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Just Back Grand Princess June 18th /28th


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Just got back from the same cruise. We didn't take any of the ships tours - other than bus transport to/from Gdansk - so I can't comment. But overall, I'd agree it was a pretty good trip.

 

However, docking in Nynasham was a nightmare in terms of transport back from Stockholm and Princess handled the whole tender process very poorly IMHO. When we arrived back at the dock to board the tenders, there were easily over 1000 people waiting to get on the 3 tenders (each holding 150 pax) so many were stuck on the cold, windy crowded pier for over an hour. Tempers flared. We were lucky in the morning that we left the ship at about 7:30AM as later that night we heard that people wanting to leave the ship at about 8:00AM had to wait an hour just to get on a tender.

 

Also, I don't know if you had any occasion to speak to anyone at the purser's desk for any problems, but we did and found that they were absolutely inept at giving answers for any question......so they made them up. They just lied to people to get them to go away. I saw this happen a few times. The cruise itinerary says we were to be in Oslo til 2:00PM,(already too short a day - but I signed up for the cruise, so can't complain) however, they made us come back at 1:00. When we went to the purser's desk to ask why we're bring short changed an hour, I was told that they ALWAYS dock there til 1:00 and I obviously didn't know what I was talking about. Then, I went and got one of their brochures as well as my itinerary from Princess where it's printed that we're supposed to be there until 2:00. We showed it to the same person at the desk and with no apologies for telling us we were wrong, she then said the ship needed the time in order to get back to Copenhagen to be on time for people's flights. Being that Copenhagen was only 250 miles, it was just another lie. It's really not a purser's desk, just a reception desk where they hire (and then don't adequately train) 20 somethings to handle basic questions. (notice there wasn't a button for operator or reception desk on your phone?)

 

It was our first Princess cruise and we'd consider doing another cruise with them, they were good for the most part. However, I'd never cruise with them again on an itinerary that involves using tenders and then an hour's transport the port we want to see.

 

Oh and if I do cruise with them again, I'm definitely bringing my own coffee. That was truly the worst coffee we'd ever had, anywhere.

 

You thought the internet service was bad? You mean it's not supposed to take 20 minutes to downlad 2 emails???

 

Jane

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Sorry your weather wasn't any better than our's. I would have to agree with you concerning the Pursers desk, with the exception of Jamie, who was extremely helpful concerning our lost luggage. We never had any delays getting on/off the ship - Stockholm especially went smoothly, but we were on one of the tours. My husband and I both thought some things never seemed to be as well organized as past cruises. Also, the day in Poland was cut short by 1 hour arriving and 1 hour departing, so we felt very rushed. We had booked and ship's tour that day, and my mistake, we went to the wrong lounge to wait for our tour to be called. When I tried to get the correct instructions from one of the crew, they treated me like I was stupid for being where I was. Didn't really appreciate her attitude! Just my oppinion, but as much as I really do love Princess and the big ships,(going on the Caribbean Princess in November), I think they are simply too large for Europe. I'm thinking of doing the Greek Isles next spring, and it probably won't be on Princess, since the Grand is taking up that route next year. I've done the Med twice on smaller ships and liked it better. Overall though, the cruise was wonderful and St Petersburg was fantastic!

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Stockholm,a bit of a hassle due the long drive to town and tendering.Town itself very interesting. Helsinki more convenient people friendly can do port on your own.St.Petersburg,you need tour of some kind,either the ships or Red October( the ship's tours use Red October gift shop in town).St. Petersburg worth the trip. Tallin, medevil small town feel,you can easliy do this one on your own.Polland,either take a taxi or ship tour tariffic a problem. Oslo, time very short best take a tour to cover much ground.

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We leave today for Copenhagen. Board the Grand on July 8 for our Baltic cruise. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for us. Don't care if it is warm, just hoping for no rain. After reading some of the posts I'm now glad that we just went ahead and booked ship tours for this trip. Almost sounds ilke it might ease frustration that I seem to read from the posts.

 

We are looking forward to being on the Grand again. Did the Golden in the Med in 2001 and never felt the ship was too big for the area, so it will be interesting to see how we feel about the Grand in the Baltic. I was wishing they would have put the Island or the Coral in this area. These ships would be such a nice size for the ports.

 

Not thrilled about reading how slow or non existent the internet service was there. Of course even in the Caribbean it can be hard to access. Just hoping to keep in contact with home some.

 

Thanks for all the information.

 

Hulagirl

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I was also on the Grand Princess 18 June cruise. I didn't have a problem with the tendering in Sweden, in fact I thought it went very smoothly. The coffee on the ship was iffy, one day it was good and the next day undrinkable. Moscow was the best tour we took, it was well worth the money. The steamtrain to Porvoo in Finland was a complete waste of both time and money. For the most part I wasn't as impressed with Princess as I though I would be based on the information I had read on these boards.

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Does anyone have any links for trip reports from people on the Grand Princess for 2004 Baltic cruises? Would love to see them as we are going later this summer.

 

- What type of clothes were people wearing on shore excursions?

- Were you able to use dollars to do purchasing in all ports?

- I've seen conflicting news on Tallinn vs Russia on souvenir prices. Which place is better?

- How were the ship shore excursions?

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BBurns,

 

On our Baltic cruise, we wore rain jackets and sweaters. You may have better weather.

 

Prices for amber were best in Gdansk.

 

There's an open air market in Helsinki where I bought most of my gifts and things for myself. I got a gorgeous fur hat for $75. that was $200. at the Red October Store for the same fur, but mine has better styling. I also bought shearling mittens for myself ($25.) and shearling gloves for my husband ($44.), shearling baby booties ($15.) and a hand knit cotton baby cardigan ($18.) I also bought some nice wooden bowls (forgot the prices but very reasonable). I found the people and vendors in Helsinki to be the nicest of any port. I didn't haggle prices, they seemed fair and it didn't seem the game to be played here.

 

We were in Tallinn on a Sunday morning when everything was closed - even the museums. The souvenir shops opened up because there were a few cruise ships in town. I bought a few serving spoons made from juniper berry wood for a few dollars.

 

Many places took american dollars and I had euro's with me for those that didn't. Some of the street vendors took credit cards.

 

If you're in the market for china (Rosenthal) or crystal (Kosta Boda) or silver pieces (Georg Jensen) I'd suggest you look at those items here to "benchmark" the prices of the items you like. You'll see these stores in Copenhagen and Stockholm.

 

Jane

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