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-   -   Scandinavia, Baltic & Russia (https://www.fodors.com/community/cruises/scandinavia-baltic-and-russia-921435/)

Eschew Jan 26th, 2012 02:47 PM

Scandinavia, Baltic & Russia
 
Looking at booking round trip Copenhagen for June 2012.
With stops as follow:
Oslo, Norway
Aarhus, Denmark
Warnemunde, (Berlin), Germany
Tallinn, Estonia
St. Petersburg, Russia (2 nights)
Helsinki, Finland
Stockholm, Sweden

Any commnets or suggestions welcome .

I have questions on the following:
1. Russian visas - "blanket visa from the ship" or get your own?
2. Has anyone used SPB tours? Are they reputable?

SPB hasput together a custom 4 cities tour package that incldued 2 days at St. Pete, plus Berlin, Tallinn and Helsinki. Should I put all my eggs in one basket?

aliced Jan 26th, 2012 03:04 PM

We did similar cruise few years ago which originated in Amsterdam. With the exception of St. P only, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Oslo were extremely easy to navigate without any tours. We took the Celebrity-suggested tours in St. P and did not get additional visas. These cities are central and small and we found them entirely walkable from the transport from ship that was offered (Tallinn); believe in Helsinki we took public streetcar, if you will, that originated at port. There was plenty of time to lunch, shop and tour highlights on the one-days there. For St. P do your own research to decide what you want to see-- I would not miss Peterhof, St. Cath. Palace and Hermitage. Sorry, but can't help w/ SPB Tours. It's a wonderful cruise.

jacketwatch Jan 26th, 2012 03:54 PM

I am waiting for Percy to chime in here but I have read really good reviews about SPB on cc and Alla as well, perhaps even more so.

Don't hassle with the visa. Let the tour provider do it for you. if you choose an outside local tour guide they can get it for you. The ship won't unless you get your tour with them.

Tallinn is very easy to do on your own as is Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo unless you want an organized tour.

Of course June is the best time as you know d/t the midnight sun. You will really luv this cruise. :-)

abram Jan 26th, 2012 04:54 PM

I agree that Oslo, Helsinki, Aarhus, Talinn, and Stockholm are easy to tour on your own.

We used Red October for two days in St. Petersburg, and they were fabulous.

Percy Jan 27th, 2012 07:58 AM

Okay jacketwatch I will chime in :)

Eschew , I assume you are starting the cruise in Copenhagen...if you are , thenI would recommend coming at least a full day earlier to Copenhagen...2 days is better.

1. Arhus is a nice place and the second largest city in Denmark...but I would rather spend more time in Copenhagen and area.

2. Personally I would not want to do the Berlin to Warnemunde

3. I would try to book a cruise of the Baltics that takes in Gdansk Poland as this is your chanceto get a flavour of Poland.

4. jacketwatch ( he went in June ) and I ( Iwent in August of the same year) both took in Gdansk which I thought was very nice .

5. For Stockholm:
These are the four places you should ( try) see.
Vasa Museum :( read about this ship or we can tell you all about it !!)
Drottningholm Palace:...home to the Royal Family
Georgeous place.
City Hall Tour: This takes about 1 hour 15 minutes. This is not the conventional CityHall.
The Nobel Prize ceremonies are held hereeach year in the Blue Room (No! The room is not blue !)

The rest of the time you will spend walking about in Gamla Stan (Old Town).
The changing of the guards is from 12 Noon to 1 PM at the Royal Palace right in downtown Gamla Stan.

If you want to know what to see in the Old Town I can tell you .

For Helsinki:
You can walk intodowntown Helsinki it is about 2 miles). I would take a taxi or the shuttle.

Everything in Helsinki is focused at the Market Square.
You can walk from here to all the major sites...except the Rock Church..which is a MUST see.

In fact you can even walk to the Rock Church if you are a walker.
If you take the hop on hop off bus.. you get get off there ,spend a good 1/2 hour , but also walk outside the church and climb the hill of the Dome of the Church.

We here ( Fodors who have been there) can tell you what to see in downtown Helsinki.

Percy Jan 27th, 2012 08:04 AM

For St. Petersburg:

There are several good tour companies in St.Petersburg.
I had Alla Tours and I can recommend her highly.

Don't fret about the Visa...if you book with Alla ( or one of the other companies ) they will get the Visa for you.

Alla will customize the tour to all the places you want to see ( in case you have special preferences to see some places)..

otherwise I would book Alla's "Strenous Tour".
Strenous just mean you will see more places.

I hope your cruise ship does not give you hassles about disembarking in St.Petersburg !!

Percy Jan 27th, 2012 08:15 AM

Eschew :

To answer you question from another post:

I took the Princess Cruise line out of Copenhagen

Alla arranged everything for me when I arrived at St.Petersburg, I was extremely lucky in disembarking as I stated on the other posting a few days ago.

