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Home > Member Reviews > joyride21's Port Reviews of Tallinn,, Helsinki, Stockholm

joyride21's Port Reviews of Tallinn,, Helsinki, Stockholm
Vision of the Seas cruise in May 2013
Member Name: joyride21
Cruise Date: May 2013
Embarkation: Copenhagen
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Member Review: joyride21's Vision of the Seas Review
Tallinn
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

My husband said at the end of this leg of the trip that Tallinn was his favorite port. We got Euro from an ATM at a gas station near the pier. Walked all around using a walking tour I had found online. The map was not the best, and lots of times the directions were backwards, but we figured it out. We veered slightly off the route for our lunch. The planned pancake stop at Kompressor did not disappoint. Very large portions and tasty. We also had a little bit of extra time at the end of the day, so we stopped for drinks at cafe. Sat in the outside seating area and enjoyed the perfect weather. Baby did great!



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Helsinki
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

Took tram from pier to Market Square, then ferry to Suemolinna Fortress. Didn't get to spend as much time at the fortress as was initially planned due to getting a late start and then getting lost after getting off the tram due to a cruddy map. Also, missed the tram we planned to take because there was only one machine to buy tickets from and the first guy in line decided to buy tickets for half his cruise ship, it seemed. And he had no idea what he was doing. Neither did the people after him. Much like the self check out at the grocery store, I feel you should have to pass an IQ test before being permitted to use one. Unbelievable. Anyway, not quite what I pictured when I hear the word fortress...perhaps because we didn't have time to explore all of it. Returned to Market Square where husband got reindeer to snack on and I was horrified to have to admit that it was quite good. Visited Olympic Tower and got to go inside the stadium as well. Missed our tram stop for Rock Church because people just shoved on instead of waiting for others to exit first. Made it to the door just as tram operator (who looked to be about 15 years old) closed it and then claimed she couldn't open it again until the next stop. I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying something very impolite. Got off at the next stop and walked back to the Rock Church. Unfortunately, after about three minutes inside Baby had a meltdown and we had to leave. Poor little guy was hungry ahead of schedule. Once he ate a little he was fine. Having recently learned (from Topi, our Finnish cruise director) that Angry Birds originated in Finland, and though I don't play the game I love the cartoons, and I especially like Red, I was thrilled to find a cooler filled with beverages in decorative cans featuring the characters on our way back to port. Had to buy one, of course!



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Stockholm
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

HOHO ferry company was selling tickets right next to where the tender dropped us off, but only took cash (Swedish Krona, which we did not have). Was able to purchase tickets on the boat using Visa card. Entrance to Vasa was under construction, so we had to go around the back side of the building. This was not evident, had to be directed there by a construction worker. Spent longer than planned at the museum. They had really creepy facial reconstruction heads of bodies that were retrieved from the wreck. Intended to make it back to Palace to see the changing of the guard but missed it because of the extended visit. Arrived just as the guards who were being relieved were marching away. Did a little walking, but Baby got hungry and had a meltdown, and I was fighting a really bad head cold (I ALWAYS get colds on vacation - I blame the airplane ride), so we stopped to rest and feed the little guy. Continued on to the Ice Bar, was early for reservation, but they were not crowded so they let us in early. A little hokey, but an experience nonetheless. Baby slept through the whole thing. Headed back to the ship. Hungry, we stopped at McDonald's to see if they had Big N Tasty's. They did. Spent far too much on one just to be able to take a picture of it for my brother, who loses sleep over the fact McD's in the States doesn't sell them anymore.



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Flam
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Planned to do the Flaam Railway in the morning, and a Fjord boat tour in the afternoon. Almost had problems...twice. I had pre-purchased our rail tickets, and had confirmed about three times all we had to do at the station was show them to the conductor, skipping the whole ticket purchasing masses. We were about 12th in line. When boarding began about 15 minutes later the conductor stopped us and told us the tickets needed to be validated first. Husband ran back to the station to have it done. Fortunately they let him skip the line because he already had a ticket. We were able to make that train, but were told that the return we had planned in taking was sold out, so we had to wait an hour at the top station. I was a little nervous because that didn't have us back to Flaam until 1:05...and the boat tour left at 1:20. (And you were supposed to arrive 15 minutes early.) But it all worked out. The ride up and down was just breathtaking, the time at the top allowed us to walk around a bit and have a snack, and even though our return was late (arrived back at the original station at 1:12) the train platform was literally adjacent to the boat dock, so we made that tour without a problem. We started out on the top deck, but it was rather windy so we moved inside. Turned out to be for the best because it rained at one point (just for a bit) and everyone came rushing inside - and not all of them got a seat. More beautiful scenery. Pictures don't do it justice. The second almost problem came at the end of the boat tour. The shuttle that was supposed to take us back to Flaam again was not waiting as it was supposed to be. There was a sign indicating the shuttle times, but no shuttle bus. And we seemed to be the only people looking for it. The departure time was listed as 4:00, and it wasn't that late yet, but it's kind of hard to depart when you haven't arrived. I knew we weren't far from Flaam by car (unlike by the boat that we had just taken that was a two hour trip), but definitely too far to walk. I was getting very nervous the shuttle had been canceled due to lack of demand. There were several other tour buses that were bound for a destination beyond Flaam, and I was just about to beg one of the drivers to give us a ride when, at about 3:59, the shuttle bus arrived! And about 20 other people came out the woodwork and got on it with us. I have no idea where they all were. It was only about a 20 minutes drive, basically through a tunnel the whole way, so we made it back in plenty of time. I worried for nothing.

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Bergen
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Walked around town, visited Rosenkrantz Tower, Fish Market, Festplassen park, and took the Funicular ride, then did some hiking. Had lunch at Pingvinen. A very nice day. The sun even came out. We had ridiculously nice weather the entire trip, and even though we were told it 'always rains in Bergen' we got lucky.

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