Just got back from the 7/12 - 7/20 Baltic cruise on the Radisson Mariner. I'll post more notes once my body catches up with the time changes.
Visby - a walled town. really attractive. We just walked around for a few hours and saw a few sights. Walked up some backstreets to see how people lived. It was the weekend so the ferries brought tons of young people from Stockholm to visit. Gave the town a great European feel.
Stockholm - Our first visit to this town so we stuck to the old town, also a walled city. Saw several sights, got lots of neat pictures of the architecture and did some shopping. The city was crowded with tourists, but there were few Americans. We were the only ship in port. Caught a taxi to and from the old town. Less than $10 each way I think. Won't be our last visit so we did not try to do too much. Its more enjoyable if its not rush rush.
Tallin Estonia - Also a walled city. Some neat architecture and a few sights. Did some shopping, lots of good pictures. Only walked around for a few hours. Complimentary bus to town.
St. Petersburg - 3 days here. This is why we picked this trip. The 3 days allows a full day Moscow trip on that middle day. I recommend getting a Russian visa as it gave us the ability to do things on our own. Gave us total flexibility and it turned out we used it. Several couples we talked to were bummed they did not have that flexibility.
Day 1 - we hired a guide $7, car and driver $10 hourly. After seeing the town we went to the Hermitage and gave up the car and driver (didn't need to pay for that for the 3 hours we were in there). We were with our guide for about 9 hours. She was as good as it gets. email@example.com I wanted to buy a good bottle of vodka so she took us to a grocery store so I could do that. Most of the buildings we wanted to see were covered in scaffolding as they are preparing for the 300th anniversery next year.
Day 2 - Moscow day trip was a ship tour. $500. I'd do it again. It is a brutal day, about 13 hours or so. Lots of busses and a charter flight. Got to see the Kremlin, Red Square and lots of sights around the city. Had an outstanding lunch at Hotel Pushkin.
Day 3 - we went to Peterhof. Got a taxi, rode the hydrofoil both ways and got a taxi back to the ship all by ourselves. Very doable. You must have a guide to get in before noon, otherwise you are with the masses standing in line to get in later in the day. Since the ship left we had to get in before noon. We got lucky and found a private guide with two women that allowed us to tag along just until we got thru the door. Wonderful place. Worth seeing. Make sure you find the trick fountains on the grounds.
Thanks for the infomation. We are scheduled for a cruise in this area on Aug. 27 with Royal Caribbean and we are really looking forward to it. We will be watching for more notes or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam and Danny
My sister and I sailed to the Baltic on NCL. While the ship passed as acceptable, the
ports of call were great to experience. I hired a guide for Tallinn, Estonia and would
highly recommed making your own arrangements than take the ship tour. We saw
everything and our guide was very informative and answered all our questions. His
name is Ahti Arak and you can reach him at (email@example.com).
We obtained visa's for St. Petersburg and again hired a private guide. The rate we
arranged was half of what the ship lists for a guide and car. Her name is Olga Kornilova and you can reach her at (firstname.lastname@example.org). She was again very
knowledgeable and speaks English well.
We reasearched our ports of call and knew what we wanted to see and both guides
were very flexable and work well with our requests.
The remaining ports can be done on your own very easily. City transportation is easy
to figure out and the information centers are very helpful to travelers. However, I
would suggest you get a guide book and know what you want to see.
I noticed on the message board you were taking the Baltic cruise on NCL Dream. We are taking the cruise 6/27/2003. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to hearing from you. email@example.com
The two of us will also be on the Grandeur departing 12 June 03. We are interested in going in together with others on a Red October tour in St. Petersburg to defray costs. Are you willing to share/discuss? Would like to know the details that you have arranged: where to visit, how long, cost, etc.
Have read on another message board that Red October's fees have increased quite a bit, even exceeding that of the cruise ship, and mainly due to the 300th anniverserary. Not sure if true.
Take about $20-30 in local currency for all stops except Russia as Rubbles cannot be obtained. Anything else use a credit card.
Don't miss the trip down the Kiel Canal as this is the highlight of the cruise.
Get your vodka and caviar from Yelisev's in Nevsky Prospekt, the best vodka being marked as "Russian Standard".
In Copenhagen - don't use the ships trip to Tivoli Gardens ($25) but walk (i's about 20-30 mins along the waterfront) Entrance is 5 euros (about $5) if you want you could get a taxi back (about $10 but you will need Danish Krona)
We sailed to those ports on 4/28/2003 cruise. Stockholm is very easy to see on your own, by foot. Have you checked www.frommers.com for highlights? I hope you don't miss Skansen. You can get there easily by ferry, and you cannot miss the ferries. You walk a blue line from the ship to the edge of the old town (which is so nice to explore by foot), and the ferries are right along the waterfront. It's about $3 U.S., and they leave every 20 minutes. The Vasa Museum is also on the same island as Skansen, and it is so great. It's better than the Viking Museum in Oslo! Frommers also has a walking tour of the old town that was just great. Stockholm was our favorite port, and it's very beautiful. (We didn't get to go to St. Petes or Helsinki due to the ice. I have a separate posting about that under the Norwegian Dream if you are interested.) We didn't go on the waterways of Stockholm tour, but I've heard that's fabulous.
Oslo is also very easy to see by foot, and we docked about 100 yards from the ferries that take you to the peninsula where the Viking Ship Museum is. It's a great museum too. It's small, so you won't need much time there. If you're really into that kind of thing, there are two more ship museums on that same island. There is also a folk museum on that island that is similar to Skansen in Stockholm, but Skansen is much better. We also did a historic walking tour in Oslo. I don't know what kind of shopping you like, but I wouldn't budget a lot of time for shopping there because we didn't think it was good. This might be a port for you to book an excursion to see some of the countryside because we wish we had done that. We went to the Resistance Museum and to the military museum in the afternoon, and they were both very good.
I hope you have a great time.
> Hi Darrell,
> Only read your first notes from the Baltuc cruise, still need
> some input for Olso, Stocholm and Helsinki.
> We are going in June 12, 2003 on the RCL Grandeur of the Seas.
> We've hire a private tour guide by Red October in St.
> Petersburg and Tallinn, Open top tour in Copenhagen. walking
> tour in Oslo........but don't much about Stockholm and
> Thank you.