My Ports of Call were:

Copenhagen
Stockholm
Helsinki
St.Petersburg ( 2 days)
Tallin Estonia
Gdansk Poland
Oslo Norway
Back to Copenhagen

I am off for Palm Springs tonight.:)

travel4425 Jan 27th, 2012 11:58 AM

Wow, this sounds almost identical to a trip that i want to take called Norhtern capitals through GLOBUS however, it is a land tour.

jacketwatch Jan 27th, 2012 04:02 PM

Well Percy have fun in PS. It sounds like it will be very relaxing and of course a bit warmer. :-)

Jeff801 Jan 27th, 2012 04:50 PM

We toured St. Petersburg with Julia and Vladimir of http://dancing-bear-tours.com. They were terrific, including taking us to non-tourist restaurants. Julia also arranged our night at the Ballet and got us the Visa invitations, required if you are going ashore on anything but an escorted ship's tour.

Percy Jan 27th, 2012 06:16 PM

Hi jacketwatch

Yes, I am looking forward to some Palm Trees and Sunshine :)

geetika Jan 30th, 2012 03:20 AM

We did a similar cruise on Celebrity out Amsterdam some years back, Percy's suggestions are bang on. Don't miss the ballet at St P, it was a wonderful experience. All the ports are easy to do on your own, except for St. P, where we went with Celebrity. I also loved Stockholm and wandering about in Gamla Stan, Tallin was an unexpected gem.

Eschew Feb 2nd, 2012 03:53 PM

Thanks everyone, I ahve more home work to do now.

Based on what had been said, I think I will tour all the stops oursleves and book soemone for St Pete. Berlin is a bit far so I am not sure if I want to go there.

DW wants tos ee Moscow but I told here it would be anotehr tyrip. She wants to see teh Red Sqaure and Kremlin. (I told her to go watch an old James Bond movie ... :D)

I have heard a lot of good things about Red Octoebr so I will do some enquiry. It's still early. The cruise critic roll call alrady ahs 3 groups formed already so I can choose to join them and save a ton of work. But, we like our "freedom".

Percy and Larry, did eitehr one of you posted TR for this particular trip?

Percy, it is on a Princess ship. I can't convince DW to go on Celebrity after the one bad experience (bed cover stored under the bed adn brown stained towels) I am still trying though, if not, choices will be more limited. Not counting the Galapagos, the last 3 had been Princess and this will be the 4th in a row. We probably saw the same show a few times. Maybe we'll book Disney next for a change up.

jacketwatch Feb 2nd, 2012 03:59 PM

Well yes we both did but I think our were both in 2007 so I am not sure how you can find them. What Princess ship is it? I see that in the latest CN Travelers poll Disney wins the vote for best in the large ship category but I do wonder how adults would be on their ships.

traveller69 Feb 2nd, 2012 11:16 PM

Hi Eschew - I responded to your post in the currency converter thread (the one where your fingers weren't cooperating!) If you click on Percy and find his posts the TR for this cruise is the first one listed under the TR section. I printed it out and we followed his recommendations for each port. In Copenhagen Percy will be very disappointed it you don't do the "stair climb" he did. I just admired it from afar. As I said in the other post we used Alla in St Petersburg but were able to get a good group together for it on cruise critics. Enjoy the planning.

Percy Feb 3rd, 2012 07:38 AM

Hi everyone

Still in Palm Springs !!!!:)

Traveller69.....I am getting closer to you. !
Of course Eschew will climb the external stairs on the steeple of The Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen :)

After he goes to Wikipedia and sees pictures those stairs circling around the steeple..he will want to run up there.!!!!

Thanks for the information on the Trip Report...even I did not know it was still there.

jacketwatch Feb 3rd, 2012 10:36 AM

Hello Percy. Glad you are having a good time away. However I thought you Canucks were hospitable folks. Look what the Oilers did to my Hawks. Again! :D

Percy Feb 3rd, 2012 06:54 PM

jacketwatch:

Yes, that is what I heard... an Oiler got 4 goals and four assists , first time since 1989 that and NHL player got 8 points in a game.

That Eschew better climb those stairs of that Church in Copnenhagen :)

traveller69 Feb 3rd, 2012 08:10 PM

Percy, I was watching an episode of house hunters on HGTV the other night and a couple was looking for a condo in Copenhagen. They settled on one that had a view of the church so of course I immediately thought of you. I really think you have to see them in person to appreciate what a feat it was for you to climb them. I thought I did well in Ireland climbing up to kiss the Blarney stone!

jacketwatch Feb 4th, 2012 08:40 AM

I hear Eschew has begun a fund to install escalators there. :S-


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