Sail Date: July 2019
We visited Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki. This was a beautiful cruise that is very well organized in every aspect. I think it also gives you a great sense of Italy and their way of life and partying. The only bad ... Read More
We visited Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki. This was a beautiful cruise that is very well organized in every aspect. I think it also gives you a great sense of Italy and their way of life and partying. The only bad thing that I have to point out is that they have VERY small swimming pools on the ship, and this is a real problem when 3000 people want to swim at the same time. I loved the food, Italian cuisine is famous worldwide and I think there is something to eat for everyone. :))) And they have a WONDERFUL entertainment team which made me dance and stay awake every single night till God knows which hours. Important to know: - You can link your credit card to your ship card and then don't have to worry about payment. - They have totems now, so you can book your excursions there. - Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and without any crowds and problems. I will definitely travel with Costa again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We’ve recently returned from a trip to Scandinavia that included the 22 night Majestic Fjords and Vibrant Russia cruise. We started the trip in Finland and southern Sweden before joining the cruise in Stockholm. We also extended the ... Read More
We’ve recently returned from a trip to Scandinavia that included the 22 night Majestic Fjords and Vibrant Russia cruise. We started the trip in Finland and southern Sweden before joining the cruise in Stockholm. We also extended the cruise with the Bergen to Oslo rail trip plus extra time in Oslo. There are things about the cruise that were very good. The boat is small, only about 900 passengers, and the decor is neutral (somewhere between modern Scandi and neutral high end nursing home). The gym and jogging deck were great and we made good use of them. The service is fantastic. Daisy and Ronal, who looked after our room, provided a higher standard of cleaning and organisation than any 5 star hotel I’ve stayed in (and I’ve stayed in a lot of 5 star hotels on five continents). There were a couple of experts who provided lectures and held post lecture discussions. Some of these were excellent. And travelling by ship gave us some spectacular views. There were things that fell short of our expectations. The food fell way short of my expectations. There are a number of dining options including the World Cafe, which is essentially a cafeteria, Mamsen’s, a cafe open at breakfast and lunch with a number of Nordic inspired options, The Restaurant, which is open for breakfast and dinner and is described as the premium dining option, Manfredi’s, an Italian themed restaurant, and The Chef’s table which offers a degustation experience. We had our first two meals, and indeed most of our meals during the cruise, in the World Cafe. I was quite shocked to see that the offerings included pasta and pizza kept warm under lights (probably reflecting my inexperience with cruises). The Cafe has plenty of options, some of which change from day to day, but generally the options were a bit ordinary and the steamed vegetables were invariably cold and soggy (I like to eat a lot of vegetables). We had one breakfast in The Restaurant and the food was okay but the service was chaotic. This was on our first morning on the cruise and my partner declared he wouldn’t have another breakfast there (a point he was willing to concede after two weeks of breakfasts in the Cafe). We also had a few dinners in the Restaurant and on each occasion some part of the meal would be okay to good but invariably other parts of the meal were substandard. Overall we felt it wasn’t worth changing out of jeans to dine in the restaurant. While we were offered two dates to dine in The Chef’s table, we only dined there once. Two of the courses were excellent, one okay and one unpleasant. The Mexican theme seemed a bit at odds with both the Baltic location and summer season. We cancelled our second dining option. We had a few breakfasts and perhaps five lunches at Mamsen’s but became bored with the food. We also had about seven meals in an additional dining option, The Pool Grill, but hot dogs and hamburgers weren’t really my idea of summer holiday dining and I pulled the plug on further meals at the Grill. We did have two meals at Manfredi’s and some of the courses were good but others not (my partner described them as cafeteria food delivered by a waiter). I should add that the coffee and tea on board are abysmal. A good point about the dining options was that there was seldom a wait. I can’t believe we paid $2,000/day for a cruise with such disappointing food. On top of the food, after booking the cruise that was inclusive of wine with lunch/dinner, we received an offer to upgrade our alcohol options at a cost of about $60/day for the two of us. I was so angry at the suggestion we pay extra just to have decent wine that I refused to consider it. All