Baltic Private excursions

Jan 19th, 2007, 07:26 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Baltic Private excursions

I am taking a Baltic cruise in July with a group of about 10 friends and am looking for a private excursion company to do Oslo,Cophenhagen, St Petersburg, Tallin and Helsinki. May not do excursions in all those paces, but would like some options. Any suggestions? I've used Context Rome in Itlay so I'm looking for someone like that.
vslparis is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 04:16 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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In Russia try Red October. Though I haven't used them they come well recommended and also my contacts with them (we are doing the Baltic in June) have been professional thus far. However they are costly. With a party of 10 the price should be less. Also if you don't already know you can't see St. Petes on your own w/o a Russian VISA. The VISA requirement is waived IF you are with an organized tour either with a group like RO or a group from the ship.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 07:40 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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We did the Star Princess Baltic cruise in July 2005.

In Copenhagen, our group of 11 adults used Paaske Bus Service http://www.sightseeing.dk/ and received excellent service.

We did 2 private bus tours with them and on each tour, we were given a big bus with a driver and a licensed tour guide. We also did a 3 hours walking tour of Copenhagen.

Tour 1 (pre-cruise) - 8 hours Sweden tour (8 AM pick-up from our hotel and 4 PM drop-off at Freeport Terminal)
USD$1,310 for 11 adults (includes
ferry tickets and bridge toll fee)

Tour 2 (post cruise) - 8 hours North Sealand Tour (8 AM pick-up from Freeport terminal and 4 PM drop-off at airport)
USD$1,094 for 11 adults (includes admission fees to Kronborg and Frederiksborg)

Tour 3 (port visit) - 3 hours walking tour of Copenhagen (from 2 to 5 PM). Because of Paaske's excellent service, we arranged this walking tour while we were at sea by email.
We met our tour guide, Anne-Marie Natusch (same one as the Sweden tour) outside Tivoli.
The price was 1,230 DKK for 9 people (we paid our own admission fees) - about USD$50 per person including Princess bus transfer to and taxi from city plus our admission fees.

Our bus driver, Pieter, added a few stops to Tour # 1 - we did a 20 minutes drive-through of the city highlights and also a photo stops overlooking the Oresund bridge and at the Little Mermaid.

Tour # 2 - Pieter dropped off 4 pax to 2 different hotels (they were supposed to be dropped off at city centre along with the tour guide).

Anne-Marie Natusch was excellent and I recommend her very highly. She gave me her business card after the tour . Her contact info is [email protected]

If you contact Anne-Marie directly, her rate maybe cheaper than Paaske (not sure).

Contact info of Paaske-
Paaske Bus/Copenhagen Bus Service
Yderlandsvej 2-8
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
www.autopaaske.dk
[email protected]
Tel: +45 32 66 00 00
Fax: +45 32 66 00 25

Originally, Paaske wanted us to pay them in advance by transferring USD funds to their bank account. Later, they agreed to accept CASH at the start of each tour.

In St. Petersburg, we used Red October and did a 2-day tour with them.

Day 1 - 10-1/2 hours
Drive-through of city highlights, visits of Catherine Palace (early admission) and Catherine Park, Hermitage Arts Museum, shopping opportunity and also to pay the balance of our fees (90%), visit to Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral -USD$123 pp for a group of 11 people

LUNCH - We brought our own lunch from the ship and ate while in the van on the way to Hermitage so that we could spend more time at the Hermitage Arts Museum

Day 2 - 8-1/2 hours
Visits of Peterhof (early admission at Grand Palace), stroll through the lower park, ate our lunch (brought from the ship) at the van on the way to visit the Savior on the Spilled Blood Cathedral and Yusupovs' Palace, return to ship at 4:30 PM
USD$138 pp for a group of 11 people.

We paid 10% in advance and the balance on Day 1.

All tour guides are very knowledgeable.

We did Tallin and Helsinki on our own.

I hope the above info helps.
veron is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 11:17 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 56
Also check out DenRus.ru and Alla-tour.com. After reading a number of reviews, our group of 10 is taking an Alla tour (in June). But DenRus and Red October were also recommended by previous cruisers.
alcorjd is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 11:23 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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jacketwatch, which ship are you taking in June? We're on the Rotterdam, 5/20 out of Harwich...
alcorjd is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 03:49 PM
  #6  
 
