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1,989 Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

We booked this Baltic Sea cruise because of the itinerary, especially because it spent 3 days in St. Petersburg and included a stop in Riga, Latvia (other cruise lines did not stop here). Having been on many cruises, on other cruise ... Read More
We booked this Baltic Sea cruise because of the itinerary, especially because it spent 3 days in St. Petersburg and included a stop in Riga, Latvia (other cruise lines did not stop here). Having been on many cruises, on other cruise lines, here's my impression about RCCL Serenade of the Seas: Check-in and embarkation is a breeze providing you have done all of the registration online and printed your Sea Pass prior to boarding. RCCL wants you to use their mobile app for many things, like setting up your profile and account, booking activities and restaurants, etc. The problem is the app doesn't work well and can be frustrating to use. Within the first hour of boarding, we were approached no less than 6 times about purchasing either one of the dining packages or the beverage package. We did end up purchasing the 5-dinner package, which allowed us to dine in the 3 specialty restaurants. During the cruise we were also told we could use one of our dinners for the Champagne Brunch and Galley Tour on the one sea day, which we did (it was very nice). Booking the specialty restaurants in advance is more expensive than waiting until you get on board, so wait. These restaurants were never full for the times we ate there so booking onboard should not be a problem. The specialty restaurants are Chop Grille, specializing in steaks. We ate here twice and had good steaks both times. If you don't have the dining package, the supplemental fee for this restaurant is $39.99 plus 18% gratuity. With the dining package we also got 40% discount on a bottle of wine. The second specialty restaurant is Izumi, the Japanese restaurant where everything is charged a la carte. We had not been told beforehand that we each had a $35 limit to choose from with our dining package. We may not have eaten here if we'd known that. The food was good, not remarkable, sushi, sashimi, typical Japanese offerings. The third specialty restaurant is Italian, Giovanni's. We had our best meal on the ship in this restaurant. The Osso Bucco was fantastic. The only downside is that there are no sommeliers on the ship and our waiter knew less about wine than I did. We ended up with an OK wine but it could have been better. Also, the restaurant insists on piping in music but right outside the always open doors is the piano bar of the Schooner lounge. So we kept getting a disparate musical background of lounge piano and Italian-themed music. We finally asked the maitre'd to lower the volume of the restaurant music so we could enjoy the piano music, which he did. Food in the main dining room is OK, not great. Our wait staff, however, was excellent. We did the My Time dining but probably should have booked our dinners in advance as our preferred time slot was fully booked most days. As for ship excursions, we only used RCCL for the 3-day tour in St. Petersburg, which was excellent. We had been warned by friends that those people on a ship excursion get to disembark first, and independent travelers or those on other tours disembarked afterwards. You must obtain a Russian visa if you are not on a ship's excursion and want to get off the ship. Our friends had gone the independent route and waited a long time in the passport line to exit. We had also booked the shuttle bus in the Warnemunde port stop to take us to/from Berlin (a 3-1/2 hour bus ride EACH WAY). We got a call the day before that the shuttle bus was cancelled because not enough people signed up for it, so we ended up not going into Berlin. At most of the ports of call (Helsinki, Riga, Tallin, Visby, Fredericia) you can walk into town from the cruise terminal. In Stockholm it would have been a very long walk, but there is a public bus that gets you from the cruise terminal area into town and back. For Copenhagen, you need transportation into the city. There is a public bus that goes from the cruise terminal into town but it only stops at the cruise port twice an hour. Depending on your interests, you may not need to book any ship's excursions in Riga, Tallin, Visby or Fredericia. All of these are smaller towns, easily walking distance from the ship, and easy to explore on your own, or look up free walking tours online before you go. The free tours operate on donations (tips) and are well worth it. Serenade of the Seas insists on doing almost everything in The Centrum, the atrium area at the center of the ship. On the main deck it has a small dance floor and most of the music for dancing was held here. The problem is that there are not enough chairs for everyone. The atrium is open all the way up to the 9th or 10th floor and there are seats on other levels that allow you to listen to music (but not dance). If you are sitting on the same level as the Casino, you will get cigarette smoke smell, since smoking is allowed in the Casino. Interestingly enough, there is a large dance floor with lots of seating in the aft of the ship called The Safari Club, but it was never used for music/dancing. No idea why. Overall, we're glad we went on this cruise because of the ports of call. Would I go on another RCCL cruise? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I choose this ship for two reasons. One I liked the itinerary and two I wanted to try a luxury cruise line. The itinerary was good in that it started in Stockholm allowing me to spend two days before departure exploring the city without ... Read More
I choose this ship for two reasons. One I liked the itinerary and two I wanted to try a luxury cruise line. The itinerary was good in that it started in Stockholm allowing me to spend two days before departure exploring the city without rushing and it ended in Copenhagen where I did the same thing. It also included two overnights ( 3 full days) in St. Petersburg where there is so much to see. I have sailed on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and the now gone Renaissance cruises. Renaissance was actually a wonderful cruise line with beautiful small ships that was the closest to this experience. As far as the actual cruise I will say it was wonderful not having to wait and crowd into elevators, the ship was a great size not to large, not to small. It was great not having to fight for a pool chair or make reservations for everything. Loved not being asked to have my picture taken every five minutes, and not having shops with sales. The ship itself was new and immaculate. The suite with balcony was gorgeous. Bathroom was large, walk in closet with enough drawers and hangers was great. On the downside the entertainment with the exception of two shows was far from great and there was really no other activities. The service was great, the liquor flowed freely, afternoon tea was nice, tapas was great, caviar on request was a nice touch too. What was a huge disappointment was dinner in the dining room which most nights was fair at best. The Grille was only available for guests to reserve one night. It was excellent. The other nighttime restaurant was outside and it was too cold for that. Did not try the sushi restaurant. I was very surprised that the food in the main restaurant was no better than I had on other much less expensive cruise lines. The on deck cocktail party was wonderful, food was very good there. So was it worth the extra money. Not sure I could say yes. Given the intensive itinerary it was great to return to the ship and not have to wait for things and not have to rush and be able to be very comfortable in the room, but on another type of cruise I might have been bored and the lack of activities/entertainment combined with mediocre food would have been more problematic on a cruise with more sea says or less intensive itinerary. Did all private shore excursions or just the HOHO bus ship excursions were very expensive. Highly recommend Alla tours in St. Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, wanted to see the north of iceland and fjords of Norway. This two week cruise from Newcastle was ideal. We had read of issues with embarkation at Newcastle with past Marella cruises so were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, wanted to see the north of iceland and fjords of Norway. This two week cruise from Newcastle was ideal. We had read of issues with embarkation at Newcastle with past Marella cruises so were prepared. We arrived (having spent the night in Newcastyle) by Taxi at about 12:00 noon and were dropped off as instructed by port officials at the 'red terminal building' with our cases. We waited in a queue for maybe 5 minutes before leaving our cases and recieving an envelope from the staff on duty, ,walked outside to the suttle bus and were taken to the main port terminal. We were then given cruise cards and asked to wait until called. We were priority so did not wait however those with us at that time 12:15 did not wait long before being processed and re-bussed to the ship. Our friends who were self drive and park took ages to get on board, they arrived at the parking at 13:00 and did not get on board until 15:00. So I would suugest arriving earlier to avoid a long wait. Disembarkation was easy. We had cabin 12031. Really good, modern and clean. Food on board was fine. Long waits for tables in Vista (italian) at peak times, paigers given out however they only reached as far as the adjacent bar, no issues if you could find a seat. This is a small bar with liuttle seating. Vista was good. MDR had no real wait but some queueing. Plenty of tables for two if needed but all (most) were very close to each other, Food here was hit and miss as was service, service at times in certain sections was very slow, sometimes without a smile however generally waiting staff tried hard and worked hard. We tried Surf and Turf, Asian Fustion and the Dinning Club , Surf and Turf was rushed and ordinary, steaks were OK but the atmosphere was lacking, we had so many waiters it was hard to keep track, Asain fusion was OK. Marco (in charge of this section) is so good and deserves a special mention. The Dinning Club although the most expensive was really really good, the night we ate there the food was to die for as good as any restaurant we have dined in over the last few