• Hello visitor!

    We are happy to see you have stopped by and hope you will consider registering with our community. Whether you have a question related to an upcoming cruise or just want to meet other fellow cruisers, you are always welcome!

    Hope to see you on the forums soon!

Arcadia - Diane & Norman Cruise around the Baltic.

Norman

Deckhand
Hoping you don't mind I only submitted my report on Friday, just before the system went down, so I am enclosing a copy:

St Petersburg

The half waypoint and I will not say the highlight, as all ports were absolutely fantastic.

Docking at the harbour in the early hours of the morning with Constellation docked adjacent. We docked to the sounds of St Petersburg Brass Band playing British Sea Shanties.

As visas were required for independent touring of the city, most people including us opted for the tourist visa connected to organised tours.

Our morning tour took us to most of the landmarks of the city, e.g. The church of Spilled Blood, St Isaacs Square and Cathedral, Palace Square and the sight I wished to see, now a museum piece the Cruiser Aurora. An old battleship featured in Russian History. The morning tour gave us many photo opportunities, we had a guide, speaking broken English and in our opinion very hard to absorb her comments.

In the afternoon we had a guide called Boris, lack of confidence, always asking if he was doing ok, in his own way amusing and interesting to listen to. We went to a church, as was mentioned major attractions are full of tourists, like ourselves. This church was of the same as the major named ones, but a lot quieter. No pews, just standing room only, people light candles, and place the by a religious figure, they believe in or like. Next we went to the Metro, Boris explained how we put the token in the slot, waited for the light to turn to red, then proceed through the barrier. Making a simple operation sound complicated. He was also worried about us getting on and off the trains. Failing to tell us of the tremendous speed of the escalator, matching the ones in Prague, modelled on the Moscow subway. Comparing with Prague, a counter on the station, not telling when another train is due but how long it was since the last train left. We the went to two separate markets, one a general food one, mainly used by locals, and then to a flea market where some bargains (at your own risk) could be purchased. Overall Boris gave us an insight in the Russian people, and the tour, which was part riding and part walking which was interesting, and Boris was especially wonderful. Incidentally twelve months ago we visited Ephesus twelve months ago and had a similar type of guide, making the tour interesting and amusing.

Returning to the ship the band was still playing with the conductor dancing with passengers and having a good time.

Recollecting about our visit to Russia, bought back the feeling and memory of the week before when we travelled to Southampton the day before our cruise, we used a national coach company, which are cheap and reliable. We spent the night staying in a new hotel in the city centre. Southampton has a free bus service to the town quay, and as this has been many years since we visited the city, many things have changed. From the quay we walked back to the hotel, returning the next morning to the sight of QE11, Legend of the Seas and of course our first sighting of Arcadia.

Midday we had a taxi from the hotel to the Mayflower Terminal to begin our cruise. We were by no means the first at the terminal, but checking in was quick and easy. We then had to wait till 1:45 before we could board the ship. A waiter guided us to our cabins, and luggage was in the corridor waiting for us. A quick tour of the ship followed, as was having a meal. Availability of food for new arrivals, was a shade disappointing, but we still had a meal.

Then from a very pleasant morning, the rains came down, completely washing the decks. After the usual muster drill we donned our anoraks and braved the outside elements to watch our departure. The band played “Land of Hope and Glory†hoping we were departing and not sinking. Fortunately it was the former. Passing the Legend of the Seas, was rewarding, but seeing the QE11 from close quarters, with two tugs ready to pull her out made one think what an old lady she is. She actually looks old.

Sailing passed the Isle of Wight, the QE11 from a distance, about a mile behind us with her large chimney, did look impressive from a distance. The Legend was too far behind to comment.

Darkness came and we explored what Arcadia had to offer. Next day after a somewhat bumpy but not to bad night we awoke to rough seas, and the traditional rain. We still had a good day, as I have only sailed the North Sea at night and it was interesting seeing the oilrigs.

Next morning we woke and the weather seemed quite pleasant, having a very nice breakfast, we ventured out onto the outdoor area of the stern, the Aquarius Pool and bar. Sitting on the sun beds we intended to stay a short time, but to our amazement the wind dropped, and the sun got warmer, suddenly all the sun bed were taken. We then proceeded down the beautiful Oslofjorden for the 60 odd miles to Oslo. As one that has travelled the west coast of Norway, naturally the coastline was not as spectacular, but still beautiful. Arriving in Oslo the Braemar had been in port all morning, compared to our lunchtime arrival, and Princess Danae was just leaving. Oslo was not one of the cities I expected to much from, finding it interesting but not inspiring. Braemar left one hour before us and it was interesting noting the size of a DFDS seaways ferry dwarfed the liner.

