Scandinavian Cruise _2016Back to Forum
Martyn chooses to go on his cruise and enjoy to the maximum everything going on aboard the vessel. As he says, the cabin is for sleeping, cleaning and changing. However some people going on a cruise look forward to the solitude of their cabin and want the balcony/porthole/daylight/ sofa/desk/room service etc. It is those people I suggest (if budget is an issue) take the higher grade cabin on the lower grade ship. If it the facilities you want to enjoy then the lower band cabin on the better ship is the right way to go.
A couple of other tips for potential cruisers, when considering the cost of a cruise, think of it as a hotel room and work out the nightly rate. Secondly, think carefully and do a bit of research on your ports of call rather than just booking the cruise company’s excursions. Cruise company’s rarely make a profit on the basic fare, it is the onboard spend of premium restaurants, booze, excursions etc that gives them their not inconsiderable margins. Bit like Ryanair!12 Apr 2016
That is very sound advice Mr Michael on the shore excursions. My experience is that Princess Cruises actively encourage people to do their own thing and don’t do a hard sell on excursions.
P&O on the other hand use scare tactics warning people that if a ship excursion is delayed the ship will be but private travellers the ship will sail without them12 Apr 2016
Alternatively, charter a crewed sailing boat, avoid the riffraff, get to see some truly spectacular scenery and catch your supper off the back end (okay, stern). A ten-year old is perfectly capable of managing life onboard a sailing boat. If he/she is into gadgets, then onboard navigational systems etc are something for them to get their heads around. Learning how to plot GPS waypoints, working out the leeway (to allow for the wind direction in steering the boat) and other aspects of navigation are intrinsically fascinating.
That would be a way more involved and interesting way of experiencing the coastlines of Sweden (the Stockholm archipelago is glorious), Norway and/or Finland – which are stunning.13 Apr 2016
I have never been on a cruise but if I was planning one in the region my first port of call would be the Hurtigruten in Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes.
It looks like the voyage of a lifetime.13 Apr 2016
Icenspice, be very wary of the Hurtigruten. The scenery is absolutely amazing, but the ships, prices, crew attitude, accomodations quite bluntly suck. Overhyped, overpriced.13 Apr 2016
You have to remember that Hurtigruten is primarily a ferry lifeline for the communities between Bergen and Kirkenes up near the Russian border. Apart from cruises to Spitzbergen,Greenland and Antarctica it is a ferry stopping every few hours with a rotating number of passengers. We have always found the crew perfectly polite, the food typically Norwegian, the main problem with prices is the high cost of excursions. And then there is the weather. We have been lucky but know friends who have travelled both ways during summer and seen nothing because of fog.13 Apr 2016
Rjhcambs, absolutely right, it is a ferry that makes room and rips off tourists. A few years ago I was contracted by one of the Hurtigruten ship owners/operators (Hurtigruten is a number of company’s like an airline codeshare) to look at their revenue streams and see how they could be increased. The thing that struck me is the audacity of them raking it in with tourists while still demanding subsidy from the Norwegian Govetnment for the ferry aspect of the voyages. Having taken a very close look at their revenue streams and margins within a week I told them I had nothing to add and terrah! I found the whole ethos (and I am no communist) based on getting every last cent from their tourist pax. That in itself with many company’s is fair enough. The problem there is that because they knew the Hurtigruten (tourist pax) was 97% trip of a lifetime there was no desire to give value for money as they knew even if they did people would not be back. They just had to balance maximum rip off with not too bad a press. Short of watering the wine down I could not come up with much for them….so I left.13 Apr 2016
Thanks for Such an enthusiastic Debate ; getting back on Topic, here are few additional questions ;
1. Mini-Suite Or a Full Suite
2. I cannot find a 7 day Cruise That covers Finland/Sweden/Denmark..They are either 10 days or more..
3. I have looked at several web-sites but have no clue if the Ship is New or Old..How do I answer that ?
4. I have a good budget so I can afford to go to the Top level, in this case which Ship should I chose to experience the best of it all ?
5. Do they offer a Child Discount ( 10 years Old ) ?
I expect I will book this through a travel agent..I assume it will be much cheaper that way..?
Moadweeb.14 Apr 2016
Moadweeb, your requirements are pretty specific and perhaps that is why your having a problem trying something. June/July is NorthCape time, so many of the ships will be heading that way doing land of the midnightbsun cruises. Try a bit earlier/later and you might have more luck. In addition, still some debate as to whether Denmark is in the Baltic, to include Denmark you probably need a cruise starting/finishing in Copenhagen, whereas most Baltic originating Baltic cruises will start in Stockholm and will cover Sweden/Finland and the Baltic states and are unlikely not to include Leningrad.14 Apr 2016
Quite agree Mr Michael, to include Copenhagen the cruise will have to start Southampton/Dover/Amsterdam and it will then be a full Baltic including Leningrad.
There was a small cruise by I think it was Voyages of Discovery that had a cruise up the Baltic which didn’t include Leningrad, but that was a few years ago. If the OP is over 50 he might find something with Saga, but they don’t take children.14 Apr 2016
Sorry to chip in again.
I have been in a mini-suite once and my friends were in a full suite on the same cruise.
I found the mini-suite a bit of a rip-off, it was just a bigger cabin really with a more spacious sitting area. The full suite was as you expect with full bathroom, butler service and much more room with huge balcony.
I did a 7 day cruise which included Helsinki, Stockholm and started in Copenhagen. It was with MSC. I enjoyed myself, but to be honest they are not top end by any mean. Service is pretty poor, food is good enough, entertainment was bad. Nice looking ships but I wouldn’t go with them again.
Try a US cruise agent – they allow us “foreigners” to book through them on various cruise lines – not all. Their terms are MUCH more flexible than we can book in the UK. Lower deposits, flexible with moving to another ship, less cancellation charges etc., often more incentives like on board spend/free drinks etc. Vacationstogo.com is one I look at a lot but have never booked with them. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that on here, but only trying to help, I have no affiliation to anyone! You do get child discounts – it depends on how many people in the cabin – the 3rd/4th person discounts are usually good, but I doubt you’d get it if there was only you and one child.14 Apr 2016
CruiseCritic is a source of nearly everything you want to know. I especially like the “member reviews” that reveal all kinds of little tidbits of information on ships, staterooms, ports and shore excursions.14 Apr 2016
Perhaps take a look at Regent Seven Seas where the ships take 700 people and whilst the ticket price may seem high, the minimum cabin is a 350 sq ft with balcony, there is no tipping, drinks and specialty dining on board is included and so are the excursions!! The ships are beautiful and whilst the facilities for children are not on a par with the larger ships if you want to do the cultural tour then the included excursions will save you a fortune. I have not been to the Baltic yet with them but we are doing our 9th cruise with Regent in the Caribbean in December on the new ship Explorer.15 Apr 2016
I cruised from So’ton to SPB in 2008 with Celebrity. It was excellent. I have also cruised with Princess and always choose the smallest cabin with a bath (Sky and Mini suite respectively).
On Celebrity you are treated like a full suite guest with butler, whereas on Princess you are not. Indeed the last time we went with Celebrity they were creating a special dining room exclusively for suite guests and we were invited to the enjoy the ‘pay dining’ every night of the cruise at no extra cost.
I would stay clear of Hurtigruten. I attended one of their seminars last year and they charge 2 euros for tap water in their restaurants. … being just a ferry the cabins are very small..
Whatever you do, select a cruise that overnights in SPB. We got our own visas but unless you can read Cyrillic I don’t necrssarily recommend that15 Apr 2016