Cruising the Baltic Sea: From Copenhagen to Stockholm
Experience the cultural rebirth of the Baltic States and the imperial riches of St. Petersburg on this six-country cruise aboard Le Boréal featuring a presentation by the former president of Poland, Lech Walesa.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
What an incredible journey! The Baltic Sea in surrounding countries have a rich history few of us realize. My eyes have been opened to the experiences of the peoples of this region through Smithsonian.”
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Experience the cultural rebirth of the Baltic States and the magnificent imperial riches of St. Petersburg on this spectacular six-country Baltic Sea program. Enriching presentations about the course of the region’s history will be presented, by special arrangement, by former President of Poland, Lech Walesa and guest speaker Sergei Khrushchev, son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Cruise for eight nights during the “White Nights of Summer,” with near-constant daylight, from Copenhagen to Stockholm. En route, discover the stunning architecture of Helsinki, revel in the medieval charms of Tallinn, a World Heritage site, and immerse yourself in the cultural renaissance of Gdansk. You’ll also explore Visby, a well-preserved walled city and World Heritage site evocative of the Viking Era. Spend two special days in regal St. Petersburg, featuring a visit to the world-acclaimed State Hermitage Museum and the Peter and Paul Fortress, and the World Heritage sites of Catherine the Great’s rococo palace at Pushkin and the gardens and palace of Petrodvorets.
Day 1 — U.S.
Depart the U.S.
Day 2 — Copenhagen, Denmark
Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark. Embark the deluxe Le Boréal and depart Copenhagen. (D)
Day 3 — Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden
Call at the Baltic island of Gotland, one of Sweden’s richest historical regions with more than 100 medieval churches. The marvelous Old Town of Visby, the Baltic hub of the Hanseatic League, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and arguably the best preserved medieval city in Scandinavia. See the 13th-century walls; the original medieval gates, towers and stone warehouses; the iconic Cathedral of St. Mary (the only one of Visby’s Gothic churches not in ruins today); and the small but spectacular botanical gardens that have drawn garden enthusiasts to this “city of roses” since 1855. This evening, gather for the captain's festive Welcome Reception and Dinner. (B,L,R,D)
Day 4 — Gdansk, Poland/Lech Walesa
The historic city of Gdansk features several examples of Poland’s finest medieval and Renaissance architecture. Walk past elegant patrician mansions featuring late Renaissance and Baroque façades in the Old Town and see the famous Neptune’s Fountain. Visit the 14th-century Artus Court, a meticulously restored Gothic guildhall that houses a fascinating collection of Polish art.
In 1980, workers led by Lech Walesa founded the Solidarity movement, the first independent trade union in Eastern Europe and the key factor in winning the Polish struggle against Communism. See the historic Lenin Shipyard and its Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers. By special arrangement, meet the leader of the Solidarity movement, former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa on board the ship this afternoon. Mr. Walesa will discuss his perspective on Solidarity, globalization and progress in the region with time for questions and answers. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Cruising the Baltic Sea
Cruise the Baltic Sea and enjoy a series of enriching lectures. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Tallinn, Estonia
Having largely escaped the ravages of World War II, Tallinn’s Old Town, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, has remained virtually unchanged for the past 600 years. During the walking tour, see Toompea Castle, the landmark Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the 13th-century Church of St. Nicholas. Visit the medieval Town Hall, the only intact Gothic-style hall in Northern Europe. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — St. Petersburg, Russia
Peter the Great founded the majestic city of St. Petersburg in 1703 as his “Window on the West.” Explore the city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose legendary landmarks are scattered across more than 100 islands linked by more than three times as many bridges. St. Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt, showcases exquisite examples of Russian Baroque and neoclassical architecture. See the beautiful Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (Church of the Resurrection of Christ), built on the site of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination, and the 19th-century St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with a striking golden dome that is one of the glories of the city’s skyline. Visit St. Petersburg’s first building, the Peter and Paul Fortress, constructed to secure the country’s access to the sea. See the impressive Baroque Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, containing the tombs of 32 czars, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs.
Later, see one of the world's greatest art repositories on the tour of the incomparable State Hermitage Museum, former palace of Catherine the Great and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The spectuacular collections are rivaled only by the museum's lavish interior.
The evening is at leisure. Attend an optional Russian folklore show performed in the Nikolaevsky Art Centre. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — St. Petersburg
Visit the imperial compound of Pushkin and Catherine the Great’s elaborate rococo palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, highlighted by a special visit to the extraordinary Amber Room. Then enjoy a lunch of traditional Russian specialties.
This afternoon, visit the extravagant parklands and Grand Palace of Petrodvorets, a UNESCO World Heritage site, commissioned by Peter the Great to rival Versailles. The elaborately landscaped grounds feature formal gardens and cascading fountains. Return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil, skimming over the Gulf of Finland. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki was named the 2012 World Design Capital for its use of innovative design as an effective tool for social, cultural, and economic development in the city. On the morning tour of Finland’s dynamic capital, see the old fortifications of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the stately Senate Square, lively Market Square, and the diplomatic quarter of Kaivopuisto. Visit the modernistic Temppeliaukio Church, or “Church of the Rock,” impressively hewn out of natural bedrock. Enjoy free time to explore Helsinki's lively Market Square before reboarding the ship.
This evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception. (B,L,R,D)
Day 10 — Depart Stockholm / U.S.
Be on deck as you cruise through the scenic Stockholm archipelago, the gateway to the magnificent "Venice of the North." Disembark and continue to explore the historic splendor and dramatic beauty of Stockholm on the Post-Cruise Option or depart for the U.S. (B)