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milokama

Sailing on the Silhouette through the Baltic

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Aloha All,

As the  title line indicates, I'm sailing on the Silhouette 1/2 way through the Baltic Itinerary, starting from Southampton.  

We've had cool but lovely weather so early in the season. 60ºF most days.  Only a few drizzles.

 

As we sit here on our balcony watching Helsinki fade into the distance we are once again so grateful to the Fair Weather Gods that seems to follow us on our travels.

 

We like to call ourselves Reverse Snowbirds.  We live in Hawaii and chase the cool weather in order to have a chance to wear our Uggs, our fleece and our wool socks.  So we look for locales that run in the 60's.  This 2 week Baltic cruise in late May fit the bill perfectly.

 

We've stopped in Copenhagen, Estonia, St. Petersburg and Helsinki.

We are on our way to Stockholm and the back half of our seaward trek.

 

We were lucky enough to be upgraded to the Family Veranda at the front of the ship on Deck 8 (Room 8107) and while this is not the quietest room when docking, its been absolutely wonderful and otherwise very peaceful.  The room is HUGE for two people and since we tend to spend a lot of time in our room it was a real winner for us.  Its nothing fancy but sooooo spacious and there are three different avenues for looking at the sea, the docks, etc.  There is a very large balcony (1/3 bigger that most other decks as far as we can tell), A 3 panel window in the living room and another 3 panel window in the bedroom.  We could't be happier. My one complaint about the room is that these white nights are difficult and the drapes do not completely block out the light.  On my next cruise, if I'm cruising during summer in the northern hemisphere, I'll bring a bunch more magnets and some blackout fabric to fully block out the ambient light.  Its never fully dark, even this early in the season, and its difficult to sleep some times.  I'm a light sleeper and an disturbed by a pin dropping and excess light... however, the noise created by the mechanisms upon docking are worth powering through for all you get in return in this room.  Truly, as we waslk by the other rooms being cleaned, its a wonder to us how much space is available to us in this room.  Its more than twice the size of the regular cabins.  And we are a couple that likes to spread...

 

The ONLY tours we booked were a free walking tour in Copenhagen and the Alla Tours 2-day Grand tour.

 

The walking tour in Copenhagen was great.  Our guide was Penny, A southern California Ex-pat.  She was extremely knowledgeable, and very funny.  We enjoyed trooping through the streets with her very much.

 

We had also purchased -ship-board- a Hop on Hop Off ticket from Somma for $40/pp/pd.  This was a waste of money.  Because we overnighted in Copenhagen and were night owls because of the time change, we found ourselves dinning around 9/10pm.  By the time we finished dinner, there were no busses to be had... and no indication that bus service stopped at a certain time.  None of the attendants were able to tell us either.  So in addition to the $80 for the bus tickets, which we used twice, we paid an additional $50 for a cab back to the ship the first night.

 

OH - before I forget, a note to new cruisers, if you're able to use your cell phone internationally... drop a pin to mark the location of your ship as soon as you get off (or while you're still on).  We had no idea where to tell our cab driver to take us. (🙄 - duh) There were 2 major cruise terminals, with 3 or 4 different places your ship could be.  You cannot see the ships from the road and if you go to the wrong terminal... you could easily add another 40-50% to your cab fare.

 

The silhouette, for one reason or another, was THE FURTHEST ship from the city.  30 min ride, 1 hour walk.  Very inconvenient as the other cruise ships were a 10 minute walk from the city.  Be prepared to research shuttles prior to arrival.  I'm sure there are many many CC members who know the system inside and out... I did SOME research, and knew we'd be an uncomfortable walk in to/back from town but didn't research any shuttles prior to the night before, when I was talked into the HOHO bus ticket.  Somma was a mess that day too, many people complaining about the long wait between buses, unclear lines and stops.  They (kind of) made up for it the next day.  Kind of.  We decided we'd not do any more HO/HO busses for the rest of our trip.

 

For anyone looking for a great small pub in Copenhagen, I recommend The Black Swan.  Walking distance from The Royal Palace and a wonderful selection of craft beers.  We wanted badly to come back the next day for another pint (yes, even in the morning!!).  But by the time we were off the HoHo BOAT (another not-so-worth-it purchase) we had only enough time to get back to the ship.  Copenhagen is definitely a city worth more time to explore.  I'll be back!

 

Estonia was beautiful (but touristy) and we were only 10-15 min walk from the boat.  We took the long way around and saw some of the outskirts of the city (ew logged 10 miles this day of walking if that gives you any indication). It was rather dreary and unremarkable.  Everything has the air of being closed.  I suppose they are still in winter mode.  The lilacs and Tulips in full bloom were amazing to see.  Everywhere you turned you saw them.  For a gardening enthusiast who can no longer grow these things (a down-side to living in the tropics) It was very exciting to see and smell.  The Old Town of Tallin is beautiful and not to be missed, but definitely a tourist trap.  (or as our guide in Russia said - its all the Walk of Temptation).

