A cruise that Balticked every box: Eurodam Cruise Review by Cornishpastyman1

Eurodam 5
Member Since 2010
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A cruise that Balticked every box

Sail Date: May 2010
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Dover
This was our fourth cruise with HAL and we loved it. The others have all been to hot-weather locations. On this one the weather was good on all the land days and ideal for sightseeing but it was too cold to use the swimming pool (other than for a bracing wake-up call !) I missed lazing poolside on sea days but that's not HAL's fault. We chose this cruise for the destinations and they more than met our expectations. All 5 were memorable.

Personally I thought the art on the Noordam and Veendam was better but that's just me and made no difference to the cruise experience. Everything esle was as before, withthe usual terrific service.

Our pre-cruise research made it very clear that apart from St Petersburg all the other ports were very easy to do on your own. This made the land days quite cheap, unless you actually bought anything whilst on land. I was so busy sightseeing to have time to shop or have lunch so this was not an issue for me.

All in all, another More superb cruise, I would happily return to every port. In addition to my descriptions of the ports I have made short YouTube videos of the main sights at each, and if they are of interest you can find them by searching on my YouTube username, which is also Cornishpastyman1. (St Petersburg films to be added as soon as I can but all the others are there) Less

Published 08/13/10

Cabin review: VT8028 Deluxe Spa Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

The in-cabin lighting is not good and the bedside reading lights are pathetic. The idea of a flexible stem is good but the bulb is not bright enough and on the left hand twin bed side it is not long enough to be of use. It should have been positioned at least 2 feet along from the wall so it would be nearer the pillow.

Read All Deluxe Spa Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom (VT) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

The weather forecast proved accurate and we disembarked to cool and cloudy skies. We docked at the far end of Langeline pier so took a bus (no 26) to the centre. It's a 15 minute ride which takes you to a very good information centre. It was always our intention to take a canal boat tour and this was easily booked for the noon trip.

You can catch this at more than one place and we chose Nyhavn.It's an easy 10- minute walk to this pretty 17th century canal where Hans Christian Andersen spent several years of his life. The canal trip was very good, with a guide pointing out the major landmarks in 3 languages. It travels into the inner city but you get to pass the opera house, the Danish Royal Playhouse, the royal yacht, the royal pavilions, Noma, recently voted the World's No 1 restaurant, and the site where the most famous landmark, the Little Mermaid usually sits. But at the moment she is on display in Shanghai, where she can be viewed via a live webcam feed shown on a big screen mounted in the water.

The tour took an hour, after which we went into in a canal-side cafe for a quick drink before walking along the harbourside in the direction of the ship. This gives a chance to have a good look at Amalienborg Palace, the royal family's winter residence, the Royal Pavilions and Copenhagen's largest monument, the Gefion Fountain which is today a gigantic wishing well, and a replica of Michaelanglo's David. The walk from the city centre back to the boat is about 3 km but you could quite easily catch the number 26 along the way if you don't fancy the walk. All in all a great city.

Super-clean and super-easy to get around. Our shuttle bus dropped us at the one end of Esplanade Park which leads down to the market and Senate Square with the outwardly-spectacular Helsinki Cathedral. The first thing I did was buy an all-day transport ticket for 6,80 Euros and used it immediately on the ferry to the Fortress of Finland - Suomenlinna. It departs every 15 minutes and the sailing takes about 12 minutes, arriving at a place unique in the Baltic. Started in 1748 by the kingdom of Sweden, this fortress of 8 linked islands is one of Finland's most popular locations, attracting 900,000 visitors a year. Walking round it is easy and fascinating as you explore old buildings from the period of Russian command and stand behind enormous cannons with astonishing firepower.It's now a tranquil haven for walkers and pic-nickers - go if you possibly can.

I spent 2 hours here without visiting the museum. There are a couple of nice cafes and you could go for a swim if you wished but the water is cold. Reluctantly I took the ferry back to the mainland and jumped on Tram 3T to go and see the Rock Church, which is stunning. And then my nerve failed me. I wanted to go and see the Sibelius Monument and Olympic Stadium but was worried about time constraints (return bus was 4 pm) so just walked back past the railway station and national theatre to Senate Square for a proper look.

Helsinki is beautiful.

Read 610 Helsinki Reviews

We took a 2 day tour with Alla Tours which took us to Peterhof, Catherine the Great's Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress, St isaac's Cathedral, Church on the Spilt Blood and the Hermitage. Alla were superb (a bottle of chilled water at the start of each day was a nice touch) and our guide Valentina was delightful (and intimidatingly knowledgeable, not just about St P but Russian history in general) and anyone who comes to this mind-boggling city should really avoid the ship's tours and book an independent one. Not only is it only just over half the price but you get to see so much more because they stop for photo opportunities and crucially you are in a much smaller group because on booking you can stipulate 'no more than 10'. We saw the ship's tours and the groups were nearer 20-30.

The sights are very well-documented so I won't describe them beyond saying they were fabulous. All were very crowded but being with Alla Tours meant we bypassed all the waiting lines and although you are moved on quickly that's fine because there's so much to see.

Exhausting, exhilarating and unforgettable - the cruise highlight in a field were the competition was fierce.

Let's start with a massive disappointment. We were tendered ashore at Nynasham, about 50 minutes coach journey from Stockholm. HAL provided a free transfer and our driver was amusing and knowledgeable but this means around 2 hours less in Stockholm and even worse you don't arrive vai the Archipelago, which is promoted as a must-see sight in their day-before leaflet !

But once there Stockholm is stunning. On the way to the Vasa museum we walked down the side of the Grand Hotel to Strandvagen, one of Stockholm's most exclusive boulevards. Over the bridge at Djurgarden we find the Vasa Museum. We spent 2 hours there. Utterly remarkable and memorable, this is well worthy of the accolade of Stockholm's No 1 attraction.

From there we took a boat to the old town Gamla Stan, which was gorgeous and quaint, then saw the Royal palace, the Swedish Parliament buildings, the City hall and the Opera House, all set in a sparkling-blue harbour. A fantastic city that could easily sustain a 7 day holiday.

Another easy D-I-Y port. We docked a 10-minute stroll from where I entered the city - at the round tower known as Fat Margaret which leads into Pikk Street. Armed with a simple map you really can't go wrong here as it's all well-signposted. Tallinn today is a combination of two towns, which formally united in 1868. The most picturesque is the Toompea at the top of the hill where we find the iconic Nevsky Cathedral and the cathedral of St Mary. It's all very well preserved and the Russian influences are still very evident.

Back down in the lower town we find the market square and the old town hall, together with lots of restaurants, and a very impressive flower market outside the Viru Gate. I had high hopes for Tallinn and they were certainly fulfilled - there's plenty to admire as you just stroll around. And one other thing, getting a decent wi-fi connection is easy so bring your hand-held devices if you feel the need to catch up on your emails.

Read 690 Tallinn Reviews

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Member Since 2010
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