Just returned from this tour and want to share some information with others who are already booked or considering it. There is not much information on the forum regarding this itinerary, and hopefully this will assist someone in their planning. I highly recommend this tour as it increases your knowledge about the history and current life in places that you may not have ever considered exploring. Each location was unique with distinct cultures, traditions and food. This diversity of experiences makes this tour well worth your time and money (in our opinion).
The hotels we stayed at were My City Hotel (Tallinn), Rivoli Jardin (Helsinki) and Pushka Inn (SPB). I realize hotels may change for each group, but checking these hotel websites will give you a clear idea about the type of hotels used. They were all in perfect locations, comfortable and clean. They all had elevators, albeit small-to-tiny ones. They all had hair dryers and washcloths. (I know some of you want to know these minute details.) They were all nonsmoking and all had opening windows. Tallinn and SPB hotels had restaurants which were excellent not only for the provided breakfast but for other meals as well when you are just too tired to explore to find somewhere else.
Because this is not a "bus" tour, there is a LOT of walking involved. Expect 5+ miles every day. We had perfect weather, but it was clear that was the exception rather than the rule. Bring a packable rain jacket with a hood.
Our tour leader was exemplary in every way, and the local guides in Russia were all topnotch. Every individual need was attended to quickly and without fuss; from food preferences/needs to logistics such as safe ATMs and quality souvenirs.
I hope this helps those of you already booked, and clarifies for those of you who might be considering this tour. Feel free to private message me for more specifics. Happy travels!