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dethman

baltic cruise with little ones

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i just booked an 11 day cruise on the regal princess in july with family including a 6 and 4 year old, my wife, and the kids' grandparents as they had some decent promos and my dad wanted to see st petersburg.

 

now i'm having anxiety about taking the little ones and wondering whether they will have anything to enjoy or see in the baltic ports and whether princess would keep them occupied or bored to tears.

 

i saw some posts about the baltics with teenagers, but didn't find any about smaller kids.  anyone with experiences they can share?

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I've been on the Regal Princess around the Baltic and my kids were only a couple of years older than yours at the time, and they loved it, both the kids' clubs/activities on the ship and the things we did in port. My 7-year-old said, after our trip, that it was her favourite vacation ever. The key thing, I found, is careful planning and/or booking private tours for your family. (The tour companies can then help you plan.) You want to intersperse brief but strategic visits to the best sights/museums with visits to parks that let them run around and other kid-friendly activities -- and the parks can be sights themselves. The kids loved the fountains at Peterhof, Vigeland Park in Oslo, Seurasaari island in Helsinki. . . .

 

This blog page isn't mine, but it's one that helped convince me a Baltic cruise would be a good fit for our family when we were originally planning:

https://www.gonewiththefamily.com/gone-with-the-family-adv/cruising-for-families.html

 

Have fun!

Edited by trosebery

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Agreed, definitely do private tours.  Not sure how familiar you are with cruising or traveling, and newbies can be overwhelmed with the thought of doing their own thing instead of ship tours.  With just a little work, you can get excursions that will give you cushion for the kids to decompress, include things they really like, and often for less or the same that you'd've paid for a big tour bus excursion from the ship.

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We took our then almost 4 year old on a Baltic cruise, with the usual stops.   Highlite for him was definitely St. Petersburg.  We did a private tour and specifically had them fit in a stop at Varshavsky railway station to see their incredible collection of rail cars and engines. 

 

Apparently it has closed and relocated close by at the Russian Railway Museum.  If either of your children are into trains, this place is amazing.  Not too often you can check out a missile launcher up close.  Peterhof was also a big hit, as was Pushkin.   Doubtful he will remember any of this stuff but the photos are priceless (to us, anyway).  Unless you have a burning desire to see the Hermitage art museum, I would bypass it with kids - I wish we hadn't wasted any time there.

vrs.jpg

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Some kids might like the Hermitage, at least the palace rooms. Mine did:

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Check out photos of the Knights Hall, etc.

 

But adding that if you have kids who are interested in trains, check out the Grand Maket (that's not a typo: it is Maket and not Market).

 

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My 3.5 year old loved this cruise, and wants to go back since his brother was in my belly and couldn't see anything. My signature line has a review with lots of details about our trip - we were able to easily DIY in all of the cities except St. Petersburg, where as others have noted a private tour for just your family is strongly encouraged.

 

it is generally quite easy to reach all the cities from the ports, except for St. Petersburg and Germany if you choose to go to Berlin.  In Germany if you don't want to travel all the way to Berlin, you can visit Scwerin castle, or explore the cute local towns of Rostock or Warmenude or visit the nearby Moli steam train.  

 

My son's favorite parts of the Baltic cruise were the Moli steam train, the fountains at Peterhof, visiting the subway in St. Petersburg, Vasa, the open air lemur exhibit in Skansen,  and exploring Tallinn.

 

The things I didn't know about which aren't in my cruise review were:

there is a dog sled excursion outside of Helsinki

Best Guides has tours geared for children in St. Petersburg  

the  museum of model trains in St. Petersburg noted by previous posters.

 

Just please note whether or not the Regal is scheduled to dock directly in Stockholm, or Nynashamn.  IT's a bigger boat (which means it'll have a ton of things for your kids) but if there are any relatively minor adverse weather conditions, you should be prepared to be diverted since there is very little clearance for large ships through the Stockholm archipelago .  You should decide ahead of time how you would want to get to Stockholm from Nynashamn (there is a public train, or if you want to take a bus through the HOHO companies, or if you want your tour company from St. Petersburg to also give you a tour in Stockholm, or find out if Princess will run a shuttle from Nynashamn to Stockholm).  I'd just want to be prepared ahead of time so that's not a last minute scramble if you are diverted.  

