362 Stockholm Luxury Cruise Reviews

We had heard great things about Viking Ocean cruises and we had always wanted to see Scandinavia and Northern Europe. The Viking Homelands cruise was our post-retirement celebration and it was well worth it! We saw 8 countries and 11 ports ... Read More
We had heard great things about Viking Ocean cruises and we had always wanted to see Scandinavia and Northern Europe. The Viking Homelands cruise was our post-retirement celebration and it was well worth it! We saw 8 countries and 11 ports of call over 15 days. We saw historic cities we had always wanted to see such as Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Berlin and Copenhagen and we had three scenic stops in Norway before the cruise ended. The Viking Sea is an amazing vessel that for a small ship had everything and more---great public spaces and sitting areas; excellent and varied dining experiences; well prepared food with some regional specialties added at different times; great entertainment; experts on board to provide enrichment presentations on history, culture, and architecture of the places we were visiting; an outstanding spa including Nordic style hot and cold therapy; and an indoor/outdoor pool as well as an infinity pool looking off the back end of the ship! The staff from the housekeepers to waiters/servers to the officers were all friendly and approachable, always striving to provide excellent service. Many excursion choices at each port of call and both included and optional excursions were well done with excellent English-speaking guides. The stateroom was spacious and well appointed, and with a veranda, which is standard for all staterooms. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and will definitely be looking to go on future Viking ocean and river cruises! It was more expensive than some other cruise lines, but the entire experience was well worth it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had taken a Viking River cruise and loved. I wasn't sure what to expect on there smaller ocean ships. It was and incredible surprise. They offers so much entertainment and the staff was prefect, after several days you were on a ... Read More
We had taken a Viking River cruise and loved. I wasn't sure what to expect on there smaller ocean ships. It was and incredible surprise. They offers so much entertainment and the staff was prefect, after several days you were on a first name basis, every staff member spoke English which was very nice, you wanted for absolutely nothing. Port excursions were excellent and well organized. Being 67 I appreciated this is not a cruise line for children nor is it a cruse line for gamblers who spend there day in a casino. Minus kids and gamblers made for a great atmosphere of fun and conversation. On a late arrival back to the ship after and all day trip to Berlin were were greeted by 200 of the ships crew in line out side the ship with a welcome back, music, champagne and horderves. Upon arriving at our cabin we found a plate of finger sandwiches, deserts and a bottle of win which a letter from the captain apologizing for the German train system delay, they did this for all 600 people who were on that train. Tell me what other cruise line would do that. I will continue to be a loyal Viking customer. Big ships with 5000 of your closest friends are not necessarily better Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation ... Read More
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation was boring and bland. The dress code is not policed and many evenings gentlemen turned up to dinner in polo shirts. The shore excursions were expensive and sometimes involved long journeys presumably because Seabourn do not wish to pay more expensive docking fees. The pillows and mattress had the consistency of a marshmallow. Despite firm pillows being offered our steward could not find any which wasn't great. The one female hairdresser on board was awful and the service generally slow. My husband ordered roses for our anniversary and they turned up at 10pm that night. The entertainment was boring and very few enrichment talks compared to Cunard. We could seldom have breakfast in the restaurant as we were on excursions and it did not open until 8am. The Colonnade was like a zoo. Very very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We selected this cruise based on the recommendation of friends who had taken it and loved it. We were very happy with our choice. We always wanted to visit the Baltic countries and found the Viking Homelands itinerary to be the best by far ... Read More
We selected this cruise based on the recommendation of friends who had taken it and loved it. We were very happy with our choice. We always wanted to visit the Baltic countries and found the Viking Homelands itinerary to be the best by far in the small luxury cruise category. This was especially true for the ports of call in Denmark and Norway. The optional shore excursion choices in all ports of call were extensive with lots of variety and the ability to get out of cities and into the countryside. While some of the optional excursions were a bit costly, all but one that we selected was worth the cost. This was particularly true of the two day optional tour in St. Petersburg which was fantastic !! Onboard service was outstanding. Our room steward never missed getting our cabin cleaned while we were at breakfast. Room service was always delivered exactly at the time requested. We loved this very busy trip and needed a vacation from our vacation upon arriving home :-) Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We'd been thinking about a Baltic cruise since we returned from our journey on the Viking Sea's 2016 shakedown cruise from Venice to Istanbul. I am a Peterson so it made good sense to head to my homeland, if only to sail by. In ... Read More
We'd been thinking about a Baltic cruise since we returned from our journey on the Viking Sea's 2016 shakedown cruise from Venice to Istanbul. I am a Peterson so it made good sense to head to my homeland, if only to sail by. In addition, visiting Russia with Viking seemed like a great idea. We arrived a day early in Stockholm to wander the streets of the old city. We flew Lufthansa Premium Economy (worth the price), with an easy change of planes in Munich. We took the speedy train into city center from the Stockholm airport, walking the short distance to the Stockholm Sheraton. The hotel is well located, moderately priced, very, very comfortable, and has a great restaurant. The next morning we wandered the streets of the old city but were a wee bit early for shop opening. We came upon a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop in the old city, of all things. Closed until 11. Rats. We embarked on the Viking Sky the next morning at 11 since we had upgraded to a PS3 Penthouse Jr Suite on the sixth deck - Cabin 6018. Embarkation was a breeze, especially because our one larger than carryon bag had already arrived by Luggage Forward, arranged through Viking. 6018 is a great cabin - plenty of room for a sitting area with couch, two chairs, coffee/champagne table, and dresser with TV. The verandah was very large and comfortable when the wind didn't howl. The bedroom was large and comfortable since the added square footage meant the closet wasn't right next to the bed. Both the bedroom and bath were precisely what we expected. Perfect in all regards. Gretchen, our cabin steward, was quite friendly and very attentive to our needs. Dining was, as one would expect, delightful with great food. The Viking "buffet" is anything but a buffet. When we sailed the Royal Viking Sea ages ago we dressed for dinner, tuxedo included. Since we're Californians, the tux stayed home though I preferred to wear a jacket at dinner, adding a tie when we dined with Captain Toni Fast and Hotel Manager Wendy Gous. Dining room service everywhere was near impeccable. The dining staff was very friendly (cordial) and very attentive. The onboard entertainment was smashing. Cruise Director Beven Hadinsall is an extraordinarily talented man. He was assisted by Brian Rodriguez who has a magnificent voice. The Viking Singers - Maddy, Dan, Becky, and Carl(?) - were excellent and put on a number of great shows. They were backed by the Viking Band. The best evening's entertainment was Dancing under the Stars on the pool deck - nothing short of great fun with lots of dancing. Shore excursions were excellent, particularly the two-day St. Petersburg journey. One should be forewarned that it is a daunting excursion, but well worth the effort. In my view, the combined 20+ hours spent with our guide, Kuzmin Alexander, was nothing short of remarkable. Don't miss the Vasa museum excursion and do make your way to the North Zeeland castles at the end of the cruise. We had been told to check in with the Cruise Consultant. At first it seemed like a visit to the resort time share desk, however, Hamed very quickly demonstrated his added value. Though we were already booked on our first Viking River cruise next year, Hamed helped us book our two remaining European bucket list cruises - the Danube next month and the Western Med next fall, 2020. What made working with Hamed so valuable was his intimate knowledge of the Viking ships. One make think all cabins in a specific category are the same, but think again. He booked us on the Sky in Penthouse Verandah 4010. Why? It is one of the few PV's with the larger double doors/windows. I also think the Cruise Consultant is given far greater flexibility than others you may choose to book with. His pricing was very attractive. Back to the Baltic, our most important insight? Make sure you are in the Explorers' Lounge at 5am as the ship sets sail from Stockholm to the Baltic. It is something you won't experience anywhere else. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your ... Read More
