We took the Celebrity bus to Bruges and then did our own walking tours. The shuttle bus does not drop off in Bruges so we had to buy the excursion.
The tour guide provided us with an overview of Bruges and an excellent map. In Bruges, we did three different walking tours that we had found independently, covering approximately 8km. We enjoyed the medieval feel of Bruges and although it was overcast, it was great exploring weather.
We also had time to shop for chocolates - a definite must do!
Unlike most of the ship, we didn't go to Berlin as we felt that we could go for a long weekend to explore it in the future.
Warnemunde is an adorable place, full of character and very easy to navigate. It was a glorious day, so we took a walk along the promenade and along the beach. There were a few naturists on the beach so any prudes would have to avert their gaze. We found that there was an excellent atmosphere in the town and some lovely outside cafes and restaurants with seafood offerings.
Helsinki was a pleasant surprise, incredibly clean and friendly. Again, we followed self-directed walking tours and walked about 10-12km. The city is very green with lots of park spaces and dog parks, with benches for the owners in the style of different dog breeds. The church in the rock was spectacular and very atmospheric. There was a military parade on the day of our visit which attracted lots of visitors. It was very busy in the main shopping centre and some of the shops were shockingly expensive. The markets were intriguing and stunning. We saw reindeer and bear pelts for sale.
St. Petersburg is very, very beautiful and very, very busy! We have never seen so many weddings taking place in one destination. On the first day of the visit, we lost count at 40!!!
Two days were not enough to take everything in here. We took two of the ship's excursion packages and had a good taste of what was on offer. We visited Catherine's Palace and Gardens, had a Russian lunch and then were guided round the opulence of the city. On the second day, we visited Peterhof.
The ship's tours were good but we felt that there was too much time given over to shuffling the guests into tacky souvenir shops IMHO.
Tallin was a real surprise for us. It is a medieval city with narrow, cobbled streets, protected by ancient walls and towers. The houses are all wonky and full of character. Again, we opted for our own walking tour and walked form the ship (easy walking distance) to take in Tallinn. The knitwear and woollen booties were a reasonable price here too. A very pleasant experience.
Stockholm was the only disappointing port of call. As soon as we left the ship, we were bombarded by HOHO bus and boat touts who were desperately attempting to coax you on their tour. We took the boat tour but found that we could have walked.
We didn't visit the Vasa museum. All of the tourists sites are within easy walking distance from ship. We saw the changing of the guards and the old town. It seemed to lack the character of some of the other ports of call.
Wow, what a city! Again, the ship was in easy walking distance from The Little Mermaid. We enjoyed a tour of the Kastellet. The star-like design was fascinating and provided some excellent views of the city, as well as an extremely attractive walk.
We ventured to lots of different districts of Copenhagen. We came across a design museum which permitted free visits on a Wednesday - bonus for us! It was full of furniture and fashion designs.
This led to the Royal Palace area with beautiful architecture and well-designed gardens/fountains.
We then walked to the marina and Nyhavn before exploring the ruins underneath Christiansborg Palace. It was thoroughly engrossing. We fell across the National Museum, where the displays were in Danish and English.
The walk took us up Tivoli Gardens, a small theme park. We opted for a stroll into the city centre along Stoget and saw street performers and a priceless gold and jewel train in a shop window.
We settled for a park based route back to the ship. The green spaces were immaculately kept and in the sunshine, the people of Copenhagen came out to enjoy the day.