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Saint Billinge

Anyone been on a cruise taking in...

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Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Poland and St. Petersburg? My sister-in-law is paying for a cruise for my wife and I next year, so its forward planning. I have spoken to some people who have cruised the Med and who differ on the best way to arrange such as trips. There are those who pre-book, others book on board (assuming there are places left), whilst others hop on such as shuttle buses or take a taxi to the towns or cities. There is a minefield of tours to choose from, but difficult having not been there before. One trip we will be going on is to St. Petersburg, although there are a lot to choose from. Anything that would help would be most appreciated: currency, credit card choice etc.  

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I think you're going to struggle for value. Organised trips are likely to be over the odds, and getting something sorted as you dock likewise. Try forums like this one but focused on cruising, google "cruising forums" or similar :-)

Also it'd be worth getting some tips on costs etc on board. My mate goes on these trips regularly but always sneaks a bit of booze on board at every port, not too much, but it helps keeps the cost down of having a tipple if that's your fancy. Also find out about tipping on board as some firms automatically add it to your bar/restaurant bills without consent.

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I think you're going to struggle for value. Organise trips are likely tone over the odds, and getting something sorted as you dock likewise. Try forums like this one but focused on cruising, google "cruising forums" or similar :-)

Also it'd be worth getting some tips on costs etc on board. My mate goes on these trips regularly but always sneaks a bit of booze on board at every port, not too much, but it helps keeps the cost down of having a tipple if that's your fancy. Also find out about tipping on board as some firms automatically add it to your bar/restaurant bills without consent.

Thanks for your post.

 

The itinerary takes in Gdansk, Berlin, Stockholm, Tallinn in Estonia, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg. Drinks are no problem because it's all included. My sister-in-law is also paying the tips. It's more about what tours to choose in terms of pre-booking, aboard ship or just take local transport. Also, credit card versus cash. In hindsight, I would have received much more Polish currency had I exchanged in Poland. 

 

Having say not been to St. Petersburg, it's unravelling where the most interesting places are. Celebrity cruises certainly offer a wide choice. I have been told that Tallinn is handily placed by using local transport, and so avoiding costly tour prices. The tour prices do range form about £30 to £400. 

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Ma und Pa did a Baltic cruise around that area last year including St Petersburg and Tallin.

 

Any particular questions you'd like me to ask? And when do you want to know by? Weekend? Week? etc.

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We've been with our family on a Baltic cities cruise and visited some of the places you've mentioned, but not with Celebrity cruises.

 

With regards to tours, it depends if you are someone who likes to be herded around with a group of people, or whether you prefer to explore on your own. Our son and daughter in law used to take the hop on hop off sightseeing bus that you find in most cities, as they allowed you to see the major sites and spend as long as you want at each one, which worked out cheaper than the cruise tours.  At several ports there were shuttle buses laid on for passengers, by the cruise company, to take passengers into the city centres anfd return on a regular basis - there was a charge for this but nothing like the tour prices. We tended to walk into the city centre and walk around but before going I'd bought, but you could borrow from the library, the city or country guides ( my faves are Rough Guide or Lonely Planet) to decide what you want to see in a particular city, and how easy it is to get there under your own steam.  I also found it was cheaper to prebook tours before going on the cruise rather than book on board.

Another thing to bear in mind is that meals are all included in the cruise, so we would return to the ship at lunchtime for our meal which restricts the time you have in a city - why pay for lunch out or included in a tour price when you've already paid once already.

 

With regards to the cities that you are visiting, depending on where you are docking, when we visited Tallinn and Stockholm we walked into the centre. Copenhagen we caught the normal local bus. We didn't visit Berlin as it was a three hour train journey and we felt that this would make it a long day - we've visited Berlin this year for a long weekend and still not seen everything, but I suppose if you were happy to catch a glimpse of the sights you may think its worth it. St Petersburg was the only place where we pre booked a tour via the cruise liner, as by doing it that way you didn't need to organise your own visa. We went on a tour around the city centre ( including the obligatory souvenir shop), but we also went on a tour which took us on the underground, visited a local market and supermarket, and shop with vodka tasting, which to me was more interesting as you got to see what life must be like living there.

