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Things you wish someone told you before your first Baltic cruise

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so, realistically we would only need Danish Kronos for our 3 days there, Swedish Kroners and some euros along with a credit card and we should be good?No need for rubles or the such?

If by tour guides and drivers, you are referring to private tours in St Petersburg, YES, they even ask you to pay in US Dollars and most people tip in that currency also. Just make sure the bills you use are fairly new and still have that 'crispness' in them. The tour company will not accept very worn bills and if you use something like that to tip, it would present a problem for those receiving the tip.

 

Most of the vendors will accept US Dollars but your rate of exchange will be very poor. You would do better by charging most purchases. If you can stop by one of the street vendors, they will gladly accept US Dollars, but do hondle with them for a better price.

 

Cheers

 

Len

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so, realistically we would only need Danish Kronos for our 3 days there, Swedish Kroners and some euros along with a credit card and we should be good?No need for rubles or the such?

 

That is correct. That is exactly the way we did it.

 

Some tour groups will sell you some Rubles if you want to buy, say a beer, or something like that during a lunch. There is no need to pre buy Rubles.

 

Cheers

 

Len

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Len, thank you so much for the info. Being to able use US dollars saves having to get all those different currencies.:)

 

I was basically speaking of St Petersburg, and NOT some of the other ports you will visit. No one can really say if a store in Copenhagen will accept US Dollars, or a vendor in Tallinn, or some place in Stockholm.

 

It is wise to have some currency for the port you will be in, or hit an ATM when you arrive there.

 

Cheers

 

Len

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We are taking about $150 USD worth of Danish Crowns and $75 USD worth of Swedish Crowns. We have about 120 euros left from a previous trip. That with USD for tips for Alla Tours in St. Petersburg and Berlin and our ATM card (will call bank to notify it of out of US use), I believe we are set cash-wise.

 

We bank with Chase. To get foreign currency you have to ask in advance. Exchange fees seemed a little high, $150 USD bought $138 of DKK, but thought it had some value in not having to look for an ATM when we first arrived at the Copenhagen Airport.

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We are taking about $150 USD worth of Danish Crowns and $75 USD worth of Swedish Crowns. We have about 120 euros left from a previous trip. That with USD for tips for Alla Tours in St. Petersburg and Berlin and our ATM card (will call bank to notify it of out of US use), I believe we are set cash-wise.

 

We bank with Chase. To get foreign currency you have to ask in advance. Exchange fees seemed a little high, $150 USD bought $138 of DKK, but thought it had some value in not having to look for an ATM when we first arrived at the Copenhagen Airport.

 

wow! 150USD should have given you 813 DKK...:eek:

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wow! 150USD should have given you 813 DKK...:eek:

 

I didn't explain myself, we got 750 DKK for 150 USD. According to xe.com, it is about 138 USD at the current exchange rate. So, we paid 12 USD for fees/exchange rate.

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whew! that is better...:D

I didn't explain myself, we got 750 DKK for 150 USD. According to xe.com, it is about 138 USD at the current exchange rate. So, we paid 12 USD for fees/exchange rate.

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Thank you for the hint, Len. I did not realize it was Lutheran as a matter of fact. The architecture looks quite Roman to me.

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I carry USD and Euro with me. But end up charging almost all my expenses.

 

Even countries like Poland, Euro was well accepted.

 

Only time you do need coins in local currency is while trying to buy local transport tickets directly from bus/tram driver or buying some inexpensive item from street vendor.

 

Usually trying to use USD in Europe is bit foolish as exchange rate is pretty bad. With Euro, it is not that bad. Earlier this week I got very reasonable rates in Stockholm. Many places had prices listed in both Euro and SEK any way.

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I just called my bank to let them know that we'd be using our debit card out of the country, and as he reminded me of the number on the back to call in case of an international problem he said," One thing you might do is put this number in your phone or wallet since if you card is kept by an ATM machine you won't be able to read it off from the back !"

