P & O Baltic Cruise 2019 - Information appreciated.

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#1
3 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
I have already booked our cruise on Arcadia and I am after picking all your brains (I am also looking and taking advise from all the threads already posted on here e.t.c.) I would like all your thoughts on what are the best places to visit, the best activities, things and places we must see and possibly the ones we may need to skip, cheapest & best companies to organise any trips, what transfers will take us to our destination, what transport we may need to organise if any to get to our destination.- have never been to any of the following destinations so would be great to see what you all think.

We are visiting the following (not in order) - Skagen & Frederica (Denmark), Klaipeda - (Lithuania/), Helsinki- (Finland), St. Petersburg - (Russia), Gdynia (Gdansk - Poland), Oslo & Kristiansand - (Norway)

I know this cruise seems a long way off but as the saying goes "it will be here before you know it" and I do want to make sure I get the most out of this cruise - I have only been on a four night trip on the P & O Ventura before this trip.

Thanks in advance.
#2
Edinburgh
3,219 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
I was on Britannia to the Baltic this year and some of our ports coincided with yours.

Helsinki - unfortunately it rained most of the day but I had downloaded a couple of commentaries for the term so we used the public tram. I'd HIGHLY recommend a visit to the Rock Church and the square with in. There's also a fantastic food market just where the shuttle bus drops you off.

St Petersburg. We did the Highlights tour with SPB - not to be missed. There's nothing we wanted to see but didn't fit in and enjoyed two full days with a very information and interesting guide. Any more would have been too much. We also used the SPB driver at night and we went into town and went wherever we wanted.

Oslo - Only tour we did with P&O. Went to the Vigeland Sculpture park and the Ski-jump centre both well worth a visit although we'd been to so many museums we didn't appreciate the Viking ship Museum so much. In the afternoon we enjoyed just walking round the city centre and saw The Scream at the Art Gallery, the Royal Palace, The Nobel centre and enjoyed the cafe culture. The ship pretty much docks in the city centre

Hope that helps a bit at least
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#3
UK
2,416 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Gdynia/ Gdansk.... we went to Gdansk by the very reasonably priced P&O Excursion Gdansk On Your Own. Basically you are transported to and from Gdansk by coach and walked to the centre, then you are left to explore on your own. This is not a guided trip, but you are provided with a map and our guide talked to us the whole way and pointed out various interesting places en route like Lech Walensa's house.

Klaipeda - very little there of interest really, but at least you can say you have been to Lithuania. We just went for a walk around the town, visited a small brewery and a church, walked along the river/canal back to the ship and had a local beer and a snack on our walk back to the ship. There was an indoor flower market and an outdoor market when we were there ,which was quite interesting as something different.


St Petersburg - We did the P&O small group minibus 2 day tours called Simply St Petersburg which was brilliant, but very high activity and full on. It was great to go in small groups and you get in the big places before they open to the public. There is a company called Alla who run very similar tours and have a very good reputation and are a bit cheaper than P&O. We often travellled in convoy with an Alla coach- they all go to the same places. There is so much to see in St Petesburg, so look at what you wish to see and how active you want to be. Many tours cover the highlights. Like Tartanexile81 we felt we had done and seen enough - there is a danger of overload! We are going back in 2019 and look forward to doing something a bit different as it will be a revisit.
#4
St,Helens
211 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
Helsinki was our least favourite port. However I would recommend just take the shuttle bus into the city. Where you get off there is a family owned London routemaster bus offering tours. Take it. Good value, even though not the most vibrant of cities. When you finish tour and get dropped off, it’s short work to market area.

St.Petersburg, look up local tour companies such as TJ Travel, SPB and Alla tours on the net, much the same in pricing and all very good. We did Alla Grand Tour. Absolutely amazing. If you’re less mobile, then the comfort tour
#5
2,436 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I'm looking at this cruise too. Looks like a great itinerary. What is the difference between P&O and Princess?
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Lesley
_____________________________________
Cruises taken:

Princess Cruise Lines 85,Fascination 11/01, Sensation 9/02, Conquest 12/5/04, Conquest 1/17/16
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Liberty 5/19/06 Europe, Carnival Liberty 10/31/09 Liberty 3/1/14, Glory 11/18/2006
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Fantasy 9/24/2010 upsold to a GS!!!
Pride 10/2/11 to Bermuda!!, HAL Westerdam 9/8/12
Dream 4/6/13, Pride 9/18/16, to Bermuda
Pride Journey 2/26/17 to Southern Caribbean
Pride 10/22/17 Eastern Caribbean w/Sister
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Holland America Rotterdam 9/22/2018 NE/Canada
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#6
1,298 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Before going to St Petersburg read at least one book on pre revolution Russian history, or Peter the Great etc so you have some context to the City.

