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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 August 6th, 2007, 04:21 PM
Phishface Phishface is offline
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Default Is it worthwhile to hire a Tallin tourguide?

My impression is that Tallin is a quaint small town that is easy to manage alone. But if we hired a tour guide we might see/learn things that we might not otherwise alone. Is this worthwhile? Is there a lot of interesting history or architecture in Tallin worth having a tour guide take us to? I looked at various tours on the Ahti Arak site and can't tell which we'd like. Any advice for which is the best type of tour to take? I would think I would want a shorter tour to give us time to eat and shop on our own!

I'd love advice especially from anyone who has or plans to take a tour in Tallin.
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  #2  
Old August 6th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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HeinBloed HeinBloed is offline
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We had a personal tour guide in Tallinn and we appreciated it very much.

So have not seen anyone of the other cruisers who obviously walked the same round through Tallinn.

Enjoy.

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  #3  
Old August 6th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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Peregrina651 Peregrina651 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phishface View Post
My impression is that Tallin is a quaint small town that is easy to manage alone. But if we hired a tour guide we might see/learn things that we might not otherwise alone. Is this worthwhile? Is there a lot of interesting history or architecture in Tallin worth having a tour guide take us to? I looked at various tours on the Ahti Arak site and can't tell which we'd like. Any advice for which is the best type of tour to take? I would think I would want a shorter tour to give us time to eat and shop on our own!

I'd love advice especially from anyone who has or plans to take a tour in Tallin.
Phishface, I asked the same questions and I did seesaw back and forth on the answer. For a while, I was going to rent the audiotour available at the Tourist Center (but tapes can't answer questions). Then I back in June, I read a review here from someone who had just come back from Tallin and who said that getting Ahti Arak as a tourguide for his group was the best thing that he had ever done. I booked the 4.5 van+walking tour within 24 hours; even if I couldn't find other people interested in touring with us, we would be taking the tour. I'll let you know how it was when we get back.

Here is the link to the post that pushed me over the edge: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=568942 and scroll down the first post to where it says TALLINN.

Agreed: I'll learn more if I tour with a guide than if I just wander around -- and I'm not very good about sitting down and reading stuff before I tour or even of following along with some written commentary.

Hope this rattling on has helped and hopefully I will remember to post something here when I return at the end of August.





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  #4  
Old August 7th, 2007, 10:08 PM
mare s. mare s. is offline
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We took a bus tour first (a double decker affair...we paid on the spot) and then walked the old city of Tallinn ourselves...had something to eat at a medieval type restaurant (I'm having a senior moment...name escapes me) which was wonderful. Tallinn is very doable on your own but, be warned, it's quite hilly.
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  #5  
Old August 9th, 2007, 09:19 PM
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We just returned from the July 24th Jewel of the Seas. We booked a tour with Ahti Arak in Tallin. We booked the short walking tour of Old Town. He met us at the dock, then walked into town and around town. We had free time to eat and shop then he took us back to the ship. I would have liked a little more free time, but we learned so much from him. He is a history teacher. There is quite a bit of walking in this city and as stated, it is quite hilly. This was our last port of the cruise, and our 5th port day in a row, so we were pretty tired. But, in my opionion, well worth it, there was time to rest on our two sea days after that. I wouldn't hesitate to book him again.
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  #6  
Old August 9th, 2007, 09:32 PM
JeannieMD JeannieMD is offline
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Default Need for a Guide in Tallin

We used Rick Steeves book and did the walking guide. The town is very quaint and very doable on your own without any transportation.
We met people who did the ship's tour and were very upset that they did not have an opportunity to stop and browse along the way.
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  #7  
Old August 9th, 2007, 11:28 PM
PTSRULES PTSRULES is offline
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We akso used Ahti, and found him extremely accomodating to our desires to stop and shop. He is a very knowledgeable guide who goes out of his way to make sure you are doing and geting what you wan, I am glad we found him through cruise critic. He gave us a tour of Tallin, and a walk through both lower and upper Tallin
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  #8  
Old August 11th, 2007, 12:37 PM
teacherman teacherman is offline
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Default Tallin is Easy

