Walked to "Pier 7" a gift shop/restaurant to get info on Rostock and train tickets. This took about 30min. as there were many other passengers doing the same thing and only 2 servers. Walked to the train station, and arrived in Rostock @ 11:00am.Visited Marienkirche(St.Mary's Church)-very beautiful,& ornate with an elaborate alter & pipe organ. There is a small room off to the side that has photos of the holocost. We walked around Rostock-cobblestone streets,old buildings. Quaint, but it seemed very commercial with many brand name stores. Took the train back to Warnemunde and discovered it's a lovely seaside town.There were many vendors selling dry goods,souveniers & food. Climbed the 100 step lighthouse and had a wonderful view of the whole area. A large sandy beach available as well as a small amusement park.
Purchased bus tickets for transfer from the ship at guest relations ($15 USD each)and received a map.After some searching & assistance from a young lady who seemed to work for "City Info" we found a kiosk that sold tram tickets (8 tickets for 8 Krona). We walked back to the tram stop and discovered that it was rush hour and many Swedes use public transportation. After having 3 full trams pass us by, one of the employees directed us to another area where we were able to board immediately. Our goal was the Vasa Museum.Once we found it, the lineup was long & it was 30 minutes before we entered. It was very interesting-dark, and not good for photos, but lots of information available. The last shuttle back to the ship was 3:00pm, so we felt rushed and didn't have time to see the film that explained everything about the ship. There is a souvenier shop on site with excellent postcards & books available. Instead of taking a tram on your own, it would be better to get either the Hop On Hop Off boat (100 SEK) or Hop On Hop Off bus (160 SEK) which will get you to your destination much faster, and allow you to see other sites of Stockholm as well.
Picked up a map at guest relations, and purchased transfer (eu10/$12USD)to the main square once we were off the ship. The operator of "Helsinki Sightseeing" met us as we got off the transfer bus, and we purchased tickets for a 2 hour city tour (eu 25 each) aboard a double decker bus with live commentary. Had a 10 min. photo shoot @ Olympic Stadium, 10 min. @ Sibelius Monument, and 20 min. @ Church in the Rock,as well as commentary as we drove around the city. We got off at Senate Square and walked around the lovely market.There were many vendors selling fish to snack on at tables provided,and many booths with handicrafts of fur,wood & leather. There was also a smaller area with fresh fruits & vegetables. It was a 10min. walk back to our shuttle area.
Very beautiful, but not original as all the amber was removed by the Germans during the 2nd world war, and it was never recovered
Catherine Palace Rating:
Beautiful peaceful grounds. Gradually being restored. Very opulent, with a lot of gilt. Rooms are decorated as they were originally.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Rating:
very beautiful & ornate with baroque marble floors, and mosaic panels on all the walls. A very interesting history.
City Tour Rating:
Different sites pointed out to us as we drove to the main building we were to visit. Stopped at the Subway station, & had a short ride. Wonderful mosaics.
Hermitage Museum Rating:
overwhelming-so much to see in so little time.Beautiful,crowded. Our guide was excellent in explaining the little we had time for.
Neva River Cruise Rating:
different view of the city. Good commentary. Unfortunately if was raining & we stayed below deck.
Peter & Paul Fortress Rating:
The founding site of St.Petersburg. Full of marble sarcophaghi of all the Russian Tsars,emperors,empresses and their families & staff. Very interesting
Peterhof Palace Rating:
travelled by hydrofoil.Beautiful grounds,very opulent with lots of gilt. Poured rain-would be marvellous to see on a sunny day.
Private Tour Rating:
Booked the "Comfort Tour". There were only 6 of us on this tour. Our guide Natalia was a history major, and was excellent. She was passionate about conveying the history of Russia to us. We saw all the main sites of St. Petersburg as was possible is such a short time period. A recommendation would be to research Russian history before arrival as there is too much to learn & remember in such a short time frame. It was easy to book with this company online-they responded quickly to all questions, and dealt with all the paperwork needed to proceed through Russian customs. The cost was very reasonable for such an extensive tour-$270 USD including all admissions and 2 meals.It was suggested another 10% be divided between the guide & driver, and we were happy to pay a little more than that. We would highly recommend dealing with this company.
Shuttle bus into town ($10 USD ea). Poured rain, so couldn't experience the beauty of this quaint town fully.The market was setting up as we arrived. Entered St. Nicholas Church-very beautiful, but it was a Sunday and a service was going on, so it wasn't possible to explore it. Walked to the bus station and bought time at the internet cafe inside Metro 24 (eu 1.60/30min). Returned to the port, and browsed a large indoor/outdoor gift shop.
Took the Step On Step Off Bus (eu 25).Paid an extra eu 5 to include the harbour boat tour.The canal is lovely with sidewalk cafes, many boats and coloured houses seen in travel brochures. The harbour tour was excellent-1 1/2 hours and good commentary.Took the bus to the Little Mermaid. Took many photos and walked back to the ship along the harbour front. Many shops along the pier-very expensive.
Stayed at Boogaard's B&B for 4 days after the cruise-excellent choice.Lots of walking along the canals. Visited Anne Frank House (purchase tickets online before leaving home so you can enter immediately-lineups are 1 1/2hr long all day). Took WW 11 Walking Tour which was excellent. This must be booked online prior to arrival. Went by bus to Zaanse Schans, a re-created 17th Century Dutch village with working windmills-a good side trip. The self directed tour of the Church of Our Lord in the Attic was very interesting,as was the stroll through the bloomenmarkt, and the Red Light District. All very different, but what you'd expect to see in Amsterdam.A visit to Noodermarkt on a Saturday is a must-it's huge and has everything! Fresh cut flowers,plants,antiques,flea market items(new&Used),clothing,fish,meat,fruit,vegetables,linens. It's very busy & fun.There's also the Cheese Museum,Delft Museum and Tulip Museum. A boat tour of the canals is a good way to see all the different architecture and gables of the houses in Amsterdam. Although we had 4 days we didn't see all that we wanted to. It's a lovely, interesting city with much history.