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your eyes.Viking does cruising the best! Always attentive and best value for the money. No hassle vacation. Everything included, you just have to show up. Food is amazing, great quality and variety. Staff are great and go above and beyond. Ship is comfortable with plenty to do. You won't be bored. Entertainment is professional quality. One performance received a standing ovation! Staff said this was a first for them but it was well deserved. You get front of the line to every side trip. We never waited. VIKING's passenger capacity is lower than the big ships which I like as you get to know the crew and make friends. You are catered to. You have to try Viking, either a river cruise or ocean cruise. You won't be disappointed, promise! Can't wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise was in celebration of our 50 wedding anniversary. We had sailed a Viking river cruise and while the ocean cruise was considerably higher in price than other cruise lines based on our river cruise we felt at ease with spending ... Read More
This cruise was in celebration of our 50 wedding anniversary. We had sailed a Viking river cruise and while the ocean cruise was considerably higher in price than other cruise lines based on our river cruise we felt at ease with spending the additional money. With air and optional tours this cruise ended up costing $20,500. Was it worth the expense yes and no. Booking the air travel though Viking resulted in some problems but not of Viking making. Our original flight was cancelled forcing us to rebook with a less favorable schedule. Upon arrival in Stockholm we discovered SAS lost my wife's luggage. Viking did a good job of helping us to recover the luggage, they offered to wash my wife clothing on a daily basis at no charge, fortunately we got her luggage prior to our departure so all was good. Our room was small but like the river ships the bathroom floor was heated which on this cruise was a great feature. The scheduled itinerary was disrupted by bad ocean conditions forcing Viking to cancel two port of calls. We spend an additional day in Russia but were not allowed off the ship due to visa restrictions. We also had to ship a port due to heavy seas cause by gale force winds. This ship lacks a lot of standard ship board activities and normally this would not have been a problem but with three "sea" days two unscheduled time seemed to drag. The food was outstanding with lobster three days and prime rib several days. Beer and wine is included at all meals, as well as offered free several other times. There is a included tour at every port of call. They were mostly walking or bus tours narrated by a tour guide. We took a number of extra tours including one in Berlin. I would like to say they were all worth the extra money, but we were cheated by our tour guide in Berlin. He was totally unprepared walked away from some of the tour group at one point in general was not a good source of information. When we complained to Viking we never even got an apology. Basically they said Oh Well. The ship lacked keeping us informed as an example the was a scheduled event which was billed as a chocolate event. Due to heavy seas it never took place. Then two night later there it was a chocolate bonanza but because it was never announced many guests including us had a standard dessert at dinner and missed out. The cruise critic meet and greet was great they had drinks and snacks and the staff showed but they were gave any formal talks just made a appearance then left. I think they were a little confused as to what it was all about. Most days the entertainment met out expectations. The ship band and musical group did a good job of keeping us entertained. Our cruise director kept us entertained as well as he stared in one of the nightly shows as a singer and patio player. Due to missing two ports of call Viking has offered a $250 per person credit toward a future cruise, a pretty weak response to missing two ports of call. The ports of call we did visit were outstanding, the weather not so much, cold and windy. Would we go again? We booked a British Isle cruise for next summer, but not with Viking as we felt it was over priced for for a nice cruise on a new ship but lacking in the personal touch . Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because we always enjoyed Viking River cruises. The ship's layout and rooms were very nice. It was very easy to get arround the ship. There were multiple restruants and they were varied enough to allow you to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we always enjoyed Viking River cruises. The ship's layout and rooms were very nice. It was very easy to get arround the ship. There were multiple restruants and they were varied enough to allow you to schedule your meals around you activities. The food were excellent. The land tours were informative and well organized. We missed two ports due to weather issues which was disappointing. Service was excellent and all crew were happy and smiled when you addressed them. Land excursions were led by well informed guides who could answer every question put to them. They adjusted the pace of the tour to keep the group together and stopped as necessary to allow the questions to be answered in detail. Entertainment was minimal and could be improved. The shows and pre-tour discussions that we attended were good. This was an adult cruise with few if any children. Embarkation and disembarkation process were well organized and went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had long wanted to visit many of the ports included in the Viking Homelands experience, but have, previously, planned our own travel trying to avoid anywhere with a ship in port! However, the prospect of smaller numbers and ... Read More
We had long wanted to visit many of the ports included in the Viking Homelands experience, but have, previously, planned our own travel trying to avoid anywhere with a ship in port! However, the prospect of smaller numbers and all-inclusive travel appealed, and we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise experience! We cannot speak highly enough of the service we received! Embarkation was a breeze, the cabin every bit as lovely as the brochures promised, and the Sun itself is a work of art! Food was outstanding and the entertainment first class, whether in the public areas or theatre! We danced every night at Torshavn till they kicked us out!!! Travelling with another couple added enjoyment (we Aussies swept all before us at trivia!!) but we often went our own ways when in port and made many new friends. Unfortunately we lost two ports (and gained extra sea days) due to the weather, but this actually gave us more time to relax after busy times ashore. We did most included excursions, some of which were excellent, several optional ones with Viking and a brilliant two days in St Petersburg through Alla Tours (saw so much in a small group). It's expensive but we are so glad we took the plunge that we've just booked another! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection Food quality was also poor: Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection Food quality was also poor: Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange tasting scrambled eggs, soggy weird tasting French fries. At lunch time the buffet was the only option The main dining room food quality lacked imagination and was of average quality at best. Little emphasis on providing regional dishes or specialities. Each of the specialty restaurants was pretentious . While having some good dishes ( veal chop in Toscana, lamb in Jacques and red ginger) the French onion soup was watery , pasta tasteless ,crepe Suzette rubbery and bitter and pastries soggy . EXTREMELY. DISAPPOINTING!! The cabins were nice with a shower and separate bath, Shore excursions were well organized and had some great guides.However several were spoilt by unfit elderly travelers ignoring fitness recommendations for the tours by selecting strenuous walking trips . Only to complain and hold up the whole group as soon as any walking was required Entertainment was on the poor side. Boarding in Stockholm was time consuming but disembarking in Copenhagen efficient Staff varied considerably in performance. Some were very friendly helpful and attentive. Others down rite rude Last Crystal cruise was superior in every aspect. I cannot imagine how Marina has a high culinary rating!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We traveled on the Marina on a Baltic cruise and enjoyed every minute. The ship was beautiful. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The food was delicious. The tours enjoyable and informative with great guides. ... Read More
We traveled on the Marina on a Baltic cruise and enjoyed every minute. The ship was beautiful. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The food was delicious. The tours enjoyable and informative with great guides. The buffet was our least favourite dining option although food was was very good it could be a little chaotic. Dining in the Grand Dining Room or one of the specialty restaurants was extremely rewarding. We enjoyed all the specialty restaurants but Red Ginger was our favourite the food was unbelievable. I still think about the duck and watermelon salad. We found the staff very accommodating when we wanted to change reservation times in the specialty restaurants. If I had a criticism I would like to see the Grand Dining Room open every day for lunch. The staff cleaning our cabin could not of been friendlier. Our veranda cabin was very comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the ... Read More
