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Celebrity Scandinavian/Baltic Cruise in May 2010 - Excursions and costs

Hello!

My fiance and I just booked our honeymoon with Celebrity. It's the 12 night cruise to Berlin, Tallin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm. We have a few questions and we would really appreciate it if people could help us out! :)

1.) We are a little concerned about the cost of the excursions since Celebrity won't be listing the tours and prices until a couple months befor the sail date. In general, what are the costs? I know that we have to be in a tour group of some sort in order to see St. Petersburg, but I have no clue what to expect pricewise. There is little information out there on the web.

2.) Besides St. Petersburg, is it possible to see the other cities without having to pay for an excursion? I'm curious as to how far away ports are from the actual cities. We'd like to save money and tour the the cities ourselves.

3.) We will be docking in Warnemunde, Germany for a day. When I look at a map, it looks like Berlin isn't very close. Is it possible to get there without paying for an excursion? I assume that we would have to take a taxi or something if not. What is the cost for that?

Any information really would help us out. Thank you in advance!!! :)

Posted by
2725 posts

Tonya, I have taken overnight cruises from Stockholm to Helsinki and Stockholm to Tallinn. I can tell you that in Helsinki and Tallinn you can just walk into the city. It's especially close in Helsinki. In Tallinn, the old town is only 5 or maybe 10 minutes from the port. In Stockholm, I think there may be more than one port, so you need to find out where you will dock. But more than likely, you can and will need to take the subway to get to the city or old town. All three cities are great - beautiful (especially Stockholm) and interesting too. I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon and wedding.

Posted by
18 posts

I strongly suggest registering on cruise critic. On the message board for your cruise, you will be able to "meet" people who will also be on your cruise. Some of these cruisers are veteran cruisers with 10, 15, even 20 cruises under their belts. People will have all kinds of suggestions.

Have fun! Sounds like a fabulous honeymoon!

Posted by
668 posts

We did the exact same cruise this year, except we ddi not stop at Wurnemunde on Celebrity Century. We did not take any tours except in St. Petersburg. You can walk or take a Hop on Hop off bus in all of teh other ports. Is STockholm, walk to the end of teh pier and get a Hop on Hop off boat which will take you all round the harbour, including the Vasa (well worth a visit). Get Rick's book on Scandinavia and follow his walking tours, they are quite good. In Tallin, go to the TA and get the walking tour on MP3. It too is good.

In St. P. you need to take a tour, but you DO NOT NEED to take a ship's tour. Otherwise you need a visa - $200 at least. You can arrange a private tour. The ship's tours were very expensive and, at least on ours, you could not get a 2 day tour, you had to stitch together one day or half day tours and there was a lot of duplication - most confusing. We used Optima and foud Marina the guide excellent. 8 of us got together through the Cruise Critic board and arranged it. You can design your own tour or modify one of theirs to fit. PM me if you want more info and I willl give you our travel journal website. It was a great cruise - enjoy it.

Posted by
417 posts

You are going to have a great time!

1) You can get tours on your own through local companies. However- in my opinion, St. Petersburg is easier done on ship tours if you are not staying in a local hotel, due to visa issues. The tours are about $60 per person per half day tour.

2) Tallin, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm are all easily done on your own. The ship docks either in, or very close to town. You can easily take a taxi or public transport (bus, subway) into the cities.

3)Berlin will not be this way at all, however. If you want to see it, I think that price is something like $300 per person for the whole day tour- three hours each way on bus. If you never think you will make it back to Berlin, I would do it, otherwise, it is too expensive in my opinion. You could potentially take the train, but that is at best 3 hours and 21 minutes from Warnemunde, which is probably too far for your time available. I would research other destinations. Rostock is fairly relaxing in itself, it is a ten minute train ride from the port, but there is not much to see for a tourist other than a "real" German town.

I guess if it were me, I would splurge on St. Petersburg (do not miss the Hermitage) and then do the rest on my own. Actually, that is exactly what we did on a cruise a few years ago, and had a great time.

Posted by
5575 posts

For Stockholm, check where you dock. Someone mentioned that the port in Stockholm is walking distance to the city. It is important to know that Stockholm has multiple ports and not all are within walking distance. For example, Stadsgården is an easy walk. Frihamnen is a short bus ride away. Nynäshamn is a train ride where you need to allow an hour. If you can check the port for Stockholm, I will be happy to help you with connections.