We did Baltic cruise last year on HAL Amsterdam. We used Rick Steve's Scandanavia book for all ports except St. Petersburg which we did 2 days with Red October. We cut out the pages of the book that we would need for each port, so that we did not have to carry all of the info on hotels and things we did not need. We enjoyed this cruise the most of any trip we have taken. We find Rick Steve's suggested walking tours easy to do and very informative. He has small descriptions of what you are looking at, so it is nice to pause every so often, rest on a bench, and just enjoy the descriptions and people watching. We like to do things on our own, at our won pace, and not be "trapped" in some shopping tour. Also, we felt we saw everything we planned to see, and never felt rushed to get back to the ship. Enjoy.
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  #9  
Old August 11th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by teacherman View Post
We find Rick Steve's suggested walking tours easy to do and very informative. He has small descriptions of what you are looking at, so it is nice to pause every so often, rest on a bench, and just enjoy the descriptions and people watching.

Thanks! I just ordered his book. I'm moving right along! Two weeks ago I booked our hotels (B&B) in London both pre and post cruise. This past week I booked our flights.

All that's left is to lose 10 pounds, decide on my excursions and figure out what to do in St. P. Hopefully this book will take care of all the ports except St. P, where I'm debating a private guide or NCL's excursion.

Ginny
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  #10  
Old August 14th, 2007, 06:21 PM
rundogrun rundogrun is offline
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Does anyone have contact info for Ahti? Or a website? Thanks!
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  #11  
Old August 14th, 2007, 06:52 PM
Phishface Phishface is offline
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Default Ahti website is

http://www.hot.ee/tours/ind_eng.html
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  #12  
Old August 14th, 2007, 08:55 PM
rundogrun rundogrun is offline
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thanks!
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  #13  
Old August 28th, 2007, 02:26 PM
lynncarol lynncarol is offline
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Default Talinn Guide

Did you know the Visitor Center at Talinn offers a bus/walking tour of Talinn? We did it in June 2007 and it was excellent! The tour left from the Visitor Center right at the port. I think it started at 1:00. Contact the Talinn tourism board www.tourism.talinn.ee for info. They sent us tons of stuff in response to our email. We also bought a Talinn Day Card which not only included the tour, but free admission to museums etc.
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  #14  
Old August 28th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Daolbuzzard Daolbuzzard is offline
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We are taking a Baltic Cruise in June 08. I noticed "Rick Steve's" book being mentioned. Is this like a FODOR's type book. Do you know where I might get one for the Baltic area?
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Old August 28th, 2007, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Daolbuzzard View Post
We are taking a Baltic Cruise in June 08. I noticed "Rick Steve's" book being mentioned. Is this like a FODOR's type book. Do you know where I might get one for the Baltic area?
It looks like this might be the one that others have mentioned - http://www.addall.com/New/compare.cg...rt=50&state=AK
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  #16  
Old August 29th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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I promised to post again when we got back from our tour with Ahti Arak. We did a combination walking and driving tour but perhaps should have done just a walking tour as there is just so much to see in the Old Town alone. However, in the long run, the drive/walk combo worked for our group because we had a few in our group with mobility issues of varying types.

We loved the tour and we are so glad that we did it. We learned a lot more than we would have on our own because we just don't have the patience to read the guidebooks as we go along. Our biggest complaint was that we did not have enough time in the port (7am-2pm). We loved Tallinn. We learned a lot from our guide. I never get around to reading the tour books. I brought the Rick Steves along to use in Copenhagen and we never did his walking tour. So, using a tour guide was a good choice for us.

Another reason for using a tour guide is just the chance to meet someone from Estonia and talk with them. Our favorite ports were the ones where we toured with someone local. We toured with a City-sherpa in Helsinki, with friends living in Stockholm and with private guides in both St.P and Tallinn.

BTW, if you are planning to walk to and from the ship, allow at least 20 minutes if not more. It will take you at least 10 minutes to walk through the port itself to the dock.

No matter how you do it in Tallinn, you can't lose; you just have to decide what is right for you.
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  #17  
Old August 30th, 2007, 03:38 PM
trishs trishs is offline
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Hi,
I am in contact with Ahti for a walking / driving tour. We all walk a lot so that's not a problem. So you think the things you drove to we not a good at Tallinn? Thanks Trish
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  #18  
Old August 31st, 2007, 12:32 PM
dbh62ark dbh62ark is offline
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I liked the Frommers walking tours better than the ones in the Rick Steves guide for most ports, but I don't think Frommers has a walking tour for Tallinn. We used the Rick Steves walking tour in Tallinn and were very happy with that option.

Happy travels,
Donna
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