Together in Estonian dreams

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Was it the sun, was it too much of the local Saku lager; or was it the fact that I haven’t had a cigarette for two days? Whatever the reason, I thought I was hallucinating this morning.
Walking towards me, through the cobbled streets of Tallinn, were Elton John and Hot Chocolate’s Erroll Brown. The Rocket Man and You Sexy Thing, together in Estonian dreams?
It took me a moment to realise that they were in fact John Ellis and Kennie Simon, lookalikes whose tribute acts have been packing the Manhattan cabaret lounge on Azura this week. Along with thousands of passengers, they were taking the opportunity for a leisurely stroll around this quaint Gothic city, with its soaring spires, domed churches and ancient fortified walls.
Like me, they probably had a drink in one of the many bars around Raekoja Plats, the town hall square, before tackling the climb up toToompea Hill to look over the rooftops of old town to the modern skyscrapers which have sprung up in this increasingly prosperous port.
Going ashore in Tallinn is completely without hassle and bureaucracy, unlike tomorrow when we arrive in St Petersburg.
Here, a cursory glance at our cruise card – the one we use to unlock the cabin and to pay for our drinks on board – was enough to allow us through the port gates.
In Russia, we will have to produce passports, group visas and tour tickets just to get off the quay and onto the tour buses. Despite that, almost everyone will be going ashore at some stage – this will probably be the highlight of the cruise for most – and the staff in the tours department have been rushed off their feet selling more than 6,000 excursion tickets.
Azura is in St Petersburg for two days, and as well as daytime excursions to the Hermitage and the fabulous Tsarist palaces, there are evening trips to a Cossack folklore show at the Menshikov Concert Hall, and a performance of Swan Lake at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire Theatre.
After fascinating visits to Kristiansand, Stockholm and Tallinn, St Petersburg will mark the half-way stage of this Baltic cruise. Helsinki, Copenhagen and Oslo still lie ahead, together with a few lazy days at sea.
I’ll catch up with you again soon.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:27+00:00 31 May 2010|Cruise Destinations, Cruise Entertainment|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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