Port and Shore Excursions
Although there were hop on and off buses parked beside the ship and a hop on and off boat sightseeing terminal a few yards from the ship we, and many others, walked to the city centre aided by free maps distributed by the local tourist office representatives who met the ship. We were able to get to the royal palace within a comfortable 15 minutes walk, saw the changing of the guards and then continued to walk round the city for a few hours seeing all the sights. We also walked back to the ship. We did not have any Danish kroners and, if we had, we still would have walked because we like walking and Copenhagen is a relatively small place. The only problem we had was finding somewhere to buy postcards with our euros. The only shops that accepted euros where the shops at the ship's terminal, so I was able to buy postcards and stamps. There was also a postbox nearby to post my postcards. Tip - if you need the toilet [bathroom] go into a department store where you will not be charged. You will be charged in Stockholm.
We did not leave the ship because I had been there three times on business and my husband once. Those that did go ashore - it was raining very heavily - said there was not much to see. I would agree but, if you have never been there, take the shuttle service from the port and back. You will find the Finns very welcoming.
We went on the Alla tour to Berlin, for just 115 euros each, so did not see much of Warnemunde apart from the docks. Others who had not gone to Berlin, wished they had. Because it takes so long to get there and back, the tour is essentially a bus tour with photo stops, providing just an "overview" of Berlin; but well worth it in our view. The only downsides were that we had only 20 minutes to have lunch and do some shopping and the "comfort" break was some four hours away!! At the start of our trip, the guide mentioned that we had a toilet on the coach but failed to mention that it was not in operation. When we returned to Warnemunde, the locals were holding a music festival by the ship. We loved it and we sampled the local Rostock beer which was on sale there along with wine. The beer was very good and strong. After we had dinner on board, the captain announced that the locals would be letting off fireworks to bid us farewell. Before they did so, they had lined up along the dock to sing and wave us goodbye. It was very emotional. A completely unexpected highlight of the cruise.
We went on a two-day Alla tour which was excellent, apart from the food. Alla split us up into three coach loads of around 14 people per coach. As we were a relatively small party, we got into everywhere with the minimum of delay. Our guide was excellent. In addition to the coach, we had a boat trip, went on the hydrofoil and travelled the underground [subway]. Before we left the UK, we bought Â£20 worth of roubles. We should not have bothered. The gift shop which Alla took us to accepted euros and dollars. There are shops in the cruise terminal and by the ship there is a duty-free shop where many people were buying bottles of vodka using dollars, euros and credit cards. Nobody had problems getting vodka on board.
The tourist office has a large outlet at the cruise terminal where you can collect free maps and buy souvenirs and bus tickets. If you are not going on one of the hop on and off buses or catching one of the taxis parked by the cruise terminal I would strongly recommend buying bus tickets in the terminal. We did not because there was a very long queue [line]. We were advised by a representative at the tourist office who was handing out the free maps to walk to the bus stop, less than 10 minutes, and use our credit card to buy our tickets. The bus stop, we noticed, is probably the only bus stop you will see with a machine whereby you can buy bus tickets. Unfortunately the machine was out of order so we walked and walked and walked. It took us 40 minutes to get to the Vasa museum - a must see - and a further 20 minutes to the Royal Palace and old town. We were walking quite quickly. When we arrived in the old town - which is relatively small - we met a couple who were on the cruise and they directed us to a tourist office where you can buy a strip of sixteen bus tickets for 200 kroners or 120 kroners if you are over 65 with your credit card. You can also buy strips at the cruise terminal along with a Copenhagen card which allows you "free" access to numerous sights. You can also buy individual tickets but bear in mind that from the ship to the centre you will be crossing two zones and, if you have a strip, two tickets will be stamped as opposed to one. The same thing will happen on your return. We went back into the centre the following day and saw the changing of the guards at the royal palace. It was quite an event. The guards were accompanied by a naval band. Needless to say, we bought our postcards and stamps at the cruise terminal where there is a postbox.
Ship was docked a five minute walk from the entrance to the old town. We downloaded a walking tour http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specia...f-Tallinn.html which we think was meant to take up two hours or more. In the event, it took less than that and we were glad we did it. Tallinn was certainly one of the highlights of the cruise. The local currency is euros - so no problem for us there. On the way back to the ship we passed the ferry terminal and watched the ferry passengers (not sure if they were from Finland, Denmark or Sweden but for the Scandinavians, Tallinn is the place to go for cheap shopping) go into a shopping mall in the ferry terminal. We went there to see what the fuss was about. Most of the outlets sold clothes and large bags of sweets [candies]. One shop sold cartons of cigarettes and beer. My husband gave into temptation and bought a 24 can pack of Saku export estonian beer at 5.2% strength for just over one euro per litre. He put it through the ship's scanner and there was no problem. We took the pack home with us and are sampling it now. Very good but not a patch on Rostock's.
The tourist office is a few minutes walk from the docks and were very helpfully provided free maps and advice on what to see and how to get there. You can easily walk round some of the city walls and visit the main sights in an hour or less.