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-   -   Northern Europe (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/european-mediterranean-destinations/379442-northern-europe.html)

JOJOCruiser January 13th, 2011 11:28 AM

Northern Europe
 
Hello!
Just wondering if you can advise me on a good cruise line for going north to Sweden, Norway, St Petersburg....

Also - what are ports 'not to miss'??? Plan on sailing later this year.

Thank you!:D

Marc January 13th, 2011 11:33 AM

I would recommend Regent Seven Seas Voyager. You get three days in St Petersburg. If this is your first visit, you will definitely make out with free excursions ( a couple of excursions do have extra charges). I was able to take six separate excursions in my three days. You also get to see Talinn, Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. I think they have added additional ports this season. Not miss are St Petersburg, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. I also really enjoyed Helsinki on my two visits. Talinn and Visby were ok but nothing special.

Try not to go too early in year. May and June are really too cold in some of these ports; July and August best.

Marc

JOJOCruiser January 13th, 2011 11:35 AM

Great info!! Thank you -

MercedMike January 13th, 2011 01:30 PM

Northern Europe
 
Wow, what a broad question! There are soooooo many choices!!

Absolutely the very best advice I can give anyone asking a general question like this is to find a good local Travel Agent who is a CLIA Accredited Cruise Counselor (look for the agent's diploma on the wall, not just an agency sticker). Ask your friends and co-workers for a recommendation. The service is entirely free to you. ACC's are trained to find the very best cruise for you, after learning your personal situation and preferences, and work hard to get you the very best rate.

Once you have some idea of the possibilities and what you want to do, then maybe we can make some specific recommendations on this board.

When we considered this question and did our research, the answer we came up with was to cruise on Princess to the Baltic and St. Petersburg. It was a great cruise. Check out our trip report and pictures at http://www.bully4.us/baltic.html

But -- your answer may be entirely different, depending on what YOUR expectations are and what YOU want to do!

Rev22:17 January 13th, 2011 10:23 PM

JOJOCruiser,

Quote:

Originally Posted by You (Post 1342204)
Hello!
Just wondering if you can advise me on a good cruise line for going north to Sweden, Norway, St Petersburg....

Most of the major cruise lines deploy one or two ships to operate that itinerary throughout the summer, and their itineraries are generally similar.

The most important question is: Which cruise line is the best match for you?

Each cruise line has its own style and personality -- and they are all over the map, ranging from very casual to very dressy, catering to tastes ranging from "pretzels and beer" to "wine and cheese" to "champagne and caviar," with ambiances ranging from "sports bar" to "amusement park" to "country club" to "very elegant" and price points ranging from "bargain basement" to "ultra-luxury," with many degrees in between. I do think that a competent travel agent can help you to choose the line that would be best for you, but first I recommend buying a travel guide to cruise lines and cruise ships from your favorite bookstore (all of the major series of travel guides -- Berlitz, Fodor's, Frommer's, Complete Idiot's Guide, etc. -- have them) and reading the descriptions of each of the lines to narrow down the choices. If you don't find a clear right choice, you probably will at least narrow it down to two or three lines before sitting down with a travel agent. At that point, a travel agent can help you to refine your selection.

Quote:

Originally Posted by You
Also - what are ports 'not to miss'???

All of the ports of call in the region have something unique to offer.

In fact, all of the ports of call have more to offer than you can possibly do in the time that you will be there.

So the practical reality is that you probably will want to go back, regardless of which cruise you choose.

BTW, you probably will find that your time in port will be very busy and that those precious days "at sea" scattered throughout the itinerary will provide a much-needed opportunity to unwind and to catch up on your rest. Most people going to Europe for the first time don't realize how exausting the ports of call typically are.

Norm.

MercedMike January 14th, 2011 01:37 PM

Going back again
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rev22:17 (Post 1342351)
...In fact, all of the ports of call have more to offer than you can possibly do in the time that you will be there.

So the practical reality is that you probably will want to go back, regardless of which cruise you choose....

In 40 cruises we have seen a lot of the world -- almost every port in an 8 hour port call, and a few places like St. Petersburg with an overnight. The fact of the matter is, FOR US, the way we travel and the pictures we like to take, this has proven to be an entirely satisfactory way to do it. In all honesty there are few ports about which we say we need to go back there. In fact, certain ports like Istanbul and Ephesus (which appeared on another itinerary we chose for other directions it was going)have not been nearly as exciting the second or third time there.

The exception, in fact, has proven to be NOT the Mediterranean nor the Baltic but in fact, good old Alaska, which is a cruise we will take again and again!

anniegb January 14th, 2011 02:28 PM

Going back again
 
I have never visited the region but I have only this advice - never assume you will revisit any port/country. There is so much of the world to see!

It has taken me nearly 25 years to try and revisit some countries and then good old mother nature intervened and I never got there - I will try again later.

The advice offered by Marc seems very sound with one slight proviso - I think it would be wicked to be in St.Petersburg at the time of the White Nights. I agree May could be very cool.

Annie

Marc January 14th, 2011 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MercedMike (Post 1342511)
In 40 cruises we have seen a lot of the world -- almost every port in an 8 hour port call, and a few places like St. Petersburg with an overnight. The fact of the matter is, FOR US, the way we travel and the pictures we like to take, this has proven to be an entirely satisfactory way to do it. In all honesty there are few ports about which we say we need to go back there. In fact, certain ports like Istanbul and Ephesus (which appeared on another itinerary we chose for other directions it was going)have not been nearly as exciting the second or third time there.

