Saga offer a sixteen day cruise on the Pearl II to the explore the far flung reaches of the Baltic Sea, voyaging right into the Gulf of Bothnia, northern arm of the Baltic, which stretches north between Sweden and Finland. Visit this region during the white-nights of summer, and explore the culture and staggering natural beauty of this more remote region of the Baltic. Travel off the usual tourist track to explore some of these backwaters, and you will feel that you have made the discovery of a lifetime.
Facilities on board ship:
The Pearl II is smaller than many other cruise ships on the Baltic Sea, which is why you are able to travel off the beaten track and go to smaller ports in the Gulf of Bothnia. It does however have all the top-notch facilities you would expect on a cruise liner.
After leaving Dover, the ship first calls at the Kiel Canal, Germany before heading north across the Baltic Sea to the first stop on the Gulf of Bothnia.
This ‘town of roses and ruins’ on the island of Gotland, around 60 miles from the Swedish mainland, is a well-preserved mediaeval port and reminder of the wealth garnering power of the Hanseatic League.
Mariehamn is the capital of the beautiful Aland archipelago, often referred to as the ‘islands of peace’. Here you can wander between the linden trees and historic wooden houses to see the various Imperial Russian and Scandinavian influences that went into making this pretty town.
Situated on Finland’s west coast, Rauma’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring many neo-Renaissance style buildings, wooden houses and the Church of the Holy Cross.
Vaasa stands at the narrowest part of the Gulf, and it is no surprise that this town blends Swedish and Finnish culture and language. It is the largest town of this coast of Finland and is spread over two islands.
Kemi is a modern town, best known for an ephemeral piece of architecture – a snow castle, which is built anew every winter. Other attractions include the Sampo icebreaker ship, and the Gemstone Gallery.
This industrial port is sometimes called the ‘metropolis of the north’. Tour the town, and see the Boden fortress. If you are looking for something a bit different, why not meet a Sami family, and learn more about their culture.
Umea offers access to the untamed north of the country. You can take an art and culture tour of the city, or head out and catch a glimpse of Elkand other wildlife to the North.
Hudiksvall is the oldest town in North Sweden, and offers an excellent insight into the history and heritage of Sweden. The people are said to be very friendly and welcoming here too.
The ship then calls at the staple port of many Baltic cruises Copenhagen, before it makes its last stop before returning to Dover at Ijmuiden, for Amsterdam.
Exploring all of these ports will have given you a strong sense of Scandinavian maritime history, and will help you better understand the shared history and trade routes that have made the city ports of the Baltic Sea what they are today.