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Since we were the last tour of the season, these notes won’t apply until next year when they restart the Baltic cruises. But there were advantages to being the last cruise of the season—fewer ships at each port, prices lower as people wanted to close out their souvenir stalls, and easier to get around each port with less traffic. All the staff were friendly and accommodating. The entertainment was better than any other cruiseline we’ve been on, and felt Broadway quality, especially the dance/singing ensemble that was just beginning its contract on our cruise. The “Band on the Run” show and the “Paradis” shows were terrific, enough that we saw the latter one twice. They were preparing other shows, which I’m sure were of equal quality. Since we aren’t big gamblers or nightclub visitors, these shows were our entertainment on board and Norweigian did a great job. Also like their freestyle method where you can visit any restaurant at any time. The food was good and plentiful. Holland does a better job with spices and unique dishes, but we were never hungry. We also really enjoyed the lectures on Russian art, history and other aspects of our ports of call. For those catching a cruise ship in Copenhagen, check with the TI office near Tivoli with the info on which pier you leave from. We left from Oceankaj (farthest pier) for our Norwegian Star cruise so Bus 26 to Oesterport, then changed to Bus 27, which took us right to the ship. Since we boarded near Tivoli, it wasn’t too crowded yet, but on cruise days, the closer you are to pier when you get on bus, the harder it is to find space on the bus for luggage, etc. Returning to Copenhagen from the ship, you could catch Bus 27 and 26 in reverse or Bus 25 takes you to main train/bus terminal, where you can catch bus or metro back to your hotel or to airport. Much cheaper than the taxis and manageable if you don't have piles of luggage (we each had a rollaboard and a backpack).

Great Baltic ports and Entertainment

Norwegian Star Cruise Review by cruisewithhank

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2015
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
Since we were the last tour of the season, these notes won’t apply until next year when they restart the Baltic cruises. But there were advantages to being the last cruise of the season—fewer ships at each port, prices lower as people wanted to close out their souvenir stalls, and easier to get around each port with less traffic.

All the staff were friendly and accommodating. The entertainment was better than any other cruiseline we’ve been on, and felt Broadway quality, especially the dance/singing ensemble that was just beginning its contract on our cruise. The “Band on the Run” show and the “Paradis” shows were terrific, enough that we saw the latter one twice. They were preparing other shows, which I’m sure were of equal quality. Since we aren’t big gamblers or nightclub visitors, these shows were our entertainment on board and Norweigian did a great job. Also like their freestyle method where you can visit any restaurant at any time. The food was good and plentiful. Holland does a better job with spices and unique dishes, but we were never hungry.

We also really enjoyed the lectures on Russian art, history and other aspects of our ports of call.

For those catching a cruise ship in Copenhagen, check with the TI office near Tivoli with the info on which pier you leave from. We left from Oceankaj (farthest pier) for our Norwegian Star cruise so Bus 26 to Oesterport, then changed to Bus 27, which took us right to the ship. Since we boarded near Tivoli, it wasn’t too crowded yet, but on cruise days, the closer you are to pier when you get on bus, the harder it is to find space on the bus for luggage, etc. Returning to Copenhagen from the ship, you could catch Bus 27 and 26 in reverse or Bus 25 takes you to main train/bus terminal, where you can catch bus or metro back to your hotel or to airport. Much cheaper than the taxis and manageable if you don't have piles of luggage (we each had a rollaboard and a backpack).
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OB 5102
Loved our cabin 5102, with big window and spacious room, comfortable bed, and great cabin steward Raj. Because of the cooler time of year, we didn’t choose to have a balcony, but could sit in the window and look at the sea each day. We could go one level up to get to restaurants (no rooms above us kept noise down) and one level down to exit ship for excursions. Calm seas helped.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Copenhagen
    We were staying three days in Copenhagen, visiting our son, before taking the cruise so toured on our own. Purchase a 24-hour or 72-hour (depending on your time there) Pass at the airport. You buy it from a kiosk, and directions easy to follow in English. You’ll need a card with a chip and your PIN to make the purchase. Covers zones 1-4 (airport to main tourism areas) and all types of transport (bus, metro, harbor boat buses).

    The Tourist Information office on the corner across from Tivoli has a great staff who can help you learn the buses and metro stops to take to your destination. Bus 6A from near TI can take you to the Carlsburg Brewery Tour (there’s also a free shuttle Red Bus that runs hourly but if you have the Transportation Pass you can hope on the bus that comes more often). We walked it because of bus stoppage for a marathon, and it was about 1 ½ mile walk. Great tour includes three beer samples. Good sandwiches at outdoor bar or upstairs.