 

We signed up for the 2 Day Grand tour in St. Petersburg and I must say this was a HIGHLIGHT. Very unexpected because we are not church / museum people and this is the majority of what we saw on this intensive itinerary.  We are also not prone to early mornings unless we are working.  However, we are so glad we signed up for this tour.  Our guide, Alex,  was so very knowledgeable.  While we did feel like we rushed through everything, we also felt we received a very special tour of unique knowledge and interesting tidbits.  The tour was conducted in Mercedes 15 passenger vans (there were 12 of us which made it very comfortable).  The tour included early entry to many of the places we visited and we never waited in any of the stops.  Our driver, Vadim, would drop us off as close as possible to the site, Alex would tell us what was or was not allowed (jackets, water, photography) at each stop.  Alex would get the tickets then guide us to the entrance.  He'd tell us which turnstile to use and we'd glide right past the majority of the lines.  Often times, Alex would point out one thing from a site and say "remember this" and later he would tie it in to another site we'd visit.  A painting of an historic room that we had visited the day before... a sculpture or painting missing from one museum or palace, which was at another.  It was all very interesting and made us (non-history buffs) very interested in learning more about Russian History.  Our driver, Vadim was amazing and the coordination between him and Alex was incredible.  The tour rarely ever doubled back on itself where you found yourself walking through the same space to exit.  Usually it was one big circle.  At the end our driver was always waiting mere feet from the exit, or JUST arriving as we walked out.  Since it was chilly, we all appreciated not having to put our coats on as we dashed from the inside of hot palaces and museums, to the warm van.

 

Its a fast pace and you cover a lot of ground in the Grand Tour.  Its not for everyone, but well worth it if you want to see as much as possible, don't mind waking up early, and are able to walk 4-5 miles in a day.  I would absolutely recommend the tour.  Ask for Alex!  He was wonderful! 

 

My only complaint... the one shop they gave us to buy souvenirs had very little selection (big as it was and nice as everyone was).  I'm sure they get a commission or kick back of some sort, but it would have been nice to have a choice of souvenirs to choose from that was different from the majority of what you see being hawked at every site you saw. Something more authentic, something more historic.  WE wanted so much to bring our kids back something unique.  Everywhere you go are those matruska dolls, the painted boxes, the fake fur hats.

 

On a side note, the Express Breakfast offered by Celebrity in the morning was an incredible feat to witness.  I think it took us 20 min to get in and out of the Grand Cuvee restaurant at 615 in the morning the second day.  We could have slept another 30 min had I known how fast the service would be.  You are seated and within seconds, you are presented with juice and coffee.  Within a couple of minutes the "express English breakfast" is served to you (eggs, sausage, bacon, tomato- no choices, just that), toast shortly thereafter (simply because one person cannot be serving you at the same time as the other in the small areas between the tables). As we were finishing, we remarked that the wait staff really seemed to descend on the guests like locusts.  There were so many of them (I counted 12 that I could see), all with the intention of providing the fastest possible service.  It was a sight to see.  Given that no one wants to wake 1 1/2 hours before a tour that starts at 7am, this was genius and I applaud Celebrity in its efforts to feed the masses before sending them off into the "wilds" of Russia.

 

We walked and took the public light rail through Helsinki today.  Great little city.  Not as quaint  as some others you'll find in Europe but not nearly as touristy as most.  We enjoy getting lost in a city and we enjoyed getting lost in Helsinki.  Wish we'd had a couple more hours to explore!  Very easy public transportation system to navigate.  Make sure to stop by a Rosti Store to buy a 1 day pass.  Tickets are not sold on the trams.  8⍷ allows you rides within Helsinki all day.  If you want to take a light rail tour of the city take the #3 or 4.  To get back to the ship you take the 14 bus which lets you out right at the gate.  Super easy!!!

 

 

 

So far our food experience on Silhouette as been touch and go.  The Grand Cuvee has been so/so.  I noticed a dramatic change from the choices of 7 years ago (my last cruise) and now.  All the good stuff is only available for an extra charge.  Oh well, I'm happy to pay. 

We've dined at Murano, Sushi on Five, TajX night, Tuscan Grill, Ocean View.  We have a Rez at Qsine tomorrow.  Our favorite?  Sushi on 5 for  its lite fare and easy availability and lovely staff.  The Tuscan Grill was INCREDIBLE.  WE have a follow up Rez in 2 days.  Truly worth the extra money... come hungry.  I was very surprised that Murano did not impress us much.  The wait staff was impeccable but the food, for us, was just so/so.  We far prefer the experience and choices we had at Tuscan grill.

We also hope to go to The Porch for lunch one day.  The seafood looks amazing.  

 

While my husband enjoyed the martini bar a great deal (and we both enjoyed the antics of Radley- our regular waiter), I found it too hard to drink so much hard liquor.  I really enjoyed the selection at Cellar Masters and we both became regulars of Tony there.  After the first night, he always remembered us by name and our favorite drink selection.

 

And finally, our wonderful room attendant Yolanda.  She has taken great care of us so far.  WE're going to miss her when we leave!

 

More to come in a few days... or maybe on a sea day!!

 

 

 

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Thanks for taking the time from your cruise to share your experiences, and glad you are having a wonderful trip!

