We're Rookie Cruisers and always wanted to see Russia, plus my wife has Norway relatives so the Baltic Cruise fit our needs and wants.
Arrival/Embarkation - Tropical Storm Hanna delayed our connecting flight in Newark NJ and we just made it for our SAS flight, but our bags didn't make it to Copenhagen. Thanks to reading these blogs, we weren't that surprised and since we connected through Stockholm which was our first port of call, we got our bags while docked in Stockholm. With the travel insurance we were covered for the extra clothes we bought in Copenhagen and Stockholm. My wife was accosted by a pickpocket near the Copenhagen train station but the victim turned out to be the punk - my jet-lagged, tired, hungry, nicotine-deprived wife body slammed him and all he got out of her backpack were her cigs before he fled the scene! We let our guard down in the busy Copenhagen train/Tivoli area - beware extra in this area. We got on the ship just fine, arriving just an hour before deadline 8pm, so no lines at all, most had already embarked before us.
The ship was impressively designed. We felt it had all the features/comforts of one of the Las Vegas strip casinos, which was fine for us. I liked the fitness center and got my value out of that with daily workouts. The food was 4 out of 5, enough variety to keep it interesting, with all the staples to stay fueled. We pretty much ate Anytime and for dinner and enjoyed meeting and talking with different couples in the DaVinci and Michelangelo dining rooms for dinner. We rarely ate during our land excursions since we fueled up so well for breakfast and dinner on the ship. I do agree a self-serve soft ice cream or frozen yogurt would be a nice touch, for free, but the free popcorn made up for that. I do agree with some of the other bloggers that the extras do add up to $1K average extra spending unless you are vigilant about only eating the free food and not buying/spending extra on clothes, souvenirs, gifts, etc. But there shouldn't be any cost surprises
The day trips we pretty much did our own exploring in Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Gdansk, and Oslo. The only tours we did were the grand St. Pete and Gdansk Roads of Freedom tours. We feel like while the tours are informative and secure, we like to explore independently to experience some of the local culture - a good way to do this, by the way, is by visiting the major shopping malls like NK in Stockholm and Stockmann in Helsinki - fun people watching on top of shopping! We visited my wife's cousin in Oslo which was icing on the cake.
We felt the cabin room was functional for our needs - after all we barely spent much time besides sleeping and intimate time there. The tour briefings and TV shows were helpful, and we felt the entertainment was just "good", but we didn't expect much more anyway. In St. Pete we recommend the Folkloric Dance show on the first night - what a treat of dance and song! I really liked every port of call for each city's unique offerings and charm. The only negatives were the "Disney facade" main walk in Gdansk (but hey they were destroyed in WWII) and the litter and dirty streets/pickpocket in Copenhagen. We felt most cities were clean except Copenhagen. We enjoyed seeking out each city's Nazi/Soviet oppression/resistance museums. We're in late forties/early fifties and felt fairly young compared to mostly seniors on this cruise. We do advise that this is a whirlwind cruise of nearly non-stop activity so be prepared and use that first day at sea to unwind and prepare for the next 7 days of 7 cities! Our weather was cooler and damper than we'd like, but I actually felt very comfy with it, better than unbearable heat in summer in other parts of the world.
Disembarkation was efficient but not sure if worth $49. We'd have done the self-check out but didn't want to get up at 5am! Flights home were fairly smooth except my wife bought some Aquavit (strong Norwegian liqueur) in the duty free shop in Copenhagen, and forgot to put it in her checked bag when clearing customs in D.C. connecting flight, so TSA had a party on her!
Not sure if we'll cruise again anytime soon but we highly recommend this cruise for those who want to see Scandinavia and St. Petersburg. We got a great deal by booking nearly a year in advance, and got flights on Expedia from Denver to Copenhagen for under $1K each roundtrip, so came under $4K for each of us, or $8K total, a definite bargain for the memories and experiences we chalked up in ten action-packed days!