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BEX994's Port Reviews of Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga
Thomson Spirit cruise in June 2013
Member Name: BEX994
Cruise Date: June 2013
Embarkation: Newcastle (England)
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Member Review: BEX994's Thomson Spirit Review
Copenhagen
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

Kalundborg- I stayed in port, whilst my husband took the Copenhagen on your own excursion. This took 1 ½ hours on the way there and 2 hours on the way back. The driver was friendly and provided maps. There was adequate time to see the city and he would highly recommend it. Kalundborg was a 15 minute walk from the ship, or a free shuttle bus was available.



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Helsinki
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

Helsinki- There are 3 different walking routes into the city all marked out on the pavement and signs. The longest one takes around 1 hour, but is very scenic as it takes you right around the bay. The shortest takes around 30 minutes. Again there was a free shuttle bus available.


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St. Petersburg
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

St Petersburg- Luckily we had done our research; you cannot go ashore without an authorised tour guide if you do not have a Russian Visa. Thomson will not tell you this when you book, on any correspondence and they will also imply that it is not safe to travel alone. After speaking to passengers on other cruise ships in dock at the same time, they had been told and were making their way into St P by themselves. Many people on the ship complained about not having a visa and having no choice but to stay on ship or pay for excursions.. The Thomson store could not advise us on obtaining a Visa, however their website recommends a company called the Travel Visa Company. It costs around £150 and the company was fantastic, knowledgeable and efficient. There are excursions available, but for the two days would cost more than the Visa. At the port there is an ATM. There is a shuttle bus from the port to a Metro station, it is then 2 stops to the station for the Hermitage. The return journey cost 180 rubles – a few pounds. You have to pay a small amount to use toilets in the city. The Metro is a fantastic experience in itself and is easy to use.



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Tallinn
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Tallin- This is a really beautiful city, with markets, winding streets, a castle, amazing churches and a large shopping centre. It is a 5 minute walk from the port to the gardens that surround the city. A free shuttle was available. There is also a café, wi-fi, shop and small market at the port itself. With our cruise with P&O this is the type of port we enjoyed every day, sailing up to it in the morning whilst eating breakfast, get off the boat and you are practically in the city. You can easily pop back for lunch and go back out again. We had a fantastic day.
For Tallin,Riga and Klaipeda wear sensible shoes as they do like their cobbled streets!



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Riga
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Another beautiful city, it's just a pity that we missed 45 minutes off the boat,as there seemed to be real trouble getting people off the ship???Very frustrating. The ship pulls in right by the city center. Fantastic architecture, fantastic ice-cream and fantastic weather. Stand outside Starbucks for free wi-fi.



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Rostock (Warnemunde)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+

A 5 minute walk from the boat and you will be looking down the lovely river towards the sea. There are a variety of shops and market stalls on the walk to the beach and many boats to look at (or take a ride around the harbour). The beach is spotlessly clean and I went for a lovely swim in the sea. You can hire a double beach chair with a roof for shade and there are toilets on the beach. We then walked along the promenade and through the park, before looking at the various shops and finishing with some currywerst-yum!



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