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Ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki or to Tallinn: how to choose?

Ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki or to Tallinn: how to choose?

Old Mar 5th, 2010, 07:13 AM
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Ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki or to Tallinn: how to choose?

We’ll be taking a ferry from Stockholm to either Helsinki or Tallinn, then returning home (to US) by air from the other city. Here’s our question: Should we go first to Helsinki or to Tallinn?

Helsinki first
Pros: Easier to book from the US since it’s an 800 phone number and can book in English.
Con: This would take us into Helsinki in mid-week, and hotels are more expensive weekday than weekend. Am I right in thinking this, or under a misconception?

Tallinn first
Pros: Tallinn in midweek would eliminate the hectic weekend party scene, which we’ve been told happens. City would be more peaceful.
Cons: Harder to book from US on-line (language barrier), but possible to call if language is not a problem?

Do both offer senior discounts? And, what is considered senior? 60? 65?

We’re inching closer to purchasing our tickets for the trip and having been waiting for flight prices to drop (which they have not), and need to think about which city to return from, for the open jaw.

Our city order is Copenhagen (4 nights), Stockholm (2 nights), ferry (1 night), then either Helsinki (3 nights), and Tallinn (3 nights), or reverse the last two cities.

Any thoughts, opinions, or anything else we need to consider? Do I have my facts straight about hotels prices and the booking language issues for the ferries?
Thanks. Kathy
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 08:24 AM
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The Silja Symphony and her twin Silja Serenade are magnificent ferries operating between Stockholm and Helsinki. This is an overnight trip. I highly recommend it. The open buffet dinner is to die for -- two hours of eating including beer and wine for about $60 (depending on exchange rate). I suggest the second seating for more quiet.

I took the Tallink Romantika from Helsinki to Tallinn where I stayed Saturday and Sunday night. That is a few hours on the water in a much smaller ship. Tallinn was very mild. The wild is in Riga.

Silja and Tallink now appear to be one company. See http://www.tallinksilja.com/ for details. The last time I made this trip was 4 years ago.
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 09:06 AM
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You may look at the Scanrailpass as it covers trains between Copenhagen and Stockholm - which can be really pricey and Helsinki and also i believe covers the ferries. Would depend perhaps on whether you were doing some excursions by train from Copenhagen or Helsinki so may not add up if not - anyway you do not indicate your are going by rail - but if so here are some great info-laden sites for Scan trains: www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com - some include coverage of those boats - there is a senior Scanpass that can be worth it for just a few trips
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 10:36 AM
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Take the Silja overnight ferry that spaarne wrote about to Helsinki. You can take the high speed ferry from Helsinki to Tallin for a day trip.

We did such a trip but in reverse. We went to Helsinki first (with a day trip to Tallin), overnight ferry to Stockholm, train to Oslo, train to Copenhagen.

I would do 3 nights in Helsinki, 3 nights in Stockholm, 1 night on the ferry, 3 nights in Oslo and 3 nights in Copenhagen.
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 11:33 AM
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After thinking about this trip for the last few months, we’ve decided on these four cities and the length of time in each. Since the conference we’ll be attending is in Copenhagen, those first four nights are set.

From Copenhagen, we’ve decided to take the train to Stockholm, so I will look into a Scanrailpass to see if the savings (and senior savings) add up overall. Thanks for reminding me about that Palenque. And thanks for those links.

About the ferry; since we want to stay a few days in both cities, Helsinki and Tallinn, we just needed to decide which to do first, which to fly back from, and if there was an advantage to doing them in a particular order.

Spaarne, thanks for the link you suggested. Looks helpful and indicates that I can call an 800 number here in US and book the ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn if we choose to do just the ferry and not the Scanrailpass. Actually maybe it will book for both. I’ll have to check that out. Most likely we’ll go to Tallinn first, then on to Helsinki via the fast boat.