 

The Silhouette is our very favorite ship.  Enjoy the rest of your cruise!

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Great review. I'm boarding Silhouette on June 16th and find your information quite valuable.

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1 minute ago, Orator said:

Great review. I'm boarding Silhouette on June 16th and find your information quite valuable.

So glad!  I wish I'd had time to research more before coming on the trip.  

 

Ask me anything.  I'm still on board so ask away!

 

Btw, the wifi was a perk from our TA.  It has SAVED us!  easy to use.  easy to move from device to device (I have a phone, computer AND iPad.  My husband has iPad and phone.  We've not had any issues)... we even were able to watch the final episode of GOT whilst onboard!  

 

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Yes, thanks for the review - we’re on the 2 June sailing. Good information on Copenhagen, especially the taxi going back to ship as we are also planning to eat in the city and taxi back.

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Thank you for your review.  Silhouette is also our favorite ship.  I haven't seen you reporting on Stockholm.  If it is yet to come, make sure you are up at 5AM when you sail in the Archipeligo.  It is phenomenal !  There's something about the morning light that is so much more special than the same trip when you leave in the evening. We were so glad someone gave us that tip.  Also, since you are trying all the Sp restaurants, I do hope you try the Lawn Club Grill.  As far as we are concerned that is the best restaurant afloat.  Wish it were on all the ships.

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Thank you for taking time out of your cruise to post this review.  We just put a hold on this same cruise for next May so everything you've had to say is valuable to us, especially your endorsement for ALLA tours in St. Petersburg as that is the group we plan to use also!

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise, we just got off Silhouette on April 27th.  Great ship & crew!

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A couple of questions - how easy was it to disembark in St Petersburg on Day 1 did you have to queue?  Is the Porch only open for lunch?  Did Celebrity not put on shuttles into Copenhagen for a fee? Many thanks for your response.

Edited by bernipops

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5 hours ago, milokama said:

Aloha All,

As the  title line indicates, I'm sailing on the Silhouette 1/2 way through the Baltic Itinerary, starting from Southampton.  

We've had cool but lovely weather so early in the season. 60ºF most days.  Only a few drizzles.

 

As we sit here on our balcony watching Helsinki fade into the distance we are once again so grateful to the Fair Weather Gods that seems to follow us on our travels.

 

We like to call ourselves Reverse Snowbirds.  We live in Hawaii and chase the cool weather in order to have a chance to wear our Uggs, our fleece and our wool socks.  So we look for locales that run in the 60's.  This 2 week Baltic cruise in late May fit the bill perfectly.

 

We've stopped in Copenhagen, Estonia, St. Petersburg and Helsinki.

We are on our way to Stockholm and the back half of our seaward trek.

 

We were lucky enough to be upgraded to the Family Veranda at the front of the ship on Deck 8 (Room 8107) and while this is not the quietest room when docking, its been absolutely wonderful and otherwise very peaceful.  The room is HUGE for two people and since we tend to spend a lot of time in our room it was a real winner for us.  Its nothing fancy but sooooo spacious and there are three different avenues for looking at the sea, the docks, etc.  There is a very large balcony (1/3 bigger that most other decks as far as we can tell), A 3 panel window in the living room and another 3 panel window in the bedroom.  We could't be happier. My one complaint about the room is that these white nights are difficult and the drapes do not completely block out the light.  On my next cruise, if I'm cruising during summer in the northern hemisphere, I'll bring a bunch more magnets and some blackout fabric to fully block out the ambient light.  Its never fully dark, even this early in the season, and its difficult to sleep some times.  I'm a light sleeper and an disturbed by a pin dropping and excess light... however, the noise created by the mechanisms upon docking are worth powering through for all you get in return in this room.  Truly, as we waslk by the other rooms being cleaned, its a wonder to us how much space is available to us in this room.  Its more than twice the size of the regular cabins.  And we are a couple that likes to spread...

 

The ONLY tours we booked were a free walking tour in Copenhagen and the Alla Tours 2-day Grand tour.

 

The walking tour in Copenhagen was great.  Our guide was Penny, A southern California Ex-pat.  She was extremely knowledgeable, and very funny.  We enjoyed trooping through the streets with her very much.

 

We had also purchased -ship-board- a Hop on Hop Off ticket from Somma for $40/pp/pd.  This was a waste of money.  Because we overnighted in Copenhagen and were night owls because of the time change, we found ourselves dinning around 9/10pm.  By the time we finished dinner, there were no busses to be had... and no indication that bus service stopped at a certain time.  None of the attendants were able to tell us either.  So in addition to the $80 for the bus tickets, which we used twice, we paid an additional $50 for a cab back to the ship the first night.

 

OH - before I forget, a note to new cruisers, if you're able to use your cell phone internationally... drop a pin to mark the location of your ship as soon as you get off (or while you're still on).  We had no idea where to tell our cab driver to take us. (🙄 - duh) There were 2 major cruise terminals, with 3 or 4 different places your ship could be.  You cannot see the ships from the road and if you go to the wrong terminal... you could easily add another 40-50% to your cab fare.

