We arrived early around 12:30 to enjoy an afternoon on board prior to sailing. Instead we spent the afternoon in cruise terminal waiting while the ships crew disinfected the ship from a outbreak of the norovirus on the previous cruise. We were provided a box lunch and juice while we waited.
We finally boarded around 4:30, our stateroom was ready and we were greeted by our room steward. The room was clean and well appointed. Our room steward indicated he would help with our needs during the cruise, a promise he fulfilled many times.
We chose Celebrity Select dining and had made daily reservations before the cruise. We easily modified our reservations several times during the cruise to fit our needs. I would highly recommend this option as it provided the flexibility to better enjoy the ports and ship activities. Dinners were generally excellent with the exception of having to ask for coffee refills on a couple of occasions. The evening menu was varied and always provided a good selection on each course to select from. A standard menu was available for the less adventurous in dining.
On the second morning we discovered the waffle bar at the rear of the seaside cafe. There you could get fresh waffles, pancakes and cheese blitzes. The various food stations towards the rear of the breakfast buffet were normally less crowded so head aft after entering. What most surprised me was the quality of the entertainment. The cast of the featured song and dance shows were outstanding performers. Many of the singers and dancers in my humble opinion are of broadway quality. Do not miss these featured shows. The remaining entertainment was ok but totally cruise ship quality with a few good acts thrown in. Unless you like bad vaudville stay away from Perry Grant in Michael's Club, he reminded me of Tiny Tim on steroids.
Must note that we also had a norovirus outbreak on this cruise. Cannot over emphasize the professionalism of the crew to keep it under control. Besides the frequent reminders to wash your and sanitize you hands regularly the crew was visible continually sanitizing anything that could be touched. In the buffets all foods were handled only by ships personnel, not a bad practise virus or not. This passenger and friends stayed virus free by being vigilante and following the ship instructions.
The itinerary speaks for itself, great ports. I recommend seeing the ports on your own or with independent tours. Our two independent tours (Warnemunde and St. Petersburg) were great and we also did Tallinn on our own. Our ships tours in Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen were essentially a bust. In summary I would definitely recommend this cruise line and ship to anyone interested in visiting the Baltics. Loved everything about this cruise.
We were in cabin 3059. This cabin was located mid deck on deck 3. We had a short walk to the Celebrity Theater and the elevators both aft and mid-ship. It was very convenient to all the ships public rooms. We chose not to have a balcony on this cruise which turned out to be the right decision. All room furnishings were new. The bed was very comfortable, slept like a baby each night. We had plenty of room for all our cloths even though we over packed.
Great embarkation port. Spent 4 days there before the cruise and could have stayed longer. Stayed at the Marriott Renaissance a short walk from Central Station. It is close to the tram stations and many good restaurants. If you are there several days definitely check out the IAmsterdam card, particularly if you plan to take in the museums.
Stay in Warnemunde and the surrounding area's. Did not hear many good experiences from those who chose to travel to Berlin. Definitely check out Friends of Dave on the Web. We took his complete Hansa tour and were thrilled. He is a very personable individual and at the end of his tour you really have made a new friend. His tour is also a great value,it includes everything including a mid morning coffee and strudel, train fare and a great afternoon lunch. He even provided the Euros for the pay water closet at the train station and paid another restaurant for use of their facilities. Be prepared for a long day, started at 8:30 and didn't get back to the ship until well after 9:00. Would take another tour with Dave in a heartbeat. He made Warnemunde one of the highlights of this cruise.
Should have been a higher rating, Stockholm appeared to be a great city. Problem was we took the ships "A day in Stockholm" tour. Was on and off a bus all day, lunch was not included. The guide did not use a radio system, why with today's technology would you not. If anyone from Celebrity reads this please make it a requirement that your tours use tour radio's, they would have made this tour rating a four. From discussions who did Stockholm on their own that is the way to go, use the HO-HO bus. The Vasa Museum is a must see.
Used the ships "City Tour", a 3 hour quick look around the city. Since we were only in port for 6 hours it did not leave much time for on your own sightseeing.
Used a Red October private tour of St. Petersburg. We had a small group of four in a Mercedes minivan. Our tour guide was one intelligent lady with degrees in Physics, Engineering and Tourism. She is a guide when not teaching tour guides at the local University. The WEB horror stories about getting off the ship was not apparent. We registered with the ship as requested that we were doing an independent tour and was off the ship by 7:15. Would definitely recommend Red October, they delivered everything promised. Early admission to the Hermitage was a highlight as was early admission to Kathryn's Palace. Nothing like having a museum to yourself with an expert tour guide. The personal stories of our guide who grew up under communism and then experienced the transition to democracy added to this experience immensely.
Tallinn is a great port that you can do on your own. Check out the Tallinn Walking tour on the WEB, it worked great for our small group. We were lucky that a festival being held, even got to see (free) a dress rehearsal of an Estonian Opera (by students I think) in the town square which was a highlight.
Ran out of ports so I will add Copenhagen here. I rate it a 2, partly because it was the only port were we had rain. Not sure what we missed since our ships tour was modified because of the rain and it just drove around town. Even the Little Mermaid was missing in action (went to China), so we saw a live video feed of the Chinese looking at the Little Mermaid were the Little Mermaid should have been.