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Callummck

Baltic aboard Brilliance! Semi-Live 12 Nights

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Hi Everyone, 

Currently aboard Brilliance somewhere in the Baltic. Having found these forums so helpful, I thought I’d contribute with a semi-Live Blog! It’s semi-Live as we didn’t get the Internet package, but I hope to space the posts out a little, for dramatic effect and all that! 

 

Callum  

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Pre-Cruise 

 

Hello! 

 

We are currently cruising on the Brilliance of the Seas on a 12 Night Baltic out of Amsterdam. The “we” is my wife and I, our 2 year old son and ‘the outlaws’- my wife’s parents! The outlaws are seasoned cruisers but it’s our first time and in the build up I’ve found these forums invaluable, so I thought I’d share a few bits from our trip as they might be helpful for others. They’re written from the perspective of a first timer family! 

 

We chose Amsterdam as it meant we could drive from our home in Kent (no worrying about luggage weight and airports with a toddler!). We had 2 nights in Amsterdam prior to the cruise and we stayed in the Adagio Aparthotel in the south of the city. For us, it was a trade off between central location vs standard of hotel vs price and this hit the balance. It was a fantastic studio room- large, well equipped and clean. The location was in a quiet suburb with free parking and restaurants nearby. The journey to central station was 25 mins by tram and metro, very easy to navigate.

 

In Amsterdam, we reverted to the trusty red hop-on-hop-off bus tours from City Sightseeing. We went for a 24hr combo ticket which included the bus route and 2 canal boat routes. The narration was good, although the bus was packed with pesky cruise ship passengers! The bus and one of the boat trips stops directly outside Passenger Terminal Amsterdam for those arriving on cruises. As a tip, we pre purchased these through TripAdvisor and paid £18, as opposed to the £25 online from the official website or the £45 they were advertising on the day. (Sorry about currencies- £,€ and $ will probably be used throughout this write up, perhaps reflecting the confused identity of a Brit, in “Europe” on an American ship...and that’s before the conversation of Brexit comes up!) 

 

Amsterdam is a lovely city, particularly if you can get out of the de Wallen area...which I thought smelt a bit too much like weed and felt a bit like Blackpool. Neither of which are a problem, if that’s your thing.!

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Guest toodle68

This is near top of my list for cruises.  interested in reading your experience..   The small issue I have when I travel to Europe is both my parents are old and I always need to go see them (Nottingham), so that adds to the trip home and adding a 12 night cruise really pushes the vacation days.

What is the itinerary? 

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Following as well! Even if it's a semi-love blog, any blog from the ship is always great to read! Enjoy the cruise- can't wait to see pictures and hear your thoughts. First time cruising is always so fun to watch someone experience!!

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Day One- Embarkation 

 

Today was the big day! We drove to the PTA, which was about 20 mins from our hotel. The journey was a dream. We used a valet parking service from Central Parking who I’d highly recommend. The driver was waiting for us as was a porter for our luggage. Smooth. We paid €180 for the 12 nights. It’ll be a bargain, especially if we get our car back at the end.

 

Then came check in. It wasn’t as smooth, particularly with a toddler, as it could have been but it wasn’t awful either. It was well organised and took just over an hour from getting in the queue to getting to the desk. They had snacks and things in the line and, for the seasoned amongst you, there were lots of queues for various C&A members or the key holders. The outlaws flew in this morning  they are Emerald members, it took them less then 10mins to sail past us in the queue...although I guess the cost for those perks are really an investment of £10,000’s... of our inheritance!!! 😉 The staff were friendly, although they’d said there were problems with their systems so it took about 10mins at the desk as all of the pre information had to be resubmitted. We also got our sea pass cards at checkin, but the system of runners to do this was quite slow so I guess this held things up a bit. 

 

We started the cruise with lunch at Chops, at about £17per head. My wife and I have the 3 night dining package so we weren’t that fussed on doing this but, st the outlaws suggestion, it proved a nice and relaxing start to the cruise. The menu was reduced but it was practically empty and meant we had somewhere stress free and relaxing to start the cruise properly. 

