We were able to see some of Stockholm when we flew in the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Nordic Sea Hotel which was excellent. We walked from there to Old Town and spent the day among the shops and stopped at a restaurant to eat. Servers here were not very friendly in this part of town. Make sure you get a recommendation of a place to eat, but stay out of Old Town to eat unless it's ice cream. Went to the Absolute Ice Bar that evening and it was a lot of fun.
We did not book a tour through the ship and just took the shuttle into town and off to a ferry to see the Fortress of Suomenlinna which was listed as the top thing to to on Trip Advisor. If you take the ferry make sure it is the one that will take you straight to Kings Gate so you don't have to walk the entire fortress to see the best part. After that, we went through the market which was one of the better tent markets at this port. After that we took a cab up to the rock church which was interesting but you will probably only spend about 10 min here.
I'm giving this port a five because we had a private driver and tour guide through Red October tours (worth every penny). You have to have a visa or on a guided tour in order to visit St. Petersburg. This tour was worth it because our driver had our whole day planned and the tickets to each location were perfectly timed and we did not have to wait in long lines. Believe me, you will regret being on a bus with 40 people trying to see this city. We also paid for the option to go to the palace by Hydrofoil (high speed boat) and this was worth it as well.
Our tour did not initially have a stop for lunch, but our tour guide was kind enough to stop at a local restaurant to try their local baked pies. It was the best food so far on our Baltic trip!
Nice small town. Did not book a tour, just walked around the city and took a short boat ride on the canal by the park. Beautiful and clean city. Might not be a bad spot to take a walking tour here to learn more about the city.
I wish we had more time to spend at this port. We took the shuttle in to town and by the time we reached Gdansk it was noon. We had a little time to visit St. Mary's church and climb the tower to the top to take some great photos. We went shopping in Old town on Long Street. The best prices for amber and other gifts is at this port. We left back to the train to go to Sopot which has a nice long pier and other shopping tents. Neat little area and we wished we had more time. Our port was in Gdynia which does not have a lot to see.
We had really bad weather when we reached this port. It is here you have to be tendered to shore by boat. Make sure you get your tender tickets at 9am even if you are headed off to breakfast. The weather caused delays in getting to shore and it basically rained the entire day. We ate at a great restaurant in town, but not much shopping here. The weather got progressively worse and it took us two hours in a chaotic line to get on to a tender boat. The cruise director had no idea how to handle crowd control in the conditions we were in. My hats off to the crew that were able to get us back to the ship safely navigating 15 foot waves.
My advice - if the weather is bad and rainy, do not go on shore. It is not worth being miserable in the que line for the tender if it gets shut down due to high waves. If the waves are high, chances are you will be next to the person that gets motion sickness.