Baltic Highlights - excursion issue

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#1
Scotland
2,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Just back from very enjoyable 14 days around the Baltic - one major beef with Thomsons.

We booked a full day tour online for day 1 in St.Petersburg prior to travelling, with a view to my wife booking the evening ballet trip onboard, once we'd clarified the respective timings.

I called the excursion office from our cabin and asked when the day tour would be back at the ship, to be advised by one of the female staff that it would be 4:15pm, no later than 4:30pm, and therefore there would be ample time to shower, dress and have a buffet meal in time for the 7pm assembly for the coach party.

This advice turned out to be complete baloney - we were still in the Hermitage museum at 4pm, and when asked, the guide assured us that the company (the tour firm) had told her to be back for 5:30pm.

It was 5:50pm before we were back on board and Her Ladyship had to have a quick shower, do her hair, dress and then hurry to the lido restaurant for a quick run around the buffet.

I had a "discussion" over the 'phone with the head of excursions wanting to know why I had been given completely wrong information, pointing out that I would never have booked the ballet had we known the true timings in advance - especially as the full day tour had meant a early rise.

I've come to the conclusion that the member of staff who I first spoke to is either incompetent, or being economical with the truth in order to sell an excursion.

I believe other guests were also unhappy at these timings issue.

All this after a total shambles of any organised disembarkation procedure at 7am due to no arrangements being made. I didn't need to complain on that one though - there was a big queue ahead of me !!!
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Sea Princess Oct./Nov. 2009 - Caribbean
Grand Princess Aug./Sept. 2010 - West Mediterranean
Thomson Celebration Jan./Feb. 2011 - Red Sea
Diamond Princess Nov. 2011 - Beijing to Singapore
Thomson Spirit July 2012 - Baltic
Thomson Spirit Sept./Oct.2012 - Idyllic Iberia
Thomson Spirit Oct. 2013 - Mediterranean Odyssey
Thomson Spirit July 2014 - Fjordland Splendours
Thomson Celebration Oct. 2014 - Ancient Wonders
Star Princess March 2015 - Californian Coastal
Thomson Majesty Oct./Nov 2015 - A Taste For Adventure
Thomson Majesty May 2016 - Mediterranean Medley
Thomson Dream Oct. 2016 - Adriatic Explorer
#2
Dorset, UK
8,805 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Sounds like chaos - so sorry you had these problems - hope it didn't spoil your holiday overall. Will be interested to hear all about it in due course. Hope you had better weather than here!!!
#3
Scotland
2,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by kruzseeka
Sounds like chaos - so sorry you had these problems - hope it didn't spoil your holiday overall. Will be interested to hear all about it in due course. Hope you had better weather than here!!!
We had good weather mostly.

No rain during port visits, in fact the weather was ideal, not too hot.

Apart from the St.Petersburg nonsense on day one it was a fine cruise.

Mind you, the Russians are a dour bunch - must be a national trait, not to smile or appear friendly in any way.
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Sea Princess Oct./Nov. 2009 - Caribbean
Grand Princess Aug./Sept. 2010 - West Mediterranean
Thomson Celebration Jan./Feb. 2011 - Red Sea
Diamond Princess Nov. 2011 - Beijing to Singapore
Thomson Spirit July 2012 - Baltic
Thomson Spirit Sept./Oct.2012 - Idyllic Iberia
Thomson Spirit Oct. 2013 - Mediterranean Odyssey
Thomson Spirit July 2014 - Fjordland Splendours
Thomson Celebration Oct. 2014 - Ancient Wonders
Star Princess March 2015 - Californian Coastal
Thomson Majesty Oct./Nov 2015 - A Taste For Adventure
Thomson Majesty May 2016 - Mediterranean Medley
Thomson Dream Oct. 2016 - Adriatic Explorer
#4
Scotland
2,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Doh !!!
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Sea Princess Oct./Nov. 2009 - Caribbean
Grand Princess Aug./Sept. 2010 - West Mediterranean
Thomson Celebration Jan./Feb. 2011 - Red Sea
Diamond Princess Nov. 2011 - Beijing to Singapore
Thomson Spirit July 2012 - Baltic
Thomson Spirit Sept./Oct.2012 - Idyllic Iberia
Thomson Spirit Oct. 2013 - Mediterranean Odyssey
Thomson Spirit July 2014 - Fjordland Splendours
Thomson Celebration Oct. 2014 - Ancient Wonders
Star Princess March 2015 - Californian Coastal
Thomson Majesty Oct./Nov 2015 - A Taste For Adventure
Thomson Majesty May 2016 - Mediterranean Medley
Thomson Dream Oct. 2016 - Adriatic Explorer
#5
579 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
We had timing issues on our cruise in May. It didn't directly affect us, but people who had booked seperate morning/ afternoon times were in a bit of a pickle as the morning tours were very late back. They had to decide whether to jump straight off one coach onto the next tour, with no time to get back on the ship and freshen up or get something to eat, or to miss the afternoon tour and have a refund.
I don't think Thomson's were to blame for this- the traffic in St P was particularly bad that day, and all the tour guides and drivers were fretting about it.
However, in view of what happened, I would definitely advise anyone against seperate morning and afternoon tours. The full day tour seemed a much better bet.
kate
#6
Scotland
2,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I agree about not booking two separate back to back 1/2 day tours - that's leaving too much to chance, the full day option is a better option.