 

 

Edited by kitkat343

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Another photo from Copenhagen.

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One advantage of travelling with young children is that they're early risers! We visited the Little Mermaid at 8 am in the morning and had her all to ourselves.

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I don't know how much time you have in Copenhagen but these things its worth visiting with kids. 

 

Copenhagen Zoo:

The elephant house by sir Nornan Foster is amazing and they will get 2 pandas from China later this year. 

The new panda enclosure is designes by BIG (Bjarke Ingels) and is inspired by the Ying and Yang symbols. 

 

The Blue Planet.

North Europe's biggest aquarium, they have hammerhead sharks!!!!! 

 

Experimentarium. 

A science museum for kids. 

 

Bakken. 

If Tivoli is been there done that you could visit the world's oldest amusement park instead. 

When arriving at Klampenborg by train you could either walk through the deergarden on foot or take a horse carriage ride. 

 

Frilandsmuseet. 

Outdoor museum that shows the life in a Danish village from 200 years ago. 

 

Tivoli. 

No need to explain this one. 

 

And probably some other things but this is from the top of my head. 

 

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I did want to note that the Experimentarium  was the one disappointment for us on our cruise.  We arrived right as they opened, and several of the stations were missing crucial components to make the experiments work.    That was four years ago, and maybe its improved but we were left underwhelmed since we've seen much better science museums elsewhere (the one in San Francisco was great).   

 

Its really great news  that they're getting pandas, and Tivoli gardens was really nice (and this cruise was so good I actually left it off the list of things that were my son's favorite in my post above!)  

 

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Experimentarium is open again after it was closed in 2-3 years for a huge expansion/rebuild. 

Edited by Danish viking

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5 hours ago, Danish viking said:

Experimentarium is open again after it was closed in 2-3 years for a huge expansion/rebuild. 

 

Thank you so much for that info - I visited it prior to the renovation, and I am very glad to learn about this.  And I love Pandas - it sounds like things have gotten even better in Copenhagen since my visit!

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Children love playing. Best Guides have several chil friendly tours - Hermitage "Palace of Wonders", Peterhof "Paradise of fountains". They describe the Hermitage tour as
"We will play Noble Princes and Fair Princesses.
We will learn court manners and etiquette and tell stories about the life of Russian Tsars and Tsarinas, magnificent receptions and splendid balls. At the same time we will show the children most beautiful rooms of the Hermitage, some exhibits which children always like so much (the Peacock Clock, the Knights Room), as well as several world famous paintings describing them in a way interesting for children. "

 

BMXP6208.JPG

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Hi there,

I wrote the blog post that trosebery posted above so just wanted to chime in with my thoughts. It has been several years since our cruise in the Baltics but it was a great experience and definitely one of our favourite trips. Our older daughter was 12 at the time but our younger daughter had just turned 6 a couple of weeks before the cruise. It was our first trip to Europe with the girls and it was a great introduction. We went on a Mediterranean cruise two summers later and in terms of overall experiences, the Baltics was much easier with young kids. 

 

We started and finished our cruise in Copenhagen and loved the city! Copenhagen is a very walkable city, however, we took a hop-on hop-off bus on our first day to get around to some of the sights efficiently and get our bearings in the city (after that we walked everywhere). We saw the Little Mermaid statue, toured Amalienborg Slot (Palace), played in the garden at Rosenborg Slot (Palace), went on a canal cruise, walked around Nyhavn (my 6 year-old loved the colourful buildings), and went to Tivoli Gardens both pre and post cruise. The main shopping district, Stroget, is pedestrian only and there's a LEGO store there that was fun - also street entertainment. 

 

The ports of call on our cruise were: Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Gdansk, and Oslo. Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn and Oslo we toured on our own. We hired a private tour guide for our two days in St. Petersburg and we booked a ship's tour for Gdansk. Gdansk was the only day on our cruise which did not go well. In the cities we toured on our own, we were docked right in the city and were able to walk off the ship and go about our day. We were docked a fair distance from Gdansk and I had read that traffic was often brutal so we booked a ship tour to avoid the worry of not making it back on time. It was raining that day and both kids hated being on a group tour which involved spending far too much time visiting amber stores so others could shop.

