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Just Off the Regatta June 1 Dover Stockholm


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Just back from the Regatta Dover to Stockholm trip and as promised, here are some thoughts (see pre trip posting from end of May ‘expectations”). First off, we had a great trip. Thank you to Oceania for doing a great job. The ship is excellent both in size and staffing. We found the food, cabin, smoking policy, facilities, and cleanliness to be completely as advertised. We had splurged for a vista suite and found it remarkable. Butler service was attentive and responsive and the space itself was expansive and luxurious. We were on the six-floor front and the only downside is the bass sounds from the Regatta lounge entertainment directly below and the vibrations and noise during early morning dockings. Not sure much could be done about either. We did use the fitness facilities and the Spa and found them of excellent quality and they compared very favorably to other cruises we have taken. The Oceania at Sea was available, pricey but efficient. We were always able to get on a computer and check our emails. We only used destination services for one tour to Gdansk. The tour itself was fine. The ship destination staff had warned of potential problems finding a taxi into Gdansk however it turn out that a number of taxis were available if we had chosen independent tour (which we would have preferred).

The port intensive itinerary for this cruise was exceptional and in most cases the docking locations were very good. We ran like crazy every day and made the most of our time in port. A word of thanks to all the people who provided information on the various web boards, we found it most useful. We structured our port activities based on your information and it went perfectly. To wit: Bruges Taxi Service was waiting, sign in hand, when we arrived; Berlin Sightseeing Co had a car and driver waiting to take us to Berlin and we picked up an English speaking guide who gave us a excellent whirlwind tour of the city; DenRus Tours was waiting at immigrations on the dock with a car and driver and their wonderful guide Elena gave us three interesting, informative and exciting days in St. Petersburg. For Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm we went directly from the ship to the local tourist information office and secured all- inclusive day cards which provided free or discounted entrance into sights and museums, unlimited use of public and semi public transportation (including on/off buses, ferries and canal boats) and discounts at specific shops. Combined with their maps and booklets we truly enjoyed a comprehensive one-day view of each town. Tallinn required no card and our Rick Steves self-guided walking tour fit the bill perfectly.

Cannot really comment about the entertainment on board, as we never attended any of the shows. Spent too much Casino time I guess. However there was certainly a variety of entertainers and music on board and at the docks. While we never attended the enrichment lectures we did find ourselves watching them on the TV in the cabin and other passengers did comment on their quality. The port talks were less informative and more geared toward selling tours rather than broadly explaining about the ports. However, with a single exception (which I think is quite remarkable) we found the entire staff to a person to be friendly, helpful and genuinely interested in servicing our needs. From wait staff to cabin staff, from embarkation staff to officers, from casino dealers to maitre’ds, everyone was friendly helpful and made us feel special. The one bad actor stood out for his poor performance compare to the rest of the people working for our benefit. So for a quick snapshot we had a great time on an excellent craft, met interesting people, saw exciting ports (it sure “wasn’t Kansas anymore”) and spent two weeks focusing on unique towns, interesting local customs and foods, pampering ourselves and not thinking about work and obligations. We found our trip to be both a great learning experience and a darn good time from morning to night. If I get a chance, I will write a follow up with day-by-day activities and information but for now I must get back to the real world. If any of you have any specific questions about the ship, and the cruise, I will watch the boards for the next few days and will try to respond.

PS: we are booked with my mother and adult children for the December 21st southern Caribbean aboard the Regatta. Expectations stated and met.

Stephen and Elizabeth
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Thanks for the great report! We are taking this trip next year and your tour info will be very handy. Glad you had a nice trip. [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

Sue & John

Constellation-9/7/04 Transatlantic
Mercury-02/18/05 Mexico
Constellation-06/04/05 Baltics

