Just returned from my first cruise ever. All previous sailing has been on a 49 feet friend's yactht. Vowed that I would never go on a cruise. But always wanted to go to the Baltic including St Petersburg. So a cruise was the best option, particularly since visa arrangements in Russia were made easy.
Must say that some reviews I read were not promising and depressed me. But after a highly efficient boarding procedure at Tilbury, my first impressions of Columbus were most favourable. As a solo (very well catered for with solo events and dedicated solos restaurant tables), we were well looked after. Treated myself to a superior ocean view cabin with tea making facilities/ fridge/ proper window.
Food, staff and entertainment were excellent. On board lecturer (Dave Wright) giving lecturers on the Romanovs etc was first rate (shown by the fact that his lectures were packed out). The show team were good and enthusiastic and the pianist and vlolinist ladies first rate.
The ship ran like clockwork.
Shore excursions well organised and reasonably priced. Bar prices very reasonable. Staff were lovely.
The whole experience on and off board was very very positive.
The positives outweighed the inevitable negatives a hundred fold. The self service Bistro could get a bit manic at times so necessary to plan the visits. Air conditioning in any establishment not conducive to clear air passages. Some shore excursions (particularly St Petersburg) not helped by several cruise ships being in port at the same time.
Would I retur?. Yes, definitely, provided there was a purpose I wanted eg to see specific places or on board activities eg Choral cruise.
Thank you CMV. Good luck for your future success.