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Regal Princess Photo Review (+ Celebrity Comparison) - Baltics - 6/15/2015 Sailing

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Hello Cruise Critic!


Here is my review of our 11 Night Baltic Cruise out of Copenhagen on the Regal Princess. Feel free to ask any questions!


Background: 3-20-somethings, 2 had cruised before (2 Caribbean cruises on Celebrity – Reflection and Silhouette), and 1 was new to cruising.


Overall Impressions: I will share my impressions of Princess and my impressions relative to Celebrity (because my previous cruises were with Celebrity I naturally compared the two). A lot of these you could call nitpicking, but I am pointing them out to give a full impression. Bottom line: I liked Princess and would cruise with them again if the itinerary/dates were a better fit over Celebrity. If a Celebrity ship (esp. Solstice class) fit the bill then I would choose them over Princess. The itinerary was exhausting due to the # of ports – not relaxing like a Caribbean cruise, but we saw a lot of cool things. The Regal is a great ship and there are many things I liked about it (some more than the Celebrity Reflection/Silhouette).


Demographics: the majority were older than us (seemed to be 50s+). It was what I expected, and didn’t mind at all. There were not a lot of children, which I also wanted and expected. Similar to Celebrity I would say, maybe age was older on average – which could be due to the itinerary, but that is speculation.


In the following posts I'll talk about

- The Ship

- Cabin

- Pre-Cruise

- Embarkation

- Itinerary

- Dining

- Bars

- Ports

- Sea Days

- Dress

- Activities/Entertainment

- Spa/Fitness

- Disembarkation

- Post-Cruise

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Ship: The Regal Princess. I liked the ship – I wish we had more time to enjoy it, and wish the weather was warmer to be able to enjoy the pools. I knew the negatives before booking – the ‘biggest’ downside for me was no mid stairs, but this was somewhat alleviated because we had a forward cabin (E110) - and could use the forward stairs. I naturally compared it to the Celebrity ships I had been on and for me there were pros and cons to the Regal. Nothing that would stop me from sailing on it again though.



- The ship is beautiful and well maintained

- I loved the main pool layout – it was pretty to look at and I loved the shallow bits. Too bad it wasn’t warm enough to enjoy. For me I liked it more than Celebrity. I thought it just looked elegant.

- I loved the aft pool and retreat pools – I really like the shallow bits.

- I loved the separate fitness areas on the ship - grouping them together makes sense!



- No Aqua Spa Café equivalent. I missed my protein drinks and a less crowded breakfast venue (unfortunately the International Café on Princess only had pastries).

- The piazza – while large, seemed enclosed compared to Celebrity’s open-to-the-top-deck atrium. I missed the glass elevators from Celebrity – the Princess mid ones are glass but the atrium is only open in the piazza.

- No mid stairs past deck 7 - a bit annoying. I generally avoided the elevators b/c I don’t like being packed in.

- The buffet – too spread out – always crowded (it was cold outside which didn’t help I am sure) – too many people asking for drinks – a designated waiter/waitress would have been nice.

- No 2 tier dining room and set time MDR seemed way in the back - like an afterthought

- I personally don’t love the outside lines as much as Celebrity. It wasn’t bad – but when I see a Celebrity ship I pause and think how good it looks.

- I like the solarium on Celebrity but didn’t ever spend time inside b/c I wanted to be outside, given the Baltic weather an indoor pool would have been useful.


There are more cons and pros here, but I did like the ship overall. There are more pros and probably cons - but these were the ones that stood out.


The Retreat Pool:



The Main Pools - I love the design here!



The Jogging Track - no dodging chairs!



The Piazza - elegant for sure - but I did miss being able to look up to the top deck - it seemed more enclosed b/c of that (as compared to Celebrity). Of course it is still a very large and open space:



The Regal docked in Oslo:


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Cabin: we chose E110 (fwd) to get the larger balcony. I loved this room. The 1st and last nights we felt the most motion (empty hangers banged and the open closet door banged - both were fixable). The 3rd bed was the couch and was as long as the other 2 beds. Companion found it fine to sleep on. I liked the closet – we fit our 3 suitcases open there (2 large and 1 carryon size). Ample hanging room. Loved the shelved closet. Bathroom layout was nice – I liked the counter space and shelves. I liked that the trash was open (no doors to touch). The shower was fine – no curtain sticking issues. They provided body wash and a combo shampoo/conditioner. I wanted a separate conditioner so I just picked one up in port.


