In three words - Book this cruise Ok in more words, We drove to Dover, 2 adults and a 16 year old and dropped the bags and family at the terminal and parked the car, an entire 40 steps away. Check in took 10 minutes. We arrived at the terminal at 11.40am and was on the ship at 12.10. perfect embarkation. We were greeted with Champagne, teen club reps for our son and the opportunity to but the soda cards. First of course of many opportunities to spend money onboard. We had a BA balcony cabin, midships 10th deck and it was an ideal location, although even on the 12th night we still walked the wrong way out of the elevator into the wrong corridor. The cabin was a little cramped for 3 with the sofa bed pulled out, especially wardrobe space and with the bed out we couldn't get onto the balcony. It would have been ideal for two people. However we managed just fine and with the sofa bed away during the day we had more room to move around. Although we were too busy to spend time in the cabin as there is so much to do when on board. The ship was very clean and the cabin was well looked after, although not once in 12 nights did we ever meet the Steward - we had this miracle worker coming in and making beds and replacing towels without a chance to say hello. The towel animals left every other night were fantastic and we were sad when the Monkey was finally removed from the ceiling, so much so we wanted to ring reception and ask them to bring it back. Dining - there are 2 freestyle sit down restaurants and the food was good compared with other ships we had been on, with 5 courses available and good service however the queues to develop after 7.30pm. The garden cafe buffet had lots of action stations with freshly prepared food and a great mixture of choice for all diets. The Great Outdoors, at the back has lovely wicker chairs and tables and a small buffet all of its own. In addition there are many cover charge restaurants, Le Bistro, Mama's Italian, Chin Chin Chinese, Cagney Steak House, Tepanyaki to name a few. Some have half price cover charge before 6.30 and it was well worth it. We ate at Mama's 3 times, Cagneys twice and Le Bistro three times and the food was fantastic, especially Le Bistro and I didn't fancy anything on the menu and loved everything I had. Price of drinks could be lower, they were expensive compared to bar prices but did match 4 star hotel prices with $5.95 for a pint of beer and some cocktails upto $12 a go. We recommend the marguerita madness when for an hour they are served at $4.95 and also go for a helmet of beer, pay for 5 and get 6. It certainly didn't stop us enjoying ourselves. Children's clubs - there are clubs for all ages. Our son went to the Teen Club consistently and at one point we wondered whether he had actually come with us on this holiday, however he was in bed every night and came on shore and ate most meals with us but he had a fantastic time. They have their own murder mystery, pre show dinners, late night dodgeball, disco's, scavenger hunts etc. Entertainment - we had 3 good production shows and fully recommend them all - Cirque Bijou is fantastic, don't miss it. We weren't amused by the comedian but there was so much more to do on board. We did a Meet and Greet with Cruise Critic and all the Officers came along (which we didn't expect) and invited us to the bridge for a free tour and we got to know many of the Officers and they are very visible on the ship, visiting every restaurant and saying hello to passengers each evening. And the Captain - well we have never seen so much of a Captain - he comes and talks to passengers every day and is very approachable and spent over an hour explaining everything on the Bridge to us. We had the need to ask Julian, the Hotel Manager to help with a suit that had not made it back from the cleaners in time for dinner and not only did we get it cleaned for free, we were sent an apology bottle of Chardonnay. Mike the Food and Beverage Director is open to feedback, as is Victor the Maitre D' and they rectify and amend anything. Although there wasn't anything to really make any complaint about. Friends - where to start, having been in touch with some on the roll call we ate every evening with a great family from New Orleans and did a private trip with 6 from Canada and America. We have made excellent new friends and will be cruising with them again. Honestly we cannot put in words to describe how fantastic this was and a lot of this was the people and the company. We never read any of the books we took and our son didn't get his game boy out. On the other hand if you want to sit in a quiet place and read, there are lots of places to do this.
Getting off the ship - we had no problems in St Petersburg - from announcement to getting through immigration took 15 minutes and we were on an independent tour and not on the ship one. We waited on the stairs at 7.25am and by 8am our tour guide was flabbergasted we were there. Our tip is ensure all your private party meets together and gets off together and it worked a treat - we even got off before the ships tours. We used Anastasia, well organised, others used SPB which had a good review too and we saved 2/3 of the cost of the ships tours.
Currency - we took £100 in Rubbles, £50 in Swedish and £50 in Denmark and the rest was Euro's. We paid in Russia with Dollars to the tour company. Most places took Euros and in Estonia a currency exchange company got on board and sold Estonian and rubbles and exchanged back for the same rate with no charge - excellent service.
