails advertised were $14. The choice provided in each bar varied dramatically, and the list of "available cocktails" was tiny compared to what is technically available. My husband prefers real ale as opposed to lager, but this appeared to be completely unfamiliar to various staff members (in fact, the ship stocked several interesting varieties if they could be located). It is also definitely the case that, with packages being gratuity included, there is little incentive for pool bar staff to circulate around open areas to earn more tips. We nearly always ended up going to the bar itself if we were on the pool deck, which is contrary to our previous experience. In the Schooner bar and pub, staff were very attentive. Embarkation was organised with military precision - we got to the port for 11.30am, drove to the car park and gave up our bags - which then appeared outside our room before 5pm. Most impressive. Disembarkation was also well organised and the Harwich staff very helpful. Entertainment - we enjoyed the quizzes very much, especially Alison's progressive quiz. The comedy juggler headliner was the best overall, although the comedy singer and the zoots were also good. We were surprised that the Abba experience was put on as we left Denmark, rather than Sweden..... The contortionist/acrobat/strength examples were really unappealing to English eyes, as a fair proportion of their show consisted of videos of other people praising their performance on AGT. All the guest entertainers (ie violinists, pianists, guitarists in the bars and open areas) were excellent. My last point is one which unfortunately coloured our overall view of RCCL and has probably dissuaded us from travelling with them again. We understand from more than one of the guest entertainers onboard that, in addition to their musical responsibilities, they were now also being asked to don gloves, pick up a sponge and assist in cleaning the ship (theatre, etc). We were shocked to hear this, as we know from our own friend circle that the role of musician involves a material investment of time and training - it seemed that RCCL did not value this. Presumably the Captain and officers will not be using their own downtime to scrub the cabins? Although we did see the officers running "celebrity" casino tables on some nights, so perhaps anything is possible! In short - we liked the ports very much, we liked the ship for size, we liked our cabin but overall we felt that we were constantly being nickeled and dimed. It seemed that RCCL aimed at the lowest price for the simple cabin but then tried to get every last cent out of you through pushed extras, which was distasteful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We booked this cruise in Nov 2014, this is not our usual MO, but we were travelling with friends, who were nervous about not getting the cruise we all wanted to go on. I don't like to book in advance and then have to count the months ... Read More
We booked this cruise in Nov 2014, this is not our usual MO, but we were travelling with friends, who were nervous about not getting the cruise we all wanted to go on. I don't like to book in advance and then have to count the months and days, prefer to book at last minute, even if it means losing the cruise. No matter, because we booked early, we got a free drinks package, which worked fantastically well. We also got free gratuities and could have had free parking, although we chose to travel by coach from North West with the excellent Eavesway. Boarding at Harwich was easy and painless. We were on board ship within 45 mins of arriving at Harwich. We had both booked inside cabins, we were in superset decks, as we had taken pot luck whereas our friends had paid £250 each extra to choose their cabin. Luckily for us, our cabin was equally as good as theirs, but it is the luck of the draw. We loved the ship, thought the shows were excellent. we went in MDR for first couple of nights, including the Black Tie night, but what a chaotic evening that was. It was freedom dining but despite booking our table for 8pm, when we turned up at 7.45pm, there was a long queue. We thought that the other people in the queue had turned up without booking but this was not the case, we had all booked for 8pm! So it was about 8.50 pm when we were eventually seated, at a very good table. There were lots of problems and issues with the ordering of the moral and serving of the meal but the food was excellent and as there were four of us, we had a laugh about it. Our friends were only happy to try the main dining room one more time, the Windjammer was absolutely excellent and we ate there every other night on the cruise. The waiter service was outstanding, the best on any cruise we have been on. The ports of call lived up to our expectations, Copenhagen was first, very sunny weather, have a walk around there, no need to do tours. Tallinn was superb, again lovely sunny weather, the old town was a delight. We took the shuttle bus from the ship as I had a few mobility problems at the time, but it was about 20 mins walk. St Petersburg was raining which put a bit of a shadow in things. Also, we booked a tour of La Hermitage, but really, it was spoilt because it was so massively busy and we were only able to see where the guide took us. Would have liked to go "off piste" but not possible,. 2nd day in St Petersburg, we visited a Palace and went on a boat trip, loved it, much better than La Her image. Just an aside, why were the Customs Officers at St P so MISERABLE??? By the way,, the cafe through the Customs at Dt P, had excellent wifi, for the price of s cup of coffee. On to Helsinki where the rain was so heavy for the first hour, that we went back to the ship! Helsinki is on our list of we ever go back to Scandinavia. Next port was Stockholm which was definitely the jewel in the crown. What a fantastic place. Would like to go back there for a City break, we loved it. We went on the hop in hop off bus which stops at the end of the pier. I think tickets were around £16 each for all day, use as many times as you like. Because of my mobility problems,we got off at Old Town, a must see, but then stayed on the boat for a while and had a great time. The sail in/out of Stockholm is breathtaking, on a par with Venice, although in a completely different way. A must see Our last port was Skaagen, which we were all a bit blasé about., because we hadn't known quite what to expect. If this port is on your itinerary, you are in for a treat, it is a charming seaside town. We had a walk round and a couple of Carlsberg (when in Denmark etc) at a delightful bar/cafe. I would recommend Brilliance of the Seas and Baltic cruise We have also cruised with RCI previously, as well as P&O and Thomson. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The theme of this cruise is how to extract the most money from our passengers. We have been on number of cruises . This was by far the worst. Dinning room menue is trimmed down to a bare bone selection so as to force you to go to the ... Read More