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the personal attention. The tour days in St. Petersburg were the highlight of our trip. Our tour guide, Tatiana, knew how to avoid all the lines and get us through all the places effortlessly. She would go ahead, purchase tickets, and by the time we reached the entrance she ushered us in. She was an amazing guide and we had a very small group. Eight of us the first day, six the second and just my husband and I the third. I will never take a large group tour again after the wonderful experience we had. It is impossible to see the sights in and around St. Petersburg in a large group. We saw twice as much as many of our shipmates. An extra bonus was that booking through Guide-Guru cost less than half of what some other fellow travelers paid! We contacted them via the internet and set everything up months in advance. We were able to pay in US dollars which saved up some $$. The Marina is a wonderful ship. The crew bends over backward to make sure your needs are met. I did not see one crew member without a smile and an offer to help you in any way. The food is delicious especially in the specialty restaurants. My husband said he had never tasted such a delicious piece of roast beef as he had in "Jacques" ,and we eat at fine restaurants frequently. The ship is a perfect size, never any crowds anywhere. We booked a Concierge level room. There was a lounge and several bags of laundry were included in the price. Also, we were able to book our specialty restaurants a month before which I appreciated. I would book another cruise on this ship without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! ... Read More
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! Recommend Nautica overnights in Stockholm Amsterdam and Copenhagen and to include a port in Norway to see the fjords.. Oceania does offer best cuisine at sea. Carlos the Maitre'D from Portugal and his gracious assistant from Thailand always greeted us by name and remembered our seating preferences in the Grand Dining Room, Breakfast Buffet Service and choices were well presented and tastefully prepared. Fine dining excelled in the specialty restaurant venues although reserving a time before 8:30 was difficult. Disappointed that Polo Grill had run out of prime rib, however the ribeye steak substituted was delicious. Adolfo from Milan was charming in Toscana. Off hours we appreciated 24/hr limited room service menu and/ casual Waves. Loved the small ship, but Nautica does need a QM2 solarium/ covered outside pool . Like verandas, outdoor pool was useless for Baltic/North Seas. Nautica band, vocalists and dancers were talented. Horizon happy hours and afternoon tea were wonderful. Having customs agent for UK on board for passport control was expeditious. It was delightful not to be pursued by omnipresent ship photographers. Overall/service attentive staff were excellent, gracious and accommodating. Except for challenges convincing Lisiam to accept our time preferences. Bundled laundry service was terrible, he returned clothes dirty and wet so I ended up redoing all in Deck 7 guest laundry. Ship excursions promotions on TV were $$$$$, inferior, laden w disclaimers. Dr. Roger Cartwright's port talks were anecdotal, boring, off topic. We used local onboard agent to plan our port visits with great independent guide experiences. Shore excursion staff was helpful, but Oceanic Club Ambassador was curt. Cruise director marketed ship activities zealously. Free internet was nearly useless despite the best effort of the IT professional on staff who was often confronted by unhappy frustrated guests. Email messages could be received but not sent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. ... Read More
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. Embarkation at Stockholm was quick but there was no welcome cocktail. Our room (B2) on deck 6 was adequate. The bathroom was tiny and had only a shower protected by a cheap shower curtain (no bathtub as on Marina). Storage space was adequate. Our room was cleaned spotlessly every day. One person commented that a verandah is unnecessary on cruises to northern climates and during cooler seasons, and I agree, even though we had spectacular weather (Europe had its warmest weather on record). Our stateroom was near the rear elevator (closer to the restaurants) which was convenient. Nautica has only two specialty restaurants, so we were only allowed two such meals on a 12-day cruise (no surcharge). Oddly, each time we went, there were many empty tables. It should be noted that Nautica and the other three smaller (older) ships are being "reimagined" over the next year or two and the design looks attractive. Try to hold off until the ships are done. The interiors of Nautica are dated and frumpy. For example, on Marina there were real Picasso and Miro prints, and some delightful avant-garde works of art. On Nautica, the art looked like it came from a neighbourhood art show. Yes, this is a "first world" problem, but Oceania are among the most expensive cruises on the market. PA announcements were appropriate and brief and the cruise director was excellent on them. I was also impressed by the performers. The shows were appropriately scaled and tasteful, like a nightclub rather than Vegas. On Oceania, apart from a promotional package (cabin credit, 6 excursions/cabin, etc.) everything is extra. The wine lists are extensive and extremely expensive, starting generally at US$50 (one or two bottles) and shooting up from there. There is a 7-bottle wine package for US$350.00 and the choices were decent, but I did some research and found the majority of them cost in the range of US$10-20. Huge markup. Oceania permits bringing alcohol on board, as long as it is consumed in your cabin (there is a $25.00 corkage fee if you want to bring your bottle into a restaurant). Excursions are ridiculously expensive. Imagine 30 people paying US$300 each to board a bus for a day excursion. Typical. In St Petersburg, Russia, we went on one such excursion but were allowed only to get out of the bus at certain stops to take exterior pictures. The Hermitage, which we were looking forward to as a highlight, was too brief (actually only about 2.5 hours viewing) and of course it was massively overcrowded, which is not Oceania's fault. Tour guides were generally good, except in one case we signed up for a tour of modern Scandinavian architectural landmarks in Copenhagen but the tour was a disaster because the guide was subbed in at the last minute (with apologies) and had no time to prepare, so she showed us a few buildings near where she lived and in central Copenhagen then reverted to a tour of historic buildings because the time allotment was not used up. You would think these tours would all be pre-planned so anyone with some background could step in. We were also promised a tour of a "design factory" but were taken to a retail outlet instead which lasted about 10 minutes. Having said that, the food really is, with minor exception, the best of the cruise lines. One day the head chef made his rounds in the restaurant and I had a suggestion, which he implemented. The median age of the guests on oceania is probably about 70, and the food selections especially in the buffet area were appropriate. There were a few theme days, but most guests didn't seem to take advantage. Compared to Marina, Nautica's staff were a little too relaxed and familiar for my taste. Service can be personal but it should be deferential and non-intrusive. This is trivial, but one waiter asked me as a joke if I wanted ground pepper in my dessert, which was a bit of sarcasm over always having to offer ground pepper. We laughed but I had never experienced that on Marina. There is a merit/reward system for staff, and some of them seemed a little over-anxious about making an impression. My main complaint is with their marketing and sales. Oceania spends a lot of time trying to induce people to book on board, but the actual discounts are only about 5% for cruises that may be a year or more away. They also try to pressure you with the threat of "price increases" and are not flexible dealing with repeat customers. (Our travel agent enquired about how much an upcoming price increase would be, which was refused. That's not respectful of a customer who is looking at laying out $10-$20,000.00 per cabin and up.) Their online published prices are also misleading; when we enquired about a future cruise, they quoted the price for a stateroom two levels higher than the one we specified; when our travel agent enquired we were told it was for the "extra" package that was previously complementary. These cruises generally fill up and I don't see why they need to engage in high-pressure tactics. They tout their "loyalty" programme a great deal but benefits don't really accrue until you are over 10 cruises, and even then it might amount to free laundry. We each got a lapel pin worth about $5.00 and a free cocktail at a Captain's reception for our second cruise (22 cruise days total). The rest is window-dressing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Interested in the areas visited. Embarkation and disembarkation are always smooth with Viking. People always remarked about how many Viking people were around when we were off the ship. I have noticed that they do everything but buckle ... Read More
Interested in the areas visited. Embarkation and disembarkation are always smooth with Viking. People always remarked about how many Viking people were around when we were off the ship. I have noticed that they do everything but buckle your seat belt on the plane. You would have to really try to get lost. Included shore excursions are good but could use more stops at points of interest. Cabin was very nice with good climate control. Dining was good as we ate mostly in World Cafe where the food was amazing for a buffet. Although the steam tables could be warmer. Gelato bar was my got to place every evening. Onboard entertainment was ok considering we were exhausted after being in a port all but one day. We would do another cruise with Viking be it river or ocean. We have already talked two of our friends into taking this cruise next year. Keep up the good work Viking.:) Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was on my husband's "bucket list". We looked at quite a few Baltic cruises and chose the Homelands over other ships to try out Viking Ocean and were not disappointed. There are so many complimentary amenities on ... Read More
