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Helsinki On Your Own


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As we will be leaving in less than a month on the Marco Polo for 18 days I am preparing. Every message and travel book I can read about Helsinki mentions a tram 3T in Helsinki which you can use. It is a figure 8 which takes you to the major sites. Is this the same as the hop on and off bus you get to ride all day? I cannot find anything about it on the Helsinki website. Another question- Has anyone taken the Helsinki city tour to Porvoo? It is much more reasonable than the ship shore excursion. Also, has anyone taken the city guided tour offered by the local tourism council? It too is much more reasonable than the ships excursion and it too offers inside visits. There must be a reason for the less $ amount of these last two tours so I wonder what they are not including.

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The 3T is public transportation, just a bus ride, although it does go by many major sights.

 

The hop-on, hop-off buses are narrated sightseeing tours that you can get off and re-join throughout the day.

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librarian,

 

The 3T tram is is a public tram (not bus) that loops around central Helsinki. It is simply transportation.

 

The following site, http://www.helsinkiexpert.fi, has excellent information on sifgtseeing tours, perhaps the ones you are referring too. We took the Helsinki Expert tour to Porvoo las summer while on the Oosterdam. Make sure you sign up for the tour that is done in English. We had a delightful afternoon. As far as i could tell we saw everything the ship tour had. Since the bus was only half-full we moved about very easily.

 

HAL provided a shuttle to central Helsinki. We spent the morning wandering through the market, making a short visit to Suomenlinna, then had lunch in a recommended Finnish restaurant before catching the tour to Porvoo.

 

FYI when you click on the English version of their frontpage you will see a picture of the English speaking guide we had last year!

 

Jerry

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Our ship, the NCL Dream, also had a free shuttle to and from the city center every half hour or so. We found it easy to walk many of the sights with a good map. You can easily take a half day tour and walk the rest. We don't take ship tours anymore, we find we do better with local tours or on our own, if you don't mind walking.

 

Enjoy the Marco Polo - we sailed her to South America and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of a smaller ship. She may be old, but she's very comfortable.

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Also, has anyone taken the city guided tour offered by the local tourism council? It too is much more reasonable than the ships excursion and it too offers inside visits. There must be a reason for the less $ amount of these last two tours so I wonder what they are not including.

 

The reason why the ships' excursions are more expensive than the ones offered locally is the huge mark up that the ships add to the cost and which provides a big profit for them. Their justification is that you pay extra for the convenience of being transported from the ship and for having everything organised for you. They also remind you constantly of the fact that the ship will wait until all their organised tours are back, even if they are considerably late getting back, whereas if you take a local tour and you don't make it back before the ship is supposed to depart you are likely to be left behind. If I remember correctly Porvoo is about an hour from Helsinki, so if you take the tourist office tour make sure that it will be back in Helsinki at least a while before you are expected to be back on board the ship.

 

We took the guided city tour in Helsinki provided by the tourist office and it was identical to the one provided by our ship (Grand Princess). In fact, we kept bumping into several of the ship's groups and we both had local guides. The ship's excursions were generally 30 to 50% more expensive than the ones booked directly through the tourist offices in the different cities we visited. I would recommend organising your own in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm.

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We did the 3t tram in may off the Constellation and you can get a guide to the stops when you pay.The tram also has an illuminated board which announces the stops so you can't go wrong.

 

If you buy your ticket at the harbour from the ferry office you can get the guide ,an all day ticket for the tram and a ferry ticket return to suommelina fortress and island for 8 euros for two people. is that a deal or is that a deal!!

 

You can get off the tram at the rock church,olympic stadium,senate square etc and see the sights

 

We thought it was a good way to see the city

 

 

Jim

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