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Northern Europe & Baltics Aarhus, Bergen, Copenhagen, Gdansk, Greenland, Helsinki, Oslo, Riga, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Tallinn

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  #1  
Old March 3rd, 2012, 11:15 PM
chaswill chaswill is offline
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Default Should we get a balcony?

We are thinking about signing up for a cruise that includes Northern Europe and the Baltic in June/July and are trying to decide if we should get a room with a balcony or just a room with a window. Does the weather in that part of Europe have enough warm weather to allow you to enjoy a balcony or are we wasting our money? I would appreciate comments from cruisers who have sailed in this part of the world.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by chaswill View Post
We are thinking about signing up for a cruise that includes Northern Europe and the Baltic in June/July and are trying to decide if we should get a room with a balcony or just a room with a window. Does the weather in that part of Europe have enough warm weather to allow you to enjoy a balcony or are we wasting our money? I would appreciate comments from cruisers who have sailed in this part of the world.
We did it a few years ago in August, and really enjoyed the balcony. But I've been in the area earlier during the summer and it's still plenty warm then. If you've got the spare cash, go for it.
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  #3  
Old March 4th, 2012, 08:24 AM
prish prish is offline
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We've always got a balcony and enjoy sitting out, especially morning coffee and late evenings before turning in for the day. We did a Baltic cruise in July and it was pretty warm, we're doing Iceland and the Norwegian fjords this July and again have a balcony. Basically, go for it if the finances permit, you won't regret it
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  #4  
Old March 4th, 2012, 08:54 AM
TLCOhio TLCOhio is offline
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Default Baltics Weather, Balcony??

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Originally Posted by chaswill View Post
We are thinking about signing up for a cruise that includes Northern Europe and the Baltic in June/July and are trying to decide if we should get a room with a balcony or just a room with a window. Does the weather in that part of Europe have enough warm weather to allow you to enjoy a balcony or are we wasting our money? I would appreciate comments from cruisers who have sailed in this part of the world.
Below is a little more on the temperature ranges for these key summer months in the Baltics. Weather will vary, but the bottom line is that things don't get that warm or hot here. We've done four cruises, two with balcony, two without. The balconies were along the Norway Coast all the way up to the North Cape at the top of Europe and in the Med. Without balcony were in the Greek Isles and the Baltics. It can work either way. The balcony is better, but is it worth the added cost? That's in part a "personal" budget choice and also can be influenced what your cruise lines offers and has as the premium added for such a balcony. Some cruise lines don't charge that more for a balcony, while others have a much higher added cost.

For some super scenic areas (such as in the fjords of Norway or sailing into Venice or Kotor), you probably will want to be up on the top deck or back, protected areas of ship where you can see and photograph BOTH SIDES. In parts of the Baltics and/or where you would dock, the views might at best be only "OK" or less. Also in the Baltics (where cruises are more costly than average), many will shift their "extra money" to focus on better tours in the prime locations such as St. Petersburg.

Below is a little summary with specific weather history for each of the three major ports. Prepare for and plan on some "layering". The only thing certain is change, including cooler in the early am's and late evenings, etc. Warming up during the day. On the exact dates you be visiting, that info can be obtained by going to this below website, plugging in the location name and then going to the lower area for an earlier date to what happened there last year on that date, past averages, etc. Check out:
www.wunderground.com

Here are a few weather averages for these three key cities in the Baltics:

Copenhagen: High/low averages,
May: 59/45 F
June: 67/52 F
July: 69/55 F
August: 69/54 F
September: 62/50 F

St. Petersburg:
May: 59/42 F
June: 67/52 F
July: 71/56 F
August: 66/54 F

Stockholm:
May: 60/43 F
June: 69/52 F
July: 71/56 F
August: 69/55 F
September: 59/48 F

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


Did a June 7-19, 2011, Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 67,741 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:
http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/s....php?t=1426474

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 61,056 views.
http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/s....php?t=1227923
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  #5  
Old March 4th, 2012, 11:16 AM
Genessa Genessa is offline
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after our first two cruises, we've only done balconies ... but we also use our balconies extensively.

