Pre Cruise--Flew to Copenhagen 2 days ahead and stayed at Marriott booked on Priceline. The hotel was thankfully air conditioned as we hit a heat wave. We flew Burbank/Seattle/Copenhagen and made our connections as did our luggage. We took a cab to the hotel since we were tired and had 2 25 inch suitcases and 2 carry on pieces. We were able to see all the sites on foot. We took the canal tour, went to Tivoli and the Ice Bar. We did Rosenberg Castle, saw the palace, the round tower and Stroget. Food was expensive, we ate one dinner in Tivoli and one at Cafe Netto. We took a cab to the port, and were eating lunch by 1 pm. We had brought our swimsuits and hit the pool. It was still very hot and the pools were like bath tubs. Our luggage arrived, we unpacked and then it was time for the drill. We ate dinner at the Buffet the first night where we enjoyed the Seafood Buffet. I requested Chef's Table on the phone and followed up in the dining room to make sure we were on the list. Day One--It was cooler, so we went to hear John Lawrence. His talks added so much although we had bought the DVD prior. He is a better speaker in person and is willing to answer questions afterward. We had a Cruise Critic meeting at 12:15 and about 20 people showed up. The Assistant CD put in an appearance as Billy London was too busy. Day 2-Stockholm--we had the Stockholm card--it was convenient but not necessary. We took the bus to Vasa, I had the wrong bus directions but another CC couple was very helpful getting us to the right place. If you take the bus go past the port gate 100yds, look for the blue WC and go up the steps, the stop is right there. You have to change busses in Slussen. We made it to Vasa before the crowds, then we took a bus part way back and got off to see the Synagogue and Wallenberg memorial. Next, we went to the City Hall tour which starts on the hour. Afterwards, we went to Gamla Stan and then back to the ship. Day 3--Helsinki--We took a bus to see the market which was fun--lots of furs, interesting food. We looked at some churches and then got on the 3T tram to do the loop. We were able to pack some lunches in ziploc bags from the ship. This was helpful as food is very expensive and we didn't want to waste time eating. Day 4/5--We did an exhausting tour with Alla. We covered all the highlights and we were lucky to do the outside tours the first day as it rained on the second and we were mainly inside at the Hermitage that day. Everything is very elaborate in St Petersburg, it is just amazing. Apparently the Russians were bombing Georgia at the time but we were unaware. We had an excellent guide and paid with US dollars which turned out to be a good choice as the rate of exchange is not exactly the same if you use a credit card--be sure to read Alla's email confirmation carefully. Day 6--Tallinn--Very unexciting, maybe it was the weather. We took a cab with another couple to the top and walked down. Do not attempt to walk up. The cobblestones are a killer and it can be slippery.We also found the new temple, its not far from the port. There is also a large market near the port where we bought wine. Day 7--We had bad seas and could not make Gdynia, spent a rocky day at sea. Day 8-Day at sea to rest and recover. We attended the art auctions for entertainment. Day 9--Oslo--Early start--went to the tourist bureau and got the Oslo card for 20 percent off. Used the tram to go to Vigeland, it was a cloudy day. We spent some time there and then returned to town and got on the 91 ferry to Bygdog to see the Viking museum, Fram, Kon Tiki. Went back to town and followed John Lawrence's walking tour to see City Hall, the Nobel Museum, the Palace, shopping street, etc. Day 10--we had a 3:50 flight so we opted to take the city/Dragor tour. We had to meet at 8:15--all the luggage was taken to the airport except for carry ons. We had an excellent guide and enjoyable day, it beat sitting at the airport. Our flight home was uneventful. Ship--We were on the Crown one year ago, it is holding up well. Cabin--We were assigned a cabin one week before and ended up with an aft inside. It tended to be noisy when docking. Entertainment--We went to a few shows. We found the Cruise Director lacking. There was a pretty good comedian and an Australian singer and well as a magician. Dining--We had anytime dining and never had a problem getting in. We took a table for 2 as we were too exhausted to socialize but we always ended up talking with people next to us. The food was pretty good, portions small at dinner, and breakfast became a bore very fast. We did attend Chef's Table. Although it was the second night of our St Petersburg tour, we managed to find the energy. We really enjoyed it--the portions were huge--really too much. But it is amazing how fabulous the cruise food can be. We also received a signed cookbook and pictures with the Chef. It was a very worthwhile dinner! Weather--we had some wacky Baltic weather. It was very hot the first 3 days in port. Afterwards it got cold. You really have to be prepared for all possibilities. In summary, there is lots of walking and the itinerary is exhausting. This is a cruise that has to be planned out. Decide what you what to see and get going!
C 725 Crown Princess-- small inside cabin, typical for Princess. Good closet, tiny bathroom. Noisy when docking.