Baltic cruise in August
Aug 28,2012 Copenhagen-Best to come at least one day early. That way you get to see some of the sites in this city. It also gives you time to get your clock adjusted. We stayed at the Marriott and were able to get in Tivoli,Nyhaven,Little Mermaid and a canal tour. This city deserves more than a drive through on a shuttle bus.
Transfer-cab to Marriott $35 for two people. Cab to ship, from airport about $55 for two people.
Embarkation-Give them an a plus. Left the Marriott at noon. We were in our cabin at 12:45. Room with balcony had plenty of space.
Ship: Has been updated and appears in good shape. Not luxury but nice.
Dining: Free style dining. I like it. Two main dining rooms. One requires a little nicer dress--such as no shorts. I liked not having to have to be there at a certain time every night. We never did have to wait. You can have either a private table or share--your choice. They have a dress up or night night. Some did and some did not. I like More
free style best because you do not have to pack a tux or evening dress if you do not want to. I thought the food and service in the main two dining rooms were good, but not gourmet. Service is good but probably not as good as if you had the same waiter every night.
Buffets-I am not a fan of buffets. We rarely ate at the main one. Read the daily ship calendar. There are places to eat all over the ship. That is what we did. The buffet on the aft of the ship is outside and a good choice,weather permitting. You can have lunch at the seven seas with a sit down if you want.
Breakfast- I miss eating a half pound of beacon for breakfast. Many choices so do not get stuck on the main room. The seven seas is much nicer and has table service.
Something extra-At each port, they serve some local cuisine somewhere on ship.
A breakfast tip--Eat at the Ginza if it is open. Eggs to order are available and almost no one there. We were the only ones there two mornings. No one seems to go there.
Internet-.75 per minute. Tip--If you must connect, type your emails first, then connect. Download your emails, then get off. You can then read them offline. Do not even think about surfing. Also best to go to common areas of ship rather than your room. Every one of the port terminals has free wifi so connect there.
Nice touch--It was cold and rainy some days. The hotel manager on ship had chocolate and cake waiting for us.
Dis-embarkation-We walked off. Cab back to Airport for two was $56 vs $60 for two using shuttle. The Copenhagen airport is really congested with several cruise lines coming in the same day.
Crew and staff--Did a very good job
Value--$1399 for a floating hotel with a balcony room for 9 days-Great
One thing we did- We bought post cards in each port and mailed them to grandchildren with local stamps postmarked. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Copenhagen has too much to see for a drive through. I would go a day or two early if possible. Things to do. Tivoli,Canal tour (great), Nyhaven, and the Little Mermaid. People are friendly and helpful. We caught the canal tour right at the Marriott and got to see the city that way. For the post cruise excursions-If you have not seen Copenhagen, this may be your only chance--but I think it is best to go early.
To little time to do justice. The port has hop on hop off if you want but a little too far to walk in. We took an excursion to Parvoo and the horse farm. Parvoo not worth the trip. You only get to spend about 30 minutes there and the shops do not open until 10. It only has a couple of streets. The horse farm was a delight. Local family in there home setting. Had cake and coffee. Really enjoyed that.
This also included a drive around Helsinki but just not enough time to really experience it. You can do Helsinki on your own if you want to. Just be back.
Ship docks right in town. No need to take an excursion here. We walked to the train station and caught the train to Rostock for 4.6 Euro, round trip. This included transportation from Rostock to the city square. We visited the city square and St. Mary's church. Not much else to do in that city so we went back.
Warnemunde was a different story. Wonderful small town on the water. We had lunch there and walked around. Beautiful village and multiple places to eat lunch. We had lunch for about 9 Euro each. I thought it a better German experience just to go there. We did not go to Berlin but those that did seemed to like it although it was a long day for them
Something extra-At the end of the day on the ship they had a local group come on board and had a German Folk lore show with German Food.
More exotic than Hermitage. Another must see. Do not be confused. Catherine's palace,Pushkin, and Summer palace are the same place.Note-they charge you $4 to take photos. Your guide collects it. However, no one seems to be enforcing it. I just took all that I wanted to and no one said a thing.
Tip-the best way to get inside pictures of both Catherine's and Hermitage to to google it when you get home.--Much better and the crowds are not in them.
You have to take some kind of excursion just to get off ship. Immigration was no hassle. No wait unless a lot of people were going through.
Went there after a long day of Hermitage and Catherine's. Full orchestra,choir, and both men and women dancers. Excellent presentation. I have no idea what they were singing. But first class.
Tip-They also have a Russian folkloric show on board the second day. Not as excellent as the night show but a good sample anyway. Some of the same performers but a much smaller show. The ship packed us a box meal since we did not have time between excursions.
Words cannot describe it. A world class exhibition of artists that you know. One of the things you must do while there. Negative--Very crowded and not enough time.You have to pay to take pictures but no one seems to be enforcing it. In fact,the guards in each room were almost sleeping.
Shopping-all of the excursions take you to the same place.I have an idea that the excursion company owns it. They always wanted to know what ship you came from. But it seemed a good place to but things from Russia that were of good quality. They take credit cards,Russian money as well as Euros-but best to use credit cards. This excursion included lunch with wine if you wanted it--Local and pretty good.
Neva River Cruise
Loved it. It rained on us but so what. They do have inside seats for that. Got to see the city from the Neva. Also included an inside tour of the Church on spilled blood. This building was my favorite in St. Petersburg. I would recommend it the river cruise. Took our picture in front of the Church on spilled blood.
8 hours not enough. Hop on off buses at port. We took the tour to Sigtuna and the Vassa. Sigtuna probably not worth it considering the short time.Interesting but only a couple of streets. Great tour guide.
The Vassa Museum--A must. I was blown away. You could probably do this on your on if you wanted to. Really wished that I had a couple of days there.
The sail away from Stockholm is beautiful.
No need to take an excursion here. Easy walk to the town square. However, there is a walk on-walk off bus waiting at the dock.Great people. Making their own way after breaking from Russia. It rained so be prepared. Went to town square and looked. Ate in the old town hall at a place called the IIIDrakon. Sort of a dungeon type place.Strange and curious experience. They serve Elk stew from an old kettle along with a very nice fried pie of some kind. Cost 9 Euro total for both of us. When it started to rain, we caught the hop on hop off bus for a drive that circled the old town. It also went other places but we did not go. ($16 each)
Bought some amber there.