The Cabin - E110 - the couch was the 3rd bed. Yes, it blocked the balcony door when down, which was annoying - there wasn't space to squeeze by the foot of the bed. We could fold/push it up a bit to get by, or roll over it. But it didn't physically prevent the balcony door from opening.



Closet Space - loved this! (Pro over celebrity)



Loved the shelf space and open trash (pro over celebrity)



View from balcony - looking up -



View from balcony - looking left -



The desk area - we would do our hair here and charge electronics - there is another plug hiding behind the phone. I brought a mini plug thing that turned 1 plug into 3.


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View of room/closet from door -



Balcony - next 2 photos - chairs are pushed all the way to the front railing b/c I used the rest of the space to workout. If 3 of us were out, we brought the desk chair out. The desk chair person used the back of the other chairs for a foot rest, or the reclining chair person used the ledge at the railing and gave the foot rest to the desk chair person. I didn't mind the metal railing - better than an orange lifeboat (which we experienced on the Silhouette).




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Pre-Cruise: I flew to CPH (Copenhagen) and arrived Sat morning at 915a (cruise departed Monday eve). I liked CPH airport - they had a couple good lounges and plenty of shops/dining options.


Getting from the airport to the city was easy on the train. The ticket machines only accept Chin/Pin cards.


We stayed at the Hotel - Wake Up Carsten Neiburhs Gade (small rooms – but clean and functional - made the cruise ship cabin seem large). It was a 10min walk from the main train station.



My companions were arriving the next day. I ate lunch at Restaurant and Cafe Nytorv - I got the Luxury Plate which had 3 kinds of herring (fried herring, pickled herring curry, spicy herring), fresh smoked salmon, shrimp, fish filet, homemade chicken salad, roast beef, warm liver pate, pork tenderloin steak, roast pork, 3 cheeses. It was a good sampler.


I toured Rosenbourg Castle and I walked around the gardens.







I walked to Nyhavn ('New-han') where I took the Netto Badene 60min canal tour - I saw the Little Mermaid statue (meh). Nyvahn is pretty but seemed more touristy.



I walked back to the hotel on Stroget/Stræget. I walked to Mother in the Meatpacking/kødbyen area. It's like Neopolitan pizza but they use sourdough bread in the crust so the crust has that extra tang.


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Walking around CPH -



On Sunday I went to Chistianhavn and climbed the tower to the Church of our Saviors Blood.



I walked by the entrance to Christiania as I didn't have much time. I ate lunch at Kødbyens Fiskebar - I got mussels, good bread, and a cheese plate.





Once my friends arrived, we headed to Tivoli Gardens. We rode the small world type ride (The Flying Trunk), a coaster (my favorite - they hand braked) called The Roller Coaster, Vertigo (too much pressure - 5Gs apparently), and the carousel. We got a Fransk type of sausage with mustard and Danish dressing - the hot dog was in a cylindrical bun.


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The mountain is the roller coaster we rode. It reminded me of Everest in Disney World :)



Beer at Tivoli:



The Fransk type of sausage with mustard and Danish dressing





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Embarkation: easiest thing ever. Copenhagen was a port for many due to the staggered on/off boarding. I assume that played a big part here. Left hotel at 1130a. At port by noon. 235kr set rate from hotel. No security and check-in line. Cabins were said to be ready after 1p but we decided to check and got in right away. Out luggage arrived within the next 30min. So smooth!


Hard sells on the drink package – a bit annoying. It was weird not to have an all you can drink package (like we had on our 1st 2 cruises), but not worth it due to packed itinerary. We just bought drinks when we wanted them (they have some 2 for 1 deals) – prices are, on average, less than Celebrity.


We ate lunch out back of the buffet – and we had private dining b/c no one else wanted to be in the cold I suppose.


