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one day or less itineraries in Baltic countries

one day or less itineraries in Baltic countries

May 10th, 2018, 04:01 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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one day or less itineraries in Baltic countries

Hello Travelers

I am looking for some recommendations and advice on how to set up my itinerary in Baltic cities while on a cruise. This is my first cruise and I am having a hard time cutting things out. We will be going through Copenhagen (2 days), Tallinn - Estonia (8 hrs), St Petersburg (2 days), Kiel (Germany) - (8 hrs), Warnemunde (2 hrs from Berlin) - (15 hrs), Helsinki (6 hrs), Stockholm (9 hrs). We have never been to any of these cities.
We are taking a private tour in St Petersburg since we can't get off the boat without a visa (which we do not have). If anyone has taken such a cruise and has recommendation on the evening itinerary or things to do after a tour that would be fantastic. We are not interested in a ballet or a folklore show. Perhaps a restaurant or a walk or a cafe or anything else. We will have our 6 year old son with us.
I am also trying to understand if I can see Berlin and Hamburg without a tour - I would prefer to experience the train, rather then be on the bus for 4 hours. Same with other cities. Any recommendation of must sees, or must go shopping or parks or museums will be greatly appreciated. I have some to do things in most cities, however would love to get an opinion of other travelers. Thank you in advance.
lenochka is offline  
May 10th, 2018, 05:06 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,499
Trains fan out from all those ports in all directions - in most stops you should just explore those great towns but in Kiel and Warnemunde yes take trains to Hamburg and Berlin check www.bahn.de/en for schedules and fares - also check the bahn site for regional train passes that most regions have and both can travel all day for about 30-35 euros. For lots on using German trains and where to go with them check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

Berlin is hard to get a fix on for one day but IMO the highlights of Berlin are within walking distance or a short S-Bahn ride from the main train station, the hauptbahnhof. Like the Reichstag; Holocuast Memorial; Unter den Linden; Museum Island - the historic heart of old Berlin. There is also a hop-on-hop0off HOHO) doubledecker sightseeing bus that circulates frequently along a route going by most major sights - you can get on and off all day and get commentary en route and a neat view from open-air upper deck. HOHO buses now circulate in nearly every major European city and on limited time IMO a good way for a day rather than figuring it all out yourself in such short amount of time.
PalenQ is online now  
May 10th, 2018, 06:08 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,315
Post in the cruise forum too, because there are posters there who have done similar cruises, so have experience in those ports.

Look at the excursions offered by the ship. Some might be something you would like or that you could duplicate on your own.

Join cruisecritic.com and look for a roll call for your ship. Join the roll call. Other cruisers have likely done research and are putting together tour groups for different ports.

On Facebook, look for a cruise roll call or fan club for your ship. Join it. You can ask questions and meet up with other cruisers online.

Sign up for a meet & mingle, usually on cruisecritic, but sometimes on Facebook. Someone starts this, and once on board, the ship has a private party for the group, usually with food and drinks and sometimes gifts, but it is also to meet people to do small group tours or share taxis, etc.

We have not done a Baltic cruise, but would like to. What ship are you going on? Your son will probably love it, depending on the ship and kid's program. I have not yet met a child who did not love it. My GD, age 8, has been on four cruises and absolutely loves them. It is a fun way to travel with a child.
Sassafrass is offline  
May 12th, 2018, 05:33 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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We did a similar cruise a few years ago with my mom. The highlight of your time on the ship will be traveling in and out of Stockholm. It was stunning! The highlight of Stockholm itself (for us) was visiting the Vasa Museum. I think a short visit here would be enjoyed by your son. However, when we strolled over to visit our first afternoon (pre-cruise) the entrance line was a mile long. Instead we got up early the following morning and practically had the place to ourselves. Your time in port might really impact your visit to the museum. And of course, the old town and downtown area was lovely. We enjoyed some window shopping and had a meal in Östermalm's Market Hall.

Our purpose for the visit was to step foot in Finland (my mom's heritage). We visited on a Sunday and enjoyed visiting the local outdoor market, lunch, walking around, etc.

My husband's favorite stop (and our post-cruise stay) was Copenhagen. We took a short boat ride around the city and took a ridiculous number of photos. By the end of the trip we were experiencing dwindling funds and sticker shock for every restorative coffee we drank. This was our first northern European visit (but not our last!) and things really are expensive.

St. Petersberg was our least favorite stop. We took a ship excursion and were glad that we were only there for the day. (My apologies to those of you who love the city!)

My favorite stop was Tallinn. I *think* we just got off the ship and walked into old town.You son will love the old town. When we were there in 2012 Shrek and his donkey were available for pictures. (Watch the movie with him before the trip.) I also had one of my top ten meals of my life there. We randomly stopped for a meal at the terrace of the Beer House and I ordered "Bacon on the Bone." Best choice ever! (In full disclosure, the food and giant beer "sampler" might be skewing my love of Tallinn...)

Have a great trip and definitely check out Cruise Critic for lots of tips.



Bacon on the Bone from the Beer House in Tallinn.
bibliotecaria71 is offline  
May 12th, 2018, 05:50 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,458
You might buy/borrow a copy of Rick Steve's "Northern European Cruise Ports". It will help you figure out which ports you can do on your own and which are better with tours, and give you an overview of what there is to see.

https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/...n-cruise-ports
thursdaysd is offline  
May 12th, 2018, 10:07 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,436
I do hope your private tour in St.P includes the Hermitage (winter palace), Peterhof, and the Summer Palace -- these are the stars in my mind.

We did no other tours while on our Baltic tour -- in Stockholm &Copenhagen, simply walked off the ship and explored the city; in Helsinki and Tallinn, the ship dropped us off center city and we explored on our own. In Oslo we walked off the ship and around the harbor, then took a cab up to the fabulous Vigeland Sculpture Park-- try not to miss it if Oslo is on your itinerary. In Copenhagen we also walked on our own off the ship; we were not impressed with Tivoli Gardens but no doubt your 6-yr-old will be so by all means include it. Our ship did not go to Germany.
aliced is offline  
May 12th, 2018, 01:06 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,271
Peterhof was our favorite place that we visited in St.Petersburg, beautiful views.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
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