years. Wiat staff on point, explained everything to you, service was not rushed. We met Stanley the chef and gave him 10 out 10. Its expensive however if you have special event on board just try it. We up graded the drinks package as we like real coffe ( no charge at the coffee pot), really enjoyed the whiskeys and gins in the whisky and gin bar and the fact that Fever tree tonic comes with this package, as does better wines and proper canned drinks. We were less keen on the lay out the ship-it did not flow from aft to stern. There is no bar near the Show lounge so unless you want the bottled beer or pre-poured wines you had to remember to get your drink befotre the show-no table service either in teh show lounge. Drinks were a little inconsistant-in indego some were good some were not as different mixers made different cocktails, some cokctails on the pool deck bar were undrinkable.Never had a real problem in delays getting served. Seats in the Indego lounge were at times hard to find as this was a cold weather cruise lots of people 'camped' for the day inside in an area to read not caring that others wanted to sit and listen to music , bands or do teh quizzes. Shows were not so good. Singers and dancers tried but the 'shows' did not really suit the audience. Previous Marella cruises had more 'professional looking shows. Some people were dismayed (given the continued controversy around Michael Jackson) that he 'won' the soul award. Maybe Marella should look at that one as despite his music he has become a controversial figure. Staff were as usual very friendly, they all speak and say hello and most do enjoy a chat. Our cabin stewrads were wonderful, always chatty and we had lots of towel animals. Some of the excurstions did seem a bit overpriced. We like to do our own thing however on this cruise due to the small nature of ports of call its not always possibnle.The Flam railway is very expensive for what it is, half and hour up the mountain (scenery is nice) a stop not quite at the top for awful coffe and a cold waffle and half an hour down again. Its very hyped however there is not much else to do in port. All in all we enjoyed the cruise, were happy with the ship, really happy with our chosen cabin and found teh food fine. We would use Marella again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife wanted to cruise the Baltics. Weather was good excluding St Petersburg, not the cruise line's fault. However we booked thru the cruise line, with inclement weather we were stopped from entering for 1 hour 45 minutes - ... Read More
My wife wanted to cruise the Baltics. Weather was good excluding St Petersburg, not the cruise line's fault. However we booked thru the cruise line, with inclement weather we were stopped from entering for 1 hour 45 minutes - absolute ridiculous - then had to be rushed through - on the bus for a late arrival to the ship. Nickel and dime everytime you want water or soft drinks, is terrible. Some cruise lines offer bottled water free when departing the ship for the day. Not impressed with having to keep our curtains closed on our last day due to workers. Not impressed with 4 straight nights not being able to be seated for 4 people during anytime dining, having to relocate to the dining room downstairs and then put in undesirable locations, obviously because we were not considered regulars. Our room steward was friendly, knowledgeable and handled our small requests efficiently. Embarkation/Dis-embarkation could not have been better, plus our bags showed up very early. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Costa is a Very Surprising Compony, We Enter the Ship in St. Petersburg, the ship is quite of big and good. We Booked Cabin with Window and the Cabin is quite big and good but there a addtion staff on money. The food on costa is good , ... Read More
Costa is a Very Surprising Compony, We Enter the Ship in St. Petersburg, the ship is quite of big and good. We Booked Cabin with Window and the Cabin is quite big and good but there a addtion staff on money. The food on costa is good , there what to eat everywhere. there 2 restaurants on the ship. We was on smeralda and it was an goodrestaurant but it was take the food a long to get. Costa having a show every day Evening. there a lot what to see on board and what to do. But Pizza on board is on additonal Payment. the service on board is good. on Information there staff that talking in multi languages. the loading and unloading was good and quick. and the shops on costa is quite good and recommanded to wait to last day for sales . very nice cruise maybe We'll go again Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose to get on it Germany because there is way too much to see in Berlin and port is 2+ hours away. Flew in several days before cruise departure so we could tour Berlin first. Highly recommend a Hop-On-Hop-Off 48 hour pass. Tour of nearby ... Read More
Chose to get on it Germany because there is way too much to see in Berlin and port is 2+ hours away. Flew in several days before cruise departure so we could tour Berlin first. Highly recommend a Hop-On-Hop-Off 48 hour pass. Tour of nearby Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is very affordable when purchased directly (just $25) and not as a Princess excursion. Took a cab back to Tegel Airport to get a Princess Transfer (bus) as it would take almost twice as long to get to port from Berlin by train on our own. Have been on the Regal Princess before, in the Caribbean, good ship with good amenities. First stop for us was Norway. Did the Oslo Without Lunch excursion and the guide Arlene was fantastic. Our guide in Denmark was not as good but really enjoyed seeing the palace and Tivoli Gardens. Next was Sweden where we docked in Nynashamn. We thoroughly enjoyed the RIB adventure but were disappointed it wasn’t combinable with any tours to Stockholm which is 45 minutes away from Nynashamn. Taxis in Sweden are not regulated so negotiate your fare first! There are only two highway routes to Stockholm (the other one takes over an hour) so if there’s an accident or traffic delays, you could run into trouble getting back to the ship so we opted to stay in Nynashamn. Disappointed that Princess didn’t organize a shuttle service given how far away the port is from Stockholm. Next port was Finland, did the winter adventure tour with the ice bar and dog sled ride. The berry infused vodka is tasty but the tour doesn’t stop anywhere near a liquor store so I couldn’t purchase any, shame. The next day we reached St Petersburg. We did the one day trip to Moscow which was very worth it! A St Petersburg area guide, Alexandra (very personable, friendly, organized, fun) met us, showed us a little of St Petersburg then accompanied us on the Sapsan train ride to Moscow. Have to say the breakfast on board the Sapsan was pretty good. A Moscow guide met us when we got off the train and took us to the Red Square, rode the subway with us, then to the Kremlin, and the Armoury. She was not as personable as Alexandra (who remained with us all day as well) but incredibly knowledgeable! Some didn’t like that she had so much to say but I found her quite informative: she said she has served as a translator for Gorbachev and Putin in the past and inserted some fascinating anecdotes; she was well educated on the sights we saw and also knew a lot about architecture and history so narrated the drive through Moscow as well. The return by Sapsan was accompanied by a good dinner on board. We returned to the ship around 12:30 am so this trip is not for the faint of heart! The next day we did the Hermitage tour, the guide was pretty knowledgeable, and then we had some free time on Nevsky Prospect in St Petersburg. This provided ample time to get lunch and buy souvenirs. There is a good bookstore on Nevsky Prospect, not far from where the bus let us off, but I do not recommend the cafe on the second floor (which our guide had suggested), the service was atrocious! We really could have used another day in port to see more of this beautiful city. Our last port before returning to Germany was Tallinn, Estonia which is a charming town. Lots of quaint shops in Lower Town filled with souvenirs and local hand made goods and food. I enjoyed the Lower Town Shopping Tour and opted to remain in town to enjoy lunch and shop some more before walking back to the ship (about a 20 minute walk). Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
There were pros and cons as on any vacation, but we came away satisfied. We chose this cruise because of the ports and the price (a similar Princess cruise was much more expensive, even with our “Platinum” status). The rooms were ... Read More
There were pros and cons as on any vacation, but we came away satisfied. We chose this cruise because of the ports and the price (a similar Princess cruise was much more expensive, even with our “Platinum” status). The rooms were quiet (except once late at night when we heard loud voice from next door) and comfortable, most of the food was good, there was plenty to do (I never cracked the book I brought along), and we enjoyed the ports, especially St. Petersburg. We booked a 2-day (plus an evening) tour with Alla in St. Petersburg and just went out on our own for the rest of the ports. Although the ship did not feel as crowded as I expected (except on the last morning), the main down side to such a large ship was that we did not port close to the town centers in Warnemunde, Stockholm, or Helsinki which complicated independent travel. But if you do your research, it is still the way to go in my opinion. You can see what you want; you are not traveling with a large group; and you save a lot of money. Plus I think you get a more authentic experience exploring a city on your own. The Ship: The Getaway recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, so it did look clean and updated as one would expect. As others have pointed out, the atrium area in particular is very small for the size of the ship and seating is very limited (especially given the number of events held there). But if you arrive early, you should at least be able to get a seat on the next level up overlooking the action (like a balcony). On the other hand, way too much space is devoted to the little-used casino. While I realize that gambling is a good money maker for ships, even at its busiest, I never saw even 10% of the slot machines being used (there must have been hundreds of them). At the most, I saw maybe 