The Baltic Region: Cruise or Land Tour?

Old Feb 25th, 2019, 07:48 PM
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I sense some confusion here
Originally Posted by katepcoss View Post
The best way to explore most of the Baltic countries and spend some time in St. Petersburg too, is to find a cruise that starts or ends n St.Petersburg.
This part I can agree with - even though these cruises are very few and far between...

Originally Posted by katepcoss View Post
​​​​​​
​Those are usually river cruises...
... and this is simply not the case. I mean, there are indeed many river cruise that start or end in SPB, but none of them go to the Baltic states.
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Old Feb 26th, 2019, 06:03 AM
  #22  
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thank you all for your feedback. We do want to visit the Baltic countries so are looking for cruises that sail from either Sweden or Norway and allow a couple of full days in St. Petersburg.
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Old Feb 26th, 2019, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by katepcoss View Post
The best way to explore most of the Baltic countries and spend some time in St. Petersburg too, is to find a cruise that starts or ends n St.Petersburg.
To each his/her own! I'm very glad that I did NOT take a cruise so I could see the places I wanted to see with the time that I felt made sense for each.
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Old Feb 26th, 2019, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
To each his/her own! I'm very glad that I did NOT take a cruise
True, with all these cruise-centric comments (and my attention span of a fruit fly) I totally forgot what the OP's question was - and, given the choice, I would vote for a land tour, of course.

That said, a post- or pre-cruise "extension" (not necessarily booked via the cruise line) in SPB is a legitimate way of venturing out of the tourist bubble, which is bound to enhance the whole experience.
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Old Feb 26th, 2019, 08:08 PM
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You could do what I did and do the Baltic countries by land (bus and train) and take a ferry from Helsinki to St. Petersburg and back. You get to spend up to three days (slightly less) with a 72 hour "visa free" visit. It's barely enough time to get a taste for St. Petersburg, but at least you can visit without much hassle. The overnight ferry each way to/from Helsinki was more fun and nicer than I expected.
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Old Feb 26th, 2019, 11:36 PM
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Last summer, we spent several days in Vilnius, then took a bus to Riga, which was super easy and comfy. (movies on board... internet... clean.) Both towns were wonderful and it was nice to have some good, slow leisure time in them. We then flew to Stockholm and took a cruise tour of the Baltics. (Viking Ocean). The tour went to Russia and many other ports. Loved everything about the cruise.... but loved our sweet, easy time in Vilnius, Riga and Stockholm. Maybe a combo of cruise and independent travel, if you have the time. (We were almost 4 weeks, as we spent some time in Norway at the end of the cruise.)
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Old Feb 27th, 2019, 04:38 AM
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St.Petersburg

Originally Posted by kja View Post
Like thursdaysd, I found it easy to travel to these areas independently -- and I went to Russia in 1994! It really depends on one's priorities, but FWIW, I wish I'd had more than the 6 days I gave St. Petersburg, and I don't think any tour gives you that much time.
i cannot agree more with kja. St.Petersburg might be worth all the troubles with getting a visa. The Hermitage Museum alone can take 6 days😊. The architecture of St.Petersburg is magnificent: it is a city of architectural ensembles, not just beautiful buildings here and there. It was built by Italian architects (Rastrelli, Rossi) and their Russian counterparts devoted to the European architecture. The elements of Russian architecture are elegantly blended in the gorgeous “Petersburg” Baroque style buildings (think Smolny Covent by Rastrelli).

Walk along the canals of the “Venice of the North” (St.Petersburg’s well deserved nickname), and along the beautiful Neva River will take your breath away.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smolny_Convent

And do not even get me started on the gorgeous suburbs of St.Petersburg with stunning palaces and parks. They rival Versailles and Fontainebleau.

And Mariinsky Theater with its world famous ballet...

The list is endless, so I’d better stop now.

Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius are lovely, but St.Petersburg... think Paris!

Disclaimer: I still love Paris much more. 😊
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Old Feb 27th, 2019, 09:14 AM
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For Russia we got our own Visa using an agency. Usually we get Visas ourselves but for Russia an agency was a lot easier althpugh more costly. I have a problem with cruising as you have to eat dinners back on the boat. I prefer having meals locally, learning about their food and cuisine.
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