 

Staterooms were ready at 1, 30mins earlier than advertised. We’re on deck 8 in an interior cabin,  and the outlaws are directly opposite us in a balcony cabin which is great for babysitting! Both are nice. Ours is bigger than I expected. After throwing our bags in the room we went for a swim on the deserted pool deck (observations of the pool= deep and salty, but Henry loved it!), start Ed trying to break even on the Refreshment Package (we paid £11pp pd on Black Friday last year) and registered for the Nursery, which is going to be interesting for Henry as there is only one other under 3 on board! 

 

At 3:30 we went back to the room and the luge had arrived. Franklin, our attendant, introduced himself and we had an interesting discussion about the crib. We’d pre ordered one with our TA but Franklin said it would take up most of the room and so not really be worth it. Henry is too young for the Pullman’s, but the solution we reached was having a mattress from the Pullman on the floor for Henry. It’s worked well. 

 

After Muster, we freshened up for Sail Away and more drinks package breaking even (quite an easy challenge really). Evening meal was in the MDR. We’ve got my time dining but made reservations. The outlaws thought this defeated the point of MTD but on reflection I’m glad we did. There was a large queue for those without reservations. The food in the MDR was fine. Our assistant waiter, Carolina, was brilliant with Henry. The service was a bit slow, I think, but I’ve nothing to compare it to. Our reservation was for 6pm, we ordered at 6:15, , starters arrived at 6;45 and mains at about 7;10. We skipped dessert to make the show at 7:45. Henry was well behaved but I’m not sure how much longer it would have been until we entered  “Let’s see if I can pull the table cloths off the table” territory! 

 

The show was excellent. The pre-entertainment (which was also very entertaining) was a near punchup between some guests in the row ahead of us over seat-saving. After some singing and music from the onboard entertainers, there was a shadow puppet show from an Italian Couple which was actually highly entertaining and our 2 year old loved it. After the show we headed to the WindJammer for our skipped dessert. The selection was impressive, and all of the food looked excellent, looking forward to trying it out. 

 

All in all, a wonderful first day. Brilliance is a lovely ship with lots of views all around. The staff have been excellent so far and Henry is having a blast! When he saw the pool he jumped up and down and shouted “I’m so excited!” Let’s see how that works out...

 

I’m not sure how to space the photographs out, so they’re all below! They include:

Henrys innovative seat in the check-in queue,

Our Stateroom 

Evening meal from the WindJammer (which ironically we didn’t eat but I forgot to take pics of the MDR!) 

Cafe Lattitudes Menu

& Today’s compass!

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2 hours ago, toodle68 said:

This is near top of my list for cruises.  interested in reading your experience..   The small issue I have when I travel to Europe is both my parents are old and I always need to go see them (Nottingham), so that adds to the trip home and adding a 12 night cruise really pushes the vacation days.

What is the itinerary? 

Hi! 

It’s Amsterdam, 2 Sea Days, Stockholm, Talinn, St. Petersburg x2, Helsinki, Sea Day, Skagen, Copenhagen, Sea Day, Amsterdam 

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Off to a great start. I've waited in the lines to get on board and felt the exact same way- that Henry looks 😂

@Callummck Where did you sit for the show in the theatre? I'm sailing on Brilliance in Nov and like to get any insider tips on good places to catch the shows

 

 

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1 hour ago, June_B said:

Off to a great start. I've waited in the lines to get on board and felt the exact same way- that Henry looks 😂

@Callummck Where did you sit for the show in the theatre? I'm sailing on Brilliance in Nov and like to get any insider tips on good places to catch the shows

 

 

We’ve sat in several seats now...back row is good for a toddler!! But, it’s the kind of theatre where I think all of the seats are good. People tend to congregate near the doors but there have always been  plenty of seats further in to the theatre 

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Day Two Sea Day

 

We presently live in Kent, but I hail from Merseyside/Liverpool. I say this, not to bore you with my life story but for two cultural reasons which will become apparent in this post! The first is that scousers are stereotypically savvy when it comes to money, deals and bargains (O.K... that’s an optimistic way of framing the stereotype, more pejoratively we’re labelled scammers and thieves!). I don’t mind spending money, but I’m keen to make sure it’s worth it. Again, this isn’t to give you an insight into my spending habits, but it becomes relevant on cabin choice! 

