Author: Hilary Green
23 June 2015 12 day Scandanavian and Russian Cruise. Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and ports of call. Our stateroom and the ship in general was fantastic. However, though the food was good, it wasn't very hot which was our main complaint. The waiters couldn't do enough for you and if there wasn't anything on the starters which we liked, they would willingly arrange for you to have something of your choice - one evening we had salmon. I didn't much rate the shows in the Pacifica Theatre except for the flautist but loved the live entertainment in the Centrium!!!! We had a cabin with balcony which was lovely as a viewing point when entering/leaving port. St Petersburg was ab fab though hectic; can thorough recommend T J Travel, the independent Russian tour company we used. The only RC trip we did was Helsinki highlights and Ice Bar which for, £64, we thought was not value for money. We did our own thing at the other ports but were well armed with maps and guide books. The hop on hop off buses are a fantastic way of getting round the ports. We opted to pay our tips up front but were taken aback at getting an envelope the night before departure to enable us to give a further tip for "WOW service". We are Brits and we don't tend to tip willy-nilly!! Also all drinks at the bar (whether coffee, tea, alcoholic or soft drinks) had 18% added on as tips (which we were aware of) but there was space on the tab to give another tip which we thought was somewhat excessive!!! Neither my cousin nor I (both females) drink but for someone who likes a tipple, then I guess the drink package would be the best bet. Also, we only found out by accident when talking to someone that the tap water is actually purer than the bottled water in the fridge which wasn't cheap!!! I didn't use any more bottled water after this revelation. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise and the ship's facilities but if I cruise again (this is only my second cruise) I think I would try another cruise line. It was lovely to meet all the different nationalities (70 on the crew) and the other guests including Brazilian, American, Canadian, Israeli, Australians, New Zealanders etc ect.