The Baltic countries have always been an area of the world that my husband and I have wanted to see. Norwegian Cruise Lines is the expert in this region. They have a great itinerary and they do it affordably. We traveled as a party of 2.
We took the plunge and booked the 9 day Baltic cruise on NCL. We left the US on September 4th and arrived in Copenhagen on September 5th for Day 1 of the adventure. We took the NCL transfers to the ship. The transfer buses are easy to find right outside of Terminal 2 in the Copenhagen airport. The cost was $25 per person and we were able to book the transfers on the NCL website prior to our trip. There was a representative inside the airport Terminal 2 near the exit doors to guide us to the transfer area. Our luggage was taken and tagged. Be sure to print your invoice to prove you have paid for the transfers. They have a list of the people that have registered but it is always good in case of an error. We had printed our luggage tags at home. They attached the tags so that our luggage will find its way to our cabin once on board. The bus ride is pleasant and takes about 40 minutes to get to the port. Enjoy the ride through the middle of Copenhagen, a beautiful city.
The registration and boarding process is easy and pretty quick. You are given a number for boarding and when your number is called, you can proceed to the ship. I think it was a little after noon when we were cleared for boarding. After boarding, we checked out the ship for lunch. There were several areas available for food and the food on board was very good throughout our cruise. Husband and I explored after lunch since we were not cleared to go to our cabins. We found the Spa area and Fitness Center on Deck 15 and it is first class! They have an area that is restricted called the Thermal Spa. There is an upcharge for access to this area. Only 120 people are allowed to sign up. The Thermal Spa has hot tubs, a large thermal pool with warm water and many strong jets for muscle relaxation. There are small quiet rooms for Sauna, Salt Room, Sanarium, and Steam Room and lots of lounge chairs facing the front of the ship with stunning views. The Thermal Spa is a sanctuary if you need a quiet spot to drop in or spend the day. The fitness center is free for all on board and is open from 8 am til 10 pm.
The Getaway is lovely and huge! We had an aft facing balcony cabin on Deck 9. The cabin is typical of other cabins except for the very large balcony. The balcony length is much bigger that other balconies. There are 2 chairs, 2 lounge chairs and a small table with room to spare. There is an overhang on about half of the area so that you can sit out on the balcony rain or shine. The views are amazing from the rear of the ship!
The itinerary is special. We went to Berlin on Day 2 of the voyage. Berlin is quite a long way from the port (about 3 hour bus ride) and should not be missed ! All the history of World War II is preserved in this modern city. Day 3 is a Sea Day and you will need it after the long day of touring in Berlin. Day 4 is Tallinn in Estonia. Most of the countries you visit on this cruise were behind the Iron Curtain as part of the Communist Soviet Union just a few years ago. Tallinn is a city in a city. They are proud of their heritage and have preserved the historical medieval city as the modern city grows around it. We are so lucky to see these amazing places at this time in history. Day 5 is the day we waited for, the arrival in St. Petersburg, Russia! Immigration is a lengthy process in this country. Everyone from the United States that plans on leaving the ship must have a visa. If you book a tour with NCL or any other private tour company registered or licensed as tour guides in Russia, they will provide your Visa free of charge. There is no need for you to purchase a Visa prior to your trip. Some people like to book through NCL but private companies can provide this Visa service also. The day before arrival in St. Petersburg, you need to make a stop at customer service to get a number for your departure to go through immigration. We were given number 2 based on the time of our tour. When the number was called that morning, we headed off the ship with our tickets, our passports, and our ship key card. There is a short line that takes a little time but it is what it is. Immigration is a necessary process to be able to see the amazing sights ahead! We met up with our tour guide and off we went. We were in Russia! Imagine that! The first day in St. Petersburg was packed with sites outside the city. The Hermitage Museum is closed on Monday and that was the day we arrived . Our guide planned well and took us to 9 hours of wonderful parks, palaces and cathedrals built during the era of the Tzars. Day 6 of the cruise was Day 2 in St. Petersburg and it was another day of 9 hours of sights inside the city. The Hermitage was a highlight. We also had a boat ride on the Neva River and a ride on the subway in St. Petersburg. We were taken inside the Church of Spilled Blood and the Usophov Palace where Rasputin was murdered. We still can't believe we saw everything in 2 days but it was a thrill!
Day 7 we arrived in Helsinki. Finland. This city has lovely people....all so friendly! We toured the city and a living museum on an island just outside the city. The guide even took us to their library and let us see how proud they are of their advanced technology and modern design. Day 7 was another Sea Day.....ahhhhh relaxing on the ship! We spent a large part of the day in the Thermal Spa.
