And now for something completely different for cruise fanatics. If you love cruising and have already visited the ports of Lisbon, Venice and Barcelona, you may be interested in taking in the sights on a Northern Europe cruise. Several cruise line companies offer itineraries varying in length taking, to some of Europe’s more northerly destinations such as the Baltic, Scandinavia and Russia. However some of the most popular cruises to northern Europe are offered by the Norwegian Cruise Line, winner of World Travel Award winner as “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line,” 11 times! The cruise line’s winning reputation may be the reason behind this.
Northern Europe may not have the sunshine and the climate of the Mediterranean or Caribbean, but some of Europe’s most fascinating cities are here and can be visited on one of the Norwegian Cruise Line itineraries. The company offers several different cruises, taking in such destinations as Russia, the Baltic ports, Iceland and Scandinavia. It’s an opportunity to view some stunning landscape scenery and to explore such ports as Tallinn, Reykjavik or Gdansk – destinations which aren’t on every traveler’s to do list but should be.
As an example, Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a nine day cruise to Scandinavia, Russia & the Baltic from the Port at Copenhagen. The itinerary includes a historic overnight stay for cruise guests in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and a visit one of the world’s most largest art collections housed at the Hermitage Museum. Saint Petersburg is often described as the Venice of the North with its canals and palaces. Other port destinations on this particular cruise include: Berlin (Warnemunde) (Germany); Tallinn (Estonia); Helsinki (Finland); Stockholm (Nynashamn) and the return to Copenhagen.
Northern Europe is home to some of the continent’s most exciting and picturesque cities. Stockholm is built on an archipelago consisting of dozens of islands and islets connected by bridges, and is known for its green spaces as well as its fresh seafood. The open air museum at Skansen on Djurgården Island is worth visiting, providing a snapshot of Swedish life 200 years ago before the onset of the Industrial age.
Tallinn was spared the destruction of World War II, and today, much of the Medieval Old Town is intact, making the Estonian capital one of northern Europe’s more appealing smaller cities. Highlights of a day spent here include a visit to Toompea castle and a walk around the centuries old city walls.
Reykjavik, Iceland’s modest capital is the most northerly capital city in the world, and although it makes a convenient base for some wonderful excursions. The city itself has plenty to offer visitors. Highlights include a dip in one of the many geothermal pools, and the view of the city and countryside from the top of the Hallgrimskirkja church tower is worth taking in.
Gdansk is Poland’s largest port and also boasts a largely restored Medieval center with narrow streets and squares surrounded by cafes and restaurants. The city’s shipbuilding trail gives you an insight into the industry that helped Gdansk to thrive.
But a northern European cruise itinerary is also a chance to experience some of the most dramatic scenery and experiences of a lifetime that the continent has to offer. A visit to the majestic fjords of Norway and the incredible Northern Lights is an unforgettable experience, and the port of Flam, a tiny village in the harbor of Aurlandsfjord a convenient gateway to the natural wilderness of the North. Highlights of a day spent here include not only the spectacular coastal scenery, but the Flam railway, aptly described as the most exciting in Europe.
Equally as impressive is the stunning scenery of Iceland, and many people have a trip to the mountains, volcanoes and glaciers of this island on their bucket list. There are many Icelandic excursions, but one of the most unforgettable has to be to the stunning waterfalls at Glymur.
Azamara, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Celebrity and Princess Cruises are some of the other cruise companies also offering itineraries to Northern Europe. Depending when booked, cruise lovers can find discounts on Northern Europe Cruises.