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katmu

Baltic Ports Accessibility

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My friend and I are supposed to be on the 13 night Scandinavia-Russia cruise on serenade of the seas on July 28th of this year.  I had a bad accident last September after we booked the cruise and broke my right leg in 6 places at the base of the knee joint (called a tibia plateau fracture).  I've had a couple of surgeries but I'm still walking with a cane, and can't walk long distances so I'm trying to figure out how feasible this trip is at this point.  My leg tends to swell when I walk more than a couple of blocks.

 

Our itinerary is:

Stockholm (overnight)

Helsinki

St. Petersburg (overnight 2 nights)

Tallinn

Riga

Visby

Berlin

Fredericia 

Copenhagen (overnight)

 

We were thinking of doing the HOHO in Stockholm and maybe Copenhagen and we were looking at a tour in St. Petersburg.  How walkable are the other ports, or are there buses available in the other ports also?  This will only be my 2nd cruise so I'm also nervous about a cruise of this length with an injury like this.  We do have trip insurance.  I also don't want to ruin the trip for my friend.

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Katmu, really sorry to hear of your injury and hope you are making progress.

 

I would like to think that with circa 14 weeks to go before your cruise you will have made significant inroads to your rehab and that the cruise will appear more manageable to you?

 

Had you considered booking ships tours that are basically drive bys , that way you get to see the majority of sights with just photo stops keeping your walking to a minimum?

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I think arsenal boy makes an excellent point about your rehab.  The HOHO is not recommended in Tallinn since parts of the historic old city is closed to traffic.  We rented a brief pedicab ride, and you can take a longer one.  There's also a silly child's train that runs through the town, and although we took it initially for our 3 year old it turns out that it's quite a pleasant way to see the lovely sights of Tallinn.

 

A private tour in St. Petersburg is a really good idea.  If you can afford it, a private tour for just the two of you would allow you to rest whenever you need to and skip lesser parts of attractions (like the middle of Catherine's Palace, since the highlight is the beginning and Amber room).  You can rest as much as necessary.

 

I'd recommend listing your itinerary in Copenhagen and Stockholm.  Honestly, we found public transportation to be excellent in those cities so we wouldn't have wanted a HOHO.  But if you list your itinerary, maybe someone with more knowledge of the cities can explain if you'd be better off with a HOHO (which might be the case if it can save you walking, and that'll depend on where you'd like to go and how well it's served by the HOHO and public transport).  Best of luck to you.

 

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sorry - forgot to mention - if you are better (and I hope you are), still try to take it a  little easy in Tallinn.  You can take a cab to the top of Toompea hill, and then walk down, which would be lovely.  Tallinn is beautiful, but usually the day before St. Petersburg so it's best to take it a little easy there if you are worried about your energy or getting hurt.  

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I'd say that public transport in Stockholm have a higher level of accessibility then the HoHO buses/boats.

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definitely second private tour in St Petersburg even though will cost more

my husband struggles with distance due to arthritis

small vehicle means can get close to sites so less walking

for places like Peterhof gardens Catherines palace and Hermitage the tour operator[TJ in our case provided a wheelchair

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My friend and I had lunch today, and we are going to see about switching the Baltic cruise to next year and maybe doing something a bit easier this year like a 7 day Caribbean so I have a bit more time.  The surgeon had said 12 months for full recovery which would put me into September and that was before some complications I had.  My progress the first couple of months once I was able to bear weight was progressing well but the last 6 weeks or so I am a point where the gains are slower now.

 

Royal is offering this same itinerary in 2020.  I do like the idea of public buses in Stockholm and Copenhagen if that's possible, and a private tour for St. Petersburg might be worth the cost even if my leg is better by then.

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Posted (edited)

Also what ship are you planning on going with?

I would advise against anything larger  then the Soltice class since that likely would mean
ending up Nynäshamn instead of Stockholm. This would make you miss out on the journey
through the archipelago (about 5 hours each way) and as well as over 2x1,5 our of extra travel
time by bus, train or by tour organizer minibus.

Edited by Desdichado62

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2 hours ago, Desdichado62 said:

Also what ship are you planning on going with?

I would advise against anything larger  then the Soltice class since that likely would mean
ending up Nynäshamn instead of Stockholm. This would make you miss out on the journey
through the archipelago (about 5 hours each way) and as well as over 2x1,5 our of extra travel
time by bus, train or by tour organizer minibus.

 

That same cruise in 2020 is going to be on Jewel of the Seas, which is Radiance class I believe so I think it docks in Stockholm. Also it still overnights in Stockholm the first night before embarking so we like that.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, katmu said:

 

That same cruise in 2020 is going to be on Jewel of the Seas, which is Radiance class I believe so I think it docks in Stockholm. Also it still overnights in Stockholm the first night before embarking so we like that.

 

It will, especially since it's an overnight call. Solitice class is just short of 320m long which is
just below the size limit of ships able to enter Stockholm. Regal/Royal Princess and
NCL Breakway/Getaway are right on the limit and both can and will sail into Stockholm but
usually berths in Nynäshamn.

Edited by Desdichado62

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, katmu said:

My friend and I had lunch today, and we are going to see about switching the Baltic cruise to next year and maybe doing something a bit easier this year like a 7 day Caribbean so I have a bit more time.  The surgeon had said 12 months for full recovery which would put me into September and that was before some complications I had.  My progress the first couple of months once I was able to bear weight was progressing well but the last 6 weeks or so I am a point where the gains are slower now.

 

Royal is offering this same itinerary in 2020.  I do like the idea of public buses in Stockholm and Copenhagen if that's possible, and a private tour for St. Petersburg might be worth the cost even if my leg is better by then.

IMHO, you are wise to wait until fully healed for the Baltic cruise. The Baltic itinerary is very port intensive with beautiful sights to see - it would be a shame to go all that distance and not be able to fully enjoy yourself. Saint Petersburg is the crown jewel on this itinerary and you will have 2 long days in port - it would be impossible to see the sights without the ability to walk/stand for extended periods of time (especially in the Hermitage, Catherine Palace & Peterhof). Furthermore, the cobblestone streets in some ports could, I believe, cause significant discomfort/pain (Tallinn, Stockholm for example).

Enjoying a Caribbean cruise this year & Baltic the next sounds like a great plan.

 

Edited by dogs4fun

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I'm on board with the private tour option - especially for St. Petersburg. It's well worth it. We used Anastasia's Travel, and our guide went at our pace. (We have little kids). It was fantastic to know that we weren't just hustled through - that we got to see what we wanted to see, at our pace. Something like that would be a good option for you probably. I know also that some of the tour operators give discounts if you use them in multiple ports, so this could help you in other places as well. (I'm pretty sure Anastasia does.)

 

Good luck and I hope you keep healing!!

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