I picked this cruise because of the itinerary - the opportunity to visit a range of fabulous cities and fjord towns - on what was billed as a new, stylish and not too large cruise liner. I was not disappointed. The ship is the style of ... Read More
I picked this cruise because of the itinerary - the opportunity to visit a range of fabulous cities and fjord towns - on what was billed as a new, stylish and not too large cruise liner. I was not disappointed. The ship is the style of the show - like living for a fortnight in a 'boutique museum', a mix of the modern scandi and a wealth of historical detail. It had all the facilities you might need and all of a high quality, designed with function and beauty in mind.
Cabins were well designed, comfortable and attractive and well maintained by the friendliest room service you could wish for. Similarly, the dining facilities and food were of a high quality, from the homely Mamsens with its jam and waffles to the highly innovative, taste bud tingling Chef's Table. And make sure you have a cocktail in the Explorer's Lounge whilst passing through the Stockholm archipelago, the fjords or whilst watching the sun go down - a recipe for a magical moment. The pool areas were attractive and well maintained and swimming in the infinity pool in sunshine in St Petersburg was one of the unexpected highlights of the journey.
A free trip was included at each port - I only paid for extras in St Petersburg (Gold Room and Hermitage - well worth doing), the ballet in St Petersburg and the jazz cruise in Copenhagen (pricey but a wonderful evening out). After feeling very herded on the Helsinki trip (lots of ships in port and the city felt under strain) we decided to do most of the other ports on our own which enabled us to miss the groups and investigate things of particular interest to us. We did, however, participate in the free trip in Warnemunde (alternative to Berlin) and this turned out to be a lovely day with a brewery visit (beer at 9.30am!!), guided tour of an incredible cathedral and a boat trip with fabulous views - a surprising gem of a day and all included!
The following 'extras' were lovely bonuses: the quality of the lectures delivered by the guest lecturers that were informative and helped you to build knowledge as your trip progressed; the music everywhere on the ship - of a high quality but not too loud or obtrusive; the laundrette (not exciting but making packing and dressing much easier!); the fabulous spa facility - no need to pay a penny to fully immerse yourself in the Nordic spa system and the facility is usually nearly empty; the shuttle bus service at all larger ports (if you're the sort of person who doesn't like large, herded groups then this is the service for you - free transport to the heart of your port, a good map with a note of pick up point and you're set up for a great day!).
This is not a family cruise ship, it is not an all singing all dancing entertainment ship, it is not a dressing up and having your photo taken at every opportunity ship. Instead it is a relaxing, informative, safe environment from which to explore a fabulous range of ports in a style that suits you.
My only gripe - there was only a minimal reduction on double occupancy rates for a single traveller! A better deal would be the icing on the cake! Read Less