Bratsandbeer, we eliminated both Oslo and St Petersburg—time mostly. We have to keep the trip to two weeks, and we didn’t want to jump too quickly from one city to another. Based on our interests, these cities seem most intriguing to us.

Thanks, Kathy
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 01:43 PM
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Here is another web link http://tinyurl.com/eulga. It will get you up to speed on ferries, in particular the Silja and Tallink ferries.

Note that if you are going S>T>H and you drink then stock up in Tallinn. Helsinki prices are higher than Stockholm's, as if that would be possible. In Tallinn you'll get good exchange rates at the Stockmann department store. You'll also find a seafood buffet there. I had a great breakfast of herring and salmon.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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Funny that i just read Silja or one of the Helsinki to Turku/Stockholm ferries is now banning 18 year olds from boarding UNLESS they have a note from their parents!

Seems indredible but does anyone know if these cruise ships have become party boats?
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 01:17 PM
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Palenque,
If the action in the late night aft bar on level 7 is not a party then I don't know what you would call it. The pub is called Joe's Place and had live R&R from the good old days, plus jazz, blues, and country. I don't remember leaving.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 03:54 PM
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Palenque and/or Spaarne,
Am I to understand that no one sleeps on these overnight ships? This doesn't sound good.

So, where should we request our cabin to be located if we want to sleep?

And if we're traveling on a Monday or Tuesday night, will this even be an issue? Or is all this partying just happening over the weekend trips?

How early do we need to book the ferry if we're traveling in mid June? The overnight ferry will be a weeknight, not a weekend night. We'll be in Copenhagen beforehand for four nights, then Stockholm for two nights. Should we wait until Copenhagen to book the ferry?

Spaarne, The department store info and that last web link are terrific. Lots of information on everything. Thanks.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 05:08 PM
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People do sleep on the boats, sometimes all over the boats, but the Silja line was always the slightly higher end of the 2 when there were two lines. Since a number of people from one or the other country to be visited are usually going on it to pack up on the duty free alcohol and other goodies in the warehouse of a super store below deck, I'm going to say it is a family styled party ship.

And lots of fun. Karaoke, drinks that light up, spa, pool, an incredible buffet (you will have to like seafood, crustaceans abound!) is indeed killer good.

The trip at night, especially in summer, between Stockholm and Helsinki was the highlight of our 2002 Scandinavian trip -- and we HATE to cruise!
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 01:27 AM
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Kathleen,

The Silja S<->H ferries are longer than a city block, have steel doors on the cabins, a gentle swaying motion, and background "white noise" from the engines. You won't have any trouble sleeping. Have a glass of wine and a valerian root capsule to relax if you need it.

Surfergirl describes it pretty well as a family styled party ship. I would add: except for Joe's Place.
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 02:59 AM
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- "Funny that i just read Silja or one of the Helsinki to Turku/Stockholm ferries is now banning 18 year olds from boarding UNLESS they have a note from their parents!

Seems indredible but does anyone know if these cruise ships have become party boats?"

That ban has been on for ages. And you cannot board nowadays unless you have booked a cabin. Different from 1970´s when people slept all over the boats. And teenagers made fools of themselves. Me included.

Kathleen, boats are huge, they accommodate thousands of people + cars + trucks. They are like massive floating hotels/spas/shopping centers/restaurants/pubs/karaoke bars/sauna. The lowest deck cabins are cheapest, so if there is some noise at night, it is there, not on the upper decks. And not on weekdays.
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 03:07 AM
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And even on weekends most people who take those cruises are families or a group of friends or couples who just want to have a relaxing weekend and a day in Stockholm/Helsinki. There are play rooms for children and so on.

A friend of mine has to visit Stockholm for meetings a couple of times every month. She always takes a boat. When I asked why she does not fly, she said that boat time is her own time. She eats well, goes to a beauty parlour and sauna, and early to bed for a good nights sleep. Once she did not wake up before the cleaning crew came to the cabin.
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 04:19 AM
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Thanks all--- definitely feel better about the ship after reading your responses. And, we are looking forward to the whole experience, especially the evening/ early morning views. We'll try to book a cabin in a quiet area if possible.