 

The silhouette, for one reason or another, was THE FURTHEST ship from the city.  30 min ride, 1 hour walk.  Very inconvenient as the other cruise ships were a 10 minute walk from the city.  Be prepared to research shuttles prior to arrival.  I'm sure there are many many CC members who know the system inside and out... I did SOME research, and knew we'd be an uncomfortable walk in to/back from town but didn't research any shuttles prior to the night before, when I was talked into the HOHO bus ticket.  Somma was a mess that day too, many people complaining about the long wait between buses, unclear lines and stops.  They (kind of) made up for it the next day.  Kind of.  We decided we'd not do any more HO/HO busses for the rest of our trip.

 

For anyone looking for a great small pub in Copenhagen, I recommend The Black Swan.  Walking distance from The Royal Palace and a wonderful selection of craft beers.  We wanted badly to come back the next day for another pint (yes, even in the morning!!).  But by the time we were off the HoHo BOAT (another not-so-worth-it purchase) we had only enough time to get back to the ship.  Copenhagen is definitely a city worth more time to explore.  I'll be back!

 

Estonia was beautiful (but touristy) and we were only 10-15 min walk from the boat.  We took the long way around and saw some of the outskirts of the city (ew logged 10 miles this day of walking if that gives you any indication). It was rather dreary and unremarkable.  Everything has the air of being closed.  I suppose they are still in winter mode.  The lilacs and Tulips in full bloom were amazing to see.  Everywhere you turned you saw them.  For a gardening enthusiast who can no longer grow these things (a down-side to living in the tropics) It was very exciting to see and smell.  The Old Town of Tallin is beautiful and not to be missed, but definitely a tourist trap.  (or as our guide in Russia said - its all the Walk of Temptation).

 

We signed up for the 2 Day Grand tour in St. Petersburg and I must say this was a HIGHLIGHT. Very unexpected because we are not church / museum people and this is the majority of what we saw on this intensive itinerary.  We are also not prone to early mornings unless we are working.  However, we are so glad we signed up for this tour.  Our guide, Alex,  was so very knowledgeable.  While we did feel like we rushed through everything, we also felt we received a very special tour of unique knowledge and interesting tidbits.  The tour was conducted in Mercedes 15 passenger vans (there were 12 of us which made it very comfortable).  The tour included early entry to many of the places we visited and we never waited in any of the stops.  Our driver, Vadim, would drop us off as close as possible to the site, Alex would tell us what was or was not allowed (jackets, water, photography) at each stop.  Alex would get the tickets then guide us to the entrance.  He'd tell us which turnstile to use and we'd glide right past the majority of the lines.  Often times, Alex would point out one thing from a site and say "remember this" and later he would tie it in to another site we'd visit.  A painting of an historic room that we had visited the day before... a sculpture or painting missing from one museum or palace, which was at another.  It was all very interesting and made us (non-history buffs) very interested in learning more about Russian History.  Our driver, Vadim was amazing and the coordination between him and Alex was incredible.  The tour rarely ever doubled back on itself where you found yourself walking through the same space to exit.  Usually it was one big circle.  At the end our driver was always waiting mere feet from the exit, or JUST arriving as we walked out.  Since it was chilly, we all appreciated not having to put our coats on as we dashed from the inside of hot palaces and museums, to the warm van.

 

Its a fast pace and you cover a lot of ground in the Grand Tour.  Its not for everyone, but well worth it if you want to see as much as possible, don't mind waking up early, and are able to walk 4-5 miles in a day.  I would absolutely recommend the tour.  Ask for Alex!  He was wonderful! 

 

My only complaint... the one shop they gave us to buy souvenirs had very little selection (big as it was and nice as everyone was).  I'm sure they get a commission or kick back of some sort, but it would have been nice to have a choice of souvenirs to choose from that was different from the majority of what you see being hawked at every site you saw. Something more authentic, something more historic.  WE wanted so much to bring our kids back something unique.  Everywhere you go are those matruska dolls, the painted boxes, the fake fur hats.

 

On a side note, the Express Breakfast offered by Celebrity in the morning was an incredible feat to witness.  I think it took us 20 min to get in and out of the Grand Cuvee restaurant at 615 in the morning the second day.  We could have slept another 30 min had I known how fast the service would be.  You are seated and within seconds, you are presented with juice and coffee.  Within a couple of minutes the "express English breakfast" is served to you (eggs, sausage, bacon, tomato- no choices, just that), toast shortly thereafter (simply because one person cannot be serving you at the same time as the other in the small areas between the tables). As we were finishing, we remarked that the wait staff really seemed to descend on the guests like locusts.  There were so many of them (I counted 12 that I could see), all with the intention of providing the fastest possible service.  It was a sight to see.  Given that no one wants to wake 1 1/2 hours before a tour that starts at 7am, this was genius and I applaud Celebrity in its efforts to feed the masses before sending them off into the "wilds" of Russia.