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We toured with Alla Tour in 2005 and were very impressed. We can recommend them wholeheartedly. We had 2 nights and 3 very full days. We concluded that having a private guide is the only way to do St. Petersburg. You do not have to have a visa if you use a private guide. We paid nothing until we concluded our tours.I know you will thoroughly enjoy your time in St. Petersburg. It is an amazing city.
mcl1 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Alcorjd: Sorry but I missed you question. We will be on the Star Princess.
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:20 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Just a point of information. In Oslo the ship docks within walking distance of the palace and government buildings. In Tallinn, follow the crowd for a walk of about 1/2 mile on flat ground and you will arrive inside the city wall. From there you can walk to every place of importance.
Siljac is offline  
Feb 5th, 2007, 01:07 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4
Yes, the Old Tallinn is within walking distance from the port. It takes 10-15 minutes to be in front of the Great Coastal Gate- one of the best preserved medieval gates in Tallinn.
Shuttle buses like to stop along Mere Puiestee (Sea Boulevard) few steps from same gate or they stop on the opposite slope of Toompea Hill (upper part of the old town).
If you like to go by shortest way to the Town Hall Square you can go through Great Goastal Gate and along Pikk Street (approximately half mile long street) and you will see the heart of the Old Town.
Or you can turn to left and walk along Mere Puiestee. You can see tall and large Hotel Viru and nearby Viru Gate and beginning or end of the Viru Street, the most commercial street in the Old Town.
So you need half hour or so to reach the Town Hall Square. If you like to do sightseeing tour of the Old Tallinn- the best preserved medieval city in the Northern Europe- you need for this 3- 4 hours.
But of course there are also sights out of the Old Town- tiny but lovely palace in nice Kadriorg park. The palace was built by famous Russian czar Peter the Great almost 300 years ago. The Song Festival Grounds, marina in Pirita built for Olympic Games, residential districts, Estonian Open Air Museum. But you need vehicle to see these sights. Tallinn city is much more bigger then just the Old Town.

Few words about Helsinki.
Helsinki is located only 60 miles or 1 h 40 minutes drive by fast ferry from Tallinn. Cruise ships are heading after Tallinn to St petersburg or they are coming from this port. Helsinki Westren harbor (Länsiterminaali in Finnish) used by cruise ships so often is located some miles from the downtown area. Distance to reach city center is too long for a walk, so you must take a shuttle bus or other vehicle. I have seen some cruisers taking local public buses in Helsinki too (this possibility depends on the berth where ship will dock).
Helsinki is not so old like Tallinn, but still it is worth of short city tour. You can walk in the downtown area, including Senate square built in neoclassical style. Not so far is Suomenlinna (former Sveaborg)- sea fortress included into the UNESCO world heritage list (6 UNESCO sites are located in Finland) as one of the largest sea fortresses in the world. You must take a ferry to visit small archipelago of 6 island where fortress once was built.
But you can find some other sights outside of the most downtown area too- famous Rock Church, Sibelius monument, Olympic stadium, Opera House etc. You need some kind of transport to see them.
If you have any additional questions or if I can do anything for you let me know.
You can use mail address [email protected] to write to me.

Best wishes
Ahti Arak
historian and private tour guide from Tallinn, Estonia
ahti is offline  
Feb 19th, 2007, 10:31 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4
Hi Jacketwatch. We are also sailing on the Star Princess - on 6/21/07. What tour are you doing in St Petersburg? We are thinking on doing an independent 2 day with one of the groups I have heard about -DenRu, Red October or Alla. Any suggestions? We might like to get together with others in order to keep the cost down.
jagzoo is offline  
Feb 19th, 2007, 12:58 PM
  #11  
 
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Hi Jagzoo: We are leaving 6/11 so we'll try to keep it "ship shape" for you. . As for the tours We are undecided. One thing we don't like to do is spend all day touring so we are leaning towards a tour each day to last about 4 hrs. Another factor in our equation is whether or not friends will be with us. There was a glitch by their TA so whether they go is up in the air. I think we will probably do ships tours. The Red Oct. stuff is very $$$ though I haven't checked Alla yet. As for the pther ports I was reading up today on www.portreviews.com and it seems all of them are pretty easy to do on your own. Moast require a simple shuttle into town and this site has the highlights of each well listed. have fun, Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 07:10 AM
  #12  
 
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Hi jacketwatch, sorry you aren't on our sailing of 6/21. You mentioned maybe doing a Princess tour; are you aware that DenRus does the identical2 day tour by bus for almost $100 less than Princess? Supposedly the group is smaller - 15-30 people. I think they also do shorter bus tours. You might want to ask them about it.

Have a great trip!
jagzoo is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 08:50 AM
  #13  
 
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Thanks! Ill check them out. Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 09:33 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Hi,
In Russia we booked http://www.anastasiaworld.com service. That was really wonderful. Nobody else managed to see as much as we did. They made all the needed arrangements for us to have blanket visas. It is really easy and much cheaper than regular Visa.
Cruiser56 is offline  

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