Baltic

The Baltic Sea is one of the fascinating areas in the world – with a rich history, an unspoiled nature in a safe and secure environment. Take a Baltic Sea cruise and you'll soon discover that the capitals of the Baltic still retain an imperial air about them and combine old-world charm with a thriving contemporary arts and entertainment scene. Each with their own distinctive allure, these remarkable cities have architectural styles that span the ages. The jewel in the Baltic crown, St. Petersburg with its treasure filled Hermitage is an undeniable highlight of any Baltic cruise, though many other riches lie elsewhere; in Tallinn's medieval architecture, Stockholm's smattering of islands and perhaps, most surprising of all, in Kristiansand's great beaches.

Featured Ports

Arhus, Denmark

Aarhus has many activities to offer. Each year in late summer, the city centre and parts of the harbour are turned into one large festival. Aarhus Festuge, which the festival is called, has almost become a national event as it attracts people from all over. Each year there is a new theme around which a large number of cultural activities are planned. During this week the city is filled with stalls, outdoor cafés, concerts, street theatre … and loads of happy people.

Big attractions in Aarhus include ARoS, Aarhus Museum of Art, the Old Town, which is an open air museum and Moesgaard Museum, which is an archaeological collection in idyllic surroundings.

Cadiz (seville)

To taste the true flavor of this ancient port city, one should stroll its seaside promenade, pausing to rest beneath the huge banyan trees. The narrow, winding streets of the old town fan out from the port, leading you to sunny, palm-lined plazas. Visit the Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral), begun in the early 1800s but not completed for 116 years. Its dramatic, golden dome rises over a striking interior. For those who enjoy people-watching as much as sightseeing, the seafood restaurants along the eastern edge of the port provide the ideal setting.

Cartagena, Spain

Cartagena offers a rich cultural legacy from the days of its Roman, Muslim and Arabic rule.

Cartagena is a city full of monuments, with many archaeological sites and outstanding buildings of historical interest, together with the charm of the sea and the typical bustle of a port city. Its wide municipal territory also include part of the famous holiday resort La Manga del Mar Menor, part of the Mar Menor coast and several protected areas of natural beauty near the coast.

Cherbourg, France

The town is pastille-bright in the resonant 1964 musical "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," which marked the major-film debut of Catherine Deneuve. The real-life town of Cherbourg is no less a delight. Visit Place General de Gaulle, where cruise travelers can find great cafes (try an assiette de fruits de mer) and good people-watching. Shop the boutiques on rue Tour-Carree and rue de la Paix. Hike up to Fort du Roule to explore the grounds and catch the view toward England. Then stop by the Musee de la Liberation for a bit of local history.

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

Step off the cruise ship, linger at a sidewalk café in the early evening and take in the pageant: the taste of your cappuccino, the kiss of warm air, the immaculately attired locals just getting their evenings started. Rome is nicknamed the Eternal City, and rightly so, for the array of icons – the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Castel Sant'Angelo, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica – and for the role it played shaping the Western world. But there is perhaps a less-recognized genius in the way the city embraces the sensual side of life, as if to acknowledge there's no eternity like the present.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, the royal capital of Denmark with over 1.1 million inhabitants (Copenhagen Metropolitan Area), is one of Europe's oldest and most wonderful capitals. The city's location in the most dynamic region of Northern Europe, the resund Region, makes a visit even more exciting. On your cruise to Copenhagen, you can step into Amager Square and be in the heart of Copenhagen's venerable gabled facades and the carnival of humanity eating, drinking and seizing the day. Built on a series of islands, Copenhagen balances tradition and kinetic energy, while all the while the Little Mermaid statue keeps a thoughtful watch on the harbor.

Dover (London), England

Its white cliffs face the European continent at the narrowest part of the English Channel and have long been a semaphore of welcome and farewell. Welcome! Cruise visitors can comb the littoral beneath the great cliffs or explore Dover Castle in town, and journey into London. From its founding by Rome more than 2 millennia ago, the city has become a global center of almost everything: history, theater, art, architecture, literature, sports, business, fashion, and rock and roll. Today, it is the world in microcosm, from the Titians at the National Gallery to the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum to the 300-plus languages you can hear as you walk the city streets.

Flam, Norway

The Aurlandsfjord would be a magnificent fjord in its own right, with its glassy waters and snow-frosted peaks towering more than 3,000 over the water. What's even more humbling is that the fjord is just an arm of an even longer, more massive one – the Sognefjord. That fjord is the longest in Norway, but your cruise will make the turn south, for Flam. The cliffs crowd ever closer as you near the village and when you get there, it seems there's nowhere to look but up. The town is lovely; the countryside is creased by rivers and waterfalls, and mantled in meadows. Take a ride on the legendary, and steep, Flam Railway.