Huh....I'd never thought of that ! ;)

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This itinerary is on my bucket list so I read this thread with interest. Based on land travel I did in Germany in June, I do have some suggestions that might be helpful.

 

If it were me, I'd not attempt a day excursion to Berlin from Warnemunde for a couple of reasons. First, the long transportation times each way will result in a rushed visit. I spent three very full days of sightseeing (4 nights) in Berlin in June and that barely scratched the surface. Second, if you or your tour guide is driving, the road network in the former East Germany is relatively underdeveloped compared to the west. We drove from Berlin to Wismar (lovely Baltic coastal town to the west of Warnemunde that I highly recommend) on the autobahn and we spent 2.5 hours at a complete standstill waiting for the authorities to clear an accident. There were no alternative roads and there was no way to exit the autobahn. We were in the middle of farming country. A three-hour drive became a 5.5 hour drive. Just something to consider if you want to get back to the ship on time.

 

Also, we saw a LOT of road construction in the north where major interchanges were closed. No warning, no detour, just a big red X at the exit. If you plan to rent a car, do get a GPS to help with navigation.

 

An easier distance from port are Rostock (obviously), Wismar (the 13th century soaring brick Cathedral dedicated to St. Nikolai is breathtaking and the town is postcard picturesque), Schwerin (gorgeous lake country), and Straslund (a little farther afield, to the east of port, has Scandinavian heritage and a great aquarium/oceanography center).

 

Regarding shoes: comfort first, style second. You can have both, if that matters to you. If it doesn't, wear what you like. The question "do I look like a tourist?" should probably be rephrased: "do I look like an unstylish American tourist?" If you want to "blend in" a bit, then leave the white athletic shoes at home and wear sneakers or walking shoes in subdued neutral tones like gray, taupe, brown, black, etc. Even better, buy European branded shoes like many that have been previously mentioned: Ecco, Josef Seibel, Naot (Israeli but similar styling), etc. I like Hotter, a British brand, very comfortable and cute. Chuck Taylor/Converse style sneakers are also very popular in Europe right now if your taste runs in that direction. Crocs are also big over there, believe it or not, and they now carry attractive and comfortable walking flats and sandals for women.

 

One last thing - if you do train travel from port, most regions in Germany have group tickets which are priced very economically. A kleinegrupeticket or kleinegrupekarte usually lets 5 people travel together (don't have to be a family) for about the price of 2 tickets. The main restriction is that these tickets can't be used before 9 a.m. in the morning. Also, you can't buy them from a machine unless you have a chip and PIN card (!) ;) Thanks for those of you who offered suggestions for obtaining one in the US. I have tried for a couple of years, with no success as yet.

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This is very helpful. Thank you. We have been to Berlin before and planned on doing something else. I have taken note of the towns you mentioned and will do some more research.

 

Mindy

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No street vendors in St Petersburg, no market across from the church

on the spilt blood. All tours stop at stores to shop, the same ones,

ship tours and private. Things were cheaper in the gift

shops at the cruise port than at the shopping in St Petersburg.

If you want high end items, prices were just okay.There are no bargins

in any port, Poland, Estonia or Russia. Everything in this area

is very pricey.

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Regarding Berlin, a different view. On our recent trip, our guide had arranged for a driver and a SUV for a group of six; the travel time each way was two and a half hours. In our almost seven hours in Berlin, we just scratched the surface of this exciting city, but our Berlin excursion was one of the highlights of our Baltic cruise.

 

If somebody has visited Berlin previously or expects with some degree of certainty to visit the city in the near future for an extended visit, I totally understand not making the day-trip to Berlin. But if your cruise may be the only chance you may have to visit Berlin, I cannot inagine not making the trip.

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Regarding Berlin, a different view. On our recent trip, our guide had arranged for a driver and a SUV for a group of six; the travel time each way was two and a half hours. In our almost seven hours in Berlin, we just scratched the surface of this exciting city, but our Berlin excursion was one of the highlights of our Baltic cruise.

