Emerald Princess in the Baltic Sea: Emerald Princess Cruise Review by SoCalTraveler

Emerald Princess 4
Member Since 2011
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Emerald Princess in the Baltic Sea

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Copenhagen
We cruised the Baltic with the Emerald Princess in June 2011.

First, the non-cruise stuff. We went to Stockholm for three days, then Gutenberg for a day and a tour of the Volvo factory, and finally Copenhagen for three days. At the end of the cruise, we went to Bergen and took a six day tour of Norway. I'll comment in port reviews on the length of time the ship spends in ports.

Air arrangements: we used miles, except for SAS from Copenhagen to Bergen.

Embarkation took a little time. No champagne on boarding.

We had a balcony room. The balconies are not as useful as in the Caribbean, so we took a room with a smaller balcony. We were on it on occasion, usually for breakfast. Our steward was outstanding and usually invisible. Room service was just average. For the first time, Internet was reliably available in our room. (We used about 850 minutes as we had to keep in touch on business matters.)

We had the late seating for dining. I think the More food was a notch lower than last year. In particular, the beef was of a lower grade. Service was great.

We ate in the dining room for breakfast and a few lunches. Service was decidedly less than with our regular waiter for dinner. One waiter refused my wife's request for grilled chicken for a chicken Caesar even though, according to a sign in the kitchen, "chicken is always available."

We had the Chef's Table dinner. Tour of the kitchen, hors d'oeuvres and champagne in the kitchen, dinner in the dining room. $75 per person. Well worth it. I tried to do the ultimate ship tour, but it was cancelled. We renewed our vows, with a crowd of 12 people we met on the ship.

We did Sabatini's one night. Not as impressive as the Crown Grill. You dine at their pace. Everyone in the room eats at the same pace. If the food is not to your liking, it is still what's on the menu.

When we ate breakfast in Horizon Court, things went smoothly until we needed a table. And we're not bashful about asking to share. Some of the folks we shared with were talkative, some were really stand-offish.

The ship was sold out. There really was never a problem or a crowd, other than in Horizon Court for breakfast.

We used the spa and spa pools. Never crowded. One massage, which was good, and my wife had her hair done twice.

I'll cover ports in other reviews. We took the Princess tours in Stockholm, Helsinki, Berlin and Tallinn. All Tours in St. Petersburg. (Great!). On our own in Arhus and Oslo.

We purchased Princess transfers to CPH for a flight to Bergen. $34 each. A bargain. Less than one hour from stepping off the ship to tying my shoes after airport security.

We're trying to figure out next year's cruise. Less

Published 07/03/11

Cabin review: BF Balcony

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Port and Shore Excursions

Nothing to see here. Move on. Den Gamle By is the least interesting open air museum in Scandinavia. Try Skansen in Stockholm or the open air museum on Bygdoy in Oslo instead.

Read 74 Aarhus Reviews

Rostok is not worth it.

To get to Berlin you have to take a train three hours. The train is not air conditioned. However, if you want to see Berlin, this is pretty much the only way to do it from a cruise.

You need to buy a tour from the cruise or an independent operator. Berlin on your own in six hours is tough. See the wall, Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie. Understand most everything has been built since 1945 as the city was devasted by WWII.

Read 159 Berlin Reviews

Buy a Copenhagen card. Go early. as you need two days before the cruise. The Copenhagen card gives you lots of free admissions, a canal boat ride, admission to Tivoli (not the rides), and unlimited mass transit. The town is compact. The Little Mermaid is, well, little. You have to go, but ten minutes does it. Rosenberg Slott and Amalieborg Slott are interesting. Look at the crown jewels. The guards are friendly; these are not Beefeaters.

Skip the Carlsberg Brewery. Not worth the time in a tight schedule.

Go to the Resistance Museum, but it is not a fun outing. The tour takes one hour. The guide is excellent.

Little to see here. The rock church is interesting.
Read 636 Helsinki Reviews

Do not take an organized tour. Buy an Oslo Card. You can order in advance or buy it there. Admission to most museums and lots of free mass transit. After getting the card, take the Bygdoy ferry to Bygdoy peninsula. You can see the Viking, Fram, Naval and Kon-Tiki Museums. If so motivated, see Quisling;s former house, which is now the Holocaust Center.

You can walk from the Viking Museum to the other museums, but there is a bus, free with the Oslo card.

After you have had your fill of museums (Fram is the best), take two buses (it's really easy, and when you get your Oslo Card you get the bus map) to Vigeland Park. 101 sculpture's, including the Obelisk and Angry Boy.

From Vigeland, take a tram (still free) to Central Station. Cross the street and walk down the main shopping street, Karl Johan's Gate if I recall correctly, past shops, restaurants, a church or two, parliament, ending in the Royal Palace. Watch the guards, then turn back to the harbor and see the Nobel Peace Museum and the City Hall. Then back to the ship; you can wander the outside of Akershus Fortress. The tour of the fortress (also free with the card) is only available within a narrow window. The Resistance Museum is on the grounds with longer hours.

Read 280 Oslo Reviews

We used Alla Tours. Half the price of the ship tours, and it includes more.

Peterhof is outstanding; the fountains are on a schedule, so only go when the fountains will be on. Make sure you see the trick fountains.

Catherine's Palace demonstrates the disconnect between the nobility and the peasants. Ostentatious does not begin to describe it.

Don't miss the Church on the Spilled Blood, especially the memrial on the spot of Cazr Alexander's assasination. Don't miss St. Isaac's Cathedral, which is a huge Russian Orthodox Church. Don;t mkiss Peter and Paul fortress, especially where the Czars are buried.

Ships dock here for only a short time. You need two days. In the one short day, take a tour or the Hop On Hop Off boat (if it is running as early as you get in) from the cruise dock to the Vasa Museum. From the Vasa Museum, take the boat to Gamle Stan and wander the old town, see the palace, crown jewels, and royal coaches. Take the hop on hopp off boat the rest of the way around the harbor back to the ship. Skip the ice bar. We've been, you don't need to go. For the same effect. pour vodka into a glass and put it into your freezer for an hour. Then drink it while staring at an ice cube.

Take a tour of the upper, walled town. Not much in the lower town. Three hours in the upper town does it.

Read 725 Tallinn Reviews

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