Beeson - Answered a Question by Goodwin (28 Oct 14 22:31)

We did the Baltic last year. I was advised to book a tour through Insider Tours. You can find them on the website. Just tell them what you want to see, how many people and they will do a tour for you. We booked their 'Roll like a Russian tour'. We had a tour round the main sights, then went to the The Hermitage and then St Peterhof Palace. The latter has the most beautiful grounds but unfortunately we did not have time to go inside because we had a huge delay going through customs on arrival. Insider will arrange your visas and all the entrance fees and there is no queuing to enter the venues. There were 4of us and we had an air conditioned Mercedes car with the guide and a driver. There was a little stop off in the Hermitage cafe for refreshments. They took euros. We had two days in Russia so we chose to do the trip on the first day, but you cannot leave the ship the next day if you do not have a separate visa. There are huge queues to get off the ship and despite being there early we somehow ended up being the last ones through at 10.30! We were supposed to meet the guide at 8 am. Fortunately I had rung the tour company the day before to,tell them about the delays and to please wait for us as we were definitely coming. Insidor will give you a price and you do not pay until you meet the guide on the day. We paid by credit card but you have to make sure you tell your credit card company that you need to make a payment in Russia to Insider Tours and the date, otherwise they might not let the transaction go through. You also need to print off a pass they email you for each person to allow you through customs. If I did it again I think I would book the tour for about 10 am when most of the crush has gone, or split it into 2 days by going say 12 or 1pm on the first day to miss the crowds. Then go say 9am the next day as there are likely to be less people going ashore on the second day. Th That way you will be back in good time when the ship leaves about 5pm. I hope this helps and enjoy your stay.

- Was this comment useful or 0 of 0 found this useful
Goodwin - replied to Beeson (11 Dec 14 16:23)

Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply in such detail to our query. Trouble is, we actually did the cruise in 2009! No matter, because I'm sure there'll be plenty of folk who will find your information very useful. In the end, we took two of the ship's excursions, (after first investigating several independent companies) which proved to be good value. The problem in Russia is that for independent travel you need a visa, the cost and supply of which is included in ship's tours. I would simply suggest that cruise passengers look carefully at the costs and work involved planning your own tour with a 'private' company versus the costs of the ship's tour ---- it is not always poor value.

- Was this comment useful or 0 of 0 found this useful
Comment | Report
Peter Wellman's blog

Are drinks packages worth it ?

By Peter Wellman

It’s a question I get asked almost daily, are drinks packages worth it and of course there isn’t an easy answer unless you want to go through your daily intake on holiday with me! Some people literally work out how many drinks they would have to have to get their money’s worth which is fine but there are other things to consider.First of all do you really want to be thinking about it every day ? How many have i had today, am I getting my moneys worth ? In my opinion no, I li...

Read More

Nov 17 2017 10:39:51:000AM

The New Azamara Pursuit

By Robin Clarke

Robin Clarke's blog

So we recently heard the news last month that P & O will selling their ship “Adonia” to Azamara club cruises who currently have 2 ships in their fleet, the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. The new ship joining the fleet will is the Azamara Pursuit and will be Christened in Southampton after UK agents helped double the sales from the UK market.The new Azamara Pursuit is now on sale and its maiden voyage will set sail from Barcelona on the 3rd of August for 10 nights saili...

Read More

Nov 17 2017 12:46:18:000PM

Independance of the Seas mini cruise!

By Jodie Baldwin

Jodie Baldwin's blog

The last time I stepped aboard Independance of the Seas was in 2008 when she was brand new and I was invited to Southampton for a guided tour on board. She was the first cruise ship I’d been on and I remember feeling absolutely blown away at how beautiful she was!So here I am 9 years later and looking forward to a 3 night mini cruise to Bruges and Le Havre on her with my my partner Mike and my 3 children! WE had booked a family ocean view room which we knew was right at the front of the...

Read More

Nov 15 2017 02:51:38:000PM