Oceania Marina visits Poland: Exploring Gdansk Old Town

To continue exploring Gdansk Old Town, we depart the High Gate, the entrance through which the Polish king passed when visiting Gdansk (pronounced “?? dænsk”). From the High Gate it’s a short distance along the Royal Route to the arch of the Golden Gate, the entrance to Long Street . Constructed in 1512, the Golden Gate is built of white stone and decorated with gold trim. Eight statues atop the wall represent traits varying from piety to …

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Oceania Marina visits Poland: Sopot and Gdansk A Hurried Day

Due to the Oceania Marina’s schedule, we have limited time in Poland. The ship docks at the port of Gdynia at 8 a.m. and will depart at 4 p.m. That’s pushing it since we want to see Gdansk, a thousand years old and the largest city in northern Poland. But it’s about a 45-minute drive from the port to Gdansk’s colorful Old City. Among the first to leave the Oceania Marina, we search for a taxi. As …

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Klaipeda Lithuania: Klaipeda’s Clock Museum and Magical Statues

Exploring more of Klaipeda, Lithuania, takes us to the Dane River, which separates the Old Town from the more bustling commercial area of New Town. Crossing the Dane River by the Birzos Bridge, it’s impossible not to notice the mast and glowing white sails of “The Meridianas,” a tall sailing ship built in Finland in 1948. For a time the ship was used by the Klaipeda Navigation School for training. Afterwards, “The Meridianas” turned into a derelict …

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St. Petersburg: Trinity of Cathedrals

ABOARD OCEANIA MARINA-Three of St. Petersburg’s Most Famous Churches Following lunch on the Oceania Marina, we’re off to visit three of St. Petersburg’s most prominent cathedrals. Russia is a land of paradoxes and nowhere is that more apparent than the country’s attitude toward religion in the last century . After the Russian Revolution of 1917 and atheism became the country’s official doctrine, churches were closed and stripped of their religious objects. Churches were converted into whatever the …

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St. Petersburg: Touring the State Hermitage Museum

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA-State Hermitage Museum is a Former Palace The State Hermitage Museum is one of St. Petersburg’s must-see attractions, normally choked with as many as 35,000 tourists daily in summer. We appear to be the first ones entering the museum today. There’s a reason for this: cruise ship tour groups enjoy early admission to the Hermitage well in advance of the museum’s normal operating hours. And we’re on an Oceania Marina tour. The State Hermitage …

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St. Petersburg: Evading the Peterhof Curse

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA: Finding The Tour Group: Time Runs Out (In case you’re coming in at the end of this three-part tale, it begins at the end of this post, continues in the last one, and concludes here.) Continuing to search for my Oceania Marina tour group, I leave Peterhof’s Lower Gardens and go to the one spot where we should meet at some point. The overlook above Peterhof’s famous Grand Cascade with its 64 different …

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St. Petersburg: The Curse at Peterhof Palace

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA-One of Russia’s Most Popular Attractions It’s about a 45-minute drive from the Oceania Marina to the palaces and gardens at Peterhof, often called the “Russian Versailles.” It is a place I look forward to with anticipation and dread. (Note: See previous post) Our lively guide Marie briefs us on the past of St. Petersburg and Vladimir Putin. We pass through countryside that is green and eye-catching. There isn’t a single visible scar from …

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St. Petersburg: Oceania Marina Visits St. Petersburg, Russia

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA- Probably the main reason we book the Viking Trails cruise is the Oceania Marina three-day visit in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the free tours offered for this port. Linda and I each schedule six Oceania St. Petersburg excursions two months before departure. Normally, the tour packages would cost close to $1,000 for each of us. Aboard the Marina, we meet frequent Oceania passengers who ignore the ship’s no charge tours in favor of …

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Helsinki: Classic Architecture And Strange Art

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA — We have a promising day with bright sunshine, blue sky and only a few small clouds when the Oceania Marina enters Helsinki harbor. A Celebrity cruise ship follows in our wake, passing between the small ice age islands forming the harbor entrance. From the cruise dock, we take a shuttle bus provided by the Helsinki Tourist Board to Market Square, a major landmark near the city center and by the harbor edge. …

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Settling in on Oceania Marina’s Baltic Cruise

ABOARD THE OCEANIA MARINA — As much as we ‘d like to sleep through the first hours of our Oceania Marina Baltic Cruise, the lifeboat drill interrupting our nap has us fully awake. We might as well unpack before grabbing something to eat before sacking out again. Finding places to store clothing takes longer than normal since many of the drawers and shelves are not in the traditional places, near the closet. It’s a novel stateroom design, …

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