Darkness engulfed us as we left Oslo, and also it was time for one of the many gorgeous dinners we had during our cruise. The scenery and sunset could be seen from a distance, as our table was not near a window.

Next day we sailed across a smooth sea towards Copenhagen, this day it was a shade cool to sit outside, so we chose our favourite inside viewing area the Crows Nest, which incidentally we enjoyed in the evening for a drink. Seeing the ferried criss crossing the seas between Denmark and Sweden was interesting. Midmorning came and we entered Copenhagen harbour. Marco Polo and Braemar were in the harbour, leaving a gap, which seemed to us mere mortals on the decks to be too small for a ship to dock. No problem it went in under its own power sideways with room to spare between the two ships.

Copenhagen was one of many cities we chose to explore on our own, proceeding from the ship towards the little mermaid, a barge used for ferrying tourist berthed near to us, we got on, and the fare was very low for an all day ticket, hopping on and at ones leisure. Canals in Copenhagen were very pretty, and bridges very low, causing passengers to lower their heads, whilst going under them. Copenhagen having many interesting architectural designed building, as with many cities in the Baltic’s. Hopping on and off the barges made a fantastic afternoon. Whilst starting this venture we noticed what looked like a nice park, which turned out to be the Royal Palace. A very pleasant evening resulted, one we enjoyed more than folks visiting Tivoli gardens, apparently people did not realise a beautiful garden had became a theme park. Also on our tour back from the Royal Palace Copenhagen had their fun run, many athletes of different status were taking part, fun runners mingling with the more experienced.

A sea day followed where the weather was actually gorgeous and a lazy easy day was had on deck.

Nynashamn was reached the next day, where the lifeboats were lowered to tender passengers to the shore for tours and the hour-long expensive trip into Stockholm by private coach. Again as a lover of Scandinavia, Stockholm proved an interesting city. P&O says they cannot take their larger liners up the river to Stockholm, so what was we greeted to, Constellation and the smaller Astor.

Next day we visited the jewel of the Baltic, the city of Tallinn in Estonia. The walls of the city, the cobbled narrow streets and the many squares and churches made this port of call very memorable. Ships in Tallinn were Sea Princess, Costa Atlantica, Seabourne Pride, Princess Danae and of course Arcadia.

From Tallinn we sailed to St Petersburg, where on our tour we also saw up the river the cruise ship “Deutschlandâ€.

Following Russia we embarked in Helsinki the next day, where we used a local bus that charged a low price for a day ticket, and departed near the ship, and also recommended by the Helsinki Travel Bureau. We were the only people from the ship using this facility, and proved a better bargain than the rate the ship was charging for its courtesy bus. We also had a boat rise in Helsinki for a fraction of the cost P&O were charging, and also a circular tram ride around Helsinki, again hopping on and off when we wished. The boat ride around the wonderful islands in the bay of Helsinki resulted in the rain we had encountered whilst in the Baltic cities. The boats we used are the ones featured in the cam of the market square, as featured on Kroooz Cams. In the evening whilst on the ship the wind howled and it was virtually impossible to open the doors to the Promenade Deck.

To our surprise the weather resulted next day into another warm and fine day as we sailed towards Eastern Germany. One downfall in sailing the Baltic, Clocks are altered six times on the cruise. Altering forward three times in a short period of time results Cruise Lag, far worse than Jet Lag.

Travemunde was a port that surprised us, a pleasant town, lovely people, and a unique degree of friendship where everybody went. I had agreed a time with Liz for a stalk, unfortunately security was tight, and I could not be at the arranged place.

