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I chose this cruise as I have been to two back to back cruises to Europe and we enjoyed it so this time I chose to see Scandinavia and Russia. It turned out to be a great choice indeed! Regal Princess The ship, Regal Princess was amazing, it did not disappoint as I enjoyed our previous cruises with Princess. Being Platinum member, I loved the privileges like the priority embarkation though this time it took a while to get on board, it was my longest wait ever - and I'd cruise not just with Princess but with Royal Caribbean, Costa, Carnival, P & O, etc..and we never had to wait long to board the ship.Anyway, the wait was somehow worth it as the staff, food, entertainment and general ambience of the ship were great for me, including our balcony cabin which was on deck 12, starboard side. Weather Except for Oslo, Norway, which was colder than the other ports we visited, weather was generally warm, though I really prefer cooler temperatures! It was stinking hot especially in St. Petersburg. Ironically, we brought lots of cold weather and water proof gear as based on my readings about this cruise, it was supposed to be wet and mostly cool. So it was a little disappointing. We never used the pool as it was still cold, and most of the time we were out in the port exploring. Copenhagen, Denmark This city is sophisticated yet still has the charm and good combination of old and modern architecture. I love the rental bikes in our hotel, the organised way they serve food, mostly without needing staff. We took a tour of the city centre on disembarkation and happy to see the fishing village of Dragoer and the million dollar heritage listed homes and loved danish food, especially ice cream and their croissants and coffee. We stayed in two hotels with the smallest bathrooms I have ever seen and used and it was a great experience, a challenge to my senses and tolerance level! It was also a pleasant experience having seen Princess Mary (with Prince Frederik beside her) sitting inside a black car as it came out of the gates of the Amalienborg Palace! I even spoke to one of the Royal Guards, telling him I come from Princess Mary's state of Tasmania, and I live near Hobart where Mary came from, to which he replied, "okay, " while he was being hounded by two Chinese ladies who were too close to him ( he said they were supposed to be about 1.5 metres apart from him). We went to Tivoli Gardens, the various shopping districts in the city too. But the most memorable place for me was not in the bus tour itinerary. Lucky for us, it was near our hotel where we stayed after our cruise- the Blue Planet, or Copenhagen Aquarium. It was a lovely place inside and out, the collection is impressive, staff very friendly and most of all, we were able to ride the free shuttle bus from the aquarium going to the city instead of getting on a taxi again. We went there hailing a cab from our hotel knowing it was just 5 minutes away from the airport and our hotel was a train stop away in Oerestad. This place is highly recommended, the views outside are so lovely, there's the beach and the playground and picnic grounds too. Do visit it, worth your while! Oslo, Norway I love this city- wide open spaces, clean places, tree lined streets and the parks and museums are truly amazing! We visited the Viking Ship Museum, Maritime Museum, Sculpture Park and other notable places via a hop on hop off bus which had WIFi too so it was a delight being able to share my photos as fast as I could! Sea Days- They were fun as I the shows at night were very entertaining, especially the Beatles tribute show. i also loved the fact that I could watch movies inside our cabin without interruption or I could pause if I need to go out for meals, etc. The food at the buffet was more varied, hotter, better than the ones in the dining rooms. Also, I did not like waiting too long for our orders to come. It seemed the waiters in the dining rooms didn't do much but fiddle about while we sit waiting for menus to be given (even the desserts, which we missed in the few times we dined there). It was not a pleasant experience sitting talking to strangers and pretending to enjoy being there, I felt like a fraud! Though my travel partner and I were in a two person table, we could not help but still "soicialise" with the ones in the neighbouring tables, not that I did not like talking to them, but a few seemed snobs anyway. Even making small talk was sometimes excruciating so we avoided going there. Besides, we were given the first seating at 5:30 pm so most of the time we were either tired or too late to go there so it was lucky that the buffet was always ready for us anyway! The staff at the buffet were also friendlier in my opinion. Warnemunde, Germany (Berlin) We traveled by train to Berlin which took around 3 hours or more, a long and not so comfortable trip as I was not able to use the toilet as there was only one for all of us, which was very annoying indeed! But the staff -tour guide and his helpers were very friendly and made their best to help us. Food and drinks were provided as part of the bus tour package and they were good enough. As a city, Berlin was chaotic and huge, but I still like the architectural structure and layout of this city. It was remarkable to visit the Berlin Wall (what was left of it),Brandenburg Gate, city centre, etc. The hop on hop off bus stops were a bit confusing for us so we had to wait or walk very far to catch the next one. It got hot as well so it was not very pleasant toward the end of our visit there. Toilets were hard to come by, there were some on the streets where you had to pay .50 euros but I felt a bit claustrophobic in one of them. In the train station, it was also hard to find the