After reading many reviews, we feel doing our own tour with the guide book is the best way to see Old Town. From what we read, there is plenty to do and we don't have to take a cruise tour. Are there any other must see places we should consider nearby? Our one concern is public restrooms. Are there any?
There is no need to take a cruise tour. With a good guidebook you should have no problems getting around. There are public restrooms you can use, just make sure you have a few coins (Euros).
With limited time, I would stick to the Old Town. Depending on how much time you have, you could consider a hop-on/hop-off bus tour to visit the song festival grounds.
I loved the week I spent in Tallinn--I have Estonian heritage so did 2 guided day trips outside the city as well as visiting the Rocca al Mare open air cultural museum and zoo. For one day there you might also consider taking the short tram or taxi ride from the old town to the beautiful Kadriorg park, with a palace you can tour as well as a really excellent modern art museum, KUMU. Otherwise you can easily spend the whole day exploring old town, each twisty windy little street is more intriguing than the next, and there are some quality shops for handmade goods in St Catherine's Passage. Estonia is famous for it's intricate lace and color knitting, so a pair of mittens or a scarf make a lovely and useful souvenir. Lots of good restaurants in the main square area.
Very easy to have a great day on your own. We used Rick’s guide and stayed in town without venturing out. From dock to town is just a very short walk.
Tallinn is lovely - the old town is pretty compact. I was not there on a cruise stop, but I walked to the ferry port as I left (to Helsinki) and it's an easy walk from there into town. Rick's book is a great guide if you want to get out of the center and see more that might interest you. There is a free walking tour (daily - 11am?) that I took and was decent, though there were a lot of people on it - sometimes they have two guides and split a large group. I'd try to take the free tour and stick with it if it's not a huge group (nothing to lose - it's free, if it's good and you stay to the end, tip the guide).
Loved our two days in Tallinn.
What a wonderful city!