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Travelbug 2

Best time for Baltic---St Petersburg 2005

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Is end of Aug', early Sept' an ok time weatherwise for this trip?

 

We are in the "thinking about it" stage and there is what seems to be a reasonable deal for the Westerdam first week in Sept' Is it better to book early or wait until nearer the sail date? What experience have people had with HAL booking flights? their quoted air fair seems to be about $1000 per person less than I can get!!

 

Finally---comments on the Westerdam would be helpful.

 

Sorry for all the ????? Thanks

 

Travelbug 2

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The weather should be okay still! We are taking a Baltic cruise on the Prinsendam at the end of July in 2005. One thing about cruising closer to June is that the days are longer, on my early July trip to the Baltic the sun set about midnight to rise about 4 am again, and during the night hours it never really got dark. Made for the most beautiful cruising of the Stockholm Archipelago!!!! There were a few rainy days along the way, but mostly it was just beautiful during my prior Baltic cruise!:cool:

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One of the better cruises we have been on.

The Lapland excursion was great.

Sure you will have an exceptional time whenever you go.

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We are seriously considering Prinsendam to the Baltic, Sept 05, for two reasons (at least two):

 

Prinsendam is small enough to go through the Kiel Canal, a beautiful part of Germany - Westerdam can't fit through the Kiel. Secondly, by going around US Labor Day, many of the crowds of Americans will be gone.

 

Michael

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Of course weather is always subject to change, but Sept. was perfect weather when I was in St. Petersburg in '03.

I suggest you research tours through Red October; I was extremely satisfied with them from start to finish. Worth the extra cost over the HAL tours since it seems I saw everything from all of their tours.

 

I agree with localady the sail through the Stockholm archipeligo is one of the most beautiful rides in the world. I caught the tail end of it in the morning as I headed to breakfast and knew I had missed something special. We sailed away at 4:00 P.M. and I spent most of the next four hours on the bow enthralled with the view.

 

You have a lovely cruise to look forward to.

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When I sailed the Baltics it was in early August, the weather was great and I have to tell you, this cruise was my favorite cruise so far. You certainly should enjoy it.

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Of course weather is always subject to change, but Sept. was perfect weather when I was in St. Petersburg in '03.

I suggest you research tours through Red October; I was extremely satisfied with them from start to finish. Worth the extra cost over the HAL tours since it seems I saw everything from all of their tours.

You have a lovely cruise to look forward to.

RuthC-

A quick question. Did you have to get a russian visa to take the Red October tours??? I understand that you do not need a visa for HAL's tours, wondered about the others! Thanks in advance!:cool:

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No visa needed if you're on a Red October or Denrus tour. Only if you strike out on your own OR take an excursion into Moscow will you need a visa. I highly recommend going to Moscow. It makes for a very long day, but there is so much history there. For me, standing in Red Square was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Jim-

Thanks for the information!!!! We will definately look into those tours as we prefer a smaller tour group!! Not sure about Moscow, I had a series of heart attacks 5 years back and I don't have the stamina for 12 hour trips!!! Thanks for the recommendation!!! :cool:

Can't wait to hear about your Prinsendam trip! You don't happen to have cabin A196 or A197 do you??? Still looking for information on the layout and privacy of these cabins. :cool:

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Please don't fly to Moscow!!!

 

Moscow is wonderful city... capital and everything but St. Petersbourg (Leningrad) is SPECIAL, one of the most interesting cities in the world.

It's comparable (or even more fascinating) to Paris, Rome etc.

 

I would recommend to visit it if possible in June. White nights are almost unique experience and weatherwise it's definitely better than September.

 

You can choose whatever tours you want but:

 

1) City tour

2) Hermitage

3) Petrodvorets (PETERHOF palace)..I personally found it much more beautifull and interesting and rich than Versailles.

 

are a must.

 

The other highlits not to be missed are ST.ISAAC'S CATHEDRAL, THE PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS ,THE CRUISER AURORA

 

If you had more time..you should visit:

 

1)THE PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLE ORANIENBAUM

2)THE PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLE PAVLOVSK

3)THE PALACE-AND-PARK ENSEMBLE TSARSKOYE SELO

 

You can read about these places on http://www.city-guide.spb.ru:8101/

 

 

 

Just to make my words more "convincible", I am Russian..and spent in Leningrad(back then) one month and 1 week (2 times)...and my younger sister just returned from there, and this would be the first city I go if we decide to visit Russia again.

 

Moscow is important place...it's huge(8 mil), modern and if you want comparable experience in US it would be NYC but St.Pete is a combination of history and beauty.

 

I would recommend you to do private tours or ship tours because you most likely will run into difficulties trying to communicate with people, as English isn't even 3rd language spoken there. (actually about 95% will probably not understand a word)

 

 

Please if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me. I will be glad to help you as much as I can. :) (Although last time I visited St.P was winter of 1989)

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St Petersburg is light and airy...has just been 'cleaned up' for the 300th anniversary of its founding. Moscow is gray. The flight is long and tedious. The traffic in Moscow is horrendous.

 

During the end of August, early September the weather usually is wonderful...not hot...not cold...not humid...and sunny.

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Jim-

You don't happen to have cabin A196 or A197 do you??? Still looking for information on the layout and privacy of these cabins. :cool:

No, I don't. We sprang for an SS this trip. Really getting anxious now!

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Sorry folks, I disagree you about going to Moscow and sorry to see such strong recommendations against doing the tour.

 

HAL had this thing organized expertly last summer. Our flight was a charter and operated smoothly. The tour through the Kremlin was superb. Walking around Red Square was as Jim states - a once in a lifetime experience. Even more meaningful for me was the tour of the KGB museum. I have spent a significant part of my life chasing the Soviet (now Russian) Navy around the world. Being face to face with the KGB agent discussing now unclassified espionage activities was something totally unimaginable 10-15 years ago.

 

With the help of Laura at Red October we did more in one day in St. Petersburg than most did in two. Obviously, it is all in the eyes of the beholder.

 

Jerry

 

Postscript for travelbug: The later in the summer the less daylight available for tours in the northern cities. This particularly affects port time in Stockholm since the ship must pass through the archipelago in daylight. Thus, by early September a mid-afternoon departure is necessary.

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St Petersburg is light and airy...has just been 'cleaned up' for the 300th anniversary of its founding. Moscow is gray. The flight is long and tedious. The traffic in Moscow is horrendous.

 

During the end of August, early September the weather usually is wonderful...not hot...not cold...not humid...and sunny.

 

We got Visas in order to explore on our own. We encountered horrible traffic in St. Petersburg - though we heard it was worse in Moscow.

 

We went in July (pre-9/11 so not sure how much has changed), but encountered some of the most interesting inefficiencies we've ever seen. :)

 

We enjoyed St. Petersburg, but next time will take the Moscow excursion as we've not done it before.

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