The theme of this cruise is how to extract the most money from our passengers. We have been on number of cruises . This was by far the worst. Dinning room menue is trimmed down to a bare bone selection so as to force you to go to the specialty restaurant. Wine is available on certain evenings at a 25 percent discount. I was charged full price. I was told that I had to ask for the discount. This happened twice. Like wise I went to the casino to play slots. Drinks were to be 1/2 price after 11pm. Again I was charged full price and told I must ask for it. The buffet and the Park cafe were boring. The same items every day. Coffee on board is mediocre , no cream just milk. I enjoy coffee so of to the cafe. Cappuccino or espresso is about $4.00 plus tip. It is server in a paper cup with stir stick. No table service.How classy is that. The desserts were tastless and the same for 12 days. They used to have descent juices in the dispensers. Now you get lemon or kiwi water. Yuk. They are determined that you buy the beverage package. As you leave the ship they try to sell you water at $6.49 for a 1 liter. Internet $299 for the trip outrageous I am a 69 year ok male and I am not allowed a bottle of wiskey. This in fringement on my rights. They want you to by their drink package if I pay for a room at the Hilton they can't tell me that I can't have a drink. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
INTRODUCTION We are a couple in our 40's and this was our tenth cruise. We have cruised on Celebrity, Disney, NCL and Carnival before and this was our second time with RCCL. Our previous cruise a couple of years ago was great and ... Read More
INTRODUCTION We are a couple in our 40's and this was our tenth cruise. We have cruised on Celebrity, Disney, NCL and Carnival before and this was our second time with RCCL. Our previous cruise a couple of years ago was great and we were very satisfied. This is the reason we choose RCCL again this year. Unfortunately this time we could see that RCCL has cut some corners to save money and it shows. But we still had a good experience so I would still recommend RCCL but read this review to know what to expect. We choose this cruise mostly based on the itinerary that was offered. This cruise was a 12 night cruise with 4 days at sea. The cruise left and return to Harwich (UK) and ports included Copenhagen (Denmark), Tallin (Estonia), St.Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden) and Skagen (Denmark). Initially this cruise was sold with Visby (Sweden) as the last port, but it was later replaced by Skagen which is too bad because Skagen is not an interesting destination at all. THE GOOD: This is a nice ship that is well designed so you are able to find your way around in no time. It is spacious and it never feels crowded in the public areas. The "Centrum" area is an open space in the middle of the ship that goes from deck 4 to deck 11 and it is great because when there is a show or a performance on deck 4 you can gather around this place on almost every deck and enjoy the music and the view. The stateroom is nice and very functional so it feels bigger than similar staterooms on other ships. In fact, this stateroom is bigger than many other "family-room" we book with other cruise company. They made really good use of the space. Everything was very clean and the service was meeting our expectations. The evening shows were good and we enjoyed them. There was a good mix of singing, dancing, comedy, tribute, etc… The only exception that I could think of was the magician which was really lame. The ports of call were the main reason we choose that cruise and they were all great to the exception of Skagen. We never expected any delay to get off the ship in the morning. In fact, sometime we were even able to get off the ship earlier than the time printed on the daily journal. We never had to tender either which is good. The ports were all very interesting but my advice would be to book your excursions off-ship because they are a lot cheaper for the same experience. The pool area was a nice place to relax. We never had any problem to find a chair on this ship. The staff seemed to apply the "no hog chair" policy and most of the passenger did not reserve a chair if they were not there. There is good soft ice cream in the Windjammer restaurant, and you can always find some good refreshment in the "Park Café". They frequently have "Strawberry" and "Mango" no-sugar added water which is very refreshing, one of the best options when you are thirsty. In the morning there is an omelette bar which offers the best choice. About the main dining room (Reflections), we were a group of 15 so we had two big tables. The service was very good at one of the table, but average at the other table. At the good table, after the first night the waiter would bring us our usual drinks as soon as we sat. He was very attentive and always had a great smile to offer. However at the other table the service was slow and we never saw a smile on our waiter's face. And the assistant waiter was borderline rude. I also noticed that they are not too strict on casual nights and you won't have any problem getting in wearing something nice and clean, even if it is not long pants. The sports area is great. You have a nice climbing wall, a very well maintained miniature golf and a "basketball/volleyball" court that are fun to use. There is also a running track if you are in the mood. Registration, embarquation and disembarquation went smoothly and rapidly. THE BAD: The food was really disappointing. The food in the Windjammer buffet at lunch and dinner did not offer much variety and the taste was just average. It was not bad, but it was not very good either. Most of the time there is a "burger/hot dog/pizza" counter but the patties are bring all at the same time in a big plate and they could stay there for a while so they are never really hot, just lukewarm most of the time. About dinner in the main dining room things were not much better. Most of the time the steak was overcook (even when ordered rare) and it was not tender at all. We got a good steak about 2 nights out of 12. The bread was really good and the presentation of the main course was good, but it definitely lacked flavour. A lot of people were talking about the quality of the food and were surprised that it was not better than that. The deserts were ordinary at the exception of the "chocolate sensation" cake that was the best choice most of the nights. Breakfast