25% of the tables partially occupied. Usually, it was much less than that. Plus the smell of smoke wafted beyond the boundaries of the casino. Yuck! A chunk of that space should have been used to enlarge the atrium area when the ship was renovated. Although seating in other entertainment venues was also limited given the size of the ship, if you plan ahead, it is not a big problem. Make online reservations as soon as you can for what you can (e.g., the main dining rooms, The Cirque show, Million Dollar Quartet, and Burn the Floor); reserve what you can once on board (e.g., Escape the Big Top and Shanghai Noodle Bar); and arrive early for the first-come, first-serve restaurants and activities. There were no nightly movies on a big outdoor screen like we have had on other cruise line ships, but they did have lots of daytime outdoor activities, including several big water slides, a rock climbing wall, a ropes course, mini golf, a basketball court, ping pong, and a giant chess set. Our adult children took advantage of the first three of these activities, but were a little frustrated by their limited time availability. They have an “adults only” deck area (Spice H2O) which is nice, but it did not have a real pool, just one that looked like a kiddie pool—small and shallow. It did have two hot tubs. It was a bit frustrating that the staff did not enforce the “adults only” rule for the hot tubs in the main deck area. We found the staff to all be pleasant, courteous, and hard-working. Restaurants: Taste/Savor Main Dining Rooms (same menu/food, just on opposite sides of the ship)—we ate here six of the nine nights. We were generally pleased with the selection and food. Yes, they repeat some entrees every night but that means that you always have a choice of beef, pork, chicken, seafood, and two veggie (pasta) entrees, in addition to the seven entrees that are new each night. They also have about 10 appetizer choices (some repeating but we didn’t mind because they were good) and we always found something good for dessert! The portions were relatively small, but we liked that because you could have one (or two) appetizers, an entrée, and dessert without feeling overly stuffed (definitely full though!). Shanghai Noodle Bar—We ate here for one dinner. The appetizers and soup were good; the entrees were just okay. They only had two desserts—fruit cup and “chocolate cake” (it did not have a cake texture)—which were okay. The service was odd in that we got our soups after our entrees. O’Sheehans—My daughter and I had most of our breakfasts here. The menu is not extensive and the same every day, but we liked their omelettes (they had more choices of add-ins than the buffet). Our group of five also had one “snack” meal here—just fish and chips and the wings. I didn’t eat these but the fish and chips were described as “good” and the wings “okay”. Garden Café—this is the buffet. I read very mixed reviews on this prior to our trip. We thought that, in general, the selection was good and most of the food was at least “okay to good.” Nothing was “bad” and some was quite good. Yes, it can be crowded at peak times, but other than the last morning, we could always find a table within a minute or two of looking. The last morning took a few more minutes, but we did eventually find one. The main negative was the limited hours (not 24/7 like we were used to) and only limited snacks were available during non-peak hours. O’Sheehan’s is 24/7. There are lots of bars. We went primarily to Syd Norman’s Pour House—brand new rock ‘n roll venue with the recent renovation and our favorite place to hang at night. The Pour House Band is excellent in terms of musicianship and vocals, especially with the addition of the two women singers (I don’t think they are formally a part of the band because they were never introduced). Our kids also went to Bliss where they met up with similarly-aged adults (mid- to upper-twenties). In particular, they enjoyed the Glow Party. Entertainment—besides the bars, we went to: • Cirque Dreams—they had some acts we’ve never seen before (like one woman using another woman as an acrobatic “swing”). However, the show was short (about 45 minutes); it ended about a half hour before that stated time. Dinner was mixed; the filet and shrimp were good, as was the caprese salad appetizer, but the mini desserts were disappointing—a flan that had little flavor, with a fruit sauce that was good; a red velvet cupcake that was just okay (the cream cheese frosting was the best part); and a fudgy-type brownie? It looked good, but was thick and not very flavorful. • Burn the Floor—good singing and dancing (samba, rumba, and salsa). Lots of energy and entertaining! • Million Dollar Quartet—this show’s main characters were Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins at the start of their careers. The voices and musicianship were very good. • Escape the Big Top—you don’t escape the room, but do have to solve a mystery with other people (groups of 8) using various clues. Our kids and I had fun and our group won! Don’t do it for the prizes though—just a thin drink coozie and deck of cards. • Dueling Pianos and Howl at the Moon got many good reviews, but we missed these shows. Fitness Room—my husband reported that they had a decent array of machines and he was able to get on one without much of a problem. He said that you may have to wait for ellipticals and treadmills, but something was always available in the weight room. Another plus—the hours were longer than on other ships. A negative—you have to pay to use the sauna and steam room (same on the other ships, though). Ports: Copenhagen: We arrived a day early to spend some time here. I ordered the 24-hour Copenhagen Card on line before we left (you get a voucher). If you plan to visit at least three attractions in 24 hours, the card is worth it, since it covers all of the major attractions and transportation. You take the voucher to the airport information desk (when you leave the baggage area and go down the escalator, heading toward the exits/trains, the information desk is on the right). Once you get the card, just follow the signs to Track 2 to get into the city. Our first attraction was the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art. Definitely worth the 40-minute train ride). So many interesting and beautiful things to see and experience, especially the exhibits by Pipilotti Rist. From the city center, take the train toward Helsinger, getting off at the Humblebaek stop. Once you exit the train, signs will direct you to the museum. We ate at the café on the corner where you turn (Lind’s Kaffebar). They have sandwiches, wraps, paninis, and omelettes. Good food; reasonable prices. When we returned to the city center, we checked into our hotel (more on that later), then we went to Rosenborg Castle. You can see rooms on five floors, including two basement levels (one for the treasury and the other for wine and weapons). There are many beautiful and unique items, but we were particularly impressed with the 3-D ceiling decorations and intricate ivory carvings. After a nap (flew overnight, so not much sleep), and dinner at L’Appetito (close to our hotel and the central train station; the pizza was good; they gave us free bread; and the service was quick and courteous), we went to Tivoli Gardens. We got there around 9 pm (twilight was at 9:30 and they were open until 11). They have beautiful gardens and lights, and free entertainment. Mamma Mia 2 was playing on a giant screen when we arrived, but they have a variety of other shows that pop up at various times (e.g., pantomime theater, ballet, acrobats, puppets, etc). You do have to pay extra for the rides (which our adult children did for the roller coaster), but my husband and I enjoyed ourselves without spending any extra money. We booked 3 double rooms (for 5 adults) with private bathrooms at Steel House. The rooms were small, just enough space for the bed and a small area in front of it (with a space to stash luggage in the base of the bed). But the bathroom was a decent size; the room was clean, quiet, and modern; the bed was comfortable; the price was significantly cheaper than other similarly-rated hotels; and it is close to the central train station, Tivoli Gardens, and the start of The Stroget, a pedestrian street with lots of shops. They also have lockers in the basement where, for a small fee, you can store your luggage if you arrive before check-in time. A tour guide stops by at 9:20 and 10:20 am to lead anyone interested in a free 2 1/2 hour walking tour to the meeting area in town (we did not do this). One minor annoyance was that the light in the bathroom was on a timer (you can set it for up to 5 minutes) and it will go off if no motion is detected (including when you are in the shower, but opening the shower door turns it on). Overall, I highly recommend Steel House and would definitely stay here again if I make it back to Copenhagen! Warnemunde/Rostock: Our berth was LP31 in Rostock. We took public transportation to get into town. To get to the Seehafen Fahre bus stop, go to the main road and turn right. When the road curves, just keep going straight to the large white building and you’ll see several bus stops—“A” right in front of the building, and “B” and “C” together off to the left. You can take bus 19 and 49 from B/C to the Dierkower Kreuz stop, then from there take tram 1 or 4 to Rostock Neuer Markt (New Market Square). We just walked through the market right there and then around town. The only building we went into was St. Mary’s Church, mainly to see the astronomical clock built in 1472, but it also has a beautiful stained-glass window, organ, and pulpit. We stopped in the Tourist Information Office to ask for a recommendation for a German restaurant for lunch. The gentleman gave me two names; one was a bit of a walk and one was just a couple of blocks away which is the one we chose. Hopfenkeller was a disappointment. The food was okay, but the prices were relatively high and service was terrible. We waited more than 20 minutes for the check even after catching the server’s eye once and then going right up to her to ask for it. Then we went to Warnemunde. From Neuer Markt, take tram 5 or 6 to the last stop (it’s the second one in Warnemunde). This is a beachside resort with lots of little shops (mostly clothing stores on the main drag [Alter Strom] with some souvenir shops on the road one block inland [Alexandrinenstrasse]). There is a lighthouse you