Northern Europe (Baltic), where does the ship dock?

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#1
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
3,307 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
I'm looking at the Northern Europe cruise that visits copenhagen, warnemunde, stockholm, helsinki, etc. I like the cruise as it spends some evenings in port. Can anyone who has done this cruise let me know if the ships dock at these cities or at a port nearby? The reason I ask is we did the med cruise and half the ports were 30+ minutes from the city.

Any info would be appreciated.
#2
1,795 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
I was going to give you specific details, but I see you're from Canada, sorry! Hope this helps!

PS: maybe Danno can help you, we're the same person, I think!

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#3
Miami, Fl, USA
1,523 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
My wife on I sailed on Constellation last June on a 14 day Baltic Cruise. The ship docks near city centers or convenient public transportation. The exception is St. Petersburg which is quite a distance from city center. We used a tour service in St Pete so we had door to door service anyway. This is a great cruise because you can see all you want in the one day the ship is in the various ports. The exception again is St. Pete where there is enough of interest to spend 5-7 days.
#4
Moon Township, Pa
23,122 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
In addition to what others wrote, Warnemunde is just your basic port area---it's actually the port that will allow you to take a day trip to Berlin. Not much at all in the port of Warnemunde.

Darcie
#5
Rio Vista, CA
331 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
None of the normal dock locations for the Baltic cruises are close enough to walk into the city centers (Oslo may be the exception). In most ports the cruise line will provide free shuttle busses to get you to a convenient location for self exploration. St. Petersburg is an exception. Either take the ships tours or arrange a private tour with an outfit such as Red October. You DO NOT want to try to explore on your own unless you speak Russian or have contacts there. Warnemunde is mostly just dockyards. The usual cruise ship pier is right next to a streetcar station that provides service into the nearby city of Rostock which looked interesting to explore.

Bill
#6
Tarzana (San Fernando Valley), CA
4,637 Posts
Joined May 2000
The real answer, it depends on several factors. Every big city destination assigns dock space as they have it available.

Oslo is usually a decent walk from the city center. Stockholm is a crap shoot. Your ship can dock right near the Old Town, or a mile or two away in an industrial area. St. Petersburg is, as said earlier, usually in a port that is 2 or 3 miles away from the city center.

Helsinki is also a crap shoot. You could dock at the open market (a lot of fun) or at a dock quite a distance from everything but next to the last stop on one of their street car lines.

Warnemunde has a tourist shopping area near the ship and occasionally has interesting activities in a park near the ship (a beer fest on our last trip). The transport to Rostock is actually a regular commuter train. Rostock has an interesting Old Cathedral but not much else. (It was part of Communist East Germany so it has no well established tourist industry).

In Copenhagen you will probably dock near the Little Mermaid statue which is a healthy, but not unpleasant walk from the center of town (Palace Square).


There are other small ports on most Baltic trips that are usually convenient to the town centers.

One thing is certain. Arriving cruise ships attract large numbers of taxis. No need to worry.

Walt Tuthill
Cruise Board Moderator

Contact at Shiptender@aol.com

[This message was edited by Host Walt on 06-20-04 at 09:57 AM.]
#7
247 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
On Constellation last summer, at no time were we docked terribly far from the city center with the exception of St. Petersburg. In Oslo we were a short (5 minutes at most) stroll from the center of the city. In Stockholm, Helsinki, and Tallin we were a short (10 minutes at the most) free shuttle bus to the city center.

I disagree with those who say there's nothing in Warnemunde. We did not go to Berlin. We first caught a train to Rostock (the train is a 2 minute walk from the ship and Rostock is a 20 mintute train ride away) and wandered about there for the morning. Then we came back to Warnemunde which we found to be a charming seaside resort with great beaches! We loved it!

Anyway, in Copenhagen, you're in the city. Right across from the pier are shops and you can catch a hop-on, hop-off bus right there. I don't remember if there was a free shuttle in Copenhagen. It was very easy to get around.