was a little better in the main dining room if you know the secret!!! The first time I went I was about to leave after reading the menu because everything on it was the same things we could get at the Windjammer. But before leaving I spoke with the head server and told him I was very deceived because there were no "eggs Benedictine" and no smoked salmon on the menu. He then told me that those items were still available, but they just don't put those on the menu and they do not mentioned those either unless you ask for those specifically! Those are the best items you can get for breakfast and RCCL do not advertise them, this is one of place where RCCL decided to cut so now you know! On our previous cruise the Park Café was a nice option. They had smoked salmon and bagels available for breakfast, and in the afternoon they had individual bags of chips. But all that is gone now. They have burrito and egg muffin in the morning but no more smoked salmon and bagels. We could not get any chips either at the beginning of the cruise. However, the chips just appeared around day 6 and they were available up to day 9 then they disappeared. RCCL cut their expenses but I hope they do not expect that we won't notice. Another irritating thing is the short hours you can get ice cream. Ice cream is not so expensive, so if I want an ice cream cone at 10h00AM or after 9h00PM, why can't I get some? I do not understand why they do not put the soft ice cream machine in an area accessible around the clock like they do on other cruise line. If you are looking for a snack after 11h00PM, good luck. You can always use room service but there is an extra charge at night. As for the Cinema, there was limited choice and most movies were at least two years old. About the evening shows, there is not much choice if you are not interested by the main show in the theater. It would be great if they could book a couple of comedian to provide stand-up shows in one of the many location available at night. THE WORST: When we got to the main restaurant the first night we were surprised they assigned us 2 tables of 10 since we specifically asked for 2 tables of 8 when we booked (we were a group of 15). But even worst, they completed the 2 tables by assigning 2 other passengers to each tables. We all speak French except the 2 other passengers at each tables. It was very awkward for us and for them too so we asked if our group could be move to 2 tables of 8. The women in charge spoke French so she told us that she would see what she could do, and then she just turned around and told the other passenger (in English) that she was sorry for the fact they were assigned at a table of a French speaking group but that was because we (the group) never told the cruise line that we were a group and we never requested anything special for our group. I don't know if she thought that we could not understand her, but I made sure to let her know that we did specifically requested 2 tables of 8 when we booked the cruise, and again a couple of weeks before the cruise when we wrote to the cruise line to specifically confirm this. The problem was not us not mentioning or requesting anything, the problem was with the RCCL system (or lack of) that did not followed up our request to the cruise ship responsibles. They finally were able to reassign everyone to more appropriate tables, but the attitude of the woman in charge was rude and not very professional. We bought the "unlimited soda" package and if you plan to do that, be aware that the choice is very very limited. You can have coke, diet-coke, sprite and that's about it, and all of those are fountain soda. There was a couple of bar that had sprite-zero in cans, but most of the time we tried to order it we were answered that they did not have anymore sprite-zero. The fountain soda was on and off, it was flat about 3 times out of 10. The soda package is definitely not worth it. You will be better to drink the orange/apple juice or the no-sugar added strawberry/mango water in Park Café and buy your soft drink individually when you really crave it. At least you would be able to ask for the good stuff (cans). The last thing that is really annoying is the smokers on board. Why do they accommodate so much the smoking crowd? There is a complete side of the outside decks that is reserved for smokers and this is a real annoyance. The number of smoker on that cruise was lower than I noticed on other cruise (I guess this had something to do with the "age factor" of the passenger) but even then, it does not take many smoker to stink up a place. Just walking on the smoking side of the deck to go from one place to another was bothering enough to avoid it at all price. Conclusion: If you choose this cruise for the ports of call you will be very satisfy. You just have to know that you won't be served the best of food, but you won't be starving either! I would definitely consider booking another RCCL cruise if they offer an interesting itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I wanted to write a review to help others as I found this forum and website VERY informative when researching my first cruise. So to begin with, thank you! Hopefully I can give further information to new cruisers. :) We chose the ... Read More
I wanted to write a review to help others as I found this forum and website VERY informative when researching my first cruise. So to begin with, thank you! Hopefully I can give further information to new cruisers. :) We chose the Brilliance not for the ship, but for the ports of call and the timing was just right with the school holidays in Australia. As newbies, we didn't know what to expect and were guided somewhat by my travel agent. We travelled as a young family, myself 43, DH, 45 and two children, 13 and 9 years of age. It had always been a dream of mine to visit St Petersburg and see some of Scandinavia so we thought the easiest way to do this would be by cruising. To start, we flew into London and stayed there for two nights as we had jetlag to contend with. We caught a train from London Liverpool St station, to Harwich International with the quick, scrambling change at Manningtree. After our cruise, we had booked another fortnight in Europe so we had some rather big piece of luggage with us. Mistake number one! Anyway, we got to Harwich easily and the train to Harwich waited for us all at Manningtree (we thought we might miss the connection, so no problems there). Check in at Harwich was very easy and straightforward, and we looked a bit lost and confused and there was someone to greet us and point us in the right direction. Check in was reasonably quick, even with the queues, so that was great. We boarded the ship and we were advised to go and book in a time for our dinner (we had pre-paid gratuities so were automatically "My Time Dining".) So we went to the dining room where we were greeted by a slightly assertive man (the maître d'?) and were told that we would have to book in at 7.30 as they were VERY busy. I was a tad confused as I thought the point of "My Time dining" was that I could choose?? It didn't seem the case, but as we were total newbies we just meekly said "OK" and made our way to the Windjammer buffet, which was already heaving with people but we managed to find four seats at the back. We then went for a wander around the ship to see what was where, and then looked for our "stateroom". (cabin, but whatever!) We were surprised upon opening the door that it looked quite nice, and didn't look quite as small as I had thought. It had a little sofa and coffee table, so we felt comfortable in there...to begin with! We were on deck 3, so it was a midship oceanview. As new cruisers, I was worried about seasickness so was advised that this area was the best in case we hit rough waters. Anyway, the room seemed nice and our cabin attendant popped her head in and introduced herself to me and asked if we were new to cruising. I answered yes, and she explained some minor detail about the "do not disturb" cards that you can slot into the door. She then noticed there were four of us, so then came back later and set up the bunk beds which came down from the roof. So the bedding was arranged as one queen bed, then two Pullman bunks above the queen, on either side of the cabin with the ladders situated at the base of the queen. Getting a bit snug, by that point.....our luggage hadn't arrived yet so we went out to continue exploring our "home" for the next 12 nights. We departed right on schedule at 5pm and were thrilled to be sent off by the sound of bagpipes on the shore! However the "sail away party" was a total fizzer and no-one was interested and very few people showed up. It was cold (for summer) and grey and started getting breezy, so that may have had something to do with it. Or maybe it was that most people were not really there to party, but to visit St Petersburg...I'll never know. We discovered "adventure Ocean" for our 9 year old and filled in some details for her, and tried to check out the teen area, but it didn't seem that there was anyone there! So by that time, we headed off to dinner. We didn't wait long and were seated quickly. We hadn't purchased nay drinks packages so we just ordered wine and drinks off the menu but were presented with iced water as well. My 9 yo was handed a children's menu, so we ordered from that for her. The food was fine but I cannot remember what I ate, so it was unmemorable. The service from Rahul was very friendly and he seemed to take to my 13 yo, offering him extra bread and desserts with a smile. I left early with the 9yo, as we were still so jetlagged we just had to get to bed. Getting back to our cabin, it seemed to have shrunk, with our 4 large suitcases having arrived, and with a few backpacks, cameras, videos etc...... We were really only on the cruise to travel around, so we were not interested in getting dressed up for dinner, or shows, or souvenir photos or art auctions and shopping. As we were travelling from far away, we did not bother with any formal wear at all. Our first full day was at sea, and we enjoyed kicking back and doing more exploring of the ship. We went to a talk about the ports on the first day, which was quite informative and recommended if you're cruising for the ports of call. But after that, there wasn't much else to do as it was very cold and windy, no-one was in the pools or on the decks, so it seemed a bit cramped in any indoors areas. The 9yo was in Adventure Ocean all day (it's open all day in port, but closes for an hour or so between each session on sea days). The 13 yo felt intimidated by the teen club, as there were a lot of teens that seemed to know each other and it didn't look like there was someone there to facilitate, so he never attended. All seas days for us were the same. Dropping off the 9yo at Adventure Ocean, and the rest of us just wandered aimlessly, looking for something to do. I enjoyed the trio in the atrium playing classical music, but seating was very limited. We always looked at the boards to see what was happening and where, but there was very little that interested us or that didn't cost extra $$$. So, sea days were tedious on one hand, but a welcome break from very intensive port days, too! By the second day we realised we actually preferred to eat in the Windjammer, as I enjoyed the views and the selection was quite good. I also prefer to not have to sit and wait as I get restless easily! The food was as good as buffet food can be...it sits there stewing in its own juices, so you can't expect too much but it was OK. Initially I was very worried about hygiene at buffets, but there were hand sanitisers and a person at the door making sure you sanitised your hands. It didn't help once you were in the queue and eating with your hands from the plate, but hey, it's a start. The food was replenished often, and we didn't have problems finding seating as long as we went early or late. (we were still jetlagged, so were early birds!) The second evening was a formal night, and we wandered around looking at everyone dressed in their finest and having a bit of a giggle at how seriously some people were taking it. We wandered around in our jeans and hoodies, but we were still offered a glass of bubbly by a circulating waiter, who must have taken pity on us silly newbies! We were very excited to arrive in Copenhagen, and thanks to the talk the previous day, learnt that it was a reasonably easy walk into the city so we skipped the hop on hop off and shuttle buses. (also, we were on a bit of a budget) Armed with a map from the ship, we made our way past the Little Mermaid, walked to Amelienborg, past Nyhavn and into the city centre. The walk back, however, got a bit tiring after walking all day, but we made it back OK. (just!) Another sea day after Copenhagen, bored but at least it was a bit warmer and not as windy, so we could spread out a bit in the open areas. DH and 13 yo attended the Captain's talk, which they found interesting and informative. Tallinn was another easy walk into the old city, which was lovely and the sun started shining and got a little warmer. Then, the jewel, St Petersburg. Most people had come to go to St Petersburg. You need to have a booked tour and a tour ticket with your passport to go through immigration. We were warned on the ship that the immigration officers could be stern, and they certainly were not wrong! It was a bit of a debacle getting off the ship, because most tours stated to meet off the ship at 7, and we weer still on the