Very Enjoyable Baltics!
Yvette Morrison | March 10, 2014 | Norwegian Cruise Line
We took a late booking for a Baltic cruise with NCL booked through Bolsover. This is our first experience of Bolsover and found them extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
This cruise was a total contrast to our last one with NCL (details later!) The itinerary was superb and such a wonderful opportunity to go to Russia. We had good weather (which we did not entirely expect) and each destination was a little gem. St.Petersburg is amazing and dripping in gold! It puts the UK (London) to shame as it was very clean. Their metro (underground) is a spectacle to behold with each station being highly ornate, very open and immaculately kept. A must see experience! Palaces and museums (which I’m not usually interested in) were also spectacular.
Lovely cities like Helsinki and Stockholm embrace their heritage and have wonderful buildings and gardens. Again, all spotless and cherished.
It all made coming home to the UK a bit depressing as these places are so clean and open and fresh.
An absolute must do itinerary. Just take plenty of memory space on your camera and good walking shoes or trainers!
We did our own thing regarding tours – we prefer to be free spirits, but did go on a guided tour for St.Petersburg as this is the only way you can see Russia without a full blown (and expensive) Russian Visa. We booked an independent tour through a company called DenRus who I found on the internet. They had 5* all the way so took the chance. They were superb – extremely efficient and we had a wonderful, extremely knowledgeable and fluent guide. We had two long and tiring days, but the places we saw and the education we received was second to none. Lunch on each of the days was much better than expected also.
In the past we have cruised with NCL 5 times before but on other ships. Our last cruise with NCL we found to be more ‘downmarket’ than we had previously experienced and vowed to not use NCL again, but wanting a late booking (3 weeks before) and school holidays, we were left with little choice. I know that sounds very snobby, but our last cruise (Venice/Med) was pretty horrid. We were fellow to so many loud, slobbish passengers and out of control children. This was exacerbated by the ships tannoy constantly blasting out “bingo, Bingo, Bingo” and pushing Art sales and Scratch cards down your throat several times every hour.
My clever daughter suggested that being on a different itinerary this time around, we may have a different guest demographic. She was spot on! Our fellow passengers were like minded and there were children, but all appeared very well behaved.
We also found the whole arrival and check-in process much improved since our last NCL cruise – it was very slick and quick this year.
There was one show on board which we walked out of because we were disgusted with the wanton use of animals in the act and did lodge a complaint with the cruise director. Circuses using animals have been banned all over the world, yet NCL chose to allow a ‘magic’ act using doves, rabbits, cats and snakes – and possibly more (for we did not stay). We cannot understand why NCL would condone such an act.
Overall though a great cruise with wonderful destinations.
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