I have just returned from my second Baltic Cruise and I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it! If you have yet to sail this part of the world then I hope by the end of this blog you will be booked on your first Baltic voyage!
My first visit was with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines last June and we called at all the big name ports: St Petersburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Kiel, Tallinn, and so on. It was one of the best cruises that I have ever been on! Each port offered something different and the scenery in some was absolutely breath taking – the Stockholm Archipelago is truly something else and the Kiel Canal is incredibly beautiful! The minute I left Braemar, I was looking at 2016 Baltic options – it really was that good!
Just a few weeks ago I boarded Saga Sapphire for a 16-night Baltic itinerary, and again, this part of the world did not disappoint me. There were some new ports for me this time too, including Rønne in Denmark, Helsinki in Finland, Saaremaa Island just off Estonia’s mainland, Riga in Latvia and Warnemünde in Germany. It too was fantastic from start to finish and I have once again found myself back on terra firma browsing itineraries to the Baltic in 2017. This cruising malarkey really is hard and costly work! 😉
I enjoy this part of our world so much because there’s a never-ending list of things you can do in each destination. I have been to one of the world’s oldest theme parks in Copenhagen, visited a disused prison in Tallinn, walked the floors of some absolutely incredible Palace’s in St Petersburg, and then sat and enjoyed beer and Currywurst at a bar in Warnemünde. Whatever you want to do, the Baltic has it! Some great beaches are open in the summer months too – ideal for taking a dip!
My advice for visiting this region would be to plan it all out. As I said, there are a million options of things you can do ashore, so always check-out what the cruise line is offering with regards to excursions, and then see if you can find anything else that you could maybe do on your own. One place I would definitely recommend, if you visit Tallinn, is the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour Museum. I have only seen it offered as an excursion once, but this is something you could easily do on your own. If you are fit, then it is within easy walking distance of the port, or I’m sure you could jump in a taxi for just a few euros if you wanted to go with the easier option. It is a fantastic day out, especially if you have a family of kids, as a lot of the exhibits are interactive. It is also right next door to the disused Patarei Prison, so you could even walk around there too, if you had enough time.
More of my Baltic Shoreside Recommendations:
St Petersburg – Peterhof Palace and Park (the gardens are an ABSOLUTE MUST!), Catherine Palace and Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood.
Denmark – Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid statue.
Tallinn – a walk around the Old Town, and I highly recommend you do this under your own steam – don’t book an organised tour.
Stockholm – First and foremost, get out of bed early and enjoy the sail through the archipelago. When you reach land, then you must explore the city – Stockholm is a real gem.
Warnemünde – For tours to Berlin. If you decide to stay in this seaside town then I suggest you explore every nook and cranny on foot, it is absolutely picturesque!
Many people assume the Baltic is going to be bitterly cold, and depending when you go, it can be a little on the chilly side, but during my visits (May, June and July) it has been far from “Baltic”. In fact, I can say I have experienced it all – sun, rain, wind, cold, and even hailstones, and a thunderstorm. It won’t stop me going back though. Definitely not.
So, in short, pack a little bit of everything, do your homework BEFORE you sail, check local currencies, go and have the time of your life!!!!
All images credited to Danielle Fear.