This was on my husband's "bucket list". We looked at quite a few Baltic cruises and chose the Homelands over other ships to try out Viking Ocean and were not disappointed. There are so many complimentary amenities on Viking depending on your suite category. If you're looking for quiet entertainment, Viking Ocean is for you. You could always find a secluded place to curl up and take in the world if that's your choice. There were many included excursions and we opted to use Viator for others. We used Viator in St. Petersburg, Russia and Berlin, Germany and we were not disappointed. Don't be afraid to save money and use an outside company vs. Viking as long as they guarantee that you'll get back to the ship. We should have gone with the complimentary Viking train trip in Berlin and taken an independent tour upon arrival in Berlin as it was a several hour car ride to Berlin however we couldn't find anyone who could give us info either way. We're now telling you that the Viking train trip is good and take a tour when you get off the train in Berlin. There is no casino or children under 18. There were a few comedy shows and nightly entertainment. Always music somewhere whether it be a string quartet or piano, The median age appeared to be 60-80. We highly recommend Viking however, it was a bit more money compared to other comparable cruises example Holland America and Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
A group of us chose the Viking Homeland cruise because it visited so many countries. We arrived in Stockholm a day before the cruise to make sure we didn't have any travel problems and to get rid of jet lag. The next day we embarked ... Read More
A group of us chose the Viking Homeland cruise because it visited so many countries. We arrived in Stockholm a day before the cruise to make sure we didn't have any travel problems and to get rid of jet lag. The next day we embarked -- Viking picked us up at our hotel and took us to the ship so embarkation went very smoothly. We enjoyed all of our excursions -- the only problem was trying to pick from all the excursions offered. The weather was fine until we got to Norway where it rained often, but remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. My wife and I have sailed with Viking before; the service is always great and the meals are wonderful. We actually recognized some of the crew in the restaurants from a cruise we took on Viking Star the year before -- they transferred to Viking Sky to act as trainers for the new crew. I always like to talk to the crew members to see where they're from and how long they've been with Viking. Many crewmen had been in the business for years with other companies before moving to Viking -- when asked they said they moved to Viking because Viking was a better company to work for. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Overall we had a lovely vacation and enjoyed the ports of call...We also met some wonderful people to spend time with...Suite upgrade we paid for was well worth it and were very happy with the room layout...Our butler and his assistant ... Read More
Overall we had a lovely vacation and enjoyed the ports of call...We also met some wonderful people to spend time with...Suite upgrade we paid for was well worth it and were very happy with the room layout...Our butler and his assistant very helpful...Was expecting above and beyond when it came to quality of food but not the case...On 3 separate occasions I ordered filet mignon at various restaurants to be served medium rare and all 3 times it was overcooked...A filet mignon is supposed to be a THICK cut and they basically cut it in half lengthwise therefore it requires quicker cooking time and they couldn't achieve it, even at the difficult to get into La Dame restaurant...Thus in my opinion, (additional paid for restaurants) good, not great and certainly not worth paying for...Something should have been offered in consideration but was not even offered a glass of wine...Best restaurant on board by far was La Terrazza...Quality of food and service exceptional and maitre de and waiters/waitresses always on hand...Highly suggest breakfast there as well...We ate at all the restaurants and placed Atlantide in second but our group of friends seemed to always settle at La Terrazza due to the menu and again, quality of food...The Grill restaurant where you cook your own fish and steak is quite silly...They bring sides that get cold and you cook your main entree on a stone...Loved all the ports we visited...The Peterhof Estate in St. Petersburg was my favorite and enjoyed visiting Copenhagen and Skagen Denmark as well...Dining in both of these ports was fabulous...Local fresh fish available...The Russian ballet was a disappointment as it was NOT what was expected...Felt like we had attended a high school or slightly better show...I was hoping this was going to be one of the highlights for me as a dancer...And I had not even mentioned my disappointment to anyone who attended until others stated their feelings about it...Wine/alcohol is included but can certainly use some upgrades!...Fitness area a mess...Have to leave doors open to outside because there is no air in the rooms...They are well aware of the situation and don't seem to care...This is supposed to be a 5 star cruise!...Ship size is perfect with 600 appx. passengers...Would go again but hope my input provides additional food for thought for Silversea management to review. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were expecting a lot from this cruise based on ratings and friends and travel agent recommendations. We previously cruised 5 times on Oceania, so can't help but to compare. First the positives, the service at the bar and ... Read More
We were expecting a lot from this cruise based on ratings and friends and travel agent recommendations. We previously cruised 5 times on Oceania, so can't help but to compare. First the positives, the service at the bar and restaurants from waiters were exceptional, staff seemed happy, relaxed, efficient and everywhere. The quality of wine and hard liquor were top class. If you do not like the wine they were serving, you just tell sommelier what you like and they will bring you a bottle that closely describes your taste. The cigar lounge was wonderful, an excellent VSOP cognac served there as well as anything you want. This part of the cruise was better than Oceania as well as a little bigger cabins, however a little dated we thought. The disappointments were numerous, first the services of a butler and a room stewart. I would call them inconsistent at best. The room stewart was changed in the middle of the cruise and the butler although always available, did not do things fast. He would relay our requests to stewart, things did not get done or we had to remind it 2 or 3 times. A simple thing as keeping water glasses in the room was problematic, one day they were there and another day they disappeared. I understand that this problem was with our cabin as other people were raving about their butler and cabin stewart. The ship itself was very nice, but compared to Oceania, not as grand. The art decorating the walls was not as nice and there were no 2 story foyer and staircases that are picture worthy. Food is definitely less impressive than Oceania. All restaurants, including the dining rooms with no reservations required had a menu that would not change, so the same thing was served day after day, after day. Oceania had a new menu at Grand dining room every day and only specialty restaurants had it the same. We also thought the the restaurants themselves were less impressive than Oceania in terms of decor and chic. So to summarize the food was not bad, just was not as good. When during the mid cruise review I mentioned that our dinner at LaDame was 3 hours long, which was a little eccessive, I got a phone call from a food and beverage manager who clearly did not give a dumb and also was approached by all restaurants manager who was a little better. Both said they will talk to the La Dame manager. The better way would have been to invite us there again to make sure that we were satisfied. Other guests did not experience such long waits, so this issue was isolated to our particular day, 2 day of a cruise. Gym and saunas were a total disappointment, small, dated and unisex. There were no lounges to relax between the steam room and a shower, in fact no lockers and hardly a place to hang a robe. This is not to say that we will not travel on Silversea again, but it is simply a matter of value, given the same, we would go back to Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The itinerary and the suite determined our choice criteria. We were disappointed in the food. While it was incredibly presented. The quality and portion size were very average or just par. The service everywhere was fantastic, as was ... Read More
The itinerary and the suite determined our choice criteria. We were disappointed in the food. While it was incredibly presented. The quality and portion size were very average or just par. The service everywhere was fantastic, as was everything but the food. They would have receptions where the alcohol was plentiful but not serve food or you would see a few trays get passed that were consumed well before they got to you. It seemed stingy and surprising given we have only been on one other luxury cruise and never experienced the food being so guarded and ordinary. The spa staff were incredibly, Had one of the best massages ever. The fitness instructor was average but certainly good enough for a cruise. Entertainment was very good but didn't start until 10 pm which after a full day sightseeing was too late so consequently we only went to 1 show. It was excellent though. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I love Silversea and have always had great experiences, met interesting fellow passengers, and still can’t believe how fabulous the service always is. Nothing is ever too much to ask for. Silversea is known for its itineraries. On ... Read More
