Just back off a lovely 2 week cruise to the Baltic on Azura. We booked our Parking with Parking 4 Cruises and this is the first time we have used them. Excellent service their staff were waiting for us on arrival and car was in the short stay car park when we docked and we were on the road home by 8.40 am having chosen to keep our luggage in our cabin the night before our return.
Embarkation was swift as we arrived at 3.45 pm so straight on the ship to our room R725 on deck 14. Inside room was fine and kept tidy by the Steward Mary who unfortunately had to go home due to her Father being ill.
The location of this room is great for the pool deck at the rear of the ship and access to the Buffet and coffee/tea machines. The food in the Buffet was ok but we did prefer to have our evening meal main restaurants and all the meals were lovely except for the toast but when you have one guy making toast for 700 people it is no wonder it often arrives cold and hard. We ate most nights in the Peninsula restaurant and on 3 occasions in the Oriental. The main shows start at 8.30 and 10.30 but if you want to get a seat in the popular shows you need to be in the main theatre 30 mins before the start or 40 mins before to get a seat in a preferred location.
Nice cabin but has bunk beds above the Queen bed that make it awkward to squeeze down the side. Carpets discoloured otherwise a nice room and shower room on deck 14 aft near terrace pool and Buffet.
This was a real bonus as we didn’t really know what to expect and it is a lovely town with a great sandy beach and a lovely harbour to walk around which is very close walk to and from the ship. We chose to go into Rostock and went to the railway station nearby where you will see ticket machines and opposite these you will see a shop. At the side entrance around the corner from the shop you can buy a 1 day rail and tram pass from the office for 6 Euro and the lady will give you a slip of paper that tells you to how to validate the ticket on the platform before getting on train then get off train at Rostock HBF ( 9 stops) yo then need to go down two levels to the tram Platform A Blue tram. Take tram 5 or 6 and get off at stop Neuer Market ( New Market) this is a lovely square with access to shops and nice buildings Trains are every 30 mins and trams every 10 mins. Easy Peasy . Then we came back to Waremunde and had a cocktail on the ship side of the harbour which was less busy.
Helsinki, Here we got the courtesy coach to near the centre of Helsinki which if you pay select fare is free but if you are on saver fare it is £4 per person each way. Had to wait nearly 30 mins for return coach in a shower which was not fun. Had a nice walk round the centre of Helsinki then we went to the tourist information office and got details on the trams. We were told if we bought a Ticket 2.8 Euro this would last 80 mins and you can then get the No2 tram which takes you up one side of Helsinki then get the No3 tram which comes back down the other side. This number 3 tram changes its number back to number 2 near the centre and you have to stay on one or two stops back to the centre. Cheap way to see Helsinki.
Talinn Estonia, This was our favourite place, you can walk from the ship to the old town centre in about 20 mins about 800m away to the edge of the town but do get your bearings here so you can find your way back. The square in the centre is lovely for a chill out drink and people watching. There was also a stage up with music and performances on the day we were there. Do be aware drinks in the square are pricey no prices listed you have to sit down and get a menu for prices so do this before you order. A 500ml saku beer and a cappuccino coffee will cost around 12 euro, nice beer though.
Stockholm Sweden, I got up at 5.30 am to watch the ship head to the port through spectacular scenery, little islands with typical small wooden houses were lovely and the bird habitats on these small islands were nice to see. When we arrived in Stockholm again you needed to use the courtesy buses (£4 per person each way if not on select fare) which were delayed a bit due to roadworks in the town so had to wait 20 to 30 mins on the outward bound journey. Stockholm is spread out a bit so if you have difficulty walking then a pre booked tour may be a better option. Although it was ok walking through the town and seeing the palace we enjoyed walking around the harbour area more and in some ways wish we had booked a harbour tour.
Here we looked from the portside of the ship and thought we could see The Little Mermaid statue about 400 yds to the left of the ship so we walked in that direction from the ship but the statue was of a couple of Polar Bears, the little mermaid statue however was 200 metres over to the right of this statue just around the harbour. We followed the harbour round from here to what was a lovely church and fountain then onto the area where the tourist boats dock Nyhavn with its lovely coloured buildings. Again here the cafes are busy and expensive Small beer, coffee and a bottle of water 125 Danish Krone (£15). Great for the views and people watching. Then we went onto Christianborg Palace and the Royal Stables then to the Town Hall building with the Astronomical clock. By this time we were tired so we returned to centre to get a courtesy bus back which was most unpleasant as no Aircon and stop start traffic all the way back to the ship lots of people complained about the shuttle bus service here. We missed out Tivoli but if you are planning on going on an organised tour make sure you confirm how long you get there as some people were unhappy for 2 reasons the minibus transport no aircon black windows to see out of and only 30 mins at the gardens when they complained the tour team were not interested.