can climb and you can just spend time on the beach. To get back to the ship, take the S-train toward Rostock, getting off at the Lutten-Klein stop. Then take bus 45 or 49 back to Seehafen Fahre. Helsinki: From our port (West Harbor/Hernesaari), we took bus 14 into town (the stop is close to the ship; just walk straight ahead on the road leading out of the port). Armed with a map of the tram routes and Rick Steve’s book, we were able to get around pretty easily. Our first stop was the Hietalahti Market (a flea market). They had a variety of goods—clothing, houseware items (lots of plates, glasses, tea pots), kids games/toys, collectibles, jewelry, books—like you would find in the U.S., but in mostly Finnish styles (duh). They also had stuff from Asian and other European countries. Next, we stopped at Kamppi Chapel (a serene oasis in the middle of a bustling city and cool architecture) on the way to the Church of the Rock (again interesting architecture, blasted out of solid granite). There are also a couple of small but good souvenir shops nearby. Then we headed to Senate Square, Market Square (bought several items here), and Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral (beautiful inside and out). We had lunch at a little pizza place on a corner across the street from Market Square (Vaelsa)—good pizza, good prices, fast service! St. Peterburg: We booked the 2-Day Must See tour plus the night Faberge Museum tour with Alla Tours. They were very responsive to questions prior to the trip. Our guide, Paulina, was great—very knowledgeable, easy to understand (actually fun to listen to with an accent that sounded like a mix of Russian, French [which she also speaks], and British English), well-organized, charming, and adorable to boot! The restaurants we were taken to for lunch were both good—tasty food and in pretty rooms. We were dropped off at a more casual restaurant to get a snack on our own between the day and night tours on the first day; they had a wide variety of options, the food was very good, and the prices were very reasonable. All of the sights we were taken to were worthwhile; I would choose the same tours again. My personal favorites were the Hermitage and the Church on the Spilled Blood. Tallinn: This was the easiest port to do on our own—you just walk off and into town. First, we did the Tallinn Free Tour (they work for tips). Our guide, Helen, did a great job, despite the unusually high heat and humidity, having a double-sized group (the other guide was ill), and sometimes having to speak over the sound of church bells (which went off for a prolonged time). She provided just the right amount of information—enough details to get a general understanding of Estonia’s history, doled out in relatively small doses over a number of stops throughout the town, without being overwhelming and with a good amount of humor throw in! Very enjoyable!! After the tour, we just wandered around town and did some shopping. We ate lunch at Wok to Walk, which had made to order stir-fries—good food, reasonable prices, and quick service! Stockholm: From the port (Nyashamn), you can get a shuttle bus (it picks you up right outside of the Visitor Center at the pier (where you can buy tickets for both the shuttle and train). You can also walk to the train station, but we thought the shuttle was worth it (less than $4.50). We took the train to Stockholm City (the central station), then tram 7 to Skansen (this is also the tram for the Vasa Museum and the ABBA Museum). Skansen is an open-air museum representing five centuries of Swedish history with over 150 dwellings, people in period dress, and a zoo. It sounded good to us, but we were underwhelmed and decided that it was not a good use of our limited port time (we had seen the Vasa Musuem on a previous cruise and were not interested in the ABBA museum). Maybe it would be worthwhile if you have younger children, but many of the workshops/buildings in “Old Town” were closed and we found only two employees giving spontaneous information about their crafts/history of the buildings; the others remained silent. The zoo was very small and several of the animals were hard or impossible to even spot. Lots of walking is involved, up and down hills. We ate lunch in their sit down restaurant (cafeteria); the food was okay, but a little pricey. From here we went back to the central train station, then took the metro/tunnelbana one stop to Gamla Stan (Old Town). You can take the red or green line, just watch what direction it’s going (I printed out the Rail Network Map ahead of time). Again, we just wandered around town. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Choose this cruise because Getaway has single studio cabins which 3 people in our group desired. Never been on NCL previously. Many cruises on Princess and some on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Cabin: Balcony 9728. Adequate. Only ... Read More
Choose this cruise because Getaway has single studio cabins which 3 people in our group desired. Never been on NCL previously. Many cruises on Princess and some on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Cabin: Balcony 9728. Adequate. Only drawback was constant awakening due to slamming doors all night. Strange. Neighbors weren't coming and going all night so I have no idea where the sounds were coming from. Staff: Friendly and helpful throughout. Ship: Clean and new Embarkation and debarkation: Excellent Dining: Complementary restaurants were ok; not quite up to Princess quality. Buffet was excellent. Lots of selection and generally tasty. Specialty restaurants Cagneys and Mondernero were excellent. Here's the big problem: LeBistro (French cuisine?) was atrocious. Slow service. Awful food. Appetizer of "lump crab salad" was mostly mayonnaise and devoid of crab. Main course of sole (most expensive thing on menu) was atrocious: came with 2 finger size potatoes and 3 croutons on fish. Seriously. That was it. Fish was pan fried but without taste. Would've been bad in the complementary restaurant, but to pay for it was unacceptable. Two big problems: ship docked in Rostock instead of Warnemunde; and, Nyahsamn instead of Stockholm. We knew these changes after we booked, but it proved to be problematic. Rostock is a somewhat boring city. Most other cruise ships dock at closeby Warnemunde. NCL probably docks at Rostock to save port fees. Could've have gotten to Warnemunde if we wanted to. Ship docks at Nyhasamn, about 43 miles from Stockholm. Again, we knew this going in, but the change happened after booking. Seems very deceptive in hindsight. We used the shuttle bus from NCL. They promised "narration" - there was none. The significant problems were with the return to the ship. Everyone was given different information about when and where to catch the bus. Total chaos in Stockholm. NCL staffer finally showed up about 1.5 hours after we all started waiting. Very poorly done and we've filed a complaint with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because it was going somewhere we always wanted to visit. Also, we got a Queens Grill cabin for the price of a balcony, so the value was there. With the included drinks package, we thought we had gotten a great deal. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going somewhere we always wanted to visit. Also, we got a Queens Grill cabin for the price of a balcony, so the value was there. With the included drinks package, we thought we had gotten a great deal. We sailed from Hamburg on July 16th, our first day being a sea day. The ship is very pretty, but a bit tired. Could use some sprucing up. The carpets were worn in many spots, and you could see rust all around the ship. Our cabin, 5190 was on the back of the ship and had a very large balcony. However, compared to other cruise lines, the suite was quite small. I was shocked by just how small it was. We sailed HAL two years ago and our suite was easily twice the size. Queens Grill dining made up for the tired ship and small cabin however. The dining room was beautiful and the food and service amazing. Anything you want you can have. It is never too much trouble, and offered with a smile. Everyone who works there seems to really care about the passengers. What a great experience. The included drink package comes with one caveat. Any drink over $12 will be charged in its entirety. Most popular drinks on the ship are priced at $12.50. Makes the package not much of a perk. The one shore excursion we took through the ship almost had a mutiny it was so bad. People were leaving in droves, and everyone complained about it. It was boring and hot. The guide was not very good at what he did, and almost everyone could not wait until it was over. As an example, they took us to a pier for a break and there were only two restrooms. We spent the entire time waiting on line. We saw only one show, which was ok. Most of our evening time was spent either in one of the lounges, or sitting on our balcony watching the ship move. Since it got dark so late, we really enjoyed it. Also, the included liquor supplied in Queens Grill didn't run up our charges. Considering all of these issues, we did have a good time. I would say I am only 60/40 as to whether I would cruise on Cunard again. With the dressing up, the state of the cabins and the boring evening entertainment, perhaps it is time to try one of the smaller luxury lines. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK ... Read More
I chose this cruise to go to Svalbard, pure and simple. Was not disappointed. Been to Iceland a couple of times before but still found things to see. Ship board life was fine by me. Did a few shore excursions organized by Holland, all OK but a tad expensive I thought. I deliberately sail on smaller ships where I can and Rotterdam is about as large as I want to go. Still had a feeling of smallness about it, and able to meet others passengers several times, creating a more intimate feel. My biggest upset, while not Hollands fault but something I will try and check on in any future sailings, was the arrival of a behemoth carrying 4500 passengers in the same small ports as us. 3 times. Imagine our 1400 passengers and 4500 off the other ship arriving in a port with a population of about 2000 people. Most unpleasant for me who lives in a small town with a total population less than the mob on the Preziosa. I like to feel a ship move and it took a storm with wild seas to make this happen. It appears a very stable ship. Cant have been too bad as we have just booked a cruise on a sister ship, this time to go to the bottom of the world. The review here by cancruise2 indicates to me he/she would be better of staying at home. One small complaint. I paid extra to have an ocean view. It is pointless to do this if you cant see through the dirty window. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was a good--not great cruise. We were in a Concierge Balcony. This was a very nice stateroom but we do think Concierge is a bit overrated and probably not worth extra $. The cruise director(Sue) was outstanding and main theater ... Read More
