Scandinavia, Baltic & Russia

Old Feb 14th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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Eschew, Alla is very flexible as well - she will tailor the tour to suit if everyone is in agreement. As an example my brother, wife and another couple wanted to see the ballet at the Hermitage one evening. Alla got the tickets, picked them up from the ship took them to the ballet and returned them to the ship after the performance.
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Old Feb 19th, 2012, 12:38 PM
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Personally I had good experience with Markotour Travel.
1day. We explored the gold-leaf residence of Catherine the Great and enjoyed the Amber Room, which is considered to be the 8th wonder of the world.
Tasted typical Russian cuisine in one of local restaurants.
Than we visited the world-famous gardens of Peterhoff with beautiful fountains and explored the Monplaisir palace of Peter the Great.
Saw magnificent metro stations on the way back.
2 day. We made several stops during the city tour than it became possible to see more and to take more pictures during the boat trip along rivers and canals.
We explored 4 palaces of the Hermitage complex with original interior decorations and magnificent art collections assembled by the Imperial.
One more lunch in an old palace.
We enjoy the unconventional beauty of the Spilled blood church and restrained beauty of Peter and Paul fortress.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Percy & T69, thanks for the info. I am leanning towards going with Alla, based on all the good things I have heard, plus you see more places.

Still undecided about the ballet. Ballet is ballet regardless where you see it. I guess a tour of the venues would be nice. (Off topic here for a bit, we toured the National Opera House in San Jose, Costa Rica and it is well worth the 2 hours spent there, and we didn't even see any performance!)

I wonder if they will do a pub crawl for St Pete so we got to see what the night life is really like in Russia?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:29 PM
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Hi Eschew:

Iagree about the San Jose Opera House,it is very lovely.

I also had a tour of it, but saw no Opera.

A Ballet is something you personally want to see or not see.

The Russian Ballet toured my City a decade ago or so and I did not feel like seeing it then.

But that is me.

If you want a Pub Crawl..I am sure Alla can arrange it.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 02:02 PM
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I did a pub crawl once but it was on my 21st birthday and had something to do with Russia. Black Russians I think but you'll pardon me if my recall of that is a bit hazy.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 02:32 PM
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jacketwatch:

I heard you did a pub crawl at every port on your Baltic Cruise .

Then you "crawled" back to the cruise ship just in time as the walk plank was being hauled in !!!
,

Hey, I am only reporting what the Police in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St.Petersburg ,Tallinn and Oslo told me .
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 04:18 PM
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You forgot Gdansk. Come to think of it I nearly did as well.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 06:36 PM
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Oh yes ....Gdansk, that is where the police escorted you to the cruise ship because you kept singing ,"Wasn't That a Party".
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Old Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:13 PM
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Percy - you said the "walk plank" but I heard they made him walk the plank!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 08:00 AM
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That wasn't me. Thats refers to another person whose thread got axed.

The song was "Show me the way to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed.
I had a little drink about an hour ago
and it went right to my head. "
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 08:06 AM
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Traveller69:

They were going to make him walk the plank..but you have to be upright to walk.!!!

See, see...he still remembers the song !

Have a nice day everyone .
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 08:57 AM
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You too. BTW we are supposed to get up to 9" of snow around these parts. I hope you are enjoying PS. Thank God for snow blowers. Cheers all.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 08:45 PM
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Snow...what is that !! None here.

I hate the thought of going back home this weekend ( Boo Hoo)!
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 08:08 AM
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Fortunately the bark was worse than the bite. Just a few inches for us though a lot more north of here. Enjoy PS while you can.
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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You guys are having way too much fun at Palm Spring , and Larry, a little dusting of the white powder is actually good for you. I herad it is better for female to shuffle snow and male to vacumn. You should see if Sue is willing to give it a go.

I know of people who do pub crawl while on board a ship ... but seriously, is a pub crawl something that one should consider in Russia?
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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Its 78 degrees here in Arizona today - not to rub it in or anything!!! Eschew - guess its ok if you stick to vodka!
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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It would have to be local potato vodka ...
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Old Mar 28th, 2012, 03:56 PM
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With less than 3 months to go, we are close to finalizing all
the excursions.