Happy sailing!
Joanie
#8
Naples, FL
604 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
I agree with MSIOWA that Warnemunde was a good stop, not just as a place to go to take a tour to Berlin. It is also a vacation location for Germans, with a nice harbor for sailboats, a large beach, and lots of shops and restaurants. The railroad station was across from where the Constellation docked, and our group of nine took the very modern S-Bahn train into Rostock where we spend several hours walking around and having lunch on Kropeliner Strasse, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare. You can have a relaxed enjoyable day in Warnemunde and Rostock if you choose not to go to Berlin.

FLJudi

Constellation British Isles/Norwegian Fjords

Millennium
Mediterranean
#9
5 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
advanced apologies at my distinct lack of computer literacy!

I am travelling with my other half and our two teens on the constellation in four weeks.We would like to do some independant sightseeing in St Petersburg and have applied for our visas.This is mainly as we would like to see the city, day and night, at our own pace.
I understand from what most people are saying that this may prove a little difficult to say the least.Has anyone had a positive experiance?Please tell me how!
Does anyone know which port the ship may dock at and if a shuttle bus to the exit is provided.Also can you obtain roubles on board the ship for public transport.
I would be very grateful for any advice whatsoever .I am very new to this and can't tell you how impressed with the wealth of experiances and information you all share.


many thanks(and I hope Ipush the right buttons here!!!!)

scottish heather
#10
247 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Scottish Heather: In 2003 there was a poster (I'm sorry, I don't remember her name) who travelled independently in St. Petersburg. She had a lot of very good information over on the Baltic Ports board. You may be able to do a search and find it.

I have to say that I would be reluctant to travel around on my own in St. Petersburg. I think it is a very difficult city to maneuver in part because of the language barrier (unless, of course, you speak Russian.) Having used Red October I think we saw far more than we could have accomplished on our own. And they will plan evening activities if you want - we went to the ballet but others have gone on canal rides or other things.

This is a terrific cruise.
Have a great time!
Joanie
#11
Moon Township, Pa
23,122 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
I've been to St. Petersburg twice and I have to agree, it's a very difficult city, and at times a very dangerous one, to get around yourself. Despite what you may think, not many locals speak a word of English, so if you get lost, or have a problem, there aren't going to be many who will be able to understand you. You will dock in a very industrial area (and in my opinion rather scary) and even once outside the gate of the port, there's nothing there but run down buildings that you really don't want to be walking around. It's about a 20 minute drive to anything of interest from the dock, plus, everything of interest is very far from one another---St. Petersburg isn't a walking tour city. I really wouldn't walk around as a family at night, you really have to be with a ship's tour or at the very least, hire a local guide to take you places. I've had no problem walking around, even at night, in any other Baltic port, but St. Petersburg is a very different story. One place that you might be able to do on your own is their main shopping district called Nevksy Prospekt (I may not be spelling that right, but you get the idea) but only during the day. To be honest, if you don't take any guided tours, you are really missing out on learning about one of the most interesting cities in the Baltic. Having a guide take you places and explaining the history is a delight. I hired a guide from Red October, and they were worth every penny.
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Darcie
#12
The Netherlands, wintermonths in Puerto vallarta, Mexico
6,360 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Choose a baltic cruise from Amsterdam (HAL, Celebrity, Costa etc.) and sail from Amsterdam. Come in 1 or 2 days before or stay after the cruise...
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1963 DH sailed Chandris Lines (Bretagne) from Australia to Europe.
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#13
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1,358 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Scottish Heather:

We just arrived back from the Connie 2 weeks ago. St. Petersburg was certainly the highlight, and the 2 days we spent there was hardly enough to do it justice.

However:

St. Petersburg is the one city I would not attempt to do on my own. The ship docks about 20 to 30 minutes away from any palaces or tourist spots. All of the other Baltic cities had distinct (and safe) areas with shopping, sightseeing, etc and you could either walk there or take a free shuttle. Not so in St. Petes. There is no shuttle service provided (even within the dock area), and very few taxis are allowed to the dock area. We never did see an area in the town where we felt we wanted to walk the streets.

