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Northern Europe & Baltic Sea
Aarhus, Bergen, Copenhagen, Gdansk, Greenland, Helsinki, Oslo, Reykjavik, Riga, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Tallinn
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63 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
We will be on HAL Veendam this summer going to the Baltics. We looked at the ports and decided to do most of them on our own. I know that some of the other cruise lines offer a shuttle to take passengers that are not going on a ship excursion into the towns. We emailed HAL and they said that they did not have a shuttle. I'm wondering if this is true or if they just want people to think that so that they will sign up for the ship sponsored excursions. If they don't provide a shuttle, what is the best way to get into the various towns?

Any help is appreciated. I also cross-posted this on the HAL forum.
Boston MA
4,750 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Chives --

Let me direct your attention to two wonderful port-by-port reviews that will answer a lot of your questions, including about the shuttles (or other transportation into town).

One is by Scott Cyn. Don't bother to read it on the screen -- just print it out and start underlining.

The other is by Boo's mom. It is a series of posts in one thread.

You will also find a lot of discussion in this forum about touring St. Petersburg. It is necessary to have a visa to enter Russia. You can either apply for one yourself (start now) or you can enter the country under the auspices of a private tour company or a ship sponsored excursion. If you choose a private company, you must make sure that the visa is included in the package as not all tour companies are permitted to issue visas for their clients. Many threads discuss the options (private vs. ship's vs. on your own) and the relative merits of the various companies you can hire. You can also join the roll call for your ship and see if anyone is interested in sharing a private tour (this makes the private tour option very affordable).

Other than that I would suggest just reading as many threads as you can digest. There is just so much information here.
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3,396 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Also, be aware that some of the ports have shuttles into town that are not run by any cruiseline.

Read up on past postings in this forum for your cruiseline/ports.

There are also taxis, public transportation (busses, trains) as well as Hop On Hop Off busses and boats in some of the ports.