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lawton1osuedu's Port Reviews of Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm
Brilliance of the Seas cruise in September 2012
Member Name: lawton1osuedu
Cruise Date: September 2012
Embarkation: Copenhagen
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Member Review: lawton1osuedu's Brilliance of the Seas Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Tallinn is a perfect medieval town, having just the right amount of shops and cafes mixed in among the historical buildings. The stylish sweaters, coats, socks, and hats are bargains that will not occur at other ports. In our opinion the shuttle bus is a much better option than a formal tour.

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St. Petersburg
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
We liked all the ports, except for St. Pete. The anachronistic Russian visa requirement effectively forces you to go on a tour, when in reality most cruisers are competent enough to (absent visa restrictions) actually see all the major sights in St. Pete on their own. Many of the major tourist sites are within a several block area. There is no need for old Soviet Union type travel restrictions. Likely, a lot more money would be spent in stores and cafes if we all had the same kind of freedom experienced in all of the other Baltic ports. St. Pete is good for historical sites, but if you enjoy the simple freedom of walking around and shopping or eating at a cafe, St. Pete may not be for you
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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Helsinki was a superb town for walking around. The rock church was the highlight of the trip. The church puts the gold plated artificiality of other churches throughout Europe to shame. Its spirituality is akin to the powerful simplicity of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. The rock church is about you, nature, and god. A good mix. No historical jingoism. Just spirituality. On a more practical plane, the food market is just as good as advertised. We ate in a tent on the harbor. Remember to use the shuttle.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
It takes 4 hours for the ship to make the trip up river to Stockholm. It is like the Alaska Inward Passage, only ten times better. If you get a good viewing seat, you can watch an unbelievable variety of cabins and weekend retreats of many styles, sizes, and shapes. Clean, orderly, and unique. We sat and watched the entire transit, mesmerized by the civilized beauty of the archipelago. When we walked around Stockholm, we were amazed to see people in waders and standing on the river bank fishing for salmon. The noon time changing of the palace guard is not to be missed. The palace is surrounded by shops and cafes, ideal for a self-guided exploration. The shuttle was an inexpensive way to get to downtown Stockholm.

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