Jump to content

Need Help on Baltic itinerary, tours, hotels etc.


Recommended Posts

I am researching Baltic cruises for 2021 extensively and have found just enough information that I can ask intelligent questions [or I hope they are]. ūüėõ¬†

 

 

We are mature travelers without any real mobility issues- [other than we get tired if the day is too long]. We have never been to the Baltic region and this will only be our 4th trip to Europe. [1 TA from UK, 2 from Barcelona and 1 from Rome]. Each time we have spent time touring the embarkation area for a few days. We likely will have 2 checked bags and 1 carry on. We try to cut down on luggage if we are going to new places.  

 

 

I will post  information I find as a service to those that are interested. I hope some veteran cruisers [and residents of these countries] will answer a few questions to help me.  If you have a question and do not want to start a thread of your own you are welcome to post it here.  

 

I will divide my posts by topic.  Thank you in advance!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Itinerary:

 

First things first. . . . 

 

We have made the decision to go with a Royal Caribbean cruise because we are Diamond Plus in their Crown and Anchor loyalty program.  This gives us some very nice perks that enhances our cruise experience.  I like longer cruises.  I feel it is too far to travel to take a 7 or 9 day cruise.   Also, there does not seem to be much price difference in the main cruise lines, especially when you factor in the value of our D+ perks. 

 

Therefore we have narrowed it down to 2 cruises on the Jewel of the Seas. There are 2 other times for this cruise. but they conflict with our annual family beach vacation over the 4th of July.

 

DH seldom asks for anything in travel [he lets me do all of the arranging]. However, this time he has asked to visit Amsterdam.  So I selected that as the embarkation port.  We may decide to actually fly into London and spend a couple of days before we go to Amsterdam.  We loved our first visit there and would like to go back.  

 

It seems that the July 27 itinerary is a no brainer. [below]  We get to visit Helsinki and we only give up a couple of hours of port time and a sea day. The ports are reordered a bit, but essentially the same.  However, am I missing something?  Comments?  Concerns? 

july 27 itinerary.png

August 8 itinerary.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree with selecting the cruise that visits Helsinki! I like Finland. I also like that the sea days aren't back to back.

 

Ask away! We're here to answer all your questions. 

 

Eta: If you're willing to expand your search to other cruises, I really enjoyed doing a Baltic cruise that started in one port and ended in another. You get to have extra time in two cities. And you have fewer sea days when not backtracking. You have more time to add in ports like Riga and Gdansk.

Edited by trosebery
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, trosebery said:

I really enjoyed doing a Baltic cruise that started in one port and ended in another. You get to have extra time in two cities.

We also enjoy beginning our cruise in one city and ending in another. Another factor to consider - there are cruises that offer 3 days in Saint Petersburg rather than 2 - we consider this the best possible choice in a Baltic cruise itinerary as there is SO MUCH to see and do in Saint Petersburg it boggles the mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Trosebery and dogs4fun.¬† I looked at one way itineraries.¬† In my timeframe only the Regent, Oceana, Viking, etc. cruise lines have those [and include Amsterdam].¬† These lines are a touch above my price point.¬†ūüėĀ

 

I think 3 days in St Petersburg would be great. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, DragonOfTheSeas said:

Thank you Trosebery and dogs4fun.¬† I looked at one way itineraries.¬† In my timeframe only the Regent, Oceana, Viking, etc. cruise lines have those [and include Amsterdam].¬† These lines are a touch above my price point.¬†ūüėĀ

 

I think 3 days in St Petersburg would be great. 

 

 

 

While 3 days is better, 2 days is St. Petersburg is still wonderful. Me, I recommend a private tour there to make the most of your time (maybe find another couple or two on your Roll Call who are like minded?). Private tours will allow you to step off the beaten path and see more than just palaces and cathedrals. For example, there's a museum of Soviet arcade games very near the Church on the Spilled Blood that will give you vintage 15 kopek coins to play them! (We were there on a private tour organized by Red Sun Tours.) I started a Master recommendations thread here that may answer many of your St. Petersburg questions:

Other than St Petersburg, most ports are very easy to tour on your own, and again, I recommend looking for the little things off the beaten path that interest you. You don't have to see every "must see" cathedral or palace if you'd rather go check out Finnish saunas or Estonian chocolate and marzipan shops or etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you're missing anything with your itinerary choice.  Helsinki is a good port and worth adding in.  For trips like these to Europe, sea days are for the amateurs!  It's all about the ports.  So get as many in as you can.  I would go with the first itinerary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if this will help ease up on things.   But Amsterdam is a major hub for the EU, so it's really easy to get in and out of the airport and connect to other cities. In the past, I've flown into the airport (Schiphol) and taken the train into the cities.  The train system is fabulous.