toilets. We went to a McDonald's there and there were no toilets inside, it was weird. (In Sydney, any public places/utilities you go to have toilets for the public and they are free!) Tallinn, Estonia This ancient town is amazing with its World Heritage Old Town- the cobbled stone footpaths and roads are charming! We visited the typically Russian styled Alexander Nevsky Cathedral where we saw beggars outside the Church's entrance. The architecture in the Old Town were reminiscent of centuries old iconic charm and beauty. But again, the toilets are hard to come by- they were inside the tourist souvenir shops. Of course, we loved to look at the shops, quirky artefacts, etc. but we didn't have enough time! I loved the grand baroque Kadriorg Palace, with its pink facade and good collection of art and furnishings. Toompea Castle's facade was also impressive! Saint Petersburg, Russia We did bus tours of this grand city through the ship and we were not disappointed in terms of the opulent and luxurious places we visited. Despite knowing there were cheaper options, we decided to do the Princess tours because we wanted to have peace of mind we would get back to the ship in time. However, some of the places were not so comfy for me- especially Peterhof Palace- the staff there inside were rude and cranky! I wished I walked out and just viewed the fountains. We were often told to move on and finish up! It was hard to appreciate the interiors of the palace without being scolded by the cranky old ladies manning the exhibits! ( I have been to many museums all over the world and never have I experienced such blatant rudeness by staff! As if they personally own the items and that we were going to steal them!) There were no photography allowed too so I was not happy with this arrangement, If I knew before hand this was the case, I would not have gotten inside, which felt literally like HELL as it was stinking HOT inside and we had to wear those ridiculous shoe covers too! The chateau Versailles and Hermitage Museum were more interesting anyway. My advice to anyone planning to visit the Peterhof Palace- just look at the fountains and gardens as if you have been to the Louvre or Versailles like me, then no need to experience the rudeness and uncomfortable setting inside the Peterhof, you would just be sorry! Catherine Palace was much better, collection wise and staff were friendlier and more helpful! Hermitage Museum was worth a half day's visit too! The collection of this place was so numerous we had to choose the best ones - mostly the artworks and the huge malachite vases in the green room which were enormous and spectacular indeed! The lunches included in the package tour were not so great- the waiters were good but the food portions were not very substantial after so many hours of walking and touring! I would have added more money to have better food servings and variety too. The first restaurant on the first day, the Gastronome had great interiors, amazing basement and fixtures inside, but the food left a lot to be desired with very sloppy mashed potato that accompanied the entree like portion of the beef stroganoff, which was good enough taste-wise but too teeny tiny portion! Same with day two, lunch was very small portions- soup, main dish and dessert. though I have my ice cream away, also the vodka and caviar as I am allergic to alcohol and seafood. But, to summarise, St. Petersburg was impressive, with amazing buildings and great atmosphere, you think you are in the middle ages! Helsinki, Finland This place was a disappointment- in terms of attractions and amenities like the toilets! We visited the Rock Church which was not as great, it didn't look like a church interior wise and it was too far to walk there on a hot day just to see a supposed to be church carved on a huge rock, no big deal for me! There were no pews inside too, I saw just plastic chairs! Maybe they were being remodeled, I am not sure. The other places we saw via the bus tour from the ship are the Senate and Market squares, Sibelius Monument and around city centre. We went to Burger King for a snack and the toilets here were so filthy and stinky! Looks like Europe could learn a thing or two from Australia when it comes to providing amenities to tourists. Nynasham, Sweden ( Stockholm) We didn't do any bus tour for this port but we joined many who lined up to get train and bus tickets for Stockholm. Instead of sight seeing at the seaside village of Nynasham, we decided to go to this capital to visit of all places- the ABBA Museum, which my friend wanted to do! After taking off from the central station, we took the hop on hop off bus around the city and loved the city centre sights, modern buildings and clean city. However, it was so chaotic there.The train station had toilets for both men and women in one place and we had to pay two US dollars to use it or 1.50 euros. ABBA Museum was fun, with a good collection of ABBA memorabilia. The many people inside the crammed building were friendly and very gay, luckily for us!! We enjoyed it there but on the way back to the train station, we found out we were dropped on a different side by the hop on hop off bus and gave us a fright as the trip to Nynasham was to take about 2 hours! Our ship was to leave about 4:30 pm and we were so scared to be left behind that I was busting for more than 4 hours as we were too afraid to go to the toilets which was very far from the country trains! Turned out, our train was 30 minutes late and we saw our fellow ship mates who were also waiting for the last train to Nynasham. To say the least, we were happy to be there but no toilets for several hours as there were no toilets inside the train as far as we know! Thanks Princess Cruises, I will still cruise with you!

