We opted to pay for the NCL train transfer to Berlin in case there was an issue returning to the ship on time via a private tour. Once in Berlin, we toured on our own. The 2 ½ hour New Berlin Tours Free Guided Walking Tour is terrific. Great street vendors for Bratwurst near the Brandenburg gate.
Easy walk to town. We opted to walk to the bus station and go to the open air museum, which was simply wonderful. Had our first delicious lunch there…the National Meal with Kama to drink! Took the tram back to town. Plenty of time to tour upper and lower town before having our 2nd delicious lunch…Bear Dumplings in a Russian Restaurant. (Troika)
Words do not describe this city. Two days were definitely necessary. Do not book your excursion through NCL. SPb Tours are not only better, but much cheaper. Small vans with private guides. No more than 15 people. We opted to go to the evening Russian Folklore Show through SPb as well. They take care of ALL immigration requirements. DO NOT let NCL try to scare you that you need a visa from the Russian government if you do not go on the NCL excursions. SPb maintained email contact with us in perfect English.
Pleasant surprise. Loved the harbor market and Suomenlinna Fortress (which you get to by ferry). Rather than the hop on/off bus, an easy and inexpensive Helsinki city sightseeing tour can be done using trams 2 and 3. The route passes many of the interesting sights. There's a free booklet available from the Helsinki City tourist office explaining the sights along the route. The route is circular, number 8 shaped. Many food stands at the Market…Reindeer is a must!
The cruise through the archipelago (entering and leaving) is breathtaking. Gamla Stan (Old Town) is fun to explore on foot, with its lovely small streets. Lots of tourist shops. The main shopping street (in the modern area of town) is similar to major cities, but worth a stroll…no shopping as items are quite pricey. We didn’t tour the palace as we were “palaced out” after St. Petersburg. We were pleasantly surprised to be entertained by a military band and the horse guard as it was the opening day of Parliament. We even got to see the Queen and the Royal Family in “Cinderella-like” horse drawn carriages.