This is a remarkable trip but very fast paced. It is also a very tiring trip due to 3 different time changes traveling from Dover to St. Petersburg and 3 time changes leaving St. Petersburg back to Dover. In our case, we spent 3 days prior to the cruise in London (Fri-Sat-Sun) including a day trip on the Eurostar to Paris (another 1 hour time change)on Saturday. Those wishing to do this trip please keep in mind, the train does not run on Sunday. Where ever you stay, you will need to be up around 4 AM and depart your hotel to be at the train station to check in and head to Paris on the 7 AM train. It is a 2 hr 15 minute trip at 186 MPH. This is a great experience and well worth the cost.
As for the ship. This was our 2nd time on the Carnival Legend and was very enjoyable. The crew was wonderful and very friendly. Always a smile and a hello.The food was some of the best we have had on a Carnival cruise. The only complaint was they only served creme brulee (our favorite) once in the 12 days. There were several kids on the cruise that were not well supervised and were running and pushing through the common areas and playing on the elevators while parents just looked on. We did have a cabin steward with over 20 years service and by far, the best steward we have ever had.
Dover: Ship departs here, but if you choose to be port side (balcony is great) then you get a great view of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Copenhagen: Beautiful city, we did a tour of the Carlsberg Brewery and got a few free samples. This was a very nice tour.
Berlin: We opted to take in the Top 10 sites via a train ride for 3 1/2 hours to Berlin. This is a very informative tour and really enjoyable. The train is not air conditioned, but choose your dates accordingly. We went in July and ride was pleasant with windows down. The countryside was really nice and the tor of Berlin was remarkable.
St. Petersburg: Although this is a remarkable cultural city, it was not one of our favorites as it turned out. An awful lot of walking when you do the 2 day experience. It was very beautiful, but you need to secure your wallets and valuables. One of our friends got hit by a pickpocket at the Hermitage and Tour Guide never bothered to contact the Police or the Hermitage Security People even though we were pretty sure we spotted the elderly lady who picked his pocket. Smoking is not allowed on the tour buses, but at each stop, the drivers would smoke and you could smell it once you returned. The driver or tour guide never inquired about the comfort of the passengers. It was usually way too hot and folks shedding jackets, etc.
Tallinn: What a pleasant surprise. After this visit, I can clearly see why this is a break-a-way republic of the old Soviet Union. I can't say enough nice things about this stop. A wonderful tour guide to start with on our trip to Old Town Tallinn. First thing was the comfort of her passengers. A lot of walking, but also a lot of stopping a long the way for pictures and to hear the history. A concert at the old church was remarkable and then to Old Town Center where we had a wonderful lunch and even our guide sat with us.
Helsinki: Another wonderful stop. We went to Old Town Porvoo which is very quaint and a nice place to visit. After that, we were served pasty and coffee at a nice resort, more like a bed and breakfast.
Amsterdam: Another remarkable stop. To get into Amsterdam, you go through a set of locks and follow the canal into the city. This was such a nice stop that if one would choose a place to stay and visit, this would be one of those. We did a tour to Edam and got to see the local countryside and all the farms and land recovered by building dykes over the years. In Edam, we visited a farm making Edam Cheese and had our choices of many different types of cheese from cows, goats, and sheep. We decided the smoked cheese (cow) was the best. Before heading to Edam, we did a tour to see the old windmills and a shop making wooded shoes. This was also a fairly long walking tour of the city of Edam, but did have time to takes some nice pictures.
Pre-cruise: London, our 3 day stay just was not long enough, we did see a lot, but so much more to see and do. Actually, you can get around pretty easy in London using the Tube, city buses,taxis,or hop-on hop buses. The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace happens at 11:30 AM each day. You need to be there around 10:30 if you want to get close to the Palace Gates.