The Baltics

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The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 14 Oct 2018, 10:30

Booked a cruise for next year to the Baltics (Scandinavia & Russia). First time for us so welcome any advice. Already know about visas for Russia which are included in any trips.

Southampton
At sea
Copenhagen
Copenhagen
At sea
Tallinn
St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg
Helsinki
Stockholm
At sea
Berlin
At sea
At sea
Southampton

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Re: The Baltics

Post by david63 » 14 Oct 2018, 11:39

One of the best cruise we have done was the Baltics.

Most of the places are easy to DIY/HoHo but I would look at private tours in St. Petersburg - you can sometimes join up with others to make a group of six or eight, that way you will see more and get "fast tracked" through the palaces.

Which ship?

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Manoverboard » 14 Oct 2018, 11:55

Easy DIY …. but … consider buying Thomas Cook's CitySpots or Traveller's Guides to ALL of the Cities you will visit.

The whole set will be less than £20 on e-Bay and you will then be able to visit ALL the places that appeal the most, we have done all these and loved them all. Tours are a must with St Petes.

ps ...Starter Pack - Copenhagen

:wave:


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Re: The Baltics

Post by Whynd1 » 14 Oct 2018, 14:23

Hi Stephen.
As the others have said it's easy to diy most ports. We did the two day P and O tour of St Petersburg, very tiring but wouldn't have missed it. Helsinki was brilliant we got the shuttle bus into the town and then walked up towards where the boats were and bought tickets for a trip round the islands, excellent. I did do a report on this web site of the cruise.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 14 Oct 2018, 16:01

Thanks everyone for the tips. (sorry) shouldn't mention that word :shock: :D

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 14 Oct 2018, 16:02

david63 wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 11:39
One of the best cruise we have done was the Baltics.

Most of the places are easy to DIY/HoHo but I would look at private tours in St. Petersburg - you can sometimes join up with others to make a group of six or eight, that way you will see more and get "fast tracked" through the palaces.

Which ship?

Dare I say 'Celebrity Silhouette'.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 14 Oct 2018, 16:05

Manoverboard wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 11:55
Easy DIY …. but … consider buying Thomas Cook's CitySpots or Traveller's Guides to ALL of the Cities you will visit.

The whole set will be less than £20 on e-Bay and you will then be able to visit ALL the places that appeal the most, we have done all these and loved them all. Tours are a must with St Petes.

ps ...Starter Pack - Copenhagen

:wave:
£20 :shock: . Steady on Moby. I'll get Mrs S to check out our local library ;)

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Manoverboard » 14 Oct 2018, 16:56

Stephen wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 16:05
Manoverboard wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 11:55
Easy DIY …. but … consider buying Thomas Cook's CitySpots or Traveller's Guides to ALL of the Cities you will visit.

The whole set will be less than £20 on e-Bay and you will then be able to visit ALL the places that appeal the most, we have done all these and loved them all. Tours are a must with St Petes.

ps ...Starter Pack - Copenhagen

:wave:
£20 :shock: . Steady on Moby. I'll get Mrs S to check out our local library ;)
Good plan … some of the ' used ' books are in fact ex library :thumbup:



.
Last edited by Manoverboard on 14 Oct 2018, 16:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by david63 » 14 Oct 2018, 18:56

Stephen wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 16:02
Dare I say 'Celebrity Silhouette'.
Not if you want to stay as a member of this board :lol: :lol: :lol: :crazy:

I doubt that it really matters which ship - the ports are still the same

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 15 Oct 2018, 07:48

david63 wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 18:56
Stephen wrote:
14 Oct 2018, 16:02
Dare I say 'Celebrity Silhouette'.
Not if you want to stay as a member of this board :lol: :lol: :lol: :crazy:

I doubt that it really matters which ship - the ports are still the same

I was a bit hesitant in my reply :D

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Jan Rosser » 15 Oct 2018, 08:07

Looks like I'm going to get my P45 as well Stephen - I've booked Baltics too for next August with the family and we are "jumping ship" - going on Royal Caribbean. Only travelled with them once before but costs wise for the family a no-brainer - thousands of pounds difference in price :crazy:
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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 15 Oct 2018, 12:45

I haven't jumped ship Jan. Just that a change is as good as a rest. We cruised on Eclipe last year and apart from going down with the plague towards the end of the cruise, which you can get on any ship, we liked it. :thumbup:

