Embarkation - went quickly and smoothly, we had no problem with the alcohol we were brining on board at all - a box of wine, several bottles of wine and many mall bottles of gin, rum and port. At ports we had no problem bringing tonics and coke on board as our mixers.
We have never sailed Cunard before, previously only sailing on more casual cruise ships, so were somewhat apprehensive about the dress code.
Dress Code - The apprehension was missplaced completely. In the two week cruise there were 3 ball nights, and we knew the ladies and gents dress codes for them. Apart from that, if you were going to eat in the main Brittania restaurant men had to wear trousers, jacket and shirt (no tie necessary) and ladies normal smart going out clothes. If you wanted to wear jeans and t-shirt and stay completely casual, you could eat in the Lido buffet and drink in the Golden Lion pub, but could not go to the ball room, other bars, the main Brittania restaurant or the theatre. Some nights we stayed completely casual.
Cabin - a deluxe inner 4 berth cabin on deck 1 midships. Excellent, loads of space, particularly wardrobe space, for 3 adults. Of particular note was that the 3rd berth (for my 36 year old daughter) was a very comfortable sofa bed, with joined twin beds for the other two which suited my husband and I very well. We were so pleased that one of us did not have to climb up to a bunk! The shower room was small but functional, and we had plenty of hot water at all times. The cabin was kept spotless by our cabin attendant, with nightly turndown and pillow chocolate.
We took the free shuttle bus into town and hired bicycles for the day to cycle to Grenen, the bunker museum and around town. The day bike hire was £11.21 each, which we thought was very good. It was also great fun. At Grenen we used the Sandormen (30 DKK each) to the point where two seas meet, with the tide coming in. We did not have to wait long to get a Sandormen bus pulled by a tractor once we had parked out bicycles. The bunker museum nearby (40 DKK each) was an interesting visit, again especially for my primary treacher daughter. A pleasant and undemanding day. We found an Alid and stocked up on diet coke and tonic for our mixers.
We took the ships shuttle to near the centre of town, walked around for a time, then got a local bus ticket that lasts 120 minutes for £2.67 each, taking tram 2 to the Church in the Rock (3 euro I think). We were greeted by an organ recital whilst at the Church in the Rock. We then continued on the tram, changing part way round to tram 3, to do a complete circular tour of Helsinki on the cheap. We ended our time having a fish lunch for 7 euros each at the open air market before getting the shuttle back to the ship. A cheap and cheerful day.
We bought a day ticket for the local transport at the cruise terminal, £7.69 each for seniors. We then followed the blue line to find the bus stop near the terminal and took the bus, later changing to a tram, to the Abba Museum. Having seen this when Jayne Macdonald did the Baltic cruise in her programme, and all being mega Abba fans, this was a must do. Throw yourself in and do all the experiences there. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed their time, some 3 hours, at the ABBA experience. Afterwards, we took the local ferry to Gamla Stan (the old town), which was included in our local transport day ticket where we had a lovely local lunch at Ardbeg Embassy, then wandered and tourist shopped on the way to picking up the ships shuttle. This was when we found that there had been major demonstrations that day holding up the upper end of the old town - none of which had impacted us until now. The ships shuttles had been held up by the stopped traffic. There was no need to worry though, after being directed to the new pick up place for the shuttle, and having a grand tour of outer Stockholm to find a way round to getting back to the ship, there was never any worry that the ship would wait for us. If we had known about the delay though, we would have just used the local ferries and our all day tickets to get back to the ship - it would defintely have been much quicker, if less eventful.
We walked to the local train station in Warnemunde from the ship, no more than 10 minutes, and got a day ticket for the local trains, £3.66 each. We took the train to Rostock, about 20 minutes away, and then a local tram to the old town centre. We enjoyed a coffee and then a stroll around Rostock old town and river side before heading back to Warnemunde where we had lunch at water side snack and fish bars. There is excellent souvenir shopping at the port.