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Bullswood

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  1. One or two of those who kindly offered advice above have requested feedback on how our trip went, so here goes... In short, it was a great success and we all had a wonderful time on our Baltic cruise on Silver Spirit. Staff from boarding through to cabin service and restaurants were uniformly charming, and fellow passengers likewise. I was told that there were 35 under 18's on board out of 550 or so total, (though we didn't see any babies or toddlers) and Silversea made a great effort to provide for them with a Youth Counsellor, who was introduced as we boarded, and a daily program of activities delivered to each cabin with kids. Kids' menus were available in all restaurants. Activities for the 6-11s, for example, included crafts and board games, Lego making with a complimentary bag of goodies, a treasure hunt, ice cream making, a movie night with popcorn and pizza, ping pong and shuffleboard competitions and even the offer of a trip to the bridge (not taken up as it was on a port day). The kids, as far as I could see, were well behaved and ours enjoyed chess games and jigsaw making with senior fellow passengers. I was initially a little surprised by the low take-up (maybe half a dozen on average) at the organised events but in fairness there was only one sea day and the rest of the days included long & exhausting activities ashore. For our group, we tailored private shore excursions to include a mix of child friendly activities (e.g. Tivoli in Copenhagen, the marvellous Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn and The Grand Maket, Shadow Museum & Matryoshka Painting in St Petersburg). Other parents with whom I spoke were uniformly appreciative of Silversea's efforts in providing kids' activities on board but as one said, it was actually a rare opportunity for some working parent/child bonding so they didn't really want to send the kids off for the day anyway (hence perhaps the choice not to go with a more child oriented cruise line). Once again, thanks to those who offered constructive advice and encouragement, and for those with children wondering about Silversea, if you appreciate quality time together and relish a few days spent as a family, go for it. One caveat would be to plan your own shore excursions - most kids aren't up for the generally slow progress of large groups and long days in museums, or even shopping expeditions, and going it alone enables the places and pace to be of one's own choice. That actually suits me just fine as I prefer to avoid the regimentation of organised tours, kids in tow or not!
  2. Thanks Pasca - really useful ideas and we'll work with Silversea on some of them. We have already arranged age appropriate private tours at all the ports so we're really just left with filling one sea day, and are making good progress there too. Our children are fortunate to be more than used to F cabins and 5 star hotels, and we've always been proud of the way they conduct themselves, so I guess I should just be amused by some of the other posters' assumption that anyone under 18 can't be well behaved. Having made my pile in the top end hospitality business, I can assure you that kids were the least of our problems! We'll just hope that our children don't meet any excessively drinking, smoking or grumpy cruisers at the other end of the generation scale who think they own the cruise line. Silversea reservations did tell us about the age demographic (while making it clear that they are not one of the "adults-only" lines), hence my vain plea in the OP to hold fire on the lectures. Anyway, it's been worth the flak for the great ideas received from you and others, so thanks again over & out from me.
  3. Thanks to lolawpb and the others offering helpful advice. All noted and greatly appreciated - we're now more than comfortable with our choice!
  4. Actually, the request was deliberately only for advice from previous family cruisers, not opinions re taking children as I know the majority view from our research before we booked, and that's all noted! Anyway, thanks for your good wishes and we've had a couple of good steers on here for which I'm grateful. I'm sure we'll have a great trip and I must say that Silversea have been very helpful so far in meeting our specific requests.
  5. Thanks seaquay - a helpful answer to my question and I had heard similar rumours re school holiday trips. I'll check with Silversea.
  6. Thanks the_dylaness for the advice & good wishes. Certainly don't buy into the gloomy first reply. Silversea are adamant that the kids are very welcome and I'm sure we'll all have a good time, especially on the port days. We've ordered a stock of deck games such as quoits to be delivered, so if the weather is kind we'll have a few diversions!
  7. We are a group of 5 adults & 11 (all under 12 y.o.) kids on a Spirit Baltic cruise in late July. Before anyone jumps in, yes we know Silversea is probably the wrong line but the dates/itinerary/pricing fitted perfectly into our European stopover on a much longer trip around the globe and most days are in port. The school vacation cruises apparently attract more families so my question is whether there is anything on board which might be an appropriate diversion during the single sea day other than wi-fi & TV? I understand from this board that the evening entertainment doesn't start till 10 (after my bedtime, let alone the kids!), so I guess it's a case of bring lots of books & board games. We're planning to skip the formal evening and are pleased with the range of catering choices, but any advice from previous family cruisers on Silversea would be most welcome>
  8. I'm a bit anti the way Best push promotions here... "On top of those discounts, I will be happy to give you an additional personal discount of 10% (discount for one person) if you put a post on Cruise Critic Roll Call to tell that you have booked (or considering booking) a tour with us – please make sure to put the name of our company – Best Guides –and encourage other cruisers to join you."
  9. ....also, can anyone pls advise which dock Silversea Spirit uses in St Petersburg?
  10. Does anyone know whether there would be a problem on a 3 day cruise stop in St P in doing a 2 day private tour followed by a cruise line's tour on the third day?
  11. We've also booked TJ 2 days for July 14. Does anyone know whether there is any paperwork problem with combining their 2 day private tour with a ship's tour on day 3?
  12. We're on the cruise ex Copenhagen 11 July and after a lot of research, we'll be opting for a local tour company - very good reviews for Anastasia,SPB, TJ and Best. Friends have used several of these and worked fine at a fraction of the SS price (and with a greater range of options/customisation). Not going to Moscow - seems a very long day in the train!
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