Flight in and Copenhagen, Denmark
We flew out of Orlando overnight to Copenhagen where our cruise was to depart. It really worked out that our flight landed in Denmark the day before the cruise left. This gave us almost an entire day to explore. We visited the beautiful area of Nyhavn and ate our way around the many cafes along the canal. Other than eating 🙂 we spent the day exploring the surrounding area full of beautiful 18th and 19th century townhouses, bars, shops and restaurants. If only we had another day here. I guess we’ll just have to go back.
Some people like to cruise for the ship, and some like to cruise for the destinations. I fall somewhere in between, but I am always excited for what Royal Caribbean ships have to offer. The Serenade of the Seas was no exception. Below I’ve listed some of the highlights of this particular ship.
Cafe Latte-tudes, Windjammer, Izumi, Chops Grille, Chef’s Table, Giovanni’s Table, Park Cafe and room service. There were so many choices of where to eat, we decided we would eat everywhere. My personal favorite was Izumi. It was THE BEST Japanese food I’ve ever had!
Drinking: With 8 different bar options, you’re never more than a few steps away from the refreshing beverage of your choice.
Entertainment: From dance classes to table tennis, from game shows to outdoor sports. On the Serenade of the Seas, there is something for everyone. We watched a movie on deck and then jumped in the jacuzzi. We even won a few bucks at the casino. When it comes to sailing with Royal Caribbean, you’ll never be wanting for things to do.
Excursions: All excursions on this trip were booked through Royal Caribbean. They are too numerous to mention here, but every day was full of adventure and we were so excited to experience what each new day had to offer.
Day 1 – Fredericia, Denmark
The ship sailed overnight to the historic port town of Fredericia. We took a short bus ride over to the Viking town of Jelling where we visited the Viking Museum and learned about ancient Danish history. Then it was back to Fredericia to tour the city and dine at the Michelin Guide restaurant Ti Trin Ned. The food and service were amazing and well deserving of their prestigious rating. We spent some more time exploring the town and had to grab an ice cream cone before we headed back to the ship.
Day 2 – Berlin (Rostock), Germany
After landing in Rostock, we boarded a coach bus for the ride over to Berlin. It was about a 2.5 hour trip, but the countryside was beautiful and BONUS* there were mini deer everywhere!!! So Cute!!! It’s unbelievable how many historically significant things there are in Berlin. The architecture of the museums, monuments and government buildings was spectacular. We saw the Brandenburg Gate, the Victory Column, Bellevue Palace and the Reichstag, and this was all before lunch. Speaking of…we stopped at a local sausage place and had THE BEST German sausage sandwich ever. Before the bus made its way back to the port, we made one more stop. Can we say the most stunning summer house I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t find a number for square footage, but the place is 1,600 feet long. Let me say this again… a summer home!!! It’s something you HAVE to see.
Day 3 – Day at Sea
Since our daily itinerary was so packed everyday with adventure, it was nice to have a day to sit back, relax and enjoy what the ship has to offer. There were great all-day dining options, fun shows, a fitness center, multiple pools and jacuzzis and 24 hour ice cream!!! During the day we spent most of our time relaxing by the pool and in the jacuzzi. At night we caught an evening show then headed for the casino.
Day 4 – Klaipeda, Lithuania
Upon departing the ship, we hopped ferry ride to take us to the quiet vacation town of Nida. It’s a small fishing village full of vacation cottages just a short distance from the Russian border. We took a nice stroll along the waters edge and stopped at a small cafe for coffee and a snack. Next was a trip to the Dunes of the Curonian Spit. I know the name sounds a little unusual, but picture massive sand dunes and pine forest as far as you can see against the backdrop of a beautiful lagoon beach. Afterwards we stopped to grab a bite at a pub in Old Town Klaipeda. Strawberry beer and a panini the size of a toddler!
Day 5 – Riga Latvia
Riga is known as “the little Paris” of the baltic states, and from the architecture alone, it’s easy to see why. The buildings in the area surrounding “old town” are a picturesque example of Art Nouveau design. As you walk through “old town” you get the feeling you’re inside a Harry Potter movie. This city has so much character and charm. The town center is dotted with cafes, shops and pubs. One of which contained our next adventure. We entered a shop with our guide and met up with the barmaid who was wearing traditional Latvian dress. She took us through a secret door disguised as a bookcase down a narrow winding staircase. Upon reaching the cellar we were directed to take a seat at one of the tables. She told us the story of how their traditional Riga Black Balsam liquor was made and how the ghost of its inventor still haunted the cellar. As we were listening to her story and tasting our own glasses of Black Balsam, strange things began to happen. A large set of keys suddenly fell from a hook on the wall. We all thought it kind of odd that this would happen during a ghost story. But what happened next had the room terrified. Someone or something began to pound on the doors to the room as if it were trying to break through…then silence. After the screaming stopped and everyone realized it was part of the tour, we all were laughing with people checking under tables and behind curtains to make sure nothing was going to jump out at them. All in all it was a very fun experience I would definitely recommend when you make your way to Riga.
