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Can an independent traveler find contentment with a Scandinavian cruise?

Can an independent traveler find contentment with a Scandinavian cruise?

Feb 22nd, 2003, 07:42 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 362
Can an independent traveler find contentment with a Scandinavian cruise?

My wife (well me anyway) and I are starting to research our vacation for summer '04. Yes yes, I am the type of guy that calls Delta exactly 332 days and 23 hours before the flight date to guarantee frequent flyer seats!

We have never been to Scandinavia. The logistics in this part of the world look too complicated for independent travel.

Orient Lines looks like it has an excellent 18 itinerary that hits fjords, St. Petersburg and the capitals.

Appreciate your help with following.......
1. Is there a travel agency that seems to offer the deepest "discounts" on Orient cruises?
2. What should we expect to pay for mid range outside cabins per person ~ if we shop smart?
3. Do you know any other cruise lines that offer similar itinerary?
4. Are there any land-cruise packages that you would suggest?

Thanks for your suggestions.

Philip is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2003, 09:03 AM
  #2  
MHS
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 212
We did this, or very similar, cruise in Aug 2001 on Princess. We chose by ports, esp. starting port (Copenhagen vs. London), and cruise line, using our familiar local travel agent, so I couldn't help you with a price comparison even if prices were the same as then. In addition to Princess & Orient Royal Carib also offered this basically the same cruise at that time.

However, much of my trip research was done on this cruise board -- has a very active forum, although as would be expected the Scandinavian areas are not as well covered as the Carribean.
http://www.cruise-addicts.com/forums/index.php
There is also a board on [email protected]
Both sites, or various postings, should point you to cruise consolidators. Do check out those sites for better/more current answers to your questions.

By the way, we splurged on a private guide/car for our 1st day in St. Petersburg & it was well worth every penny. The ship docked several hours late due to a wildcat strike by port pilots, but while those on tour buses lost most of their tour, we didn't miss a thing and had a great, actually rather relaxed day. Note that the Authorities there do fine-tooth comb all passports & visas before letting even 1 passenger off the ship. Excellent security but does take time.

Finally, do enjoy your cruise. It was a very very busy 2 weeks, sleeping in only for the 2 at-sea days, but lots of fun & great memories.
MHS is offline  
Feb 24th, 2003, 07:08 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 15
We made the trip to Norway last summer. I also enjoy all of the research and early planning. I had trouble trying to figure out the transportation in Norway - I didn't want to rent a car.
We used passagetours.com. They specialize in Scandinavia. We told our travel agent exactly what we wanted to do - and she made the arrangements through Passage Tours. Check out their website. We planned the trip ourselves but bought the train/bus/cruise tickets ahead of time. We also seleceted our hotels. Norway is gorgeous - you will not be disappointed.
Mikki is offline  
Feb 24th, 2003, 07:37 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,579
Some discussion on Orient and their fjords cruises at http://messages.cruisecritic.com/ - go to the "Orient" board under "Cruise Lines A-O."

Looks like the Marco Polo is in hospital after getting some big-sounding cracks in her hull on an Antarctic cruise If that's the boat you're planning on, who knows what, if any, changes in her scheduling might result.
Gardyloo is offline  
Feb 24th, 2003, 09:27 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,026
We chose Orient for a Scandanavian cruise in 2001, there were several other large lines at the time doing similar cruises but we chose Orient because it had a couple of days in both the first and last cities (Copenhagen and Stockholm). I think virtually all the cruises have 2 days in St. Petersburg. Copenhagen was worth at least a couple of days, there were still things we wanted to see that we didn't get around to.

We are typically independent travelers but we wanted to get a taste of the various Scandanavian countries. All of the ports, except St. Petersburg, can be visited independently without a shore excursion.

St. Petersburg is best seen with a guide as the lines for the various attractions can be long and the private guides can bypass the lines. It can be visited independently but there's the added visa cost and the difficulty in getting around where most people know little to no English. There are recommendations out on CruiseCritic for a couple of different guides that do not require visas. We used West-east, the woman we dealt with there went on to start her own company, Red October. They were not cheap but the tour was excellent and well worth the money.
Kristi is offline  
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