Spearman - Answered a Question by mm (06 Dec 08 09:19)

We are taking a Baltic cruise in May next year. As far as possible we will arrange our own trips be they just walking around a city on our own or using local companies recommended by web-sites. However in St Petersburg there are, as you would imagine, strict rules and you have to be escorted by a licensed guide. There is also a lot to see. We have made contact with others on our cruise and have organised a 2 day private tour for 6 of us which covers the main sights. When comparing this to the Cruise Line's tours it is much better value as there are only 6 of us so much more friendly and we see more sights for about the same or maybe less money,.

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Cusworth - replied to Spearman (28 Jan 09 21:06)

Hi, how did you make contact with others on your cruise. we are cruising on jewel of the seas in august and at the moment looking at a 2 day tour with denus tours. kath.

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Watson - Answered a Question by mm (06 Dec 08 13:29)

Most of the ports of call are easy to visit on foot using the shuttle buses. Local City hop on hop off tours pick up at the quayside if you prefer something more organised. You will raelly need to use organised tours in St Petersberg because of visa and language problemmsm otherwise. These, although expensive, we found very well organised with guides speaking good English. I doubt if you will find any of the places visited havig cheap shopping.

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Brightman - Answered a Question by mm (06 Dec 08 17:55)

I went on this cruise last August its a fabulous ship but the main self service restaurant can be hectic. We vistited all of the ports using the Baltic Buses (like London Bus Tours) they were very reasonable and some times did river cruises as well. T.he only organised tour you will need to go on is St Petersburg - I believe the ship now moors in the centre of the city now but you will need to buy a Russian visa to go it alone . Sandra.

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Thornhill - Answered a Question by mm (08 Dec 08 08:38)

Having been to the Baltics twice, the excursions tend to be very expensive and feedback from some of the other passengers not worth it. I found that you can make your own way into the towns/cities you visit on the shuttle buses provided and you can see all the local sites and good shopping at your own leisure. The only city I recommend you book excursions is St. Petersburg. You will not be allowed off the ship without a visa and these are expensive and time consuming to aquire, so much better to go on an organised tours, which are thoroughly interesting and worth the cost.

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Clark - Answered a Question by mm (09 Dec 08 18:17)

I paid $25 for a great pullover in Tallin which would have cost $100 in Copenhagen. Also you will see items not available in the UK which are worth while but the Baltic is not great shoppig cruise. Excursions , we tried getting our own visa for St Peterburg and were beaten by Russian sysytems. instead we had a White Nights river cruise , which was good and the following day, with Royal Caribbean, a whole day tour. Cost £100 but included getting into Hermitage an hour before it opened, excellent lunch, market and church visits. one of the best excursions we have had anywhere. Olso found local excursions down by the waterfront which were excellent value, big ski jump, Kon Tiki and Viking boats etc for a few pounds.

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fewtrell - Answered a Question by mm (10 Dec 08 16:16)

I agree the Baltic excusrsions are really expensive and most cities are easy to walk round esp Stockholm, Talin and Helsinki. BUT I recommend you book excursions is St. Petersburg as you will not have to worry about visas and just as important (to me at least) is you get in ahead of the main opeing to some places and avoid the long lines - so thats a big bonus. Just make sure that they dont make you spend too much time at the markets (tat mostly) and thereby miss out on time at the important things to see in the wonderful St. Petersburg. Get fit to walk miles before you go - its worth it.

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PALMER - Answered a Question by mm (11 Dec 08 19:51)

I cruised the Baltic in July 2008 with Costa and had a wonderful time. The only excursions we booked were in St. Petersburg as the visa is included. All other ports have reasonably priced shuttle buses running between ship & cities, all of which were closeby. A good way to see ports is to use 'hop on, hop off' tourist buses available in the towns. Some may even pick up at the ship and save you the shuttle bus fee. My daughter and I felt quite safe on our own in these ports and this way is cheaper than booking 'excursions' but you need to do your homework first. Most of the Baltic ports we found very expensive except for St. Petersburg. Also Tallinn is quite reasonable, but I can't comment on clothes shops etc. Hope this helps and hope you enjoy your holiday as much as I did.

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darby - Answered a Question by mm (12 Dec 08 22:57)

Hi, we did the baltic,s last may had a fantastic time on the thomson clelebration, you have to book the trip with the ship when you get to st petersburgh or you want be let off the ship, also in germany its three hours to get to berlin, but its a great trip if guided lots of information and you see a lot more, , also its not cheap to buy clothes out there, well enjoy its the best cruise we have been on very interesting.

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Hewitt - Answered a Question by mm (13 Dec 08 10:24)

I agree with most of the answers supplied by fellow cruises, St Petersburgh, take one or two of the tours,saves the hassle of a visa, If you are stopping at Warnamunde,consider a shore excursion to Berlin. We found, although expensive, it was one of the best tours that we have been on. It is a full day but well worth doing. enjoy the cruise.

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Roscoe - Answered a Question by mm (13 Dec 08 12:26)

First of all the Baltic Countries are not cheap to visit, in Copenhagen where the shuttle bus will drop you off at a huge island there are no particular shops unless you walk. There is an area where the canal is and restaurants - very expensive. A take-away burger was £7.50! We checked in the exchange shop to see how much we were paying at that time! If you are going to Talin do not take the tour suggesting a Scenic Tour, as this was a waste of time we landed up in a housing estate! The shuttle bus drops you off by the market, and if you want to go up the town to the Church you could walk it - if it is a Sunday you can't go in because of the service! Stockholme we didn't see any shops as we visited the Palace which again you can do by shuttle bus. Oslo tour was a non-event - supposed to see the Olympic Ski Run but it was only from a distance! Of course you cannot do St Petersburg without a visa and also the Palaces are an hours drive from the ship - it would be very difficult getting around, and don't forget all these tours get you back in time for the ship to sail. We have been on cruises where people have been late and the ship has sailed without them!!! Unfortunately when we went in May it was cold and wet and not a bit inviting but I wouldn't mind doing it again and seeing more of the City and the Forte. It was not one of our favourite cruises we thought Norway and the Arctic Cirle was more interesting. Norway you do not shop and you cannot buy alchol as the Off Licenses are only open once a week. The best place to shop was Warnemunder where you get on a train and it takes you to the main shopping centre. Don't forget with the exchange Euro rate nothing is going to be cheap next year! I hope this has been some help, but the Baltic Countries are expensive, Sweden, Norway, etc. and save your money till you get home!

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