 

For Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Oslo, I researched ahead of time to find activities that would satisfy everyone in the family. Due to time constraints we sometimes had to miss a must-see attraction but 6 year-olds can't generally be rushed from place to place! For example, in Stockholm we chose to visit Junibacken (the Astrid Lindgren/Pippi Longstocking museum) rather than the Vasa museum. Some day I'll get back to see Vasa but I thought it more important for my 6 year-old to have fun that day and leave with a positive impression of Stockholm. (I have articles on my website about all of the ports we visited if you're interested in the details of what we did in each city.)

 

My overall advice would be to tour most ports on your own or book a private guide who will design a family-friendly tour for you. We have found that it is often the case that hiring a private guide is no more expensive than booking 4 or more people on one of the ship's tours. If you are more comfortable taking a ship's tour then try to find one that is described as family-friendly.

 

Our Baltics cruise was on the Emerald Princess and we have sailed Princess two other times - the Diamond Princess in Alaska and the Crown Princess in the Caribbean. My younger daughter in particular loved visiting the kids club on our Princess cruises. There were lots of activities but there were not so many kids on the ships that the facilities were crowded. She enjoyed seeing the same kids every evening and on sea days and developing friendships.

 

A bit long winded but all to say that I think your entire family will enjoy the cruise in Northern Europe. Just be sure to plan ahead so you know what you intend to do in each port. Don't try to see everything as that will just exhaust everyone - go at a slower pace to accommodate the little ones and focus on having fun. 🙂

 

Happy to answer any questions.

 

Lisa

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On 2/12/2019 at 8:43 AM, lmg1230 said:

Hi there,

I wrote the blog post that trosebery posted above so just wanted to chime in with my thoughts. It has been several years since our cruise in the Baltics but it was a great experience and definitely one of our favourite trips. Our older daughter was 12 at the time but our younger daughter had just turned 6 a couple of weeks before the cruise. It was our first trip to Europe with the girls and it was a great introduction. We went on a Mediterranean cruise two summers later and in terms of overall experiences, the Baltics was much easier with young kids. 

 

We started and finished our cruise in Copenhagen and loved the city! Copenhagen is a very walkable city, however, we took a hop-on hop-off bus on our first day to get around to some of the sights efficiently and get our bearings in the city (after that we walked everywhere). We saw the Little Mermaid statue, toured Amalienborg Slot (Palace), played in the garden at Rosenborg Slot (Palace), went on a canal cruise, walked around Nyhavn (my 6 year-old loved the colourful buildings), and went to Tivoli Gardens both pre and post cruise. The main shopping district, Stroget, is pedestrian only and there's a LEGO store there that was fun - also street entertainment. 

 

The ports of call on our cruise were: Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Gdansk, and Oslo. Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn and Oslo we toured on our own. We hired a private tour guide for our two days in St. Petersburg and we booked a ship's tour for Gdansk. Gdansk was the only day on our cruise which did not go well. In the cities we toured on our own, we were docked right in the city and were able to walk off the ship and go about our day. We were docked a fair distance from Gdansk and I had read that traffic was often brutal so we booked a ship tour to avoid the worry of not making it back on time. It was raining that day and both kids hated being on a group tour which involved spending far too much time visiting amber stores so others could shop.

 

For Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Oslo, I researched ahead of time to find activities that would satisfy everyone in the family. Due to time constraints we sometimes had to miss a must-see attraction but 6 year-olds can't generally be rushed from place to place! For example, in Stockholm we chose to visit Junibacken (the Astrid Lindgren/Pippi Longstocking museum) rather than the Vasa museum. Some day I'll get back to see Vasa but I thought it more important for my 6 year-old to have fun that day and leave with a positive impression of Stockholm. (I have articles on my website about all of the ports we visited if you're interested in the details of what we did in each city.)

 

My overall advice would be to tour most ports on your own or book a private guide who will design a family-friendly tour for you. We have found that it is often the case that hiring a private guide is no more expensive than booking 4 or more people on one of the ship's tours. If you are more comfortable taking a ship's tour then try to find one that is described as family-friendly.

