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Considering a cruise to the Baltic.  Can fellow cruisers shed some light on cruising to the Baltic with P&O (2021/22)  We are looking to book a saver fare but would this prove too difficult with regard to disembarking from the ship at the following ports as the shuttle is not included in saver fares: a)Goteborg, Sweden: visby Sweden, : helsinki, Finland: Tallinn, Estonia: Stockholm, Sweden: federicia Denmark: Skagen, Denmark and b) do u have to book excursions when visiting  St. Petersburgh Russian federation?
or is best to book select fare?
 

Any tips/advice from any cruiser who has cruised to the Baltic would be very welcome.

Thanks

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In St Petersburg you have to take a tour to go ashore accompanied by an official tour guide. This can either be a tour organised by the ship or with a shore based tour company. Official tours by either are visa exempt. You cannot go ashore on your own unless you have a Russian visa which costs around £100 per person so it’s a bit of a no brainer to book a tour. Google to find a local tour company to get an idea of prices. There are several companies. 
 

Brian

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We went on a Baltic cruise July 2018 with Royal Caribbean sailing out of Southampton.

Definitely use a tour operator in St Petersburg, they will sort out your Visas for you as well. We used Alla Tours, they were fantastic, paid $235 each for two full days, it was worth every penny. There were only four of us, she even took us on the subway which is a sight to see in itself and to a Russian restaurant. She tailored it into exactly what we wanted. Each day we were out 8.30 - 5pm so quite tiring.

You will have a wonderful time 

 

Michelle

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Hello there,

 

From my experience the fare for each passenger taking a shuttle is between £3 and 5 each way (and is capped in case of multiple journeys) - we do select fare for the freedom dining but it would not be cost prohibitive.  The cost won't rule it out.

 

We are also cruising Baltic next year.  The issue is Russia as said above; that's the exception where you are best off getting a booked excursion to go on the group visa.

 

From the list I can also advise that you will not need any shuttle in Fredericia, as you stop about 10-15 minutes walk in to town max; lovely port as an aside.

 

On the general point, thinking Le Verdon for example, when you have to get a shuttle to leave the immediate port area, P&O or the local port authority provides for free, irrespective.  Not sure if that applies to any on your list.

 

Hope that helps.

 

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2 hours ago, izzywalker said:

Considering a cruise to the Baltic.  Can fellow cruisers shed some light on cruising to the Baltic with P&O (2021/22)  We are looking to book a saver fare but would this prove too difficult with regard to disembarking from the ship at the following ports as the shuttle is not included in saver fares: a)Goteborg, Sweden: visby Sweden, : helsinki, Finland: Tallinn, Estonia: Stockholm, Sweden: federicia Denmark: Skagen, Denmark and b) do u have to book excursions when visiting  St. Petersburgh Russian federation?
or is best to book select fare?
 

Any tips/advice from any cruiser who has cruised to the Baltic would be very welcome.

Thanks

Personally we always book a select fare to pick the balcony cabin we want, Freedom dining,free shuttles and on board credit.

The Baltic is a nice area especially Tallin, Stockholm old town and St Petersburg.

St Petersburg is the highlight of the tour usually with a 2 night layover.

You must be booked on a tour to leave the ship.

There is a decent sized shopping area in the terminal selling a vast range of the Russian(Matryshka) dolls amongst other tourist items.

Helsinki on our RCL cruise was a big disappointment.

The long sail into Stockholm along the archipelago was awesome on RCL but not all cruiselines enter the same wayl

The old town (Gamla Stan) is interesting and was walking distance from our dock.

Hopefully the coronavirus will be history when you want to visit and you have a fantastic time.

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I did a Baltic cruise a couple of years ago and in St Petersburg did a tour with Red Sun Tours who organised the tour to our groups requirements. Our guide was Elena (the owner of the company) and we had a really enjoyable two days touring the city which included a river trip and a subway ride as well as visits to some of the mayor attractions.