I love Silversea and have always had great experiences, met interesting fellow passengers, and still can’t believe how fabulous the service always is. Nothing is ever too much to ask for. Silversea is known for its itineraries. On every trip I take there is always at least one unusual port and often more than one. The food and wines have been steadily improving...from very good to exceptional. I think dinners are truly gourmet in the Main Dining room. Breakfasts are offered in both the MDR and,buffet style in the Terrasse. I prefer a cabin service breakfast or an Early Riser continental breakfast in the beautiful Panorama Lounge. Lots of excellent choices! As to solo travel, SS really tries to accommodate singles. Cocktail get togethers and singles’ tables make getting to meet other singles much easier. You just have to be open and friendly. While I do think the Wind could use a little sprucing up, she is a wonderful,intimate vessel and has a very loyal following. (She will be going into dry dock within the next three months for refurbishment.) The overwhelming concern so many of The Wind’s fans is that she will probably be taken out of the “Classic” fleet and made into an Expedition vessel. I believe there will always be a niche for small luxury shops. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
A great cruise on a small vessel ------------------------------------------ In late August through mid September, Karen and I had a delightful cruise of the Baltic Sea region, touring nine stops in seven countries. Our cruise was ... Read More
A great cruise on a small vessel ------------------------------------------ In late August through mid September, Karen and I had a delightful cruise of the Baltic Sea region, touring nine stops in seven countries. Our cruise was with a high-end luxury cruise line that specializes in operating small ships with very high crew to guest ratios. We loved every minute of the trip, including the travel on the glass-smooth Baltic Sea, the exciting low fly-over of the mountainous and glacier-covered Greenland, the education of traveling through Russia and the other Baltic countries, and the warm relationships with formed with both the people native to each country and other travelers. Before we left for the trip we exchanged dollars for Euros (for Germany, Finland, and Estonia), Swedish Kronors, and Danish Kronors. We were out of luck for Rubles, but that did not pose a problem. I think they'll take anything Western there, but you probably won’t find anything you would want to buy. The Ship - The Silver Wind ----------------------------------- Wow! What else can I say about the fabulous tour of the Baltic Sea region aboard the Silver Wind, a ship of Silver Seas. Silver Seas operates a fleet of ten small ships, offering luxury cruises (“World Cruises”) with incorporated tours and also in-depth adventure cruises (“Grand Voyages”). The Silver Wind accommodated up to 294 guests in total with a crew of 222. It was built in 1995 and underwent a major refurb in 2018. It will undergo another refurb in 2020 to give the hull iceberg strength for more adventuresome cruising. Captain Fabrizio Rota welcomed us aboard. His crew were from 35 different nations worldwide. Our entire cruise (not including on land tours) was to be 1,295 nautical miles stopping at ten docks in six countries. We were staying on Deck 6 in Suite 641. Our Veranda Suite was 246 ft2, plus a 49 ft2 balcony. Our bathroom had a shower/tub and plenty of room, and we had a walk-on closet with a safe. We had always-on WiFi, 110v power, a fridge. and a great queen size bed. We had a personal butler 24 hours per day, and our butler had an assistant to back him up whenever he was not immediately available. Upon our boarding, he came to the room with our luggage and offered to unpack, and asked what we would like in the room (food, snacks, beverages, ...). We asked that we always have a cold Prosecco in the fridge. Thereafter, for the remained of the cruise, we always had a cold Prosecco. You could wake up at 3:00AM and dial the butler and ask for steak and onion rings, and within a few minutes, it would be served on a white tablecloth in our sitting room. We never did that, but we could have. We did have one meal in our room and it was just as described. The level of service was extraordinary in all aspects of the trip. The butler automatically shined our shoes and if we had laundry, it was taken care of. If we wanted to, there was even a laundry room where we could wash our stuff ourselves. Why? Click here to see what Travel & Leisure magazine had to say about service abord the Silver Wind. Flight and boarding ------------------------- We flew American Airlines Airbus A330-300 Business Class from Philadelphia direct to London Heathrow, where we then boarded a British Airways Airbus 320 to Stockholm. On the first leg, we had a sleeping compartment, which was private and configured to a full-length bed (we flew overnight). We arrived in Stockholm refreshed and ready to tour. See below (1. Stockhom) for our time in Stockholm. The next afternoon, we boarded the Silver Wind to begin the cruise. More about the ship and the amenities --------------------------------------------------- Every morning when we awoke, we had a daily “Chronicle” ship’s paper waiting in a mailbox by our door. It contained the weather, news and description of the day’s activities and tours, a detailed schedule for the day and special instructions for tours, menues, and info regarding the ship’s facilities. Click here for an example. Note that on page 3 of the Chronicles example is a day full of activities for those who wish to stay on board and not tour on land. The ship had everything one could want: multiple restaurants, including the main restaurant (The Restaurant), an exclusive high-end French restaurant (La Dame), barn-to-table Italian restaurant (La Terraza) which doubled in the mornings as a breakfast buffet, a pool-side grill (The Grill) and a bars here and there; a decent-sized heated pool with two spas, a health club; a theater where every evening there was a music or stage play, with a wide variety of venue; a medical facility; concierge and tour desks; a casino; a card room; a botique; and so on. Each day the Chronicles indicated the mode of dress for that evening in the main restaurant, either Formal, Informal, or Casual. The Grill was always Casual, and La Dame was always Formal, and La Terrazza was really what was being indicated. The first night was formal, most of the rest were Informal. I liked having to wear a suit, blazer, or tux to dinner; it lent an air of dignity and special-ness, in my opinion. If that is not your cup of tea, there is always dining available for those in informal dress. In the room, we had a balcony with deck chairs and a table, where we sat throughout the voyage sailing to enjoy the ride, the view, and the Prosecco. 1. Stockholm, Sweden - August 28-29 -------------------------------------------------- We arrived at Stockholm Arlanda Airport at 2:25PM, went through a very non-rigorous customs, collected our luggage, and taxied to our hotel. Hotel Diplomat Stockholm is a luxury hotel, located on Strandvägen in the city center of Stockholm. We found it to be in a great location, good facility, and great service. From the hotel, we walked across the street to the docks on Lake Mälaren, which at some point connects to the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is sometimes called “The Venice of the North" because of the wonderful waterways upon which it is built. We walked around the city for a while and stopped for dinner at a great cafe, Restaurant Prinsen - on Mäster Samuelsgatan, about five blocks from our hotel. We sat al fresco under their canopy, watching the georgeous people of Sweden saunter by. The were universally tall, blond, well-constructed, and beautiful. Karen even remarked that they were all “10’s”. We ate Kantarell Toast (a pesto of chanterelles over toast), Köttbullar (classic Swedish meatballs), and a Cajun salad with Rakor (salad with shrimp). Of course, we had several classes of Cuvée Madame Chardonnay to accompany. Yumm! A good start to our trip. The following morning, we left the hotel after breakfast to tour Gamla Stan, the original old town center located on the island of Stadsholmen and a couple of other smaller islets. It has a lot of cobblestone streets and little shops and some pretty important landmarks. We stopped to look at the Nobel Museum, named for Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and for whom the Nobel Prize is named. It is located in the old Stock Exchange building on a cobblestone square. We stopped for a coffee on the square to people watch. One gets to and from Gamla Stan over one of a few bridges. We walked over the Vasabron (Vasa Bridge in Swedish), named for King Gustav Vasa (1496–1560) whose statue is nearby. After our tour of the old city and a bit of downtown Stockholm (a delightful place), we taxi’d to the Silver Wind, and began boarding. It was painless, but we needed to get ID cards for the trip and to off- and on-board during the trip. Then we went to our room, met out butler, got settled, went up to the top deck for departure, and viola, we were sailing away for an overnight trip to St. Petersburn, Russia. 