Spectacular Scandinavia and Baltic Cruise

Regal Princess Cruise Review by em ar

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
I chose this cruise as I have been to two back to back cruises to Europe and we enjoyed it so this time I chose to see Scandinavia and Russia. It turned out to be a great choice indeed!

Regal Princess

The ship, Regal Princess was amazing, it did not disappoint as I enjoyed our previous cruises with Princess. Being Platinum member, I loved the privileges like the priority embarkation though this time it took a while to get on board, it was my longest wait ever - and I'd cruise not just with Princess but with Royal Caribbean, Costa, Carnival, P & O, etc..and we never had to wait long to board the ship.Anyway, the wait was somehow worth it as the staff, food, entertainment and general ambience of the ship were great for me, including our balcony cabin which was on deck 12, starboard side.

Weather

Except for Oslo, Norway, which was colder than the other ports we visited, weather was generally warm, though I really prefer cooler temperatures! It was stinking hot especially in St. Petersburg. Ironically, we brought lots of cold weather and water proof gear as based on my readings about this cruise, it was supposed to be wet and mostly cool. So it was a little disappointing. We never used the pool as it was still cold, and most of the time we were out in the port exploring.

Copenhagen, Denmark

This city is sophisticated yet still has the charm and good combination of old and modern architecture. I love the rental bikes in our hotel, the organised way they serve food, mostly without needing staff.

We took a tour of the city centre on disembarkation and happy to see the fishing village of Dragoer and the million dollar heritage listed homes and loved danish food, especially ice cream and their croissants and coffee. We stayed in two hotels with the smallest bathrooms I have ever seen and used and it was a great experience, a challenge to my senses and tolerance level!

It was also a pleasant experience having seen Princess Mary (with Prince Frederik beside her) sitting inside a black car as it came out of the gates of the Amalienborg Palace! I even spoke to one of the Royal Guards, telling him I come from Princess Mary's state of Tasmania, and I live near Hobart where Mary came from, to which he replied, "okay, " while he was being hounded by two Chinese ladies who were too close to him ( he said they were supposed to be about 1.5 metres apart from him).

We went to Tivoli Gardens, the various shopping districts in the city too. But the most memorable place for me was not in the bus tour itinerary. Lucky for us, it was near our hotel where we stayed after our cruise- the Blue Planet, or Copenhagen Aquarium. It was a lovely place inside and out, the collection is impressive, staff very friendly and most of all, we were able to ride the free shuttle bus from the aquarium going to the city instead of getting on a taxi again. We went there hailing a cab from our hotel knowing it was just 5 minutes away from the airport and our hotel was a train stop away in Oerestad. This place is highly recommended, the views outside are so lovely, there's the beach and the playground and picnic grounds too. Do visit it, worth your while!

Oslo, Norway

I love this city- wide open spaces, clean places, tree lined streets and the parks and museums are truly amazing! We visited the Viking Ship Museum, Maritime Museum, Sculpture Park and other notable places via a hop on hop off bus which had WIFi too so it was a delight being able to share my photos as fast as I could!

Sea Days- They were fun as I the shows at night were very entertaining, especially the

Beatles tribute show. i also loved the fact that I could watch movies inside our cabin without interruption or I could pause if I need to go out for meals, etc. The food at the buffet was more varied, hotter, better than the ones in the dining rooms. Also, I did not like waiting too long for our orders to come. It seemed the waiters in the dining rooms didn't do much but fiddle about while we sit waiting for menus to be given (even the desserts, which we missed in the few times we dined there). It was not a pleasant experience sitting talking to strangers and pretending to enjoy being there, I felt like a fraud! Though my travel partner and I were in a two person table, we could not help but still "soicialise" with the ones in the neighbouring tables, not that I did not like talking to them, but a few seemed snobs anyway. Even making small talk was sometimes excruciating so we avoided going there. Besides, we were given the first seating at 5:30 pm so most of the time we were either tired or too late to go there so it was lucky that the buffet was always ready for us anyway! The staff at the buffet were also friendlier in my opinion.

Warnemunde, Germany (Berlin)

We traveled by train to Berlin which took around 3 hours or more, a long and not so comfortable trip as I was not able to use the toilet as there was only one for all of us, which was very annoying indeed! But the staff -tour guide and his helpers were very friendly and made their best to help us. Food and drinks were provided as part of the bus tour package and they were good enough.

As a city, Berlin was chaotic and huge, but I still like the architectural structure and layout of this city. It was remarkable to visit the Berlin Wall (what was left of it),Brandenburg Gate, city centre, etc. The hop on hop off bus stops were a bit confusing for us so we had to wait or walk very far to catch the next one. It got hot as well so it was not very pleasant toward the end of our visit there. Toilets were hard to come by, there were some on the streets where you had to pay .50 euros but I felt a bit claustrophobic in one of them. In the train station, it was also hard to find the toilets. We went to a McDonald's there and there were no toilets inside, it was weird. (In Sydney, any public places/utilities you go to have toilets for the public and they are free!)