As far as I'm concerned, loyalty doesn't cut it with me any more. It's itinerary and cost at the end of the day. Plus I hate flying.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Jan Rosser » 15 Oct 2018, 13:04

Stephen wrote:
15 Oct 2018, 12:45
I haven't jumped ship Jan. Just that a change is as good as a rest. We cruised on Eclipe last year and apart from going down with the plague towards the end of the cruise, which you can get on any ship, we liked it. :thumbup:

As far as I'm concerned, loyalty doesn't cut it with me any more. It's itinerary and cost at the end of the day. Plus I hate flying.
I agree Stephen it’s itinerary for us too but cost does play a part for the family especially as it has to be school holidays and prices are bumped up. The granddaughters actually suggested the Baltics - the youngest said “it’s too hot in the Med and we’ve been there before” - so well travelled at the age of 11 :roll: I’m hoping weather will be reasonable in August.
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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 15 Oct 2018, 17:05

Jan Rosser wrote:
15 Oct 2018, 13:04
Stephen wrote:
15 Oct 2018, 12:45
I haven't jumped ship Jan. Just that a change is as good as a rest. We cruised on Eclipe last year and apart from going down with the plague towards the end of the cruise, which you can get on any ship, we liked it. :thumbup:

As far as I'm concerned, loyalty doesn't cut it with me any more. It's itinerary and cost at the end of the day. Plus I hate flying.
I agree Stephen it’s itinerary for us too but cost does play a part for the family especially as it has to be school holidays and prices are bumped up. The granddaughters actually suggested the Baltics - the youngest said “it’s too hot in the Med and we’ve been there before” - so well travelled at the age of 11 :roll: I’m hoping weather will be reasonable in August.

If it's anywhere near what we've had this year Jan you should be on a winner.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Manoverboard » 15 Oct 2018, 17:56

It is generally best to go in September ... some go in May albeit not us.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 16 Oct 2018, 11:28

Just had a look at the trips on Celebrities web page. Think I'd better put the house on the market as the prices are astronomical. As for St. Petersburg.......they can forget those silly prices. I don't mind a trip but I don't want shares in it. :crazy:

Before seeing the prices I thought, as it's our first time at St.Petersburg we'd play safe and book a trip via Celebrity as I didn't fancy chancing a street vendor trip and ending up in some Gulag camp thousands of miles from anywhere sharing a bunk with Ivor and his mate big'n. But I might have to have a re-think.
Last edited by Stephen on 16 Oct 2018, 11:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by david63 » 16 Oct 2018, 11:43

Stephen wrote:
16 Oct 2018, 11:28
Before seeing the prices I thought, as it's our first time at St.Petersburg we'd play safe and book a trip via Celebrity as I didn't fancy chancing a street vendor trip and ending up in some Gulag camp thousands of miles from anywhere sharing a bunk with Ivor and his mate big'n. But I might have to have a re-think.
There are three or four reputable private tour companies in St Petes but beware of any that ask for payment "up front" - most will take the money (cash USD) during the tour. These companies are very safe, even though they do look like (and probably are) the Russian Mafia!

I would suggest that you look at meeting up with others so that you share the cost and will probably find some on either FB groups or CC

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 16 Oct 2018, 11:55

david63 wrote:
16 Oct 2018, 11:43
Stephen wrote:
16 Oct 2018, 11:28
Before seeing the prices I thought, as it's our first time at St.Petersburg we'd play safe and book a trip via Celebrity as I didn't fancy chancing a street vendor trip and ending up in some Gulag camp thousands of miles from anywhere sharing a bunk with Ivor and his mate big'n. But I might have to have a re-think.
There are three or four reputable private tour companies in St Petes but beware of any that ask for payment "up front" - most will take the money (cash USD) during the tour. These companies are very safe, even though they do look like (and probably are) the Russian Mafia!

I would suggest that you look at meeting up with others so that you share the cost and will probably find some on either FB groups or CC
Thank David........comforting to know :)

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Manoverboard » 16 Oct 2018, 12:00

We have found that all the American Cruise Line tours are expensive as compared to P&O but the pain soon goes … may take a bit longer in your case of course.

:wave:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 16 Oct 2018, 14:11

Manoverboard wrote:
16 Oct 2018, 12:00
We have found that all the American Cruise Line tours are expensive as compared to P&O but the pain soon goes … may take a bit longer in your case of course.