 

As I mentioned, we had an interior stateroom, and the outlaws had a balcony cabin directly opposite, for which they paid around £1000 more (We paid £2,700 for the three of us they paid £3,600 for the two of them). I’ll be honest- in this instance, I’m not sure the £1000 is worth it. The balcony view is great, but perhaps not worth the extra money for us, when the choice is between the room and other things that our budget wouldn’t otherwise stretch to. Our room is slightly bigger than there’s but the best thing about it? It’s PITCH BLACK. This, for parent of a toddler, is significant. For the past 4 months, as soon as it starts to get light (and on the Baltic cruise it can get light as early as 5am!) we’re awoken to delightful cries of “Mummy! Daddy! It’s morning, wake up!”. The inside cabin effect means that so far, We’ve been able to sleep in past 8am. Frankly, that would be worth paying £1000 for! 

 

Today was a sea day. We started off with our first substantive trip to the windjammer at around 9am which was busy but brilliant. The selection was vast. Often with Hotel breakfasts I find myself working through the same routine each day but I don’t think that’ll be possible here...there’s simply so much choice. After breakfast we dropped Henry off for his first nursery session. The opening hours are 9am-12noon and 5:30pm-midnight on sea days and just the evening session on port days, unless you’re on a RC excursion and book the nursery for that. I think these are reduced due to the 2 infants on board. We really debated putting him in but we’re really glad we did. We initially only booked these hours for the whole cruise but afterwards we booked more. He loved it...two staff to himself! 

 

The other reason that, retrospectively, it was a good idea to put him in was that today the weather wasn’t great. It was windy and a high of 15 degrees. This meant that Brilliance’s entertainment offers, which I’d often read are smaller than the big ships, were tested to their limits for a family and, in I think because Henry had a spell in nursery, they just about held up. Whilst he was having a blast we tried some activities he couldn’t participate in (Rock Climbing- Great fun) and visiting the Solarium (Lovely part of the ship, although busy today and lots of chair hogging which nearly saw a repeat of last nights seat-gate in the theatre. Unfortunately, no entertainment this time!). 

 

Lunch was a relaxed affair in the MDR. Impressive selection and, as we’ve always found, brilliant service. There was a live cooking pasta station and the Tutti Salad Bar is seriously impressive.

 

After lunch, I went with one of the outlaws to listen to the enrichment lecture about the history of Stockholm. Then, on Henry’s insurance, we decided to go for a dip in the Baltic. Not literally, but it felt like it, as the pool was absolutely artic. I wonder if it’s a scouse thing (we’ve paid for the pool so we’ll jolly well use it!) but we were the only ones in it. It lasted about 3 minutes before we had to switch to the whirlpool. We got out and warm (the rest of our party were in blankets provided by the ship around the pool!) and warmed up with an ice cream (Henry’s choice). 

 

The inclement weather meant we couldn’t really spend any more time outside and, in any case, lots of the decks got closed so we couldn’t do the activities we’d planned, such as mini golf. We headed inside, spent some time in the free play session in the nursery and then sat in the colony club reading and drawing with some books we’d brought with us. This was fine and enjoyable, but the weather was somewhat restrictive with a little one. 

 

For dinner tonight we split up. The outlaws and Henry headed to the MDR where, again, I’m assured the staff were wonderful, particularly with Henry. We headed to Giovanni’s, as part of the 3 night dining package. (Incidentally, there hasn’t been a meal where we haven’t been approached by at least one member of staff trying to upsell speciality dining. It’s always been friendly, but a tad annoying). The food was super as was the service and the setting. It was very quiet, and a nice contrast to the hustle and excitement of the MDR and WindJammer. We had the sharing plank, pork belly and tomato and mozzarella salad, filet with risotto and carbonara and dessert. It was a really nice date night! 