ship at 7am. Some people got upset and started arguing and pushing and shoving, which was not necessary. They were upset to see that those that had booked shore excursions from Royal Caribbean got priority getting off over the rest of us, so there was a fair bit of yelling which was ugly. A word of advice, SPB tours was great and very reasonably priced. It was easy to find them once we got through immigration and we had a fabulous two day tour. And yes, they wait for you even though it states to meet at 7am. They know we won't get through before 7.30.... There was a Russian folklore group in the theatre that night, but we were way too tired from our jam packed day to take advantage! One disappointment. The second day in St Petersburg, we still had to go through immigration but it was a lot quicker, and the officer actually gave my daughter a small wink and smile, which was a HUGE difference to the previous day! So, on to Helsinki the next day. This was the only port where we had booked a shore excursion through the cruise ship. It was very expensive, but I didn't want to regret it so I pressed ahead and booked. To make a comparison, it cost $250 for 4 hours in Helsinki with Royal shore excursions, and $250 for 2 full days with SPB tours in St Petersburg with all entry fees included. Go and do the maths! Anyway, we went to a national park for a bit of an easy walk through the forest, and at the end of it we could feed the reindeer and were given a cinnamon bun and coffee in a typical Lappish hut. It was fun and nice to see a bit of nature after several days of cities, culture, palaces and art, but it was very expensive for what you get, so not sure if it was worth it. The bus took us back into the city and we were given shuttle bus tickets as we took one of the ship's excursions. The Kauppatori market was lovely and had some great lunch options and fresh berries. Next stop, Stockholm. By this point we were very tired not having had any breaks, so we hoped to get a shuttle bus into Stockholm as the ship docked a bit too far from the city centre. But alas, we were told there were no shuttle buses! We had to get on a Hop On Hop off and we had to buy tickets in advance. So we rested up, put on our best walking shoes and walked in to the city. Again, it was fine walking into the city, but walking around all day and back was a chore. It was the most we had walked in any port so far, so I recommend trying to get a bus or taxi or Hop on Hop off if possible. Cruising out of Stockholm in the sunset was breathtakingly beautiful and it will stay with me forever... Finally, a sea day that I was actually grateful for as my feet were very sore and were begging for mercy! Another Captain's talk and some lazing around. Last port, sob, and we were back in Denmark. We were informed that there was a music festival in town, which sounded good, but when we got there you needed to buy day tickets, so it wasn't for us. Skagen is a beautiful small town and it seemed a holiday area for Danes. We enjoyed just walking around, poking into shops here and there and generally soaking up the atmosphere with the buskers all around and a lot of people there for the festival. Then another final day at sea, and this is when things got a bit uncomfortable. Even though we had pre-paid gratuities, we were being encouraged to give even more in cash. As Australians, we are not used to tipping, so found this odd and it made us feel uncomfortable. We were also being asked about disembarkation and we had no idea, we just thought we'd walk off ourselves with our luggage, which was an option. But then we were told, after choosing this option, that we had to leave by 6am! But then someone else told us we could leave when we liked, as long as it was by 9am. So it was a bit of a confusing day for us. We felt pressured to tip extra, so we gave some extra $$ to our room attendant, who really didn't go out of her way, just did the usual cleaning. I noted that some signs stated to contact my room attendant if I needed anything, but I had no idea how to! Was she supposed to have left me her contact details? I never really needed anything, so it wasn't an issue, but I felt that she diddled us by not leaving her details. She also did not leave us newsletters on the kids programs a few times, so I guess she could have been better, but I felt sorry that she had to attend to our cabin used by 4 people, and dodging wet washing hanging from the ladder rungs and everywhere I could hang things! So she did an OK job, I guess. We did attend a few shows, they were OK but nothing spectacular. I also attended an enrichment talk. The first one literally put me to sleep (the rocking of the ship??) , but the second one was better. In all, we really enjoyed our first cruise, the Baltic was often as smooth as glass, we were very fortunate to have had good weather throughout the entire cruise. No seasickness! We had dinner in the MDR only about 4 times. My 13 yo thought it a treat and he felt quite posh as we rarely go to restaurants at home, but I preferred the Windjammer. My 9yo loved Adventure Ocean so much, that she refused to get off the ship in Stockholm and Skagen, so a very big THANK YOU to the youth staff who were fabulous! The ship was reasonably clean, I didn't have too much trouble with the cleanliness except for one spot in the Windjammer that looked like it had ice cream smeared on the glass and it never did get cleaned up.... The pool decks and chair were always washed down every morning and our room seemed clean. The service in the MDR was at times very slow, which is why I preferred the Windjammer, The menu in the MDR was the same as what was served in the Windjammer, we noticed, so no fear of missing out! Prices of drinks were very expensive, the cheapest glass of wine was $9 US, with gratuities on top of it. We didn't drink much! We bought the kids a soft drink/soda package. It was not advertised on the ship, so be careful, you don't have to buy the $20 package for the kids. They got a souvenir cup and a very limited choice of Coke, lemonade or soda water. Not really worth it but there was a minor tantrum on the second day and I acquiesced. We also got the 12 bottles of Evian delivered to our room, which they also charged gratuities for, which surprised me! But in all, we had such a great time, and it whet our appetites for another cruise, so it must have been OK! :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
It was our 5th cruise with Royal and I was prepared to be WOWed .. Unfortunately the wow factor wasn’t there. Before sailing I got an email from RCCL stating that the gratuities will go up. But I never got an email about prices of drinks ... Read More