Itinerary: in/out of Copenhagen, then we sailed to Oslo, Arhus, Warnemunde, Tallin, St. Petersburg (Overnight), Helsinki, and Nynäshamn. We had 2 sea days – one after Warnemunde and one after Nynäshamn . This was definitely port intensive – the 5 day stretch from Tallin to Nynäshamn was intense. All ports were docked, except Nynäshamn was tender.


I will talk more about these in later posts.

Oslo, Tallin, and Helsinki – we walked from the ship to the city

Arhus docked in a commercial port so you had to use the complimentary shuttle buses.

Warnemunde was 3hrs each way from Berlin. Almost 4hrs on the way back due to a detour b/c of construction.

St. Petersburg – about a 10-15min drive into the city

Nynäshamn is about 1 hr from Stockholm via public transit.

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MDR/Allegro8p seating. I didn’t love the one level – wasn’t as grand as on Celebrity. I liked being by a window since it stayed light until 1030p or so. The MDR is always hit or miss for me – there are a few memorable dishes and the rest blend together. There were 3 of us and had a table of 4 to ourselves.


There was no sommelier, the assistant waiter handled drinks – they were the sommelier along with our waiter recommending wine.


Allegro dining room is a bit hidden - up to 7 and down. Kind of a pain to locate and we couldn’t seem to remember how to get here until mid way through the cruise.


I enjoyed the cold soup -



I love sushi -



Tandoori shrimp was excellent -



Dessert -






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Some more MDR highlights -

Baked alaska - the best!



We passed the longest bridge in the world (we were told) while in the MDR - while heading back to CPH.



Buffet/Horizon Bistro/Court: Never really got the difference between the Bistro and Court. Was always crowded, which I did not like. It was nice to have silverware already on the table, but a couple times they looked like they had been used but not replaced. Didn’t seem each table had a designated server so 2-3 different people would keep asking if you wanted drinks. I would ask for bottled water and/or cappuccino at the table instead of getting these ahead of time.


I liked the stir fry -



My typical breakfast -



International Café: Always seemed chill. Got an afternoon snack here. Too bad they didn’t have something other than pastries for breakfast.


I missed the equivalent of an Aqua Spa Café – from a business, pre-plated, and healthy food POV.



Specialty: Sabatini’s was included in our booking – we got 2 free people at a Specialty restaurant and paid for the 3rd. They assigned us to Sabatini’s and kept this, but changed the time b/c we would have been in Berlin when they scheduled. The food was fine. This was my 1st time dining specialty and aside from the quiet / ambiance, I would not readily pay to dine at Specialty places since I wasn't blown away by the food more than I am in the MDR. It was good, but I just wouldn't pay $25 to experience this again.



We enjoyed the 2 for 1s at Crooners. Tried Club 6 and Wheelhouse Bar and the Piazza Bar. All were fine. All servers were good, a couple were standouts.

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I am listing the ports in Order of My Favorite (St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Tallin, Oslo, Copenhagen (listed above), Berlin, Arhus, Helsinki.


We took turns playing tour guide – else the amt of research we would have had to do was way too much for 1 person. We got tours in Berlin and St. Petersburg.


My favorite: St. Petersburg

Docked Overnight - 630a to 6p Next Day

Used SPB Tours

Day 1

We had a SPB tour at 8a.


We saw St Issac's from the outside/and went inside later in the day.

For reference that bird is 5m in width!



We stopped by St. Nicolas - a beautiful exterior.



We visited the Hermitage and Winter Palace - it was crazy trying to get in - pushing tour groups and arguments. The rooms in the winter palace were so sumptuous - the gold was stunning! I also loved the outside paint color. The lines inside got a bit insane.





The rooms in the Winter Palace portion were stunning!


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We ate lunch - we had beef and cranberry peregi which were delicious and a Grimbergen beer. Lunch was rushed, but I appreciated the promptness of our guide.


We went inside the Church of Spilled Blood - the mosaics were beautiful.







We took the Metro - deep underground since the city was built on swamp.




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Views along the Neva River -





We toured the Yusupov Palace, where Rasputin was murdered and ended at that Peter and Paul Cathedral/Fortress (pictured).



It was one long day – too much info near end for me. I didn't need commentary about every last item.