 

The second ‘cultural scouseism’ is that we’re mostly interested in football (soccer). The spectrum ranges from fair-weather fans with a mild interest (me) to outright martyrs for Liverpool or Everton (my Dad and Mum respectively). Tonight was the final of the European Champion’s league with two British teams in it (Liverpool and Spurs- my father in laws team of choice). Despite a day of detective work, we couldn’t ascertain at all if they’d show the game anywhere on board. The best I got from a rather grumpy bar tender was a grunted “50:50 chance” with no eye contact. Alas, the game wasn’t shown, and this was quite disappointing for the many european soccer fans on board although it meant I didn’t run the risk of falling out withmyFather inLaw! 

 

Instead, we enjoyed watching a film the room whilst Henry slept and the outlaws caught “Tenors Unlimited “ in the Pacifica Theatre which they really enjoyed. 

 

We had our first towel animal this evening. Unfortunately I didn’t get chance to snap a picture of it- Henry ran to cuddle it and completely destroyed it. He shouted “Mummy! Fix it please!”. Thankfully...tomorrow’s compass says there’s a towel folding demonstration so here’s hoping!

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22 hours ago, Callummck said:

reflecting the confused identity of a Brit, in “Europe” on an American ship...and that’s before the conversation of Brexit comes up!) 

😅😅😅

16 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Hubby just tossed out the idea of a Baltic cruise yesterday.  I may have been looking at itineraries already 😉

I like your style. My husband 'jokes' that he daren't mention that he'd like to visit somewhere because before you know it, I'll have it booked 😅

 

Thanks for sharing @Callummck a Baltic cruise is one of my #cruisegoals so I'll be following with interest 👍

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Day Three- Sea Day 

 

Something we frequently see on these forums is questions about the economics of drinks packages. This was a key element of scousenomics in preparing to come away. We’re both tee total, so looking at the Refreshment package, I’d  hunched that at the regular price of £19.50 pppd it wasn’t worth it, but at the Black Friday Price of £12 per day, it might be. Here’s a breakdown of yesterday’s offerings (for one of us) 

 

AM Coffee- $4

AM Mocktail- $6 

Sodas with meals (x3) $10.50

Afternoon Milkshake with espresso shot $6 

Bottles of water $6 

Pre dinner mocktail $6 

Evening coffee $4 

 

That totals $42.50 which I guess is around £30 so we easily broke even yesterday. I don’t feel that we changed our habits particularly but yesterday was a sea day(if we were on an excursion, that could have been cut down by £10 I reckon). All of the Soda thus far has been out of cans or plastic bottles, they have postmix machines all over the place but never seen them used. Also, the free onboard drinks (tea, coffee, lemonade, iced tea, squash) are in plentiful supply and are actually quite good. 

 

Today was another sea day. We followed a similar routine to yesterday. WindJammer Breakfast followed by dropping Henry at nursery. My wife and her mum went to the Origami Class which they said was fun whilst I read. The weather was perfect and sunny today so there were some brilliant spots for chilling. We then played cards in the Colony Club. A great spot, it was often quiet and has chess tables and billiards with brilliant views. 

 

Lunch was the MDR. The portions are quite small here, but there’s also the buffet in addition to the menu. Yesterday’s live pasta station was replaced with an ice cream bar today. 

 

One of the things that we’d been slightly apprehensive of was a cruise that we knew would have an older, less child friendly demographic due to it being School term-time and this particular ship and itinerary. We needn’t have worried- People have been very kind...including, today, a scantly clad older German gentleman in a bathrobe, who offered Henry some of the chocolate dipped fruit from his suite in the elevator. I guess this isn’t a behaviour we’d encourage Henry to engage in on land but hey...it’s a cruise! 

 

This afternoon we made the most of the sunny weather and hit some of the outdoor activities. The pool was lovely. We stuck to the main pool...as I literally got stuck in the slide in the kiddies pool. I’m just waiting for a video to appear on YouTube! We then played minigolf and some of the fairly hidden and unadvertised deck games- tic tax toe, beanbag toss and shuffleboard. We rounded off the activities of the day with a visit to the family science experiment in Adventure Ocean. 

 

The evening programme started off with our first dinner in the  WindJammer. It was incredible! The theme night was Mexican and there was every type of Mexican dish you could imagine. I’d easily say the food was on a par, in terms of quality, with the MDR. The live cooking station was crepes. 