 

We walked and took the public light rail through Helsinki today.  Great little city.  Not as quaint  as some others you'll find in Europe but not nearly as touristy as most.  We enjoy getting lost in a city and we enjoyed getting lost in Helsinki.  Wish we'd had a couple more hours to explore!  Very easy public transportation system to navigate.  Make sure to stop by a Rosti Store to buy a 1 day pass.  Tickets are not sold on the trams.  8⍷ allows you rides within Helsinki all day.  If you want to take a light rail tour of the city take the #3 or 4.  To get back to the ship you take the 14 bus which lets you out right at the gate.  Super easy!!!

 

 

 

So far our food experience on Silhouette as been touch and go.  The Grand Cuvee has been so/so.  I noticed a dramatic change from the choices of 7 years ago (my last cruise) and now.  All the good stuff is only available for an extra charge.  Oh well, I'm happy to pay. 

We've dined at Murano, Sushi on Five, TajX night, Tuscan Grill, Ocean View.  We have a Rez at Qsine tomorrow.  Our favorite?  Sushi on 5 for  its lite fare and easy availability and lovely staff.  The Tuscan Grill was INCREDIBLE.  WE have a follow up Rez in 2 days.  Truly worth the extra money... come hungry.  I was very surprised that Murano did not impress us much.  The wait staff was impeccable but the food, for us, was just so/so.  We far prefer the experience and choices we had at Tuscan grill.

We also hope to go to The Porch for lunch one day.  The seafood looks amazing.  

 

While my husband enjoyed the martini bar a great deal (and we both enjoyed the antics of Radley- our regular waiter), I found it too hard to drink so much hard liquor.  I really enjoyed the selection at Cellar Masters and we both became regulars of Tony there.  After the first night, he always remembered us by name and our favorite drink selection.

 

And finally, our wonderful room attendant Yolanda.  She has taken great care of us so far.  WE're going to miss her when we leave!

 

More to come in a few days... or maybe on a sea day!!

 

 

 

Thank you so much for all the wonderful info. We have also booked the Alla Grand Tour for our stop in Russia next month.  My TA just told me that I have to get a visa only through Celebrity or I cannot leave the ship. But Alla says they look after it all when I booked with them 3 months ago.  Did you have any trouble getting on or off with a non celebrity tour?  Any advice you can give would be so appreciated.  I am so looking forward to our first Baltic cruise.  

 

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11 hours ago, TeaBag said:

Thank you for your review.  Silhouette is also our favorite ship.  I haven't seen you reporting on Stockholm.  If it is yet to come, make sure you are up at 5AM when you sail in the Archipeligo.  It is phenomenal !  There's something about the morning light that is so much more special than the same trip when you leave in the evening. We were so glad someone gave us that tip.  Also, since you are trying all the Sp restaurants, I do hope you try the Lawn Club Grill.  As far as we are concerned that is the best restaurant afloat.  Wish it were on all the ships.

We woke up 1/2 hour ago to watch our passage through the islets.  It reminds me of our Alaska cruise.  It is very very beautiful and we are sooo glad to have woken up to see it.  Thank you for the tip!  Its just now 6am here and the sun is full up.  The light is spectacular and it is a bright and sunny day with whispy clouds.

 

I wasn't prepared for the amount of time changes we would go through on this trip.  The beginning was especially difficult because it seemed like every night we were moving ahead an hour. (3 times!)

 

Last night was the first night we went back an hour. 

 

8 hours ago, Pampered wife said:

Thank you so much for all the wonderful info. We have also booked the Alla Grand Tour for our stop in Russia next month.  My TA just told me that I have to get a visa only through Celebrity or I cannot leave the ship. But Alla says they look after it all when I booked with them 3 months ago.  Did you have any trouble getting on or off with a non celebrity tour?  Any advice you can give would be so appreciated.  I am so looking forward to our first Baltic cruise.  

 

 

Hello!  Thanks for reading!

If you book through a tour company you do not need to get your own visa.  The tour company takes care of that. (Alla, TJ, Anastasia...)

When you queue up at Passport control you will present your passport, your sea pass(card from the ship) and your ticket for your tour (check your emails, Alla tour has a message center on their website that allows you to download and print your tickets from home).  That will get you through the passport gate.  Passport control will stamp your passport and place a small paper the same size as your passport, inside your passport.When you come out of the gate all the tour companies are waiting there with signs.  It was an extremely easy and well organized process.  Alla herself was there to greet us the morning we arrived.  

 

My understanding is that you only need to get a visa yourself if you don't plan on taking a tour.  Our Tour Guide told us (and we read during our research) that few people speak English, the taxi drivers don't speak English generally, and NONE of the signs are in English except certain museums and palaces.  Getting around as a non-russian speaking person would be extremely difficult.

 

The subway ride was not something I was especially excited about... but SOOOO glad we did it.  The subway in Russian is a very interesting experience. I've never been on such a long escalator in my life.  It took us a full 5 minutes from bottom to top.

 

Although very cold, we especially loved the boat ride around the city.  Dress warmly!  You do this before the city wakes up and it was very very cold. (If I had to guess I'd say 45º - 50º.  )

 

 

9 hours ago, bernipops said:

A couple of questions - how easy was it to disembark in St Petersburg on Day 1 did you have to queue?  Is the Porch only open for lunch?  Did Celebrity not put on shuttles into Copenhagen for a fee? Many thanks for your response.