The exception, in fact, has proven to be NOT the Mediterranean nor the Baltic but in fact, good old Alaska, which is a cruise we will take again and again!

Eight hours to see a port? Venice? Rome? Athens? Buenos Aires? Rio? Saigon? Hong Kong? Beijing? Shanghai? Bangkok? Singapore? Sydney? I can't believe that you can consider eight hours enough to see anywhere; even a small town in middle America. There are places that four hours was enough; not because I had seen it all, but because I did not like what I had seen. Still, never think that you can see the world just by cruising port to port for eight hours at a time.

Marc

johnthed0g January 14th, 2011 06:08 PM

Still, never think that you can see the world just by cruising port to port for eight hours at a time.
Ideally yes...but most don't get the chance to cruise there for a visit never mind more, so an 8 hour visit is about the best option in reality.
P&O do a few trips to this area, the Fjords too. Celebrity Eclipse was going up there as well.

Rev22:17 January 14th, 2011 07:05 PM

Mike,

Quote:

Originally Posted by You (Post 1342511)
... good old Alaska, which is a cruise we will take again and again!

Yes, I second that -- and in fact that seems to be the reaction of everybody who takes a cruise to the 49th State! Truly awesome!

Norm.

Alexei January 15th, 2011 02:31 PM

Stockholm, Copenhagen, Tallinn and Helsinki are very nice places to visit, however St. Petersburg offers much more to visitors. Two or three days in St. Petersburg are barely enough just to see the highlights. It makes sense if you do some research in advance and make up your mind what your priorities will be. Feel free to ask any questions about St. Petersburg.

MercedMike January 15th, 2011 05:31 PM

Eight hours to see a port
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marc (Post 1342557)
Eight hours to see a port? Venice? Rome? Athens? Buenos Aires? Rio? Saigon? Hong Kong? Beijing? Shanghai? Bangkok? Singapore? Sydney? I can't believe that you can consider eight hours enough to see anywhere; even a small town in middle America. There are places that four hours was enough; not because I had seen it all, but because I did not like what I had seen. Still, never think that you can see the world just by cruising port to port for eight hours at a time.

Marc

HMMM? Then, Marc, why are you such a frequent poster on a cruise board? Are you also on long term stay boards, rent a villa boards, hike the countryside boards? If so then you have a truly wide range of travel experiences.

Cruising is the way we like to see the world. Nice long days on ship, pleasant surroundings, convenience, and eight hours to get off and see two or three five star attractions wherever we are.

There are, indeed, a few exceptions. London, Venice, Rome, Egypt and Athens have all been places we returned to. OTOH Capetown, Tasmania, Patagonia, Montevideo, Honduras, Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Boca Valero on the Amazon, Batumi Georgia, Split Croatia, Patmos, Waterford, Ensenada, Charlottetown, Marseille, Gydnia, Sinop -- well the list goes on and on -- were all places that an eight hour port call pretty thoroughly exhausted our interest in!

Hey, if you want to take a three week tour that stays with a local family in China -- or Ohio -- to really "get to know the country", then go for it. Since cruising is my choice of ways to travel, I accept the eight hour port calls, and consider that I have been exposed to quite a bit of the world that way.

Marc January 15th, 2011 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MercedMike (Post 1342801)
HMMM? Then, Marc, why are you such a frequent poster on a cruise board? Are you also on long term stay boards, rent a villa boards, hike the countryside boards? If so then you have a truly wide range of travel experiences.

Cruising is the way we like to see the world. Nice long days on ship, pleasant surroundings, convenience, and eight hours to get off and see two or three five star attractions wherever we are.

There are, indeed, a few exceptions. London, Venice, Rome, Egypt and Athens have all been places we returned to. OTOH Capetown, Tasmania, Patagonia, Montevideo, Honduras, Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Boca Valero on the Amazon, Batumi Georgia, Split Croatia, Patmos, Waterford, Ensenada, Charlottetown, Marseille, Gydnia, Sinop -- well the list goes on and on -- were all places that an eight hour port call pretty thoroughly exhausted our interest in!

Hey, if you want to take a three week tour that stays with a local family in China -- or Ohio -- to really "get to know the country", then go for it. Since cruising is my choice of ways to travel, I accept the eight hour port calls, and consider that I have been exposed to quite a bit of the world that way.


I prefer cruising; no doubt. On these cruises, I have spent five days in Venice (two cruises) and a number of overnights in port (Beijing, Shanghai, Ha Long (Hanoi), Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, Aruba, Key West). I have also done numerous land trips in Asia, Africa, and Europe. I have also been lucky enough to live in Israel, Japan, and Belgium.

I really do prefer cruising even with the short port visits. Some ports I have been back to a couple of times (especially Med) so I try to see more each time.

My only point in my post was that it is unrealistic to think you can see a port in eight hours. This is particularly true in Europe and Asia.

Marc

PS Although it has been a number of years since I have been to Merced (I went to school in Davis), I know that you can spend days just exploring Merced and other locales in the Central Valley.

EdwardRayburn March 12th, 2011 04:18 AM

Northern Europe cruises includes:
1. Baltic
2. Scandinavia
3. Norwegian fjords
4. British Isles
5. Islands of the northern Atlantic.
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***Edited to remove commercial reference***

HenryDamiani March 16th, 2011 07:06 AM

Best Destination of Northern Europe are:
1. Barcelona
2. Marseille
3. Gibraltar
4. Valencia
5. Lisbon.
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***Edited to remove commercial reference***


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