Marina Cruise Review by mr_reiter
- Sail Date: July 2018
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Verandah Stateroom
Embarkation: We arrived at the port in Stockholm at approximately 1pm and we were on the ship in a matter of minutes. We were told our room was ready as well. Dining was available in the Terrace Café buffet. It was a little chaotic, but not as bad as I anticipated. By the time we finished our lunch and toured the public areas, our luggage had been delivered to our room.
Service: We found the service to be uniformly excellent throughout the ship. Restaurant, bar, housekeeping, and desk staff were always friendly and accommodating.
Dining: The Grand Dining Room and all the specialty restaurants were all excellent. Service was always very prompt. Unlike many of the reviews I’ve read, we never found the service to be slow or meals prolonged. Our favorite restaurant was Jacques, and we were fortunate to have eaten there twice. We enjoyed Waves Bar for lunch. The port-rich itinerary, however, prevented us from having many lunches on board, so we didn’t take advantage of this often. We ate all breakfasts at the Terrace. If the port disembarkation was early, it was often very crowded and, occasionally difficult to find a table. The weather was often nice, though, so we had many lovely breakfasts al fresco. We only ate dinner and lunch there a couple of times, and I thought the food was OK – better than other cruise line buffets, but not as good as the sit-down restaurants.
Enrichment and activities: A well-travelled couple collaborated on port presentations covering history and points-of-interest. These were enjoyable presentations with good background information. The ship offered cooking and art classes, but we did not participate. The ship had daily trivia and other contests, but we seldom participated. My wife enjoyed a needlepoint gathering on our sole sea day. The pool area was pleasant, never crowded, and extremely well maintained and attended.
Entertainment: The string quartet and pianist playing before dinner and in the lounges were very good. Having a cocktail and listening to them was always a good way to spend part of the day. The onboard singers and dancers were pretty good and the shows they put on were entertaining. Stage shows were presented at 9:30 each night, and we attended all but one. Peter Cutler, a singer with a comic bent, performed two shows. We thought his shows were average and his voice overshadowed by the band. “Five O’Clock Somewhere” also performed two shows, with the second having an Irish theme. We found them to be original and much more entertaining with emphasis on technology; they relied very little on the ship’s band. Samantha Ivey performed two shows as well. She had a strong voice, and we enjoyed both of her performances.
Public spaces: Overall, the ship is beautiful. The lounges and bars are very nice. The library is quite large and well stocked with books and games. It was heavily used when we had the rare bit of bad weather.
Disembarkation: We did rely on house staff to move our luggage. We went to one of the lounges at 8 to await our chosen 8:30 time. We were in the cab line at Amsterdam’s port within minutes of our group being called. There was no passport control.
Ports: We thoroughly enjoyed all ten of the ports we visited. We did little in Klaipeda and Warnemunde/Rostock, but still enjoyed them. We took no ship-sponsored excursions. We used SPB Tours in St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Gdansk. We used free walking tours supplemented by guide books in Copenhagen and Bruges. We stayed in Stockholm two days prior to the cruise. We took a Stromma canal cruise in Stockholm, toured Gamla Stan and visited the Vasa museum. At the conclusion of the cruise, we stayed in Amsterdam for three days. We used the HOHO bus, but found it inconvenient. We bought tram tickets and did much walking to tour the markets, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank house, Flagship canal cruise, et al.
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Canal TourSmaller, more intimate boat with young guides who told us what it's like to live there and invited the passengers to ask questions.View All 264 Canal Tour Reviews
RijksmuseumPurchased tickets in advance with the hotel concierge. All things Dutch - a "must see" if you're there.View All 64 Rijksmuseum Reviews
BerlinWe took the S-bahn to Rostock hoping to see the Stasi museum, but it was closed. It was still a short, enjoyable visit. We enjoyed the ocean resort town of Warnemunde more, though.View All 208 Berlin Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Berlin Cruise Port Review
City TourWe had an informative guide who showed us the highlights and gave us great insight into what life is like in Denmark. We did not, however, enter any of the attractions. This would be a great tour to get acquainted with the city because he recommended nighttime activities, restaurants, night clubs, etc.View All 171 City Tour Reviews
Gdansk (Warsaw)This is a beautiful city, and I wish we had even more time there, particularly in the old city. We had a short visit to St. Mary's Church and heard the incredible organ. We visited the Solidarity museum, and we toured the old town. Our guide with SPB was excellent.View All 12,810 Gdansk (Warsaw) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Gdansk (Warsaw) Cruise Port Review
KlaipedaWe spent time walking through the old city spending time in the market and listened to folk music. Relaxing day in a port-intensive cruise.View All 42 Klaipeda Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Klaipeda Cruise Port Review
Private TourWe took the 3-day deluxe tour with SPB. There were 16 people on the bus with a driver and guide. We saw many highlights including Neva river cruise, subways, Peter and Paul Fortress, Yusupov Palace/Faberge, Peterhof Palace, Catherine Palace, Hermitage, Spilled Blood Church, etc. Our tour guide, Irina, was great.View All 186 Private Tour Reviews
Royal Canal TourUnder the Bridges tour was a great way to see the city.View All 15 Royal Canal Tour Reviews
Vasa MuseumWe walked up to buy tickets and joined one of the tour guides. A "must see" when in Stockholm.View All 112 Vasa Museum Reviews
Old Town of TallinnThe guide and tour coverage could have been better. We did spend some time in an excellent market in the city square.View All 166 Old Town of Tallinn Reviews