 

We rounded the day off with the 7pm Production Showtime of “Now and Forever”. Henry managed to sit quite well through this and we didn’t feel it was intrusive or disruptive to take a toddler in, like you might at another theatre. The show was a run through of lots of music, I think mostly from musicals, but really from the 50s-80s, starting with excerpts from the Producers and finishing up with a ABBA medley. We’re both a bit geeky when it comes to music and production...and this didn’t disappoint. The orchestra were particularly fantastic, and the scenery/production/effects value was impressive. Well worth a visit. The showtime was about 45 mins.

 

The ABBA finale was ironic...as tomorrow we’re in Sweden!

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Day Four - Stockholm

 

Captain Ante recommended getting up at 5am for sunrise as the ship made its way through the Archipelagos... we didn’t make it up that early but once we did get up, around 7:30am, we could see just how spectacular the scenery was...nearly worth having a £1000 balcony for! 

 

With arrival in Stockholm not until 10am, we had time for a leisurely breakfast so checked out the MDR. For lunch and breakfast, the MDR is geared towards large sharing tables and so the hosts ask people if they’d mind sharing or not. We’d agreed in the queue that we had no objection to sharing, but when we arrived to the front of the queue the host simply “Good Morning...Table for three this way!”  She’d obviously determined that others might object to sharing with an active toddler! The buffet in the MDR is considerably smaller than the Windjammer, but the service is sharp and the offerings on the menu are good and well presented. We had Eggs Benedict (I haven’t yet spotted any hollandaise  sauce for this in the windjammer...but doesn’t mean it’s not there!) and pancakes which all felt quite fresh and well presented. Well worth a change. 

 

And now, our attention turns to excursions! Before having a child, our usual holiday strategy was to buy a Lonely Planet Guide, head off the beaten track and explore at our leisure. This isn’t as feasible with a curious 2 year old and so we’d given lots of attention to the various options for excursions and trips, trying to get a balance. I’ve popped a picture below of a letter detailing the walking and shuttle options at each port below. 

 

In Stockholm, however, we did decide to get a ship’s excursion called “Stockholm on your Own”. This is essentially billed as a bus only which drops you at three distinct parts of the city, City Hall, the Old Town and Djurgarden. We paid about £22 each (Henry free) in a cruise planner sale (onboard price was $49) so this was good as it worked out comparable with the cost of a shuttle bus, meant that we could explore on our own but get to see a broad overview of the city without public transport hassle, and we had the protection of a ship excursion. 

 

They were late in getting organised onboard in the theatre (it was semi chaotic...not like out and out carnage, think more sheep without a shepherd than a cat amongst 5e pigeons) which cut down the time at city hall, but we still had nearly 2 hours in the Old Town and 2 hours at Djurgarden. There were a few guests quite unhappy with the tour. The description said that it was three drop off points with no narration (and to be fair, the host did quite a bit of narration) but I’m not sure they’d read this as several guests  expressed disappointment at the distances from the bus stops to some of the sights etc. I think that this tour isn’t really a tour in the traditional sense and (we’ve got the same thing booked later in the cruise too) to make it a success you need to have your own game plan already worked out for once you get there. 

 

Stockholm is beautiful. We enjoyed a quick run around the place. At Xxxx there’s loads of different museums that will appeal to all ages and tastes: ABBA museum, Skansen openair museum, VASA museum (about the ship that was a King’s vanity project and sank on the maiden voyage). We opted for “Grunaland”, a classic fairground/theme park. If you have kids then we’d highly recommend this, especially after a few hours of city sightseeing. You pay an entry free (Think it worked out about $10 per adult) and then you buy ride tickets inside (works out about $2.50 a ticket, discounts for books of 20) and then each ride takes between 1 and 3 tickets. Henry loved it, as did we. 

 

We were back aboard for 4:30 and then had time for a swim before dinner in the MDR with the outlaws. It was only our second visit (they’d been in between) but the staff remembered us and our drinks and really, the service is excellent! The food tonight was also the best quality from the MDR. I’ll put the menu and some pics below...but I had the bisque, the scallops (which were tiny!), the bass (which was excellent) and the Creme Brûlée. A really good meal, and about 1 hr 15 in total. 

