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Hawaii136

QV Baltic Cruise questions 2020

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We are thinking of booking a Baltic cruise on QV in 2020. We have only been on QM2 transatlantic.  Some questions:

1. Thinking about May because the cities would be less crowded , but likely a bit cold compared to July or August voyages. 

Is that a good idea?

 

2. We have mostly been in PG on QM2 , but thinking about booking QG for this voyage.  Are rooms on the bumped out part worth paying extra? ( Q3 vs. Q4).  

3. How much movement would you expect on a Baltic voyage? Would a far aft room be a bad idea?

4. We would be visiting quite a few different countries, so how much local currency is needed for each stop?

 

any other comments would be helpful!

 

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We’re booked for July, same cruise. Given it’s Northern Europe, weather will always be a gamble, but we decided that the odds are better in summer, both for warmth and sea conditions. Can’t comment on the grills.

As far as port costs are concerned, while some can be low-cost DIY, St Petersburg really needs an organised tour, not necessarily a ship’s tour, to get the best out of two days. Googling around suggests $150-200 range,  depending on numbers. Berlin is an option from Warnemunde, but a very long day dominated by travelling.

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I did a Baltic Cruise in May 2014 on QV and the sea was dead calm.  This caused a problem with fog, thankfully this did not mean we missed any ports.

 

The weather in St Petersburg was perfect, sunny and warm enough not to need a coat.  As always the weather is pot luck, but I would not worry about going in May.

church on the spilled blood.jpg

dome.jpg

peter and paul.jpg

st isacks.jpg

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I was in St Petersburg in July and it was an absolute nightmare - way too crowded, 30 plus degrees and the queue to get in the Hermitage was 90 minutes, outside, no shade.

 

I'm going back in May so I'm glad you had good weather at that time of year Lanky Lad (it was my one reservation). I know it's pot luck, and the odds are higher in the summer that the weather will be nice - but still - I'm rolling the dice, and even if it's a bit cool, it should be quieter

 

We did a whole Baltic cruise in July with nothing more than a credit card (with no foreign transaction fees, most cards charge 3% so be careful of this). We did have some Euros handy, just in case, but didn't require any cash at all. In St Petersburg, some guests on our tour wanted to purchase something and the merchant would only accept Roubles - our guide paid and then took USD in exchange afterwards. Checked the exchange rate on the internet so all was fair.

 

I would not spend 6 hours travelling to Berlin and back - Warnemunde was very pleasant or Rostock isn't far away for a bit of variety.

Edited by Captain-John

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Thanks for the reassurance about May weather. I would rather it be a bit cool, than too hot.

any comments on cabin selection, port or starboard side?

we have visited Berlin independently several times, so we would most likely opt for something else anyway. 

St. Petersburg we would definitely do an organized tour.

 

question- even if on Cunard tour, you had to wait 90 mins to get into Hermitage? I know during our recent visits to Italy, tour groups got a “skip the line” entry.

 

also anyone who has gone to the evening ballet performance?

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2 hours ago, Hawaii136 said:

Thanks for the reassurance about May weather. I would rather it be a bit cool, than too hot.

any comments on cabin selection, port or starboard side?

we have visited Berlin independently several times, so we would most likely opt for something else anyway. 

St. Petersburg we would definitely do an organized tour.

 

question- even if on Cunard tour, you had to wait 90 mins to get into Hermitage? I know during our recent visits to Italy, tour groups got a “skip the line” entry.

 

also anyone who has gone to the evening ballet performance?

Have done 5 Baltic cruises May and June only one bad day  usually warm and plenty of sun, St Petersburg can be humid and thundery at times, been both to ballet (Swan Lake) and folklore show, very good both. Cunard have never offered  a Berlin trip as ship leaves Warnemunde usually at 1800, big send off from locals, Rostock is interesting and Warnemunde quite attractive, go up the lighthouse for a good view. Baltic is usually  calm there is no constant swell you get in Atlantic. The guides will try and skip the line but are not always successful, the Hermitage is always busy unless you opt for an evening tour.

