A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Take to the Baltic Sea on an eight-day cruise and discover the rich history and culture of its cities, from the design hub of Helsinki to the imperial treasures of St. Petersburg to the medieval Old Town of Tallinn.  

Starting at: $6,580 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The palace and fountains at the Romanov summer palace at Peterhof  Stockholm, Sweden  The fortifications of Suomenlinna, a World Heritage site near Helsinki  View of Finland's Helsinki from the water  View of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood from a canal in St. Petersburg  Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg  The magnificent interior of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg  Gallery inside the world-class Hermitage Museum  View of St. Petersburg from the Neva River, with the dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral  The magnificent interior of St. Isaac's Cathedral, St. Petersburg  St. Catherine's Palace in Pushkin  The turrets and spires of Tallinn's Old Town, a World Heritage site, in Estonia  Port in Tallinn, Estonia

Cruising the Historic Cities of the Baltic Sea

From Stockholm to Copenhagen Aboard the 184-guest Le Champlain

8 days from $6,580

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT

Take to the Baltic Sea on an eight-day cruise and discover the rich history and culture of its cities, from the design hub of Helsinki to the imperial treasures of St. Petersburg to the medieval Old Town of Tallinn.  

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Discover the rich history and culture of the Baltic Sea region as you cruise to some of northern Europe’s most intriguing cities. From Helsinki’s “rock church” to Catherine the Great’s Amber Room, encounter masterpieces of architecture and design. Step into the past in Tallinn’s well-preserved medieval Old Town and explore the legacy of the tsars during three days in St. Petersburg, exploring their awe-inspiring palaces, storied cathedrals, and impressive art collections. 

The Smithsonian Journeys / PONANT ExperienceEach cruise will be accompanied by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts. An excursion or activity is included in each port of call. You may have a choice of excursions in many ports, so that you can delve more deeply into subject areas of interest.  

Highlights Include:

  • Helsinki: Discover Helsinki’s renowned architecture and innovative design aesthetic on a city tour that includes Temppeliaukio Church, and meander through Market Square at leisure. Or take the ferry to Suomenlinna Island for a tour of its World Heritage-listed fortress, a stunning example of 18th- and 19th-century military architecture.
  • St. Petersburg: Explore the treasures of St. Petersburg on your choice of excursions. Enjoy special access to the acclaimed State Hermitage Museum, and see the famed Fabergé eggs. At Catherine the Great’s palace at Pushkin, marvel at the extraordinary Amber Room, then visit Pavlovsk, the summer residence of her only son. Or explore Peterhof, known for its exceptional gardens. You’ll have the chance to take in-depth tours of fascinating sites, including the Peter and Paul Fortress and St. Isaac’s Cathedral.  
  • Tallinn: Revel in the medieval charms of Tallinn’s World Heritage-listed old town, strolling down streets that remain virtually unchanged after 600 years. See historic churches and Toompea Castle, and visit the Town Hall, the only intact Gothic-style hall in northern Europe. Or delve into Estonia’s 20th-century history on a visit to Maarjamäe Palace, where an interactive exhibit traces the hardships of the Communist era.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Stockholm, Sweden

Arrive in Sweden’s magnificent “Venice of the North” and embark the ship. Be on deck as you cruise through the scenic Stockholm archipelago. (D)

Day 2 — Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki was named the World Design Capital in 2012 for its innovative use of design in stimulating an urban environment. Stand on deck as the ship approaches the city for the best view of the 18th-century maritime fortress of Suomenlinna, a World Heritage site.