 

Disembarking was very easy on Day 1.  

Celebrity booked excursions are cleared first.  You can prop your door open to hear the message that they have cleared or you can turn on your TV to channel 6 (the latter is preferred as for former makes a wind tunnel in the passageways). We docked at 7am and by 820am we were given the all clear that we could disembark.  Alla tours was well aware of the procedure ( I had emailed them the night before when we got the notice).  We appreciated the extra time to sleep 😉.

 

We left the ship at 820am, stood in line with maybe 5 or 6 people in front of us (there is a row of check stations (30 I think) and everyone spreads out among them).  It took us about 10 minutes of waiting for our turn, then another 2-3 minutes once we were at the counter.  They are very serious and mostly don't speak English.  No one smiles, but our guide told us this is a cultural thing.  He says people who laugh and smile a lot in Russia are looked at as "idiots".  

 

The longest wait we had in our 2 days in Russia was waiting for the three people who never showed up for the tour.  Alla came aboard and made some jokes about how some people like to linger over coffee, etc... we waited about 10 minutes and then we left without them.

 

THE PORCH is open 12-230P for lunch and 6-10P for dinner.

 

What is interesting to me is that Cafe Bachio is not open in the mornings.  Only 2pm-10pm.  For the Starbucks generation this is a bit disconcerting... 

I've seen other espresso machines at some of the bars, but they never seem to be using them in the mornings.  We've gotten used to ordering room service coffee the we're up in time to wait for it (usually takes 10-15 min, not bad).

 

CELEBRITY did put shuttles in at Copenhagen.  

It was not immediately apparent to me that there was a difference between HO/HO bus and the celebrity organized shuttle.  The day pass on the celebrity shuttle was $20/day.  The first port day shuttle situation was very unclear to me and I should have spent more time at guest relations discovering what my options were.  I will say that we found NO trace of ANY shuttles in the city center where they dropped us late that evening when we wanted to come back to the ship.  Luckily, all the cab drivers speak English and we had no problem hailing one of them.  

 

We are pulling in to Stockholm now and we've done our research (hopefully).  Public transportation is very easy and the cards seem to transfer between busses and light rail.  We have purchased the tickets and app on our phones and will get lost amongst the Swedes 🇸🇪

 

Edited by milokama
adding download info

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Thank you so much milokama for the information it is very helpful.  Looking forward to hearing about how you got on in Stockholm.   Enjoy your day(s).

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A very comprehensive review. So glad you were able to get into St Petersburg. We were denied entry last year, due to 60 mph side winds. The harbour entry was too narrow for the size of Silhouette to turn in the high winds. We bobbed around for 2 days, but although the pilot was on the ship each day, we were not allowed in.

05F41321-C103-4593-8BA3-21BAF23199EE.jpeg

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1 hour ago, upwarduk said:

A very comprehensive review. So glad you were able to get into St Petersburg. We were denied entry last year, due to 60 mph side winds. The harbour entry was too narrow for the size of Silhouette to turn in the high winds. We bobbed around for 2 days, but although the pilot was on the ship each day, we were not allowed in.

05F41321-C103-4593-8BA3-21BAF23199EE.jpeg

 

Its not just the harbour entrance (which is a long way from the port), but the channel to the port which is very narrow meaning it’s hard to stay in track in high winds. 

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4 hours ago, upwarduk said:

A very comprehensive review. So glad you were able to get into St Petersburg. We were denied entry last year, due to 60 mph side winds. The harbour entry was too narrow for the size of Silhouette to turn in the high winds. We bobbed around for 2 days, but although the pilot was on the ship each day, we were not allowed in.

05F41321-C103-4593-8BA3-21BAF23199EE.jpeg

 

Oh that had to be terribly disappointing......😥

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8 hours ago, upwarduk said:

A very comprehensive review. So glad you were able to get into St Petersburg. We were denied entry last year, due to 60 mph side winds. The harbour entry was too narrow for the size of Silhouette to turn in the high winds. We bobbed around for 2 days, but although the pilot was on the ship each day, we were not allowed in.

05F41321-C103-4593-8BA3-21BAF23199EE.jpeg

Oh no!!!  You MUST go back.  St. Petersburg is NOT to be missed.  Truly a wonderful stop and so worth the 2 days.  Exhausting, but worth it!

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20 hours ago, Gracie115 said:

Thank you for taking time out of your cruise to post this review.  We just put a hold on this same cruise for next May so everything you've had to say is valuable to us, especially your endorsement for ALLA tours in St. Petersburg as that is the group we plan to use also!

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise, we just got off Silhouette on April 27th.  Great ship & crew!

We have a lovely room Stewart (Yolanda).  She's taken great care of us.  

 

We have taken a shine to Radney in the martini bar.  He's a bit cheeky, but keeps in just inside crossing the line.  WE like him a lot.  I must say, if you're partial to the martini bar, and don't much care about the acrobatic antics of the bartenders (we can take them or leave them - they're very nice but rushed and have a lot of people to serve so service can be slow) we get a seat at one of the windows.  Radney disappears behind a door and we have our drinks in no time.  We're onto the seconds before the folks at the bar have their first!

