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A voyage to the Baltic Sea is always an enticing prospect and this classic cruise itinerary is not to be missed. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore Scandinavian kingdoms and countries once locked firmly behind the Iron Curtain. With eight fascinating ports of call, including an overnight stay in St Petersburg, you’ll visit culture-rich cities with awe-inspiring architecture, and also have the chance to enjoy their musical and artistic heritage.
*The transfer service from Heathrow airport to London Tilbury Cruise Terminal; from the Cruise Terminal to the central London hotel and back to Heathrow airport is included in the tour price. If you would prefer to be picked up from an alternative airport or location, please contact us for additional mileage costs.
To enhance the enjoyment of your cruise, a program of optional shore excursions will be available at extra cost in advance of the cruise departure for pre-registration. Please note certain ports may only be accessible by the use of a smaller tender vessel.
The Columbus operates a cashless system on board and all incidental expenses will be charged to your account. The ship operates under a UK pound sterling currency policy and a gratuity of £7 per person, per night (approximately $10) will be debited to your account automatically.
You will be met at Heathrow airport for your transfer to the cruise ship (journey time approximately 1 hour 45 minutes). Check-in on the ship is normally available from 2pm. On arrival at London Tilbury Cruise Terminal, we board the Columbus and begin our journey, taking time to relax in our cabins or on deck and enjoying the use of the ship’s range of leisure facilities.
We cruise into Rotterdam where we have time to discover this diverse city with its absorbing maritime tradition and patchwork of architectural styles. Admire the sparkling skyscrapers and impressive port or visit the fascinating food markets.
After a day at leisure onboard, we visit the largest city in Scandinavia; capital of Denmark for over 600 years and home to the world’s oldest monarchy, Copenhagen is the most charming of Baltic cities. Beautiful parks and gardens, attractive 17th and 18th century buildings, grand castles and the elegant Amalienborg Palace – home to the reigning Queen Margrethe II, grace the city that is laced with a labyrinth of winding canals. Cafés and restaurants spill out of brightly colored townhouses onto the cobblestone streets in historic Nyhavn. The atmospheric waterfront area is a popular meeting place along with the world’s oldest entertainment park Tivoli Gardens.
We moor up in Warnemünde today, with the option of visiting Berlin by coach. Few cities have experienced so much change in recent years as Germany’s capital city of Berlin. Once divided, now reunited, the city is full of contrasts with a variety of historical and modern attractions.
After a day at leisure enjoying the facilities onboard, we arrive in Estonia’s capital of Tallinn, a fascinating mix of Scandinavian sleek, Soviet-era concrete and medieval Hanseatic city. Tumbling down Toompea Hill, the historic Old Town is a maze of narrow, cobblestone streets and alleyways, turrets and spires. Wrapped within the original medieval wall, which is studded with imaginatively named towers, the Castle, onion-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Town Hall Square and Gothic Town Hall survive along with the aura of the 14th and 15th centuries. Just outside the city Rocca al Mare is an open-air museum of Estonia’s rural architecture from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
We arrive in St Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 as his ‘Window on the West’. Drawing inspiration from Europe, the Russian Tsar and his successors created an extraordinary city on the banks of the River Neva with opulent palaces, ornate churches and splendid parks all part of the supremely elegant architectural ensemble. The magnificent Hermitage and its priceless treasures of art, grandeur of Catherine’s Palace at Pushkin and gilded fountains in the gardens at Peterhof illustrate the lavish lifestyle of Russia’s former ruling elite.
Finland’s capital is our port of call today. Helsinki is a vibrant, modern city, yet very much in harmony with the surrounding nature. Its centrepiece is the majestic Senate Square lined with elegant neo-classical buildings and the impressive Lutheran Cathedral with white Corinthian columns and five green cupolas. A striking exception to Helsinki’s general architectural style is the Russian Orthodox, onion-domed Uspenski Cathedral, which stands on a hill at the end of Market Square and dominates the city skyline. Built into solid rock Temppeliaukio Church is also somewhat unusual. Museums are plentiful with the National Museum of Finland, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Museum amongst the most notable.
We cruise to Stockholm today. Approached through an archipelago of some 24,000 islands and islets, Sweden’s stately and spacious capital is itself built on 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges. Founded in 1252, Stockholm grew up around Gamla Stan. The charming Old Town is a maze of medieval alleys and tiny lanes lined with 16th century buildings some of which feature wrought-iron signs symbolising ancient craft workers’ guilds. A delightful mix of parkland and forest, Royal Djurgården is Stockholm’s city park. The island is home to the magnificent Vasa Museum housing a salvaged 17th century Swedish warship that sank on its maiden voyage.
After a day at sea, we visit Aarhus. Situated on the Jutland peninsula’s east coast, Aarhus is Denmark’s second-largest city and proudly held the title of European Capital of Culture in 2017. Small yet scholarly, this town boasts architectural landmarks, an old harbour and impressive rooftop artwork – there is plenty to explore here.
After a day at leisure on the ship, we arrive back in London Tilbury where we disembark and are met for the transfer to our central London hotel. From here we have free time to explore Europe’s most exciting capital city and stay overnight.
You will be picked up from your central London hotel and transferred to Heathrow airport for your flight home.
The impressive Columbus cruise ship joined the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in June 2017 and combines all the benefits of smaller ship cruising with an impressive choice of dining options, lounges, activities and entertainment. Fully air-conditioned throughout, facilities include three restaurants and a bistro, seven lounge areas, six entertainment venues including a two-decked and tiered Palladium Show Lounge, a library, a shopping arcade and wellness centre offering a sauna and gym plus massage and beauty treatments (at an extra cost). Out on deck, there are two swimming pools and a large screen for outdoor movies and sporting events. All cabins are en suite with flat-screen TV, hairdryer, fridge and personal safe.