On a city tour, visit the stately Senate Square and the modernistic Temppeliaukio Church, or “Church of the Rock,” impressively hewn out of natural bedrock. See the Sibelius Monument, dedicated to Finland’s greatest composer, and enjoy free time to explore the lively Market Square. Alternatively, take the ferry to Suomenlinna for a guided tour of its historic fortress. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — St. Petersburg, Russia

Peter the Great founded majestic St. Petersburg in 1703 as his “window on the West.” Enjoy a panoramic tour of its historic center, a World Heritage site, where legendary landmarks are scattered across more than 100 islands linked by more than three times as many bridges. Visit the 19th-century St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with a striking golden dome that is one of the glories of the city’s skyline, and see the imperial architecture of Palace Square. Across the Neva River, venture into St. Petersburg’s first building, the Peter and Paul Fortress, constructed to secure the country’s access to the sea. Here, you’ll  visit the baroque Peter and Paul Cathedral, which contains the tombs of 32 tsars, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs.  See the ornate Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (Church of the Resurrection of Christ), built on the site of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination, and drive along the city’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt, which showcases exquisite examples of Russian baroque and neoclassical architecture.

Alternatively, spend more time at two of the city’s most important churches on guided visits of St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. Delve into the fascinating architecture of the two buildings—deeply influenced by the politics of the day—and trace their tumultuous histories. Admire the details of the interiors, including perhaps the largest collection of mosaics in the world. (B,L,D) 

Day 4 — St. Petersburg

Tour the incomparable State Hermitage Museum during a specially arranged tour before opening hours. One of the world’s greatest art repositories, the World Heritage-designated museum  was founded in 1764 as a private museum of Catherine the Great. The collection now occupies four buildings, all connected to the magnificent Winter Palace, the former residence of the imperial family. View the Malachite Room, decorated with more than two tons of this deep-green ornamental stone, and marvel at exhibits of European art that span from the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Masters to the Spanish Golden Age and the Impressionists.

After lunch in the city center, you’ll have the choice to tour the Fabergé Museum, home to fifteen of the priceless eggs crafted by Peter Carl Fabergé—nine of which were commissioned by the Romanovs, Russia’s last royal family. Or enjoy an in-depth visit to St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. (B,L,D) 

Day 5 — St. Petersburg

Spend the morning on an excursion to Tsarskoye Selo, also known as Pushkin. Explore Catherine the Great’s elaborate rococo palace, a World Heritage site, with a special visit to the extraordinary Amber Room, which is said to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Then, savor a lunch of traditional Russian specialties. Continue to Pavlovsk, the summer residence built by Catherine for her only son, Emperor Paul I. See the vast forests and wildflower-covered meadows of Pavlovsk Park, one of the largest parks in Europe.

Or set off on a guided tour of the splendid parklands and the World Heritage-designated Grand Palace of Peterhof, an extravagant palace commissioned by Peter the Great to rival Versailles. Visit some of its delightful smaller palaces and the elaborately landscaped grounds, which feature magnificent formal gardens and cascading fountains. After lunch in the city center, embark on an in-depth tour of Peter and Paul Fortress and its cathedral. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Tallinn, Estonia

Having largely escaped the ravages of World War II, Tallinn’s World Heritage-designated Old Town has remained virtually unchanged for 600 years. During a walking tour of both the Upper and Lower Town, see Toompea Castle, the seat of Estonia’s Parliament; the landmark Alexander Nevsky Cathedral; and the 13th-century Church of St. Nicholas. See the medieval Town Hall, the only intact Gothic-style hall in Northern Europe. Step back in time at a medieval apothecary, and enjoy free time to explore the market on the grounds of the Dominican Convent.

Alternatively, delve into Estonia’s 20th-century history, from its establishment as a republic in 1918, through Soviet occupation, and to its Singing Revolution, which reestablished Estonia’s independence in 1991. Take a guided tour of Maarjamäe Palace, now a history discovery center, and learn the story of Estonia’s people over the past century. See monuments of communist leaders collected from all over the country, and visit the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. End your excursion with a walking tour of the most important sites of the Old Town(B,L,D)

Day 7 — Cruising the Baltic Sea

Spend the day cruising the Baltic Sea while enjoying a series of enriching lectures. Take advantage of the ship’s amenities, indulging in a spa treatment or getting a workout in the fitness center. Or simply savor views of the open from on deck. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Copenhagen

Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark’s world-class capital of great heritage and seafaring traditions. Disembark and depart for the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)