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6 hours ago, izzywalker said:

Considering a cruise to the Baltic.  Can fellow cruisers shed some light on cruising to the Baltic with P&O (2021/22)  We are looking to book a saver fare but would this prove too difficult with regard to disembarking from the ship at the following ports as the shuttle is not included in saver fares: a)Goteborg, Sweden: visby Sweden, : helsinki, Finland: Tallinn, Estonia: Stockholm, Sweden: federicia Denmark: Skagen, Denmark and b) do u have to book excursions when visiting  St. Petersburgh Russian federation?
or is best to book select fare?
 

Any tips/advice from any cruiser who has cruised to the Baltic would be very welcome.

Thanks

Whilst the shuttle is not included in the saver fare, it does not mean that you cannot use it. Only that you will be charged if you do. The shuttle fare for non select passengers is published in Horizon. When you board it your cruise card is scanned and if you have to pay the fare is charged to your onboard account. Hope that this clarifies the situation.

Edited by Denarius
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You have to look too at the difference in price between the Select v Saver Fare remembering you will get some on board credit with your Select Fare.  You really need to deduct that from the Select Fare to see how it compares.  We have found sometimes there isn't  too great a difference and does give you other benefits like choice of cabin and dining too.

 

If there is still quite a lot of difference, then calculate the cost of paying for the shuttles at those ports where it's necessary as that will bring down the real cost of the Select Fare.  As Denarius says, you can pay to use the shuttle as a Non Select passenger if you still think the Saver Fare is  better option for you.

 

We've occasionally berthed close enough to walk into Heksinki, but not recently. There are a number of possible berths in Stockholm but again we've generally had to take the shuttle.  Tallinn is walkable.  We've not been to Skagen yet but is on our itinerary next year (all being well!) and when I did a bit of research, the quays are reportedly close to the town centre so perhaps no need for a shuttle. From a previous post, it seems Frederica is also walkable.  I think when we went to Gotenburg (long time ago though) we had a shuttle.  We've not been to Visby.   As others gave said, you do need to join organised excursions either through the ship or private companies at St P.

 

Tallinn us a lovely place to just explore.   As already mentioned the sail in and sail out of Stockholm is like an excursion in its own right!  Cruise ships generally leave Stockholm mid afternoon as they have to clear the Archipelago which takes nearly three hours.  If you're lucky enough to get a sunset over the stern, it's magical.  With a short stay, I think there's enough to explore (especially Gamla Stan) without taking an excursion here. The Vasa Museum is excellent and you can walk round the harbour to go independently without taking a ship's visit. 

 

Although I read in one comment that Helsinki wasn't too highly rated we actually really like Helsinki and after about five visits to the Baltic prefer a call there than to Stockholm (apart from the sailaway).   We take the tourist tram which leaves from the main market square where there is also a Tourist Office to get a nap and buy a ticket.

http://www.dewhurstdesigns.co.uk/helsinki/tips.html

We get off at the nearest stop to Sibelius Park, walk to the monument then strike off left to the lake and have a coffee at Regatta Cafe - not the best coffee but they did give top-ups last time we went but the location is fab and the cafe itself the most unusual and memorable one ever!  The cinnamon buns are good.

https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/eat-and-drink/cafés/café-regatta

Then we walk to the Rock Church.  Beautiful - carved from the rock - so simple but made a great impression.  Then walk via the world famous Art Noveau railway station back to Senate Square.  The Uspenski Cathedral overlooking the harbour is worth a visit also the conservatory style cafe in the centre opposite the tourist office and the open air market is interesting too.  We don't tire of Helsinki.

 

But it's an interesting itinerary and we've enjoyed it each time we've been.  Apart from St P we've generally found it quite easy to DiY rather than going on excursions.  Whatever you decide to do, enjoy. It's a fascinating and varied area to visit.

