Baltic Cruise – May 2017

After booking a Scandinavian Cruise with the neighbors on Royal Caribbean, I asked my parents if they would like to join us. My father in the early stages of Alzheimer’s had never been outside the USA and mentioned he would really like to see another country before it was too late. We upgraded to joining balcony rooms, figuring he would enjoy watching the sites go by and also, I could keep a close watch on him. Arriving in Copenhagen after a long flight we had two days before getting on the ship. We toured the Carlsberg Brewery and enjoyed the included beer. We walked around the area and enjoyed a great dinner at the Warpigs Brewpub, were they served up fantastic barbecue with 22 beers on tap. Our first stop on the cruise was Riga Latvia. There we just wondered around the small town and saw the Riga Castle and the Freedom Monument, stopping for lunch at the Folkklups ALA Pagrabs Pub. Back on the boat we enjoyed several activities offered on the boat, as cruises go you can be as busy or not busy as you want to be. The second day we stopped in Tallinn Estonia, taking the shuttle into old town. We just wondered the streets and purchased some souvenirs again stopping for a beer at an outside café before returning to the ship. Day 5 & 6 were in St. Petersburg Russia, we had booked a two-day excursion through the ship. If you booked excursions through the ship you did not need a Russian Visa, but if you opted to book private excursions you did have to have a Visa before leaving the ship. We played it safe and just did the excursions the ship offered. In Russia we saw Catherine’sPalace and the Amber Room, Hermitage Museum, the onion domed churches, Yusupov Palace, Church of Resurrection of the Spilled Blood, Peterhof and enjoyed a typical Russian lunch. Next stop was Helsinki Finland, it was a cold day and even snowed on us when we returned to the ship. We made snow angels on the miniature golf course on the ship. We had booked a tour that gave us free to explore 3 locations. We visited the Rock Church, Sibelius Park and old town. We stopped in at the Hardrock café to pick up a t-shirt as we collect those. The next day was another cold one in Stockholm Sweden. We had decided to do a tour of the Vasa Museum to see the Viking ship, absolutely amazing, my father really enjoyed this visit. Next we went to an Ice Bar, we got all bundled up in snow gear and headed inside for a frosty drink. Our last stop was Klaipeda Lithuania, my husband and I ventured into town walking while the neighbors all opted for an excursion and my parents stayed on the boat. We wondered around a small market, buying more souvenirs to bring home. We finished our day at Herkus Kantas Pub for a beer before returning to the ship. All in all the cruise was a lot of fun, but it turned out to be a bit overwhelming for my father. He said he enjoyed the trip, but now has no memory of it, at least at the time we were able to check something off of his bucket list. Cruises are a great way to see the world and only unpacking once. I would say add the Scandinavian cruise to your bucket list, you will be glad you did.