 

If somebody has visited Berlin previously or expects with some degree of certainty to visit the city in the near future for an extended visit, I totally understand not making the day-trip to Berlin. But if your cruise may be the only chance you may have to visit Berlin, I cannot inagine not making the trip.

I agree....we took the train and loved what we saw, well worth it. A long day but a good one.....

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Regarding Berlin, a different view. On our recent trip, our guide had arranged for a driver and a SUV for a group of six; the travel time each way was two and a half hours. In our almost seven hours in Berlin, we just scratched the surface of this exciting city, but our Berlin excursion was one of the highlights of our Baltic cruise.

 

If somebody has visited Berlin previously or expects with some degree of certainty to visit the city in the near future for an extended visit, I totally understand not making the day-trip to Berlin. But if your cruise may be the only chance you may have to visit Berlin, I cannot inagine not making the trip.

 

We didn't visit Berlin because I had been there several times before, but I have been echoing these sentiments for years now. If this is your only chance of seeing Berlin (or substitute any other city) and the trip there is a bit of a long one, still GO FOR IT. You will certainly kick yourself when you come back home and realize that you should have done it especially after reading all the great reviews people give of this trip.

 

Cheers

 

Len

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in response to correct footware for 50+ cruisers:

Anything as long as they are color coordinated with your walker/scooter.

 

LOL Best one-liner in this thread!

 

Has no one ever noticed a bunch of people showing up in a port town enmass, few speaking the native language, all carrying maps and cameras just MAY be taken for tourists no matter what kind and color shoes they wear?

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Regarding Berlin, a different view. On our recent trip, our guide had arranged for a driver and a SUV for a group of six; the travel time each way was two and a half hours. In our almost seven hours in Berlin, we just scratched the surface of this exciting city, but our Berlin excursion was one of the highlights of our Baltic cruise.

 

If somebody has visited Berlin previously or expects with some degree of certainty to visit the city in the near future for an extended visit, I totally understand not making the day-trip to Berlin. But if your cruise may be the only chance you may have to visit Berlin, I cannot inagine not making the trip.

 

Thank you for this info. We will be on a cruise that stops at Rostock (Berlin) from 7am to 9:30pm. I just booked it for next summer and am in the initial stages of my research. Do you think it's doable and worth the 2.5hrs to travel and see Berlin during that time? What would you recommend doing there. What did your excursion include.

 

Any suggestions or recommendations are greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and wisdom. Great thread!

 

:

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Thank you for this info. We will be on a cruise that stops at Rostock (Berlin) from 7am to 9:30pm. I just booked it for next summer and am in the initial stages of my research. Do you think it's doable and worth the 2.5hrs to travel and see Berlin during that time? What would you recommend doing there. What did your excursion include.

 

Any suggestions or recommendations are greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and wisdom. Great thread!

 

:

 

Jazzzy

 

As I said previously, we didn't make the trip to Berlin, but for the most part, if you are booking a private tour in St Petersburg, whichever tour company you use, they usually also do a tour for Berlin. It would probably benefit you to book both with the same outfit and probably save a few dollars. All do a fantastic job in both places.

 

Cheers

 

Len

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Jazzzy

 

As I said previously, we didn't make the trip to Berlin, but for the most part, if you are booking a private tour in St Petersburg, whichever tour company you use, they usually also do a tour for Berlin. It would probably benefit you to book both with the same outfit and probably save a few dollars. All do a fantastic job in both places.

 

Cheers

 

Len

 

Sounds good! Thank you

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We did an independent tour to Berlin and were able to see Sachenhausen concentration camp on our way. It was a great day and well worth the drive. I have a co worker who did the same cruise but went to Shwerin castle and Rostock for the day and loved it. I guess you have to decide what you want to see and what history you want to hear about.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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I forgot to say that I think we used SBP tours in Berlin and St. Petersburg. Their guides were excellent in both cities.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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We never exchanged any money in any of the ports. We used our credit card or American dollars without a problem everywhere

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