This was a good--not great cruise. We were in a Concierge Balcony. This was a very nice stateroom but we do think Concierge is a bit overrated and probably not worth extra $. The cruise director(Sue) was outstanding and main theater entertainment was superb. The secondary entertainment in bar areas was a bit weak. Restaurants were all good but Qisine was simply incredible! Aside from the Little Chef interactive which is a must the food was remarkable! Oddly the fish on this cruise was average at best. My new favorite space on a ship is the aft area and Silhouette has a very nice aft bar. Staff were very nice and accommodating. One problem re the ports--I simply cant recommend going to St Petersburgh at any time in the season. The crowds were overwhelming. Surviving the Hermitage was a miracle! Forget meditating over a work of art. When sailing into Stockholm be sure to get up early to see the Archipelago--breathtaking scenery. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and date. Service was excellent, especially in the restaurants and bars. We had the extra dining package that included dining at specialty restaurants three times. All three that we experienced; ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and date. Service was excellent, especially in the restaurants and bars. We had the extra dining package that included dining at specialty restaurants three times. All three that we experienced; Teppanyaki, Moderno and Le Bistro, were excellent. The regular dining areas, Savor and Taste were also good, if not outstanding. The only entertainment we attended were Syd Norman's Pour House and Howl at the Moon. We enjoyed the entertainers that were there a great deal, but it should be noted that they were disembarking the same day we did. We liked our cabin, especially the bathroom. There was a lot of storage, but we did notice that it was all low and I wondered if it would be difficult for someone who has trouble bending. The balcony is small but adequate. The bathroom and shower was the best we've experienced on any cruise. The Getaway is not one of our favorite ships overall. The main atrium has too much going on and is crowded most of the time. The casino is open to the one atrium, so the cigarette smoke wafts not only through the casino, but the floor above. Ports- We stayed in Copenhagen for one night before and one night after the cruise. Tivoli was wonderful, especially at night. Taxis are readily available to take you to the port and after the cruise. NCL repeatedly states that taxis are in short supply which is absolutely untrue. We took the train into Berlin. It is a minimum of 3 hours into Berlin because of a stop, but a little shorter on the way home. They did provide water, coffee or tea and a cookie on the way there and a beer and wine cart with inexpensive choices on the way back. We agreed that we wouldn't do the train ride again, but did want to experience Berlin. Helsinki was nice. We booked the Hoho through NCL for the convenience and were able to walk off of the ship, board a bus and leave quickly. We also booked the Hoho for Stockholm. I was concerned about this because of previous reviews, but the buses left quickly. It might have been different for people who lingered getting off the ship. They told us we could catch the 3:30 or 4:30 shuttle back. They had buses there before 3:00 and each left as soon as it was filled. We loved Tallinn. I got off the ship at 8AM and walked into the city. Many things didn't open until 10, but for me, it was very enjoyable to walk around the city before the crowds arrived. The drawback for us was that we were there on a Sunday and several things were closed. St Petersburg is really pushed as the jewel of the cruise.NCL still tries to make you think you need to book an excursion through them or obtain a Visa independently. We booked a two day excursion through TJ Travel and recommend it highly. It was the same itinerary as the NCL excursion, but about $100 less. I booked it through email, did not have to pay until the end of the first day and the tickets sent to us acted as our Visas. There was absolutely no problem getting through immigration either day. Our van had only 14 people, while it appeared the NCL excursions were full sized buses. The only drawback to the TJ Travel was they advertise time for shopping, but it is simply in their gift shop, so I felt that was a bit deceptive, although common for excursions. Do note that the 2 day excursions, whether through TJ, Allah, or NCL or very intense. Our group agreed that we were glad to see such a variety, but might have preferred a little less intensity and more time in some of the places. Overall, we would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted to visit the Baltic region and the itinerary looked good Embarkation was very easy and well organised. We had a short wait for our luggage but took the time to explore the ship. We dined in all the restaurants with the ... Read More
We wanted to visit the Baltic region and the itinerary looked good Embarkation was very easy and well organised. We had a short wait for our luggage but took the time to explore the ship. We dined in all the restaurants with the exception of the sushi bar.and found the food to be fair to good in the market place but we preferred latitude 53 and the supplement restaurants (surf and turf, kora - la and the dining club) where the food was absolutely amazing. The only small niggle was that there wasn't much information on the ports to allow you to go it alone. We had done research before we left but would have appreciated maps and guidance from destination services. We booked with a Russian tour company (TJ TRAVEL ) for the 2 day stop over in Saint Petersburg. There appeared to be a bit of overkill about the need for visas and the potential problems that could arise in Russia unless a Tui excursion was booked. We had an absolutely fabulous time with TJ TRAVEL with no problems at all. We attend the ballet with Tui which was lovely and fairly priced As always the crew were all very helpful and always smiling despite their heavy workload Overall the cruise was busy. We were blessed with good weather so managed a bit of sun bathing an a dip in the pool. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our first cruise for 20 years My aim is to help people but I’ve got to be honest We were a bit worried about boarding after some reviews we read but both boarding and departing the ship was done very professionally Cabin and ... Read More
Our first cruise for 20 years My aim is to help people but I’ve got to be honest We were a bit worried about boarding after some reviews we read but both boarding and departing the ship was done very professionally Cabin and rest of ship was spotlessly clean best room cleaner I’ve ever had and I’ve traveled a lot Cabin number 10111 nice balcony with hammock etc The ships staff ie waiters bartenders cleaners etc all round the ship were fantastic and extremely friendly Got to give special mention to barmen in Squid and Anchor Kesauan , Cooper and Rade at the gin bar and two waitresses who don’t know how to stop smiling Anna and Mary Food quality was excellent everywhere We ate a few times in specialty restaurants the food and wine taster in the Dining Club is a must they treat you like royalty However I think the prices are too dear on top of all inclusive and to charge at the Tapas bar is a joke On the same subject we upgraded to premier and it more than paid for itself with special guns and cocktails and also coffee but I think it’s petty to charge for coffees Thought overall entertainment was a disappointment I expected better The groups were ok but not top turns had much better entertainment in 4 star hotels The main show group were great dancers but only a few girls had voices and none of the boys Only two one off acts a George Michael tribute and a comedian who’s late show was really funny I can only comment on excursions that we made Skagen No need for a paid trip it’s a nice walk with shops and cafes Kreil We shared a taxi with friends to the U boat and Navy Museum they’re situated in a beautiful seaside resort really enjoyed this Tallin Guided tour highlights of Talin really good guide and a interesting tour of a beautiful city St Petersburg Two day tour Completely comprehensive and intense tour of surely one of the worlds most beautiful cities I think this tour is a must but it is tiring Helsinki Short bus trip to a marina city Here’s a great tip after the tiring Russian trip we found a great way of seeing Helsinki There’s a 4D cinema that does a fun trip round Helsinki and we tied this in with a ride round Finland totally recommend this Warnemunde Extremely popular German seaside resort We walked around for couple hours nice shops Stockholm Went to ABBA Museum Not really in mood for city tour after that so an hour walk to ship The cruise in and out of Stockholm is five hours of unbelievable island beauty Copenhagen Had to see Little Mermaid only ten minutes from ship had a walk round park area for two hours Beware Pickpockets Last night of the cruise we spent in Sqid and Anchor great night it was like New Years Eve Overall I loved the friendliness of an all British Cruise and will definitely do more but hope for better class of entertainment Steve Middlesbrough Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted to go on a Baltic Cruise because it stopped at destinations that we’ve never visited before. So the ports of call on this cruise perfectly satisfied the cities we desired to visit. The entertainment was great. The food was ... Read More