We have teh hotel booked at Copenhagen. It would be the Scandic Webers, and it is clsoe to the Tivoli Gardens etc. We will be looking at tours once we got there as the email from the hotel said taht the tour bus starts only 300 meteres from the hotel and they run on a schedule.

Wealso get all the transfer information and looks like cabbing it is the best way. about 200 DKK from airport to hotel and maybe 300 DKK from hotel to cruise port. Even add on an extra 50% for tarfffic and miscalculations, it is still a whole lot chepaer than cruise line transfers and easier than the train.

I was alos told by the hotel taht most people would speak English, espewcially anyone under age 50.

For all the excursions for each stop, hre is the plan:

Oslo: walking tour, city hall and the castle. Looks like we will take a pass on the ski jump. The Palace tour is not avaialble until mid June so we missed it by 2 weeks. We can peek from the outside and that's about it?

Aarhus: the Cathedral, Bontanic Garden, Art Museum and a general city tour

Warnemunde (Berlin), we have diagreement over this one.
(1) DW wants to go to Berlin (via old and non A/C train - expensive @$379 each and long 3 hour ride each way)
(2) or book through private tour and travel by A/C bus @$150 each, but may be subject to bad traffic, meaning less time in Berlin.
Either way, spend 6 hours on a train or bus with only 6 hours in Berlin didn't seem right. And of the 6 hours total in Berlin, one hour would be spent for lunch, add in some shopping time so you really didn't have any time to see all that much.
Option (3) would be stick around the coast and see Schwerin Castle and the surrounding area.

Tallinn: We are just going by bus to the old town, spend a few hours walking around and then bus back. I think walking maybe an option but we might have to walk through some undesirable part of town.

St. Petersburg: We will be booking with Alla Tours on their 2 days "Grand" tour.

Helsinki: Most will go to see Porvoo as well but we were told by Alla tours to take a pass as their customers were not too impressed with Porvoo, especially after seeing Tallinn. We are looking at ionly Helsinki, visit the museum, the Temppeliaukio church, Sibelius Park and the Senate square.

Stockholm: Vasa museum and walk through the old town.

I would like to hear opinions on the Schwerin Castle vs Berlin train, Berlin Bus debate.

DW's point is that we have gone that far and miss seeing Berlin? She can't see us visiting Berlin on it's own in the future, and I think she is right on that count. But then I can't justify the 6 hours of transportation time to sepnd 5 to 6 hours or less in Berlin, unless the train ride and the country side is awesome through the old East Germany.

Is there any MUST see that I miss on the other stops? I would like to confirm all the tour bookings within the next 2 weeks. The only thing confirmed so far is the hotel in Copenhagen and committment to Alla tours for St. Petersburg.

We are considering using Alla Tours for Berlin or Schwerin Castle, and the transportationm to old Tallinn. Does anyone has any experience with them outside of Russia?

I read one review that they love the Alla tours for St Peterburg but the Alla tour people never showed up at the Warnemunde dock for Berlin tour (ouch!) and they ended up taking a taxi to Berlin (intersting) and taking a taxi back (I wonder how expensive or inexpensive it would be) They came across heavy traffic and were late getting back to the ship. But since everyone else was late, thr ship did not depart until an hour later. I just don't know if we should chance it.

The reviewer did say that the Alla tour had the tour time change to a later start by an hour and they were not aware of it so they were way early and paniced when no show showed after waiting for half an hour.
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Old Mar 28th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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Eschew:

I would like to know how long you are in each Port.

Example: When do you dock in Oslo and when do you leave Oslo.
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Old Mar 29th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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Percy,

Oslo: 10 - 7
Aarhus: noon to 7
Warnenunde: 7 am to 9 pm
Tallin: 8 - 5
St Pete: 6 - 6 (+1)
Helsinki: 7 - 4
Stockholm: 7 -2
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