We just returned from a whirlwind tour of Eastern Europe. We chose to start our trip with a land tour (Cruise Tour). The land tour was part of the Princes package, but it was run by Globus. Our tour started in Budapest, then on to Vienna, Prague and Berlin, two nights in each city. It was well worth it. We had an excellent tour director, Justin who took care of all our needs, to perfection, and our bus drive, Enrico, was the best. The hotels were first class and the included meals were excellent. There is free time in each city and there are optional tours during that free time, they can be quite expensive and there were some that were just not worth it.
We drove from Berlin to Rostock where we boarded a ferry to Copenhagen to get the ship. Embarkation was quick and easy.
Day 1 - Day at Sea - Thank goodness after the land tour we needed that day for R&R. Day 2 - Stockholm - We did the tour that included the Ice Bar, fun experience. Day 3 - Helsinki - Took the shuttle bus into town and did our own thing. Day 4 - 5 - St. Petersburg - We took the 2 day grand tour. It was exhausting but well worth it. I can't begin to go into all the sights we saw, it was just so amazing. Yes there were crowds, but we never had a problem at any of the sights. The longest we may have waited to get into a site (The Hermitage) was about 10 min. I don't know why so many people put down the ship's tour. It was very well organized and put together. The only disappointment we had was with the included lunches. They were in a huge Hall and there must have been 10 other tours eating at the same time. The food made me yearn for the Horizon Court. (Chicken & Rice the first day Fish & Rice the second day) not very good and if you don't care for fish, better bring a peanut butter sandwich. It can be made at the horizon court at breakfast (this is what we did, just be sure to bring some sandwich bags from home when you pack.). Day 6 - Tallinn - Again we did this on our own. Very quaint and picturesque city, not enough time there. Day 7- Gdynia - We took "Gdansk ON Your Own", beautiful city, great shopping! Day 8 - Warnemunde - We chose to stay in Warnemunde since we had spent 2 days in Berlin on the land tour. Beautiful, quaint seaside town, lovely walking around and easy to get to from the ship. Easy walking distance. The people that took the tour to Berlin were so exhausted when they returned, they spent 2 to 3 hours on the train (going) that was not air-conditioned and then on a bus to get into Berlin (the temp. in Berlin that day was 95 -100). They left the ship around 8:30 am and didn't return till after 8:00 in the evening. We found most (not all) of the vendors in all the ports took US currency, some would give you back change in US and some would give you change in local currency. I used my debit card for some purchases and that worked out very well. Now on to the ship - The Crown Princess - Amazing Ship