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Northern Europe with St Petersburg trip help needed please.


shiner6
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We could use your help in planning our first trip to Northern Europe please. Grandparents who are very mobile and a 17 year old GD. We want to go June through August (school break here in US). We have cruised many times from US and Canadian ports. I love to plan our trips and have been an avid CC member, but I am overwhelmed at how to plan this trip. We want to visit St Petersberg for certain.  Including Alesund is much preferred. For our first time , what length cruise would you recommend? Our choice of room has usually been Balcony on Alaska and Canadian cruises and large inside cabins for the rest.   Our budget is moderate but flexible. 

Thanks in advance, I love to hear your stories!

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I do not know if you have a specific cruise in mind but I'm not aware of any cruise with Ålesund and St. Petersburg at the same itinerary - however there might be B2B cruises available - then it will be two weeks.

 

St. Petersburg is part of the traditional 'Baltic Cruise' while Ålesund is 'Norwegian Fjord Cruise'.

You can probably find B2B Baltic/Norwegian fjords from Copenhagen and maybe also Southampton.

My advise is to look for US based cruise lines you are used to rather than European - some European might primarily be German or Italian.

Many here at CC can assist and I'll gladly answer all your questions.

Edited by hallasm
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We took a 3 year old on the Baltic cruise and a 6 and 2 year old on the Norway one.  They were both wonderful cruises.  In St. Petersburg, I'd highly recommend a private tour (just your family).  You want to be able to customize the itinerary and take breaks whenever you need to.  Our family was able to skip all the lines at the museums.  Your grandkids might really like Stolle, which is a chain across St. Petersburg.  A detailed review of our cruise is in my signature line.

 

I wouldn't worry about the room type - you will be too tired to enjoy it much.

Edited by kitkat343
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Thank you hallasm and Kitkat. I think the back to back will work for our needs. Now, I will be required to wait until HAL posts cruises for 2023. Princess has theirs listed.  I have cruises upcoming on both lines, so I will check with them while onboard.   How are the seas during July and August. 

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4 hours ago, shiner6 said:

How are the seas during July and August. 

HAL has several cruises from Copenhagen or Amsterdam

In addition to Ålesund you should also look for sailings into the deep fjords like Geiranger, Olden or Flåm,

In general sea is calm.

For Baltic Cruise the Baltic Sea is usually calm during summer.  For a Norwegian Fjord Cruise you might experience a bit more rough seas in the open sea - but not that often.

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Actually, upon further reflection its the Baltics in which the room doesn't much matter because you will be too tired to enjoy it.  A balcony in Norway would be really nice, especially if you sail into Geiranger.

 

I agree with Hallasm - Geiranger, Olden and Flåm were my three favorite ports (didn't get to  Ålesund  though so can't compare).  There are descriptions of what we did in each port in my signature line.

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, shiner6 said:

What about Molde and Sognfjiord and Haugesund? Are these good ports as well?

Molde and Haugesund are small coastal cities - IMO not the most interesting ports. Sognefjorden is one of the deep fjords - not a port. 

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My concern is that Norway is not open to US tourists with no announced timeline for easing restrictions. Currently, the US is considered a high-risk area.

 

I suppose all anyone can do is wait, but it makes planning difficult.

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On 10/19/2021 at 7:00 PM, Babr said:

My concern is that Norway is not open to US tourists with no announced timeline for easing restrictions. Currently, the US is considered a high-risk area.

 

I suppose all anyone can do is wait, but it makes planning difficult.

Yes, very unforunate. And I don't think Russia is opening its borders to tourists at the moment. One does not know when and if this will change.

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On 10/8/2021 at 1:23 PM, hallasm said:

I do not know if you have a specific cruise in mind but I'm not aware of any cruise with Ålesund and St. Petersburg at the same itinerary - however there might be B2B cruises available - then it will be two weeks.

...

There are cruises that do both, but as you say, they are longer.  Ours is 18 days, July 2022, and goes as far north as Ålesund, then over to a few Baltic stops on the way to St. Petersburg and then back to Stockholm.  It is, however, a luxury line, Regent, with prices to match--all balconies, no insides. Don't think I'd want an inside cabin in Norway anyways.

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On 10/19/2021 at 7:00 PM, Babr said:

My concern is that Norway is not open to US tourists with no announced timeline for easing restrictions. Currently, the US is considered a high-risk area.

 

I suppose all anyone can do is wait, but it makes planning difficult.

I'm with on this one, Norway plus St. Petersburg.  We're booked for next July, but have to pay in February, sigh.  (Edited to add:  I must say, Norway's rules are very complicated, even baroque.  It seems at times that I'm reading that if you're fully vaccinated, and can have the information accepted by a specific app, you can be admitted.  But don't quote me on that.  And we still have 9 months to go.)

Edited by Wendy The Wanderer
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17 minutes ago, Wendy The Wanderer said:

I'm with on this one, Norway plus St. Petersburg.  We're booked for next July, but have to pay in February, sigh.  (Edited to add:  I must say, Norway's rules are very complicated, even baroque.  It seems at times that I'm reading that if you're fully vaccinated, and can have the information accepted by a specific app, you can be admitted.  But don't quote me on that.  And we still have 9 months to go.)


I looked at current procedures but don’t expect them to remain in place when cruising returns. They are just too unrealistic on a large scale. It seems part of the approval process requires a video consultation with a Norwegian health care professional to determine if your vaccination is valid.

 

I hope it is more in line with what other countries are doing so that you can submit an application on line along with supporting documents to get a QR code. In the meantime, we have to get through the winter to see if there are additional outbreaks or new variants of concern.
 

I’m 5 months from final payment. Even if tourism opens, I’ll cancel if I don’t think I can meet all the requirements for testing and getting the required documents in a timely manner with reasonable effort.

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2 hours ago, Babr said:

I hope it is more in line with what other countries are doing so that you can submit an application on line along with supporting documents to get a QR code. In the meantime, we have to get through the winter to see if there are additional outbreaks or new variants of concern.

Agreed, although we already have QR codes here in Canada.  But not sure how they marry with European or Scandinavian systems. Fingers cross the winter goes well.

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