Loved the ship. The layout was not as open as some ships I have been on but there were tons of drinking and dining options to enjoy. The top deck and outside areas were not used much due to weather on this particular cruise. Having said that a balcony room is a great plus on this cruise as the Baltic is small and you will get to see lots of things out your window on a daily basis especially getting in and out of the ports. I was amazed at the number of cruise ships in the Baltic (there were 8 other ships in port in St. Petersburg).
The destinations were great with the exception of Germany. The Berlin for a day trip was very expensive and really not very enjoyable. 3 hours each way on an a non-air conditioned train with 6+ hours on a bus in between. We were very rushed. Little opportunity to get off and take pictures. It was also a brutal heat wave while we were there (close to 100 degrees F).
The centerpiece destinations on this cruise are St. Petersburg and Stockholm as they are both incredibly beautiful sightseeing opportunities. You will not be able to take pictures fast enough in the palaces and churches in St. Petersburg. I would also recommend arriving into Copenhagen Denmark a few days early and explore that beautiful little country. Tivoli Gardens, all the castles and fortresses scattered in and around the city are very impressive.
The dining in general was very good. We really enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the buffet was well appointed. What wasn't worth the cost, was the upgraded dining package. The Brazilian steakhouse was excellent and we enjoyed it the first night and the Cirque dinner show was excellent bu the food was a set menu from the main dining room. Ocean Blue and Cagney's were big disappointments. They ran out of lobster 2/3 way through the cruise so our "upgrade" meal at ocean blue was fish or shrimp similar to what was on offer at the main dining room. We dined at Cagney's our last night and the steaks were tough with very little flavor. Got better cuts of meat at the main dining room in the evening. My family that I was traveling with had gone Norwegian last year and raved about the upgraded food only to be let down this year.
The on board entertainment was decent. This really isn't a big factor in cruising for me to begin with. We enjoyed the upgraded cirque show and a dance show called Burning the Floor. We enjoyed a night at the dueling piano bar and a night with an 80's cover band. To be honest many of the excursions were so long and required so much walking that we went to bed early many evenings as our departure times for excursions were also very early (between 7 and 8 am). Not complaining about this but we needed our rest.
Our room was always clean and Hernane, our steward was excellent. He took great care of us. The air conditioning was not great but the cool temps on this cruise made that easy as we just slept with our balcony door open and enjoyed the sea air. We spent quite a bit of time on our balcony.
3 hours each way on non air conditioned train in a brutal heat wave. Then 6+ hours on a bus with few opportunities to get off and see anything. Great if you like taking pictures from a bus window. Guide was excellent and imparted a ton of local knowledge to us about the city and the effects of the cold war.View All 100 Berlin Reviews
Long day of sightseeing but very much worth it. Great introduction to Copenhagen and Denmark in general
Really enjoyed this. Great little town with tons of history and things to see. Bus time was not excessive and tons of opportunities to get off and walk around and see things. walking portions were a bit rushed to keep us on schedule but there was so much to see. Guide was excellentView All 90 City Tour Reviews
Part of the Catherine palace tour on our Grand 2 day tour. Incredible and overwhelming the amount of money the Romanov's spent.
all of these locations were just incredible. Also our guide got us to the front of the lines at every location. That made a huge difference in time inside when you are talking about there being 9 cruise ships in town when we were there. Only thing lacking was more time to explore and see incredible things. Warning to all when you are in these places do not mess around, Russians do not joke about when it comes to security or following rules. They are very proud of these places and there is a literal army of old, cranky russian ladies everywhere that will set you straight if do anything silly or against the rules. You will be overwhelmed at the sheer size and opulence of this place.View All 226 Catherine Palace Reviews
This was only an external stop for our Grand 2 day tour so we didn't get to go inside. Some tours offer that and it would have been nice but otherwise a beautiful place.View All 210 Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Reviews
saw lots of stuff but most of it was from a bus. There was so much walking on most of this tour though, the chance to sit and relax a bit between destinations was welcome. We saw more things than I can remember. The stop at the Neva river island to see St. Peter's and Paul's Fortress and the Hermitage was great.View All 378 City Tour Reviews
Like taking a drink from Niagara Falls You are guided from room to room and you just keep thinking that it can't get any more over the top than the last room and then you find out you are wrong. Any normal person could easily spend days in this place looking at the art. A few hours only give you a taste and our guide was great about getting us to the top 5 in our time there
Only thing lacking was more time to explore and see incredible things. Warning to all when you are in these places do not mess around, Russians do not joke about when it comes to security or following rules. They are very proud of these places and there is a literal army of old, cranky russian ladies everywhere that will set you straight if do anything silly or against the rules. You will be overwhelmed at the sheer size and opulence of this place.View All 377 Hermitage Museum Reviews
The Russians know how to decorate the inside of churches. Beautiful inside and out. Good amount of time at this location. Saw what I wanted.View All 114 Peter & Paul Fortress Reviews
Again WOW!!!! The interior is only exceeded by the exterior grounds and fountains. Could not take pictures fast enough.
Only thing lacking was more time to explore and see incredible things. Warning to all when you are in these places do not mess around, Russians do not joke about when it comes to security or following rules. They are very proud of these places and there is a literal army of old, cranky russian ladies everywhere that will set you straight if do anything silly or against the rules. You will be overwhelmed at the sheer size and opulence of this place.
this was a land and sea tour of the city. It was ok but many of the best locations there were no stops at to visit. This was a short stop in port so a longer one would have given us more options. Nice town but felt like we experienced it at arms length.View All 193 City Tour Reviews
the highlight of this was the boat tour through the main canal and then to the Vasa museum. such a beautiful city with so much history.; The weather was incredible and so many pictures were takenView All 141 City Tour Reviews
Great walking tour where we got to visit the royal palace, the Nobel museum, several churches, and opportunities to shop.View All 54 Stockholm Old Town Tour Reviews
This was a land and sea tour and it was way more hands on with stops to see things. One of the biggies was the Vasa museum. This place is fascinating. Really felt connected to the local history. Our tour guide was greatView All 128 Vasa Museum Reviews