We wanted to go on a Baltic Cruise because it stopped at destinations that we’ve never visited before. So the ports of call on this cruise perfectly satisfied the cities we desired to visit. The entertainment was great. The food was good. However, there seemed to be a little disorganization at dinner time and reservations. Most people with reservations were getting frustrated. All people, with or without reservations, were lined up in the same queue and there seemed to be a lot of confusion. At the same time, I couldn’t help it feeling bad for the staff as well. Because they tried their best to seat people as quickly as they could but they could only do so much. Sometimes they had to send you to another one of their restaurants because the one that you had reservation at was full! Suggestions: To reduce everyone’s frustration organize two different lines One “with reservation” one “ without reservation”. The seats at “Headliners” were extremely uncomfortable, and we weren’t the only ones complaining about that! There is a easy fix for that. Our overall experience was great and we look forward to our next cruise and we decided to only go on cruises with newer ships like Getaway. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I’m going to try to avoid doing what I normally do and write a ridiculously long and detailed narrative for a trip report. None the less, I do have a tendency to get a little… wordy. My wife and I have only been on one cruise 20 ... Read More
I’m going to try to avoid doing what I normally do and write a ridiculously long and detailed narrative for a trip report. None the less, I do have a tendency to get a little… wordy. My wife and I have only been on one cruise 20 years ago on the NCL Wind and our travel companions were first-timers, and our cruise on the NCL Getaway was fun. We had a great time, but there were things that didn’t quite measure up to the expectations that I formed from comments and reviews on the internet. I’ll do this by category. Service: Top-notch. They apparently recruit from the same pool as Disney, as everyone we encountered was smiling and friendly. The only stumble we saw was at La Cucina, and I’ll get to that under food. Our favorite bartender was Dexter from Granada. We tipped him well and he was a massive positive point for the whole trip. Our steward was Arson, but I can’t remember where he was from as I rarely saw him. He was a ghost that magically made everything right. I swear we’d put the “Make-up Room” light on and come back in ten minutes and it’d be done. I swear the guy had a magic wand or something. He’s the other guy that received an extra tip. Ports of Call: We sailed out of Copenhagen and hit five other cities: Warnemunde Germany, Tallinn Estonia, St. Petersburg Russia, Helsinki Finland, and Stockholm Sweden. Five ports on a nine-day cruise may not sound too bad, but it was EXHAUSTING. Fantastic, beautiful, and inspiring to be sure; but bloody tiring. I averaged about 24,000 steps per day on my counter for those five days plus two and a half days in Copenhagen. If you are mobility-challenged, this isn’t the cruise for you. I will say though that Stockholm was almost not worth the trouble. We only had seven hours or so, and two and a half hours were spend getting to and from the city center because we were ported in Nynashamn. In Russia, we used Anastasia Travel for the two days we were there. We are NOT guided tour people, so we booked the private tour for the four of us. It was OUTSTANDING. I would not hesitate to use them again or suggest them to anyone. Food: Here’s were things took a downturn I’m afraid. I’ve always had the impression that NCL was known for having top-notch food. Sadly, we didn’t feel like that’s the case. The buffet was acceptable but average and ALWAYS packed with people. The main courses in the main dining rooms were very good, but some of the sides and desserts were lacking. O’Sheehan’s was a disappointment. The food was average at best, bordering on just plain bad. The items that I ate there were ok at best but the other three in our group refused to eat there after two attempts. Nachos with squirt-on cheese, flavorless salad dressing, and fatty and unappetizing BBQ wings. I had the standard buffalo style and found then acceptable at best. Cagney’s was great and Teppanyaki was really good and a lot of fun, Moderno’s was good, but La Cucina was average. Our waitress there seemed forgetful and untrained. She was always polite and cheerful, but she forgot very basic things. For example, she spilled water all over the table then forgot to return to clean it up or even bring us a towel. I had to ask for help on that one, and there were more little things like that. I’m sure she’ll improve with time. The food was only average as well. Cirque Steam and Dreams was surprisingly good considering you get no choice at all in what you receive. (Surf n’ Turf.) The show was awesome as well. Shanghai’s was ok but frankly, I don’t see why this place is so popular. The food was slightly better than grocery store Chinese food, and the seating is awkward at best. Maybe it was better at one point. The Ship: The Getaway is a beautiful vessel. Flat out, no argument there. However, the design is a little lacking when it comes to the traffic flow and dealing with crowds. For example, we had 4600 people on board, so hallways were always busy. With this in mind, why would you design a shopping area in one of those hallways? This causes people to stop to look at things and ask questions of the staff member, causing blockages in the hallway. Yes, I know. I get it. This is done intentionally as a sales tactic. However, I suggest that it’s more detrimental than they think. I found it immensely irritating. Entertainment and activities: Oddly enough, we didn’t do that much on the ship. Never did the ropes course, mini-golf, or waterslides. Didn’t use the pool or hot tub either. Most of the time we were either too busy eating, drinking, or just plain resting up from an exhausting day. Also, on the first day we say a bunch of Hindi people in one of the hot tubs and they were gobbing on heavy layers of sunscreen while in the tub and getting it all over the place and in the water; I even saw that the waitstaff found that unacceptable as they were notifying the pool staff. They were then dubbed the Human Soup family and pretty much soured my desire to touch any community water areas. We saw the Million Dollar Quartet and it was great, even my friend who HATES plays and musicals liked it. The guy playing Jerry Lee Lewis was amazing. My wife said Burn the Floor was awesome, I declined to go. We walked into the dueling pianos show while it was in progress and it wasn’t even half full. It wasn’t very good either. They might want to re-think that one. We TRIED to go to the new Syd Norman’s bar for the band, but it was always packed. Even when it was bad karaoke it was packed. Considering that the Raw Bar and Wasabi were almost always empty, and I rarely EVER saw anyone going into or exiting the Ice Bar… They should re-think their use of space. Syd’s could be three times the size it is and still fill up. Final thoughts: All in all, a fun experience and I regret nothing. Having the drink package was great and I know we got our money’s worth. It was a perk, so we just had the service fees. I don’t know if it would have been worth it if we had to buy it outright. I think the drinks were mostly watered down to contain drunkenness though. Typically, I’m a loyal customer. When I choose a company, I like I stick with them. However, if and when we ever cruise again we might be looking at other options that better fit our desires and habits. There were a lot of features of this ship we just didn’t use or care about. We’ll see. If you’re considering this cruise, please keep in mind that this is NOT a cheap cruise. We pre-paid everything and were at ~$8500 before ever leaving the house. (Airfare, hotels, cruise, pre-paid everything…) I don’t know yet how much we spent existing in foreign ports, but I’d be surprised if was less than $1500. Wow, only 2.33 pages. Usually, I’m over 20 pages per week of vacationing… Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We flew from Sydney, Australia, to visit the Baltic region for the first time. We have cruised once before on NCL (Rome to Spain round-trip). We choose NCL usually because it offers a variety of entertainment and similar standard of ... Read More
We flew from Sydney, Australia, to visit the Baltic region for the first time. We have cruised once before on NCL (Rome to Spain round-trip). We choose NCL usually because it offers a variety of entertainment and similar standard of service that we like. We would be happy to travel again on this ship. Here are some observations. DINING Good: Variety of dining options. O'sheehans is often a favourite. We had 4 additional choices as part of our package. Le Bistro, Cagneys and Moderno are always winners (usually an add on). Needs tweaking: The garden cafe is good for all but close table seating made it difficult to move around when necessary. This can be managed by choosing to dine in Savor or Taste restaurants. Sometimes in the garden cafe, there were dishes that were cold by the time you sat down to eat at the table. For example, scrambled eggs, meat dishes that are meant to be hot, and Indian dishes. I imagine that could cause food to be wasted. I prefer hot food to be eaten at that same temperature. Specialty restaurants did not have this problem. Service: All good during our stay and in all areas of the ship. Entertainment: We love listening to live music. The Syd Norman Pour House had a band with a variety of vocalists that really worked hard to sing and engage the crowd. Definitely a winner for me to sing along with 70,80,90's music. The venue was often crowded. Burn the floor was a good show too. Any longer would have been repetitive. Their energy is amazing. Ancora was an opera/classical group of 4 that were simply fantastic. The range and quality of their voices was breathtaking. I didn't go to see the Cirque show. The additional cost was not the issue. I'm just not into the circus theme. There were other entertainment options too. I liked the interactive games on level 6 that engaged the audience. Nothing complicated, but amusing Room: We had a mini suite on deck 9 forward. While close to level 8 entertainment venue, we slept soundly. Fixtures and fittings are beginning to show some signs of age but, this did not impact on our comfort. Recommendations: Based on personal preference. More ping pong tables so that adults can play, not just the kids. Maybe more area in the gym for stretching, cooling etc in peak time. Also, a big thank you to Mario who was helpful in meeting the needs of the Cruise critic team when docking in Russia. Thanks to Tammy and Patrick (friendly cruise critic cruisers) too. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Check in at Newcastle went pretty smooth,Considering it's not a cruise terminal but a working port, Our cabin was 9148,was excellent,huge balcony,with hammock,sun lounger,2 chairs & a table,which was not quite ready when we got ... Read More