We got back at 530p to the boat (a little early). It was a bit tight, but I got back on, ate, and at 6p I left for a 7p show at the Mariinsky Theater. I saw the ballet company perform a Midsummer Nights Dream. I was in the front row, 5th from center and it was fantastic. The conductor did make some noise but I could tune it out. I could see the stage (i.e. pointe shoes) except when they were at the very front of the stage for a few moments I couldn't see their feet. I chose this b/c I wanted to pick my seat – I bought my ticket online and then SPB provided a driver for me.






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I saw the 1025p sunset from the boat. It was the longest day of the year.





Day 2:

We met at 750a. We started with the canal ride on the Neva River.



Then took a Hydrofoil to Peterhof Palace. We walked around the Peterhof gardens and saw the fountain show. It was all so beautiful.




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We ate lunch then we toured Catherine's Palace. The rooms were stunning.









We were back on boat by 4p.


Overall: our tour guide was efficient and they were long days - which we expected. I was thankful to have a tour guide so we didn't have to plan and fight the crowds as individuals, but the con is I couldn't always see what I wanted (such as certain art in the Hermitage), or I just got too much info on things I didn't' really care about - it became information overload on day 1.

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Stockholm (Nynäshamn). We did this on our own.

We were tendered 7a-6p.


We were up at 6a. They made tender ready announcement at 7a. We rushed down and got #1 tender boat. They walked us to the ships tender. It was about a 15min boat ride. We walked 15-20 min to the train station in Nynäshamn and caught the 35x bus to Västerhinge Station at 745a. The train from bus was right there. We arrived at Stockholm Central just before 9a.

Normally you could take a train all the way, but there was construction on the line.


It was raining so we took a cab to the Vasa Museum. I enjoyed the Vasa Museum. I got a cappucino, and an AMAZING cardamom pastry - kanelbulle, and a sprinkle ball.





We walked to the Abba Museum but there was a wait and we wanted to see the 1215p Changing of the Guard. We walked to the castle. We watched the change - some of the songs the marching band played reminded me of Disney.



We walked around Gamla Stan - it was so pretty and the views on the water were stunning.





Close to 3p we walked back by City Hall



We caught a 349p train. We were back in Nynäshamn at 510p and walked 15min. We got on the tender at 545p - there was a line but it kept moving. The tender process was all very smooth.


Overall: Stockholm was very pretty. I wish we had more time. Lot of time was spent in transit – more so b/c of bus to train transfer.

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I'm really enjoying your posts. We did this trip a couple of years ago and would do it again in a flash! Loved most of the cities. Your pictures bring back a lot of wonderful memories. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your trip reports. Thanks.

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Tallin - docked 8a-5p:


We did this on our own. Walked from ship to town. We were in the city from 830a to 430p.


We walked the Old Town. We climbed the Town Hall, saw Fat Margaret, went into the Church of the Holy Ghost (a medieval church), saw the City Walls, a Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and the Toompea Castle. We saw Vistas from the Patkuli and Kohtuotsa viewpoints.


It was lovely to walk around - it is a very picturesque town. It got more crowded as they day went on.


View from our balcony -



Entering Old Town -



Old Town -



Old Town - it rained this day -



Overlooking Old Town-



The main square -


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Your photos are amazing!


We did a Baltic cruise in Early June of this year and it was too chilly to use the pools. Oh well, the scenery more than made up for it!

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Thanks for writing this review and for the excellent photos.


The Baltic itinerary is on my bucket list and this only confirms that it belongs there.


I am also interested in your comparison points between Princess and Celebrity as I take my first X cruise next January on the Silhouette.


I am wondering if you can take the photos down to the next size available for upload as to see them whole and read the text I have to scroll horizontally. I am using a 13 inch monitor (Mac) and giving the whole screen over to the CC panel (hiding Bookmarks).


Is anyone else having the same issue?


Regardless, thanks for taking us along on this incredible voyage!



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Some of the highest quality photo's I've ever seen posted here ... Some absolutely amazing shots.



Thanks for your efforts, and then sharing them here


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Thanks for the review and pictures. We're going on the Regal on this itinerary next summer and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your pictures and getting your thoughts.

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