Day 6 – Tallinn, Estonia
The next stop on our cruise brought us to the medieval town of Tallinn. The cobblestone streets and stone towers disguise the fact that this city is actually one of the technological hubs of Europe. I found out during our tour that Skype was invented there. It was also here that i fell in love with something I’d never really noticed before. I’ve never been one to collect things, except clothes of course, but here I was so tempted to buy a faberge egg. They were all hand-painted, unique and soo beautiful. I eventually decided against it, but I might have to pick one up next time.
Days 7-9 – St. Petersburg, Russia
The ship spent three days in port here, and it was still not enough time to experience all St. Petersburg has to offer. With the cultural significance of the city, you could spend three days touring just the Hermitage Museum. There is THAT much to see! But we did our best and explored the most famous museums and cathedrals, plus ate some of the most amazing local food. Yes, I said Russian food and amazing in the same sentence. Who knew??? And the vodka there…nothing like the vodka here in the states. It was served with pretty much every meal (except breakfast) and it was actually quite good. The first evening we took a cruise down the Neva River through the heart of St. Petersburg. We had live entertainment from Russian folk dancers, snacks to eat and of course more vodka. The second night we attended a Russian ballet. It was a performance of Swan Lake, which I had never seen before. Afterwards we were invited to a Q & A session with the male and female lead.
Day 10 – Helsinki, Finland
We started off the day in Senate Square where they had the cutest little farmers market. There was locally grown produce as well as handmade crafts and other goods. The strawberries looked so good we couldn’t pass them up, and they did not disappoint. They might be the best strawberries I’ve ever had! We then hopped into a bus for a short ride to Winter World, an indoor skiing and sledding complex and ice bar. Though it was about 50 degrees outside, inside they keep it at a crisp 25 degrees. We donned the snow suits we were provided and trekked out into the cold. This place was so neat. When you walk in, you are greeted by a bartender at a giant bar made of ice. Yep, a bar where they serve vodka and juice in shot glasses made of ice. They had igloos, an ice slide, ice sculptures, kick sleds and my favorite: dogsledding. We got to speed around the track being pulled by the absolute sweetest husky pups. Pretty sure they were having as much fun as we were. They couldn’t wait to get going, and like us, didn’t want to stop. It was SO much fun!! After we said goodbye to the pups and slipped off our snowsuits, it was time to head to the countryside. Our next stop was a family farm that was around 200 years old. The owner and her daughter came out and greeted us with fresh rhubarb juice and had the sheepdog round up all the sheep for us. It was quite a sight. With one motion, the dog ran into the field, rounded up all the sheep and drove them right to the corner of the field where we stood. The family then gave us a tour of the farm and the old farmhouse and even served us homemade cucumber stew. Afterwards, we had cookies and tea. Then it was time to say goodbye.
Day 11 – Stockholm, Sweden
This was a bonus day for us. It wasn’t a port of call, but it was the departure point for the cruise. We disembarked early in the morning and our flight wasn’t until the next day. This gave us an entire day to explore Stockholm, and explore we did. We took a ride on the high-speed train to old town Stockholm. This is where the royal palace sits on on an island in the center of the city. The palace takes up a small portion of the island and the rest consists of narrow cobblestone streets lined with cafes, bakeries, shops and boutique hotels. We strolled along snapping pictures along the way when we were suddenly interrupted. No, it wasn’t by a passing tourist or a shop owner selling wares. It was by the sweet smell of some unknown baked good we had yet to discover. We literally followed our noses down the street and around the corner to a small shop selling small slices of heaven. Ok, not literally heaven, but possibly the closest thing to it I’ve ever tasted. I had a Belgian waffle covered in Nutella and piled high with the most delicious whipped cream. We took it to go and continued our stroll through the winding streets. Fortunately it began to rain. I say fortunately because we ducked into a small cafe along one of the side streets, which turned out to also be the cutest little hotel. The lady running the hotel was so sweet and told us the history of the place as we waited out the rain. It was built in the 1600’s! We couldn’t believe it. After the rain stopped we ventured around for the rest of the day snapping photos and taking in the sights. Then it was back to the hotel to prep for our flight in the morning. I hate to try and pick favorites when we visited so many wonderful places during this trip, but Sweden is definitely a place I will have to return to.
Overall, I would highly recommend this itinerary to anyone looking for a European getaway and wanting to experience new cultures. If you’re interested in booking a Serenade of the Seas European cruise, us the promo code EUROTRIP18 for 10% off all balconies and suites. The code is good through August 11 and is combinable with everything except restricted rates.
Thank you Royal Caribbean for this amazing experience and for our accommodations.
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