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Oligorio

7 night vs 11 night in the Baltic?

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Hi everyone,

 

My family and I had a reservation onboard MSC Meraviglia leaving Copenhagen on this May 31st. The sailing gas been postponed fue to the COVID19 pandemic.

 

We are now trying to decide which ship or itinerary to pick for 2021.

 

We have 2 options:

11 nights out of Kiel on the MSC Splendida

Or

7 nights out of Copenhagen onboard the MSC Virtuosa

 

We are a party of 8, with 2 children (8yrs and 5yrs). Our past cruises include:

1996 - 7 Nights in the RC Majestic of the seas - South Caribbean

2016 - 7 Nights Carnival vista - Mediterranean

2018 - 8 Nights NCL Bliss - Alaska out of Seattle

2019 - 7 Nights MSC Armonia - South Caribbean

 

Some how we usually end up on big ships (leaving armonia to the side) what do you suggest regarding the two options above?

 

 

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Definitely depends on which ports you'll be visiting. If you have the option to visit St. Petersburg for 3 days then I'll choose that itinerary. 

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It definitely depends on the ports and on the port hours -- the more hours in the ports, the better. (And the more days in St. Petersburg, the better.)

 

Choosing between your two itineraries, I'd probably pick the 11-night because it visits Sweden and Poland. (Although starting and ending in Copenhagen is also a good pick as Copenhagen is a beautiful city.)

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On 4/5/2020 at 4:44 PM, Oligorio said:

 

My family and I had a reservation onboard MSC Meraviglia leaving Copenhagen on this May 31st. The sailing gas been postponed fue to the COVID19 pandemic.

 

We are now trying to decide which ship or itinerary to pick for 2021.

 

We have 2 options:

11 nights out of Kiel on the MSC Splendida

Or

7 nights out of Copenhagen onboard the MSC Virtuosa

The Virtuosa only offers 1 day in Saint Petersburg. Saint Petersburg is the crown jewel on Baltic cruises and I would not consider a cruise that offered only one day in that amazing city (3 would be better). 

The Splendida sailing offers 2 days in Saint Petersburg (with an overnight stay) so that would be my choice between the 2 choices you mention.

Noteworthy: MSC often offers  shorter times in your ports of call than Princess, NCL, HAL, Oceania, & RCCL. Check your times in each port of call in comparison to other lines.

 

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As other have said, I would try to do the 11 rather than 7 days, as 2 days in Saint Petersburg is better.  I would check other cruise lines, you've sailed with RCI and NCL, why not see what they offer, too.

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I agree that St Petersburg is the crown jewel of Baltics and would choose an option with the overnight stay, but as I  can see on your list you've always had 7-8 days cruises so this is probably the most convenient duration for you 

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The cruise line doesn't matter as much as the itinerary.  The more time you can spend in St. Petersburg the better. The other thing to aim for with small children is a ship that docks directly in Stockholm (these tend to be the smaller ones).  If you can afford it, a private tour just for your family in St. Petersburg can help families or people with disabilities get the most out of their limited time in St. Petersburg.  We had a 3.5 year old, and were able to skip through the lesser rooms in Catherine's Palace, stop whenever he was fascinated, and stop to feed him whenever he got whiny.  Also, preplan what you want to see in the Hermitage, as you can probably spend a week there alone, but won't have as much time with kids.  My signature line has a lot about independent excursions on this trip, since we only had a tour guide in St. Petersburg.  IT's a great trip for kids, and I hope you will be able to go.

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I struggle to think of any time, in cruising, where shorter is better than longer.

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Hi All thank you for your responses. Let see if the budgets helps. And try to take the longer itinerary.

Any suggestions in most?

Are those ships good ships?


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7 hours ago, Oligorio said:

Hi All thank you for your responses. Let see if the budgets helps. And try to take the longer itinerary.

Any suggestions in most?

Are those ships good ships?


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"Good" is totally subjective. You could read about them on the MSC board, and in the reviews.

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Here's the thing about the ships....you are GONE ALL DAY and will be totally tired by the time you get back on board the ship.   The ship really really doesn't matter for this itinerary. Get the longer cruise, go with the flow and have  a good time.

 

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1 hour ago, Sauer-kraut said:

Here's the thing about the ships....you are GONE ALL DAY and will be totally tired by the time you get back on board the ship.   The ship really really doesn't matter for this itinerary. Get the longer cruise, go with the flow and have  a good time.

 

This is true.  We have been on four European cruises (including Baltic).  Although there may be sea days the usual routine is breakfast, off the ship early, back in time for dinner and show, go to bed, repeat.

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Now that you say this, it is true. I remember on out mediterranean cruise that we were all day out then back for a drink then dinner. Some days not even the show.

I guess its time to negotiate with others in my party.

I think you would suggest to go to the treads on every port of call in order for me to decide what to do on each of them right?

Just a brief Q. As far as my research is, almost every in this baltic itineraries are DIY tour friendly, but St.Petersburg right?


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8 minutes ago, Oligorio said:

Now that you say this, it is true. I remember on out mediterranean cruise that we were all day out then back for a drink then dinner. Some days not even the show.

I guess its time to negotiate with others in my party.

I think you would suggest to go to the treads on every port of call in order for me to decide what to do on each of them right?

Just a brief Q. As far as my research is, almost every in this baltic itineraries are DIY tour friendly, but St.Petersburg right?


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On European cruises, I've often saved money by sailing in inside cabins as we were only ever in them for sleeping.

 

Yes, the ports (in general) are very DIY friendly. Many are walkable and public transportation is very good. You can search this forum for more threads about particular ports or ask your own questions. Many people recommend picking up the Rick Steves guide to Northern European Cruise Ports, although do remember that this is only a starting point. (I don't always agree with his recommendations, and some information like public transport connections can go out of date and should be checked online.) Note that the destinations that require the most advance planning (or a tour) are those that are some distance from the actual port (like Gdansk) . . . and of course St. Petersburg.

