Cruising with friends to Norway and the Baltic-Epilogue

Beautiful Serenade of the Seas docked at Geiranger, Norway

Beautiful Serenade of the Seas docked at Geiranger, Norway

I am sure by now everyone knows that I love cruising!  I have enjoyed all the ships we have cruised on, all the shows and activities we have participated in and, all the ports-of-call we have visited.

But, what I have enjoyed most over the years is traveling with family, long-time friends, new friends and friends we have met on other cruises.

On our cruise to Norway and the Baltic all of the elements that I love about cruising came together.  We were in the company of long-time friends Vilma, Jim and Mickey; Mickey’s sister and new friend Betty and friends we met in 2014 while cruising across the Atlantic, Sue and Doug.

Once we had a chance to catch up on our rest, laundry, mail and reconnected with our family and friends back home, I reached out to our fellow cruisers to see what they thought of our three-week adventure.  I asked everyone what their overall feelings about the trip were, what they thought about the ship, what they thoughtof the shows and activities on the ship, and what they thought about the ports-of-call in Norway and the Baltic.

Vilma's beautiful view of Alesund, Norway

Vilma’s beautiful view of Alesund, Norway

IMG_4519Vilma & Jim –We thoroughly enjoyed the cruises – best – the stops we made and the opportunity to go a few days early to Copenhagen and stay extra days in Stockholm.  We are not veteran cruisers so 3 weeks was a bit long for us.  Great seaports however, made the trip worthwhile.  We lucked out on weather which made the trip even more enjoyable.

The best thing about the ship – not super big. Easy to get around. Also loved the gym and the exercise classes I attended every AM.  A couple of thousand passengers was enough – made disembarking and getting back on much easier.

Favorite shows were the song/dance shows and the show put on by Topi.  Also the show featuring British band with songs of the 60’s.

Norway was far and away best part of the cruise.  Great small towns and Beauty of the fjords took your breath away.  Very calming.  I had been to Bergen 49 years ago – not much has changed!

I was most excited about St. Petersburg – Jim and I both enjoy history so we loved the summer & winter palace of Catherine the Great and the lunch stops on both days were delightful.  The food was bland but the experience and wine was worth it.  The city and country I would return to for more than an afternoon would be Helsinki.  We also enjoyed the smaller towns of Tallinn and Riga.  We enjoyed trying out the local beers at all ports!

Small fishing village in Honningsvag.

Small fishing village in Honningsvåg .

IMG_4535Sue & Doug – I love all cruises, but what was so special about these 2, besides the incredible itineraries, was spending time with such wonderful people – Vilma, Jim, Mickey, Betty, Dale, Karen, and especially you and Randy.  Doug said the cruise was fun and relaxing and he enjoyed meeting new people and spending time with friends.

Serenade is a beautiful ship and easy to get around.  I loved the location of our cabin, and our large balcony was great.  The new Voom internet, however, was frustrating.  Doug likes this class of ship (Radiance Class). He felt the crew was especially friendly and attentive.  Serenade handled the couple days of rough seas exceptionally well.

Doug and I both enjoyed the Enrichment Lectures and the Headliners. We especially loved Topi and the Top Dogs performance, and also his presentation of his 8-month life-changing experience as he sailed the South Pacific from Panama to Australia on a 43’ catamaran.  I also loved the Arctic Circle Blue Nose Initiation and Crossing Ceremony.

I was so excited to cruise into the Arctic Circle.  I loved Honningsvåg, and North Cape with the “Northernmost” everything.  Bergen was a highlight with Bryggen’s colorful buildings, and the views from Mount Floyen.  Norway’s Trolls captivated me.  I cannot forget to mention the excitement of seeing the ‘Midnight Sun’.  Doug says all the port were picturesque.  He liked that they were not big cities, but quaint towns.

I loved all the ports on the Baltic cruise.  I really loved Riga.  Doug’s brother’s wife was from there, and we were both so glad to have gotten there.  It was especially emotional for Doug.  I enjoyed St. Petersburg’s Metro, and see the magnificent buildings in the city, but I sure didn’t get the warm fuzzies in Russia.  The Ice Bar in Stockholm was a highlight; and who would have guessed I would have enjoyed the airport so much.

On both cruises tasting traditional foods and local beers was a real highlight, but experiencing it all with friends was the icing on the cake.

The Seven Sisters in Gierangerfjord

So many beautiful waterfalls in Geirangerfjord

Betty and Mickey

Betty and Mickey

Betty – It was great!  Mary made it better for me.  She was very welcoming.

Everything about the ship was good.  Shopping, food, etc.

The entertainment was really good.

Beautiful scenery.

Fantastic, especially St. Petersburg.

Mickey – I enjoyed it a lot, but 21 days was a long time.  The ports of call were wonderful.

Not having to move every night.  The staff was wonderful, for the most part.  Food was good, but too much.

I really liked the cruise director, Topi.  He, as well as the rest of the entertainers were very good.

They were great.  I had never been to any Scandinavian countries before so I really enjoyed them.  The fjords and waterfalls were mind boggling.

I enjoyed the ports in the Baltic.  The weather was warmer than in Norway.  I had been to St. Petersburg before, but at a different time of the year.  This was much more enjoyable, except for the people.

Beautiful street in Tallinn, Estonia

Beautiful street in Tallinn, Estonia

IMG_5581bRandy – I thought it was a wonderful cruise.  The country of Norway was beautiful.

It was a great ship.  Easy to find everything and plenty of places to watch the water go by.

I enjoyed The Revolvers and the ABBA group.

Having been there before, I still prefer Tallinn, Estonia.  I enjoyed the tasting tour we took in Riga, Latvia.  Did not care for St. Petersburg or Helsinki.  A little disappointed with Rostock because we went to a commercial port instead of the resort we were supposed to dock.

I want to thank everyone for sharing your time, pictures and experiences with me so I could make this journal of our voyage come to life for my readers.  And, thanks to all my wonderful readers who sent along so many wonderful messages.

Until next time…



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6 Responses to Cruising with friends to Norway and the Baltic-Epilogue

  1. Rachel Herbig says:

    Wonderful journal… So glad you had so much fun!!!!

  2. Dee manin says:

    I was visited by Gen Fullmer while you were still cruising…so that was fun your trips…Dee

  3. helffrich says:

    As always I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. It certainly was a great trip. More to come. Traveling with you and Randy was a real treat.

  4. Randy Chartier says:

    An absolutely wonderful cruise!!!

  5. Wonderful! Thanks for the photos. I’m leaving for Tallinn shortly.

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