Fabulous Baltic and British Isles cruise: Ocean Princess Cruise Review by stacycs

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Fabulous Baltic and British Isles cruise

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Stockholm
This cruise was wonderful from start to finish.  The embarkation and debarkation were smooth, easy, and fast.  The ship is so beautiful that I took pictures of several of the public rooms.  The service throughout the ship was not only helpful and friendly, but they seemed genuinely happy and eager to be helpful.  I did not eat in a specialty restaurant as the food and service in the dining room were so good.  The buffet was mostly good as well.  There were a few times, such as Asian lunch, when I didn't find much I wanted.  On those occaisions, I had pizza, which was consistently good.  The grill for hamburgers and hotdogs is right there as well.

The entertainment I saw was good.  We only had three production shows instead of 4 due to 'technical difficulties'.  The three I saw were enjoyable, and the performers are certainly talented and hardworking.  They brought in two local groups for us, one on our overnight in St More Petersburg and one on our overnight in Dublin.  Both groups were a lot of fun to watch as they did traditional music and dancing.  The piano player/singer in the Casino bar was also very good.  The cooking demonstration was much more fun than others I have seen due to the fun personalities of the head chef and maitre d'.

I had a balcony cabin which was definitely a good size (although I travel alone, so two people might not agree with this).  There was a lot of storage including a good number of drawers as well as a number of shelves in the bathroom.  The balcony, deck seven, was completely covered from above, and you can't see the ones below either.  There are walls between the balconies next store almost completely closing you off and giving a real sense of privacy.  My room got flooded one night when a pipe burst in the hallway.  Once I let them know that, I was in another balcony cabin just down the hall within about 20 minutes to sleep the rest of the night.  The next day, they helped me move my belongings to the new cabin as the other one still had some clean up needed.  They apologized several times, providing me with a free load of laundry for anything that got wet and a bottle of wine.  I plan to send a letter to Princess to compliment them on the handling of this situation.

The cruise started from Stockholm.  I arrived the day before.   The morning before boarding, I had time to walk around Old Town.  Old Town is not just for tourists.  There are a lot of businesses and apartments there.  I walked around the small streets and alleys, walking up to the palace to take pictures.

Helsinki was the first port, and we were only there in the afternoon.  There are some nice sights there, and the ship docked right in the center of town.  Don't miss the Rock Church, it was amazing and beautiful.  I was on a private tour, but it should be easy to do this city on the HOHO. Less

Published 05/26/09

Cabin review: BB Balcony

Cabin 7078, while a nice size, is almost directly across from the public laundry room.  Although people are only supposed to use it from 8AM to 9PM, naturally a lot of folks don't follow this,  I found it to be noisy, especially about 9-10 at night.  If you go to sleep later than that, it won't be an issue.

Read All Balcony (BB) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

In Copenhagen, I went on a ship's tour to Fredericksborg Castle north of the city.  It was fantastic!  The building and grounds are amazing from the outside, the the inside is even better.  The chapel alone is worth the drive up there.  On the way back to the ship, we drove the coastal road and made two stops for pictures.  The first was at the Queen's summer palace, and the second was at Helsingor Castle, also known as Hamlet's Castle.  This tour took pretty much the whole day, so I did not get to see Copenhagen itself.

In Dublin I took two ship's tours.  I didn't want to miss anything!  In the morning I went to Wicklow to see Powerscourt Hall.  Wicklow is a truly beautiful part of Ireland with mountains, valleys, farms, sheep etc.  Powerscourt is basically a trip to see the garden as the building was gutted by fire in the 1970's.  The gardens are amazing.  There is a huge Italian garden with water fountains and statues.  There are also walled gardens and large fields and tree covered areas.

In the afternoon I went to Malahide Castle.  This was close to Dublin.  The castle is very old and the rooms are beautifully decorated in period styles.  There was a recorded narration there, which I did not like.  It meant we could not move through the rooms at the speed the group wanted, we had to stick to the narration.  Also, there was no one to ask questions of any item in the room that was not covered by the recording.  We did not have time to visit the garden, which is also an extra cost.

Read 179 Dublin Reviews

Edinburgh is, of course, a fabulous city,  I have been there before, so I took a ship's tour to Scone Palace, the place where the old kings of Scotland were crowned.  It is a beautiful old building, and the rooms are wonderfully decorated with old treasures.  We saw the chapel and the spot where the old kings were crowned.

I was part of a Cruise Critic group that booked a private tour with Alla Tours.  Elena, our tour guide, was very nice and extremely knowledgeable.  I cannot believe how much we saw in only two days!  Be sure to bring the most comfortable walking shoes you can possibly find because there is so much to see, and you don't want to miss anything.  The first day we did Catherine's Palace, Peterhoff, the Choral Synagogue and Yosuv's palace.  The second day we did the Hermitage, St Isaac's Cathedral and the Church of the Spilled Blood.  In between, we stopped at several places to get views of the city.  She gave us a lot of information on the history of each place and even each neighborhood.  She also told us some of her and her friend's experiences under the Soviet Union and the changes to capitalism.

Tallinn I did on my own.  There was a shuttle from the ship to the Old Town, but some walked as it was only 1.5 miles.  Old Town is lovely, lots of small winding streets and cobble stones, old medieval buildings and alley ways to explore.  There are a number of restaurants there as well as lots of shops.
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