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Norwegian Getaway Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
3027 reviews
8 Awards

Good experience, scenic ports for a novice cruiser

Review for Norwegian Getaway to the Baltic Sea
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smoky2250
2-5 Cruises • Age 40s

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Additional details

Sail Date: Jul 2019
Cabin: Inside Stateroom

I went with my fiancee for the 9-day Baltic Sea cruise, we've been on plenty of trips to Europe before, but this was only our 2nd cruise. It was a good experience, although as more independent travelers, the itinerary was a bit confining.

The ship:

-I was worried about seasickness, but felt pretty much absolutely no motion the entire cruise. At worst, it was the rumbling of the ship's engines when sitting in an aft restaurant.

Cabin Review

Inside Stateroom

Port Reviews

Copenhagen

-We spent the night before departure here, along with 4 nights after. (Ended up going to Amsterdam for 3 nights after that, flights home were half the price that way).

-My gosh, this city is expensive, and I've lived in San Francisco and Boston.

-Having already lived in northern California, that's why I skipped visiting Christianshavn.

-Buses are convenient to use, but suggest using the online trip planner because we always seemed to need to transfer.

-Of all the castles, Rosenborg is easily the most memorable. The Amalienborg museum was quite minimal, and only the reception rooms at Christiansborg were worth seeing.

-For Americans used to Disney World, Tivoli is small and nothing special. But it is still worth experiencing, the fireworks were great, the free ballet shows were enjoyable, although the Illuminations light show was very weak. And single ticket rides at $5, $10, or $15 apiece seemed extravagant, but we had to put down the $10 apiece for The Flying Trunk ride, which is kind of like It's a Small World.

Rostock (Warnemunde)

-The dock is in the middle of nowhere. We bought our own train tickets from Rostock HBF to Berlin (27 euro each way). Hardest part was actually getting a taxi from the port to Rostock HBF, all the waiting taxis only wanted to take groups all the way to Berlin. Eventually, we pooled with a few others to convince one cabbie to take us downtown. 15 minute drive for 50 euro, made it in time for the 8:34 train.

-One cabbie claimed there was a bus stop a few minutes away from the port. If there was, I never heard from anyone that found it.

-Becuase of the cab difficulty, we didn't want to chance taking the 6:13 return train from Berlin, so we took the 4:13 train. 5 hours in Berlin obviously wasn't enough, however in 88-degree weather, it was still tiring. And unlike the ship excursion train, the regular trains were air-conditioned.

-But we didn't have cab trouble back to the ship in Rostock, many taxis were waiting, and we got charged 35 euro this time.

-Our eventual walking route went from Brandenburg Gate down Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse to Checkpoint Charlie, back past Topography of Terror to Potsdamer Platz.

Helsinki

-If you don't use the ship's hop-on/hop-off bus excursion, there are still plenty of others waiting right outside the ship.

-It's a scenic but very long walk from the port to downtown (and back).

-We got to the Temppeliaukio Church even before it opened, and there was a long line to buy entrance tickets. The little gift shop across the street, Anne's, also sells entrance wristbands at no additional charge. We got ours there, and were first in the pre-paid line to enter, along with tour groups.

-The buses were supposed to run every 15-20 minutes, but it was more like either 5 or 30 minutes between them.

-Made it to the National Museum a few minutes before it opened at 11, very nice exhibits.

-Walked down Mannerheim to Stockmann's department store, we picked up some unique food in the gourmet supermarket in the basement.

-Went to both cathedrals downtown and the bustling outdoor marketplace on the waterfront, and got the hop-on bus there back to the ship.

St. Petersburg

-We bought the 2-day excursion through NCL. I know others booked local tour companies on their own, we probably would've done that if we had a larger group to split the cost.

-But I have no complaints with our excursion. Obviously 2 hours in the Hermitage isn't enough, and we fell far enough behind the tour group a few times that we lost reception in our headset, but it was still a nice taste of the museum.

-Lunch was simply food, not gourmet or even really local cuisine. Both days came with sparkling wine and a shot of vodka, too.

-There was sufficient time at the photostops, although there were no stops along Nevsky Prospekt. I really wanted to see how the Metro looked.

-Of course the shopping stops were pre-determined. Same stuff as the gift shops in the cruise terminal, although slightly less expensive. Not useful if you want something really nice or unique, but good enough for souvenir trinkets.

-Catherine Palace was impressive, although the ushers are forceful in moving you along. No photos in the Amber Room, but I did take some from the doorway of the next room. I thought the ballroom was far more memorable.

-The outside walk through Peterhof's fountains was nice. The inside tour was a mess: a long wait outside and very hot and crowded inside.

-But 92 degrees and sticky is not a good time to be in the city. Flying bugs everywhere!

Tallinn

-With our ship credit, the hop-on bus was essentially free. It allowed us to visit Kadriorg Palace, which was far enough outside the old city that we wouldn't have gone otherwise.

-The walk from the ship to downtown is much more manageable than in Helsinki, but we took the bus back anyway. It was 90 degrees and I'd sweated through my shirt by noon.

-Started with Toompea and worked our way downhill. Strongly suggest this way unless you want to work out your calves.

-Signs say the front gallery at the Nevsky Cathedral is open, but only to Orthodox members. The usher politely shoos you out otherwise.

-Had my first sodas in like a week, dirt-cheap at a convenience store, and I needed the hydration. Things here are probably 1/4 the price they are in Copenhagen.

-If you only get to 1 of the viewing platforms, go to Kohtuotsa (the one farthest east).

-Pikk and Lai streets are obviously touristy. If you can get to Balti Jaam market just outside the west wall, it was far more local.

-Enjoyed the KGB museum along with all the antique stores with Soviet and Nazi items on display, they were like dusty free museums.

Stockholm

-Rather, it was Nynashamn, a good 50 to 60-minute bus ride away from the city. Take that into account when looking at ship itineraries.

-The NCL bus excursion was very convenient for time and location, although $50 off sure helped. And we got an hour's worth of trip planning on the bus Wifi on the ride home, until my phone/camera battery died. Too many pictures...

-The bus stops at the opera house, and the walk to the Vasa museum took exactly the right amount of time for it to open. Get there early, because the place was packed within an hour.

-If it weren't so hot, we would've went to Skansen. Instead we went to the Nordic Museum, which was still quite fascinating.

-The tram is expensive, but we took #7 back to Kungstradgarden just in time for the band and Changing of the Guard. We followed them up the south side of the palace and got great views just west of the parade square.

-Gamla Stan is a nice place to get lost in, especially side streets or the east side away from Vasterlanggatan. Shop around a little, too, the same postcards cost anywhere from 2 SEK to 15 SEK.

-Even better, cross the bridge back to the city center. We only had a short amount of time in Mood and Galleria malls before we had to catch the last bus back at 4:30 though.

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