Gdansk, Poland

On the Bay of Gdansk and the Baltic Sea and alongside the delta of Poland's longest river, the Vistula Gdansk is a thousand year old city that has become a cosmopolitan and economic center in recent years. Set against the hills and lakes of the Swiss Kashubian district, the city's meandering lanes, lovely vistas and historic old city hold surprises for everyone. Take in a panoramic view from Mt. Kamienna, or tour the two museum ships in the harbor: the frigate Dar Pomorza and the destroyer Blyskawica. The Tricity, a term for the vibrant tourist center offers everything from lowland sandy beaches to the soaring cliffs over the Bay of Puck, and an abundance of flora and fauna. The Gdansk History Museum offers a variety of exhibits, and neighboring Wrzeszcz includes a 19th-century brewery and a settlement of workers cottages to explore.

Helsinki

If you've been to St. Petersburg and find yourself with a sense of déjà vu on a cruise to Helsinki, it's not your fault, since the city's neoclassical buildings often stood in for St. Petersburg in Hollywood films. The sensation won't last long, though -- Helsinki's identity and vision are sui generis. From its inauspicious origins in the mid-16th century, the city has come into its own with genius and bold humanity, winning kudos for having the world's best quality of life. Strewn across numerous islands along Finland's tasseled southern coast, Helsinki is a green metropolis, where architectural visions segue easily into prolific park spaces and ocean vistas.

Kiel (Hamburg), Germany

A university town, naval base, and Germany's largest passenger port, Kiel offers the perfect blend of urban charm, culture and history. Kiel also serves as your gateway for Hamburg, a beautiful port city on the Elbe River. Spend a delightful day exploring St. Michael's baroque church, the St. Pauli District, and the gardens and cafés around Alster Lake.

Klaipeda

Klaipeda is a city in Lithuania situated at the mouth of the Dane River where it flows into the Baltic Sea. It is the third largest city in Lithuania and the capital of Klaipeda County. The city has a complex recorded history, partially due to the combined regional importance of the Port of Klaipeda, a usually ice-free port on the Baltic Sea, and the Akmena – Dane River. Storks, symbol of the Baltics, nest atop houses, and parks and gardens back the coastal beaches as Klaipeda awakens from its Soviet slumber; a count's palace houses an amber museum.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon was for many years Europe's main portal of debarkation for the rest of the planet. Ships captained by Portuguese explorers like Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan skittered across the globe, hauling treasure home and making Lisbon a global capital. So it's appropriate to arrive by ship. Cruise to Lisbon, situated on a wide bay where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic, and the white facades of its ancient neighborhoods lead uphill to the iconic Castelo de São Jorge. Other landmarks include the World Heritage Sites of Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, both built in Lisbon's native Manueline architectural style.

Portland

Portland offers a unique combination of Maine's rich history and its own vibrant culture. Local artisans offer their handiwork along the streets of the Arts District and the Old Port Exchange. Colorful boats line the shores of Casco Bay, and wonderful freshly cooked seafood abounds in this charming seaside town. A little slice of history, a larger slice of superb scenery and a seasoning of designer label bargain-packed factory outlet shopping - Portland in Maine has all the ingredients for the perfect New England cruise call.

Portland is the ideal place just to go wandering. From the restored waterfronts eclectic mix of pubs, restaurants, galleries and arty-crafty boutiques to the fascinating Victorian architecture of the town centre, it is as relaxing as it is entertaining. Just along the rugged coast at Cape Elizabeth is the worlds oldest permanently-operating lighthouse - the 18th century Portland Headlight. As you might expect, the views are just spectacular.

Riga

Riga is the gem of the Baltics. It is situated at the mouth of the Daugava, on the shores of the Gulf of Riga on the Baltic. Riga has an ancient history and rich cultural heritage. As Riga has always been located at a juncture of trading routes, it is a multicultural city which means there are things to see here: a weekend in Riga is a great way to gather new impressions and to relax. Stroll crooked 17th-century streets, taking time out for Latvian pumpernickel bread and hops-fragrant beer on famous Pils Square.

Rostock (Berlin)

The city territory of Rostock stretches for about 20 km (12 mi) along the Warnow to the Baltic Sea. Rostock, the almost 800 year old Hanseatic town, has retained much of its original charm and today has a historical center with typical north German brick architecture. The largest built-up area of Rostock is on the western side of the river. The eastern part of its territory is dominated by industrial estates and the forested.

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Rotterdam is a city of many faces: a tough port city, a trendy nightlife city, a sophisticated shopping city, and a hip artistic city. Above all, Rotterdam is the architecture city that stimulates innovation. Its skyline is always changing. There are many things to do amid Rotterdam's skyscrapers. You can go on a shopping spree, enjoy some excellent food, and visit a range of museums and attractions in and around the city centre.

The best-known museums in town and two of Holland's most sophisticated museums, Boijmans van Beuningen and Kunsthal, are located on the Museumpark in Rotterdam. Elsewhere in the city you will find even more museums and exciting attractions, such as the Scheepvaartmuseum shipping museum, Euromast, Hotel New York, Spido and Steamship Rotterdam. If the cultural offering doesn't convince you, the huge and varied shop offering will.

