Started off with great embarkation and very good cabin (C425 interior). But we were shocked at how many things were not included in our cruise. A good cup of black coffee was only available at the International Cafe and they charged over a dollar for just a cup of black coffee! You could get free coffee at the buffet and through room service, but that coffee was so weak we couldn't stomach it! And so many other things were being sold or pushed constantly. Plus an automatic 18% gratuity on everything. Maybe that's how cruising is nowadays, but we were disappointed. Also, we did not buy the expensive internet package and regretted it daily. If you are used to checking weather, port info, etc., make sure you get the expensive internet because there are NO OTHER options until you get off the ship and find a decent wifi area. There is the internet cafe, but I believe they charge $20 for one hour of internet use! And the Ocean Concierge program for messaging your travel friends was spotty at best. We will definitely buy internet on all future cruises!
All that being said, the cruise itinerary was great and we enjoyed all the ports and the adventure. Food was for the most part delicious, and overall staff was friendly with some outstanding staff that made our cruise so much more enjoyable. Customer service is so important to making us feel welcome and appreciated! We would recommend the itinerary, but maybe look into a different cruise line. We would have appreciated a few more "active" things to do besides the gym. Most activities and excursions seemed to be directed at older passengers with limited mobility. We are in our 60's, but still very active so would have preferred some alternative activities for active passengers. Beatlemaniacs were amazing! But we missed a couple of shows because you had to get there very early to grab a seat. Visit the Baltics, but choose your cruise line wisely!
Although we had an interior cabin, we did not feel claustrophobic. It was centrally located, full of space, maintained well and very quiet. We were not in our cabin for much more than sleeping and getting ready, so it was a good choice for us. The only thing that was off was that there were two bunk beds mounted on the wall and folded up. However, they still stuck out a bit from the wall and we had to take care not to bump into them. I hit my head once quite hard, so in the future would try to get a cabin with no bunk beds or better yet a balcony.
We docked outside of the city, so had to take the Stromma Hop On Hop Off buses in. Wish that Stromma would have left a bit earlier, but we did not leave dock until almost 90 minutes after getting off ship as we had to wait until bus filled up almost completely before they would leave. That took precious time away from us, so I would not recommend them. While in Stockholm on our own we visited the Vasa museum, Skansen, the Abba museum and Gamla Stan. It was a hectic pace to see all that, but we wanted to squeeze in as much as possible. We especially enjoyed Skansen and Gamla Stan, especially a Swedish lunch at Magnus Ladulas in Gamla Stan. I would probably recommend not doing all this, as it was pretty exhausting. Unless you are a tremendous Abba fan I would skip the museum and focus on other sights. Unfortunately we had to wait almost an hour for the Stromma bus to take us back to the cruise and we came close to missing the ship! Again, I highly recommend not relying on the Stromma buses!
A very hectic and regimented tour of so many things in Russia: Peterhof, Hermitage, St. Isaac's, Church on Spilled Blood, Amber Room, Catherine Palace, River Cruise, Peter & Paul Fortress, Yusupov Palace, etc. Lunch was included both days, along with a bit of shopping but only at stores they take you to. Friends of our did an alternate tour with a competing tour company, Alla, and from what I heard I wish we would have booked with them instead. Better lunch, better guide, etc., etc.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Loved Oslo and wished we had more than 6 hours there in port! Thoroughly enjoyed Vigeland and Folk Museum! I could've skipped the ski jump, but my husband wanted to see it up close. But a big problem of these excursions is that you have to travel with such a large group and you never know how your fellow travelers will behave. We had a man who wandered away during the 15 minutes we had at the ski jump and our guide had to go off and find him. He had gone to get a coffee for his wife and did not even apologize for not returning on time. That made us late for the return to the ship and we were unable to shop as the ship was getting ready to depart. Very inconsiderate! But of all the ports, we loved Oslo and would return to Norway in a heartbeat.View All undefined undefined Reviews
No need for an excursion as you can do it on your own. We hooked up with a free walking tour in front of the tourist office by the town square. Our guide was entertaining and full of information and interesting facts. She even recommended a wonderful place to have lunch just outside of the old town, Pööbel, where we had a delicious Estonian lunch!
Here we used the hop on hop off buses to get into town and around. They were pretty good and we were able to see the Rock Church and the Sibelius Monument. Both were extremely underwhelming! We enjoyed the Esplanade and the outdoor market, along with visiting the Old Market Food Hall with its wonderful little shops and places to eat. Had an amazing seafood soup at one of the stalls and bought lots of little Finnish souvenirs and snacks. We shopped at the Stockman Department store and found so much to see and buy there - lots of Finnish chocolate to bring back to family. In my opinion, skip the Rock church and Sibelius monument and stay on the Esplanade and visit the Old Market Food Hall!