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Home > Member Reviews > musiclovingmom's Port Reviews of Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn

musiclovingmom's Port Reviews of Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn
Brilliance of the Seas cruise in July 2013
Member Name: musiclovingmom
Cruise Date: July 2013
Embarkation: Harwich
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Member Review: musiclovingmom's Brilliance of the Seas Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

We found Copenhagen to be very walkable. We visited the Little Mermaid, Gefion Fountain, Amelianborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle. We walked along the canal, where there are lots of very cute cafes lining the streets. However, we left the ship first thing when we were cleared, and as a result, we were in the shopping streets before all the shops opened at 10:00, so if shopping is really your thing, maybe wait awhile to get off. We also had just had a good breakfast, so we weren't hungry enough to eat at a cafe and thought it was too early for a Danish beer, so again, you might want to consider timing if these are things you are interested in. I loved the colorful buildings in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg.

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City Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

I am sure this bus tour would be fine for some people, but I like to walk around, and Stockholm is another city that is an easy walk from the ship, and several sites that are walkable. I was interested in the Vasa Museum, but by the time our bus tour was over there wasn't really time to do that. So nothing against the tour, it's just not for me. I would recommend walking into town. The old town and the shopping streets are close by. Hopefully I will get to go back some day. Then I would either go to the Vasa Museum or check out the
archipeligo tour.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

I would recommend you take the shuttle into Helsinki and back. We talked to a couple who did walk it and would not encourage others to do so. It is a bit further than Copenhagen and Stockholm, and also confusing, and they did get lost and end up at the wrong pier.
Once you are in Helsinki, there are many sites to see. We visited the National Museum for a few hours, which was great. We could have spent many more hours there. We headed to the Rock Church and had a little trouble with our map. However, we asked a young man for help, and he was on his way there and showed us where it was. He spoke amazingly good English! We had to wait for a service to be over before we could go in. There is no cost, and it is just beautiful. Don't miss it.
We then walked back to the area where the shuttle dropped us off and headed to the market. The market is fun, though we didn't buy any goods or food there. You can buy reindeer furs! We headed to the Uspenski Cathedral, again very beautiful inside and out, and then to Senate Square Cathedral. We didn't go inside here, but did climb the steep steps in front. On the way back we checked out the Merimekko store and Stockman's. There were many more sites on my list, but I was happy with what we accomplished in one day, and just hope to get back some day.

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St. Petersburg
Private Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

This was a two-day tour for our group of six. We booked through an agency called Red October. I would not hesitate to recommend them, although I know that the ship and many other tour agencies have these tours and I would think they are probably similar. I would recommend the private tours over a large bus full, however. I would just think it is easier to get around when you are not trying to coordinate the needs of an entire bus full of people. We saw so much in 2 days; the Catherine Palace, St. Isaac's Cathedral,Yusopov Palace where Rasputin was killed, Peterhof Palace, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, the Hermitage, a hydrofoil ride, and many photo stops along the way, again easier with only six people in a van. My one thought is if the main thing you want to see is the Hermitage, try to go as early in the day as they will let you, even if there are other things you don't see. We arrived at the Hermitage in mid-afternoon and it is just silly to try to appreciate great works of art when you are being herded through a room like cattle in a feed lot. All the other beautiful palaces and cathedrals more than made up for this disappointment, but if your heart is set on the Hermitage, look into other options than one stop on a whirlwind tour.
St. Petersburg is a beautiful city steeped in history, but big, busy, and crowded nonetheless. It was an exhausting couple of days, but worth it to see so much.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

This would be the port where I would recommend you do your shopping on this cruise. Walk up to the old town. There are all kinds of shops built into the midieval town, and street artists and musicians as you walk along. I purchased woolen goods and amber in the shops. We went to the Beer Haus for lunch. If you order the fish sampler it is smoked, pickled, and dried, not beerbattered and deep fried, just so you know. However, it was a fun place to eat and they have their own brewery with good beers to choose from.
Take Euros with you when you go. The town square is a huge market, and few places take credit cards. We bought a juniper wood trivet and the guy gave us a straight exchange for our dollars, but one of our group was not so lucky and got a pretty bad exchange for dollars, so I think-go prepared with euros!
There are also pretty good shops right outside the ship, and I was able to get some nice wooly slippers and a colorful woven runner.

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