of the wine we had was drinkable but few wines were good. The logistics for the excursions were stunningly poor. A number of excursions required guests to meet in the theatre. On several occasions the wait in line and subsequent wait in the theatre, before disembarking, were more than 45 minutes. The line to get into the theatre went past lifts which mean people leaving the lifts were joining middle of the line, often to the audible concern of people further back in line who were afraid they would miss their excursion. The information for meeting onshore for excursions was often vague or downright wrong. This is frustrating, because it wastes precious time, and was actually quite stressful for excursions in Russia where the trip through immigration is quite intimidating. I’d add that on one occasion, early in our cruise, I asked a question of one of the more senior, public facing, staff about the meeting place for an excursion. Instead of answering me her reply was ‘didn’t you have an excursion yesterday?’. I’ve only fired a couple of people in my career but I’ve had fired her on the spot for that. I really resented, and on occasion was infuriated, every moment I spent waiting or following poor instructions. Viking needs to bring in design thinking and behaviour economic experts to work through these processes. I was also very aggravated that Viking didn’t contact us after the Sky’s incident off Stavanger earlier in the year and only replied to my queries when pressed and then with a really insulting response. Had we not paid for our cruise, I’d have cancelled, even though I’d have lost the deposit, because of the way Viking handled this. I can’t comment much on the entertainment because we weren’t interested in attending performances. Several times we encountered the pianist or the guitarist. Both were very talented but the easy easy listening selection they played held no appeal. I have a list of quibbles but my overall feeling is that Viking isn’t a luxury experience. It is aimed at middle America (and while I live in Australia, I grew up in middle America). I couldn’t recommend the cruise to anyone among our Australian family or friends without a lot of qualification (i.e. I don’t know anyone who I think would be happy with the cruise). It appears to me that Viking is trying to appeal to customers from a wider range of countries. I think they have a lot of work to do for that to be a success. I also don’t understand how they have been rated so highly as a luxury cruise. I suspect this is largely driven by the large middle American client base which biases feedback. For us, we have two or three holidays each year but I can’t imagine that we’d look at Viking again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as a great way to explore the Baltic region and we certainly achieved that aim....The tours and lectures meant we returned home having seen and learnt so much! From arrival at Stockholm to the departure gate at ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a great way to explore the Baltic region and we certainly achieved that aim....The tours and lectures meant we returned home having seen and learnt so much! From arrival at Stockholm to the departure gate at Bergen we were looked after very thoughtfully. The senior officers were ever present and available to talk to. A small niggle about the buffet was picked up by an attentive Restaurant Manager and dealt with professionally and personally by the Head Chef. The food throughout was excellent,we enjoyed both speciality restaurants and found it easy to make extra bookings once on the ship. Viking Sea is beautifully designed with lots of interesting artwork and understated Scandinavian style. The lectures we either attended or caught up with on the cabin t.v were all relevant and interesting/ thought provoking. There was more entertainment than we expected, we particularly enjoyed the 2 guest shows by Mary Jess and the resident Viking band and singers. The musicians who entertained in many of the public areas were very accomplished. We took several of the included tours, some were better than others but all gave us an introduction to the area which we were able to follow up independently at most destinations, often aided by the complimentary shuttle bus. After reading reviews we opted to use Alla tours in St Petersburg. They were excellent and I have no hesitation in recommending them. We chose not to take a tour in Berlin instead taking the included morning trip to Rostock and then occupying ourselves in Warnemunde (a local seaside town with a long sandy beach and promenade,interesting waterfront and lots of little shops,cafes ) A day well-spent. We were lucky to enjoy good weather throughout which always helps although strong winds in Gdynia meant we were unable to dock that day, an extra day at sea was easily occupied. If you decide to take this cruise I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was a cruise to celebrate my Mother's 80th Birthday. Everything about the ship, staff, activities and food was top-notch. The cabins are spacious and very well thought-out. Every cabin has a veranda. The Cabin stewards are ... Read More