Frequently, we'll be one of only 3 or 4 occupied balconies that we can see when we are out on our balcony. That said, with the exception of our Alaskan cruise, our Baltic cruise had the highest number of balcony enjoyers.

So, going with that very unofficial observation, a balcony is worth it in the Baltics
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  #6  
Old March 4th, 2012, 08:40 PM
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I understand the balcony people will always recommend a balcony. We have done both, and I would offer a different plan for this cruise, go inside cabin and use that money for other things.
This cruise is so port intensive that you will have less time to enjoy a balcony than on other cruises. The days you are in post, you are usually there very early and (at least for us) we didn't want to linger on the balcony enjoying a cup of coffee. we wanted to eat and get the day going. In the evening, we again ate, saw a show or whatever and off to bed to get some rest for the next exiting day. If you have a few seas days, then maybe you will have time to enjoy the balcony, but I would take that money and put it towards your tours in St Petersburg. Even sailing the Archipelago in Stockholm, I would advise you to be up on deck so you can see the entire display, not just one side of it.

We sailed mid August, and anytime we were up on deck we needed a light jacket and a couple of days a heavy sweat shirt. I would expect July to be warm enough, but in the Baltics, you just never know. what was great for one cruiser doesn't mean it will hold true for you.

So now you have two sides of the story,after that it's up to you.

Cheers

Len
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You have seen bits and pieces of our Baltic adventure, now see the entire album.
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...fan13/baltics/

We have also cruised to wonderful Hawaii, check out our wonderful time in this paradise. will be happy to answer any questions if anyone is interested
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...tfan13/Hawaii/

Check us out touring the great Northwest and then our marvelous cruise to Alaska. Again, any questions, just ask away
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z.../new%20alaska/

Last edited by Giantfan13; March 4th, 2012 at 08:40 PM.
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  #7  
Old March 5th, 2012, 02:29 AM
Onelung Onelung is offline
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We sailed the Baltics in late July and had glorious weather. IMO the balcony is worth it for the pleasure of the sail through the Stockholm archepelago. It was almost silent as we sailed past hundred of small islands on the approach into the port - truely magical!
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  #8  
Old March 5th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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I was there in May and a balconey would have been wasted on me. I was freezing all the time but I live in the gulf coast so am not used to it. I did have a nice window.
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  #9  
Old March 5th, 2012, 08:34 AM
TLCOhio TLCOhio is offline
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Default Lots to See, Do & Love in the Baltics!!

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Originally Posted by Onelung View Post
We sailed the Baltics in late July and had glorious weather. IMO the balcony is worth it for the pleasure of the sail through the Stockholm archepelago. It was almost silent as we sailed past hundred of small islands on the approach into the port - truely magical!
Excellent point on the "the pleasure of the sail through the Stockholm archepelago". That is very nice and interesting. Below are a few of my pictures to illustrate how much of value that journey in the area of Sweden can be. I did these pictures from the top deck as I could go back and forth seeing what was of value on BOTH sides of the ship.

Lots of great options in the Baltics.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


Did a June 7-19, 2011, Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 67,991 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:
http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/s....php?t=1426474

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 61,159 views.
http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/s....php?t=1227923


Some of the sights we saw cruising into Stockholm early in the morning:







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  #10  
Old March 5th, 2012, 10:38 AM
chaswill chaswill is offline
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Default Thanks for the comments

Thanks to everyone for their input on balcony or no balcony for a Baltic cruise. I think we are going to opt for a deluxe ocean view room on Oceania's Marina, but our friends are real balcony people and are willing to spend the extra bucks as they tend to use it more than we would.
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  #11  
Old March 5th, 2012, 05:59 PM
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We really lucked out on our cruise last September of the Baltic on the Princess Emerald.

When I arrived Copenhagen port to check-in I noticed that was not the room I booked, an obstructed ocean view room. I asked the staff lady how come, she simply said trust me, you will like it. When I arrived at the room I discovered it was a balcony room.