 

Every night we go to see Tony in Cellar masters and he's been our last stop before going off to bed.

 

We've taken a great shine to Sushi on Five.  The prices are reasonable and the service has been great 2 of the 3 times we were there.  We love sushi, and being from Hawaii, are rather picky.  Its top notch!  Our favorite waitress is Generose, but she calls herself "South Philly".  She's a bit cheeky too, but I guess we just like folks like that.  She's from the South Philippines and likes to joke with American passengers about where she's from.  We'll go back once or twice before we're done here.

 

Our favorite band is Dallas Bridge.  They have such great takes on popular music.  We'd easily follow them around the ship.

 

All in all this has been a great crew.  Taken wonderful care of us

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22 minutes ago, milokama said:

 

 

Every night we go to see Tony in Cellar masters and he's been our last stop before going off to bed.

 

 

 

 

Oh we used to visit Tony too....he nicknamed himself "Lonely Tony" on the TA because Cellar Masters was so quiet for that sailing, but we went in a few times to keep him from getting too lonely!!!  Enjoy the rest of your cruise!! :classic_biggrin:

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Thanks for all this information.  We are on Reflection in the Baltics in July and this week I've been busy reserving all our tours.  We are booked with SPB for the 2 day grand tour in St. Petersburg, and in Stockholm as well.  For Copenhagen and Helsinki we  have booked Stromma for the HOHO combo bus/boat tours in both places.  A bit apprehensive about meeting spots, distances, how to get from pier to town, etc. but hope all will become clear once we get there.  I have read about different piers being used by different ships and some of it seems to depend on volume of traffic, etc. so hard to always know in advance. 

 

Love your reporting style. 

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STOCKHOLM

 

We had an AMAZING port day in Stockholm.  

 

As suggested by TeaBag, we woke early to watch our passage through the islets.  So glad we did.  It is remarkable, all those little island with houses, docks, lighthouses.  The early morning light is mystical.  

 

We ordered room service (not the greatest quality or selection - and they've gotten our order wrong every time - but at least we weren't starving when we got off the ship, and were well caffeinated)

 

We chose to buy the 24 hour public transport pass. 15⍷ per adult and well worth it.  (I'll try to attach the picture of it here).  Its available from the cashier at the tourist shop in the building you walk through as soon as you get off the ship.  They're very friendly and helpful about how to use the pass and where to catch the bus.  They took Euro as payment which was great since we still have plenty left over (I over ordered the cash for this trip - everyone wants credit cards now).

 

We walked 800 meters (about 4-5 minutes) down from where the ship was docked and got on the first bus that passed us. She recommended bus #76, but we wanted to get going so we took #1. (We like to get lost places and find our way back). We rode the bus for about 15 minutes and got off in the middle of a busniness/shopping district. No tourists, lots of locals.  Stopped for a little bite to eat (it was 830a at this point) at the Starbucks of Sweden (Maybe all of the Baltic? – we saw it in Helsinki too).  Its called the Espresso House and it is sooooo good. Far superior to any chain espresso shop we’ve been to in the US.  Worth a quick visit… and they seem to have a restroom policy akin to McDonalds and Starbucks – anyone can use, just ask for the door code.  The food is scrumptious and the espresso is the best I’ve had. Everyone speaks English and the furniture is comfy if you need to get off your feet for a few.

 

We walked to Gamla Stan (about 20 minutes) and wandered the near-empty streets. This was a lucky happenstance because we were able to enjoy window shopping before, we learned later, it becomes incredibly crowded with tourists and locals.  I highly recommend walking it early not to have to fight the crowds.  We left just as the shops were beginning to open (10am) and started taking the lightrail in search or less crowded areas.  Of course, we ended up outside the ABBA Museum.  It was fun for a photograph and a walk down the lanes of some wonderful historic wooden row-houses.  The amusement park we walked past in the area hosts some top names in music about to perform.  Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Stone Temple Pilots, to name a few.  

 

We turned right back around and headed for a brew pub we found on yelp.  OMMNIPOLLO. If you like craft beer and artisan pizza THIS IS THE PLACE!!!.  My husband is a beer afficianato and I like good hazy IPA’s.  This was hands-down the best beer I’ve had.  They were running a limited edition of their “Extra Thick Double Smoothie” IPA.  They called it their dessert beer, but don’t be fooled… its not sweet.  But there was ddefinitely something extra special about it. I had two glasses and would love to have had more but I was a bit wobbly so decided to just enjoy the memory.  We shared the eggplant pizza (I think it was called the #6).  The barkeep, Gentle Giant James, gave us a hot sauce and recommended one drop only. I rolled my eyes.  Doesn’t he know who I am?  I’m the spicy QUEEN!!  -  One drop, spread over the entire pizza, was enough to curl my toes for a good 20 min.  Of course, I immediately ordered a bottle on Ebay…

From there, it was a short hike to the top of the hill where there is a café with outdoor seating and a panoramic view not to be missed. A quick walk down the hillside, through lovely parks and uncrowded streets, to a bakery that had great yelp reviews… Petrus.  The morning buns… omg.