This was a cruise to celebrate my Mother's 80th Birthday. Everything about the ship, staff, activities and food was top-notch. The cabins are spacious and very well thought-out. Every cabin has a veranda. The Cabin stewards are attentive and thoughtful. The food was delicious, varied and plentiful. We especially loved the afternoon tea. the ship is so well thought out that you never feel as though you are among hordes of people--there are nooks to sit and read or nap. Bars and bartenders remember your name and beverage. The only advice we would offer is that if you are a person with limited mobility - for whatever reason - you have to be very very careful about the excursions you choose, and the excursion staff doesn't always have an accurate depiction of the walking involved on a particular excursion. Sometimes the buses are far away from the ship. Sometimes a shuttle from a town is a long walk from the city center. Sometimes the excursion itself has a description of "a short walk" that can be half a mile. My mother and I had to sit on the bus for over an hour during one excursion because the "short walk" to Grieg's home and a recital of his music was too far for her (after the first stop, which was also a "short" walk.) This was especially disappointing, because it was to be the highlight of her trip. I ended up losing money because excursions ended up being too difficult for her, and the 24 hour in advance cancellation policy prohibited a refund. All this being said, if you are able bodied, you will find this cruise to be exceptional. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We were apprehensive about cruising - mainly because of the crowds found on the larger ships. My husband uses a wheelchair and the idea of navigating through crowds was daunting. However, the size of this ship was just perfect for us, as ... Read More
We were apprehensive about cruising - mainly because of the crowds found on the larger ships. My husband uses a wheelchair and the idea of navigating through crowds was daunting. However, the size of this ship was just perfect for us, as we had discovered on an earlier SilverSea cruise to Alaska. The staff were all very helpful and the accessibility for a power wheelchair user was very good overall There was an issue with one port where we could not disembark due to the steepness of the ramp which even had stairs at the end! The staff were willing to carry the chair and my husband down, but we didn't feel comfortable with that as the chair weighs 350 pounds empty and we didn't want to risk it being dropped - or someone being injured. One highlight was dining in Le Champagne, an intimate setting, with a 6-course meal. The food was exquisite and the atmosphere warm and romantic. We primarily ate in The Restaurant and found the food choices adequate for our picky appetites and the preparation always quite delicious. We arranged our own private tours in Tallin and St Petersburg with agencies that had wheelchair accessible vans and knowledgeable vans. SilverSea would have arranged these for us, but we found the cost was higher through their concierge service and we didn't feel confident that they would make arrangements appropriate to our needs. We suggest that SilverSea invest a little time and energy in finding wheelchair accessible tour providers for their regular shore excursions. None of the Silversea excursions were accessible and we were unable to use our considerable shipboard credits for any such tours which was disappointing. We've rated the shore excursions low because of our lack of access to any of them. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors ... Read More
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors everywhere. We had cabin 6109. The service was amazing. The man that was cleaning our cabin was so polite. The dining on the second deck was amazing. I was wondering how they could serve so tasty food to thousand people "a la carte". The waiters were amazing...so polite! What impressed me the most was the guy and the team in charge with the entertainment!! I remember his name! Louis...was everywhere...dancing...singing... presenting...amazing humor and energy! But what amazed me the most was the assistant bar manager: Pantelis Zoografos! What a personality! I am a marketer and maybe I evaluate different than other people but his eyes were everywhere, ready to offer his services, to say a joke or to say something nice! Make me wonder if this man was born for this job or maybe the job was invented for him!!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Want to fight over a table during lunch time? Be reminded over the sound system not to hang on to long? Pay an arm and a leg for your water, tea and sodas? Sleep on an artisanal extra bed made of bits and pieces? And pay over € 7000 for ... Read More
