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clj7181

“LIVE” 12 Night Scandinavia & Russia Cruise on Reflection - August 25th, 2019

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I love reading all the live trip reports, so I  am going to attempt to live blog my upcoming 12 night cruise to the Baltics on the Celebrity Reflection.  My last attempt I made it most the way through the cruise but I got bogged down a bit trying to answer everyone's questions then the app crashed on me.  I think I am better prepared this time.  This intro post it a lot of words, but I do love taking pictures so there will be more pictures and fewer words in future posts.

 

I am 38 year old female and am traveling with my mom who is in her 60s and we both enjoy traveling and photography.  This will be my third cruise and second with Celebrity, and mom's fourth cruise and third with Celebrity.  She was on the Equinox back in March with my sister - which was my sisters 1st cruise.  Both of our 1st Cruises was on the Carnival Liberty in the Southern Caribbean, we both enjoyed the cruising experience but decided that it was not the line for us - it's great there are so many lines since everyone has different priorities and travel preference, there is something for everyone - but I am happier on Celebrity and it fits my personality better. 

 

I have been dreaming of this cruise for a few years, there have been multiple spreadsheets comparing itineraries, ships and cost.   I actually wanted to go on a Baltic cruise before my 1st Caribbean - I am fair skinned and burn, so most my time on Caribbean cruises is searching for shade.  After much debate we decided to go with Celebrity and I originally booked the cruise on Mother's Day 2018 (which is fitting since I am traveling with my mom) on the July 20th sailing, but last August we switched to the August 25th sailing due to a conflict.

 

I will say what I paid for everything - I am not shy about it (and let's be honest, we all have google and could figure it out anyway - I'm just saving you the effort) and that way people know what things cost and to better help budget.  Others started to do this in their trip reports and it is greatly appreciated!  If I put $ it is USD, otherwise I will try and list the currency.  I will do a grand total at the end - this may scare me a bit, but it is what it is and what I have saved up for.  I would say I am a moderate traveler, I do enjoy nicer things but I am on a budget so need to prioritize what I spend my money on.

 

The total cost of the cruise booked with Go Best in a standard veranda room ended up being $7,778.92.  I wanted internet since we were away for 17 night and we both enjoy the premium drinks, so it just made sense for us and the math worked out.

 

I know quite a few people on here talk about the Celebrity price increases - so out of curiosity I priced the exact same cruise / room location / go best  for Aug 2020 - As of May 31 it was $8,923.40 USD and on July 19th is was $9,778.60 which was about when I changed dates.

 

Here is the cruise itinerary:

 

DAY 1, Sun, Aug 25 - Amsterdam Netherlands

DAY 2, Mon, Aug 26 - At Sea

DAY 3, Tue, Aug 27 - Berlin (Warnemunde) Germany

DAY 4, Wed, Aug 28 - At Sea

DAY 5, Thu, Aug 29 - Helsinki Finland

DAY 6, Fri, Aug 30 - St. Petersburg Russia

DAY 7, Sat, Aug 31 - St. Petersburg Russia

DAY 8, Sun, Sep 1 - Tallinn Estonia

DAY 9, Mon, Sep 2 - Stockholm Sweden

DAY 10, Tue, Sep 3 - At Sea

DAY 11, Wed, Sep 4 - Copenhagen Denmark

DAY 12, Thu, Sep 5 - At Sea

DAY 13, Fri, Sep 6 - Amsterdam Netherlands

 

We are leaving tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:55 PM from Chicago on United and arrive in Amsterdam at 9:20 AM on Friday.  The cruise departs on Sunday giving us two nights to explore the city.  Coming home the ship arrive on Friday and we are departing at 11 AM on Sunday and arrive back in Chicago at 1 PM meaning we also have two nights on the return.

 

The base cost for the flight was $1,686.66, but we did opt to upgrade to Economy Plus and have one extra checked bag for an additional fee and the total ended up being $2,776.66.  The bag fee is $400 of the upcharge ($100/bag x 2 people x 2 flights).  On that long of a flight we decided that $345 per person was worth it for the extra legroom.

 

For both our two nights on our outbound and return we are at the Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam - City Hall which I got for 450.25 EUR (900.50 total for four nights).  I was able to save some on both rooms with a corporate discount code.  I would advise booking early, I was checking on May 31st to see what prices were and here is what the second weekend's prices were looking like - per night and pre-tax.

 

Amsterdam Hotel Cost -Return.jpg

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Hope you have a Great Cruise!!   I will be following your live report,  I am doing this same cruise next year August 22, 2020.

Hoping to get some good information from you!! 

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Enjoy your cruise. We did the same itinerary a few years ago and loved it!  Looking forward to you review as we’re on the next cruise.

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Good luck with your live blog. We will see you onboard at the meet & greet.

 

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Ready to follow your adventure. I can attest it can get a little overwhelming doing a live review. Don't give up though. My first live review I could never get the daily's to post just kept timing out. So I went on with the review without daily's.

Looks like a great itinerary.  Good luck and safe travels.

Norma

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I was on the July 20th sailing. I will enjoy reliving my wonderful vacation through your report 😀

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Thank you for posting your review.  I hope your Baltic cruise was as good as ours!  It will be fantastic!

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We did this cruise back in 2012.  Stockholm was our favorite!  I would suggest Tuscan Grill for dinner to enjoy the sail out from Stockholm...it was incredible!

 

Have a great cruise!

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Vacation has officially began! We live about 2 hours south of O’Hare - we drove up and got dropped off and my dad will pick us on on Sunday when we fly back.

I always love the tunnel in the United terminal!

eefb9747744ce55991d13fedd688edd8.jpg

First stop was goose island - the directory said full restaurant but I was a hard pass on the very limited food options - but enjoying my Old Man Grumpy (ironically this describes my dad and having to deal with traffic).