:wave:

It never leaves me. I'm a martyr to it :)


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Re: The Baltics

Post by mavismumakrill » 16 Oct 2018, 22:08

When we went to the Baltics on Arcadia a few years ago P & O had the visas arranged for those going on tours in St. Petersburg when we docked and went ashore. The Russians kept our passports until we got back with our visas.

A super cruise. Tallin is a lovely place to visit as well. So different and interesting. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole cruise.

Mavis x


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Re: The Baltics

Post by Whynd1 » 17 Oct 2018, 09:35

I enjoyed it so much when I went to two years ago, that we are going back next year. Have booked adjoining balcony cabins at the aft on Arcadia.
A few new ports of call as well.
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Re: The Baltics

Post by david63 » 17 Oct 2018, 11:01

Whynd1 wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 09:35
Have booked adjoining balcony cabins at the aft on Arcadia
His & hers :lol:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 03 Dec 2018, 12:45

Has anyone done this trip at St. Petersburg, and is it all boat trip or is there some stop off's on land. The Celebrity web site is a bit vague on this.

Rivers and Canals with Peter and Paul Fortress for Small Groups 3.45hrs


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Re: The Baltics

Post by Silkworm » 03 Dec 2018, 13:08

Stephen, don’t even think of doing an expensive ship excursion, google ALLA tours, they are
brilliant, have been with them three times.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 03 Dec 2018, 13:41

We are not doing many or expensive trips, and only the one for St. Petersburg. I cannot be a*sed to faff about with booking elsewhere, plus Celebrity are offering 30% off selected trips (last day today). I just need to know if the boat trip I mentioned above has some land stop off points or is it all boat trip.

If it's all boat trip then Mrs S can go on her own, as bobbing about on a river/canal for getting on for four hours listening to someone prattling on doesn't appeal much.
Last edited by Stephen on 03 Dec 2018, 13:43, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: The Baltics

Post by colin parry » 03 Dec 2018, 14:06

Hi Stephen, I have done three Baltic cruises and have booked to go again next year, there is so much to see. Certainly the trip you mention is well worth doing as you get to see the tombs of the Tsars and especially those of the newly interred Romanovs following the return of their remains to St Petes. The dungeons in the fortress are particularly horrifying. There is so much to see even from the boat trip but you should also consider some of the palaces, particularly the Peterhof and the Catherine palace where you can see evidence of how the Germans left them having got that close to Leningrad. I'm sure that once you've been, you will be wanting to see more, e.g. The Hermitage, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St Isaacs.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 03 Dec 2018, 15:17

colin parry wrote:
03 Dec 2018, 14:06
Hi Stephen, I have done three Baltic cruises and have booked to go again next year, there is so much to see. Certainly the trip you mention is well worth doing as you get to see the tombs of the Tsars and especially those of the newly interred Romanovs following the return of their remains to St Petes. The dungeons in the fortress are particularly horrifying. There is so much to see even from the boat trip but you should also consider some of the palaces, particularly the Peterhof and the Catherine palace where you can see evidence of how the Germans left them having got that close to Leningrad. I'm sure that once you've been, you will be wanting to see more, e.g. The Hermitage, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St Isaacs.

Thanks for the info Colin.

So do we get land stop off's to roam around a bit on this particular river trip or not?

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Re: The Baltics

Post by david63 » 03 Dec 2018, 15:23

Stephen wrote:
03 Dec 2018, 15:17
So do we get land stop off's to roam around a bit
In Russia you cannot officially "roam around" without having your guide with you.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 03 Dec 2018, 15:29

OK.

It's like trying to get blood out of a stone or a politician trying to get a straight answer to my question.

Bu99er it. I'll skip it, Mrs S can go on her own.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Kenmo1 » 03 Dec 2018, 15:55

Stephen - would it be worth sending a private message to towny44. Looking on the Celebrity thread it looks like he did a city coach tour which went to Peter and Paul Fortress. He might have an old excursion book or spoke to someone who did a canal trip. The boat trip we did with PO only sailed up and down the river and canals and I don't remember getting off anywhere. Quite interesting to see the sights but that was all it was,just a sail past.
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Re: The Baltics

Post by Quizzical Bob » 04 Dec 2018, 14:13

We did the Baltic cruise on Aurora in May 2012 which included the overnight stop in St Petersburg. I knew that we would only visit there the once so I booked everything that was going. Her majesty didn't want to be out all day and wanted to come back to the ship for lunch which meant four separate half-day tours but the slow traffic back to the docks meant that there were only a few minutes between the morning and afternoon tours and no time to grab lunch.

