I'm an Architecture student from UCL in London, currently studying for my Masters. I'm writing a thesis about the different stages of the cruise journey, and the sights and signs that are associated with each stage. I'm basing my research on the Princess Cruises Baltic Heritage cruise (on the Emerald Princess), because I'm really interested in Copenhagen as a cruise port. I'm hoping to go on a Baltic cruise myself one day soon!
I have a couple of questions that would really help my research - I would be very grateful if anyone who has been, or is going on a Baltic cruise (it would be great if it was a Princess cruise, but any Baltic cruise information is good!) has the time to post a reply!
1. How long before the departure date did you book your cruise? What did/ will you do to prepare for the cruise in the run up to departure?
2. How important to you is the itinerary? Was / is there a destination on the itinerary you are particularly interested in visiting?
3. Did you / are you planning to collect any souvenirs of your cruise?
Thanks very much for your help! Please do feel free to add ant other details that you think I might find interesting!
1 we tend to book as soon as we decide what cruise to do
research the ports to see what we want to see most & look for private tours if we cannot DIY
2 We enjoyed all the ports that we went to
the 1st time you have no idea what is there things I thought I would not like were such a surprise
We loved St Petersburg it was nothing like what we expected
3 we are past the point of collecting dust collectors unless it is something very special
Research is the key to enjoying any ports of call IMO
One thing about a Baltic cruise, as opposed to say a Caribbean cruise, is that most Americans will book this many months in advance because of all the details and arrangements that need to be made, including expensive airfare.
While there are a few different departure ports for Baltic cruises (such as England, Dover, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, etc), for the most part, the itineraries are pretty much the same. So often our clients will often base their cruise choice on a particular cruise line or a departure port due to the difference in airfare.
As for souvenirs, some people are more into those than others, but personally we stay away from them, because as Lulu stated, they just become dust collectors. So we're more into buying something we can use or wear instead of something to look at. For example, a t-shirt, purse, hat, etc.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/13 yrs exp and 48 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
Being British the answer to the first question isn't really lengthof time related, but cost We've been on a few Princess Cruises (plus P&O & Cunard) to the Baltics, as well as different locations. So have booked everything from 12+ months down to last minute deals <6 weeks before sailing.
As for the itinerary, St. Petersburg is a must and an overnight there a bonus. Copenhagen, Stockholm and either Warnemunde or Travemunde are always a plus point, the other ports are good, but not essential to us.
Our souvenirs are mostly in the form of photo memories or post cards. We have bought a few souvenirs in St.Petersburg as they are more unusual than the general offerings, but again we can take or leave them.
Eating & drinking local produce away from the tourist routes is always a good way to experience the area.
Hope that helps,
Last Cruise: Queen Victoria November 2014
Next: P&O Britannia March 2015
Then: Minerva April 2015
and : Royal Princess August 2015