 

 

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We have been on Baltic cruises with Princess and Celebrity and can honestly say they were brilliant cruises and would go again at the drop of a hat.  We also went to St Petersburg for 3 days when it was still Leningrad as part of a tour in Russia but even now we feel that we have only scratched the surface.  I have worked in Stockholm and it is very easy to get around by yourselves, virtually everyone speaks English and the Swedes are very helpful , the first time we went we docked in an industrial port which was quite a way out and had to take a shuttle but the second time we docked closer to the city and walked.  Tallin is an easy to walk from the port to the lovely old town,. We took a shuttle in Skagen but it is walkable. We went on a shuttle to Gothenburg, I remember that it was quite a way from where we docked. We did not visit Frederica or Visby.

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We did the Baltic last year on Arcadia and P&O offered an "on your own" tour to St Petersbug which stopped at 3 locations and was very cheap.  It was great for us, though admittedly we had been there on a land holiday so were not intent on going to the most popular  museums, palaces etc. but would have been easy enough to visit some places, or do a river cruise as well as just have time at leisure strolling around popping into the odd church and having coffees/lunch there.  We had complete freedom in each location and were even provided with a map and suggested walking route.  SPB is actually very tourist friendly so you would not have a problem going off on your own and it is a lovely city with great architecture.  Well worth doing some advance research on the TA forum, but could happily negotiate without if you are happy to just stroll around.

 

We also did an "on your own" trip in Helsinki which stopped at 3 locations which I would recommend.  We were able to stay longer at the last stop which was the harbour and get the standard shuttle bus back to the ship, but would have needed to pay a small charge if on a saver fare.  Fredericia and Skagen are easy to negotiate independently and public bus can be used in Skagen, but would need to check times and best way to buy ticket (the day pass was not worth it for us).  We have not visited the other ports on a cruise.

Edited by tring
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It's nice to see some different ports offered in the Baltic itineraries.  Of course, if you haven't been before, it's all new and interesting.  We were especially excited by the itinerary we had booked for this year (alas, no more!) as it included an overnight in Oslo, a city which has impressed us greatly.  Also calls in Lithuania, Gdansk and I think a Danish port which was new to us and missing out cities we'd visited quite a few times previously.   But we will be very happy if we are able to go to the rearranged one next year and although Oslo is missing, it does include some new ports of call for us.

 

I am very interested in your 'on your own' tour of St P, tring.  We haven't used one of the private tour companies so far but have done most of the P&O excursions over the years - mind we love St P so are happy to revisit sites.  This time we'd be interested in trying the DiY option and having the freedom to wander.  As you say, fabulous architecture.  Did they just drop you and leave you for a set time at three different locations in the city- and if so were they close by the main sites of interest?  We wouldn't be too bothered about going into  Museums this time mainly soaking up the atmosphere.  Are there plenty of cafes, and are credit cards widely accepted - or indeed Sterling or Euros?  Might make an interesting change!  Just hope we get there! 😏

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  • 2 weeks later...
13 hours ago, catz0026 said:

great hearing all the tips about the Baltic ports as we are cruising there in 2021 for the first time.  Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful sites

We were there in September 2016 on RCL Serenade and the midnight sun was amazing to see.

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I loved Helsinki, we did a DIY day using the shuttle (we were on RCI ship so we paid extra but it was well worth it).  We walked around seeing the train station, both the Lutheran and Orthodox cathedrals and then the market with mountains of berries (take a container and bottle of water to wash them with).  

 

There was a performer with trained cats that the kids enjoyed.  I did great gift shopping in Stockmann department store and we ended up with a stop off at the Ice Bar which apparently no longer exists but was a really fun experience  for our group which included 3 teenage girls.  

 

I have a thing about reading words.  I had learned the Russian alphabet for our two days in St P (really not that difficult) and so being in Helskinki with all the street names really floated my geeky boat too.  Watch out for them when you are there. 

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