12 night Baltic Sea cruise.
We are doing the 12 night Baltic Sea cruise departing June 26 from Copenhagen. Any hints on the best tours to do from anyone who has done this cruise before.
Well, it's been a few years and I don't know what's still offered, or your tastes, but I will offer a couple of personal opinions: If one of your stops is Warnemunde, many people take the train trip into Berlin. We didn't, but were told afterwards that it was stiflingly hot and that there were no refreshments or even water on board for purchase. We instead took a bus trip first to an amber museum, where I now wish I had bought a lot more than I did, and then to a count's hunting lodge which had been used as a hospital during WWII. Sounds dull, but it was a great trip. Our bus guide was extremely knowledgeable and answered a lot of questions about life in East Germany before and after the wall fell.
Also, in St. Petersburg everyone automatically goes to the Hermitage, and I guess it's a necessary-to-see-it thing, but in truth it is literally overwhelming. Room after room of paintings covering every inch of wall space, all the way up to the ceilings, with little or no organization. By contrast, Catherine's Palace was a delight.
We did the 12-night Baltic Cruise on the Holland America Eurodam from Dover and it was awesome! One of the best cruises we've ever done.
As was previously posted, if you're making a stop in Warnemunde, Germany, alot of people take the train to Berlin. While Berlin is interesting, it's a very long day for little reward and also, as was stated, it can be very hot in the Summer, making it not such a fund day, for sure.
We just took the train to Rostock and spent time touring that city and then came back and spent the rest of the day checking out Warnemunde, which is actually quite a lovely town.
As for St. Petersburg, I highly suggest getting an independent tour - it really is the best way to see and do it all. We used SPB Tours and they were great! We had 10 people in a 12 passenger brand new Mercedes Benz van, which was MUCH more comfortable and alot nicer than doing the cruise line excursion on big buses with 45 other people, especially when visiting the museums.
We found Tallin to be a wonderful and very interesting town. And while you can take a tour, we chose just to walk around and do our own thing.
In other ports, such as Helsinki, we did the hop-on hop-off buses and that, too, is a great way to get around and see it all without spending alot of money.
If you are spending the day in Copenhagen (having stowed your luggage) take a look at the day pass on the canal boats. A wonderful way to sit back & enjoy a very different view of the city - obviously weather can be a big factor though.
It would be good to know the exact itinerary to better help. If you are doing an overnight in St. Petersburg conside the Folk Dancing over the Ballet, we did this a couple of years back & had a wonderful time. Last year we did a combined full day tour to Peterhof & Catherine Palaces. In the sunshine they were both amazing, we were very lucky though as the time of year meant we have very few crowds and were given plenty of time to explore. On the following day we did a St.Petersburg On Your Own - the first time we had experienced being let off the leash, it was really enjoyable, well after we all got off the bus & looked around as if to say "are you sure we can?" :D
Look online for self-guide tours of most of these cities, there are some great walks for all age/mobility groups which allow you to pick & choose ahead of your visit.
Also look for free guided tours (they operate on tips on basis) One of the best groups we use are NewEurope and in the Baltics have used them in Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam and Hamburg. They run separate groups (max 20 pergroup) depending on language needs. Usually English & Spanish.
For Stockholm, a bus will normally be laid on into the city centre, but again there are some hop-on/hop-off boats, and these pick up right behind the ships - you buy tickets at the bottom of the gangway.
If you are interested in ships & history, then the Vasa Museum is a must here, again check it out on line. If you are on the ho/ho boat, this is one of it's stops.
Please let us know the ports of call & cruise season for a better idea of what to suggest.
Alan & Katrina
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