June 2014 - Norwegian Star to Europe - Northern Europe
Great mix of new and old, historic and multi cultural. June temperatures in 60's and 70's which is not sunbathing weather, but perfect for sightseeing and lots of walking. We loved the "white nights" - sun setting at midnight and rising at 4:30 am. The people in every city appreciate tourists and try hard to accomodate English.
Best for cruisers that like lots of ports and full days. We had 5 adults from age 28 to 57 and found something very fun for everyone. 2 in the party "hate" history, but you could not hate the historic parts of the cities this cruise visits. I suspect that small children (12 and under) would not enjoy much of the itinerary. This is not the beach and theme park type vacation. I would hate to miss the German Beer house and Absinthe parlor because kids were not allowed.
We have also taken the British Isles cruise, and Mediterranean cruise which included several stops in Italy (Rome, Venice and Naples) and Spain, France and Croatia. If given the choice, the Med cruise is still tops, but we have nothing bad to say about the Baltic choice.
Recommend a private tour in St. Petersburg. Its cheaper, you don't need an extra Visa and for most sights you go direct to the head of the line. At the not to be missed Hermitage it probably saved us an hour. You get two full days, so you have time to take in a lot of this amazing city. Absolutely no impact from what is going on with Ukraine and other political issues hitting the news.
For Germany - we took a private tour to Berlin. While the drive takes up a lot of the day, Berlin sights are like jumping out of our own history. You really get little depth - but what you get is definately worth it.
Estonia was the surprise hit of the week. We did make it out of Old Town for an hour, which was a blast, but you easily could spend the whole day in Old Town.
Copenhagen might have been our favorite. If you can bike even a little, strongly recommend renting bikes. It is a very bike-friendly city with bike lanes on nearly every street. And you can take in twice the sights than if you try to walk or bus it. Don't be intimidated by Christiana - it is a pretty interesting diversion that you can't see anywhere else in the world - and you will not feel unwelcome.
Finally a word about Norweigan Cruise Lines. We have taken nearly 20 cruises on almost every cruise line. They have come a long way, and may become our favorite line. No singing waiters or belly flop contests; but they are very accomodating and attempt to pamper you. They have a kids program, but don't seem to cater to kids like other lines. The standard dining rooms are excellent enough to by-pass the specialty restaurants that charge.
If you are on the fence about the Baltic experience, we would unanimously say Don't hesitate!