2. St. Petersburg, Russia - August 31 - September 1 --------------------------------------------------------------------- Who in America is not curious about life in Russia - its history, its people, its landmarks, it culture, and daily life there? Well, we got to see quite a lot of Russia in two days of touring St. Petersburg. This city was commissioned by Tsar Peter the Great to be a “window looking into Europe’, built on a hundred islands in the Neva Delta (where the Neva River meets the Gulf of Finland). It is the fourth largest city in Europe, and a very interesting one at that. We started by having to enter through Russian security. Since this was a sponsored tour, no visas were required. All other tours, for example private tours, required the complicated and expensive visas to have been acquired long before the cruise began. We boarded the bus for the tour and met our delightful tour guide, a young man named Germain (rhymes with “airman”) who was both knowledgeable and charming. As we drove from the ship to our first stop, we drove through the urban, suburban, and semi-rural landscape. We saw massive numbers of similar big, boxy, unattractive apartment buildings. Germain pointed out that most Russians live in these kind of dull apartments. Typically, an apartment my have an extended family living in just a few rooms, with space at a premium. Karen and I had seen this in other parts of Eastern Europe in places that were formerly a part of the Soviet Union. The Russians seemingly built these big, ugly apartment buildings whereever they went. We began with a tour of Peterhof Palace, Peter the Great’s rival to Versailles. An hour drive from the ship, it was built in 1714-25 and remodelled in 1745-55. Though the palace was damaged in World War II by the German advance, it has been carefully restored to its prior glory, and it is truly marvelous. Never have I seen so much gold, inside and out, on walls and statues, on dinnerware and decorations, ... everywhere. It is immense and it is a reminder of a lavish time. We left Peterhof and went into the heart of St. Petersburg, crossing some of the many bridges and driving by such great landmarks as The State Hermitage Museum. The second-largest art museum in the world, it was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. It holds the largest collection of paintings in the world. We did not tour the museum, though a number of our fellow passengers did so. We stopped at St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with its opulent interior spanning 43,000 square feet and filled with hundreds of impressive 19th century works of art. Featured are the icconostasis of white marble with gold gilding, and the Royal Gate flanked by two lapis columns and ten columns of malachite. The dome alone is guilded by ove 220 pounds of pure gold. St. Isaacs is the most opulent, overly and outlandishly ornate place I have seen, even more so than the Vatican. We stopped and toured the Spilled Blood Cathedral, one of the landmarks of the city. And then we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress, touring it and especially the Peter and Paul Cathedral. The cathedral is the highest building in the city, 404 feet high. It is topped by an angel holding a cross. It is the place where all the tsars were buried after Peter the Great died. The next day we did the “Through the Eyes of Russians” tour, which included a Metro ride, a visit to a Farmer‘s market, and a vodka tasting. Few of us understand the significant political, social, and economic changes that have happened in Russia since December, 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. I wanted to see what Russia was like today, so Karen and I opted for this tour. Our first stop was for a lunch at what seemed to be a typical Russian restaurant. We were served a lunch that was, I believe, ‘westernized” for the benefit of the tour group, but included Russian touches. The place was a little dingy, most of the staff was not unpleasant, but there was no attempt at good cheer. The went through the motions, I believe. Then on we went to the entrance to the Metro. Then things got interesting! First off, the Metro is a hundred meters under the surface. A hundred meters! As we entered the station, we were ill-prepared for what lay ahead. The Metro was began in 1941, but then Germany invaded. Work resumed after the war and it opened in 1955, linking all five stations in St. Petersburg. We got onto an escalator and rode down a steep incline for a long, long time. Just as the excalator ride ended on a little platform, we stepped forward to another escalator for another equally long ride down. When we stepped off, the station platform was simply amazing. It was perfectly clean, very ornate, and beautiful. This must be one of the best subways in the world. Our guide showed us several parts of the platform system, complete with statues, paintings, and history lessons. At one point, I nudged Karen and whispered, “See that rough looking guy in the crowd? He has been following us and I know he is either a thug or a ‘watcher’, and has military bearing.” I pointed him out to our guide, who ’fessed up that the guy was “security” the cruise hired to watch over us. I was happy that I can still spot a former Spetsnaz in a crowd. We went from St. Isaacs to a Farmers Market, an aspect of the trip I was anticipating. I wanted to see what and how product was displayed and compare what I learned to my experiences at home. Was I disappointed! We arrived at Kuznechny Food Market, where we were supposed to find friendly people and sample some of the food. Not so friendly and no samples, and the place was not particularly clean, nor did the food (meat, produce, dairy, etc) look appetizing. One the other hand, when we walked outside of the market we could clearly see the famed Soviet era Hammer and Sickle on the front of the building. We then walked over to the vodka tasting venue a few blocks away. It was a restaurant and we filled it to capacity. There was a small band playing music and singing, all in a effort to engage our tour. We all played along and had some fun doing it. We were served some canapes and several rounds of “vodka”, each flavored with different spices. I would have preferred some plain vodka and didn’t really enjoy the flavored kinds. But it was an attempt to cater to our tastes in their experience, and all in all, it was a fun time. The servers at this venue were cheerful, as well. Finally, back to the bus and the ship for one of the really good on board dinners. While driving to the ship, we passed a docked Russian submarine (see photo). As we did throughout the trip, we relaxed a bit upon return with some Prosecco, either on our balcony looking over the water, or on the upper deck with friends we met on board. Then dinner and a bottle of good wine. Then some evening entertainment - perhaps a theatrical musical in the theater. Those were done by the working crew, who doubled as entertainers, and they were very good. And at evening end, to bed. Sleeping on board was very easy... it was quiet, dark, peaceful, and smooth. 3. Tallinn, Estonia - September 2 ------------------------------------------- Tallinn, Estonia is located on the Gulf of Finland, directly across from Helsinki, Finland. Since St. Petersburg is on the Gulf of Finland as well, our overnight voyage was on that very placid body of water. Tallinn is the oldest Northern European capital city, with a rich history - much of which being occupied by a foreign dominators. Starting in 1219, the Danes first, then the Germans, Swedes, and Russians, in an uninterrupted span until the end of World War I (1919). Finally, with Russia in wreckage, Estonia declared its independence, which was then usurped by the Soviet Union just prior to World War II, who (except for three years of Nazi occupation) suppressed all forms of Estonian national pride for the next 50 years. Estonia was finally able to regain independence in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. Finally, the Estonian Parliament charted a path to join the European Union, throwing off the years of Soviet dominance and direction. It has been an EU member since 2004 and in 2009 joined the Eurozone. We were excited to see this little gem of a city. We were driven up the hill from the ship to Old Town, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. The charm is evident everywhere. As we walked through Old Town, we passed the gate to the Estonian Parliament - so accessable. We sat on the massive wall surrounding Old Town and viewed the overall city. We toured the 19th century Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox symbol of the centuries of Russification endured by Estonia. 4. Turku, Finland - September 3 ------------------------------------------ We sailed into Turku, Finland on another beautiful day - did I mention the weather we had? We had perfect weather the whole trip: low 60’s to high 70’s, clear skies, calm seas, and sunshine. Great touring weather. I knew something special awaited us as we sailed into this, the 2011 European Capital of Culture, and Finland’s oldest town. It was founded in the 13th century and was Finland’s capital until 1809. At that point it was absorbed into the Russian Federation and the capital moved to Helsinki. It is located on the Aura River, which reaches into the Archipelago Sea. Turku is on the point of Finland where the Baltic Sea, the Archipelago Sea, and the Gulf of Bothnia meet. Just entering the city and the port was a wondrous experience. Sailing boats and ships everywhere along the Aura, the charm of Turku is immediately evident. There are ten bridges in Turku across the Aura in this city of 175,000. The city seems dominated by its large university presence and is a tech center. In 1827, 75% of the city was destroyed by a great fire, so many of the older areas were burned, which affects it history and caused it to be rebuilt at that time. It is a curious mix of old and new, and is a great place to visit and walk. Our first tour stop was at the Orthodox Cathedral. We stopped at a Loustarinmäki Handcraft Museum, which is in reality a village remaining and maintained from about 1775. The entire village is an open air museum, with all the characteristics of the original time. The streets are rough cobblestone, the buildings are well-worn wood and most structures ajoin one-another. Each of the buildings seems to house a business and a home for the owner. There is a printer, painter, tobacconist, etc. Extremely interesting. We toured the fascinating 12th century Turku Castle, the largest surviving medieval building in Finland. The structure includes the Medieval “keep” (päälinna) and Renaissance “bailey” (esilinna). The keep is a square fort with two square gateway towers with 16 foot thick walls. In the Middle Ages the castle was surrounded by a moat conjoining with the River Aura, the castle effectively lying on an island. We saw many other sights in beautiful and interesting Turku, but we had to leave and return to the ship for another great evening. 