I am just back from the most amazing trip and it’s going to take me a few days to get out a trip report. My cousins, my sister, and I went on a 7 night Magic of Northern Europe Disney Cruise with the Adventures By Disney add-on. We departed from Copenhagen, traveled to Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm before returning to Copenhagen. It was worth every single penny spent. I knew the trip would be amazing, because my Disney cruises have been incredible, but I am now officially an Adventures by Disney convert as well and can’t wait to plan my next trip.
I wanted to do a really detailed recap, not only to have somewhere to put all of my memories, but also because when I was looking for reviews of this trip, I struggled to find any. If you found this site looking for reviews before booking, stop reading now, go book your trip, then come back. I’m that convinced you will love it.
We booked this cruise very early, then decided to add the Adventures by Disney package. It wasn’t cheap, but after looking at the destinations and the excursion options, we realized that the best way to maximize our experience in these cities was to do ABD. The day in St. Petersburg alone made it worth it.
I loved the personal touch to Adventures by Disney. Our group had 43 people in it and two guides. It was nice to spend the excursions with the same group and get to know some of the other people. Our guides were phenomenal, and each day we were joined by local experts. An extra perk was that the two guides carried around cameras and took all sorts of photos, posed family photos and group shots as well as candids. There were literally hundreds of photos to go through when I got home, and lots of incredible shots of us in front of some phenomenal landmarks. It wasn’t something I considered when booking but the added value is honestly priceless.
Plus with Adventures by Disney, you get a pin of the day. Who doesn’t want that?
Getting to Copenhagen
I’m very lucky that I live in a major metropolitan area, so I could get a direct flight from DC to Copenhagen. Not surprisingly, with four of us traveling from four different cities, there were some flight issues. My cousin Liz and I made it on time. My sister Caitlin was about half a day delayed, but her luggage went on an adventure and just barely made it to the ship (talk about stressful). My cousin Annie’s flight was cancelled and she arrived a day late, but in plenty of time to get on the ship.
My flight left at 5pm. It’s an 8 hour flight. Copenhagen is 6 hours later than DC, so not an insignificant time difference. Of course, that meant that I arrived at 7am Copenhagen time, and my brain thought it was 1am. While an 8 hour flight should mean a decent amount of sleep, trying to fall asleep at 5pm just wasn’t going to happen. I may have gotten 2-3 hours of interrupted sleep. Nevermind that, I was on vacation!
Day in Copenhagen, Denmark
Liz arrived the day before me, so when I got to the hotel, she already had a room. This was huge, as it meant I could just drop my bags with her, change and get cleaned up from the flight. She and I then went on an excursion through the city.
Copenhagen had a lot of options for “hop on, hop off” bus tours, but since we knew we would be doing a lot of city tours, we decided to just explore. We ended up walking to Christensborg Palace to explore. Christensborg isn’t only a palace, it’s also the seat of Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court. Being used to US security, I was amazed at how easy it was to walk around.
I was super impressed by the ruins found below the castle. They date back to the 1100’s! It’s pretty impressive how many times this castle was destroyed (often by fire – this place seems cursed) and rebuilt.
For dinner, we grabbed something near Tivoli Gardens and waited for Caitlin to arrive. Which she did, sans luggage. But all was not lost.
Day 1 – Welcome Onboard!
First thing Thursday morning, Caitlin went back to the airport and procured her suitcase, which had gone on a grand adventure without her. This was a huge sense of relief for everyone. My cousin Annie had made all of her connections and was taking a shuttle straight from the airport to the port, so Liz, Caitlin, and I boarded a bus to head to the Disney Magic.
Since we were doing Adventures by Disney, we had to do the normal cruiseline check-in, then check-in at the Adventures by Disney desk, where we met our guides for the trip, Pamm and James. They double-checked any food allergies and for the days that we would be eating in the various countries, asked us our meal preferences. Basically, in each country, we got the local option or a chicken dish. While I went for the traditional dish in each place, it was nice to have the option.
We also got our first pin of the day for the trip! This was a surprise to me and I was really excited to learn that Adventures By Disney trips include pins of the day.
We boarded the ship, grabbed lunch, Annie arrived, and the fabulous foursome were off!
At dinner that night, we met our table mates, who were also on the Adventures by Disney tour. We actually came to learn that we were surrounded by people on our tour. In this instance, it was a good thing, because we came to know each other and enjoy each others’ company, but I can see where this might grate on people if they’re stuck with people they don’t like (though for dinners on the ship, the cruise line staff will move you if you’re unhappy with the people you’re sitting with).
Day 2 – Day at Sea
Struggling with jet lag, we dragged ourselves out of bed for a 10am meet and greet with our Adventure Guides and group. We got to meet the other people on our tour and learned a bit about how the days would work. There were two ABD groups on the ship – we were the “adult” group, ages 18-82. The other group had the kids. I’m not against a trip with kids, but I did like that they split things up for this trip. It also meant that we adults got to do more of the fun kid things!
That afternoon, we went to see Christopher Robin (adorable) and spent some time exploring the ship (and the food) and went to see the evening show.
To be continued in the next post, where we arrive in Estonia!