3c61fac9e2d47403b857c3e9a8b7628e.jpg

Next stop is to continue the food search that isn’t fast food - I much prefer terminal 3 and the food choices.


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This is a great review so far.  I  have a tip to give you.  When you are sailing into Stockholm, get up early and I mean early!  Like 5 AM, so you can view the scenery in the archipelago as you glide in.  Order room service and have breakfast on your balcony.  It is magical.  I gave that tip to someone recently and she came back after the cruise to thank me.  We would never have known about this if we hadn't received the tip from someone on the cruise with us.  The scenery is lovely on the way out too but just not quite the same lighting.  I agree with the poster who recommended Tuscan for the sail out.

 

Have a great cruise and enjoy your United flight.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, TeaBag said:

This is a great review so far.  I  have a tip to give you.  When you are sailing into Stockholm, get up early and I mean early!  Like 5 AM, so you can view the scenery in the archipelago as you glide in.  Order room service and have breakfast on your balcony.  It is magical.  I gave that tip to someone recently and she came back after the cruise to thank me.  We would never have known about this if we hadn't received the tip from someone on the cruise with us.  The scenery is lovely on the way out too but just not quite the same lighting.  I agree with the poster who recommended Tuscan for the sail out.

 

Have a great cruise and enjoy your United flight.

We read this tip and did it.  So glad we did.  Also read the tip about booking at Tuscan for the sail out.  Another excellent tip.  The sail in/out at the different times are unforgettable.  

Edited by Josie201

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I am on this cruise as well. If you are on the Roll Call you are probably familiar with Pennypop. I am Mrs. Pennypop (Joyce). We're flying out on Saturday, arriving on Sunday which I am regretting. With all of the storms right now I hope we make the ship!

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Our flight was pretty uneventful - which is how I like it and we landed about an hour early but had to wait for a gate. We got to immigration and there were like 2 people ahead of us - the guy said nothing to me just stamped my passport and off we went.

Baggage took awhile - guessing about 1/2 hour or so. We then headed to the train station. It was 10 euro to central station and 20 euro to our hotel - which seemed a bit high - but we had 2 big bags and 2 small personal items each.

Going back I am just going to Uber - lady at the hotel said an Uber is about 40 Euro and a taxi would be 47 Euro - so work the extra. If you just have 1 bag, the train wouldn’t have been bad.

So far today we have just roamed the city and ate lunch - heading back to the hotel shortly.

My random story - in the red light district I was taking canal and store front pictures - something I do in every city. Well...in Amsterdam the prostitutes sit in big picture windows and one came out and cussed me out. Oops - note to self - make sure there are not an actual humans in the window.

Here are a few of the picture from today

Mom found a flea market
141acbb865f9ea90e135dc88770004f6.jpg

Canals!
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Pot - pretty sure I got a contact high
6048a54cfcbd680b7d5b3fe31fbc82c3.jpg

Cool old buildings
09a5d7fa7038cafacc7a3af56bbca64b.jpg

Bicycles everywhere
d01aaa84146d32c8aa0e1738290ea9ca.jpg





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This is a continuation...it was being fussy

I am not normally a Heineken drinker - but while in Amsterdam...
abb18932a38bbcfe14173942dd025a98.jpg

I see a nap in my very near future!


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You are going to love it! The places you are going to are all beautiful and lovely just to stroll around. 

What have you got planned in each port? We can offer tips around your plans. 

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3 hours ago, clj7181 said:

This is a continuation...it was being fussy

I am not normally a Heineken drinker - but while in Amsterdam...
abb18932a38bbcfe14173942dd025a98.jpg

I see a nap in my very near future!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

It's no Old Style eh...??  😉

 

Look forward to your continuing review....

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We were on the June sailing, same itinerary, same ship and had the best time we ever had on a cruise.     

 

Do not take the hop on hop off bus that picks you at the port in Copenhagen.  Worst run operation that we ever experienced.   

 

Do enjoy all the entertainment in the grand foyer - silent discos, sing-along Abba (night leaving Stockholm).  Our voyage had a very lively and fun group of people of all ages.   

 

ENJOY!!!!  

    

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If you get a chance, I've got a quick question. DH and I will be sailing on Reflection in the next few months and have an excessive amount of OBC as well as all 4 perks. We decided to upgrade our digital camera and purchase a new one on board. If you have a spare moment on board and could post what's available and the prices I'd appreciate it. If not, no worries. Have a wonderful time.

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This afternoon we napped and relaxed then I discover I forgot one of my cosmetic bags - it was an oh crap moment - fortunately what was missing was shampoo, conditioner, body wash and a tooth brush/paste and such - almost everything was easily replaceable. I travel all the time and this is a 1st for me - I have a packing list I use and somehow one of my cosmetic bags didn’t make it into my suitcase.

Shopping for shampoo involved google translate.

3b4207f79cbbadd90702e74d4dc751f9.jpg

The hotel room is small - but nice and the staff has been really nice. We are at the Holliday Inn Express - City has.

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Got dinner and had a drink to relax from the shampoo shopping!

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These tiny cars crack me up!
20190823ef88afd6f5bb03ba36cfb12c4e049ca7.jpg

Time for bed and another fun filled day tomorrow!


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Have fun and thanks for the report! Take good care of the ship for us as we'll be boarding when you return to Amsterdam.

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The tiny cars are popular in Amsterdam because they are allowed to use the bike lanes and park with the bikes on the sidewalk. I just looked up the rate for a parking garage in the central district: 55€ per day. I never drive to Amsterdam. I always take the train.

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