Escape the Heat: Cold Weather Cruises

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The idea of summer is idyllic. In reality – it’s too hot. We complain when it’s cold, and we complain when it’s hot – but if we didn’t, would we still be British? While summer might be the fan favourite with plentiful opportunities to lie in the sun, get a tan, stroll down the beach with ice cream in hand… for others, summer means sweat, sunburn and discomfort. There are fewer things more unattractive than sharing space with hot, sweaty, half-naked bodies and the irritating hum of the air-con.  

Queue the welcomed introduction of cold weather cruises; the time to let that brisk breeze stroke your face and cool air soothe your sinuses. Experience some of the most spectacular parts of the globe whilst cold-weather cruising, we’ve taken a close look at Alaska, Baltic and Norwegian Fjords.

Alaska

alaska-cold-weather-cruise

Jaw-dropping gorgeous scenery; vast, beautiful landscapes and breathtaking glaciers; Alaska is known for being ‘too beautiful to describe’. If you’re into nature, you’ll love cruising here. Explore the snowy mountains, crystal clear lakes and blissful remote environments. Due to its vastness, there’s a great deal of diversity, vibrant culture and its renown for picturesque, historic townships. 

Highlights

  • Head to the capital, Juneau by air or sea to see whales and dolphins
  • Incredible wildlife such as orcas, American black bears, reindeer, moose, polar bears and more!
  • Enjoy amazing, fresh Alaskan crab and seafood 
  • Loads of winter sports and activities, like snowboarding to try out!

Things to do and see

  • Wildlife, or glacier cruises where you can watch whales glide their way through the water
  • Skiing or snowboarding
  • Glacier trekking
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and white water rafting
  • Hiking and mountaineering
  • Flight-seeing (helicopter over the national parks)
  • Explore the national parks
  • You must eat the fresh Alaskan salmon; try some reindeer, king crab and freshly picked blueberries

Top Tip: When cruising to Alaska, make sure to attend some of the onboard lectures in the theatre. I know, when you imagine yourself on holiday, a lecture hall is the last place you’d think you’d be seen. But these lectures are a real treat – rangers come on board whilst the ship sails through the glacier bay. The rangers will educate you all about the area, the wildlife, how glaciers evolved, and whether they’re advancing or retreating and so much more! 

Baltic

baltic sea cruise

Cruising the Baltic Sea is a truly diverse cruise experience. Whilst you might think of the Nordic area as being too cold, and mostly dark, you’ll be mistaken. During the summer months, the mercury soars and you’ll be benefiting from long hours of daylight than in the Mediterranean and the perfect temperatures from May to September.

Highlights

  • Colourful capitals and hidden-gem cities, which are rich in culture, home to phenomenal historic architecture and contemporary design
  • Known for being home to some of the world’s oldest monarchies and youngest democracies
  • Stumble across magnificent castles, craftsmanship and spectacular nature
  • Check out the Northern Lights, the Midnight Sun, shop-til-you-drop and enjoy the tastes of world-class dining, festivals and fairy tales. 

Things to do and see

  • St. Petersburg: Russia’s ‘Window to the West’ is all about magnificent art, architecture and palaces. Must-sees are the Hermitage art museum and either the Peterhof or Catherine palaces. If you have time, check out a Russian ballet at the Grand Old Theatre, eat ‘borscht’ (beetroot soup), ‘pirozhki’ (stuffed buns) and ‘pelmeni’ (dumplings) then wash it down with vodka! Don’t leave without buying a Russian doll!
  • Copenhagen: famous for its Danish flair and fashion boutiques and interior shops. This is where historic charm meets modern design; check out the candy-coloured townhouses along Nyhavn canal, the fairy-tale turrets of the Rosenborg Slot and the vintage allure of the Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
  • Stockholm: one of Europe’s prettiest cities. The capital of Sweden is spread across 14 islands. Stockholm is one-third water and one-third green space. Explore by foot or bike and check out the National museum (entry is free), Hellasgården’s lakeside sauna, the open-air club – Trädgården and sunbathe at Hornstulls Strand.
  • Tallinn: the perfect Medieval town. Tallinn is Estonia’s fairy-tale town. Littered with towers, mighty walls, church spires and domes. Head to the town square (Raekoja Plats) to find the Gothic town hall and ancient pharmacy. Expect country cooking filled with pork, beef or game accompanied by berries and mushrooms. Visit St Catherine’s Passage to watch artisans making ceramics, jewellery and more! 
  • Helsinki: the place to enjoy Finnish good taste. Simple, beautiful glassware and textiles, traditional food in restaurants and markets. Taste reindeer, elk, arctic char, lingonberries and cloudberries.
  • Berlin: three-hours from Warnemunde. The city of reformation, history and magnificence. Whether you want to explore the museums, memorials and historical landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie and the remnants of the Berlin Wall, or check out something a little different, like the Liquidrom (futuristic German spa), you will not be short of things to do, see, eat and experience in Berlin! 

