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Chris - Answered a Question by Lambert (03 Jun 13 10:29)

Instead of a confusing mix of one-day & half-day ship's excursions, consider a visa-free two-day excursion with one of the local operators. Google Alla Tours, & TJ Tours, & SPB Tours, & Best Guides, & Red October Tours. All offer a simple choice between a comprehensive tour of the major sights or a slightly less-intensive tour at a slower place. At around 300 US dollars or equiv. for the two days the cost is the same or less than ship's tours, all the major sights are included, you share a minibus with fellow-cruisers (max 16) rather than a coach (max 50), very much more personal & flexible plus many other advantages. We had an excellent tour with Alla but if you google "Alla Reviews", "SPB Reviews" etc. you'll find independent reviews of those operators & ALL are very favourably-received............ they also offer private tailored excursions way way cheaper than ship's ludicrously-expensive private car excursions.. . ........... all their tours have the same visa-free status as ship's tours - only cruisers who want to DIY need a Russian visa. You do have to book ahead (tickets e-mailed to you allow you through immigration without a visa) but you commit no money - you pay (cash or card) on the second day. All have exceptionally good reputations for quality & efficiency, they respond to e-mailed queries within 24 hours. and are careful to get you back to the ship in time for your sailing - no-one on a tour has ever missed their sailing. ......................... all the other Baltic ports are very cheap & easy to DIY (unless you want to make the long haul from Warnemunde to Berlin - which I'd not recommend since for Brits it makes sense to visit Berlin for three or four days on a separate weekend break). So aim to spend the bulk of your shore money on St Pete's, the jewel of any Baltic cruise. ................... Chris.

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Lambert - replied to Chris (03 Jun 13 11:08)

Thank you, that s very helpful.

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Moore - Answered a Question by Lambert (03 Jun 13 10:36)

Just come back from Baltic on Elizabeth. We were first timers in Baltic, so we asked at the tour desk. They suggested walking tour of St Petes, a half day but very busy and lots of walking, and another half day walking with canal boat trip. Oddly these are about the cheapest excursions that they sell, so either they were off-loading the remaining trips or they were really helpful. I'd go for really helpful as we really enjoyed both trips, although there is a lot of walking. The evening trips to both the Ballet, Folk Evening and Museum were very well attended, and the ship felt empty over dinner. You do have enough time to look at non-Cunard suppliers of excursions, see this site for more info.

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