Tallinn, Estonia

This ancient town is amazing with its World Heritage Old Town- the cobbled stone footpaths and roads are charming!

We visited the typically Russian styled Alexander Nevsky Cathedral where we saw beggars outside the Church's entrance. The architecture in the Old Town were reminiscent of centuries old iconic charm and beauty. But again, the toilets are hard to come by- they were inside the tourist souvenir shops. Of course, we loved to look at the shops, quirky artefacts, etc. but we didn't have enough time!

I loved the grand baroque Kadriorg Palace, with its pink facade and good collection of art and furnishings. Toompea Castle's facade was also impressive!

Saint Petersburg, Russia

We did bus tours of this grand city through the ship and we were not disappointed in terms of the opulent and luxurious places we visited. Despite knowing there were cheaper options, we decided to do the Princess tours because we wanted to have peace of mind we would get back to the ship in time. However, some of the places were not so comfy for me- especially Peterhof Palace- the staff there inside were rude and cranky! I wished I walked out and just viewed the fountains. We were often told to move on and finish up! It was hard to appreciate the interiors of the palace without being scolded by the cranky old ladies manning the exhibits! ( I have been to many museums all over the world and never have I experienced such blatant rudeness by staff! As if they personally own the items and that we were going to steal them!) There were no photography allowed too so I was not happy with this arrangement, If I knew before hand this was the case, I would not have gotten inside, which felt literally like HELL as it was stinking HOT inside and we had to wear those ridiculous shoe covers too! The chateau Versailles and Hermitage Museum were more interesting anyway.

My advice to anyone planning to visit the Peterhof Palace- just look at the fountains and gardens as if you have been to the Louvre or Versailles like me, then no need to experience the rudeness and uncomfortable setting inside the Peterhof, you would just be sorry! Catherine Palace was much better, collection wise and staff were friendlier and more helpful!

Hermitage Museum was worth a half day's visit too! The collection of this place was so numerous we had to choose the best ones - mostly the artworks and the huge malachite vases in the green room which were enormous and spectacular indeed!

The lunches included in the package tour were not so great- the waiters were good but the food portions were not very substantial after so many hours of walking and touring! I would have added more money to have better food servings and variety too. The first restaurant on the first day, the Gastronome had great interiors, amazing basement and fixtures inside, but the food left a lot to be desired with very sloppy mashed potato that accompanied the entree like portion of the beef stroganoff, which was good enough taste-wise but too teeny tiny portion!

Same with day two, lunch was very small portions- soup, main dish and dessert. though I have my ice cream away, also the vodka and caviar as I am allergic to alcohol and seafood.

But, to summarise, St. Petersburg was impressive, with amazing buildings and great atmosphere, you think you are in the middle ages!

Helsinki, Finland

This place was a disappointment- in terms of attractions and amenities like the toilets! We visited the Rock Church which was not as great, it didn't look like a church interior wise and it was too far to walk there on a hot day just to see a supposed to be church carved on a huge rock, no big deal for me! There were no pews inside too, I saw just plastic chairs! Maybe they were being remodeled, I am not sure. The other places we saw via the bus tour from the ship are the Senate and Market squares, Sibelius Monument and around city centre.

We went to Burger King for a snack and the toilets here were so filthy and stinky!

Looks like Europe could learn a thing or two from Australia when it comes to providing amenities to tourists.

Nynasham, Sweden ( Stockholm)

We didn't do any bus tour for this port but we joined many who lined up to get train and bus tickets for Stockholm. Instead of sight seeing at the seaside village of Nynasham, we decided to go to this capital to visit of all places- the ABBA Museum, which my friend wanted to do!

After taking off from the central station, we took the hop on hop off bus around the city and loved the city centre sights, modern buildings and clean city. However, it was so chaotic there.The train station had toilets for both men and women in one place and we had to pay two US dollars to use it or 1.50 euros.

ABBA Museum was fun, with a good collection of ABBA memorabilia. The many people inside the crammed building were friendly and very gay, luckily for us!! We enjoyed it there but on the way back to the train station, we found out we were dropped on a different side by the hop on hop off bus and gave us a fright as the trip to Nynasham was to take about 2 hours! Our ship was to leave about 4:30 pm and we were so scared to be left behind that I was busting for more than 4 hours as we were too afraid to go to the toilets which was very far from the country trains! Turned out, our train was 30 minutes late and we saw our fellow ship mates who were also waiting for the last train to Nynasham. To say the least, we were happy to be there but no toilets for several hours as there were no toilets inside the train as far as we know!

Thanks Princess Cruises, I will still cruise with you!
em ar’s Full Rating Summary
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