 

The evening entertainment was something a bit different, and well worth a visit- Sean Alexander the “Confusionist” It was a bit Derren Brownesque, lots of illusions, tricks and audience participation. The variety of the entertainment is impressive really. 

 

For anyone who’s interested, the drinks package breaking even is definitely less likely on a port day. Today we had (each) 

2 Coffees- $8

1 Mocktail- $6 

2 Sodas- $7 

2 Bottles of Water- $4

 

Which is $28 or around £20. We wouldn’t have broken even at full price, but still more than made it on the discounted price from the Black Friday sale. 

 

Things might go a bit quiet for the next 48 hours. The next port to report on is Tallinn but tomorrow we’re in Russia, and I don’t have data roaming!

 

The data is quite slow here, so there mightn’t be a full picture upload.

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Day Four - Stockholm

 

Captain Ante recommended getting up at 5am for sunrise as the ship made its way through the Archipelagos... we didn’t make it up that early but once we did get up, around 7:30am, we could see just how spectacular the scenery was...nearly worth having a £1000 balcony for! 

 

With arrival in Stockholm not until 10am, we had time for a leisurely breakfast so checked out the MDR. For lunch and breakfast, the MDR is geared towards large sharing tables and so the hosts ask people if they’d mind sharing or not. We’d agreed in the queue that we had no objection to sharing, but when we arrived to the front of the queue the host simply “Good Morning...Table for three this way!”  She’d obviously determined that others might object to sharing with an active toddler! The buffet in the MDR is considerably smaller than the Windjammer, but the service is sharp and the offerings on the menu are good and well presented. We had Eggs Benedict (I haven’t yet spotted any hollandaise  sauce for this in the windjammer...but doesn’t mean it’s not there!) and pancakes which all felt quite fresh and well presented. Well worth a change. 

 

And now, our attention turns to excursions! Before having a child, our usual holiday strategy was to buy a Lonely Planet Guide, head off the beaten track and explore at our leisure. This isn’t as feasible with a curious 2 year old and so we’d given lots of attention to the various options for excursions and trips, trying to get a balance. I’ve popped a picture below of a letter detailing the walking and shuttle options at each port below. 

 

In Stockholm, however, we did decide to get a ship’s excursion called “Stockholm on your Own”. This is essentially billed as a bus only which drops you at three distinct parts of the city, City Hall, the Old Town and Djurgarden. We paid about £22 each (Henry free) in a cruise planner sale (onboard price was $49) so this was good as it worked out comparable with the cost of a shuttle bus, meant that we could explore on our own but get to see a broad overview of the city without public transport hassle, and we had the protection of a ship excursion. 

 

They were late in getting organised onboard in the theatre (it was semi chaotic...not like out and out carnage, think more sheep without a shepherd than a cat amongst 5e pigeons) which cut down the time at city hall, but we still had nearly 2 hours in the Old Town and 2 hours at Djurgarden. There were a few guests quite unhappy with the tour. The description said that it was three drop off points with no narration (and to be fair, the host did quite a bit of narration) but I’m not sure they’d read this as several guests  expressed disappointment at the distances from the bus stops to some of the sights etc. I think that this tour isn’t really a tour in the traditional sense and (we’ve got the same thing booked later in the cruise too) to make it a success you need to have your own game plan already worked out for once you get there. 

 

Stockholm is beautiful. We enjoyed a quick run around the place. At Xxxx there’s loads of different museums that will appeal to all ages and tastes: ABBA museum, Skansen openair museum, VASA museum (about the ship that was a King’s vanity project and sank on the maiden voyage). We opted for “Grunaland”, a classic fairground/theme park. If you have kids then we’d highly recommend this, especially after a few hours of city sightseeing. You pay an entry free (Think it worked out about $10 per adult) and then you buy ride tickets inside (works out about $2.50 a ticket, discounts for books of 20) and then each ride takes between 1 and 3 tickets. Henry loved it, as did we. 

