We took the "on your own tour" of Bruges because the excursion we originally wanted (Bruges Sightseeing) had sold out. The guide we had on our bus from the dock to the city was fine and knowledgeable, but due to the nature of the "tour" we just didn't get to spend enough time with him! We did enjoy the shopping and saw many wonderful dogs people had brought with them into town.
Separate tour with SPB tours, which was excellent. If you use them for this tour, ask for Heather. She is American but has lived and studied in Berlin for several years. She is extremely knowledgeable about the history, architecture, and other info concerning Berlin, but for Germany in general as well. Very well organized and able to give the best tour in a very limited amount of time so that you're able to visit many monuments and other important hallmarks of the city. We had a good lunch in a little pub/cafe, too!
We took the Helsinki, Porvoo, and Countryside tour. We started with a visit to Porvoo, a town which dates from the 1300's, and enjoyed our brief stay there, although the streets we went on seemed to have back to back gift shops, etc., strategically placed for tourists. Next we drove out to Sipoo and visited a farm where Hanoverian horses are bred. First we were shown a beautiful mare and her two month old foal and next had a visit from the Hanoverian stallion, who was gorgeous and still very virile at the ripe age of 25. We had lunch in the family home and then visited the stables where we found sleeping horses of different breeds. After leaving the farm we went back into the city of Helsinki and had a bus tour. The guide for this tour was OK but the bus driver was a real sourpuss. He never spoke, smiled, or offered to help passengers getting off or on the bus.
"Town and Country Life". We visited a dairy farm and sampled the products made there. Also visited the barn where young bulls were on one side and cows on the other. Next visited a private home in a suburb of Tallinn to see how a middle class family lives. Then back to Tallinn's Old Town. Our guide for this tour, Kaija, was very good and our bus driver very friendly and helpful.
"Historic Stockholm and Sigtuna" A short visit to the 1000 year old town of Sigtuna, then back to Stockholm's Old Town, with time for shopping (in duty free shops and others) and lunch, and then on to the Vasa Museum, which was a madhouse! Our guide did the best she could trying to separate our group from the general rude, pushing, shoving horde of people who were there. But people who weren't even on our tour would push in front of us to listen to her! I finally escaped and went downstairs to the gift shop while the rest of the group continued the tour for a few more minutes. We got back to the ship about 3:00 p.m., tried to eat some hamburgers at the Mast Grill while fathers and their children fed seagulls and threw food overboard and other kids ran the ice cream machine onto the floor without intervention from the waiters or other staff. A woman in a suit (some type of manager) finally came out and spoke to the men and children feeding the seagulls and throwing food. Then the Romanian manager of the buffet (a brusque, rude man) came out and started glad handing these idiots as if what they had done (endangering others on deck by attracting gangs of seagulls, as well as asking for large amounts of bird guano to be deposited on deck!) was perfectly OK with him. After this series of events, I went back to our cabin and went to bed until the next morning just to escape the insanity!
"Copenhagen with Dragor Village, Carlsberg Brewery, and Canal Tour". After being so stressed out after being in port in Stockholm, this tour was a complete delight. We went to the brewery first. There were other tourists there besides our group, but it was not crowded at all and we were able to go throw the brewery, sample the beer (or soft drinks), go through the gift shop, and then go outside to the stables to visit the Jutland horses who are the company's mascots. What a treat! Next we went to an inn in the countryside and had a wonderful lunch, then on to the town of Dragor, which we had pretty much to ourselves. Then back to Copenhagen and a canal boat ride. We shared the boat with one other busload of Eclipse passengers, so there was no crowding here either. Our guide was wonderful and our bus driver was very friendly and helpful. This was the perfect way to end our touring days!