We arrived at Copenhagen at midday and left at 11.30pm. it was very easy to walk into the centre of Copenhagen or you could get a number 26 bus from the pier. The walk along the river is pleasant and you pass the Little Mermaid. She is quite small and some people are disappointed by her. As we have been to Copenhagen before we decided to head for Nyhavn. This is named after the canal that runs through it. It is lined with old sailing barges and on one side there are cafes, bars and restaurants. It is a fantastic place to sit and watch the world go by especially when the weather is kind, as it was to us. We had lunch in Copenhagen but it would be easy to go back to the ship for lunch and disembark again to enjoy the evening.
We arrived in Stockholm at 8.30 at sailed at 16.30. The ship was berthed a little way from the city centre. The ship provided a shuttle bus, but charged Â£5.00 per person return fare. We asked about walking in but were told it was too far. If you are reasonably fit it wasn't too far and probably took about 20 minutes, although it wasn't a particularly attractive walk. Once off the boat I noticed a tourist information office on the quayside. We would have been better going there and asking their advise on getting around Stockholm. I know that you could buy one day tickets for the ferry boats. Stockholm Old Town (Gaml Stan) great. Full of narrow cobbled streets which lead onto the main square. There are pleny of places to visit such as the Royal Palace where you can see the changing of the guard at midday. One of the most popular atttractions is the Vasa Museum. This is where the warship Vasa, which capsized and sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 is displayed. We took a ferry over to the Vasa, but the queue was long so we didn't go in. If you want to visit the Vasa I would recommend you go first thing in the morning. The sail out of Stockholm is fantastic The channel was fairly narrow in places and we sailed past island after island. It took about three hours until we hit the open sea.
We arrived in Tallin at 9.00am and sailed at 6.00pm. The walk into Tallin was straightforward and took about 15 minutes. We arrived at the city walls, took a few photographs then wandered around the old streets in near silence. Nothing came to life until about ten o'clock. We wandered up past the main square, up Pikk Jalg (Long Leg Street).In the middle ages this was the only route up to Toompea Castle. In 1454 they put a gate up to segregate the lords of Toompea from the low townspeople. This gate was shut every night at 9.00pm. We walked down Juhike Jalg (Short Leg) to the old town and eventually back to the main square (Town Hall Square). It was great here. There was a Mediaval Festival and the market traders were dressed in mediaval dress and demonstrating, basketweaving, cotton spinning, woodturning and much more. There was folk dancing and singing. The atmosphere was vibrant.
Visiting St Petersburg was the main reason for taking this cruise. As I said earlier we didn't want to do ship tours. Buying visas was extremely expensive, so the only other option open to us was a private tour. I googled private tours in St Petersburg and came up with Red October, Denrus, Alla and Optima. All four companies had suggested itineries or you could choose your own. Because we were on an organised tour we didn't need a visa. It was Red October who suggested we try to contact other passengers through Cruise Critic. After considering all the companies we decided to use Optima. They came out cheapest and from what we could see, they were all offering the same standard of transport, guide and itinerary. I'm so glad we did it this way. We had tours of Yusupov Palace, St Catherines Palace, Peterhof Palace and gardens, The Hermitage, St Isaacs Cathedral, Church on the Spilled Blood, St Nicholas Church, a Synagogue. We visited a couple of shops, walked through a park, had a ride on the underground. (All marble and chandaliers). She took us to a typical Russian restaurant for lunch. She even took us to the post office to buy stamps for our postcards. A lot cheaper than the Â£2.00 the ship was charging to post them. It was a fantastic two and a half days. I really would recommend a small group. It is easier to hear, easier to keep up, easier to stop and take photographs, plus we didn't have to queue to get in anywhere. The highlights for me were Yusopov Palace and the Peterhof gardens, but it was all fantastic.
We arrived in Gdynia (for Gdansk at 7.00am and sailed at midday. Unfortunately this was not long enough, considering we were about 10/15 miles from Gdansk. I felt that it was a stop gap so we didn't arrive in Germany too early. Gdansk is a beautiful town, which was rebuilt after the war. I would have preferred to go on the Gdansk Road to Freedom tour, but we left it until the last minute to book and all places had been taken. We went on the Hanseatic Gdansk & Oliwa Cathedral Tour. Our guide talked about Gdansk and surrounding area the whole way into Gdansk. After all the history of St Petersburg I think I'd had enough! The whole tour felt rushed and it was nice to sit in the Cathedral and listen to the organ recital, although it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Maybe we should have arrange a private tour to Gdansk. This trip cost Â£36.00 per person. I learnt from another passenger that there was a good tram service into Gdansk. It would be helpful if there was information on board for people who want to sightsee independently.
We arrived in Warnemunde at 7.00am and sailed at 8.30pm. As we disembarked there was a young guy giving out maps and selling tickets for the local trains, boats and trams. I would advise just taking the map unitl you decide what you want to do. You may decide to go no further than Wanemunde. The temperature reached 30 degrees, which was great. We decided it was too hot for serious sightseeing, so we walked through Warnemunde main shopping street, which had tasteful souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes etc. then we turned down to the beach. The beach was a lovely long stretch of golden sand. The wicker sunbathing chairs looked quaint. We walked back along the quayside, past a fantastic chocolatier and back to the railway station, where we boarded a train for Rostock. The train took about 25 minutes. We walked into the town centre, but you could get a tram, we just didn't find it, had lunch in a restaurant overlooking the square, had another walk around and returned to Warnemunde by boat. We were a little disappointed in Rostock but it was pleasant enough. Warnemunde was a lovely seaside resort which only payed lip service to foreign visitors. I think that is why it is so charming.