russia, st. petersburg, tsar, imperial
The spectacular gardens of Petrodvorets, outside St. Petersburg

Changing Tides of History: Cruising the Baltic Sea

Jun 20 - 29, 2014
Explore the history of the Baltic countries during a cruise aboard the deluxe M.S. Le Boréal
Starting at $6,995
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Overview
Experience the cultural rebirth of the Baltic States and the magnificent imperial riches of St. Petersburg on this remarkable six-country Baltic Sea program. By special arrangement, enjoy a rare opportunity to hear an enriching presentation by former President of Poland Lech Walesa. Cruise for eight nights under the spectacular “White Nights of Summer” aboard the deluxe M.S. Le Boréal. Enjoy two days exploring regal St. Petersburg, including an early-opening tour of the world-acclaimed State Hermitage Museum and a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Cruise the Baltic Sea from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Stockholm, Sweden, with an excursion included in every port. En route, immerse yourself in the cultural renaissance of Gdansk, Poland; revel in the medieval charms of Tallinn, Estonia, and Visby, Sweden, both UNESCO World Heritage sites; and discover the stunning architecture of cosmopolitan Helsinki, Finland. Complement this enlightening cruise with the five-night Norway Pre-Cruise Option and two-night Stockholm Post-Cruise Option.

Don't forget to check out our photo slide show to glimpse the excitement of this special program!
View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at top of page!

Itinerary
Day 1 & 2 - U.S. and Copenhagen, Denmark

Depart the U.S. Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark, embark the deluxe M.S. Le Boréal and depart Copenhagen. Join the Captain for a special Welcome Reception and Dinner. (R,D)

Day 3 - 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. (B,L,D)

Day 4 - Day at Sea
Cruise the Baltic Sea and enjoy a series of enriching lectures. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - 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 6 - 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.

By hydrofoil, skim over the Gulf of Finland to visit the splendid parklands and palace of Petrodvorets, a UNESCO World Heritage site, commissioned by Peter the Great to rival Versailles. The grounds are elaborately landscaped and include formal gardens, fountains and cascades, as well as the extravagant Grand Palace.

The evening is at leisure. Optional opportunities are offered to attend a ballet performance held in the Hermitage or Palace Theater, or a Russian folklore show performed in the Nikolaevsky Art Centre. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - 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.

See one of the world’s greatest art repositories on the tour of the incomparable State Hermitage Museum, former czarist palace of Catherine the Great and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The spectacular collection is rivaled only by the museum’s ornate interior. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - 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, and visit Sibelius Park, where Eila Hiltunen’s remarkable sculpture honors Finland’s most beloved composer, Jean Sibelius. Enjoy a private concert in the prestigious Sibelius Academy.

This evening, join your travel companions for the Farewell Reception on board the ship. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 - Visby, Sweden
Call at the Baltic island of Gotland, one of Sweden’s richest historical regions with more than 100 medieval churches and numerous prehistoric sites. Walk through the pedestrianized Old Town in Visby, “city of roses and ruins.” This former Hanseatic city gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995 for the well-preserved 13th-century walls that fortify its perimeter, still interspersed with medieval gates and many of the original towers. See houses from the Middle Ages along the cobblestone streets, the iconic towers of the Cathedral of St. Mary (the only of Visby’s old churches still in use today) and the small but spectacular botanical gardens that have drawn garden enthusiasts since 1855. (B,L,D)

Day 10 - Stockholm/U.S.
Disembark the ship in Stockholm and continue on the Post-Cruise Option, or depart for the U.S. (B)

* Pre- and Post-Program Options and Optional Excursions are available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.

All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.



*Optional excursions are available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.