    Catching Bus 26 from near Tivoli to the Oesterport stop is a great way to see the Little Mermaid. After exiting the bus stop, just take a short walk (about ¼ mile) through the nearby park toward the water and you’ll see signs directing you (as well as a lot of big tour buses). After seeing the Mermaid, continue through the park along the harbor walk toward city center and you’ll see the amazing Gefion Fountain next to St. Alban’s church. A short walk from the church, down towards the harbor, you can catch a harbor bus, using the same travel pass, and get a great view of the Opera House and exit at the Biosphere. From here an easy bus back to near the TI office at Central Station will put you back in the center of things to catch a bus back to your hotel.

    Beware when exiting buses: Amazingly “green,” Copenhagen is the home of bicyclists, with their own bike path and bike stoplights. When you exit a bus, you’re often exiting right into their lane and you should be on the lookout before crossing to the sidewalk.
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  • Helsinki
    We also did this port on our own, using our Trip Advisor notes. We used the Hop On Hop Off Bus (primarily because our port was a longer walk into town and the bus picked us up right at the ship and returned us there). The highlights were the Rock Church and the Chapel of Silence. Amazing architecture in both—never seen elsewhere. At the Street Market my husband had Salmon Stew he’s still talking about (only $8 US), and there was some great shopping.
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  • Wismar
    It required too much travel time to reach Berlin for a short stop, so we preferred to walk around the little town of Warnemunde for part of the time. But we were glad we added an excursion from the ship to Wismar, a beautifully restored Hanseatic town. The ship used VIP Hanse touring, and Christopher, a native of Wismar, was an excellent tour guide, and his affection for the town was evident. It was a short (45-60 minute) bus ride through Germany on the autobahn to Wismar. The impact of being part of East Germany and of the bombing were seen but it deserves its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and walking through the narrow cobblestone streets felt like a walk through history. Included in the tour was a visit to the Brauhaus am Lohberg zu Wismar, a local brewery that started in 1452. We got fresh hot pretzels to eat with our three samples of their local brew. Nice way to end the tour.
    View All 9 Wismar Reviews
  • St. Petersburg
    SPB Tours and our guide Katarina (Katia) did a super job. I was a bit concerned about not using the ship’s excursion, but emails from the owner and Trip Advisor comments allayed my concerns and all went smoothly—and much preferred the smaller group of 16 over a large tour bus. The price was much better than the cruise excursion price. The two-day deluxe tour is not for the faint-hearted—lots of walking, but it helped work off the cruise food we’d been eating. Katia did a great job of putting the family tree of the early Russian czars in perspective, despite the repeating names. She managed to find time to get us down into the subway (museumlike beauty. She made the overwhelming and amazing collection at the Hermitage manageable by getting us in early and explaining some of the highlights, knowing we couldn’t see it all. It helped that we visited on a Sunday, not battling workday traffic, and by being end of the season, there were fewer busloads of tourists. She welcomed questions and seemed open in her responses. The SPB-chosen restaurants for lunch were great, and a nice change from the ship. One day was Borscht soup (excellent) paired with a chicken and pasta, and finished with rhubarb ice cream! The shot of vodka was bracing as well. (Side note: any tourist shops offered raspberry vodka—my favorite). The second day was a pie shop that had a delicious savory beef (chopped beef) pie paired with a lingonberry pie--terrific. Another great tool that SPB and other tour companies employed was earphones that connected us to the tour guide’s frequency, so even if we were surrounded by other tour groups, they weren’t trying to outshout each other as done elsewhere. We could hear her easily, and when some of the group would wander away or she needed us back to the bus, she could speak into our earphones and we knew where to go.
    View All 628 St. Petersburg Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Vasa Museum
    Our shortest stop because one has to cruise through the archipelago in daylight, which was growing shorter this time of year (one disadvantage to the later cruise). We only had time to do a ship excursion that drove us through the old part of town and then visited the Vasa ship of 1628 and the museum, an amazing exhibit literally built around the ship that was raised and preserved.
    View All 118 Vasa Museum Reviews
  • Tallinn
    A ship excursion or tour service isn’t really necessary at this port of call. The old town is within easy walking distance. We took advantage of the two-hour free walking tour (common throughout Europe) that began from the TI center near the square, and Mairi (hope I spelled her name correctly), a college student who does this for tips, did a superb job. Again, a person who lives there will offer the best tour, and she spoke knowledgeably of the history and the country’s new paths since independence. We had time to stroll the streets, and got back to the ship in plenty of time.
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