It was our 5th cruise with Royal and I was prepared to be WOWed .. Unfortunately the wow factor wasn’t there. Before sailing I got an email from RCCL stating that the gratuities will go up. But I never got an email about prices of drinks going up significantly, the food choices getting much more limited (good example - Park Café – very poor). No, we didn’t go hungry, but it was painful to watch how things changed for worse… Even during return guest’s party, canapés were not served. Lobsters and steaks at additional charges, no lobster for the last formal night. No smoke salmon for breakfast, only in MDR they served Eggs Benedict with salmon that was turning bad, sent it back , was afraid of food poisoning Purchasing department should be paying more attention to the quality of food they purchase. I could list some more believe me. Drinks although extremely expensive, were not up to par. Bartenders on the ship have to be calibrated as taste and quality of drinks vary from bar to bar. It was impossible to get cappuccino at 11:05 pm on the ship. Latitudes bartender was closing up and sent us upstairs to Park café for reg coffee. Entertainment – average to say the least. Royal Caribbean dancers didn’t impress (except Argentinian couple), singers were good though. ABBA MAX – this was not a tribute, but disgrace to ABBA, we had to leave the show, very disappointing. The rest of the performers also don’t cut it, they behaved and performed like they didn’t care much. Logistics – that’s really funny. Splenda was available in Park Café, but wasn’t in MDR or windjammer. Same goes for some teas. Service – breakfast and lunch in MDR was unbelievable. Long waiting time, sloppy, orders getting mixed, pastry not even offered in some cases. Dinner was much better, I guess because waiters had tables assigned to them and were hoping for better tips. Ship was clean; our room attendant was good although I think we only met him once briefly. Royal Caribbean was and still is our preferred cruise line; we are booked on Anthem in December. I hope that the experience will be nothing like on Brilliance, but close to what we had on Allure or Mariner. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was our second cruise; the first was with Olsen. We thought the much more modern Brilliance would be better. Embarkation was reasonably easy and straightforward. The first night we ate in the Minstrel restaurant; MyTime dining ... Read More
This was our second cruise; the first was with Olsen. We thought the much more modern Brilliance would be better. Embarkation was reasonably easy and straightforward. The first night we ate in the Minstrel restaurant; MyTime dining however was a bit fraught, and we had a job to get seats. The food was OK, but service very average. From then on, we went to the Windjammer. I soon found that RC don't cater for diabetics. Apart from one or possibly two "sugar-free" desserts, there was nothing aimed at diabetics. Food was very salty, too - as bad as sugar for diabetics. I ended up complaining, but that didn't help much. My blood sugar was all over the place, varying from 3.1 to 17! Very bad. I had told them in advance that I was diabetic and needed a fridge and sharps bin. I had to get the steward to fetch the latter items for me specially. I met one particularly bad event with food. They put out large bowls of mashed potato. One night, I took some, and discovered it had something like tabasco sauce in it. No warning! Next night there were two separate bowls, one without a label. It looked like it had peas in it. When I started to eat it, I discover that it had mussels in it. Now I hate mussels; but what if I had been allergic to seafood? I could have been seriously ill. TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL! Likewise, shore trips did not take account of insulin users. With the clock two hours ahead, and my wife needing trips with easy walking, we found ourselves confined to morning trips mainly - and these started as early as 8 a.m., making it difficult to manage my insulin regime. Furthermore, trips were poorly described. Don't trust the walking symbol! In Skagen, there is only one trip with the 'easy' symbol, so we picked it. When we got the tickets, we discovered the statement: "Guests with limited mobility should not select this tour." A bit late when you've bought the tickets! Unacceptable and again, UNPROFESSIONAL. We found that public seating areas were insufficient for the number of passengers, so had to spend more time in the cabin than should have been necessary. And that raised another problem. Before the end of the cruise we both had nasty coughs, and I especially was (and still am) very wheezy. I discovered on my return, and visiting my GP, that I had a chest infection. He said that this is common with people returning from cruises, and generally due the poor quality of aircon air. The only cabins, as I understand it, with opening windows, are balcony cabins. So, be warned! Drinks - even soft drinks - were very limited, unless you pay extra, at exorbitant rates. A 1 litre bottle of water cost me $7.08; and as well as passengers being told that it is "not recommended" to drink the tap water, with many people filling bottles from the cold water dispensers, notices went up saying "Due to public health concerns, it is NOT PERMITTED to refill bottles from these dispensers." Nevertheless, many guests did. I would guess that the dispensers were filled with tap water...... Returning from every shore excursion meant going through airport-style security again. Slow, and, given our shore pass electronic tickets which bring up our photos, an unnecessary inconvenience. But of course, how else could they enforce their "no food or drink to leave or be brought on board" rules? The cabin was OK, decent size. Ship's condition was average; some rust about, maintenance going on all the time on automatic doors etc. Cleanliness...average. Shows: we only attended the end of cruise show. We thought it rather poor. Overall, we felt that RCCL are mainly interested in extracting every last dollar and cent, rather than giving good experience to its guests, and would not cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My first cruise on Brilliance and one of only a handful on RCCL. To begin our Scandinavian cruise I parked at Park Plus at JFK for $228 for 14 days. Not bad for NYC, but I later learned that they have Groupons as well! We then flew on ... Read More