 

So, perhaps look at the ability to stay a couple of days ahead or after separate from the cruise?  Might free up your ability to depart out of other cities?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, trosebery said:

 

While 3 days is better, 2 days is St. Petersburg is still wonderful. Me, I recommend a private tour there to make the most of your time (maybe find another couple or two on your Roll Call who are like minded?). Private tours will allow you to step off the beaten path and see more than just palaces and cathedrals. For example, there's a museum of Soviet arcade games very near the Church on the Spilled Blood that will give you vintage 15 kopek coins to play them! (We were there on a private tour organized by Red Sun Tours.) I started a Master recommendations thread here that may answer many of your St. Petersburg questions:

 

Thank you--I have read that thread.  I have taken notes on the things that are a little off the beaten path.  I would like to see a variety of things. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely have Helsinki in the itinerary! Its a wonderful place. When you walk from the ship to the center you will pass the market square. Oh my, such wonderful food. But be careful for the seagulls, they love it too.

I am not sure if you did, but in your situation an open-jaw ticket would be perfect. Fly into London and home from Amsterdam (or the other way around)

For tours. There are many, I have used Anastasia travel for both my Baltic trips. I first got in contact with them to customize our tours in St. Petersburg. You will love that city! There is so much to see and so much to explore. We ended up with a full 2-day private tour. Elizabeth was our guide on both days and I firmly believe that we fell in love with Russia because of her stories about the history and life in Russia. Also if you are thinking of booking tours in other cities, they can arrange it and will give you a discount. 

I will follow you on your quest to arrange the perfect trip!!!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am subscribing to this thread.  We have already booked the cruise that is the first on your list, leaving July 27th, 2021.  We have been watching for several years, thinking about this one and finally pulled the trigger.  We have sailed on the Jewel once before in W. Med 2018.  We loved this class and especially this ship.  She is a beauty.

I have already started a roll call, its early I know but I was very excited to start planning.  We found that joining groups of like-minded cruisers from our roll call ,we were able to take excursions as a small group and save a lot of money while really getting quality time onshore.  We intend to do that again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, angie7911922 said:

Definitely have Helsinki in the itinerary! Its a wonderful place. When you walk from the ship to the center you will pass the market square. Oh my, such wonderful food. But be careful for the seagulls, they love it too.

I am not sure if you did, but in your situation an open-jaw ticket would be perfect. Fly into London and home from Amsterdam (or the other way around)

 

Yes--we will likely fly into/out of London for one flight and Amsterdam for the other flight.  [since we want to spend some time in each place.]  We will leave that decision for next summer.  We found some European flights opened up a little earlier than US airlines on a previous TA. 

 

 

2 hours ago, angie7911922 said:

For tours. There are many, I have used Anastasia travel for both my Baltic trips. I first got in contact with them to customize our tours in St. Petersburg. You will love that city! 

I will follow you on your quest to arrange the perfect trip!!!

 

I have read good things about them.  I am still checking out all of the tour companies I see mentioned.  Once I narrow it a bit I will post some questions.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, TinkBellaMom said:

I am subscribing to this thread.  We have already booked the cruise that is the first on your list, leaving July 27th, 2021.  We have been watching for several years, thinking about this one and finally pulled the trigger.  We have sailed on the Jewel once before in W. Med 2018.  We loved this class and especially this ship.  She is a beauty.

I have already started a roll call, its early I know but I was very excited to start planning.  We found that joining groups of like-minded cruisers from our roll call ,we were able to take excursions as a small group and save a lot of money while really getting quality time onshore.  We intend to do that again.

I have checked out the roll call for the July 27th cruise. I noted that there isn't a roll call for the August 8th cruise, yet.  But, it is still early. 

 

Once we book a cruise I will join the roll call.  I have found that tours I have taken or organized within the roll call are often better than what I could get by independently booking a tour.  . . . and both of those options are better than cruise ship tours. 