Normally not getting balconies on previous cruises, I have to say I throughly enjoyed it. Coming down the Fjord from Oslo, the archepelago from Stockholm and leaving St Petersburg was outstanding. The warm sunny weather helped a lot. The wife and I got a bucket of beer took it all in by snapping pictures and enjoying the scenery and ships passing by. One thing I liked with the Emerald is they had an historian on board and he kind of explain things as they passed. To me it was one of the many highlights of the cruise.

Now I am booked on a Celebrity for a Mediterrean cruise in October and I said, what the heck, you only live once, and sprung the few $100 more for a balcony
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  #12  
Old March 6th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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Not to belabor the point, but Terry has made an excellent point. While sailing the archipelago and sitting on your balcony, you can only see ONE side of what you are passing. To me it is like sailing Alaska and only viewing one side of Glacier Bay. You need to be up on deck and view it so you can truly experience the majesty of what you are sailing thru. There are magnificent views on both sides for several hours.

Here is a short video and a couple of more pix to show you what I mean
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...master1374.mp4

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...europe1344.jpg

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...europe1341.jpg

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...europe1342.jpg

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...master1343.jpg

Cheers

Len
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You have seen bits and pieces of our Baltic adventure, now see the entire album.
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...fan13/baltics/

We have also cruised to wonderful Hawaii, check out our wonderful time in this paradise. will be happy to answer any questions if anyone is interested
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...tfan13/Hawaii/

Check us out touring the great Northwest and then our marvelous cruise to Alaska. Again, any questions, just ask away
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z.../new%20alaska/
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  #13  
Old March 6th, 2012, 03:15 PM
Ashland Ashland is offline
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We were lucky to have a corner aft balcony that made for amazing views especially the sail in/out of Stockholm Enjoy this amazing cruise !!!
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  #14  
Old March 7th, 2012, 05:31 AM
Genessa Genessa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giantfan13 View Post
Not to belabor the point, but Terry has made an excellent point. While sailing the archipelago and sitting on your balcony, you can only see ONE side of what you are passing. To me it is like sailing Alaska and only viewing one side of Glacier Bay. You need to be up on deck and view it so you can truly experience the majesty of what you are sailing thru. There are magnificent views on both sides for several hours.

Here is a short video and a couple of more pix to show you what I mean
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...master1374.mp4

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...europe1344.jpg

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...europe1341.jpg

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...europe1342.jpg

http://i834.photobucket.com/albums/z...master1343.jpg

Cheers

Len
we actually saw one side going in, the other side when leaving - don't think we missed much

we could sit in comfort, hear the commentary and use our binoculars/camera whenever.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 02:07 PM
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My husband and I decided to opt for an interior cabin because we won't be spending much time in our room. We're talking the nearly $2,000 we're saving and putting that into the trip in other ways.

I liked my balcony on my cruise to the Bahamas, but it was warm out. I don't think I'd use the balcony much. I will probably go on deck for any viewing I'd like to see of the sail aways.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:18 PM
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QUOTE=Genessa;32767495]we actually saw one side going in, the other side when leaving - don't think we missed much

we could sit in comfort, hear the commentary and use our binoculars/camera whenever.[/quote]

You were lucky. Most ships sail thru very early in the morning as they dock in Stockholm before 8. That means getting up about 4 AM to view the sail in. sorry, but I would rather sit on deck and sleep a bit more.

Cheers

Len
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There are No bad cruises, just bad cruisers

You have seen bits and pieces of our Baltic adventure, now see the entire album.
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...fan13/baltics/

We have also cruised to wonderful Hawaii, check out our wonderful time in this paradise. will be happy to answer any questions if anyone is interested
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...tfan13/Hawaii/

Check us out touring the great Northwest and then our marvelous cruise to Alaska. Again, any questions, just ask away
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z.../new%20alaska/

Last edited by Giantfan13; March 7th, 2012 at 09:19 PM.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 10:26 PM
Genessa Genessa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giantfan13 View Post
QUOTE=Genessa;32767495]we actually saw one side going in, the other side when leaving - don't think we missed much

we could sit in comfort, hear the commentary and use our binoculars/camera whenever.
You were lucky. Most ships sail thru very early in the morning as they dock in Stockholm before 8. That means getting up about 4 AM to view the sail in. sorry, but I would rather sit on deck and sleep a bit more.

