Didn't really see much of Helsinki. Slept in for the morning, and took the Helsinki at 40 Knots powerboat ride around the islands! Was excellent, my favourite excursion of the cruise. A good mix of slower paced guide around the landmarks, and some high speed thrills on the open sea! Would highly recommend this. Would love to go nack and visit Finland some more.
The main reason for our cruise! Took the 2 day Princess tour and loved every minute of it. Was quite tiring with a 0645 start, and losing an hour due to the dateline surprised us a little. Tour took us around all the major sites, but with little actual time for shopping... except in an overpriced "cruise recommended" shop. Could always catch market sellers near all the attractions, and we did not plan on buying anything other than trinkets. The meals provided were a local taste. I liked them, but not to everyones tastes. I saw a lot of people rushing to the buffet hungry when we got back on board! Tour also included a superb riverboat cruise with commentary that showed us all the sites from another perspective.
Took the Ballet trip on the first night, which made for a very long day but was worth it. Saw Swan Lake, and the performance was superb. I heard that the trip to Catherines Palace and the amber room was also good.
Took the day tour around the old town and to the castle. Was not that impressed with the area, quite run down compared to other ports. Our guide was great, and the trip was like a history lesson of modern Europe.