Spend less than 350€ in total for a 5-day cruise trip, visiting Russia with free visa and include stopovers in Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia)
advantage and drawback of PM2AM
personal experience of joining the trip in detail with pictures
PM2AM is a German student agency which offers different tours like a day trip to Paris or even trips including accommodation. The main characteristic of their trips is tailor-made for students: economical but with plenty free time for participants to explore the cities on their own. I have joined their Christmas cruise trip and here is their itinerary:
Itinerary of PM2AM cruise trip
You could search for Visa-Free Cruise: St Petersburg, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn if you are looking at the tour same with mine one. The tour is not limited to Christmas time but once a month.
The advantage of joining the tour
They offer different pick-up points for the transit bus from your city to the port of departure. You don’t have to arrange the transportation yourself, which is quite convenient.
Although the meals are not included, the package is economical for a Christmas trip! My stop was in Mannheim and it costs less than 330€ for the cruise trip, which included all transportation, accommodation and even a student tour guide. They won’t charge you for any extra fees and you are not required to give them any tips. Additional services like a hop-on-hop-off bus in St.Petersburg is optional and they won’t force you to buy a ticket.
It’s fine if you join the tour alone. It was my solo trip but everyone here is super easy-going. PM2AM is designed for students so there are many international students joining the tour. (Ps. Most of them are Asians)
I was meeting Donghee, and her friend, who studying in Frankfurt on the way to Stockholm. I usually hang out with Rosie, Yuan Jing and his friend for sightseeing. Once I was getting a delay because of They detained my passport! /St.Petersburg, Russia. I was talking to Annu and glad to join her, Sagar and their friend in St.Petersburg. Later, Oanh brought us to the local fast food store in St.Petersburg.
I feel comfortable to stay in my cruise cabin. My roommates Cristy, Cathe, and Achic are from Eauqutor. It was so embarrassing because I don’t know their country haha But they are super friendly and we went party every night on the cruise. *** I should learn Spanish haha
Fruitful experience of the trip
The trip covers the way to Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn and even St.Petersburg. It is rare for us to visit some of the countries like Tallinn, the cruise trip offer us a convenient way to visit these countries at once. The itinerary is tight and time is fully utilized due to limited free time.
Drawbacks of the trip
Uncomfortable bus seat
The price is decent for students to travel during Christmas to Northern Europe and Russia. The tickets are all sold out and the coach is full. The seat is narrow when you compare with flixbus. The bus from Mannheim to Stockholm takes 16 hours usually but since they have other pick-up points and break in between (as well as the traffic jam), I spent the time in the coach from 15.30 to 15.30 hahaha
The longest duration of my bus trip is to Paris, which took 8 hours. I can have two seats to lay down so it wasn’t really a problem. However, it is fully packed for PM2AM trip and I am quite surprised that they do not have wifi onboard. Even for the plugs, it’s a USB charger only. I was planning to take a cruise so I didn’t consider other aspects of the trip much.
I would say the situation would be better if you travel directly from Stockholm or some places nearer like Amsterdam. Since the Stockholm harbor has ferry services to Baltic cities like Riga or Tallinn, you may plan a longer trip after taking the cruise.
The schedule is not well-informative
As for the cruise, we had interchange and took two cruises (Galaxy +St.Petersburg Line) throughout the trip. The details are not mentioned in the itinerary as you can see. It was quite tiring to take a whole day bus and get onboard to the vessel for one night only. You have to repack all your luggage at 6 am on the following day.
We packed our stuff for a few times
It’s fine if you have a hand luggage only. I didn’t find difficulty in packing and repacking stuff because I brought 2 sets of clothes only haha.
Additional expenses for food
As mentioned above, basically all the meals are not included. During the day, you could buy food or eat in a restaurant during the sightseeing time. The choice of food is wide and flexible.
However, we have to eat on the cruise for dinner. The price is varied but it costs 15-20€ per person. Since everyone is eating on board, a prior appointment is required for every restaurant. As for the snack package provided by PM2AM, it’s a pack of juice with chocolate and little cake.
they will list out the detailed information of the facilities onboard
You could bring your own snacks like potato chips and chocolate pies to the trip and buy some food during the sightseeing time.
limited city sightseeing time
Similar to other cruise trips, there is limited time for city sightseeing. You would have 5-6 hours for visiting each city only, Since we visited a new country every day, it is quite time-consuming for the process of passport control.
You could make good use of the maps prepared by PM2AM. They have listed out all must-see attractions with a route, which is well-informative and easy to understand.
It really depends on why do you want to join the cruise trip. I would recommend the trip if you want to experience a cruise trip. However, it is not wise to join the trip if you are looking for exploring new places. The time is quite limited so the schedule is less flexible.
**My bus mate Rosie shared with me her experience of joining another cruise trip in Greece organized by PM2AM. She would strongly recommend that trip because they include all transportation and even meals at a decent price! The arrangement is better for that cruise too, like they arrange people from different floors to get off the vessels separately, so others could stay in their rooms while waiting.