When we hear the word “cruise”, tropical, warm climates generally spring to mind. The South Pacific, Mediterranean, or Caribbean tend to be the first and foremost locations linked to this form of travel. While all of these destinations do have their many attractions, few realise the rich and exciting appeal and experiences awaiting those who embark on a Baltic cruise.
Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is just a short flight from the UK; other gateway cities to the Baltic are easily accessible from Europe. The Baltic Region is a treasure trove of Imperial and contemporary charm. As such, it is one of the fastest growing cruising destinations in the world.
The Baltic Sea is an inland sea, brakish in nature, and bounded by the northern mainland of Europe, the Scandinavian Peninsula, and the islands of Denmark. Countries with Baltic ports include Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. Many Baltic cruises are limited to the summer months, as during winter the sea ices over. The Baltic Sea is a smooth sailing destination, as it more closely resembles a lake than the open ocean.
The appeal of cruising the Baltic lies not only in its invigorating, fresh sea air and unique scenic offerings, but also in the majestic and quaint, historical and contemporary ports. These include:
- St Petersburg in Russia – visit the Imperial Palaces, Orthodox Churches, and the home of the world’s greatest art collection, The Hermitage. See the cellar at Yusupov Palace where Rasputin was poisoned., or the Summer Palace of Peterhof outside the city.
- Helsinki in Finland – for easy walking tours and strolling the markets, or visit the amazing Church in the Rock.
- Explore the archipelago of Stockholm to enjoy the summer sun and the plethora of activities on offer.
- Tallinn in Estonia – where you can literally step back in time and be charmed by authentic architecture and a slower pace of life.
The Baltic is perfect for the tourist as English is widely spoken throughout the region. Russia is the only exception to this rule, though many cab drivers speak limited English. St Petersburg is accessible and easy to get around; many cruises offer shore excursions with guides if this makes you nervous. Some of the ports are just a short stroll from the tourist attractions, while others are no more than a short shuttle ride away.
The only thing one needs to be prepared for when cruising the Baltic is that currency differs with each nation: The euro in Estonia and Finland; krone in Norway; krona in Sweden; kroner in Denmark and rubles in Russia. It’s suggested to buy local currency at your first port, then change as needed as you arrive in subsequent ports: this will usually guarantee the best exchange rates.
Next time you’re contemplating a cruise vacation, think outside the square and opt for a Baltic Cruise. You will experience a whole new corner of the globe and, most likely, will be the first amongst your peers to do so – you may just inspire others with your tales of the high seas when you return.
Scandi Travel will help you to organize your Baltic cruise.