Rotterdam has so much fun, excitement and beauty to offer that you can easily lose your way. Fortunately the city also has many, many terraces and cafés where you can relax and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. In the evening, you can enjoy dishes from around the world in one of Rotterdam's many restaurants.

St. Petersburg

One of the world's most beautiful cities, St. Petersburg has all the ingredients for an unforgettable travel experience: high art, lavish architecture, wild nightlife, an extraordinary history and rich cultural traditions that have inspired and nurtured some of the modern world's greatest literature, music, and visual art. From the mysterious twilight of the White Nights to world-beating opera and ballet productions on magical winter evenings, St. Petersburg charms and entices in every season.

The city is a treasure chest of glittering domes, baroque palaces, and elaborate churches. A cruise to St. Petersburg lets you immerse yourself in the city's cultural immensity. The Hermitage alone could overwhelm you. One of the world's great museums, it houses works by Titian, Dutch and Flemish masters, Michelangelo and Matisse, and the Peacock Clock. Ensconced in Catherine the Great's Winter Palace, the museum is as evocative as its collection.

Stockholm

Down along the east-central coast of Sweden, where the littoral bulges out into the Baltic, where Lake Malaren sprawls, not quite sure whether it's a lake, a river, or the sea, there's Stockholm. The city, spread across 14 islands, exists as both a world capital of and a meme. A cruise visit to the city uncovers the genius you might expect, manifest in the city's parks, waterways, and urban design. But there is also something more. Stockholm was designated a European Green Capital in 2010 and has become a global leader in sustainable urban living. So as you walk the streets and whistle softly at the view, consider you may be witnessing the birth of something hinting at the future of the planet.

Tallinn

Toompea, the old town, is a thicket of turrets, spires, and onion domes that overlooks the rest of Tallinn and the Gulf of Finland. Legend says the limestone outcrop is the burial mound of the Estonian king Kalev, while geology claims the area first emerged from the surrounding land about 10,000 years ago. No matter. From its start as a trade link between Russia and Scandinavia and rise as a member of the Hanseatic League trade alliance, the city today has been ranked as one of the top 10 digital cities in the world. That should make it easy to send pictures home of the local sights – and not just Toompea. See All-linn (the lower town) on your cruise. It's brilliantly preserved.

Vigo, Spain

Vigo (Spain) is the largest city in Galicia and one of the main engines of industry and innovation in the region. Noted for its architecture, landscapes, and the National Park Cies Islands with one of the best beaches in the world.

From this village, make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostelo, one of Christianity s holiest cities. As you may elect to do, many pause at the grand Hotel of the Catholic Kings and attend a censer service at the enormous cathedral built over St James' burial spot.

Visby, Sweden

Visby is a walled town with roses, ruins, narrow cobblestone streets, a wide range of cozy restaurants and pubs, markets and of course the town wall itself: Visby was formerly a Hanseatic town in Sweden. Discover the beauty of this medieval town in Sweden. The town of Visby in Sweden was in 1995 chosen by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. Big, sandy beaches and breathtaking medieval architecture make this red-roofed island town one of Sweden's most beloved resorts.

Warnemunde (Berlin) Germany

There's something about this particular bit of marshy woodland on the Northern European Plain that has engendered the best and worst in the human soul. Berlin was the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and reunified Germany. It has long been a world capital of art, culture, and architecture. It is also the highlight of many a European cruise. Abounding in such riches, Berlin is full of overwhelming choices. Try starting with the icons and follow your instincts – the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, or the Jewish Museum, whose jagged architecture will leave you shaken and moved.

Ystad, Sweden

Ystad is part of the beautiful region of Skane in southern Sweden and a terrific base from which to discover its culture, traditions, historic sites and vibrant towns, cities and nature.

A half-timbered medieval town so perfectly preserved you could find your way to the city center using the old town map from 1753. There find museums, boutiques, art studios, ancient monasteries. Ystad is now famous around the world because of fictional inspector Wallander. The town really is as attractive as it is portrayed in the films and television series, with its medieval, pastel-coloured half-timbered houses on cobblestone streets and sun-dappled squares.

Zeebrugge (Brugge/Brussels)

Zeebrugge is a village on the coast of Belgium and a subdivision of Bruges, for which it is the modern port. Zeebrugge serves as both the international port of Bruges-Zeebrugge and a seafront resort with hotels, cafés, a marina and a beach.In Zeebrugge's old fish market area, along the old quays, you will find lots of fish restaurants, fish stores and enjoyable pubs. The maritime theme park "Seafront Zeebrugge" extends in and around the building of the old fish market. Seafront Zeebrugge is especially famous for its real Russian submarine, which can also be visited.

Best time to Visit

April - September