 

We were back aboard for 4:30 and then had time for a swim before dinner in the MDR with the outlaws. It was only our second visit (they’d been in between) but the staff remembered us and our drinks and really, the service is excellent! The food tonight was also the best quality from the MDR. I’ll put the menu and some pics below...but I had the bisque, the scallops (which were tiny!), the bass (which was excellent) and the Creme Brûlée. A really good meal, and about 1 hr 15 in total. 

 

The evening entertainment was something a bit different, and well worth a visit- Sean Alexander the “Confusionist” It was a bit Derren Brownesque, lots of illusions, tricks and audience participation. The variety of the entertainment is impressive really. 

 

For anyone who’s interested, the drinks package breaking even is definitely less likely on a port day. Today we had (each) 

2 Coffees- $8

1 Mocktail- $6 

2 Sodas- $7 

2 Bottles of Water- $4

 

Which is $28 or around £20. We wouldn’t have broken even at full price, but still more than made it on the discounted price from the Black Friday sale. 

 

Things might go a bit quiet for the next 48 hours. The next port to report on is Tallinn but tomorrow we’re in Russia, and I don’t have data roaming!

 

The data is quite slow here, so there mightn’t be a full picture upload.

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Day Five - Tallinn 

 

We thought that today was a leisurely start as the ship wasn’t due to dock until 11am, but as the clocks went forward overnight it was kind of really a 10am start for the body clock even though in reality the clock said 11am, but for Brits it was really 9am on the clock and for Americans like 4am even though ships clock said 11am. Confused? 😉 Thankfully, we had a note in the door and on the bed, and were reminded by our waiter, assistant waiter, dining room manager, stateroom attendant,

 And cruise director about the time change last night so we managed to cope with it! 

 

We hit windjammer for breakfast. It was particularly busy today (maybe people slept in late because of the time change...or got up early who knows?!) with queues for most of the stations. We did manage to get a table outside, which was fine as the weather was glorious. I’m not sure about the forecast in the daily cruise compass. It said a high of 14 today, but my watch recorded a scorching 28 at one point. Maybe the compass got confused by the time change too! 

 

Today was Terrific Tallinn, and terrific it was. A beautiful, cobbled, old town. We didn’t bother with an excursion today and I think it was a wise choice. The ship was cleared 25mins ahead of schedule. The start of the Old Town- which I think is the must see part of Tallinn- is a 15 minute, flat walk from the ship. That’s as far as coaches and the shuttle bus can go as the roads in the old town are cobbled, hilly and winding. They’re not designed for strollers, scooters or wheelchairs (I guess they didn’t have the foresight 500 years ago!) but they’re well worth trundling through. It’s beautiful and picturesque.

 

We decided to head for the Museum of Occupation at the very top of the Old Town, and planned a route which took us past various sights along the way- the Town Hall and the Cathedral amongst others. The museum is a fascinating, interactive insight into life in Estonia during the two Soviet and the German occupations between 1940-1990 and there are brilliant family friendly exhibits and activities too (build your own communist flat with a VR headset and a shadow puppet theatre to name but two!) 

 

We then had a drink, did some souvenir shopping and took a slow stroll back to the ship for 3:30pm (ship time/Estonia time!) We grabbed snacks from Park Cafe (great selection ), had some Mocktails and had some fun time in the glorious sunshine in the arctic pool (the water was changed yesterday!) 

 

After some chill out time in the room, we’d booked Henry in to try an evening session in the nursery from 6pm-10pm. We dropped him off and they ordered Room Service for his evening meal. We then had some drinks and played our first game of shuffleboard. We were absolutely awful at it. Like diabolical. But still, good fun! We then went to Chops for our evening meal. The service was speedy, perhaps a tad too fast, but the food was fantastic- Between us we had the goats cheese salad, lobster bisque, crab cake, peppered bacon, filet, lamb and key lime pie...and it was all really tasty with zero complaints. The speedy service meant that we had time for a coffee, a game of Rummikub and still managed to pick up Henry at 9. They only charged us for 3 hours nursery, which I thought was more than fair since we’d booked in for four hours and they were open just for Henry! 

 

Alas, an early night. Tomorrow is, really for us, the main event and reason for taking the cruise... St. Petersburg!

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