I was part of a Cruise Critic group that booked a private tour with Alla Tours. Elena, our tour guide, was very nice and extremely knowledgeable. I cannot believe how much we saw in only two days! Be sure to bring the most comfortable walking shoes you can possibly find because there is so much to see, and you don't want to miss anything. The first day we did Catherine's Palace, Peterhoff, the Choral Synagogue and Yosuv's palace. The second day we did the Hermitage, St Isaac's Cathedral and the Church of the Spilled Blood. In between, we stopped at several places to get views of the city. She gave us a lot of information on the history of each place and even each neighborhood. She also told us some of her and her friend's experiences under the Soviet Union and the changes to capitalism.
Tallinn I did on my own. There was a shuttle from the ship to the Old Town, but some walked as it was only 1.5 miles. Old Town is lovely, lots of small winding streets and cobble stones, old medieval buildings and alley ways to explore. There are a number of restaurants there as well as lots of shops.
In Copenhagen, I went on a ship's tour to Fredericksborg Castle north of the city. It was fantastic! The building and grounds are amazing from the outside, the the inside is even better. The chapel alone is worth the drive up there. On the way back to the ship, we drove the coastal road and made two stops for pictures. The first was at the Queen's summer palace, and the second was at Helsingor Castle, also known as Hamlet's Castle. This tour took pretty much the whole day, so I did not get to see Copenhagen itself.
Edinburgh is, of course, a fabulous city, I have been there before, so I took a ship's tour to Scone Palace, the place where the old kings of Scotland were crowned. It is a beautiful old building, and the rooms are wonderfully decorated with old treasures. We saw the chapel and the spot where the old kings were crowned.
In Dublin I took two ship's tours. I didn't want to miss anything! In the morning I went to Wicklow to see Powerscourt Hall. Wicklow is a truly beautiful part of Ireland with mountains, valleys, farms, sheep etc. Powerscourt is basically a trip to see the garden as the building was gutted by fire in the 1970's. The gardens are amazing. There is a huge Italian garden with water fountains and statues. There are also walled gardens and large fields and tree covered areas.
In the afternoon I went to Malahide Castle. This was close to Dublin. The castle is very old and the rooms are beautifully decorated in period styles. There was a recorded narration there, which I did not like. It meant we could not move through the rooms at the speed the group wanted, we had to stick to the narration. Also, there was no one to ask questions of any item in the room that was not covered by the recording. We did not have time to visit the garden, which is also an extra cost.