Want to fight over a table during lunch time? Be reminded over the sound system not to hang on to long? Pay an arm and a leg for your water, tea and sodas? Sleep on an artisanal extra bed made of bits and pieces? And pay over € 7000 for it. Chose the Serenade of the Seas. You might also experience the leaking through the ceiling and the bathroom lamp falling down in the middel of the night (no extra pay for this). And leave your cabin in time for your next activity because there are 8 elevators on the ship for 2500 people...I hope you have a lot of time on your hands...We experienced this the whole week with a wheelchair bound person :o And if you think you haven't paid enough, they will make you pay extra for water. And try extra again for water at your dining table. And they will sell you exclusively the most expensive water for your cabin water consumption. They sell you an all-included trip, but at the end it is stress-included. This is NOT how I see hospitality. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any ... Read More
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any essentials on our excursions as we only went to souvenir shops. I suggested that Royal help us find a way to get to shopping and they did not. All they were able to give us for the five days that we had no luggage was a white t-shirt and sub very sub-par toiletries. They offered us laundry service, but the guest services desk lady must have not been very in touch with what was happening because when I asked how long our laundry would take to get to us she said "48 hours." Luckily, housekeeping was a bit more realistic and when we discussed it with them, they were able to turn our laundry around in a couple of hours. For formal night, she offered to give my husband a free tuxedo, but offered nothing to me. The lady at the front desk (Jasmine) told us she would locate our luggage, and then told us she couldn't locate it. When I asked her who she called, she told me SAS. To that I told her that we had a transfer from United to SAS and our luggage was most likely with United. She asked ME if I wanted to call United myself! My husband firmly recommended that she do it herself. Later that day, she told us she was able to locate it with United. So that caused an unseemly delay in getting our luggage because of her ineptitude. I came crying to the front office after four days of no luggage , no makeup and no toiletries and she offered me 100 dollars credit to my account (any outfit on the ship cost no less than 54 dollars each) and a night at one of their restaurants in her words "out of my own goodwill towards you." I was aghast at the lack of sympathy. She later told me our luggage would be waiting for us in Estonia on the morning before our excursion. To my dismay, we did not get our luggage as promised in the morning but at night. The ladies in the spa, were very gossipy and rude, even talking about guests behind their backs. The people working in the Windjammer never smiled or offered any table service. The whole crew (aside from a few people in housekeeping and in various bars) were amazingly lacking in customer service. After this trip, I will never want to board a Royal Caribbean trip again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We always wanted to go to the Baltic! We have sailed with Viking on their river cruises and was thrilled with them so.... when this brand new ship came out, The Viking Sea, we decided to go! Could not have been happier! The ship was ... Read More
We always wanted to go to the Baltic! We have sailed with Viking on their river cruises and was thrilled with them so.... when this brand new ship came out, The Viking Sea, we decided to go! Could not have been happier! The ship was magnificent. All the ports were wonderful except not too much to see in Helsinki. Service was outstanding as was the Food. We booked the very high end restaurant in Copenhagen called Geranium. A bit pricey but worth EVERY penny. Without a doubt the best dinner experience we have ever had. The Russian Ballet in St Petersburg was also a delight. We loved the roominess and comfort of the Penthouse Jr Suite. Came with some really nice amenities like mini-bar, and included dry cleaning and laundry service. Double sink in the large bathroom and PLENTY of storage space and closets, unusual for cruise ship. And, the onboard entertainment was great with a troupe of young and VERY talented performers. Our favorite spot to hang out was the bar area lounge in the rear of the ship. We could relax there, enjoy the view, and select from a huge variety of food selections from the extensive buffet area. We already booked their new sister ship for the British Isles cruise in 2018. Go Viking! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Loved the ports. The food was good. The service impeccable. The entertainment was not nearly as good as on previous voyages. Loved the captains sense of humor. There weren't as many activities available as in the past. The coffee bar ... Read More
Loved the ports. The food was good. The service impeccable. The entertainment was not nearly as good as on previous voyages. Loved the captains sense of humor. There weren't as many activities available as in the past. The coffee bar was out of specialty teas when the trip started and never restocked them. All in all it was still a nice cruise. Read Less

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