Check in at Newcastle went pretty smooth,Considering it's not a cruise terminal but a working port, Our cabin was 9148,was excellent,huge balcony,with hammock,sun lounger,2 chairs & a table,which was not quite ready when we got there,but our steward did let us hang my wife's dresses in 2 dress bags,& our coats up on the wall hangers,to save carrying them around for an hour or so,When we returned an hour later,the dresses had gone,the cabin steward denied ever letting us in,then couldn't understand what we were trying to explain that 6 dresses had gone from our cabin,On our way to reception I just happened to glance into the cabin stewards room (which was open & ajar) & there was all the dresses & coats,dumped on the floor,To say that we were unhappy is an understatement to say the least,We went for a cuppa to calm down before go to reception,After we did calm down,We decided to let the matter drop,We didn't want to see the poor steward getting into trouble,or worse.There are 2 bands on board Rhythm who are very good,Girl sounds like Stevie Nicks,The Beats also very good,guest acts were very good with the exception of the "Comedian" who was absolutely dire,Got to be the worst I've ever seen,I couldn't believe the amount of people who walked out of the theatre,Don't know how he makes a living from it,BUT he can certainly hold a note,What a singer.Theater cast were also excellent.Surf & Turf & Kora La are well worth that little bit extra for a different dining experience,Not worth the extra for premium drinks as all we wanted was the all inclusive menu,Which ends at 02:00 hrs,But they did announce it in the club,The silent disco is a MUST,Hilarious. Overall a good cruise & good itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I always wanted to visit Norway and the fjords as I am intrigued by the history of Vikings and of the scenery. This was our first cruise , it was our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband 's 50th birthday .There were a couple of ... Read More
I always wanted to visit Norway and the fjords as I am intrigued by the history of Vikings and of the scenery. This was our first cruise , it was our 25th wedding anniversary and my husband 's 50th birthday .There were a couple of things that bothered us like the wait to get on board the ship on the departure date we got there at 13.00 PM and had to wait 3 hours in the queue , we were tired and hungry and thirsty and that was not the greatest way to start our holiday. Secondly a fault that we found on the ship the only one I would say is that there is no, do it yourself laundrett , a must on a ship that carries 4500 passengers and 1200 crew members.On a 11 day cruise one needs to wash his clothes, I did manually but the rules on the boat say that no clothes are allowed to be hanged in the balcony, so that was a problem and last but not least as we are still suffering from a severe backache, the mattress in our room was very uncomfortable it needs changing, I should have mentioned this to my room attended, but never got round to it. As for the rest everything was great from the food to the service and the crew were excellent starting from our room attendant John Lerry Cuyos, who cleaned and took so good care of us always making sure we had clean towels and sheets and making up our bed even twice a day , so friendly and kind he always started my day with a smile bless him, and than our two favorite waitress Elena Gonzalez Gonzalez and Italjani, and last but not least our personal waiter Maskurin from Indonesia, they were all even others exceptionally kind, good at their job and friendly, I recommend this Holiday and MSC Preziosa but please anyone of the administration that reads this please take note of my request, as I am sure that in future alot of people will comment on this. Thanks again for our fantastic holiday, Anthony and Fiona Borg. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose this ship because it was going where we wanted to at the time we wanted to at a price that we wanted. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, except that we were given the impression that you had to check your luggage on ... Read More
Chose this ship because it was going where we wanted to at the time we wanted to at a price that we wanted. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, except that we were given the impression that you had to check your luggage on boarding but we saw people who carried their own luggage on, which I would have preferred to do since we only had carry-on bags. The first day onboard you must attend a safety drill, which was not done well, they had us standing inside a hall near a bar, it was hot and they had us standing for over a half hour without any information or instruction, when they finally did give us info it was very sparse and took about 5 minutes. Awful! Finding where you were to go for certain things such as safety drill, disembarking on a daily basis, etc were not clear, the announcements were not always loud or clear enough and there was no signage on the decks to direct you. The food was very good, I was impressed with the quality and choices in the buffet, though we had dinner in the main dining room every night except one. The main dining room was lovely, our waiter (Francis) and assistant (Michael) were very attentive and personable. I felt the entertainment was just okay, no high end shows, etc. The Duo ArtMotion, Moroshka, and Tap Factory shows were very good. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, Serge Massot and Roger Wright left a lot to be desired. In general I found the ship clean and neat but "tired", in need of updating, refurbishing and maintenance. Loved all the ports, but didn't do any of the ships excursions. Did a local tour in St. Petersburg with TJ Travel which gave us a discount for being a Cruise Critic member which was wonderful. Otherwise we explored on our own in the other ports and was happy that we did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We've been cruising with Disney before RC, and even considering the fact that Disney is much more expensive, it left us with a feeling that it was much better, especially in the food, entertainment, and general feel ( there were 2 big ... Read More
We've been cruising with Disney before RC, and even considering the fact that Disney is much more expensive, it left us with a feeling that it was much better, especially in the food, entertainment, and general feel ( there were 2 big spots of rust in the indoor pool on Serenade). Even the free food court (near the pools) in the Disney Dream was much better. What I found most irritating the design of the beds, that for some reason are half arched toward their end, so if you are a tall person like myself ( 1.92 meters) , if you sleep with legs stretched, you ankles will be outside the bed. I was told it is the same in all RC ships, and it was not comfortable at all. The RC app is a very good idea - too bad it doesn't always work in the real world and needed many restarts during the day. We tried specialty drinks ( 1 coffee, 1 alcoholic and one mocktail) , the mocktail was good but the other terrible especially for the price of 12$ before 18% tip. Quality of food in main dining room - 7/10 Main dining room service 10/10 Quality of food in Windjammer (buffet) 7/10 Service at Windjammer 9/10 The specialty restaurants (extra charge) Chops Grille (American, Meat) Giovanni's Table (Italian) 10/10 If you get a discount, you should try these. The food is noticeably better than in the main dining hall. Breakfast in Windjammer - tends to be very very busy, and it takes some times to find a place to seat. Guest services staff 10/10 Service was terrific! All staff members tried to help and find solutions, smiling, positive. Service - We got Alemao and Dehiby as waiters in the main dining hall, and Ikomang as room attendant. They were all excellent 10/10 and we gave them an extra tip. Staterooms - very clean, but design feels outdated (and uncomfortable as mentioned) Entertainment - 8/10 Daytime Activities (Rock Climbing Wall, Mini Golf, Dance Classes, Pool Side Events, Contests, Enrichment Classes, Lectures,etc.) 7/10 Arcade - very small arcade, with around 20 machines. It was deserted when I visited it during rainy days, and it was July (many kids on board) General : * I wish they would state the names of the cruise piers in each destination in advance, as it might lead to confusion when you tour by yourself. * The cruise felt like it was best for the adult crowd, less for families with children. *Embarkation - Swift and easy. Leaving the ship on disembarkation was also a very fast process, while in Disney it took a long while. *Duty free or not, the shops on the ship changes the stock everyday, but the prices are pretty expensive. I saw there a Russian chocolate they sold for 7 Euros, found it was sold for 2 Euros in St.Petersburg. * The Itinerary is pretty good, since the cruise began and ended in Stockholm and that enabled us to visit the city for a total of 5 days. The stops in Tallinn, Visby and Helsinki were too short (last boarding time 15:30 to 17:00), but those city are much less to offer than Stockholm. St.Petersburg is a marvel - try to book a cruise that docks there at least 1 night (equals 2 days in the destination). Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I really wanted to leave a review here to offer my thoughts on this ship after reading some of the negative reviews. Prior to going on the trip, I had seen lots of reviews giving really harsh opinions of the ship looking really tired or ... Read More