5. Västervik, Sweden - September 4 ------------------------------------------------ We were fortunate to embrace the scenic beauty of the Västervik Archipelago from a unique perspective on a local boat ride to Hasselö Island. A local fisherman was our guide on the boat ride as we rode through the archipelago. We landed on the island of Hasselö, population about 36, though it swells to about 500 in the summer. Once primarily a fishing village, it is now focused on tourism, carpentry, and services. Once we landed, we mounted a little wagon pulled by an ATV for our tour of the island. It actually was a great way to see things - we were close, in the open air, and could talk to and hear the local man driving the ATV. He talked to us about the island historically and now, and pointed out great views and local landmarks. He drove us around Hassalö and then over a little bridge to the island of Sladö, population 5. Hassalö has a small cluster of homes, and every house and dock shed on the island is painted barn red with white trim. I guess they all got together and bought the paint. Everything is well kept. When we had finished the tour of the island, we stopped at the restaurant near the dock where the boat that had brought us was docked. We were delighted to have coffee and a delicous cake that the proprietor had made, and as we ate a surprising thing happened. A local man came to our table and asked if he could sit with us and chat. He was, like (apparently) all Swedes, was very fit and handsome, with a great-looking and neatly trimmed beard. He wanted to talk about America, but as a local resident, he was perfectly happy talking about life on the island(s). His wife, a professional, recently came to the U.S. to work, and he would soon be following. He had some questions. During our charming conversation, we learned that he planned to take his hunting rifle to New York so that he could later do some hunting. We warned him about immigrating with a weapon. All in all, it was a great way to meet and learn about the local people. Once we returned to the Silver Wind and it was underway, we were - as usual - sitting on our balcony enjoying a glass of Prosecco, when we saw the red Pilot boat come alongside and the pilot jumped from our ship to the Pilot boat. It was clear that everywhere along the Baltic shores, the archipelagos required the use of local pilots. The 50,000 islands, rocks, and skerries are a navigational hazzard. 6. Rønne, Bornholm and Svaneke, Denmark - September 5 Now I have to confess: just prior to the beginning of the trip I came down with a case of pneumonia. Since it was the weekend, I went to a local clinic rather than my excellent personal doctor, and they gave me some kind of anti-biotic. A few days into the trip, I was still sick and I went to the ship’s doctor, who gave me another. I was feeling pretty weak the day we landed in Roenne, so Karen went on the tour without me. I stayed on the ship, got a massage, hot tub, sleep, and generally slummed. So I missed this particular day, and what I have here is from Karen and the guidebooks. Forgive me. I did well the remainder of the trip, I think. At least Karen didn’t leave me lying in a pool of self-pity on some rock. Back to the trip. Rønne is the largest town on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, with around 13,000 inhabitants. It is a historic and scenic town, established approximately in the year 1000. It was largely destroyed by Russian bombing of German positions during WW II, but was painstakingly rebuild in its origina tradition. It had early on established itself as a herring fishing village, but over the centuries that declined. The production of ceramics replaced fishing and remains so today. Karen opted for a tour that included Svaneke village and a tasting at the brewhouse. On the way there they was some beautiful shore and forest views, and Karen climbed a forest lookout tower to get a better view. On the way, there as a stop to see an ancient ship hull. She walked through the village and shops, and then went to the Brewhouse where many different beers were set up for tasting. Sounded deligtful to me. 7. Warnemünde (Rostock) and Kuhlungsborn, Germany - September 6 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, speak of disappointments that turn into pleasures, we learned that our tour booked for this day was cancelled due to the German Bundestag (Parliament) meeting in our expected venue for that day. We had planned to take a train to Berlin, and tour the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall, Charlotten Palace, Kurfurstendam Avenue and the Victory Column in Tiergarten Park, Gendarmenmarkt Square, an exclusive organ recital at the Berlin Cathedral, and capped off with a three-course lunch at the rooftop restaurant on the Reichstag. But, noooo, the German government had business to conduct, so the Reichstag was closed and out tour was cancelled. So, we chose instead to tour the Mecklenburg countryside and the Narrow Guage Railroad. Who knew how much we’d love that day? We docked at Warnemünde in what was formerly East Germany, sitting on the estuary of the River Warnow from which it gets its name. It is a suburb of Rostock, and is a place where many tourist ships dock. We opted for a the “Mechlenburg Countryside and Narrow Guage Rail” tour. A great choice, it turns out. There was, of course, a brief bus ride through the countryside, and then we stopped in Bad Doberan to walk around and find the “Molli”, the name of the narrow guage railroad that runs from Bad Doberan to Kuhlungsborn along the Baltic Coast. What fun. We sat on the train with some friends we made on the cruise and we all had a ball. The train was clean, interesting, open, and was almost like a Disney “Small, Small World” ride, but real. It was build in 1886, and runs around 10 kilometers. Within Bad Doberan the line runs through the street, and later along a linden tree-lined avenue. Between Heiligendamm and Kühlungsborn the tracks run parallel to the Baltic Sea beach across fields. One of my favorite stops on this entire trip was Kuhlungsborn. This quaint seaside village with a long white sandy beach on the calm Baltic coast is a very busy resort town whose existence seems to be to make tourists happy. It has a series of great small hotels and wonderful restaurants. We were treated to coffee and cake at a wonderful beachside hotel restaurant. We then walked down to the beach and were entertained by a one-man band, but the real entertainment was the beautiful white sand beaches. It was a wonderful place to be. After a while kibitzing with our friends and enjoying the ambiance, we ambled up the tree-lined lane and down the cobblestone street to view the many shops and restaurants. Were it not for the ever-expected crowds, this would be a great place to spend a summer. 8. Travemunde and Lübeck, Germany - September 7 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- We sailed into Travemunde in what was once West Germany, close to the westernmost edge of the Baltic Sea, almost directly south across the Baltic from Copenhagen. Travemunde is the part of Lübeck that contains the port, being directly on the Baltic. When referring to Lübeck, my understanding is that one is generally including Travemunde. The Hanseatic City of Lübeck (Hansestadt Lübeck) is the largest German port on the Baltic Sea and the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, and is situated at the mouth of the river Trave, giving it the name of its port Travemünde. In the 12th century, Lübeck, together with nearby Hamburg (which I have visited for business in the distant past), founded what became the powerful Hanseatic League of ports and trading towns. Unlike fellow Hanseatic Cities of Hamburg and Bremen, it lost its "Free State" status and was incorporated into the German federation. History found a sweeter side for Lübeck - it is globally known for the finest marzipan. The old town (Altstadt) of Lübeck , although considerably damaged during the Second World War, was rebuilt in its medieval times form. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city center's medieval skyline, mainly composed of seven Gothic-style church towers, is still intact. Lübeck is surrounded by parts of the old city walls with two of the original four city gates left. Most notable is the Holsten Gate (Holstentor) which was the motif on the German banknote of 50 Deutsche Mark prior to reunification, when the bills were redesigned. We had joined the cruise’s tours at every stop so far, so this day we opted to conduct our own tour of Lübeck. We started by walking off the boat along the docks into Travemunde to the bus terminal. There we boarded the bus for the brief ride into the old city of Lübeck. We got off and asked where to pick up the bus for the return trip, and we were told to go to the street by the Holtsen Gate. Okay, we had the schedule and a few Euros. No problem. We walked through parts of the old city and quickly found ourselves in front of the Lübeck Cathedral, and next to it the Niederegger Arcade & Square. Within the square, we saw the old town hall (“rathaus”) and directly behind it a brewery, with the Cathedral in the background. We sat just outside the Niederegger Arcade across the street from the famous Niederegger Marzipan store and had a cappacino and watched the passersby, just “chillin”. We went into the store, and holy cow, how much marzipan is there? We wondered through the arcade and through the square, and then deeper into the old town, where we happened upon a sign for “observation deck”. It is located in a remodeled St. Peters Church, and the deck is accessed through a combination of stairs and elevators. It gives a great view of the entire old city and across the river to the east (Lübeck old city is an island in the midst of the river). We then began our return to the ship. We walked through some of the charming streets loaded with shops (most for the tourists, I believe), and tried to find the bus stop near the Holsten Gate. We stopped several people to ask, and finally a taxi drive pointed out were we could find it. We were a little worried that we would miss it because of the amount of time and walking we expended to find it. But it turned out fine. All aboard and back to Travemunde and the ship. As we walked to the boat from the bus station in Travemunde, we the whole view was a marina on our side of the river, and working docs on the other side. Another wonderful day! Then a glass of Prosecco (what else?), shower, get presentable, a fine dinner*, followed by another fun musical in the theater. Then we had to face the final sailing sunset of our cruise. Our last night aboard. We joined our friends for a "stone grill" in the Grill, where a very hot stone is placed in front of you and you grill your order. The order can be whatever you like: steak (filet, strip, New York, ...), shrimp, lobster, lamb, and so on, or steak and shrimp or two steaks. When I say whatever, I mean whatever. That and fine wine or other beverage, including specific wines that you'd like. Very upscale all the way. 9. Copenhagen, Denmark - September 8 - 9 ---------------------------------------------------------- The magical ride aboard the Silver Wind was at an end. We had breakfast and our luggage was taken to dockside where we got a taxi and proceeded to the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel for an overnight stay. We were able to tour Copenhagen most of that day and much of the following day. The first stop was while driving to the hotel we asked the taxi driver to stop at the Little Mermaid, an ubiquitous attraction (just below). He then drove us through Amalienborg Slotsplads, the famous square which is home to the Danish royal family. Who knew that for the price of a taxi ride to the hotel, we could get a great little tour and see some sights we may have lost? There were a number of other highlights from that short ride, but our walking tour also included some of them. We checked in and began our walk through Copenhagen. Copenhagen is located on a strait, the Öresund, that connects the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and which separates Denmark from Sweden. Malmo, Sweden, is just across a narrow part of the Baltic, 26 miles east by road from Copenhagen. The city, about 1.6 million people, is located on the eastern shore of the island of Zealand, partly on the island of Amager and on a number of natural and artificial islets between the two. Our hotel sat directly on the edge of the Öresund, and gave us a spectacular view of the strait and the part of the city on the other island. As we walked we came across the spectacular Nyhavn district, a beautiful canal street lined with many shops and restaurants, and all along the canal, bow to stern, small to medium sailing vessels. Absolutely charming. We left Nyhavn (reluctantly) and walked a few block further to the Amilie Garden, where I sat and Karen wandered a bit. I was watching the new Opera house across the strait, a beautiful sight - as are the gardens. Directly opposite of the Opera view is a look into the Amilienborg square. Amalienborg. The “Slotsplads” is very impressive, with four nearly identical classical palaces (and we are told rococco interiors) around the square and King Frederick V on horseback in the center. We walked over to Amilienborg and witnessed the Queen’s guard on his march to guard her residence palace. We then walked through the square and came to Marmorkirken, the “Marble Church”, the church of King Frederick V. I sat on the steps for a while, while Karen explored. A couple sat down with me, and we began to chat. They were touring from South Africa, and we compared notes. I have to say that Copenhagen was delightful for meeting new people easily and breaking into great conversation. Karen came back and we continued to chat for a while. We decided to taxi back to the hotel (a long, long walk), and as part of the drive, we went trough Kongens Nytorv, a very large pedestrian square. Just near where Hotel D'Angleterra is located, there is a very large bicycle docking station. So many bicycles! We arrived at the Marriott and watched from our window as a fascinating water polo match was played directly in front of our window across the strait in the very cold waters. It was 60 or 65 degree weather, and the water had to be much colder, and they were in the water like it was a heated swimming pool. We asked the hotel concierge to direct us to a good restaurant within walking distance (which is very different for Europeans than it is for Americans), and they pointed us to Restaurant Karla (get Google to translate the page) on Dante Place (“Dantes Plads 1”). It is directly across from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a major art museum that holds the collection of the founder of Carlsberg Breweries. The restaurant is small, intimate, and had a very local client base. We each ordered from the prix fixe menu for a fulll-course meal, centered on herring or plaice. It was delicious 10. Iceland and Greenland Flyover ---------------------------------------------- We boarded the Icelandic Air flight home and settled into our Business Class seats. After a stop to change planes in Reykjavik, we flew to Philadelphia and home. We flewo over both Iceland and Greenland and flew low and got good views. It is ironic that Iceland is green and Greenland is icy. It had been a wonderful trip, one that I would recommend to anyone. But, as always, it was good to be home again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is ... Read More
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is significant .... The route was a good one. Copenhagen to London. The stops along the way were well thought out and the guides were good. Cabin service was excellent and we especially enjoyed the laundry service. We did not attend any of the theatre shows but did go to the various bars. The guitar player was very good and he had the room all up and dancing. His name was Aidan. The last stop was Honfleur and we especially enjoyed the cocktail mixing class. The instructor was excellent. The trip up the Thames River will rank as one of the most memorable of the whole cruise as the song that was played as we travelled under Tower Bridge was "Hail Britannia". It was 9 PM, and a dark night so very dramatic. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, ... Read More
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, Seabourn and their staff ensured everything went extremely smoothly from the very start. Check-in and boarding in Stockholm took 5 minutes, very different from experiences we have had in departure ports like Seattle and Istanbul. Our cabin (Veranda Suite on deck 9) was well equipped, and a little larger than we have experienced on other ships. I would not say the Seabourn Ovation has a great “wow” factor - no large Atriums or glass elevators, BUT the attention to detail from the staff, and the fact the ship is designed to never seem crowded, more than made-up for it.....it very quickly felt like home. The food was excellent in all restaurants. We particularly liked the Sushi restaurant and the excellent waiters/sushi chefs, as well as The Grill (reservation needed, but no extra fee to pay). The Collonade restaurant provides buffet breakfasts and lunch, with a themed menu dinner service. The found the quality of food just as refined as in the ships main restaurant ( called The Restaurant). We noticed two things with the Seabourn staff, that added to our experience; they were happy to engage in conversation with the guests and we particularly had the impression they were proud to work for Seabourn. This pride showed in the way they treated all the guests and took care of every detail. I need to mention two staff by name, Danielle, oiur excellent cabin steward that always seemed to be available right outside our cabin and always with s mile, and Tibor in the Patio Bar, who decided his mission was to introduce my non-alcohol drinking wife to cocktails of her choice. We only used the Seabourn shore excursions in St Petersburg as we did not have independent visas for Russia. All the trips were well organized and not too expensive compared to other cruise lines. We also noticed that Seabourn seemed to ensure each group was quite small, so never any waiting around. Finally dis-embarkation in Copenhagen could not have been easier. No immigration, no queues for luggage or for taxis.....just a smooth as the start of the trip. Insider tip - if you like good croissants for breakfast, go to the coffee shop in the Seabourn Square. They make their own, and they are a little more “French” than in the restaurant. Thank you Seabourn! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in ... Read More
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in the dinning rooms and the cabin stewards was above expectation. We were so impressed we are looking forward to our next ocean cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and we did not have to stand in hallways as you do on larger ships. We enjoyed the choice of places to eat and that you could eat around the pool or in small areas around the ship. The cabin was large and the bathroom was larger than most ships. Viking does a great job with entertainment and making our cruise one of the most enjoyable ones we have gone on in a long time. We are looking forward to our next one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click