Our Baltic adventure: Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by wpj62

Norwegian Sun 4
Member Since 2011

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Our Baltic adventure

Sail Date: May 2011
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Copenhagen
We were attracted to the Baltic cruise because it offered a lot of great cities to visit with the convenience of ship travel.

Copenhagen is the easiest to get around European city we've visited. The train from the airport to the central station was direct and the station very centrally located. After we settled into our room - Hotel Nebo - we were able to navigate the city without too much difficulty. Tivoli Garden found us quickly and we soon caught the long running pantomime show. We enjoyed the ground and had coffee/tea and a good meal. We made reservations at a nouveau cuisine restaurant at the hotel Nimb on the grounds for the date of our return.

The next morning we had plenty of time to take in a more extensive walking tour of the city. We arrived at dockside later than most, avoiding the crowd. The ship was clean but not ornate. The service was adequate without being overbearing and shy of excellent.

The table wait staff was similar. The food More was good but I would have enjoyed more spice. Some of the buffets were better than that served at the large dining room. I did expect more from the "speciality" smaller dining rooms although the service was at a higher level.

The shows/reviews/entertainment was good - short of special.

I did have an encounter with the ship's medical office. It was regimented and impersonal. The treatment was formulaic from ten year old CDC recommendations. I was not impressed. No, I'm not a good patient.

My first cruise ship experience was decades ago with Disney's Big Red Boat. (I wonder if it is still afloat.) I remember the food and service as extraordinary then. This was NOT the same. I remember tipping but no service charges like on this trip. That SO MUCH was an extra charge - with an included service charge on each purchase - and so much hawking and marketing their stuff was a surprise to me.

So there were not many quiet areas to retire to.

Our return visit to Copenhagen was just as much fun as the first. We found a tourist map that laid out a walking route that went beyond the Little Mermaid. It included some out of the way places and went around some of the pedestrian bottlenecks. That evening we splurged on the Brassiere at the Hotel Nebo and now we can recommend to all. Less

Published 06/20/11
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Port and Shore Excursions

We found Helsinki was like Tallinn in being easy to self-navigate. We did find a boat tour that navigated the smaller islands that was very enjoyable. We don't think we missed anything by skipping the old fort. It was one of our longer walks to get to the Rock Church, but we found it worth the effort. Unusual and striking architecture.

In Helsinki, we didn't accidentally drop in on a in-Church music performance but had discovered it online. Good but not as good as the Tallinn experience. An organ performance in a rather modern Church.

Read 638 Helsinki Reviews

We were to pick up a rental car soon after the ship arrived dockside. We were early off the ship....no car. We walked into the little town of Warnemunde....no car. I was able to phone Sixt, the rental agency and later the car arrived. They didn't expect us to be early. It was a nice car with a very good gps. Our trip to Berlin was very comfortable and efficient. The modern highway and the car made it seem much quicker than it actually took.

We got around Berlin with the help of local friends. Although Berlin is not as charming as other parts of Germany, we got a lot in a few hours. (We avoided the fresh green vegetable because of the E. Coli concerns.)

We were put off by the bureaucracy Russia still has in place for visa applications. To avoid their visa process, we thought of going with the ship's group tours. We really wanted to see the opening of the drawbridges at night and that was just not included in any of their tours. So then we looked into private local tour companies. The first one we talked to was impersonal and inflexible. We eventually found and chose WHITE NIGHTS TRAVEL Agency. They were quite willing to accommodate our "must do" list that also included a Russian ballet. They also had lots of great ideas to best use our two days.

When we did arrive, after finally getting through passport control, they were on time, organized and prepared. We found them professional, kind, personable, knowledgeable, and flexible. They were able to accommodate spontaneous whims as well as responding to our many questions-everything from history to recipes to local customs very specifically and positively. Their commentary on the historical sites and cultural richness of Imperial Russia was a highlight. They really made it come alive. Similarly they made it easier for us to understand the reality of life in the time of the Soviet Union. I'm glad we were able go to a Russian Orthodox service too. It triggered an interest learning more of the origins of the Schism in 1054 and its consequences.

While the price was comparable to other agencies, we think we got a better experience-more time and personal specialized attention and a customized itinerary. They were gracious. We recommend them highly and thank them for making our experience wonderful and the visit most rewarding and effortless for us.

We liked it so much, we feel Saint Petersburg deserves other visits.

NCL did not have berthing privileges in town. Disembarkation was by tender, followed by a long walk to the station, and a one hour train ride to town. To make it even more difficult NCL gave priority to those with their own excursions for disembarkation.

In Old Town, the crowds were cumbersome and made getting around difficult. The time available was too limited to see much. This was made worse by the difficulties made the NCL docking arrangements.

Tallinn is great for self guided tours. It's charming and contained. Shot a lot of photos and had real Borscht (Matilde's Tea Room). We happened into a church concert later in the day. Three instruments, one voice, and a programs over two hours long in a ancient historical church........we loved it.
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