This was our first cruise and were all pleasantly surprised with the experience. The ship was beautiful and well maintained, the staff was lovely and responsive, and the convenience can not be matched. We were with a group of 20 people with children aged 3-21 and two grandparents over 75. Everybody had something to do and enjoy and we also had enough spaces (on deck, in the lounges, etc.) to spend time together.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
There was sufficient variety and flexibility in the dining choices. Our group made the mistake of prebooking the same dining room at the same time for each evening. This limited our options to try different dining rooms.
3 out of 5
The programs we had time for (line dancing, bingo, art auction) were really good.
5 out of 5
The children's program was fantastic. In our group we had children in each of the three programs, and everyone was so happy. The programs were structured and engaging, as well as fun. In addition, the security team was top notch.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The staff were all attentive and responsive. The dining staff went above and beyond in making food that appealed to the kids. In addition the kid security team were top notch. My 6 year old wondered off and even though the kid security team were eating dinner, they stopped what they were doing and helped find him.
5 out of 5
Everything was clean and generally easy to access.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We had both a mini suite as well as an inside room. The suite felt a bit cramped, while the inside room was better than I thought it would be. The suite felt cramped because of the desk as well as the angling of the two tvs.
The first day we took the Hermitage and the Venice of the North, as well as the ballet tours. The Hermitage was disappointing because we expected in three hours to have some time to appreciate the art. Instead it was a super fast walk through. This was also tiring for everyone. The Venice of the North was so great. We saw all the sites as well as time for a little shopping. The Ballet was fantastic. The next day we made a mistake and took the EZ bus tour. It left very early in the morning, nothing was open, and we saw the same things we saw on the boat trip- do one or the other. The last thing we did was the Fountains at Peterhof - the highlight of the trip - breathtaking. Be warned that the bus ride to the fountains is over an hour, but the hydrofoil back to the pier is only 20 minutes. Also, the hydrofoil back is challenging for older people. They tied the hydrofoil to four other boats at the pier and we had to walk through each boat to get back on the pier.
We did not need as much time at this port as was scheduled. We took the hop-on hop-off from the pier. The Luthern church is fantastic, and the Sibelius Park was ok. The sculpture was stunning, but the rest of the park was a bit run down. The kids enjoyed the play area in the back as we waited for the bus to arrive.
We took the easy route of staying in town with the children. We took a local tour bus that customized the tour for our children. We visited the model old town, the railroad yard, and a farm. The bus also took us on tour of the shoreline, which was breath taking. The rest of our group went into Stockholm. They hired a private bus and took off. They did not have as much fun as we had since they felt very rushed. It was also easy to take the train into Stockholm, but again the time is short.
Don't Miss: Old church in town has original frescos that are a must see; as well as the scenary
We hired private taxis to take us around. We spent alot of time in the new square. It was beautiful and allowed us to sit in the sun and drink some beer. Plus the shopping was good. We also visited the Old Town and got off at the look out.
We took the hop on hop off bus and wasted a lot of time. The two sites worth seeing in the short time you have is the Viking Ship Museum and the Vigeland Sculpture park. I think taking the ferry across to the Viking Ship is managable, and they taking a taxi to the sculpture part is a better way to handle this port.
Don't Miss: Vigeland Sculpture park
Pros: Convenience of traveling on a fantastic ship
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