However, that reduces the choices available.

I would also recommend not booking two consecutive full day tours - unless you have a very robust constitution.

Thankfully we had only booked an afternoon tour on day 2 - otherwise my better half couldn't have contemplated the ballet after a full day excursion with another to follow.
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Sea Princess Oct./Nov. 2009 - Caribbean
Grand Princess Aug./Sept. 2010 - West Mediterranean
Thomson Celebration Jan./Feb. 2011 - Red Sea
Diamond Princess Nov. 2011 - Beijing to Singapore
Thomson Spirit July 2012 - Baltic
Thomson Spirit Sept./Oct.2012 - Idyllic Iberia
Thomson Spirit Oct. 2013 - Mediterranean Odyssey
Thomson Spirit July 2014 - Fjordland Splendours
Thomson Celebration Oct. 2014 - Ancient Wonders
Star Princess March 2015 - Californian Coastal
Thomson Majesty Oct./Nov 2015 - A Taste For Adventure
Thomson Majesty May 2016 - Mediterranean Medley
Thomson Dream Oct. 2016 - Adriatic Explorer
#7
Kent, England
6,063 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
I found the destinations team on Spirit less than helpful. I was discussing th Tromso map they provided with them and they were adamant that the ship docked in a totally different place than it actually did. Their location was in the opposite direction to the true location and there wasn't even a dock there!. As I had researched Tromso, thanks to Kruzseeka etc I was sure I was right but they would just not accept it. Earlier in the cruise they were telling a couple there was nothing to do in Geiranger so it was best to take an excursion. On reflection I should have commented.
#8
579 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by davecttr
I found the destinations team on Spirit less than helpful. I was discussing th Tromso map they provided with them and they were adamant that the ship docked in a totally different place than it actually did. Their location was in the opposite direction to the true location and there wasn't even a dock there!. As I had researched Tromso, thanks to Kruzseeka etc I was sure I was right but they would just not accept it. Earlier in the cruise they were telling a couple there was nothing to do in Geiranger so it was best to take an excursion. On reflection I should have commented.
No, they weren't the best. Think they should give the job to kruzseeka!
kate
#9
Scotland
2,267 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Tragically one gentleman passed away overnight on the first Sunday/Monday of the cruise and a hearse discreetly removed his body at Kalendbourg after the main excursion party had departed for Copenhagen. Fortunately only a small handful of passengers saw this.

Sadly another guest had a heart attack later in the voyage and was medevaced by a Finnish helicopter.
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Sea Princess Oct./Nov. 2009 - Caribbean
Grand Princess Aug./Sept. 2010 - West Mediterranean
Thomson Celebration Jan./Feb. 2011 - Red Sea
Diamond Princess Nov. 2011 - Beijing to Singapore
Thomson Spirit July 2012 - Baltic
Thomson Spirit Sept./Oct.2012 - Idyllic Iberia
Thomson Spirit Oct. 2013 - Mediterranean Odyssey
Thomson Spirit July 2014 - Fjordland Splendours
Thomson Celebration Oct. 2014 - Ancient Wonders
Star Princess March 2015 - Californian Coastal
Thomson Majesty Oct./Nov 2015 - A Taste For Adventure
Thomson Majesty May 2016 - Mediterranean Medley
Thomson Dream Oct. 2016 - Adriatic Explorer