Yes, I'll have some wine, love wine! But have no idea what a valerian root capsule is.

Any thoughts on when the booking should be made?
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 05:37 AM
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Hi; We had a very good experience at the Barons Hotel in Tallinn. Richard www.barons.ee/
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 07:26 AM
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elina - it just seems funny for a college kid traveling all over Europe on their own to have to have a parental permission slip to board the boat - one wonders how the company can verify the genuineness of the parent permit - i could well write one for myself...
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 11:40 AM
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Think all the ferries in that area are "party boats" in that people do their drinking on the ferry to avoid the high tax on alcohol. The Silja line was a party boat when we went on it. We were more interested in the wonderful buffet.
Everyday people go from Helsinki to Tallin just to buy alcohol.
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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>>>elina - it just seems funny for a college kid traveling all over Europe on their own to have to have a parental permission slip to board the boat
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Old Mar 14th, 2010, 01:10 AM
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Hi kathleen,

You can save a lot of money on the train ticket from Copenhagen to Stockholm if you book well in advance. Since Swedish Rail is releasing a very limited number of cheap tickets 90 days prior to departure you can save a lot if you log in to their web site 90 days before your departure date.

A regular 2nd class ticket on a high speed train Copenhagen - Stockholm (5hr 20min) is approximately 1214 SEK (165 US). A rebookable low fare ticket is approximately 517 SEK (70 US) and a nonrebookable low fare ticket is approximately 426 SEK (60 US). The low fare tickets are not refundable. You can buy and make a reservation yourself at www.sj.se The web site is available in English.

I guess you like to travel by train since it gives you a good chance to see a bit of the countries you are visiting. However, train travel in Sweden could be expensive if you can't book well in advance. There is a low fare airline, Norwegian Airlines, between Copenhagen and Stockholm with one way fares as low as 278 SEK (38 US). To get this price you have to book well in advance, of course. They will also add a few dollars if you have luggage to check-in and add a few dollars when making your reservation.

I understand that you have alreday made up your initiary. I still have to recomend you to add an extra night in Stockholm and stay 2 nights in Tallinn instead. Tallinn is nice and interesting but actually a very small city. Stockholm has lots to offer.

Have fun on your trip!
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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Since Swedish Rail is releasing a very limited number of <cheap tickets 90 days prior to departure you can save a lot if you log in to their web site 90 days before your departure date.

A regular 2nd class ticket on a high speed train Copenhagen - Stockholm (5hr 20min) is approximately 1214 SEK (165 US). A rebookable low fare ticket is approximately 517 SEK (70 US) and a nonrebookable low fare ticket is approximately 426 SEK (60 US).>

Great tip from hoxa61 - and early bird does get the worm
But if you cannot get the 'very limited number' of low fare tickets that may sell out 90 days in advance and have to buy fares at higher prices then you can see why the Scanrailpass can be a great bargain - A Saverpass (2 travelling together on one pass) can get 4 days of unlimited travel within a month
- for $281 p.p. 2nd cl - note that a normal Copenhagen-Stockholm ticket costs $165 in above post - so if taking many trains at those prices the pass can be a boon - and a f5th day on that pass is just an extra $42 - the more days yoy buy the cheaper per day it becomes - max. And there is just the Sweden Railpass - $229 p.p. Saver out of a one-month period - and extra days above the 3 that come with the pass are only $18 a day for unlimited trains in Sweden p.p. But like Hoxa61 shows booking very early and generally locking yourself into an exact train can save a lot of money. But if you like flexibility or can't get the strictly limited in number cheapo fares look at the passes. There is also a Denmark-Sweden pass not much more expensive than the Sweden alone pass.
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