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P & O Baltic Cruise 2019 - Information appreciated.

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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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.

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Thank you all for your replies - really appreciated.

Lesley sorry I cannot answer your question - I am very new at this cruising game.

 

Please keep your thoughts and ideas coming

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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.

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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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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

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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 :(

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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.

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It’s better value to do the private tours and in St Petersburg SPB and Alla are simply the best (cue Tina Turner [emoji23])

 

 

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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.)

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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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Another vote for SPB - could not fault them.

 

Do you have any contact info for this company. We will be there May 2019. Thanks for any info you can share.

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Just go to their website - all their different tours are detailed there. Booking on line was easy and you don't have to pay until you complete your tour. They had helpful agents at the port to direct customers to the right buses We went in May and the weather was really good - dry and not too hot.

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Oslo - you can take the small ferry (from very near where the ship docks) over the fjord to Bygdoy where the Folk Museum and the Viking Ship Museum are situated. The Folk Museum is extremely interesting- houses from years and years ago and a Stave Church. Lots of things to see & do. From there walk to the Viking Ship museum and return the way you have come, back to the ship on the little ferry(pay on board.) it's a good chance to see some extremely interesting sights and also a very upmarket area of the city with some mega priced, beautiful houses. A lovely trip.

 

You will also be docked very near the City Hall which is worth popping into and seeing where the Nobel prizes are given out. There was an exhibition of the Sami people when we were there which was worth seeing.

 

Oslo is a lovely city (not at all like described by Jo Nesbo in his books!) - one of our favourite ports but it can be eye wateringly expensive. You will love it.

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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 - (Norw

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.

Hi....we did St P last year and I must say it was worth the price of the cruise just to see this wonderful city, If you asked my wife she would say I am definitely not one to eulogise about places,but this was truly amazing. We had a private guide that was arranged by an american lady that we spoke to on our roll call, ..she was fantastic Everything including visas sorted, entry to all the palaces,museums,gardens etc lunch in a REAL russian cafe.(with vodka)...front of the line or queue at every venue, we were ther 2 days ,she picked us up 8-30 both days and back to ship at 5, unless you wanted a visit to ballet or folklore show in the evening, everything was tailored to what YOU wanted. She has now started her own firm called redsun-tours, her personal email is el.semenova@rambler.ru.....cost was half the price of ships tour...maybe worth an email? I cannot recommend her highly enough. her name is ELENA SEMENOVA

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Thank you Slug33ukuk think I will E mail Elena little nearer the time of our cruise.

Thank you all for your thoughts - I am interested in visiting the Stutthof Concentration Camp - is this worth the cost of a return taxi from Gdansk and am I likely to have ample time for this visit or am I better off staying in Gdansk ?

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Thank you everyone for all this info..is useful to me as going this May on Aurora 16 nights Baltic. Have been to St Petersburg with Celebrity so will probably try one of these local tour companies this time for a more up close Russian experience.

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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.

 

Could you let me know was the HOHO bus for Oslo near the port please ?

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Could you let me know was the HOHO bus for Oslo near the port please ?

When we were there it was just opposite the ship. There may be more than one port though.

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I would recommend buying Rick Steves' Northern European Cruise Ports guide book. It covers most, if not all of your ports of call. I have used his guide books for various cruises and find him quite amusing and informative. He also suggests walking tours, some with audio that can be downloaded free from his site. The book can be split (sacrilege, I know) into individual chapters so you dont have to carry a thumping great book everywhere, just the town you are in.

Regards :)

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I think there are two areas where the cruise ships dock in Oslo. We were opposite the Opera House which is well worth a visit and you can even walk over the roof but just be aware of slightly changing levels and little steps.

There is another area where ships berth but both are basically in the city and walkable. Apart from using public transport to get from the centre to Vigeland Park and back, we walked everywhere and found the city very accessible.

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