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Thank you for your informative post. It is nice to hear that you had such a wonderful time. We are on this cruise next month - just a couple of questions. Was Brugge Taxi Service a tour, or just transportation to the town? We were planning on touring Brugge independently - will we have problems getting to where we need to be if I don't make arrangements in advance? Regarding the taxi situation in Gdansk - do you feel that the warning about taxis was a marketing ploy by the cruise line? We were not planning on taking the ship's tour, and the itinerary offered to us by the private tour company furnished by our TA was way too intensive for such a short port. We were planning on going to the old town, having lunch and shopping for amber. Do you think we'll have a problem?
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The Brugges taxi was a ride into town only. There were other taxis waiting at the port but we felt better safe than sorry. You definitely need a ride into town (20 minutes away). Can't answer for Oceania's motivation but they sure were pushing the tours in Gdansk. They had indicated that other ships were telling them that the cabs would not come out to the port but there were plenty lined up when we left for the tour. Gdansk certainly can be done as a self guided walking tour with a little help from a good guide book. Basically, we went up one main street in old town and down another. There was more to see but all was pretty much contained. You might ask the taxi driver to stop by the church in Owija on the way and look and listen to the organ, its about 10 minutes out of the way to gdansk.
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Another possibility for reaching Bruges, if you aren't in a big hurry, is to take a cab to the train station in Blankenberge (a seaside resort not far from Zeebrugge). From there, commuter trains run at least twice an hour to Bruges.

If you've visited Bruges before and want to try something different, you can take the Coast Tram (Kusttram) from Zeebrugge to other resort towns along the Flanders Coast. The Kusttram has a Web site (in Dutch) at:


Durant Imboden
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I'm contemplating this cruise for next summer. Where did the Regetta dock in St.Petersburg? I know some ship dock farther away from the city, but was under the impression that the Regatta was small enough to dock at the English embankment.
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Hi Zimmy,

We used Bruge Taxi Service last year. Four of us split the cost of the transit. We booked it on line and paid by credit card for one way. We paid the balance after we returned to the ship. It was wonderful having the cab waiting for us when we exited the ship. There was only one other cab waiting for other guests who had booked in advance. We made a 3:00 p.m. time to be picked up and were more than ready by that time since Bruge was so crowded in the afternoon that we couldn't move on the street. We had a lovely day -- we took a little bus to tour the city and then a canal ride. We then had lunch and did some shopping.
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Cannonball: The Regatta was docked at Schmitt's area,( or Schmidts) which is very near the first bridge. I know of a couple who had their own visas and walked back to the ship in the evening. We were really close in and were in the Hermitage area in a short time depending on traffic. When we left the port, we were underway for at least 20 - 30 minutes before we saw the Princess ship docked waaaay out near the end of the commercial port area. Must have taken the buses ages to reach the city center. Regatta was beautifully positioned for quick access to all the sights.
We had beautiful weather. Sunny, but cool in the AM gradually warmer in the afternoon. Light rain during sailaway. (June 1 Dover to Stockholm)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Dear Steve

I do not believe that I am writing to people on the internet that I don't know!That being said, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR THE TIME AND TROUBLE Y0U TOOK to prepare the diary of yours and your wife's Dover/Stockholm cruise.

We are booked on the 7/27 sailing and plan to use you as our guide/bible.

That being said, I have questions for anyone out there who reads this and may have some input. Any help will be greatly appreciated as my husband and I have never been on a ship before, let alone for 2 weeks.

1. Do most people pre-medicate with Meclazine or anything like that to prevent sea-sickness?

2. Do the men generally wear sport jackets in the dining rooms at dinner or is a shirt with a sweater tied over the shoulders or worn [if cold] sufficient. That's my husbands general style and he would like to know if there is any reason to take a sport jacket on this trip.

3. Neither of us really drink but we do like to eat. What is the concensus on which dining rooms are best, in order of preference?

4. If you are staying in a penthouse can you order a hot breakfast in your room, and if you can, does it come hot?

5. A friend of ours who used to be in the travel business set up our 3-day private St. Petersburg tour. I am already a bit upset because he had us get our own Visas which cost close to $300 and now I find out from the various message boards that we didn't even need them. Now I am curious about the Tour Company he engaged for us at $800 per couple [there are 4 couples in our group]. It is called Victoria Russian Tourist House. Has anyone ever heard of them?

Anyway, thank you in advance to anyone who takes the time to read this message and an even bigger thanks to anyone who replies!

By the way Steve we are from Chicago also.

Thanks again,

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  • 5 weeks later...
Hi Stephen and Elizabeth,

I am new to this board and have been reading your postings and have noticed that 1) you are booked on Dec 21st Regatta and 2) you are from Chicago.

My husband Bill and I are also booked on Dec 21st and we are also from Chicago. This will be our first Oceania cruise (trying something new after 3 Windstar trips in the past 2 years) so I was happy to read your positive remarks about the cruiseline, ship, food, staff, etc.

We look forward to meeting you in December!

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