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We chose this cruise because the timing fit into our schedule, the price was right, and we enjoyed the Baltic area on a previous cruise. We had been to all but three of the scheduled ports. We live in the south of the U.S., so the cool temperature (highs rarely exceeding 72 degrees) felt refreshing. The weather was decent; we only had rain a couple of days. Unfortunately, we had to abort our call in Riga, as the winds were too high to safely navigate the strait into port, and they were expected to increase later in the day, which would have made it even more difficult to get out later. Riga was one of the cities we had not previously visited, so this was very disappointing. The stop in Helsinki was a bit short, but pleasant. It was nice having three days in St. Petersburg. Having been there before and having seen many of the sites already, we were able to pace ourselves, only taking a half-day excursion each day. Many of our fellow tourists were worn out, trying to see it all with two- and three-day package tours. One night, a wonderful team of local Russian dancers came on board to entertain us. It was also nice having overnights on both ends (Stockholm and Copenhagen) so we had a little time to explore these magnificent cities again. Talinn was a great stop, although much more touristy than it was when we were there in 2001. Fredericia, Denmark, and Klaipeda, Lithuania--the two ports besides Riga we had not been to-- did not have much to offer, but were pleasant stops and the people were welcoming. Because the cruise was so port-intensive, we didn't take too much advantage of the onboard activities. There was decent entertainment in the lounge almost every night. The Royal theater has a good design, with few bad seats. There was a separate movie theater, also with a good design, and frequent movies--although not much time on board to see them.

Port Intensive Baltic Cruise

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by SMCruiseControl

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Trip Details
We chose this cruise because the timing fit into our schedule, the price was right, and we enjoyed the Baltic area on a previous cruise. We had been to all but three of the scheduled ports.

We live in the south of the U.S., so the cool temperature (highs rarely exceeding 72 degrees) felt refreshing. The weather was decent; we only had rain a couple of days.

Unfortunately, we had to abort our call in Riga, as the winds were too high to safely navigate the strait into port, and they were expected to increase later in the day, which would have made it even more difficult to get out later. Riga was one of the cities we had not previously visited, so this was very disappointing.

The stop in Helsinki was a bit short, but pleasant. It was nice having three days in St. Petersburg. Having been there before and having seen many of the sites already, we were able to pace ourselves, only taking a half-day excursion each day. Many of our fellow tourists were worn out, trying to see it all with two- and three-day package tours. One night, a wonderful team of local Russian dancers came on board to entertain us.

It was also nice having overnights on both ends (Stockholm and Copenhagen) so we had a little time to explore these magnificent cities again.

Talinn was a great stop, although much more touristy than it was when we were there in 2001. Fredericia, Denmark, and Klaipeda, Lithuania--the two ports besides Riga we had not been to-- did not have much to offer, but were pleasant stops and the people were welcoming.

Because the cruise was so port-intensive, we didn't take too much advantage of the onboard activities. There was decent entertainment in the lounge almost every night. The Royal theater has a good design, with few bad seats. There was a separate movie theater, also with a good design, and frequent movies--although not much time on board to see them.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8166
The cabins are quite small, especially the bathrooms, and you have to be careful not to be standing in front of the closet when the other person comes out of the bathroom. RCCL doesn't provide much in the way of amenities anymore; instead of little bottles of shampoo, there is a big dispenser stuck to the wall of the shower. We asked about shampoo, conditioner, and lotion (basics provided by even 3-star hotels) but were told those are now only available for Diamond Plus members. (We are only Diamond, so therefore not eligible!) At least they still give you a bar of soap. Our cabin steward provided excellent service and was very pleasant.
  Serenade of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Copenhagen
    Great city with lots of historic buildings. The cruise port is out in the boondocks, but we found a public bus, as well as a hop on/hop off bus. The cruise offered a shuttle into town that cost $18; round-trip city bus tickets cost about $7. The currency is Danish kroner, but most places take credit cards, euros, or even US dollars.
    We did a lot of walking and also took a canal boat ride, which passes by a lot of the historic buidlings, as well as the Little Mermaid.
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  • Helsinki
    The stop was short; all aboard was about 2:30 p.m. We walked into town, which was a bit of a hike, but pleasant, as we went along the water and could see where we were going. Once in town, we hooked up with a free walking tour, which was very informative. The City Hall has free restrooms and free WiFi. We took the shuttle back to the cruise ship, as we'd had enough walking.
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  • Klaipeda
    Not much to do here, but it was a cute town where we had not been before. Everything was in easy walking distance of the ship. We joined a walking tour given by a local student. There was a flea market in front of the theater with much better amber prices than at the local shops. Their curency is the euro.
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  • Rostock (Warnemunde)
    Most people took the all-day excursion to Berlin, but we felt that would be too much. The Warnemunde train station is within walking distance of the cruise port. We bought train tickets to Rostock for about four euros return. We were here about 20 years ago--not long after the wall came down--so it was interesting to see how the city had evolved. Good walkable historic section and pedestrian shopping area. And now there is a big mall at the edge of the old town.
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  • Catherine Palace
    Beautiful palace and impressive Amber Room. The docents did a good job of controlling the groups going through so it wasn't as crowded as the Hermitage. Unfortunately, it rained, so our tour of the grounds was not as nice as it could have been.
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  • Stockholm
    A beautiful, historic city with lots to see and do. Old section is walkable. Be sure to see the Changing of the Guards at the palace. We were fortunate to find out about the local bus service, and there is a stop right by the cruise port. We bought a 24-hour ticket at the central station when we arrived. That got us to the cruise port where we checked in, and then came back out again and went downtown, using the same ticket. Also used it the following morning, when we went to Parliament and took a guided tour.
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  • Tallinn
    Talinn was a great stop, although much more touristy than it was when we were there in 2001. I think there were five ships in port that day! The medieval old town is within walking distance of the cruise port. And they use euros.
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