 

With regards to credit card versus cash, I seem to remember that all costs on board ship were charged to your cabin and paid for from your credit card, at the end of the cruise. I took currency for each country we visited but whether this was cheaper than taking it in sterling and converting it once you arrived in the country, or using your credit card abroad I couldn't say.

 

 

Hope this is of help to you.

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Ma und Pa did a Baltic cruise around that area last year including St Petersburg and Tallin.

 

Any particular questions you'd like me to ask? And when do you want to know by? Weekend? Week? etc.

 

I've got plenty of time. As far as going abroad, I've always used cash but that's just visiting one country only. Someone has mentioned Nationwide credit card, but it must be a fine balance taking account of different currencies. I would suspect cruise companies would want you to pre-book tours, saying they get booked up early. By waiting, you could meet people on board who have some local knowledge. Let's say a cruise ship docked at Liverpool, the city would be within walking distance. I have no knowledge of the cities to be visited, and need to know if they are handily placed to use just local transport. 

 

My wife and I like interesting buildings, gardens and museums. With such a large choice of tours, it's getting it right because this is a once in a lifetime experience. Berlin is perhaps out due to cost and travel involved. There are several tours to St. Petersburg but you have to be accompanied because of visa restrictions. I know it's a wonderful city, but again their is such a wide choice of tours. 

 

The cost of local transport would help and anything else that might give us a better idea of what to expect. 

 

Many thanks for the response.

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We've been with our family on a Baltic cities cruise and visited some of the places you've mentioned, but not with Celebrity cruises.

 

With regards to tours, it depends if you are someone who likes to be herded around with a group of people, or whether you prefer to explore on your own. Our son and daughter in law used to take the hop on hop off sightseeing bus that you find in most cities, as they allowed you to see the major sites and spend as long as you want at each one, which worked out cheaper than the cruise tours.  At several ports there were shuttle buses laid on for passengers, by the cruise company, to take passengers into the city centres anfd return on a regular basis - there was a charge for this but nothing like the tour prices. We tended to walk into the city centre and walk around but before going I'd bought, but you could borrow from the library, the city or country guides ( my faves are Rough Guide or Lonely Planet) to decide what you want to see in a particular city, and how easy it is to get there under your own steam.  I also found it was cheaper to prebook tours before going on the cruise rather than book on board.

Another thing to bear in mind is that meals are all included in the cruise, so we would return to the ship at lunchtime for our meal which restricts the time you have in a city - why pay for lunch out or included in a tour price when you've already paid once already.

 

With regards to the cities that you are visiting, depending on where you are docking, when we visited Tallinn and Stockholm we walked into the centre. Copenhagen we caught the normal local bus. We didn't visit Berlin as it was a three hour train journey and we felt that this would make it a long day - we've visited Berlin this year for a long weekend and still not seen everything, but I suppose if you were happy to catch a glimpse of the sights you may think its worth it. St Petersburg was the only place where we pre booked a tour via the cruise liner, as by doing it that way you didn't need to organise your own visa. We went on a tour around the city centre ( including the obligatory souvenir shop), but we also went on a tour which took us on the underground, visited a local market and supermarket, and shop with vodka tasting, which to me was more interesting as you got to see what life must be like living there.

 

With regards to credit card versus cash, I seem to remember that all costs on board ship were charged to your cabin and paid for from your credit card, at the end of the cruise. I took currency for each country we visited but whether this was cheaper than taking it in sterling and converting it once you arrived in the country, or using your credit card abroad I couldn't say.

 

 

Hope this is of help to you.

 

One tour to St. Petersburg that took my eye visited the Church of our Saviour on the Spilled Blood! 

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We've done that very cruise, except Helsinki instead of Gdansk. I echo what royton roughyed said, and add that we made sure we had a big breakfast, and that way there's no coming back to the boat for lunch. We usually took the laid on bus into the centre, and then used public transport for the rest of the day, except in St Petersburg, where you don't really want to be wandering about on your own. In Copenhagen and Warnemunde the public transport was right by the boat. I enjoyed it a lot, except for the Russian bit, where I got fed up of being herded about endless museums ... I wanted to see a bit of Russia, not more feckin Rembrandts. The ship was pretty good - try and get a balcony cabin, though. I can point you to various public transport sites and give you some tips on how to get about and what to see, if you'd like, but it'll have to wait until I'm on a proper computer. And I'm not cream crackered.