The public transportation was not too appealing. Both the electric trains and the buses that we saw were old, rusty and jammed with people. Our air conditioned van with spare seats seemed pretty nice!

The palaces, churches and museums are beautiful buildings, but a block away you'll find crumbling tenament houses where the "real " Russian people live. The average monthly salary (as of 2003) is $107 US per month! This is why there are no shopping malls, boutiques, etc. like in the other cities.

We pre-booked a 2 day Red October tour. It was expensive, but very good. The historic sights that they took us to (Peterhof, Catherine's Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress, the Hermitage, etc.) where miles apart and had long lines of people waiting to enter. However, Red October wisked us from place to place and we never had to wait long to get in (we got to bypass the lineups).

The onboard bank carries most currencies, but does NOT have currencies for Russia, Estonia or Poland. Euros are pretty well accepted in Estonia as they are converting to Euros by 2007. We got some Euros at the beginning of the trip and used them almost everywhere.

Enjoy your cruise. The Connie is our favorite ship and the Baltic cities are wonderful.
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#14
29,430 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Originally posted by boghead
advanced apologies at my distinct lack of computer literacy!

I am travelling with my other half and our two teens on the constellation in four weeks.We would like to do some independant sightseeing in St Petersburg and have applied for our visas.This is mainly as we would like to see the city, day and night, at our own pace.
I understand from what most people are saying that this may prove a little difficult to say the least.Has anyone had a positive experiance?Please tell me how!
Does anyone know which port the ship may dock at and if a shuttle bus to the exit is provided.Also can you obtain roubles on board the ship for public transport.
I would be very grateful for any advice whatsoever .I am very new to this and can't tell you how impressed with the wealth of experiances and information you all share.


many thanks(and I hope Ipush the right buttons here!!!!)

scottish heather
I´ve been to St. Petersburg twice now, both times with the Jewel of the Seas, so I ca´t really comment on Celebrity and St. Petersburg.
However as far as I know it is prohibited by russian law to bring rubles in or out of the country. So I highly doubt there will be currency exchange on the ship for russia.
As others said the ship is far out of the city center docked in an industrial harbour area with absolutely no transportation. To reach the gate of the port would be a very long walk and nothing you really want to do. No sidewalks to walk on, dirty roads with lots of heavy traffic, railways, trucks, etc.
The gate of the port is guarded and the cars are checked when leaving and entering the port for official papers that allow them into port. I´m not sure what will happen dif pedestrians leave or try to reenter the port area and what documentation you would have to provide for them. I´m not sure if your seapass card would be enough for them.
From the gate of the port it´s still a long way to the city. Maybe you could be able to catch a taxi from there but I would not bet a single cent on the chances.

I made the mistake to apply for individual visa the first time to St. Petersburg too. I thought well I´m going on ship tours but I want to be able to leave the ship independently too. Big mistake as I spent a lot of money on the visa and there is no way to get any use out of them.

As others said I highly warn everybody who wants to explore St. Petersburg on their own from the dock. It´s not a good idea.

On the other hand there are good ship tours as well as independent tour companies.

If you like you can check out my website for my review with tour description of the independent company I used. It´s th eone that´s already menioned above. They were great and I highly recommend them.
They set up a tour especially for us. We told them what we like to do and what duration of tour we would like to do. They out all this together to a great schedule with a very knowledgeable guide and excellent driver. We too passed all lines and just went into all the palaces and museums we visited.

If you have any questions let me know. I´m interested in how you decide what to do and to hear from your experience once back from your trip.

Have a great time.

P.S. I just reread your post and saw your comment about seeing the city day and night at your own pace. You can really do this with an independent tour company when you work out what you like to do with them. We´ve been able to stop whereever we liked i.e. for photos. They are very accomodating.
Only thing was of course we had to be at the palaces, hermitage etc. at certain times as they arranged the priority entrance for us, otherwise we would have to spend hours of waiting in the long lines. One of the cons doing it on your own.