For years and years, Russia was on my bucket list of places to visit. I also really fancied doing another cruise as the Alaskan one was brilliant fun and we saw some amazing sights. It occurred to me that a Baltic cruise would tick both boxes so a few weeks ago, we set sail on the Marella Discovery on the Baltic Capitals itinerary.
We chose that particular cruise because we preferred the choice of ports that it went to and it had the huge advantage of sailing from Newcastle. No flying required! Also, the price was right.
We splurged on a balcony cabin this time. On our previous cruise we had an inside cabin and while it was adequate, we felt that it was slightly stuffy and may have contributed to the migraine that I had for the last two days of the cruise. Also, with so many exciting things to see along the way, a balcony cabin would be more fun.
The cabin was small but enough for our needs. The bathroom was very compact but had plenty of storage space and the shower was small but mighty.
The bed was comfy, there was plenty of wardrobe space and the lighting was good. I particularly liked the reading lights on either side of the bed. As well as the wall lights, there was a small directional light that pulled out and twisted to where you needed it.
I’d bought some magnetic hooks and clips before we went and they were really useful. They weren’t very strong but were fine for hanging up baseball caps, sun hats etc, and for clipping the Cruise News & other paperwork to the wall.
The ship was lovely. We thought it was just the right size. There were plenty of places to eat and the food was good, especially Afternoon tea in Islands, the buffet restaurant.There were little rolls, all different types, as well as the sandwiches. All small and with different fillings, which varied each day. We just loaded a plate up to share. There were tiny cakes and desserts too, as well as a pudding, such as pear and whisky crumble with custard. Yum. It fast became our favourite meal so we’d fit the other meals in around it, usually having a late night snack from The Glasshouse instead of dinner.
We liked The Glasshouse and had dinner in there a few times. They serve tapas and pizza, both of which were lovely. I’d never had tapas before so I really enjoyed trying the different ones.
Our cabin was on deck six. I’d chosen that particular location as it was as close as I could get to the centre of the ship, while still having a balcony. You get less movement in the centre, which is handy if you’re not sure if you’ll be affected by seasickness. It also had the advantage of being just a few steps away from The Coffee Port. We loved it in there. It spanned the width of the ship, around the central atrium, and served frothy coffees, huge lush-looking cakes and ice-cream. There was a small supplement payable for it all, but it was nice to sit with a frothy coffee sometimes, (and maybe a cake).
The entertainment was excellent. We went to the evening show in the Broadway lounge a few times and always enjoyed it. There was plenty going on throughout the day too for those that wanted it. If we were in port we were usually off the ship exploring, and preferred to relax on our balcony the rest of the time.
The crew were fantastic. Our cabin steward was lovely and couldn’t do enough for us. We had a full service in the morning and a quick check, turn down service and chocolates in the evening. The snack stewards in Islands were excellent too. The tables were cleared quickly and the food was kept topped up and looking nice.
The cruise was all-inclusive with most of the food and drink, plus tips, included in the price of the cruise. There was a small supplement for the two speciality restaurants, some of the alcohol, although there was a brilliant selection included, and the Coffee Port. We thought it was terrific value and Stephen enjoyed having the odd beer or gin and tonic. I sampled a few mocktails and the alcohol-free beer. One thing that Stephen really enjoyed was the drink selection in Islands. Not only do you help yourself to food, and soft and hot drinks, but also the beer. There were beer taps with cider, lager and bitter. There were wine taps too, with white, rose and red.
The captain made announcements daily to update us on various things. He was always cracking jokes and his announcements were never boring. Generally we found the whole crew to be pleasant and cheerful and very approachable.
I loved the decor around the ship, from the curtains in the Broadway lounge to the artwork on the stairs. The Atrium was pretty and there were plenty of places to explore. We went for some walks on deck ten, where there was a track all the way around. It was a bit breezy up there but it was nice to stretch our legs on sea days.
We had four days at sea and the other nine days were in port, which we though was just the right mix. We had an amazing time, seeing some beautiful places and meeting some lovely people. One thing that we liked was that most of the other passengers were normal, down-to-earth people. We had some lovely chats.
There was a dress to impress night each week, but otherwise if you wanted to dress up you could, and if you didn’t, no problem. We did dress up a little, but we don’t do fancy.
I’ll upload some pics of the various ports as I get around to sorting them out, with some details about what we did there, if anyone’s interested.