 

You'll have a stickied thread above on St. Petersburg. The general consensus is that you should book with one of the independent tour operators, and if possible, set up a private tour to control your own itinerary (the cost becomes more reasonable with larger groups). I've been once with one of the large companies (SPB) in a "small group" tour and once with a smaller company (Red Sun) on a private tour, and both were excellent experiences, although obviously I'd give the edge to the more personalized private tour. You don't have to decide what you're doing until next winter or even spring, though, and there's not much point to doing so as the coming season -- or rather, the lack of it -- may change the St. P. tour company landscape, as some companies may fold, merge, or restructure their offerings to survive.

 

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9 hours ago, Oligorio said:


I think you would suggest to go to the treads on every port of call in order for me to decide what to do on each of them right?

Just a brief Q. As far as my research is, almost every in this baltic itineraries are DIY tour friendly, but St.Petersburg right?


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Instead of looking at each thread for your ports, have a look at trip reports others have taken.  Not only on the cruise line you are researching, but on any cruise line!  That way you can get an idea of what others have done and start looking for things you might be interested in. 

 

St Petersburg needs a tour, again, I would suggest going with one of the independent tour operators.  They all get good marks on TripAdvisor as on here too.  Berlin is a 3 hour trip away from Warnemunde (if you have a port stop there)  I would suggest having a "down day" and have a stroll along the river, relax on the lovely beach and enjoy just resting to keep up your energy levels.  This is all walkable from the port, or take public transport to Rostock and go take the Molli Steam Train to Bad Doberan (also a seaside town).   There is so much to see and not spending so much time getting to and from Berlin.

 

If you have any other questions on ports please feel free to ask!!

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I'm the dissenter in that I did not love SPB, but I do agree that longer is always better on any cruise. We enjoyed our MSC cruise, though we got a tremendous deal on the YC.  Like most have said, they were long days.  We tend to be first off the ship and return about an hour before departure.  MSC does have shorter port times, which I'm sure keeps their costs lower.  Really check times before deciding.  The Baltic ports are easy to DIY.  For SPB, I'd caution that given the current pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, tour agencies may not be the the same come next year - gone, new owners, who knows?

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The longer days spent on a cruise the better 🙂 for so many reasons. We did enjoy SPB and we loved that we had 3 days to explore. Not enough for St.Petersburg, but better than one day.

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The longer days spent on a cruise the better for so many reasons. We did enjoy SPB and we loved that we had 3 days to explore. Not enough for St.Petersburg, but better than one day.


If you are looking for a nice tour in Stockholm there is an open air museum that is very laid back, the children can run through park like areas, lots of places to sit, you can get hand foods andhave a nice picnic, where if need be, the little ones can nap a bit. I no longer remember the name, but we took the bus to get there and it was a lovely day.


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1 hour ago, MagnoliaBlossom said:

If you are looking for a nice tour in Stockholm there is an open air museum that is very laid back, the children can run through park like areas, lots of places to sit, you can get hand foods andhave a nice picnic, where if need be, the little ones can nap a bit. I no longer remember the name, but we took the bus to get there and it was a lovely day.

Would that be Skansen? Lovely to visit - located on Djurgarden.

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Would that be Skansen? Lovely to visit - located on Djurgarden.

Yes, I believe it is.


76 past cruises
Upcoming:
CCL Dream 8/22/2020. Western Caribbean
NCL Breakaway 1/10/2021 Western Caribbean
CCL Dream 5/16/2021 Western Caribbean
NCL Star 6/27/2021 - Scotland, Norway & Iceland

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I agree that the longer the cruise the better.  We're going on a 14 night Baltic cruise with overnight in St. Petersburg next July and are really looking forward to it!

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On 5/24/2020 at 6:35 PM, dogs4fun said:

Would that be Skansen? Lovely to visit - located on Djurgarden.

The only problem with it is that there is so much to see there as it is very large and so little time to do that and then have other places to visit.

 

Stockholm was the one port on our Baltic cruise that we really felt we needed a lot more time in port.
 

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29 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

The only problem with it is that there is so much to see there as it is very large and so little time to do that and then have other places to visit.

 

Stockholm was the one port on our Baltic cruise that we really felt we needed a lot more time in port.
 

Agree - there is much to see and do in Stockholm. If one has only a short port stop then one must make choices based on their personal preferences. There are cruises that offer an overnight is Stockholm and, even better,  there are cruises that begin or end in Stockholm so that one can arrive pre or post cruise, spend several days and truly enjoy this fabulous city.

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35 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

Agree - there is much to see and do in Stockholm. If one has only a short port stop then one must make choices based on their personal preferences. There are cruises that offer an overnight is Stockholm and, even better,  there are cruises that begin or end in Stockholm so that one can arrive pre or post cruise, spend several days and truly enjoy this fabulous city.

What we did was first go directly to the Vasa Museum, getting there as soon as it opened and thus avoiding all lines. It was fabulous.

 

We then went to Skansen. I began to feel we were staying too long, but DW kept wanting to stay. We then went to the National Museum, and DW realized we had definitely stayed too long at Skansen. We went to the second floor which was Dutch Masters. She is an art teacher and can spend a lot of time at every painting, but now she had to hurry through. And we never even made it to any other floor.

 

I forget what else was on our list of things to possibly see (this was from 2007), but I do remember there were many other attractions that looked like they would be interesting. Our cruise was Copenhagen to Copenhagen, and we stayed over a day there at the end. Stockholm would have been better to have a whole day even though there is also much to do in Copenhagen.

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