Tour: "Best of Stockholm"Vendors:
Holland AmericaNobel Museum
for lunchWhy Selected?
Since the ship is too large to come into the Stockholm Cruiseport and the travel time into the city from Nynasham is 1 hour, it was prudent to use the ship's tour and not worry about getting back on time.Tips/Tricks:
Selecting the ship's tour worked out well; we heard of others who were unable to tender from the ship until 11 am because the ship had to change locations and then, after the train ride, had very little time left to spend in the city. Our highest recommendation is to choose the Nobel Museum for lunch; you can sort of look around without paying an entry fee (the tour's lunch break isn't long enough to justify a museum entry) and the sandwiches are fresh but ready-for-purchase. When we bought two they brought out a few more to sell in just a few minutes. The Nobel Sundae (large "gold" coin in chocolate is a feature of the confection) is fun; it's in all Asian guide books we learned but otherwise not well known. It's a replica of a popular dessert served at Nobel Prize Dinners.
It is a good idea to have some Kroners to pay for food; at the ice cream stand by the Vasa we noticed they took other currency but were very slow in figuring out how to exchange it into Kroners. If the day is hot you'll be delighted to purchase ice cream just to the right of the line into the Vasa! It's behind the hot dog stand that faces the street where you exit your bus.Serendipity:
Choosing the Nobel Museum for lunch; you'll see it there on the old town square where your guide will drop you for 40 minutes or so of free time. See Tips/Tricks, above, for details. We chose it mostly by chance; it seemed less crowded and our time to eat was very short—we were quite behind because of a very long wait to entrance into the Vasa.Comments:
HAL sent many busloads of tours into Stockholm and while itineraries varied, it seemed that all went to the Vasa Museum
. The ship's tours there weren't evenly spread out over the day; we heard of groups that were at the Vasa early and got in quickly; there were 4 HAL groups when we were there plus many other tour and school groups; wait time to enter the building was over an hour in a hot, shadeless sun. By then I wasn't much inclined to enjoy the Vasa but it is an interesting situation that created these displays. The stop at City Hall was much better; we went there first before other groups arrived in such numbers and the room where the Nobel Dinners are held is very impressive. The Royal Palace wasn't as good, I thought; after seeing St. Petersburg palaces this ranked very much lower. Few rooms were open to us and those that were are sequentially placed with entrances/exits through each other so groups were exiting behind you from rooms further down the line while you tried to listen to the guide.
The bus trip in and out of the city is enjoyable and scenic.
This was the one tour that we did where the group had to stay together and listen to lectures from guides rather than exploring on your own. I'd rather explore on my own but City Hall wasn't set up for that; you could leave the group if you liked at the Vasa but our guide clearly wanted her group together. Nevertheless, many of us chose to explore individually there. Old Town (and lunch on your own) was self-paced; due to the Vasa delay we had only about 40 minutes for this entire stop.