St Petersburg . . .
If you have'nt a visa you must be accompanied by an official guide . . . my dearest and I have visited twice. We took every shore excursion offered, and it was a magical. If Ballet is not your scene, I would strongly recommend this experience, if only to enjoy the ambiance of the theatre and the interval hospitality . . . and the performances are superb . . . We wish you a very happy cruise.
You need an oraganised trip in Russia (either ship or a company such as Denrus). We enjoyed Peterhof in St Petersburg but avoided the Hermitage as it is reported to be really crowded. Other ports you can mostly explore by yourselves. Don't miss the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Tallin is lovely, try to get in early before the crowds. There is a spirit called Vanna Tallin that comes in various flavours - the strawberry is nice poured over icecream. (There's a shop quite close to the dock entrance.) If you have a port in Poland glassware is beautiful and quite cheap. (I wanted to take our purchases back to the ship and come out again, but the other half vetoed that!) The walk along the harbour in Copenhagen is very pleasant, perhaps take the shuttle bus in and walk back. Tivoli Gardens are a bit of a rip-off but worth seeing. Have a lovely holiday.
Hi did you book with Denrus? If so how did you find them, guides prices etc? thank you.
We booked the ship's excursion, but friends who booked with Denrus were please with their trip. We were on Ocean Majesty, and from previous experience Page & Moy's trips have been really good, so we saw no reason to change. Everywhere except St Petersburg, we explored on our own.
Hi .We did the Baltic cruise on Jewel of the seas.It was absolutely fabulous.The only actual trips we booked was in St petersburg which you need to do because of the visas.We did a whole day one including the Hermitage and lunch.The second day we did a river trip which was very good but some of the others might have been better.Other cruisers suggested Peterhof.Copenhagen was easy to walk.We got off the ship and went along shoreline with the sea to our left and in 10 minutes were at the Little Mermaid.Carried on walking past palace etc till we came to Nyhaven ,fantastic, Took a canal boat ride there.Then walked to Tivoli which we found a waste of time.
Oslo we did the Hop-on Hop off bus.Goes from dock area Get off at the sculpture park.A must. We went to the Kon Tiki exhibition at another stop.Plenty to see.
Helsinki we walked from ship and followed our noses.Found a fantastic church built into a hillside.Quite unique.Stockholm did hop on bus again.Wasted time seeing the changin of the guard at the palace.Once you have seen it in London you really do not want to know.
Tallin ,marvellous to walk to .Turn right from the ship.Keep going through commercial part,not far, until you come to walls of medieval city.Went in the church there and then sat in the sun in the square with a coffee,or as in my husbands case a couple of beers and listened to a guy playing a concertina.Idyllic.
Of course if the walking would prove a bit much I'm sure someone else will suggest the appropriate trips.
Jewel of the seas we consider our best ship to date .Go to the midnight gala buffet if only to take photographs.We never have managed to eat at one.Our favourite place during the day was on a lounger in the solarium facing the sea.Enjoy.
Thank you for very useful information - we will be doing this trip 28th July 2009 - our first cruise. What did you do about exchanging currency? (ie for hop off bus) etc.
My husband checked back and said he changed up in the post office £50 in each currency.Finland was euros The others were all different Kronas. He didn't get any russian money because our organised trips covered everything we needed.We are not shoppers.We can't remember what the hop on buses were but you can find that on the net.You can of course change up on board.
A couple of little tips that are handy to know.
As soon as you step on board you are in a secure little pampered world.No rush to do anything straight away.You have 36 hours before you reach a port,so go straight to your cabin,dump your passports,money,keys return tickets etc in your cabin safe and make straight for the Windjammer restaurant and get fed.You can unpack later.
In your cabin you should have your table number for the main dining room.We went and had a look at our table and had the cheek to ask if we could be moved to a window one and got away with it.Can't guarantee it will always work
In your cabin you will have a card to hang on the door for room service,which is free.We used it to get a pot of tea in the morning.We put it out before we went to bed.If you want tea remember to ask for milk or you will get a slice of lemon.If you want biscuits ask for cookies and you will get two giant chocolate chip cookies.State what time you want it.
If you use the bottled water in your cabin you will be charged for it.Before we went to bed we always went to the 24hr tea and coffee station and got ourselves a glass of water to take to the cabin.The cabin steward will keep your ice bucket filled.
Don't forget,if you want extra pillows or anything ask your cabin steward,he will be falling over himself to help.
Don't get caught with the sailaway coctails in the fancy glasses.You will end up buying the glass,which is an eyesore on my sideboard.
These are little tips that would have been handy to know first time.
Don't worry about the tipping system.It will all be done for you.Remember these people are paid a pittance and the system allows them to keep the cabin prices low.Revenue is made on drinks and the casino.If you don't drink or gamble you are laughing.
Bar prices arn't as bad as some ships.A bottle of wine in dining room was about 20 dollars.Of course that is now dearer than when we went.
Hope this helps. Have a wonderful cruise.
Really helpful information - thank you. Do you know anything about the tour company DenRus for St. Petersburg? We are thinking of booking their very comprehensive 2 day tour but it would be nice to hear from someone who has been with them. Once again thank you.
No sorry I don't know about it.I am sure if I had heard of it we would have gone for it.St Petersburg is so beautiful,not at all grey like we were led to believe all Russia was.I should look on the net.