I really wanted to leave a review here to offer my thoughts on this ship after reading some of the negative reviews. Prior to going on the trip, I had seen lots of reviews giving really harsh opinions of the ship looking really tired or of the food being awful or the service slow etc... Honestly, I have no idea if these people were sailing on this ship or if there is one with a similar name that they are getting mixed up with?! Or alternatively what sort of expectations these people have created for themselves! We chose the cruise based on the itinerary and the deal that Royal Caribbean were offering at the time (drinks package and onboard spend). We boarded relatively swiftly and soon discovered that this was both a mammoth ship and quite a magnificent city on water! We've cruised with Royal before and also NCL and Princess. I'd say the ship was somewhat of a hybrid of the two. Overall the ship was looking great and flowed really well - only on the odd occasion did we really feel that the ship was busy, which was at a couple of times in the buffet, particularly in the buffet for breakfast when the port call was shorter. All of the areas of the ship were smart, clean and in good repair - the promenade, whilst not to everyone's taste it seems was a hive of activity all the way through the cruise. The food was imaginative and plentiful to say the least - we ate really well... I'd say not quite as well presented or of quite the quality on offer by princess, but then this was price reflective also. My only criticism would be that they could offer some stronger and more imaginative vegetarian and vegan offerings - meat eaters definitely got a better deal here, but there were still lots of options and alternatives. The only significant let down was Jonny Rockets really. I really think Royal Caribbean should make this a complimentary eating spot. Every other line we've been on has an outdoor burger grill that is complimentary and whist the offering is marginally better, it really felt like we'd thrown $9.95 per person away, as the burgers in the buffet, just one deck down were almost the same, as were the fries etc. The absence of a burger bar on the pool deck compared to the other lines was noticeable on fine sea days, which seems a shame and a bit of a cash cow - I really wouldn't bother and I doubt we'll bother again. Jonny Rockets was notably quiet whenever we looked in... maybe people are catching on? The stateroom was smart and pretty sizeable. We had an inside and parents had a balcony - both were nice. Beds were comfy and decent storage space for a 2 week cruise. The shower gel was nice and the sheets and towels always clean, fresh and had a nice feel to them. The activity and options for things to do were quite simply never ending, there was always a plethora of activities and things on offer to do. The entertainment was variable. We saw some BRILLIANT shows and entertainers and some entertainment which seemed below par, unfortunately the Royal Caribbean post cruise survey didn't really give the opportunity to differentiate. As other have said, the ice show is brilliant! GO AND SEE IT!!! Shows in the theatre varied a lot... We had a bit of a random singer spell during the two weeks, where we had like three solo singer nights in a row and by the third, we seemed to be suffering singer fatigue! The Royal Caribbean production shows were usual cruise fayre really... singers and dancers singing and dancing to music that is no longer in copyright etc etc... they were so so, but ok to pass an evening with. The promenade parties were a lot of fun, the 80's one and the 70's one were really well polished, well attended and lots of atmosphere - Rock Britannia, seemed a bit flat - but still a good laugh. Be nice if it was a few decibels louder to really rock the ship. One entertainer that deserves an extra special mention was Perry Grant... oh my goodness, this guy was the most entertaining guy I have ever seen on a cruise ship anywhere... he rightfully gets rave reviews again and again - I won't say too much, but if he is still on when you sail - spend some time with his show in the schooner bar, you will laugh, sing and make friends! The service was consistently brilliant. Super polite, fast, efficient etc. One of the things that I really liked was that the staff always said how much Royal Caribbean had looked after them - this is a really big deal to me and it would influence me to holiday with them again. In terms of the ports of call, they are pretty personal, so I won't review them, but we chose the Baltic's and thoroughly enjoyed them! Explorer is a remarkable ship with a remarkable crew - I would definitely recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Always wanted to visit the Fjords and we were delighted with our cruise. The Skylift from Fjord to Sky at Loen was absolutely stunning! We were so lucky with the weather, sunshine and blue skies for the majority of the cruise. A ... Read More
Always wanted to visit the Fjords and we were delighted with our cruise. The Skylift from Fjord to Sky at Loen was absolutely stunning! We were so lucky with the weather, sunshine and blue skies for the majority of the cruise. A memorable afternoon was at Gerainger when we walked up at the side of the most amazing waterfall ever! We had to take the tender from the ship as we were anchored in the fjord. We found part of our excursion in Bergen rather boring. Initially we were taken by coach to the Funicular station and fortunately didn’t have to queue very long for the transport. As we climbed up Floen mountain we were met with thick cloud however, as we reached the top the clouds cleared and we were able to see fantastic views from up there. If we had been able to make our own way back to the ship from this point we would have enjoyed ourselves much more. There were mountain biking tracks and zip wires plus good walking options but unfortunately we had too return to the coach for a rather boring trip around an extremely busy city. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
After reading some of the reviews and complaints about NCL in general and their megaships I was a bit hesitant to book this cruise. It was our first time with NCL. having previously sailed with Disney and Celebrity. I am happy to say my ... Read More
After reading some of the reviews and complaints about NCL in general and their megaships I was a bit hesitant to book this cruise. It was our first time with NCL. having previously sailed with Disney and Celebrity. I am happy to say my fears were unfounded. Embarkation in Copenhagen went smoothly. We started out with lunch at Taste, which was great, and then headed back to our cabin - a 5 person oceanview on deck 5. It was clean, fresh and enough storage space. Dininig - We tried Cagneys, Teppaniyaki. La Cucina and the brazilian steakhouse - we absolutely loved the food there, Cagneys was our least favorite but it was good too. Other days we ate in the MDR's, we were happy with the food there too. The only place I wouldn't recommend eating was the buffet simply because it was so overcrowded and more about quantity than quality, but the fresh pasta station and other things like that made it tolerable. As for entertainment we didn't see any shows, except one violinist which was ok. We did partake in some of the family origami stuff but mostly our cruise was about relaxing, which we really did - as much as is possible with 3 kids under the age of 6. We did use the kids club on a few occacions, but I wasn't really impressed. The staff didn't seem to interact with our children much, but on the other hand I know some kids loved it there so I guess it depends a lot on the indidual child in question whether they will enjoy it. It was a good thing that they had the guppies playroom on deck 16, and then our oldest loved doing the mini golf, the bowling, the climbing wall and so on. The arcade was simply too loud, but we did enjoy the pool and splash area on several days even though the weather was freezing. I found the ship to be in excellent condition, and the service was fine. Apart from the kids club as mentioned above, I didn't find fault with a single crew member. We live in northern Europe, so we didn't go on this cruise for the ports. Instead we spent most of those days on the ship, which was much more enjoyable when there was less people on it. Having said that, apart from the buffet I didn't feel that the ship was overcrowded and waiting for elevators wasn't a problem. Favorite area on the ship was the waterfront, which was simply lovely. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is our second time with Princess Cruise and we are not regretted at all. The food is excellent and service is every caring. The only thing we don't like is this ship just has too many passengers. The Horizon Court for dining is ... Read More
This is our second time with Princess Cruise and we are not regretted at all. The food is excellent and service is every caring. The only thing we don't like is this ship just has too many passengers. The Horizon Court for dining is terribly crowded, stretched with its capacity. We would prefer a smaller ship for next cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation by Princess was easy & smooth. But the traffic from Copenhagen city to Ocean Terminal on embarkation day was terrible. It is one-lane each way road into the terminal area. We were waiting outside our hotel in city for taxi for almost one hour because most of taxi were stuck in the terminal area due to a car broken down on road. The Danish government should improve this as they earns so much money from cruises. Food and drink are excellent. The only hiccup was the first night we couldn't find our table although we had time-fixed dinning with pre-assigned table. It was very confused. On-board activities and fitness centre were average. We did not spend much time on board as the cruise had many ports to call and we spent most of time offshore. Service and staff in Regal Princess are excellent. Room stewards Jefferson was very helpful and he cleaned our room twice per day, making us feeling extremely comfortable during the whole cruise. Dinning room waiters were friendly and helpful although they were just too busy. Also Princess was very caring on the day to Berlin. After a long day of train/bus trip to Berlin, exhausted passengers back to ship after 8:30pm could still enjoy plenty of hot food served in Horizon Court. Cabin is clean. We had mini-suite on deck 11. It was clean, good size and comfortable to fit three persons. The odd thing is that the curtain between main bed and sofa bed does not block the sound at all. The sound from two TVs or people talking in the room would be heard. This makes the curtain not much useful. Entertainment is overall OK, though not outstanding. The Russian Folk Dancing was great. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019

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