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We've done that very cruise, except Helsinki instead of Gdansk. I echo what royton roughyed said, and add that we made sure we had a big breakfast, and that way there's no coming back to the boat for lunch. We usually took the laid on bus into the centre, and then used public transport for the rest of the day, except in St Petersburg, where you don't really want to be wandering about on your own. In Copenhagen and Warnemunde the public transport was right by the boat. I enjoyed it a lot, except for the Russian bit, where I got fed up of being herded about endless museums ... I wanted to see a bit of Russia, not more feckin Rembrandts. The ship was pretty good - try and get a balcony cabin, though. I can point you to various public transport sites and give you some tips on how to get about and what to see, if you'd like, but it'll have to wait until I'm on a proper computer. And I'm not cream crackered.

 

We do have a balcony. Some tours to St. Petersburg cost around £200 but it can be shared by say four people by car complete with guide. Any help would be welcome. Did you try and work out how much currency you needed or used credit card, By obtaining as much info as possible beforehand should lead to less hassle. By the way, Gdansk and Latvia are new on the itinerary. 

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I went to the Baltic in July.

 

St Petersberg is amazing but you will need to take an official tour, either through the ship or via an official Russian tour company. if not, you will need a visa, which are expensive.

 

We used Alla Tours and can recommend the two day tour (assuming you're there for 2 days) provided you have a decent amount of energy. they take you to all the main sights. The Church on the Spilled Blood is indeed amazing, and has never been used as a church. The Yusopov Palace was my favourite - remarkable family house!

 

Tallinn is beautiful - if you can manage it, just walk around the old city. You can get there in 15 minutes from the port by foot.

 

Copenhagen is also worth a visit - we took a canal and harbour boat tour and walked, but it's bigger than Tallinn and the hop-on/off bus might be a good option.

 

PM me with any specific questions and I'd be happy to help. Never been on Celebrity but I've heard good things about their ships.

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I live in Copenhagen.  Public transport is very good, I would recommend going to Kongens Nytorv [The King's New Square] and taking the tour boat there.  If anything catches your fancy, you can go there after.

 

www.rejseplanen.dk covers all public transport and is also in English.  Let me know how long you will be etc.

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I live in Copenhagen.  Public transport is very good, I would recommend going to Kongens Nytorv [The King's New Square] and taking the tour boat there.  If anything catches your fancy, you can go there after.

 

www.rejseplanen.dk covers all public transport and is also in English.  Let me know how long you will be etc.

 

Just waiting for the new itinerary for details. 

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I live in Copenhagen.  Public transport is very good, I would recommend going to Kongens Nytorv [The King's New Square] and taking the tour boat there.  If anything catches your fancy, you can go there after.

 

www.rejseplanen.dk covers all public transport and is also in English.  Let me know how long you will be etc.

 

Hi Bob, just been reading up on King's Square and how amazing it is, but there was mention of on-going construction work and beware of pickpockets operating, both day and night! Perhaps no different from many other cities.

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I live in Copenhagen.  Public transport is very good, I would recommend going to Kongens Nytorv [The King's New Square] and taking the tour boat there.  If anything catches your fancy, you can go there after.

 

www.rejseplanen.dk covers all public transport and is also in English.  Let me know how long you will be etc.

 

I thought you had moved out to the States?

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I thought you had moved out to the States?

 

I did.  I moved back again.

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Hi Bob, just been reading up on King's Square and how amazing it is, but there was mention of on-going construction work and beware of pickpockets operating, both day and night! Perhaps no different from many other cities.

 

Kongens Nytorv is very nice, but amazing would be too strong a term.  However, there is major construction work, so edge along to Nyhavn instead.

 

The pickpockets are not too much of a concern really.  Just be aware you are a foreigner abroad and it is no worse than any other European city.

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