LOVED this Baltic voyage. This was my 27th cruise. My husband's 8th. We were just thrilled to leave our busy world and be pampered: We don't have to cook, clean, shop or do laundry. And we get to see some interesting places. All on (mostly) soothing seas. Our expectations are always measured. We did our research. This was the itinerary we wanted. (Seeing the Hermitage and Copenhagen were our main travel goals.) While Celebrity and Princess offered similar but pricier, longer voyages, we opted for the Star because of its price point and the more doable 9 nights which allowed us to spend more time in Copenhagen. Yes. You do get what you pay for and knowing that we were more accepting of the aging Star. We were on the Mediterranean in Oct. 2015 on the newer and more elegant Equinox. Wonderful ship. The Star is not the Equinox. And that is OK. The Sept. 5th sailing was blessed with mild temperatures, calm seas and mainly clear skies. A huge bonus. CABIN: We booked a balcony and were upgraded to a mini-suite. Nice. I do think the closets are poorly placed right by the bed leading to awkward access. We were rarely in the cabin but enjoyed the moments of down there. FOOD: The Star does have a cafeteria-like buffet restaurant. Newer ships have enticing food "stations" but in 2001 they built buffet eating areas like those on the Star. Food was more than acceptable. Only ate there for breakfast. Was not blown away but never went hungry with the offerings. The fare in the two main dining rooms--Aqua and Versailles was the same. Some meals were excellent. Others were not. We just asked for another dish if we found something unacceptable OR asked for a bit more if we found the portions skimpy. We favoured Aqua for its more relaxed atmosphere. Husband commented that he preferred the freestyle atmosphere AND the food on the Star over the Equinox. (Go figure.) We did not eat in the specialty restaurants. Some cruisers had a meal package and reported enjoying the food in Cagney's and Le Bistro. (We had eaten in those venues on other ships.) We chose the UBP. Ultimate Beverage Package. There was a wider wine choice than on the Equinox. PUBLIC SPACES: The Star suffers from a lack of comfortable and intimate gathering areas. Gatsby's is small. 5 O'Clock Somewhere is also small and is sparsely furnished with wooden tables and chairs. The Irish pub O'Sheehans ? I suspect is on its way out. Never full, it lacked the charm of a real pub. An open area shaped like a horseshoe overlooking the noise of the Grant Atrium does not a Pub make. The shopping venues are somewhat disjointed. I kept turning the wrong way looking for them when getting off the elevator. Never went to the casino. Husband would not let me. Lol. ENTERTAINMENT: We saw three shows and were pleasantly surprised. Hats off to the dancers and singers! We also enjoyed Dev the Piano Man and were really charmed by the Melodic Trio who rocked the Atrium area. FITNESS CENTRE: They no longer build dark fitness areas like that on the Star. We are used to having all the treadmills facing the ocean. We decided to skip the gym and do the walking circuit around the 7th floor promenade. SERVICE: We found the service to be mostly patient and professional. I remember the names Ariel (cabin steward), Saudia, Clint and Michael as all being helpful. No surly servers. Tired yes. Pleasant always. PORTS/SHORE EXCURSIONS: Chose SPB Tours for Berlin/Warnemunde and St. Petersburg. Highly recommended. Ventured out on our own in Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. What amazing places! Took Rick Steeves with us and walked around following his advice. For the most part. (Always add 20 minutes to whatever time frame he says it will take you to get somewhere!!) Would use the Hop On and Hop Off canal boat in Stockholm if the weather permits. We got off the boat early, caught the canal on/off and zipped over to the Vasa Museum. After that we boated over to the charming Gamla Stan. (Old Town.) In Helsinki we made of point of ferrying over to Soumenalinna, a world UNESCO site. Wished we had more time there. And more time in the market and Senate areas of downtown. If you like the walking skip Helsinki's on/off bus. Get off the boat early and plan and prioritize your must-see list. Tallinn is a lovely accessible town that will surprise and please visitors. EMBARKATION and DISEMBARKATION: No problems. Took our own suitcases off the ship. Taxi line-up is long but moves quickly. Ensure you leave 2.5 hours to get to airport and do all the stuff needed to board the plane home. MUST IMPROVE: The Star needs to have a complimentary coffee bar for us latte drinkers. There is no excuse not to in this cruising era. TIP: Bring .50 Euro or $1 USD for bathroom visits in Berlin and St. Petersburg.
NOTE: The Star is sailing the Baltic for the last time this September and will be replaced in 2017 by the Getaway. While the pricing may change, the Getaway will compete favourably with other ships. Spread the word and encourage cruisers to experience this special area of the globe!
Spent three nights in this lovely city. Took two free walking tours. (Not really free as you tip generously.) Great guides. Fun and informative. Stayed at the charming Hotel Alexandra. Centrally located. Ate at several wonderful restaurants that were about $120 cdn. per meal. TIGHT is wonderful. Read Tripadvisor for a fulsome review.
What a charming city whose old town is located blocks from the ship. Loved it. WHO KNEW?!
Took time to get off the boat. Wished we had more time in Helsinki. We ferried over to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site....Soumenalinna. The Ferry Ride was wonderful and gave us a lovely sunny perspective of the Harbour. The Senate and Market areas were charming. Walked back to boat....it took longer than we thought. But a pleasant walk.
It was a warm and sunny day when we sailed into Stockholm's beautiful harbour. LOVED this city!! Wanted to see the VASA museum and made sure we took the canal hop on/off boat there first to skip line-ups. The VASA film is a must-see. Puts the dimly lit exhibit in perspective. From there we took the one-way canal trip over to the old town. Rick Steeves guide helped us get a lot out of the area in a short time.
Did not sail here.