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16 hours ago, Wiltonian said:

We’re booked for July, same cruise. Given it’s Northern Europe, weather will always be a gamble, but we decided that the odds are better in summer, both for warmth and sea conditions. Can’t comment on the grills.

As far as port costs are concerned, while some can be low-cost DIY, St Petersburg really needs an organised tour, not necessarily a ship’s tour, to get the best out of two days. Googling around suggests $150-200 range,  depending on numbers. Berlin is an option from Warnemunde, but a very long day dominated by travelling.

If you go on the Cunard trips you do not need a Visa, but I was under the impression if you did your own thing you would need one?🙄

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20 minutes ago, luckymal said:

If you go on the Cunard trips you do not need a Visa, but I was under the impression if you did your own thing you would need one?🙄

 

Not if you book with a registered tour company on an organised tour - it's only if you truly 'DIY' - i.e. no guide, that you need to make your own Visa arrangements.

 

Your tour ticket (be it independently arranged or through Cunard) acts as a Visa in this instance - you are asked to present this along with your passport when disembarking.

 

You can't get off and get a taxi into town for example without arranging your own Visa (and frankly, you'd be brave to try that!)

Edited by Captain-John

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35 minutes ago, Captain-John said:

 

Not if you book with a registered tour company on an organised tour - it's only if you truly 'DIY' - i.e. no guide, that you need to make your own Visa arrangements.

 

Your tour ticket (be it independently arranged or through Cunard) acts as a Visa in this instance - you are asked to present this along with your passport when disembarking.

 

You can't get off and get a taxi into town for example without arranging your own Visa (and frankly, you'd be brave to try that!)

 

Thanks for your prompt reply, but, if your private tour was delayed, would the ship still wait for you?🙄

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1 minute ago, luckymal said:

 

Thanks for your prompt reply, but, if your private tour was delayed, would the ship still wait for you?🙄

 

The ship isn't obliged to wait. However, usually the ships sail later when staying in St Petersburg. In addition, a number of the large independent tour firms 'guarantee' you will get back to the ship on time. I don't know the details of the guarantee, but I would think it to be pretty exceptional circumstances if you missed the ship.

 

We went with SPB in the summer and we were back onboard a good 2 hours before sailing time on the second day.

 

If the ship's tour price isn't too much different from an independent tour, obviously it makes sense to go with the cruise line. For comparison, NCL wanted $320 p.p for the same tour we got for $180 independently.

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Thanks again for promt reply. We are going to the Baltic at the end of May, this will be our 4 trip to the Baltic, we have always gone on the  Cunard organised trips no complaints, but they are not cheap.🙄

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When we go back, I really don't know what St Petersburg tour to do. All the other ports we managed to DIY. I think the only things we missed the last time in St Petes was the Faberge museum and a canal trip - but it's unlikely there will be a tour just waiting for me that sweeps up all the things we didn't see last time round.

 

Do you always take the same tour in SPB or have they been sufficiently different each time to keep you interested?

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2 hours ago, luckymal said:

 

Thanks for your prompt reply, but, if your private tour was delayed, would the ship still wait for you?🙄

 

This is the basis of the scare tactics of every cruise line. Of course they won’t wait just for a private tour. But the many tour companies know their reputations rely on their customers never missing the ship, and with social media, any such company which missed the boat would get their reputations so trashed that they’d lose all custom. If their tours are delayed by traffic, so will the ships’ tours. And most tours have generous end timings to be safe. 

 

I’ve always taken ‘non-ships’ tours, and never been worried.

 

Stuart

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2 hours ago, Captain-John said:

When we go back, I really don't know what St Petersburg tour to do. All the other ports we managed to DIY. I think the only things we missed the last time in St Petes was the Faberge museum and a canal trip - but it's unlikely there will be a tour just waiting for me that sweeps up all the things we didn't see last time round.

 

Do you always take the same tour in SPB or have they been sufficiently different each time to keep you interested?

