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Home > Member Reviews > Mileeny's Port Reviews of Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Riga, Gdansk, Visby

Mileeny's Port Reviews of Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Riga, Gdansk, Visby
Vision of the Seas cruise in July 2012
Member Name: Mileeny
Cruise Date: July 2012
Embarkation: Stockholm
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Member Review: Mileeny's Vision of the Seas Review
Stockholm
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Stockholm is a wonderful city and we spent 2 nights pre cruise in the Elite Marina Hotel.It is on the water and you can get a boat into town or over to beside the Vasa Museum and Grona Lund.We bought Stockholm Cards for 2days which included public transport and museum and attraction entry.For us it was great value as we dipped into a lot of places that otherwise we would not have.

Junibacken is a great place for anyone with small children particularly if they are familiar with Astrid Lindgrens books.My daughter at 9years was just about young enough for it and we went at about 4 o'clock on our first day and by the time we were leaving we had the place to ourselves and she was able to play on all the equipmnent and had a great time.We also enjoyed the Vasa and ate swedish meatballs here which were delicious in the restaurant with a water view.We also went to a small aquarium and then onto Grona Lund amusement park.

The next day we visited a couple of churchs ,saw City Hall,watched the changing of the Guards at the Royal Palce,visited the Palace ,saw the crown jewels,Visited the Nobel Museum and then took a vintage tram to Skansen.What a great place for a family day out.Open air folkpark combined with a zoo and a small aquarium.

Stockholm has an excellent public transport system and all the Swedes we encountered speak fluent English.

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Helsinki
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
We didn't do much here as we have been here before.There was a shuttle bus into town for €10 return but we took the local bus #16 from just outside the port gate.I had intended to buy a 1 day ticket from the driver but he just waved us all on board for free.The return journey cost €8 for 2 adults and 2 children.We got off the bus near the Cathedral and just wandered around the harbour and browsed the market stalls.It was a sunday and not many shops were open but the market was operating.It was a very hot day and we enjoyed the shade of the beautiful gardens in the city centre before taking the bus back from the same square as the shuttle buses.
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St. Petersburg
City Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
The guide gave an excellent commentary.The new port is well equipped and much closer to the city than the old one.We Stopped at Rostral Columns.St Isaacs Cathedral and Church of Spilled Blood for photo stops.We saw Aorara ,Peters cabin,the monument to Peter the Great and lots more. Had a very informative tour of the Peter & Paul Fortress.


Hermitage Museum Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
The coach dropped us beside the entrance and we were first in when they opened the doors.Every room and gallery that we went into was empty and we saw so much and got some amazing photos in deserted galleries and on the staircase. Priceless.The collection is overwhelming and our short visit only skimmed the surface but we saw all the highlights with expert commentary.It was very hot and there is no air con.I had taken small hand held fans and water and was glad of it.There were clean bathrooms here.Coach picked us up outside the exit.


Peter & Paul Fortress Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We had wanted to take a private excursion as when we were here before we did ships tours and they were very slow moving and more about shopping than touring.However we were only in port for one day and it was a monday and the Hermitage is closed to all except very large tour operators on a monday.I e mailed several beforehand and those that said they could get us in were very expensive so reluctantly i booked a full day ships tour that included The Hermitage.it turned out to be the highlight of our trip.The guide spoke excellent English.There were 40 people on our bus all of whom were fit and able bodied.We never lost anyone or had to wait anywhere for anyone.Lunch was included and was a salad followed by veg soup,then a chicken in cream sauce with potatoes followed by apple streudel.There was caviar on bread and sparkling wine and vodka shots and bottled water and coffee or tea included.This was in the Literary Cafe on Nevsky Prospeckt.


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Riga
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
The ship docked as close to the old town as it could possibly be.It took us about 5 minutes to walk from the gangplank to a gate in the old city wall.We wandered around the old town and managed to see lots of the main sights from the outside at least. The town is full of lovely coffee and cake shops and there were lots of stalls with really nice handicrafts not just the usual tourist souvenirs that you find in most places.We walked to the Freedom monument and saw the soldiers there with their straight legged marching technique.There is a lovely park adjacent to this where you can hire boats and pedaloes.

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Gdansk
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Ship docked in Gdynia.They only offered a shuttle to Gdynia centre so we ended up taking a ships tour which included free time to Gdansk.We had intended to only use it as transport and do our own thing when we got there but the guide was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English.We went through Sopot on the way which was a lovely beach resort. The bus also stopped outside Oliwa cathedral which was a bonus.Toured inside St Marys Church.We had a couple of hours on our own but it began to rain so we spent most of the time sheltering having lunch and then coffee and cakes.We passed by the Solidarity shipyard on the way back and we also saw the current home of Lech Walensa and the football stadium that was used for the Euro 2012 championship.

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Visby
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We had a lovely day in Visby.This is a tender port and Vision of Seas uses her own lifeboats for this process.It was an adventure in itself.The sea was choppy and it was like being on a rollercoaster until we got into the harbour walls.

We walked for about 5 minutes when we got off the tender and took a bus to Kneippbyn which is 4 km from Visby.It is not Disneyland but it has a few rides and go karts and pedaloes and canoes.One of our reasons for visiting here is that it has the original house from the Pippi Longstocking Movie which was filmed on the island.There was also a singing and dancing show with Pippi and Kling and Klang.It was all in Swedish but it was lovely.There is also a small water park which is good for all ages.There were no queues to go on anything and our children loved it here.We took pool towels from the ship.We took the bus back to the top of the old town.It goes on to the Port as well.We wandered downhill through the old medieval town back to the port.Its a lovely place.There was a big market in the middle of the square and lots of places to eat.The tender back was livelier than the morning one and a wave crashed in and soaked us.I was wet all the way through and was glad this hadn't happened in the morning.

My children have asked if we can go back to Visby for a family holiday and I can see why Gotland is such a popular destination for the Swedes.It is unspoilt.The Swedish people are very relaxed and polite and they all speak fluent English.

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