Leaving Travemunde 30 minutes late due to traffic delays on coaches returning from Hamburg . Watching the ship move from its docking position, my wife notice crowds congregating on a hill approximately a mile away. Traffic on the dual carriageway next to the docks stopped, people just got out of their cars rushing to the edge of the road. Perimeter fences were filled with onlookers, as was the opposite bank of the river. Ferries suddenly stared blowing their horns, pleasure crafts and many small crafts suddenly congregated behind is and started to follow us up the river, including one with a water cannon. Turning the bend in the river all if a sudden one could see hundreds of people lining the streets of the town cheering us away. Apparently at this point the captain appealed to all bodied below to come on deck, as in his words the finest send of in his career. The crowd on the shore were cheering us away, and appreciation by the passengers was conveyed with spontaneous clapping. We also had the local choir singing before sailing, and they were prominent in the crowd in the town cheering us away. For once in your life you felt important, and may I convey our thanks to the German people for creating a memorable occasion.

On entering Travemunde apparently Germans were actually sang the British National Anthem, and many bodies were present. Unfortunately I cannot comment on this as I only surfaced as we were docking.

The following day we progressed down a very robust North Sea, Wind, rain, and heavy swells were the order of the day. The ship seemed to handle the conditions well, till in the middle of the night I thought I had fallen out of bed. The swell must have been tremendous. One had to hold beer glasses as they were liable to slip onto the floor.

Next morning the Captain made an announcement that he cut speed in the night for the comfort of passenger, resulting in arriving late in Belgium. Going for breakfast one noticed many workmen doing jobs around the ship, and whilst waiting to disembark tales came to light about the storm resulting in breaking seals of plumbing materials, causing water pipes to leak and flood some cabins.

Whilst in Belgium we visited a nearby town, which was very nice, and we enjoyed it better than revisiting Bruges.

Arcadia we found to be a place where we spent a wonderful two weeks vacation, meals were fantastic, service good, and apart from the area around the British Pub, which no disrespects to our smoking community were thick with cigarette smoke.

One complaint I have is P&O regulars comparing different parts of the ship with other ships of the line. Arcadia was the same as all of us an entity that has a character of their own.

We had four formal evenings, and dress was strictly adhered to, not only in dining areas, but the theatre and bars. Confession time: I had never worn a bow tie in my life, after three formal nights of a suit and tie; I actually bought a bow tie in Germany.

Disembarking was very smooth, and we had plenty of time to catch our coach home.

Hoping I have not created too much boredom in this rather long winded report, but we had a marvellous cruise, which reading the congratulations about our ruby weddings, your thought are greatly appreciated.

Ships and places of interest we saw I will display at a later date.
 

ronc

Deckhand
thank you norman for posting your cruise report again i enjoyed just as much this time too look forward to seing your photos :D
 

Abacus

Deckhand
Norman

WOW! Those pictures are stuendous, awesome!
Thanks for sharing them with us.
I like the slide show presentation, It is slow enough to
let you see and appreciate the pictures.
Great work.
 

robyn

Gondoliere
Norman - I missed your great report and wonderful photos first time around, so thank you for sharing again! :mrgreen:
 

Jackie

Deckhand
So glad you kept a copy, but what a shame about the poor weather. You photos are superb.
Hope you caught the stalking before the crash.
 

Perseus

Deckhand
Excellent pics. Just finished part 1 looking forward to part 2.
Nice pics of Constellation, brings back memories.
 

CruiseDJ

Deckhand
Good pictures Norman, we really enjoyed reading your report and looking at your pictures. It seems as if you had a marvellous cruise, I must try to get Sandy to agree to a baltic or scandanavian cruise oneday.

:clap: :clap:
 

c-to-sea

Deckhand
Norman

Thanks for sharing your pictures with us. Although we all love
cruising, we can't all get to every destination so this lets us
at least imagine we are there with you.
 

MERSPACE

Deckhand
Norman,

As a brand new member of this forum, I can't thank you enough for
the set of pictures ! My wife, Mary and I have only 10 cruises under
our belt, and we are now old enough to have some medical problems
to preclude much, if any, cruises.

So, we greatly enjoy cruises virtualy, and vicariously via the internet !

We have a friend who is the current Captain of the Crystal Symphony,
who has been doing Northern Europe this summer, and have been
doing Brigecams and portcams when possible.

We hope you will continue your photos!

Jim & Mary Clawson, i.e. MERSPACE
 

Liz

Deckhand
Hi, Merspace, so glad you have found the forum and hope you will continue to cruise, at least vicariously, with us :) .....maybe, :pray: a little of the real thing, at some point :)
 

Norman

Deckhand
One of the photo's I showed in my recent report was of a building on the approach to Oslo.



Nice place for a meeting.

Norman
 
Top