 

We sailed the Jewel from Rome last fall.  I like this class of ship, too.  There is enough glass to help you connect with the ocean--even on a dreary and cold day. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/15/2019 at 2:34 PM, DragonOfTheSeas said:

 

 

It seems that the July 27 itinerary is a no brainer. 

 

 

 

Yup :classic_smile:

 

A 3pm depart (presumably a 2.30 back-on-board)from Helsinki is pretty mean, but a whole lot better than absent altogether.

4pm from Stockholm is pretty mean too but I'll presume you're scheduled to port in the city - but do check the itinerary doesn't say "Stockholm (Nyneshamn)". Get back here if it does.

Tallinn is only half a day, but that's not a big deal - the port is handy to old town. There'll be shuttlebuses from the port to the bottom of old-town, but if you're going to use transport rather than shanks's take a taxi and ask the driver to drop you at the top of old-town - it's all pretty steep and that means your walking will be down-hill. If you choose to walk from the ship, the nearest point of old town - a tower with the unflattering name of Fat Margaret - is under 20 minutes walk from the port.

 

Tour operators in St Petersburg - everyone who 's been there recommends the operator that they used, and quite honestly you could stick a pin anywhere in the list and you'll have a great tour. We always look for operators recommended to avoid - and I don't think you'll find a single one in St P. 

BTW, don't be bamboozled by cruise line literature which says you need a visa to go ashore independently but don't need a visa if you take ship's tours. Correct that if you want to explore unaccompanied you need a tourist visa - a complicated & expensive business. And correct that you don't need a visa to go on ship's tours. But they fail to mention that tours pre-booked direct with accredited tour operators have exactly the same visa-free status :classic_rolleyes:.  And they're way better - in 16-seat vans, more personal, more flexible, quicker thro traffic, quicker to load & unload, beat-the-line arrangements at busy sites, side trips impossible for larger groups like the metro and hydrofoil, and prices which compete favourably with ships' tours. 

 

I'd be inclined to fly out to Amsterdam - guessing it's a pretty simple direct flight so no complications and with a couple of days in Amsterdam plenty of leeway for delays.

And include London in your return arrangements

I suggest you give yourselves two clear days in Amsterdam and choose a hotel somewhere between rail station and Dam Square - close to Damrak for convenience, or on one of the many secondary canals for peace & quite. Oh, and BTW, many smaller hotels have steep stairs & no elevator - which is a shame because those historic buildings are so much more in keeping than the big modern international hotels .

 

Great itinerary -  and this huge pond is best visited by cruise ship.

 

JB :classic_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK--I pulled the trigger on the July 27th cruise.  I was under a time crunch.  I purchased a future cruise certificate on my cruise in October and only had 60 days to make it a booking. [if I wanted the OBC or instant savings]  I was annoyed Royal Caribbean had put off announcing the second half of the Baltic cruises.  They should have come out 10 days ago.   So, once I saw the itineraries yesterday I decided they were not that exciting. . . . So. I booked it.  

 

Thanks to all of you that helped me decide.  I will do mare research after the holidays and make some decisions. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

 

Yup :classic_smile:

 

A 3pm depart (presumably a 2.30 back-on-board)from Helsinki is pretty mean, but a whole lot better than absent altogether.

4pm from Stockholm is pretty mean too but I'll presume you're scheduled to port in the city - but do check the itinerary doesn't say "Stockholm (Nyneshamn)". Get back here if it does.

Tallinn is only half a day, but that's not a big deal - the port is handy to old town. There'll be shuttlebuses from the port to the bottom of old-town, but if you're going to use transport rather than shanks's take a taxi and ask the driver to drop you at the top of old-town - it's all pretty steep and that means your walking will be down-hill. If you choose to walk from the ship, the nearest point of old town - a tower with the unflattering name of Fat Margaret - is under 20 minutes walk from the port.

 

Tour operators in St Petersburg - everyone who 's been there recommends the operator that they used, and quite honestly you could stick a pin anywhere in the list and you'll have a great tour. We always look for operators recommended to avoid - and I don't think you'll find a single one in St P. 

 

BTW, don't be bamboozled by cruise line literature which says you need a visa to go ashore independently but don't need a visa if you take ship's tours. . 

 

They already tried that yesterday when I booked.  I told her I was not ready to book excursions yet.  But, it was a hard sell.

 

Great itinerary -  and this huge pond is best visited by cruise ship.

We cant wait. 

