Neil & Ida Down - Answered a Question by mm (02 Dec 08 15:48)

Many of the Baltic cities and towns can be explored on foot or by public transport. I would advise against this in St. Petersburg where an official or a tour by the localk specialists is all but essential. Do your homework on the web and other cruise information sites and you can have a very enjoyable day out in each port without spending a fortune. The ship's tours, in general, are for the convenience of those who like things done for them or who are very wary of going off the ship on their own in a foreign country. It's easy if you do your homework and take all the information, maps and your plans with you. ......Neil.

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mm - replied to Neil & Ida Down (02 Dec 08 16:11)

Thanks a lot . u have been very helpful. but do u think there are shopping areas where i can buy clothes that are good but not that cheap?

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Neil & Ida Down - replied to mm (03 Dec 08 16:12)

I'm sure there are it is just that when I have been there on previous visits shopping was not a priority. Yes Scandinavians dress well and buy nice clothes so they will have shops and centres. I suggest that if no one else answers that you "google" your ports of call and look at shopping in them, I'm sure that's the best way to get an answer. Good Luck. ......Neil.

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Neil & Ida Down - replied to mm (03 Dec 08 11:50)

The stock Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are not cheap and neither are Germany or Belgium although Holland can be a better bet. The better bargains for clothes are Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Latvia and Estonia, I think in that order, but seldom do you see bargains of the top, in vogue, items of clothing in the Baltic. It just isn't the place to go shopping as a rule, that's my personal opinion, .... Neil.

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Robertson - replied to Neil & Ida Down (06 Dec 08 11:09)

I would agree you 100% on this. I have found clothes items are better value for money in the UK. Especially at the moment! Unless you want to buy something specific to that Country ( but then how often would you wear your Leiderhosen in Smalltown UK? The trick is the same the world over - get away from the tourist trap areas to pay the price the locals pay. (I wouldn't buy a tartan scarf on Princes St, Edinburgh but thousands do - thankfully ) It's a bit like the Harry & Paul sketch - the shopowner who owns the shop called " I saw you coming" - a fool and his money??

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Buckley - replied to Robertson (10 Dec 08 10:39)

Although we very seldom take excursions I think is is essential and prudent to book them for St Petersburg. It is such a vast place and there is no way you can do it on your own. Although expensive they did provide excellent value for money and included lunch which I had been wary of but they were both very good and provided drinks and coffee. On your own you could easily stray into mafia territory which, I believe, is only two streets back from the main streets. Also wherever or whenever you go 'Big Brother' is always watching you! Shopping is best in Waremunde, formerely East Germany, and we found the prices, particularly clothing, was very reasonable and a good variety. We did also visit Rostock which only took a few minutes on the train which was alongside the ship but out of the two I preferred Waremunde even though the ship had said it was only a transit port for Berlin the there was nothing there! The beach area was also very good - a secret I think the Germans have kept to themselves!

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Smith - replied to mm (03 Dec 08 18:22)

We were in Norway in June 07 and a very good sweater was priced at £200, I decided to leave it there! Gdansk & Gdynia in Poland will be cheaper. Good hunting.

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Proudfoot - Answered a Question by mm (05 Dec 08 19:36)

Apart from in St Petersburg I don't think the're any need to take ship excursions. In most ports shuttle buses were provided apart from in Copenhagen where the local bus could be caught from the Quayside. Be careful of your possesions in Tallin, I had my credit cards stolen from an inside zipped compartment in a double zipped bag! Janis.

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Hargreaves - Answered a Question by mm (05 Dec 08 23:42)

The only cheap place we found was Warnemunde, which was really delightful. We took the train down to Rostock (20 mins) and everything there was really cheap, and there were clothes shops there. You will find all the other places are expensive, especially Tallinn and Stockholm. We took the hop-on hop-off buses everywhere except St. Petersburg where we joined a group of 10 for a 2-days in a private mini bus tour - all arranged beforehand on the internet. The whole trip was absolutely wonderful.

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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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