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About trosebery

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    Ontario, Canada

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  1. Thanks for bumping this thread: I'm trying to talk my sister into joining me on a Northern Europe trip in the future, and I think she will love Tallinn (possibly even more than St. Petersburg), so Tallinn photos are always welcome. And I will agree that a Tallinn guided tour is not necessary as it's very easy to DIY, although I did really enjoy the very reasonably priced private walking + bike tour with did with Traveller Tours (a local company) on our last visit, as I especially enjoyed contrasting our medieval city walk with our cycling tour of the more modern areas (such as Tell
  2. Thank you for sharing! You forget just how much gold there is everywhere until you see the photos again. Oh, those pictures made me long to go back. . . . I'm trying to talk my sister into joining me for a trip in the future, so I will email her the link as a lure. I would point out to first time visitors, though, the the port guide is not completely comprehensive in that it does not cover all sights and even omits some favourites like the Fabergé Museum. Do read tour descriptions carefully to make sure that you visit all the sights that *you* want to visit. And if setting up a pri
  3. Wow, I'm just back to this forum (thinking of yet another Northern European cruise), and I'm noticing a lot of older threads are getting bumped! I'll post a link to this thread that's currently stickied to the top of this forum: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2696545-master-thread-of-st-petersburg-advice-and-recommendations-from-cruisers-whove-been/ that contains a lot of advice posted at the end of last season (and since). I've done both the 15-16 person tour (with SPB) and the personalized custom tour (with Red Sun Tours), and I'd obviously give the edge to the p
  4. I just noticed that this old thread got bumped, so I'll add a link to this fairly current thread started at the end of last season (now stickied to the top of this forum): https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2696545-master-thread-of-st-petersburg-advice-and-recommendations-from-cruisers-whove-been/ Especially if you're wanting a private tour, I recommend compiling a list of several companies that appeal to you, from recommendations here and on TripAdvisor, and emailing each of them to see which is the best fit for you. (This is how I wound up touring with Red Sun Tours on ou
  5. Yes, thank you so much for the photos! Not only did they bring back wonderful memories, but I've enjoyed our two trips to the Baltic -- most recently my trip with my daughter and teenage son on the Norwegian Spirit in 2019 -- that I'm considering joining my sister on another in 2021! (Hence I'm back scrolling through this board!) In addition to my thank you, I'll add my own port reviews for the benefit of anyone who might come across this thread (edited from some notes I was making for my sister's benefit): Stockholm: It depends where you are berthed. The first time we
  6. These are unusual times. They may be running short-staffed. They may be trying to determine how they will deal with the current changing situation and the unknown future. Unless your questions are urgent, I would definitely give them more time.
  7. If you want something unusual, you'll probably have to set up a private tour? We did a standard small-group tour with SPB Tours on our first visit and then a private tour with Red Sun Tours on our second visit, and although both were very good and very well-run, a private tour obviously gives you so much more personal attention and control of your itinerary. Fortunately, most tour companies are very willing and able to organize private tours, and the private tours aren't as expensive as you'd think. I'd recommend searching the master thread (at the top of this forum) for some names
  8. As others have noted, it will depend on your interests. Some people like palaces and cathedrals, some people like slice-of-life visits (subways or grocery stores), and others like quirky things -- for example, two places that we visited on our last visit were the Soviet Arcade Game Museum (where you get 15 kopek coins to play the games, and our guide also found us an employee of the museum who was able to tell us about history of video gaming in Soviet Russia) and the Grand Maket (not market but maket -- it's a giant model train set with Russia in miniature). Finding the quirky sites can be tr
  9. We went last two weeks of August last year and had beautiful weather. Sunny skies (we lucked out and got zero rain), temperatures mostly in the low 20s (70s in F) with only 2 genuinely hot days.
  10. On European cruises, I've often saved money by sailing in inside cabins as we were only ever in them for sleeping. Yes, the ports (in general) are very DIY friendly. Many are walkable and public transportation is very good. You can search this forum for more threads about particular ports or ask your own questions. Many people recommend picking up the Rick Steves guide to Northern European Cruise Ports, although do remember that this is only a starting point. (I don't always agree with his recommendations, and some information like public transport connections can go out of date an
  11. On our last cruise, I set up a private tour with Nordic Experience and then posted on our Roll Call and quickly filled our tour. I then forwarded the email addresses to Nordic Experience and they invoiced everyone individually so that we were all paid up by credit card before we left. We had no trouble finding our guide and driver, and they got us back on time -- although the traffic was indeed terrible! (Fortunately, minibuses can take some roads to get around the traffic that the big buses can't.) We picked the Stutthof Concentration Camp + Gdansk Highlights Tour, which we apprec
  12. It definitely depends on the ports and on the port hours -- the more hours in the ports, the better. (And the more days in St. Petersburg, the better.) Choosing between your two itineraries, I'd probably pick the 11-night because it visits Sweden and Poland. (Although starting and ending in Copenhagen is also a good pick as Copenhagen is a beautiful city.)
  13. How much is "so much?" What's your limit for staying on your feet at one time and total over the course of the day? Can you handle two strenuous days back-to-back (without wearing yourself out for other ports like Tallinn)? The tour operators themselves are your best resources. Email them and they can match you with a tour that best fits your needs. I recommend emailing several and choosing the best match for you. (I selected a private tour with Red Sun Tours as the best match for us on our last trip after emailing around. You might find a different best match.) And rem
  14. As schmerl pointed out, many companies will allow you to book without paying a deposit, and especially if you would like a private tour, I would suggest booking with plenty of lead time. Our tour with Red Sun Tours last summer didn't require payment until after the first day of the tour, and booking in advance gave us lots of time to ask all the questions we needed to tweak our itinerary just the way we liked it.
  15. The district with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings is about a 20 minute walk north of the medieval Old Town, around Albert Street if you're checking a map. If you want to see both, make sure you give yourself enough time to do so. (There is also an Art Nouveau Museum if you're interested in interiors.) Note that if you want to do the tour at the KGB museum, they recommend booking tickets in advance.
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