The Baltic Sea is bounded on one side by the coast of Sweden, beyond which lies the Scandinavian Peninsula, and on the other by mainland Europe. One excellent way to see the various different countries that lie round the sea is to take a Baltic Cruise.
- Booking a Baltic Cruise – the Basics:
There are a range of operators running Baltic Cruises leaving from the UK and other ports of Northern Europe. Almost all of the main cruise companies now offer Baltic Cruises, and increasingly, in the last few years, have been putting their largest and most modern flagships on the job, replacing the older models which used to be used on the route. For mainstream deals, try Norwegian, P&O, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Costa, Celebrity or Holland America. Luxury lines also commonly voyage to the area, including Cunard, Azamara, Crystal, Silversea and Seabourn. More and more, a Baltic Cruise is being viewed as a fascinating alternative to a Mediterranean Cruise. Some lines have seven night cruises, but more common are 10 to 14 night voyages. In years past, the cruise season for the Baltic used to just be the mid summer, but cruises now run from May to September, and you are more likely to find a good deal in the less busy times in the early and late season. Be aware that Baltic Cruises are very port intensive, so are perfect if you are interested in getting off the ship, seeing the sights and keeping busy.
- Main Destination Ports of a Baltic Cruise:
The point of embarkation for Baltic Cruises is often Stockholm or Copenhagen, although Dover and Southampton are both also common departure points. Depending on the length of the cruise, and its operator, a Baltic cruise will often stop at some of the following: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Riga. Longer cruises may add Gdansk, Hamburg, or one of the Norwegian fjord ports like Stavanger.
Exotic sailings include those on smaller vessels that are foraying into the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland, where historic towns and cities, and the Finnish archipelago form a variation on the usual Baltic fare.
From the museums, galleries and trendy streets of Oslo, to the strikingly pretty old town and Palace of Stockholm; from the charming canals and winding streets of Copenhagen to the white-nights of summer in colourful St. Petersburg; from the avant guard Helsinki to the varied and beautiful historic architecture of Tallinn and Riga, you are bound to be awestruck by the picturesque ports of the Baltic.