2 hours ago, John Bull said:

 

JB :classic_smile:

PS--thank you for your advice.  I have copied your advice into my master file.  This is just what I was looking for. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you were to have a half day on this itinerary, I'd pick Helsinki.  It's a nice city, and worth visiting, but out visit wouldn't have been affected by a shorter port as much as Stockholm, St. Petersburg or Copenhagen.  Visit Market Square, the rock cathedral, take the 2 and 3 tram around the city for a free lovely ride (and it stops at the rock cathedral).  We went to suomenlinna fortress, which was a very pleasant way to spend a few hours, but your life won't be greatly impacted by missing it.    Have a great trip!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/18/2019 at 1:55 AM, DragonOfTheSeas said:

 

I have read good things about them.  I am still checking out all of the tour companies I see mentioned.  Once I narrow it a bit I will post some questions.  

 

Keep the questions comingūüėČ, that is why we have cruisecritc!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/15/2019 at 3:34 PM, DragonOfTheSeas said:

Itinerary:

 

First things first. . . . 

 

We have made the decision to go with a Royal Caribbean cruise because we are Diamond Plus in their Crown and Anchor loyalty program.  This gives us some very nice perks that enhances our cruise experience.  I like longer cruises.  I feel it is too far to travel to take a 7 or 9 day cruise.   Also, there does not seem to be much price difference in the main cruise lines, especially when you factor in the value of our D+ perks. 

 

Therefore we have narrowed it down to 2 cruises on the Jewel of the Seas. There are 2 other times for this cruise. but they conflict with our annual family beach vacation over the 4th of July.

 

DH seldom asks for anything in travel [he lets me do all of the arranging]. However, this time he has asked to visit Amsterdam.  So I selected that as the embarkation port.  We may decide to actually fly into London and spend a couple of days before we go to Amsterdam.  We loved our first visit there and would like to go back.  

 

It seems that the July 27 itinerary is a no brainer. [below]  We get to visit Helsinki and we only give up a couple of hours of port time and a sea day. The ports are reordered a bit, but essentially the same.  However, am I missing something?  Comments?  Concerns? 

 

 

 

According to Port of Stockholm the dates mentioned above doesn't match the days listed in PoS website
Jewel of the Seas is listed to be in port (around the days you mention above) on 26 July and 10 August.

 

https://www.portsofstockholm.com/vessel-calls/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Desdichado62 said:

 

According to Port of Stockholm the dates mentioned above doesn't match the days listed in PoS website
Jewel of the Seas is listed to be in port (around the days you mention above) on 26 July and 10 August.

 

https://www.portsofstockholm.com/vessel-calls/

It looks like this is a 2021 date, since July 27th is a Monday in 2020, but a Tuesday as noted in the OP in 2021.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/23/2019 at 11:53 AM, DragonOfTheSeas said:

 

Yes, it is 2021. 

 

If visiting St Petersburg then a small vessel which can dock at the English Embamkment rather than the distant cruise terminal is preferable. Less distance to centre and quicker disembarkement .

 

hermitage normally way too crowded with Chinese rugby match / selfies !

 

Plenty of Five star Hotels with good ambience, Grand Hotel for Bar, and Kempinski for Roof top restaurant.

 

Recommend Rental Black Mercedes with driver to get in the vibe.

 

Best with private guide. Skip Peterehof palace. Boat trip and Faberge museum worthwhile also Rasputin tour and Telephone museum.

 

no real need for Roubles especially at usury rates from Cruise lines 20% mark up at best.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Sirius 10 said:

 

If visiting St Petersburg then a small vessel which can dock at the English Embamkment rather than the distant cruise terminal is preferable. Less distance to centre and quicker disembarkement .

 

hermitage normally way too crowded with Chinese rugby match / selfies !

 

Plenty of Five star Hotels with good ambience, Grand Hotel for Bar, and Kempinski for Roof top restaurant.

 

Recommend Rental Black Mercedes with driver to get in the vibe.

 

Best with private guide. Skip Peterehof palace. Boat trip and Faberge museum worthwhile also Rasputin tour and Telephone museum.

 

no real need for Roubles especially at usury rates from Cruise lines 20% mark up at best.

 

Thank you.  We are not sure where we want to visit.  We have 2 days. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Thank You for 25 Years - Click for Fun Stuff!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines ‚ÄúA ‚Äď O‚ÄĚ
      • Cruise Lines ‚ÄúP ‚Äď Z‚ÄĚ
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...