Top Tip: Although you can sail from the UK, you’ll end up with a lot of days at sea. Save time by flying to allow more time to sweep out to various cities which can save you days of travel. The further east you fly, the more time you’ll save, and more cities you’ll be able to visit heading west. Make sure to pack a jumper for some chilly evenings, too! 

Norwegian Fjords

Explore a truly unique part of the world, filled with spectacular views and the wonderful culture of Scandinavia. There are more than a thousand fjords in Norway, but cruise lines will have you experiencing the most iconic and picturesque spots, where you will feel blissfully secluded. You’ll be surrounded by magnificent cliffs towering over the majestic blue saltwater lakes and see how her long arms reach deep inland and often intertwined with each other and back into the sea. The most important part of the fjords and surrounding areas are what they represent; the images of Norway’s past. A time when people lived as farmers in impossibly steep and rocky surroundings, harvesting from blossoming fruit trees and herding sheep. The landscapes seem wild and untamed, but the fjords are easily explored solo or as part of a guided tour. Small villages spread throughout the glacier walks and mountain hikes. 

Highlights

  • The fjords are part of World Heritage, granted in 2005 by UNESCO for their “exceptional natural beauty… derived from their narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1400 metres from the Norwegian Sea.”
  • Mountains, waterfalls, villages and city walks
  • Many historical sites
  • Several national parks, self-service cabins, staffed lounges, wild animals and visitor centres
  • In 2006, National Geographic created a panel of experts to rank and reward the most popular World Heritage sites and the Norwegian Fjords claimed victory! The Fjords beat Egypt’s pyramids, the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu and Galapagos! 

Things to do

  • Combine activities and landscape; easy hikes or uphill walks with rewarding views from the top
  • Kayaking, SUP (stand up paddleboarding), rafting
  • Glacier hiking, rock climbing
  • Guided fishing tours on the sea, fjords and lakes
  • Go skiing all year round in the Sunnmøre Alps
  • Swimming in the fjords
  • Find remnants of old buildings, art, folklore and open-air museums and Viking vestiges

Top Tip: #1 We recommend cruising at the beginning or end of the summer season – this is where you’ll find the best deals and ships won’t be too busy. #2 Make sure to pack sensible items: waterproof jacket, jumpers and appropriate shoes for exploring! But also pack summer dresses, skirts and shorts – temperatures can soar as well as plummet. #3 Bring a decent camera if you can – the scenery, views and sights – you will never forgive yourself for not savouring the sights forever! Finally, #4 try to book a balcony cabin – there are amazing views, constantly that you will not want to miss!

Whichever cold destination cruise “floats your boat”, you’ll most certainly experience breathtaking scenery, unforgettable experiences and most importantly some time away from the blazing heat! Give us a call on: 0161 938 9140 to speak to one our sales advisors, today!

Norwegian kayaking

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About Author

Darcy Alexander

Darcy is a writer and blogger, with a passion for travel. When she's not exploring somewhere new, or writing about her experiences, you'll most likely find her on the field-hockey pitch, or indulging in a good book!

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