What options were there for excursions or solo adventures?
Princess Cruises have an abundance of excursions, from small groups to large buses, typical tourists sight right through to a range of ‘Off the beaten path’ tours which are ideal for the more intrepid or if you have already been to a destination before. They can also usually conjure up and create something for tailor requests through one of their many local agencies, so if you want a bike to meet you at the port or a private driver, it is also not a problem.
That said, at nearly all our ports (excluding St Petersburg) it was easy to access the city via either public transport or walking which means if you do just want to venture off solo then that is 100% possible. Something I just assumed wouldn’t be easy on cruises, but now I know how close most ports are, especially on the Baltic Cruise, it indeed is.
Docking up in Tallinn, close enough to walk
What is life like on the Regal Princess?
I’ve written a big post on Cruise FAQ’s and Myths which you should check out for some more answers but it was very different from what I expected.
Firstly, given the vast number of people onboard I expected it to feel jam-packed, but Princess ship design focuses on creating lots of smaller areas, from games rooms to multiple bars and lounges so that you feel comfortable and in a smaller environment.
The rooms are also rather spacious, especially with a balcony (like mine, see below) as a place to retire to if you want some me-time. Room Service is included in the price, and there are plenty of new release movies on the TV so if you just want a chill day that is entirely possible.
Most days started with a leisurely breakfast, a walk around the roof-top running track (I don’t run when I’m on holiday :P) before disembarking for a day of adventures. By night, a sit down a la carte meal (also included) followed by either a hot-tub dip or cocktail on the open roof deck watching a movie was the perfect way to end a day. Casinos and Club 6, the nightclub, also cropped up once or twice!
Inside the balcony stateroom
Let’s talk about the food…
I expected cruising to be quite samey when it came to food, buffets and repetitive menus but that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
There were countless dining options included in the price from A La Carte restaurants, buffets, bars serving up snacks through to ice-cream, burger grills and even a popcorn hut on the open decks. One thing is for sure; you won’t go hungry.
There are some dining upgrades available at a surcharge, but these range from only $20-$40 and when some of them include wine-pairing, such as the magnificent wine room in the dining hall, they are rather good value. My favourite was Sabatini’s, the Italian dining restaurant which had some of the best food I have ever eaten.
My friend Emily who was also on the ship has written a detailed review of dining on Regal Princess – worth checking out if you are in the mood to salivate right now!
Drinks are not included however, but with wine starting from $6 a glass and cocktails at $9 it is all fairly priced, especially considering a pint in Oslo might set you back $14. Drinks packages are available for the thirsty so you can essential bulk buy drinks on the ship. Brining more than one bottle of booze onboard isnt allowed so you do need to factor in both your drinks and excursion money to the final price.