Nothing inherently wrong with the Eclipse, but for us the layout was just a bit different to what we prefer and the emphasis seemed to revolve around drinks packages, (all-inclusive on the horizon?), pay-for restaurants; shops, and a very “visible” casino.
Ship layout was disappointingly congested, with public areas sacrificed on the altar of profit-generating bars and charge-for alternative “speciality” dining venues. Seventeen bars is, by any standards, a bit OTT and the fact is that if the waiting staff had been able to concentrate their efforts on fewer venues rather than being spread too thinly over such a high number, then perhaps the level of service might have been more efficient and on the ball.
We used the main dining room for breakfast on only three occasions, finding the staff to be completely overwhelmed by demand and service to be tortuously slow, even though we always arrived early. In fact, on one morning, when we were on our way out after breakfast, having again queued to get in, we saw that almost every table was littered with plates and food debris, the waiting staff clearly having had to prioritise between either clearing tables or serving breakfasts for waiting guests.
This is the only place on the itinerary that we have visited before, so we simply took the ship's "Bruges on your Own" shuttle and once there did our own thing and enjoyed the town.
Walked into Tallinn and went on our own voyage of discovery. Charming medieval town with some fascinating buildings. Make sure you explore it thoroughly, as we did, even into the park; then down St Catherine's Passage; and walked the only stretch of the old walls that is open to the public.
We had an advance booking with a tour operator called Dancing Bears for the "All of St Petersburg" 2-day tour. Without doubt, this was excellent. We saw absolutely everything, including the Yussupov Palace, and on the first day there was just the two of us, and on the second day we were joined by another couple from New Zealand off the Regal Princess so we were a nice small group and could move along at our own pace
Took the ship's shuttle into Helsinki and walked most of the centre and the main square and esplanade. Quality shops and compact centre
We chose not to go to Berlin as the distance was a bit daunting, so instead took the Ho-Ho to Rostock, which it has to be said was a bit underwhelming, but having then taken the train back to Warnemunde (and WHAT a train - clean, silent, on time!!!) we were really quite taken with this lovely, quaint, seaside town with its clean promenade and quaint little cobbled back streets with a feeling of almost being back in Key West! Explore and enjoy.
Lovely city!! We walked in from the ship and were lucky enough to pass by the cavalry barracks en route, where they were exercising their mounts. We were very lucky to see them later in the day as they and their band were making their way to the Royal Palace, just as we'd finished our walk through the Old Town. Got a taxi from the Theatre back to the ship at 20Euros.
Walked into the centre, past the Little Mermaid - which is what it is - i.e. little, and unfortunately obscured by hordes of tourists crawling all over it (literally!), saw the changing of the guard at the Palace complex- excellent; took a canal cruise - excellent. Will come back to Copenhagen at some time; loved it!