I agree with the others that Stockholm, Copenhagen, Tallinn, and Helsinki can all be visited easily on your own.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for all of the great advice so far! You are really helping us out. We appreciate it. :)

Posted by
7 posts

We took a Baltic cruise on Holland America. Other than St. Petersburg, we took no tours. We used Rick's guidebooks and saw the cities on our own. We either walked or used public transportation. In most of the ports the ship was docked near the city center. In two of the ports where the docks were not in the city center the cruise company provided free shuttle buses between the dock and the city. We were considering seeing St. Petersburg on our own. When I checked on the cost of obtaing a visa on our own for Russia, we found that the cost for the visa would be more than the cost of the tours.

Posted by
12172 posts

I expect to take a similar trip as soon as summer of next year.

Check out www.cruisecritic.com for ideas on what to do at each port and how to get around.

I will probably get a small group tour with Red October for St. Petersburg. Everything else is easily done on your own.

For Warnemunde, I'll probably either visit the beach there or go somewhere nearby (maybe Lubeck). Berlin is a couple of hours by train and way too big to see in the limited time available.

A cruise IMO is the perfect way to see the Baltic area. The cities are relatively compact and can be seen in a day. Food and lodging can be uber expensive in the North, so having it included on a cruise is a big plus.

Remember to pack a snack from the ship for your day trips, add a local beer and have a picnic, you will save a lot.

Posted by
15607 posts

I was on the Century in June on a similar cruise:

Tallin, a short walk (lined with souvenir kiosks) to the Old City. We were only there for about 6-7 hours (typical - apparently to do with the tides). Just walk around and enjoy the beauty, stop for lunch or a beer at a cafe.

Copenhagen, there is a bus from the pier into town, but if you walk (maybe 15-20 minutes) you will pass the Little Mermaid. It is a pleasant walk. I took a canal tour (about 1 or 1-1/2 hours) and then explored on my own. I did take the bus back (do make a note of the number). My last stop was the Tivoli Gardens - wish I'd skipped it, though I understand after dark it is quite different.

Helsinki, there is a bus from the pier to the center You buy a round-trip ticket. Once in town, it is easy to get to the major sights, the tram system is not hard to comprehend.

Stockholm. We were in port overnight. We ended up walking into town the first day - we were looking for the bus stop and never found it. It was only about 20 minutes and quite pretty. We took a taxi back and the HOHO bus in the next day. There are tons of things to see and do on your own easily.

Posted by
15607 posts

St. Petersburg. The ship arrived early in the am and left at 5 pm the next day. We had visas and managed on our own very well. We took taxis to and from the pier (which is a good 20-25 minute drive to the city center). We left the ship around 9 am both days, returned around 11 pm the first day, and 3.30 pm the second day, and barely scratched the surface of St P. You can get individual visas, though I understand that it can be a big hassle, not to mention a considerable expense, and possibly not worth the price for the freedom to come and go as you please. A reasonable alternative to the Celebrity tours is to organize your own, with or without fellow cruisers. Join Cruise Critic and find the ROLL CALL for your sailing (by ship and date). You are likely to find that other cruisers have already started to organize tours and have places available. These are almost sure to be cheaper than Celebrity's, and you will have some say in the itinerary. Or you will get recommendations for tour guides and put together your own tour.

PM me if you have any other questions.

You are going to have a great trip. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage.

Posted by
334 posts

Thanks for the info on the RollCall on CruiseCritic. I hadn't seen that. I'd have to agree about Berlin - we took the train to Rostock (a Hanseatic League city that was in East Germany) - Warnemunde is actually a cute little German beach town, too. I wouldn't risk taking the train on your own to Berlin - too far to be sure to be back in time for sailing. It's been several years since our cruise and we still haven't gotten to Berlin, but still hope to do that someday. The other cities are easy to get around (you won't know where you will dock in Stockholm until shortly before arrival, but transportation options should be clear if you are at the distant ports). Copenhagen isn't close to town either, but there's a train/subway that's an easy ride into the center. If this is a first cruise - be careful about how much you "drink" on board - it can add up really quickly - generally only coffee/tea in the buffet and coffee, etc. at meals are included (but not wine, cocktails, soft drinks). If you like wine with dinner, ask about getting bottle instead of by the glass and having them keep it for you from day to day - also, the wine or soft drink cards can be a savings if you'll use a lot. Have a great trip - congratulations.

Posted by
668 posts

Hi Chani - sounds like you were on the same cruise we were on! In Stockholm with the Volvo Yacht Race? Lucky you, being from Israel and not needing a visa for St. P. We looked into visas and decided for 4 of us it was far too expensive. Used Optima, I see someone suggests Red October. They are probably just as good. We used the HOHO ferry in Stockholm both days (one 24 hr ticket did us) and it worked really well. Walked back to the ship on the second day. Too bad it was so wet in Helsinki, that was teh only day weather interrupted our plans.

Small world!