There is saying that “Everyone has been on a cruise but no-one remembers it”. It can be somehow related to the fact that you are floating on a big moving dance floor, and cocktails are a bit too tasty to not try them all.
We decided to go on a multi-city cruise from Tallinn to Helsinki, Stockholm and finishing with Riga. This trip was super compact and took us only 3 days. Nights we spend on ships while days passed sightseeing. A lot of people choose to take part in this adventure to get connected with countries over the sea, and so did us.
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Our journey started on early Monday morning. Together with my boyfriend and his family, we arrived at the port of Tallinn. Our first ferry was going to Helsinki, it departed at 10 AM. Of course, parents insisted that we must be at the port at least three hours before. You can do fun things, but you know, not at 7 AM. The bus terminal was an only open place, as it was 7 AM and an hour too early to get breakfast anywhere we settle with coffees. The taste was not so good but design of the cup was worth every cent.
First thing we did at the port was to check-in. There are similar self-check-in automates as in airports so the process is very easy. And the fact that we were the only ones at the terminal made process very fast! We are waiting for departure.
Tallinn-Helsinki ferry route is very popular there are three operating ferry companies. For our trip, we chose the most popular – Tallink Silja. Every month about 20’000 people use this service to get across the sea. Total travel time is only two hours, so I expected a small ferry, but it was surprisingly big (that’s what she said). Our ferry – ”MS Star” is 186 m long and has 520 beds, I suppose people from Tallinn must be very sleepy.
When boarding starts, you have to run for your life to get the best seats. Parents ran over a few old ladies, RIP, and we got a good table at a cafe, with a sea view. As so many people don’t have a cabin, they can end up sitting on the floor, but not us, sorry old ladies. So it was two hours of sitting, keeping table ours, Helsinki, here we come! (P.S. Honestly we didn’t abuse anyone).
We reached Helsinki at noon and got exactly four hours until the next ferry. After leaving ship we needed to find out where we can check-in for our next cruise to Stockholm. Turns out that the terminal is on the opposite side of the city. Not sure if it is a marketing & tourism trick that forces to explore Helsinki, but for us, it’s right in time. The only minus, it means that we must carry our bags with us, but that sounds more like a problem for my boyfriend only.
Here I would like to take a moment to show gratitude for those who decided that there should finally be free mobile internet in the whole Europe. I will never forget what you have done. Love.
If you are in Scandinavia and don’t know where the city center is, simply look for “Stockmann” in google maps. It’s the largest department store and it’s always in the center.
Before the trip I checked for “Most Instagrammable spots in Helsinki” and one of them for a surprise was located right next to our port. While parents decided to explore Market Square we headed to Helsinki Cathedral. This part of the city is surrounded by beautiful parks, romantic streets and is a perfect place to stop for a coffee. We didn’t plan any special excursions so once I got my “check-in” photo from Helsinki and parents bought a shark tooth we could go to port.
We boarded our next ship. ”MS Silja Symphony” is 203m long city-break in Middle-Europe. It’s full of shops and pretty restaurants that make you feel like walking through a promenade.
We had a spectacular dinner at the grand buffet, speaking clearly – pay 43Eur/$48 and eat as much as you can. It’s quite pricey, but it’s not like you have much choice, but as we discussed, it sounds more like a problem for my boyfriend. No Man can handle a hungry girlfriend next to him.
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After our dinner we spent time watching the show, a band playing music, dancing and drinking nice cocktails. Wanted to add – tax-free shops are open until midnight, so after a few cocktails almost convinced my boyfriend how I need a new pair of Gucci sunglasses… almost. That could be a really good deal, as the prices are around 25% cheaper than on land.
To save our time to do more of sightseeing in Stockholm, we had breakfast on the ship before arriving at the port. Breakfast cost 20eur/$23. Suggest to buy local bus tickets on a ship, as you can’t buy them in bus, the ticket cost 4eur/$4.50, for a single way.
It’s 10 AM local time, and we arrived in Stockholm. I said goodbye to Gucci sunglasses and we leave the ship. Bus stop is located right next to the terminal. Route is very convenient, it’s going straight through the new and historical center. Parents choose to spend their time shopping while we hopped-off at the island “Gamla Stan” which is one of the largest medieval city centers in Europe. This is a very photogenic place.
If you are not a sightseeing person, recommend a ”Gröna Lund” amusement park.
Without much planning, we went where our nose shows. Stockholm has beautiful architecture and many spectacular places. The city is fulfilled with beautiful gardens, and a beautiful small cafe’s. Strongly recommend to walk through a ”Strandvägen” promenade, it’s a must-see object, the perfect place to take a coffee or a lunch on coast or boat.
Met parents, and headed back to port. Checked-in for our last ferry – ”MS Isabelle”, going to Riga.
We discussed our journey at a beautiful lounge bar on the top floor. After that, we went to have dinner at the next grand buffet. The grand buffet was very similar to what it was the last evening, so as the price.
On this route you can join a lottery, a ticket cost 3eur/$3.30. Out of the total 600 tickets, we took 5. There are a lot of prizes to win, starting from jewelry, perfume, watches to a new cruise ticket. From our experience, we need exactly five tickets to have one lucky one.
We spent our last evening watching the show and waiting for a lottery. After a few cocktails, the draw started, and suddenly we won a D&G perfume for Mr. Boyfriend. Then we went singing karaoke, and continue challenging our luck at the Black-Jack table. Shouldn’t…
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It’s 11 AM in Riga, we have a couple of hours to spend in the city, before going to the airport. A huge benefit, the city is very walkable and from the port, you can reach the center by following “Elizabetes street”. Keep your camera on because this is the street of ambassadors, world-class restaurants and astonishing Art Nouveau architecture.
We reached one of the highest building “Radisson Blue hotel” and took a ride in a glass elevator. From there you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and continue enjoying it at the rooftop restaurant.
After our lunch, we headed straight to the historical center. Our goal was “House of the Blackheads” what is basically in the first pictures you will see if google for Riga. For that, we need to get on the opposite side of the center. As the city is so small, it’s saturated with beautiful parks, churches, romantic streets and restaurants. We didn’t expect to see much here, but Riga turned out to be just stunning.
After a walk, we took a Bolt (local Uber) to the Airport. It’s was 20 min drive and cost us only 12Eur/$ 13.40. Compared with Helsinki or Stockholm, Riga is almost half cheaper.
What fulfilled three days of our lives!