 

I find with Cunard you have a fair choice, but I would assume all other cruise lines do the same tours. I fear what if we did arrive back to late, what would the cost be, to get back on ship. On one of the world cruises we did one couple got back to the ship to late and it took them three flights to get back on ship due to bad weather at other ports we should have called at. The only time we have done our own travel is when going to Rome from Civitavecchia.🙄

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We have done Baltics a few times one of our favourite cruise sand the weather can be hit or miss and there is a chance of it being cold in May. We went once in June and for the time of the year Helsinki and Tallin were very cold. Depending where you embark your ship if from Southampton the North Sea at times can be notoriously rough.

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I can also recommend SPB tours for St Petersburg. We did the 2 day intensive tour and would do it all over again tomorrow if we could! We had no problems with queues. We were taken into the Hermitage before the official opening time so no queueing. The lunches we were given were excellent.

However although it was early July the weather had turned cool and windy. A Celebrity ship couldn't dock due to the wind so missed the port. In Tallinn it was sold and wet but the cafes had outside heaters and blankets. The other ports were fine. Denmark was warm and sunny and we sailed back to Southampton in lovely weather. As it's so unpredictable I suggest take some layers and a waterproof jacket and you should be fine.

We did buy a few things in the shop at the port, we did not use roubles so it was either euros or US dollars, sorry I can't remember.

Cathy

 

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On 12/29/2018 at 4:36 PM, Hawaii136 said:

We are thinking of booking a Baltic cruise on QV in 2020. We have only been on QM2 transatlantic.  Some questions:

1. Thinking about May because the cities would be less crowded , but likely a bit cold compared to July or August voyages. 

Is that a good idea?

 

2. We have mostly been in PG on QM2 , but thinking about booking QG for this voyage.  Are rooms on the bumped out part worth paying extra? ( Q3 vs. Q4).  

3. How much movement would you expect on a Baltic voyage? Would a far aft room be a bad idea?

4. We would be visiting quite a few different countries, so how much local currency is needed for each stop?

 

any other comments would be helpful!

 

To answer your second question, I would only think paying the extra for a Q3 was worthwhile if you want to be really close to the lifts. Inside the cabin there really doesn't seem much difference from a Q4.

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We went in August and had very hot weather (35c in St P), seas were calm. We booked with SPB for a 2 day tour in ST P, no queues at all even in the Hermitage but we did start earlier than the ship tours, the guide was excellent and only 10 in the group which made it easier to get round everywhere. We found many places would not take credit card so had to change money on the boat which was costly.

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11 hours ago, KandMB said:

We found many places would not take credit card ...

I was there last summer, over the World Cup, and didn't find a single place that wouldn't take some combination of visa, MasterCard, unionpay, SamsungPay, Google pay, or applepay.

As such, you may only run into problems if your credit card is with Diners' club, AmEx, or Discover - as the places taking these are indeed very few and far between.

 

Oh, come to think of it, there was a place that would not take credit cards in any shape or form - it was the public bathroom at Moskovsky train station. But it was free for train ticket holders anyway.

Edited by napoxoguk
Remembered where they won't take Visa

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15 hours ago, exlondoner said:

To answer your second question, I would only think paying the extra for a Q3 was worthwhile if you want to be really close to the lifts. Inside the cabin there really doesn't seem much difference from a Q4.

I agree apart from the 3s are absolutely mid ships which may have a bearing if the seas are lively.

 

Having taken a few Baltic cruises in different months, including one in May a few years ago, my experience is the weather can be a changeable so go prepared with layers. I was glad of the high factor sun screen I took with me on our May cruise. The sun was searingly hot in a cloudless sky on our two days in  St Petersburg.

 

As for currency, we've always found US$ and a CC sufficient.We've never taken roubles.

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Thanks for all the comments so far.

 

is it better tohave a cabin on the port or starboard side?

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We are booked on the QE Baltic for this September.  We chose it feeling the crowds would be less, and knowing that the weather would be cooler.  Has anyone experienced the Baltic ports in mid-September?

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I am booked on the QV this July for the Baltics. We are in a Q5, rear of the ship. We love that cabin. Did the Fjords in Norway on Koningsdam last year in a rear facing suite. When we return, I will post a review of the cabin and cruise.

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