We went this year and I have just read about Nicholas II, The Last Tsar, the head of the Romanov family who were all murdered after the revolution.

We didn’t learn on tour Tour that the Tsar had 5,000 staff at St Catherine’s Palace and during Autumn the Tsar kept soldiers busy taking leaves off the trees before they fell, there are thousands of trees in the gardens!


BBC website currently has an in depth piece on the Revolution which happened 100 years ago today.
#8
UK
2,416 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Agree about reading up the history before visiting St Petersburg - but be prepared for the shock in the contrast between how the grand lived versus the ordinary population and obscene opulence.
#9
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
598 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
St Petersburg - there is so much to see here on a first visit. I have been twice and enjoyed The Hermitage, a boat cruise on the river Neva, The Peter & Paul Fortress, Peterhof Palace and the Catherine Palace.

Skagen - lovely little place which is easy to wander around on your own at a relaxed pace.

Klaipeda - I enjoyed walking around this little town. I also walked right up to the top end of town where there is a sculpture park. Not up to the standard of Vigeland but still quite nice.

Gdansk - the Old Town is a must but also try to get a tour that includes a visit to the Shipyard Museum. It is fascinating to be able to see a place that featured so prominently in modern history.

Oslo - on my last visit there in May I used the HOHO bus to visit the stunning Vigeland Sculpture Park and then the Viking Ship Museum. Both excellent.
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Andrew

Past: Cunard QE2 & Queen Elizabeth; P&O Victoria, Oriana, Arcadia, Aurora, Oceana, Azura; Sea Princess; Celebrity Summit; Fred Olsen Black Watch, Saga Ruby, Portuscale MV Funchal, MS Mayfair (Nile River Cruise).

Future: CMV Marco Polo to Iceland.
#10
116 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
If you are in Kristiansand on a Sunday be prepared for a very very quiet day. It is a pretty little town but on our Sunday visit it was most definitely CLOSED. So, if you want to do something/see something look at booking an excursion. If you are content to walk round silent pretty streets, enjoy the unmanicured park area, look at the sand sculptures (I don’t know if they are permanent or had been a one-off), then you will enjoy it
I’m sorry, I can’t tell you what it might be like on a weekday or Saturday
#13
UK
2,416 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by weelovetocruise
Scriv would you mind telling me how much the Simple St Petersburg trip was with P and O please. Thanks
I'm so sorry, weelovetocruise, I really can't remember. It was 3 years ago
#15
UK
2,416 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by weelovetocruise
That’s ok thanks
Been trying to remember.. it wasn't cheap. Maybe something like £180 each for the two days? It was well worth it though.
#16
Edinburgh
3,219 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
It’s better value to do the private tours and in St Petersburg SPB and Alla are simply the best (cue Tina Turner )


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Still to come:

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#18
Dorset, UK
8,839 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
In Oslo it is very easy to do the Vigeland Park on the tram which I believe is a circular route and stops outside the gates. We caught the Metro from the main square and had a 400m walk to the park but caught the tram back to the centre. You may have to research route/stops but it's free entry to the park and one of the most memorable of places to visit - how could anyone express so many emotions from granite?

We love Helsinki. Again I'd recommend using the tourist tram (3T?) and get off at the nearest stop for the Sibelius Park. The Sibelius Monument in the parkland is worth seeing especially if the sun is shining. Then if you're happy to walk back to the harbour area, you can meander to the lakeside and have a coffee at the Regatta Cafe (good reviews - seems like a local favourite). We didn't think that the coffee was great but it was cheap and you get refills however the setting and incredibly quirky log cabin cafe are quite something. Then head off for the Rock Church which is definitely worth visiting as already mentioned. Beautiful in its simplicity. On the way back to the centre have a look at the main train station as you pass by (we missed this but apparently is renowned for the architecture) then make for Senate Square and back down to the harbour area. There is a nice cafe which is a conservatory style just at the bottom of the attractive gardens. Then the fish market and colourful indoor market are worth a look. We enjoy a day in Helsinki - varied and plenty of interest for us. Although we've been several times we do need a map to plan our route and avoid getting lost! I hope you enjoy it too. (I should say we once took an excursion to Porvoo(?) and it was very low key imo with a journey along straight pine tree clad roads so not much of interest along the way. I'd say explore Helsinki which is far more rewarding.)
#19
London, England
3,499 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
We did the excellent 2 day Comfort Tour in SPB with Alla. In Gdansk we had to do a ship tour due to time constraints. It was interesting as my OH is very interested in WWII history. Gdansk was also the cheapest port of Call.

In all the other places we got around by HOHO, public transport and the odd taxi. Not keen on ship's tours.


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