Having previously cruised (with Princess) on our Honeymoon, we decided to do so again for our 10th Anniversary - this time, with our children (5 and 7) too!! We were very pleased with our previous Princess cruise, although we primarily selected the Baltic Heritage cruise because of the itinerary - the fact that we "knew" the cruise line made our choice even simpler.
Due to an early morning flight, we arrived at the cruise terminal in Southampton slightly early for our embarkation time slot. However, we were checked-in very promptly and were allowed to board the ship shortly thereafter. The check-in/embarkation process was excellent and very "slick". After a brief walk-around the ship and some lunch from the Horizon Court buffet, we returned to our stateroom to find that our cases had all been delivered - again, very quickly indeed!
We had primarily chosen this cruise because of the excellent itinerary, however we did not do any of the ship’s organised excursions. In the majority of ports, we simply did our own thing (very easy to do in most cases – especially Tallin!) and in St Petersburg we booked a 2-day tour via an independent operator – which was excellent and substantially less expensive that Princess’ own offerings. I would add however that the itinerary did not disappoint – it was fantastic – we visited some fascinating places and having 2 “sea days” at the end to simply “chill out” was perfect!
Our cabin, although compact, was spacious enough for the 4 of us for 2 weeks. As the top bunks fold away, we usually did this ourselves in the morning when the children woke up to give us a little more space in the room. There was adequate storage space for everything we had with us and our cabin steward maintained our room in excellent order and whenever we left our room (at a variety of different times) it was always refreshed upon our return. Prior to embarking, I was somewhat tentative about our stateroom as I had read reviews of the window being overlooked by the Promenade deck and reports of potential noise from the Princess Theatre directly below our room. However, we were not aware of any noise from the theatre at all (and we were all in bed early some nights!) and the window (which is a good-sized window and not just a "porthole") had a veil as well as curtains and had a reflective/1-way coating to aid privacy. I would happily select this room again. The only negative which I would note - as a "be aware" - is that the room is very close to one of the anchor points for the ships lines - so when the ship docks (usually early morning), there is some noise from the motors for the ships lines as the ship is secured to the dock. The room is also at the opposite end of the ship from the kids club rooms (which are Deck 17 aft) - although the walk didn't bother us at all.