We are 2 professional couples in our 50's just returned from a superb cruise, our 5th together and our second with NCL. Our overriding thoughts, on reading some previous reviews, are " What do some people expect?". The staff and crew of this ship could try no harder to make your holiday perfect. We have travelled the world, expect high standards and NCL hit the mark! Embarkation: No problems, stayed over night in Dover and arrived at 11.45am set to cruise. Within 45 mins we had a glass of champagne in our hands, no stress!, Embarkation just like any other cruise or airline. Just chill, you are going on vacation!! Having done our home work we avoided any scrum and enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the Tsars palace until our cabin was ready( always pays to do research before any trip). Cabin: We did our home work again and booked 1 cabin on port and 1 on starboard, either side of the mid staircase. This meant ease of meeting our friends, we were central to most things and we always had a sunset to enjoy from 1 balcony while enjoying our pre dinner drinks. Cabins were fine, super bed and the balcony is a must. We liked the separate doors on the shower and toilet. Entertainment: The shows are great, curate's egg as some better than others( I am sure England has funnier comedians and Russia better magicians) but the Cirque Bijou and the Juggler were simply superb. We enjoyed the opportunity to see some again in the Spinnaker lounge late shows. The daily programme is extensive, surely enough to please anyone. We loved Ken's quizzes( mal de mer , Ken!!!) and our friends really enjoyed the dance lessons. We were never bored!! Dining: One criticism, it is getting a bit naughty to have so many restaurants where you now pay a supplement. Having said that we sampled every one and they were all excellent, never had a bad meal at all. The winner was Le Bistro where the food and service were absolutely superb. Mongolian hot pot was the surprise of the food, not sure what we were expecting but what good fun. Managed to put on 8lbs in 12 days so that speaks for itself. Again, do your homework, not quite sure why people queue in the garden cafe at breakfast for an omelette etc. when you can have it served in comfort and with zero stress in the Tsars. We had to smile on the final morning when a waiter was explaining what a sunny side up egg was to a lady - where had you been for 12 days? Value: Having traveled to the USA many times we struggle to see what people moan about with pricing. 15% is put on most drinks etc but it is just like holidaying in the States as a Brit. Again if you have done your home work you know what the score is before you arrive, so just chill and enjoy. We felt we got excellent value for our money overall. We work with the general public so totally empathize with NCL, you will never please some people. Our advice - you are on vacation, no one will try harder than NCL staff to make sure you enjoy it, so relax and enjoy their company and service. 12 days with no rain, just as we ordered. Thank you Don't forget, do your homework before any cruise!!
great position, plenty of storage, could not fault it
Probably our least favourite, but quite possibly as it was Sunday and a lot of the centre was closed. Still thoroughly enjoyed the place, a very pleasant walk in to town and around the canals. As with all ports we had done our homework and followed a suggested route in our guide book. Saw all we planned, had a super lunch and the boys far preferred the "busty" mermaid to the little one. Drinks and food a bit pricey, but again what we were expecting in these cities so chill and enjoy!!
Lovely fishing port to stroll around. Did a boat ride in the morning which was reasonable and good fun, and in the afternoon did the NCL bike ride which was really good fun. Our guide even took us to the Naturist beach and at 53 I saw "bits" pierced I have never seen before( almost put me off dinner). Saw lots of countryside and it was easy going and very informative, thanks Ulf. Did not do Berlin as had been in recent years.
Simply beautiful town to wander around yourself with a guide book. A short walk from the ship to a special place. Old town and gardens around the walls were the highlights. We had a georgeous lunch in town at a very reasonable price
Simply Breathtaking - and the 2 days were made perfect by our tour guide. We chose an independant tour with Optima and our guide was Mareena, whose knowledge ansd English were outstanding. Being an older lady ( sorry Mareena) her parents and family had experienced 1939-45 and her stories were fascinating. Immigration was fine ( again homework, get off early day 1- 8 am), 15 mins and through, and we never queued in 2 days. We did everything we had asked, saw markets, ate with locals, shopped with locals and visited pretty much every site. Peterhof had to be the highlight and Mareena ensured value for money everywhere. Wodka was not bad either
Trudged off tired after 2 mad days in Russia, taxi in to town, again very reasonable for 4 people ( 3 euros each)and as soon as we reached the harbour square the tiredness went. Had a lovely day with the guidebook.Fabulous fish lunch at the quayside market and again did a boat ride in the afternoon. A lovely port!
Fifth day on the run off the ship, so perhaps a port too far with nowhere near enough time to spend here ( especially as there was a triathlon in the city causing traffic chaos). Enjoyed what little time we had and this stop wins the award for showing the most potential for a revisit. I am sure we will fly back for a 3-4 day visit to do Stockholm justice in the near future. " We will be back"