Friends who had done this itinerary before said we would really enjoy this cruise – they were right, we really did! Here are some facts:
– 9 countries in 10 days
– Oceania Marina, built 2011 Italy, 1250 passengers, 785 crew
– total nautical miles cruised 1519
– currencies: Sweden: Krona; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Germany: Euro; Russia: Rubles; Poland: Zloty; Denmark: Krone
– weight gain 5 lbs lol!
This was more like a river cruise than an ocean one. We were in port each day and off touring for 3 to 12 hours at a time. We could walk off the ship in most ports and Oceania had a free shuttle bus where needed. It was both exhilarating and very exhausting! It was only on 2 days where we had a few hours to relax on board. Dave swam only a few times and we used the hot tub once or twice. Weather was superb though, 18 – 25 C, only rained twice.
Our favorite city for sure was St. Petersburg. There is so much to see and do there, so much beauty and history. Words fail to describe the feeling one has there. It changed our idea about Russia. Russia is not so bad after all and has a lot to offer the world – witness the current World Cup spectacular. Ironically, the U.S. seems to be on its way to becoming more Russia like at present.
Our second favorite city was Gdansk. Absolutely stunning architectural beauty by the sea and so accommodating in its port and tourist facilities. A real gem. Marie’s 3rd favorite city was Copenhagen because of it’s relaxed, friendly, bicycle oriented people culture. Dave’s was Helsinki due it’s fresh open air simplicity of life style. Most underrated city was Stockholm – fresh, colourful, beautiful views. A highlight was our one day excursion into Berlin – emotionally overwhelming at times because of the dark history there.
When you take a cruise like this, you meet a lot of people. There are a lot of people queuing and moving everywhere, everyday. It’s confining, the cabin is confining. You have to get used to it. Also, when out on tour, finding the next WC is a priority and can be challenging when you don’t have the right currency. They charge a small fee for use in many countries. It takes patience for sure. Marie is naturally more patient than Dave. Patience is duty free!
One disappointment was the low key port of Klaipeda in Lithuania. However it came right after the sophisticated Riga. Another was that our cabin steward who was named Steel, was rather antisocial and did not get to know us at all. He inadvertently left our cabin door wide open one night after cleaning. We discovered this oversight to our dismay when we returned home after midnight. However, nothing was missing. We were saddened too when our friends Judy and Bruce had to leave early for a family funeral. Our only personal mishap was catching head colds about half way thru.
Why do we travel?
– to hear the babble of foreign languages
– for the lure of the adventure
– to experience different perspectives
– to see that there are alternate ways of living, of being
- to realize we are all one in this world
– to see more of God’s creation
– for the love of life
– to know ourselves better
In the moment, we rate this trip 9/10, pretty hard to beat. Cheers!