We did a boat trip on the canals, a trip to the Church of the Spilled Blood, a visit to the Hermitage including the Gold Room (shiny :D ) and we had also been booked on another boat trip but when we found out that it was basically the same one that we had done the day before we dropped out.

We also did an evening trip to a conference centre for a show of Russian music and Cossack dancing which we thoroughly enjoyed. Others did the eveing trip to the Hermitage for a ballet show which also had good reports.

My advice, for what it's worth, is to do full day trips where possible so as not to waste time travelling back and forward to the ship. I would have liked to see some more of the monumental communist architecture such as the railway station and statue of Lenin but there was no official tour to these.

I found the immigration officials friendly and welcoming and there was not much of a delay in registering with them. Nothing to be scared of.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 04 Dec 2018, 15:07

Thanks for the info Bob :thumbup:

Personally I'd rather pull my teeth out than go on a full day tour playing follow the leader with the flock and someone with a guide bat. I get bored very easily. Two to three hour trips is enough for me, and ideally doing our own thing. But as we have never visited any of the places on our itinerary before I'm having to play safe and go with the crowd.

We are both doing just over couple hours driving tour in Tallin. Apart from that Mrs S is doing a canal trip in St. Petersburg for three and three quarter hours :thumbdown: and a garden trip in Warnemunde Germany for there and half hours :thumbdown:

I'll amuse myself around the ship while the hoards are away 🍺🍷☕️🍪🍔 :thumbup:


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Re: The Baltics

Post by Whynd1 » 04 Dec 2018, 15:47

I'm.sure you realise the visa situation in Russia, organised tours are the way to go.
I have my excursion booklet from 2 years ago. I will look for you to see what short tours they offer and get back to you if there is anything relevant.


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Re: The Baltics

Post by Whynd1 » 04 Dec 2018, 16:11

Stephen

Have found my excursion booklet and there are a few short tours.
Peter and Paul fortress and boat cruise3.5 hours. £55
Visit the Peter and Paul cathedral, then a canal boat along the Neva river, pass by the church of the spilled blood. Champagne will be served.

Panoramic St Petersburg 3 hrs £42
Boat cruise and Yusopov palace 3 hrs. £62
and Picturesque St P 3 hrs. £52

Im sure most of the cruise lines tours will be similar.

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 04 Dec 2018, 17:08

Thanks for the info Lindsey :thumbup:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by oldbluefox » 04 Dec 2018, 19:24

Fascinating museum in Stockholm is the preserved Vasa galleon/warship. It was preserved in its entirety in the Stockholm mud. It's a pleasant 20-30 minute walk or you can get the tram.


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Re: The Baltics

Post by Quizzical Bob » 04 Dec 2018, 19:37

oldbluefox wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 19:24
Fascinating museum in Stockholm is the preserved Vasa galleon/warship. It was preserved in its entirety in the Stockholm mud. It's a pleasant 20-30 minute walk or you can get the tram.
There is also a hop-on hop-off boat option. If a cruise ship is in port they make a stop there too.

I agree, the Vasa is well worth seeing. We also went to the gold room. There are 52 kilos of it there :D

http://historiska.se/utstallningar/the-gold-room/

https://www.stromma.se/en/stockholm/sig ... -off-boat/

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 05 Dec 2018, 06:43

oldbluefox wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 19:24
Fascinating museum in Stockholm is the preserved Vasa galleon/warship. It was preserved in its entirety in the Stockholm mud. It's a pleasant 20-30 minute walk or you can get the tram.

Sounds good Foxy :thumbup:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 05 Dec 2018, 06:50

Quizzical Bob wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 19:37
oldbluefox wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 19:24
Fascinating museum in Stockholm is the preserved Vasa galleon/warship. It was preserved in its entirety in the Stockholm mud. It's a pleasant 20-30 minute walk or you can get the tram.
There is also a hop-on hop-off boat option. If a cruise ship is in port they make a stop there too.

I agree, the Vasa is well worth seeing. We also went to the gold room. There are 52 kilos of it there :D

http://historiska.se/utstallningar/the-gold-room/

https://www.stromma.se/en/stockholm/sig ... -off-boat/

Thanks Bob :thumbup:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Manoverboard » 05 Dec 2018, 09:49

If you are looking for an option in Warnemunde then consider …

Get on a river boat ( complete with a bar ) and sail back n forth to see medieval Rostock.

or … and this one is for free :clap:

Do a DIY stroll in the lovely seaside town of Warnemunde itself; go on the beach, admire the colourful old houses etc and if funds permit then have a bowl of garlic prawns with a large glass of Riesling in a nice but informal restaurant in the Town Centre, by the lighthouse I recall.

