We’re a young couple from the UK who have cruised before but not with Norwegian – we chose Norwegian for the itinerary.
Summary of our experience – the majority of staff were rude and non-English speaking, hygiene was awful amongst staff making it inevitable that the majority of guests would get sick (turning the ship into a Zombie apocalypse), the food was tasteless, lacked in variety and was often inedible, dietary requirements were not taken seriously (if you are vegetarian you will be fed meat) and if you complain about anything you’re argued with, treated like a criminal and made to feel very uncomfortable for the rest of your holiday. Needless to say we will not be cruising with Norwegian again.
Now onto the good, the bad and the ugly:
Good location - close to one of the main dining rooms & O'Sheehans
We stayed in the Movenpick hotel as it was next to the cruise terminal.
The terminal is walking distance from Centraal station (15 mins, easy flat walk) and the city (just past the station).
We chose to get Ubers to save walking between the terminal and station with suitcases, being half the price of local taxis.
We would of course recommend the Anne Frank museum, trying Stroopwaffels and crepes/pancakes, and hiring your own boat rather than doing a boat tour (which isn't too much more money).
We took the ferry across to Neringa and the bus down to Nida. Although we would recommend booking a private tour to stop off at various locations along the way. The route was very beautiful and it was nice seeing the different towns and sights along the way. Due to the bad bus timetable we booked a cab back to the ferry terminal, which cost 50 euros. Although the price was worth it as we ended up having a mini tour and various stops along the way :) As it was out of season it was very hard finding a cab so make sure you have your return transport planned in advance if the bus timetables are not suitable. Also make sure you check whether you're at the Old or New ferry terminal as our cruise line told us the wrong one!
We took the bus to the Little Mermaid (approx. 10 minute walk from the cruise terminal) and from there planned a circular walk around the city, with a return bus to the cruise terminal. The bus station near to the cruise terminal had a machine where you could purchase tickets in advance, but for the return bus there was no machine so we had to pay using local currency onboard. Buses cost about £2.50 per person each way, so much cheaper than the hop on hop off buses which cost 25 euros each.
We took Ubers from the cruise terminal to Gdansk, which cost between 15-25 euros each way. It's a small city so easy to walk around in the timeframe, and very picturesque.
When we found out about the Russia Visa requirements, which cost a fortune, we decided to book our own tour through Trip Advisor/Viator (2-day tour with Tickets and Tours) rather than the ridiculously expensive cruise excursions. We loved the tour, the guide was excellent and we saw so many sights, including a ride on the metro. We didn't bother seeing a theatre show during the evening, and luckily enough our cruise ship laid on a local Russian folklore show which was great. Be careful of pick-pocketers, they follow you around inside the museums and whilst queueing for tourist attractions (I stopped a group of 3 men stealing a tourist's wallet!).
We hired bikes in the town centre for 10 euros for the day and firstly cycled around the small town, to see the lighthouses etc., and then an approximate 12 mile round trip to Nienhagen, all along safe cycling/walking paths through the countryside, woodland parks and beaches. There were many restaurants and cafes along the way but we chose to grab a bite to eat at the end of the round trip in Nienhagen.
We chose not to travel the long distance to Berlin or Hamburg, as we would see so many cities/town centres on our itinerary and thought seeing the countryside and seaside towns would be more enjoyable.
The cruise terminal was an approx. 15 minute walk to the town. We enjoyed the viewing points looking out over the city. It's a small town so easy to walk around in the timeframe. Don't forget to check out the place where the Devil had a wedding :)
We took the hop on hop off boat which was right next to the cruise terminal. We had enough time to see all of the sights in the timeframe. We'd recommend walking down the street Vasterlamggatan in Gamla Stan which had lots of cafes, souvenir shops etc. and trying waffles :)
The cruise terminal was an approx. 10 minute walk to the city. The city was quite small and easy to see all of the sights in the timeframe. Tip - dress nice as most people are dressed well :)