Day 8 - Most of the NCL cruises in the Baltic stop in Stockholm, Sweden but our itinerary was a stop in Gothenburg, Sweden. The winds were strong that day and the port is narrow. The Captain had to decide to keep the ship safe and we had another relaxing day on the ship as the ship turned away from Gothenburg.
The entertainment on the ship is really good. You are able to reserve some of the shows ahead of the cruise on the NCL website and I highly recommend it. We loved the high energy show, Burn the Floor. There is no charge for this show and reservations are required. The Million Dollar Quartet is a Broadway feature onboard the Getaway. The young men in the show were great. This show is about 2 hours long. There is no charge for this show but reservations are required. We also saw Cirque de Soliel Steam. It is a dinner show in a small venue. It is very entertaining if you like Cirque shows and the meal was very good too. There is an upcharge for this entertaining show. You can sit in a "floor" seat or a "Banquette" seating. The floor seating charge was less. We chose the floor seating and we were glad once we saw the position of the Banquette seating. All seats are good for visibility of the show. There is entertainment on the Getaway in every corner of the ship. The bars are hopping. The Tropicana Dining Room has a great duo that plays each night during dinner service and there were a lot of people dancing. There is hard rock in the Syd Norman Pour Bar, and too many others to name. There is truly something for everyone!
We cruised in early September. The weather was chilly for pools and swimming activities but if you cruise during the summer this ship has a very exciting area for water activities on the upper deck. There are pools for adults and little kids and hot tubs. There is a Rock Wall, 2 huge waterslides, a Rope Course, Basketball course, golf simulators, and a very nice Arcade on the ship. There is also a large casino near the Atrium.
The dining options on the Getaway were bountiful. We enjoyed the Tropicana Dining Room, Savor Dining Room, Taste Dining Room, the Garden Cafe Buffet, and the Singapore Noodle Bar as complimentary options. All were open til 9 pm except the Garden Cafe Buffet which is open all the time. The O'Sheehan's Irish Pub is also a complimentary dining option that is open 24 hours each day but we did not try it. We really needed more time to see and try it all! We also enjoyed the Cagney Steakhouse and La Cucina Italian Restaurant as Specialty Dining. There is a charge for the meals in the Specialty restaurants. There are several other Specialty restaurants and we heard from others that they were all wonderful.
You won't find better service on any ship that compares to the wonderful people that took care of us on the Getaway. Our room Steward, Noel, always greeted us by name and with a smile. He made us feel at home each time we returned from our long days of touring. We wished we could bring him home ! The great service extended to everyone we interacted with while on board. It was just outstanding.
Our voyage on the Getaway will be remembered as one in a million!
We had an aft facing balcony cabin on Deck 9. The cabin is typical of other cabins except for the very large balcony. The balcony length is much bigger that other balconies. There are 2 chairs, 2 lounge chairs and a small table with room to spare. There is an overhang on about half of the area so that you can sit out on the balcony rain or shine. The views are amazing from the rear of the ship!
You won't find better service on any ship that compares to the wonderful people that took care of us on the Getaway. Our room Steward, Noel, always greeted us by name and with a smile. He made us feel at home each time we returned from our long days of touring. We wished we could bring him home !
Great City! We bought a Copenhagen card for 24 hours. It allowed us to use the Metro and Buses and gave us free admittance into almost all the sights including Tivoli Gardens.
We took a tour that we booked through a private tour company. We rode a nice bus into the city of Berlin and spent the day seeing all the sights of a modern city with a jaded past. A must see for all World War II history buffs. It's a very long day due to the distance from the port to Berlin. It is 3 hours each way.
We took a tour we booked through a private tour company. Tallinn has a long history and is proud of their heritage. The Soviet years were difficult but they are not independent and doing well. The Medieval city within Tallinn is amazing.
OK....Admit it....this is the reason why we take this cruise. St. Petersburg is amazing. We spent 2 days at this port which allowed us to see more things than we could imagined! We booked a tour with a private tour company and had a small van with 16 people that had free wifi to take us in and around the city. The tour company took us on a ride on the subway and had a boat ride on the Neva River. All-Tours was amazing! Highly recommend! They go out of their way to make your visit to St. Petersburg a trip you will never forget.
We booked a tour with a private tour company and had a small van with a small group while we toured the area in and around the city. Our guide was a local lady and very proud of her city. She made sure we had a great impression of her city by showing us the modern side of the city as well as the beautiful landscapes that they enjoy.