:wave:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 05 Dec 2018, 10:10

Manoverboard wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 09:49
If you are looking for an option in Warnemunde then consider …

Get on a river boat ( complete with a bar ) and sail back n forth to see medieval Rostock.

or … and this one is for free :clap:

Do a DIY stroll in the lovely seaside town of Warnemunde itself; go on the beach, admire the colourful old houses etc and if funds permit then have a bowl of garlic prawns with a large glass of Riesling in a nice but informal restaurant in the Town Centre, by the lighthouse I recall.

:wave:

That sounds good :thumbup:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Manoverboard » 05 Dec 2018, 12:39

… with lashings of crusty bread it is ' very ' good :thumbup:

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Re: The Baltics

Post by Dancing Queen » 05 Dec 2018, 18:40

Maybe it's just me but I can't imagine anyone would book a cruise which included St Petersburg and not want to see as much as possible, personally I find Russian history fascinating but appreciate we are all different.

I'm not one for ships tours as most are overpriced and usually disappointing but unless you obtain a visa so you can DIY ( not cheap and I wouldn't recommend ) then there are only two choices either a ships tour or book with someone like Alla tours who arrange a group visa, you can of course choose to stay on the ship but such a waste imo.

Some lovely ports there so enjoy but do have a rethink about St P's although as they say 'each to their own'
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Re: The Baltics

Post by GillD46 » 05 Dec 2018, 20:52

My husband has no wish to go to the Baltic and I went many years ago, but regardless of where we go, a full day excursion is out of the question for us. Neither of us can tolerate sitting or standing for long periods, nor can I walk long distances, due to back injuries, so short excursions suit us.
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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 06 Dec 2018, 07:21

Dancing Queen wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 18:40
Maybe it's just me but I can't imagine anyone would book a cruise which included St Petersburg and not want to see as much as possible, personally I find Russian history fascinating but appreciate we are all different.

I'm not one for ships tours as most are overpriced and usually disappointing but unless you obtain a visa so you can DIY ( not cheap and I wouldn't recommend ) then there are only two choices either a ships tour or book with someone like Alla tours who arrange a group visa, you can of course choose to stay on the ship but such a waste imo.

Some lovely ports there so enjoy but do have a rethink about St P's although as they say 'each to their own'

Not knowing diddly squat about Russia, we didnt know about the visa's until after we booked otherwise we may have had a rethink. For me the tours for St. Petersburg are far too long and priced too high. Still, hey ho, it's not the end of the world. We may still sort something out, there's plenty of time. Mrs S has her canal trip at St. Petersburg so she's happy.

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kaymar
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Re: The Baltics

Post by kaymar » 06 Dec 2018, 11:59

Stephen

You sound as though you have made up your minds and, for what it is worth, I share your lack of enthusiasm for "a full day tour playing follow the leader with the flock and someone with a guide bat" and have only very rarely joined organised P&O tours.

However, we did a Baltics cruise a year or two ago and, in St Petersburg, booked a private tour company, TJ Travel, to show us around. There were four of us, we had a brand new, air conditioned Mercedes people carrier for us and our guide, who spoke perfect English and was an absolute delight. In response to my initial email, they suggested a list of attractions from which to choose and tailored the tour to meet our exact requirements, with the offer to change any of it while we we there.

They arranged to meet us off the ship at 8.30a.m. but were there when we managed to get off earlier at 8a.m. There was no queueing anywhere, as a private party we were simply ushered past any queues and walked straight in. You don't need visas and they sort entrance fees and everything for you in advance.

Cost was c$300 p.p. for one full day and one half day(stopping wherever and whenever we wanted) and we paid nothing until the second afternoon.

We have recommended TJ Travel to a number of our friends and fellow forum members and, without exception, they have been glowing in their praise.

We chose TJ on the basis of their speed of response, flexibility and price and can only speak for them. As others have said, there are a number of similar private tour companies in StP (good old google) and they may well all be just as good. In any event, there is just so much to see in this spectacular city that it would be a shame to miss it and this is a good way to see as much or as little as you want without the crocodile and guide bat.

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Stephen
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Re: The Baltics

Post by Stephen » 06 Dec 2018, 12:46

Thanks for the info kaymar, I'll bear it in mind.

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