Cheers

Len
[/quote]

we are early risers ... we were up at dawn most mornings (at home, I sleep, lol) and, with the late sunsets, got in plenty sun - don't remember exactly what time our ship docked in Stockholm, but I think it probably was somewhere between 7 and 8

for me, a perfect cruise moment is relaxing on my balcony sipping a cup of coffee watching the sun rise or set

saw some beautiful scenery and a surprising (for us) number of skinny dippers through the archipelago
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  #18  
Old March 8th, 2012, 11:47 AM
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Agree about the coffee and such, but not THAT early for us.

As for the skinny dippers

Now if they were that blond ladies Swedish swim team, I might rethink that

Cheers

Len
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There are No bad cruises, just bad cruisers

You have seen bits and pieces of our Baltic adventure, now see the entire album.
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...fan13/baltics/

We have also cruised to wonderful Hawaii, check out our wonderful time in this paradise. will be happy to answer any questions if anyone is interested
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z...tfan13/Hawaii/

Check us out touring the great Northwest and then our marvelous cruise to Alaska. Again, any questions, just ask away
http://s834.photobucket.com/albums/z.../new%20alaska/
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  #19  
Old March 8th, 2012, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onelung View Post
We sailed the Baltics in late July and had glorious weather. IMO the balcony is worth it for the pleasure of the sail through the Stockholm archepelago. It was almost silent as we sailed past hundred of small islands on the approach into the port - truely magical!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Genessa View Post
we actually saw one side going in, the other side when leaving - don't think we missed much

we could sit in comfort, hear the commentary and use our binoculars/camera whenever.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giantfan13 View Post
You were lucky. Most ships sail thru very early in the morning as they dock in Stockholm before 8. That means getting up about 4 AM to view the sail in. sorry, but I would rather sit on deck and sleep a bit more.
If you sleep a bit more, then you miss the early scenery sailing in to Stockholm, with or without a balcony.
It is not as though those who choose to sit out on deck get to see it a few hours later than those who view it from their balcony.

To me it is worth getting up early for those spectacular views that I can't see anywhere else. I figure I can always sleep a bit more at home.

A big advantage to having a balcony is that you can start enjoying that beautiful scenery as soon as you open your eyes. It is especially great for those who are not the "up and atem" types, the ones who are still half asleep until they have that first cup of coffee.

It is wonderful being able to sit there in your bathrobe enjoying the views in privacy from the moment you wake up, taking your own sweet time instead of rushing to get dressed and comb your hair first to go scurrying out to a public area for the views.

If you have a balcony, you really get the best of both because you can still go out for the views from the public decks whenever you wish.
Without a balcony, you don't get that choice.

But on some sailings, the excessive cost of a balcony can be prohibitive for many people.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by fleckle View Post

A big advantage to having a balcony is that you can start enjoying that beautiful scenery as soon as you open your eyes. It is especially great for those who are not the "up and atem" types, the ones who are still half asleep until they have that first cup of coffee.

It is wonderful being able to sit there in your bathrobe enjoying the views in privacy from the moment you wake up, taking your own sweet time instead of rushing to get dressed and comb your hair first to go scurrying out to a public area for the views.

If you have a balcony, you really get the best of both because you can still go out for the views from the public decks whenever you wish.
Without a balcony, you don't get that choice.

But on some sailings, the excessive cost of a balcony can be prohibitive for many people.
Bliss-
Looking at a HAL cruise that cruises the Archipelago in the evening--wine on the balcony-- and does a Kiel canal transit.
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