See separate ports for info on them - we did not use any of the ships trips, they are expensive and you can do them much cheaper yourself - however they may be great value but we don't know and they were certainly popular.
And our friends had a cabin on 14 - courtyard villa - amazing - the brochure does not do it justice - they get a special seating section in the theatre, get off the ship before anyone else, a butler, concierge - speciality restaurants for breakfast and lunch - real 5 star treatment, if you can afford it or get a deal that makes it un-missable - do it - private lounge, private sun deck, own pool and hot tub too. Then again the pools on deck were not crowded, they were 31degrees and lovely.
The casino was good and we are not gamblers - Gareth the manager is a good laugh and takes care of his guests.
Our only disappointment - the photography - NCl are aware and are taking over the franchise to fix it so it may be sorted by the time you get on - 1000s of poor quality pictures taken and they never check the picture - you are grabbed on the gangplank every day unless you run past them and we never did work out why we needed to be photographed with a whale in Finland
Getting off - pick yout time, take your luggage labels and walk off the ship - no queue and the guys are there to carry your luggage - the 40 steps to the car
What can we say - amazing, fantastic - we would have stayed on if there had been a free cabin and stuff the consequences with the job. But they were full until 26th August. oh well back to the real world and the laundry.
10090 - good location above and below other cabins and only 2 doors from the midships lifts. No noise at all. Only issue is with the sofa bed out you cannot get onto the balcony and the closet isn't made for 3. Would be great for 2 people.
Great stop, hop on/off bus stops at the ship. Takes dollars, euros and Danish currency. Recommend the Netto canal cruise (half the proce of the DFDS one)- 1 hour, you see lots of things and takes you to the little mermaid and around the housing areas all for the equivalent of £3.60/$5 each and half price for children.
You can walk it from the ship without the bus but it's a long way to Tivoli Gardens and even further to Carlsberg Brewery. The main shopping street has allsorts for everyone.
Tourist Market on the portside - so if you do't want to go far it's just there. Walk into town in 15 minutes or get on the hop on/off at the port.
Recommend Rick Steves book of Scandanavia, contains a walking tour and also covers Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stckholm too.
The old town is lovely and the Russian souveniers are cheaper here than Russia and definitely cheaper than the ships bazaar - they take euros although they are not meant to. The ship runs an exchange desk at reception for estonian money with no charge for changing back - we used it and it was great.
Lovely old town with medieval areas and a central square - visit Old Hansa to see the medieval toilets. The honey beer is potent and the prices in this bar expensive but worth a half litre and the experience. Don't bother with the ice bar here - it's a small room with cold air con and no ice!
Our son even tried archery whilst there and had a great time.
Wow don't miss this place - we booked a private tour with anastasia although SPB, Red October and Denrus also have tours too. It cost us $220 each for the 2 days including a canal tour.
We went to the Hermitage, Chirch of the Silt Blood, St Isaacs Cathedral, Peterhof, Catherines Palace, and lots lots more and it was amazing. We did souvenir shopping too and some price in dollars and others in euros.
We had no issue getting off the ship - we got the group together on the stairs and got off in 15 mins and straight through immigration. Go to the ships talk for private tours and they will explain what to do, they even ring your tour company to confirm you are definitely coming.
A little let down after St Petersburg and all the gold but we stil enjoyed it thoroughly.
Hop on/off avialable at the port but walk past it to the bus stop and for 6.80 euro you can have a full day 24hour bus and tram ticket. Get on the 16 to town market or 14b to rock church and the driver will tell you where to get off.
We got off at Rock Church, the acoustics are great and then walked all the way through the city to the market. Lots of shops and lots of fruit on the market.
Careful coming back, the bus fills quick and won't stop if full. To beat this cross the road from the market and go to the earlier stop and you will be guaranteed a seat. Once it gets to 2 stops after the market it is full.
So give yourself enough time to get back. Alternatively the taxi is 10 euro one way.
Too much to see and not enough time to see it.
Get off the ship and turn left to the end - 2 companies run hop on/off boats at 10 euro an adult. You can use it all day jumping on and off and it's all you need
Do the Vasa Museum first and you wil get in before the coach tours - it is amazing 7 floors of a 1620 ship that sank on the maiden voyage - free 25 min tour around the museum and a 25 min film too included. Children free under 18 and students half price. Adults 10 euro.
The old town is delightful, lots of shops, great sandwiches and ice cream.
Will definitely be going back for a weekend.