 

We decided it was time to explore the tunnelbanne and our tickets allowed us access to this as well.  We zigged and zagged here and there, popping up above to look at one place or another.  

 

We revisited the shops in Gamla Stan, fighting the crowds to spend our money in the shops we took note of earlier in the morning.  And then we’d had enough.  We’d taken 2 busses, 5 light rails, 6 subway trains and walked nearly 10 miles.  One final subway ride took us within 15 minutes walk back to the ship.  

 

We crawled to Tuscan Grill to make arrangements to have dinner and watch our reverse passage through the islets.  The best view in the house for dinner!  We were able to see both sides of the passage, the ferry's dodging between the big boats, the small sailboats rocking up and down crossing the big ships' wake,  and the gulls dive for their dinner in the churned up waters, as we overindulged once again.  The only downside is the sun in your face can be a bit intense if you're seated at the window.  They can lower the shades but they all go up and down at once, not individually.   I suppose you could ask for a table deeper in but we chose to endure it.  The view was worth it!

 

It had been 16 hours and we were exhausted.  Yolanda had hour room ready for the nighttime nap.  We took our motrin, showered, and fell into bed. I think Tony missed us.  I’ll find out today.  The nightly stop to Cellar Masters  was too much to add to our day.  One day is not nearly enough Time in Stockholm.  I wish we could have stayed overnight.  We contemplated missing the ship and the sea day in order to stay and explore some more.  IN the end we decided this was the highlight of our trip, a close second to Russia.  We will be back.  Soon.  And we will stay for a month.  no question.

 

We woke to the most glorious, practically glassy Baltic Sea... not a cloud in the sky this morning.  Coffee in bed and a rest for our feet is on the agenda. Maybe Bingo and Bocce.  

 

Aloha for now.

Photo on 5-29-19 at 7.44 AM.jpg

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16 hours ago, Josie2 said:

Thanks for all this information.  We are on Reflection in the Baltics in July and this week I've been busy reserving all our tours.  We are booked with SPB for the 2 day grand tour in St. Petersburg, and in Stockholm as well.  For Copenhagen and Helsinki we  have booked Stromma for the HOHO combo bus/boat tours in both places.  A bit apprehensive about meeting spots, distances, how to get from pier to town, etc. but hope all will become clear once we get there.  I have read about different piers being used by different ships and some of it seems to depend on volume of traffic, etc. so hard to always know in advance. 

 

Love your reporting style. 

Hi Josie2

I printed everything and put it in page protectors and put in a 3-ring binder (1/2").  I also PDF'd everything and I emailed it to myself.  It helped a great deal to have the maps of the meeting points to show bus drivers and taxi cabs.  

 

I highly, highly recommend, if you sign up for an international plan while you're on your trip, to drop a pin as soon as you leave the ship so you can show the taxi driver or google directions back.

 

  Celebrity seems to have/share very limited info on where you'll berth.  I had difficulty finding information from then ... but cruise critic and Trip advisor have been very helpful.  The tour companies all seem to have figured it all out because everyone is met once the ship allows people off... and no one I've met yet has not met up with their tours.

 

If you book with Free Walking Tours or places that don't meet you directly off the ship (we signed up for three but  ended up only doing one of these) I'd recommend emailing the company for the address and a map of the meeting place.  Some of the walking tours offered to adjust their start time so we would have time to meet them.  It never hurts to ask.

 

Hope you have a great trip.  We've had an amazing time!

 

Edited by milokama

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You have no idea how helpful your posts have been - thank you so much.

 

Bernipops

 

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3 minutes ago, bernipops said:

You have no idea how helpful your posts have been - thank you so much.

 

Bernipops

 

I'm so glad! 

I'll admit I was apprehensive about this trip.  Id never been to any of the places, wasn't sure who spoke English, if my phone would work (without charging me an arm and a leg), where to go, what to see, where to eat and drink, etc.  Its worked out beautifully and I was just hoping to help some folks who might be a little like my husband and I:  like to wander on our own, walk, take public transportation if its convenient, get lost, drink good beer and eat good food.  

 

We've been highly successful as far as we're concerned.  

 

Thank you for your reply!

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14 minutes ago, bernipops said:

Is the Porch open on the sides like the Lawn Club or is it enclosed.  Thanks.

 

The Porch is open on one side.  One of the accesses to the elevators is through the restaurant which makes it feel more like a sidewalk bistro.  The weather is very cold and windy up there and thus I've never seen anyone in either of these restaurants.  I'm not sure what its like on port days as I'm also out and about.

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Hi all -

 

ABBA, THE MUSEUM - 4 FREE tickets available!!

 

I was supposed to be sailing on this cruise but had to cancel due to a travel companion needing emergency surgery. (she is doing fine now, but can't travel)  

 

 I have 4 tickets to the Abba Museum that i am happy to pass along to anyone who is interested. I have spoken to the museum and they said i can transfer the tickets to anyone, but i can not get a refund.  I would love to see them used by someone and not go to waste!

 

Just reach out to me and let me know if you want them!

 

Holly

 

 

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