We have just returned from an 11 night port intensive Baltic cruise on Orchestra and I have to admit we went with limited expectations after reading previous reviews.
A little background and context first which I think is important when reading these reviews: We are in our early 50’s and have mainly sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Oceania.
Our Diamond status on R.C. allowed us to get matching Black status prior to booking.
We booked one of the Aurea Suites onboard and were happy with the space provided. They are similar in size to a Junior suite on R.C. or mini suite on Princess with a bath/shower combination and a decent sized balcony on deck 15. There is a large walk in cupboard and a separate unit with shelves. A large safe is provided behind the mirror and a decent sized fridge is located in further cupboard space below the T.V. The décor was bright and colourful and well maintained.
Warnemunde is a pleasant seaside resort with upmarket shops and restaurants and a fine sandy beach next to a wide promenade area. The weather was so good we got to paddle in the sea! The hotel we booked was a convenient 10 minute walk to the ship, although they need to do something about the underpass at the train station which has no lift facility for heavy cases.
Our first stop was the town of Visby on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic sea, owned by Sweden.
We walked about 20 minutes into town and explored the medieval streets for a few hours. We also found a great coffee shop with excellent cake! The weather threatened rain most of the time and then delivered as we were walking back but nice to have seen the place for a few hours.
Lithuania was next and proved to be a disappointment. The town of Klaipeda held little interest and we wish we had booked an excursion and done something else. If we ever stop here again we will go over to the park on the Island opposite and walk or cycle.
Great weather and walked the 15 minutes to the city walls and spent a day exploring the streets within. Amazing architecture and colours along with nice street café’s and quaint little shops in people’s houses. Would go back anytime and recommend doing this on your own if no walking issues as no need for an excursion or guide. Save your money for an excursion in St Petersburg!
Two days in St. Petersburg.
The cherry on the cake for most Baltic cruises. We booked with a private tour, as did many of our fellow cruisers, for 2 full days of covering the main sights. Picked up 830am first day and didn’t get back onto the ship until 8pm. Dinner and bed before 745am start next day and tour finished about 6pm. Highlights for me were Peterhof Palace and Church on spilled blood. My wife loves art so this had been a dream for her to see all the insides of the churches, palaces etc. The city was not as picturesque as I thought it would be but we certainly saw plenty.
A half day in Helsinki was a good way of unwinding after some busy days. It was a beautiful day so we walked along the coast through the parks into the main city and spent a few hours exploring before retracing our steps to the ship.Worth a visit.
Stockholm was next, and we took the shuttle bus into the city and again explored on our own for most of the day. Had been here before many years ago and loved the old part and the parks to enjoy weather.
Last stop Copenhagen. Lots of people disembarking but we took the shuttle bus into the city and went to Tivoli Gardens as we had been to Copenhagen a few years ago on a city break in early spring and it had been closed. Nice place but not really impressed at the high cost of entry just to see some gardens. Walked around the main sights after that and returned on the shuttle bus.