This cruise was fantastic. Getting a sea day at the end was a bonus because we could rest up for the long trip home.
5 out of 5
It actually went quite smoothly. We didn't have to give our checked baggage to a porter, saving a small bit of tip money. I was traveling with a refrigerated prescription which caused a bit of concern during the scanning process. Other than that, quite quick and we were able to board immediately. We were onboard, eating lunch by noontime.
5 out of 5
We loved Cirque Dreams and Steam and Million Dollar Quartet as well.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
I didn't know that this cabin was accessible when we got it but it was huge! The only thing missing was storage in the bathroom but I have a hanging toiletry bag so this was no issue. The aft-facing balcony was wonderful, and the reason I chose this cabin. Only occasionally could we hear any music from Deck 15 and it wasn't loud.
This was our first port and we did the NCL tour of Rostock by Tram & River Cruise. The tour was ok but not great. The Tram portion was good with lots to see. Then, the walking part started. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the history of this area. Unfortunately, being Sunday, all the stores were closed. It rained and some people wanted to leave the tour by taxi. On the River Cruise portion, there was not much to see. It was mostly to get us back near the ship. I say near because we were left on our own to get a taxi or walk back - it wasn't a long walk, but still...
I liked Tallinn. Our guide (from SPB Tours) was extremely knowledgeable and showed us around the Old Town. She had an excellent set of headphones/receivers so we could hear her from quite far away. We had 2 different pastries (apple and meat), along with coffee, tea, whatever in this medieval restaurant that had no artificial lighting. In the restroom, the water was poured from a jug to wash hands. The wait staff was dressed for the time period as well Very fun. The history of Estonia was very interesting. We ended up walking 3.5 miles on this tour.
Russia was fantastic. We used SBP Tours again (and for all the future ports) After getting through passport control and being issued temporary visas, we met Natalia, our guide for 2 days. She was great, very knowledgeable and got us into places early so that we could see things before other tourists got there. This was a 2-day tour, 9.5 hours the first day and 9 the second. We didn't do the optional night-time ballet. I knew we'd be exhausted. Each day we had a traditional Russian lunch in very nice restaurants included in the trip fee. There were only 16 people on this tour and that made it all very friendly. There are lots of pictures of all of us in various places. At the end of the second day we all hugged Natalia and got her contact info to share photos. This was the best tour ever!
Our SPB Tours guide Irena was originally from Ukraine. We climbed us a very large hill (on cobblestones) in Porvoo to see a medieval church that was closed. We all decided not to climb this hill again and ended up at a candy store with lots of free samples. Then we went to Helsinki to see the Rock Church (Temppeliaukio), blasted out of rock (DUH!). Our bus dropped us off and we started walking around town. We had a nice buffet lunch then off to Market Square where people were buying reindeer hides (EWWWW!) and other local products. Back to the Senate Square and to the ship.
My least favorite of the cities. The guide wasn't a real SPB Tour guide but a local one. She had the same headphones as the other tours but it was very hard to hear with static. This guide also walked very fast and it was hard to keep up. In the Vasa Museum (which was very interesting), we were told to meet at a specific place/time. Most of us did - then the guide and others were discovered OUTSIDE the museum. Um, not acceptable. She shouldn't have left with people still inside. We went by the ABBA museum, but not in. At the end, we stopped by a palace and walked to the Town square. She said she'd meet us by the fountain by the palace at 3:30 and she was off to have lunch. Then, on the bus ride back the ship, we got a tour of the suburbs, conveniently stopping near her home to drop her off. This tour could have been so much better.
5 out of 5
This was great. We left our cabin about 8:30 for breakfast. About 9:30 they called our tag group. Got on a bus and delivered us to the airport. Then, we picked up our checked bags, crossed the street and were ready to check in for flights.
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