 

Our Baltics cruise was on the Emerald Princess and we have sailed Princess two other times - the Diamond Princess in Alaska and the Crown Princess in the Caribbean. My younger daughter in particular loved visiting the kids club on our Princess cruises. There were lots of activities but there were not so many kids on the ships that the facilities were crowded. She enjoyed seeing the same kids every evening and on sea days and developing friendships.

 

A bit long winded but all to say that I think your entire family will enjoy the cruise in Northern Europe. Just be sure to plan ahead so you know what you intend to do in each port. Don't try to see everything as that will just exhaust everyone - go at a slower pace to accommodate the little ones and focus on having fun. 🙂

 

Happy to answer any questions.

 

Lisa

 

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Lisa-

 

We will be taking this cruise in June with a 8 & 10 yold. Considering a private tour in St. Petersburg-do you recommend a specific company or stops?

 

Thank you

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On 2/23/2019 at 7:54 AM, MHKBCrusin said:

Lisa-

 

We will be taking this cruise in June with a 8 & 10 yold. Considering a private tour in St. Petersburg-do you recommend a specific company or stops?

 

Thank you

If you're considering a Baltic Cruise to St Petersburg, you should consider Anastasia Travels. We had a memorable experience with the company on our last Baltic Cruise to St Petersburg.

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2 hours ago, Brantjudith said:

If you're considering a Baltic Cruise to St Petersburg, you should consider Anastasia Travels. We had a memorable experience with the company on our last Baltic Cruise to St Petersburg.

Just signed up with them yesterday! Thanks for the recommendation!

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9 hours ago, Brantjudith said:

If you're considering a Baltic Cruise to St Petersburg, you should consider Anastasia Travels. We had a memorable experience with the company on our last Baltic Cruise to St Petersburg.

Same here! We also booked with Anastasia Travel  for 2015 with the Regal. Pleasantly surprised, I just wish we knew they operated tours in the other Baltic ports like Helsinki, Stockholm and Warnemunde for Berlin. Best of luck and enjoy your visit!

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I've already been written  about Best Guides. We have been in St. Pete twice.  Both time with Best Guides. We also  did group tours with them in Warnemunde, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Tallinn. You will find the full programs and prices on their site. Try with Best Guides. They have guides who were specially trained to work with kids and teens.

 

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On 2/23/2019 at 1:54 AM, MHKBCrusin said:

Lisa-

 

We will be taking this cruise in June with a 8 & 10 yold. Considering a private tour in St. Petersburg-do you recommend a specific company or stops?

 

Thank you

 

Hi, sorry for the delay in responding. We used Anastasia Travels for our two days in St. Petersburg and had a wonderful time. Our guide was great at keeping the girls engaged and adjusting our plans a bit depending on what they were enjoying. My younger daughter adored her - there were a few tears when we had to say goodbye at the end of our second day! This is a summary of all that we did while we were in St. Petersburg - they were happy to discuss what we wanted to see ahead of time and created the itinerary that we wanted. https://www.gonewiththefamily.com/gone-with-the-family-adv/st-petersburg-russia.html 

 

Lisa

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9 hours ago, lmg1230 said:

 

Hi, sorry for the delay in responding. We used Anastasia Travels for our two days in St. Petersburg and had a wonderful time. Our guide was great at keeping the girls engaged and adjusting our plans a bit depending on what they were enjoying. My younger daughter adored her - there were a few tears when we had to say goodbye at the end of our second day! This is a summary of all that we did while we were in St. Petersburg - they were happy to discuss what we wanted to see ahead of time and created the itinerary that we wanted. https://www.gonewiththefamily.com/gone-with-the-family-adv/st-petersburg-russia.html 

 

Lisa

We also used Anastasia Travel but didn't go with kids(newly weds :classic_biggrin:). There were two kids in a group of 8 and they seemed to love it. The guide made sure the kids are included to, so they interacted and made it fun for them. Let us know how it turns out for you. Best of luck, and have fun!

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Id suggest a private tour for SPB so you can customize, there are some kid-oriented ones. 100% make sure you get them to see Grand Maket (scale model Russia)

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