My first cruise on Brilliance and one of only a handful on RCCL. To begin our Scandinavian cruise I parked at Park Plus at JFK for $228 for 14 days. Not bad for NYC, but I later learned that they have Groupons as well! We then flew on Icelandair from JFK to Heathrow. Icelandair is definitely a “no frills” airline. I’m used to inflight meals and sometimes free drinks on transatlantic flights; not so with Icelandair (but I knew this before purchasing.) It was a safe comfortable flight at the right price. We stayed one night at the Heathrow Holiday Inn Express T5, and ventured into the South Bank of London for a few hours after checking in. Unfortunately there is not a tube stop nearby & we had to take the bus back to Heathrow. Certainly not a major deal, but it all takes a little time. We had a nice lunch at a pub near Waterloo station called the Hole in the Wall and then we did a nice scenic/narrated cruise on the Thames. I was traveling with a group of 19 experienced travelers, including my 3 adult children and my travel agent (who set up several tours in advance.) The ships departure from Harwich was flawless, including a very easy check in. The ship appeared to be in great shape after the obligatory self-guided walk thru after boarding. This ship is laid out well and everything was very easy to find during the 12 night cruise. Interactive maps throughout the ship as well. Dining was without any problems. We did the My Time dining and Danzalo, the maître d’ I believe, was helpful in accommodating our time request for each evening which we set up shortly after embarkation. I say “I believe” because each of their name badges in Minstrel only said “Restaurant” not their position. The Windjammer buffet was always very good with adequate variety. My only criticism there would be the endless use of antimicrobial gels upon entering the Windjammer and the inadequate seating for the amount of people onboard –yet we survived! As always nowadays, they were frequently promoting their 4 specialty restaurants, but the Minstrel Dining Room was terrific so there was no need to try that option. One surprising thing that several noticed was the menu choices on the final night were not nearly as good as the other nights where it was most often difficult to make a selection amongst the great options. I would think that would certainly hold true on the final night especially, but not so here. Copenhagen: This was the only port that we did a ship’s excursion (Copenhagen City Sights & Castle Tour of New Zealand) and it was done poorly and there is no other way of saying it. The tour simply did not match RCCL’s description. We did not stop at or even drive by Nyhaven (which is the lead photo on RCCL’s excursion page) but instead we made a right hand turn when the guide said “that is Nyhaven over there.” The tour was supposed to include a “smorgasbord lunch at a local restaurant.” Instead we had a 2 choice buffet lunch that was catered at a local Senior Center –that’s right, a Senior Center. The tour was also to feature a walk on the ramparts at Kronborg Castle which did not happen. I wish that I was exaggerating, but I’m not. In fact, our travel agent had to have several meetings, going progressively higher to obtain a partial refund for our group. In the end, the Guest Service Manager herself was not happy with what she learned of the tour and we were each refunded 50% of the tour cost which seemed fair. We did visit Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid statue at the harbor, Amalienborg (the Royal Residence,) Fredensborg (the Queen’s summer Palace & she was there,) and Frederiksborg Castle (the only one that we went inside.) They were all impressive sights, but our guide was a bit weak & didn’t wait for the group before talking. Tallinn: This was the first of 4 pre-booked tours with SPB Tours –and they were each exceptional. I can easily see why SPB is so highly rated on Trip Advisor. Ava was our guide here and she was very informative and obviously proud of the struggles that Estonia has had to overcome during their storied history. It was a half day walking tour of a beautiful city. A few of us stayed in the city & didn’t take the bus back to the pier. It was an easy 15 minute walk back to the ship. Being an aviation fan, one of the highlights for me was watching two A-10 aircraft (I later learned from the Maryland National Guard) do a low flyover while participating in the annual BALTOPS multinational military exercise that was occurring during our Baltic Sea cruise. It was the only part of this annual exercise that we saw over the 12 days. St. Petersburg: Wow! We did a 2 day private tour with SPB Tours and the company owner Viktoria even personally met us at the port. Each day required a brief face-to-face with a young Russian immigration official with your passport when leaving the ship. There were no questions though and they were very friendly and efficient. Our tour guide Julia spoke great English and was just a wealth of information. Over the 2 days we took a ride on the subway, visited the Hermitage Museum (what an impressive collection!) the Church of the Spilled Blood, St. Peter & Paul Cathedral, a nice Neva River boat tour followed by a trip to Peterof by hydrofoil, Tsars Village, Catherine Palace, Yusopovs Palace, St. Isaac Cathedral as well as 2 shopping stops at our request. Each day we enjoyed a wonderful lunch in local restaurants. The first evening most of us did a tour of the Faberge Egg Museum which was well worth the time. We then had dinner at a wonderful Georgian restaurant called Rustaveli. I’d go back there in a heartbeat! This was the one port that I had just a little anxiety about, but it was completely unfounded and a wonderful visit. We never experienced any anti-American sentiment whatsoever. In fact, it was the complete opposite, everyone was very friendly. Helsinki: Yet another SPB Tour! George was our guide here on this 5-hr. Panoramic Helsinki + Seurasaari Island tour on a slightly rainy day. We started with the typical city tour with a stop at Senate Square where the Lutheran Cathedral is, as well as a very nice marketplace on South Harbor. We then headed to the Seurasaari open air museum. Basically, it was a walking tour on an island park that had many well preserved Finnish buildings from the 18-20th centuries that had been brought there from all over Finland. It is very well done and included some staff in typical Finnish garb from the past. We made a stop at the cafeteria there for a coffee & a terrific fresh made cinnamon bun -which to our surprise was included in the tour! We also made a photo stop at the Finnish Olympian Paavi Nurmi statue/Olympic Stadium (1952 Summer games.) We visited a monument at Sibelius Park made of 527 steel pipes honoring the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, before continuing on to the beautiful Rock Church, a one-of-a-kind modern-day structure build entirely into bedrock and quarried stone –in the city. We had some free time here and this was a really nice experience. The acoustics inside were incredible! We also had a few minutes to run across the street to buy some licorice! Stockholm: Our final tour with SPB and again, they did not disappoint. This was a 5 hour Stockholm Highlights Tour on another day of on & off light rain! Unfortunately I cannot remember our guides name here, but she did a very nice job. After a few photo stops, the city tour first took us to City Hall. She provided lots of information here about Stockholm’s most famous citizen Alfred Nobel (he’s just ahead of Abba!) Then on to the famous Vasa Museum! She gave us a nice guided tour of the museum and then we had some free time to explore on our own & hit the gift shop! The Vasa is a great story that I would recommend reading about online before you go! The launch of Vasa was an epic failure on King Gustav’s part, but the recovery 333 years later (1961) and the restoration of this beautiful warship is a fabulous story! We enjoyed a nice tour of the old medieval city known as Gamla Stan. Our timing was good because we were able to watch the procession into the Royal Palace for the daily changing of the guard and then after her tour we had free time to explore this beautiful little city further. Skagen: We went off on our own here and it was an enjoyable day. I do wish that we had rented bikes ($10 USD) because we’d have covered more ground. We walked out to the northernmost point of Denmark (& took a tractor pulled tram for the final part on the sand.) It’s where the North Sea & the Baltic Sea meet at a spit, which you can easily appreciate standing there. My son brought a kite from home & flew it there for a while which was cool to watch. We then walked through a small shopping area primarily for locals. No cruise line owned stores here (or anywhere on this trip.) Terrific ice cream though! Brilliance Staff: I cannot say enough about the ship and her staff, officers, & crew. They were just exceptional at every step. Tim Connor (UK) is the Cruise Director & he was the best that I’ve seen in many years. He was very personable & approachable -yet not intrusive. I do believe that we found the absolute best bartender/bar waitress on the high seas –Marijana (pronounced Mariana) from the RBar, although she was just promoted to work in the wine bar Vintages. She is from Serbia and was always interesting to talk with when she had a moment. Though the Centrum was a busy place Marijana always greeted us by name & remembered our drink preferences. She is so sweet! Entertainment: There was an adequate amount of entertainment onboard and most of it was very good. The production shows were good, and what you would expect. The headliners in the theater were very good and included a Russian music/dancing group the first evening in St. Petersburg and Abbamax, an Abba tribute band from the UK later in the cruise. The hands down best entertainment was a band called Temperature. They are 4 guys from Jamaica that played everything –and played it very well. They were exceptional! They were heading home the same day as us after 9 months on the ship. They’ll be back on RCCL, but don’t know what ship yet. The Dimas Duo and the Spanish guitar player Daniel were pretty good as well. The Starlight Trio was also very good. They’re 3 Ukrainian ladies that played piano and cellos throughout venues the ship.There were also 2 entertainers that weren't good unfortunately. Pub entertainer Phil Shaper and the Schooner's piano/vocal guy Jon Asher. I think this will be a 1 and done for both of these guys. Sea Days: Brilliance had a full schedule on sea days. Multiple types of trivia, rock climbing wall, tournaments, a very nice mini golf course, basketball, talks by Captain Stig, and much more. I mostly used these days to recharge for the next day’s active schedule! Random thoughts: Scandinavia & Russia were very nice. I learned a lot about that part of the world. Expect to pay much more for something that you would at home in Denmark, Finland, & Sweden. Drinks on the ship were also steep at $9. In addition to regular laundry service the ship offers a bag deal (theirs) for $30. The fine print is that it's only for socks & underwear. I put 4-5 long sleeve button type shirts in there and a few other shirts with a note to just wash/fold and there was no additional charge. Roll it up tight! Overall this was an awesome itinerary at a great price on a well-managed and well maintained ship. It was an excellent experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We booked our cruise after buying a Groupon in the USA. Our agent was professional and everything went smoothly. We were in England on vacation prior to the cruise, and we are very familiar with their trains. However, if for you that ... Read More
We booked our cruise after buying a Groupon in the USA. Our agent was professional and everything went smoothly. We were in England on vacation prior to the cruise, and we are very familiar with their trains. However, if for you that isn't the case, no worry, as there is an express train that goes directly to Harwich, with just a short walk to outside the door of the cruise terminal. We had a fabulous time on this cruise. It was our first time to visit each of the ports. This may make a difference, as we were excited to experience the cultures of each city. It was our second time on the Brilliance, as we did a transatlantic cruise in 2014, which we highly recommend. It's a lovely ship and the staff were excellent. We dined in the main hall for all but one dinner when we went to the French Restaurant one evening. It does cost extra, but we were celebrating an event and found it was extra special. We enjoyed the days at sea, as well as, the cities. The major bucket list city for us was St. Petersburg, Russia. Daily when we left and arrived back at the ship we did go through customs. We found the Russian people we met were friendly. We had heard otherwise, not true for us. We were not disappointed in this city. We took an AllA tour which included only 15 people, and was outstanding. It was two very full days, but well planned and we saw all the major sites, including the Amber Room at Katherine's Palace. The guide was excellent, friendly, funny, knowledgeable, and knew all the ways to get us into every place without waiting. We learned of this group on our ships CC roll call and forum. The other Baltic cities we went to on our own; for example, In Copenhagen we walked from the ship along the shore to see the Little Mermaid and then into the city. We took a bus into Helsinki and used the tram to easily get to the Rock Church and Lutheran Cathedral. Skagan is a small town, we walked in and enjoyed the shops and had a lovely lunch in one of the many restaurants along the ocean. This was a 12 day cruise that went by too fast! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

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