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Cruising Scandinavia’s Capitals

Vikings held great respect for the Baltic Sea. Those daring Norse explorers, the first to conquer the Atlantic, would boldly cross the Baltic waters in knarrs, long, high-walled wooden vessels, slicing through the waves with the wind in their beards. And they would smile—huge, toothy grins. From the tip of Norway, around Denmark, past Sweden, and up to Finland, they would smile. For the Baltic, coastlines shine like treasures in your eyes, and the bays and inlets beckon to all seafarers a hearty welcome.


The legendary enjoyment in cruising the Baltic lives on, magnified by majestic cities that now occupy the banks. Intrepid cruise lines retrace the old Viking routes, allowing you to crest the deep waters, conquer seaside villages, and pillage for exotic treasures during an exciting, whirlwind tour of Scandinavia.

Cruising the Baltic Sea allows you to taste the many flavors this unique region of the world has to offer. Every day will bring a new adventure, whether it’s browsing the elegant shops of the Stroget during an overnight stay in Copenhagen, sailing along the scenic fjords of Oslo, visiting the incredible Vasa Museet museum in Stockholm, or investigating the historic Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki’s Senate Square.


To get fitted for your Viking helmet and conquer these mysterious lands, you should visit your trusted travel agent’s office. Travel agents know the ports well, along with tricks to book the best shore excursions. They can even dispel the myth that Scandinavia is a bitterly cold destination, knowing full well that the warming effects of the Gulf Stream create relatively mild winters, comparable to New England.


Of all the Scandinavian capitals, the kingdom of Oslo is the oldest and the coziest, a provincial city with a touch of glitter sparking from the royal palace still in the heart of town. Situated at the tip of a 60-mile fjord, Oslo is beautifully framed by a vast expense of woods, moors, and lakes, while the city’s interior is wonderfully decorated with a blend of 19th-and 20th-century architecture adorned with woodcarvings and vibrant frescoes.


Visitors to Norway’s capital flock to the 9th-century sea vessels at the Viking Ship Museum, while photographers race to snap pictures of the distinctive statues at Vigeland Sculpture Park. Others enjoy a spectacular view of the city and the fjord from Akershus Castle, a cliff-perched fortress originally built-in 1300. The present structure dates mainly from the 17th century and features quaint buildings and beautiful grounds.


Sailing south down the Kattegat Strait, the next port of call is Copenhagen, an elegant city abounding in history and tradition. Cathedrals and canals, castles and crown jewels, galleries, and museums—sightseeing is a special gift in this city. With a full day off the ship, you should head straight to Tivoli Gardens, a unique combination of picture-perfect gardens, lakes, and more than 100,000 colored lights.


Afterward, take a stroll along the water down Langelinie Promenade, skirting the 300-year-old citadel near the celebrated statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid. The photogenic Mermaid is not shy, so have your camera ready. The city’s famed canals—which you can enjoy from a sightseeing boat, your own kayak, or simply a waterfront café—truly frame this fairytale of a city in charm and beauty.


It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to appreciate the stunning grace of Stockholm. Often referred to as “Venice of the North,” Sweden’s capital is blessed with beautiful islands laced by an intricate system of waterways and bridges, snuggled between a freshwater lake and the sea. Gabled houses lean out over narrow alleys in the old town, while just blocks away a magnificent 17th-century palace overlooks the wide harbor. From your cruise ship, head straight to the Gamla Stan for shopping and then visit the Vasa Museum, home to the world’s oldest preserved ship.

Helsinki is an elegant city of spectacular architecture, beautiful gardens, and parks that border the harbor. The heart of Helsinki is the bustling market square, also known as the fish market. Let yourself be drawn to Havis Amanda, the stunning mermaid statue and fountain just west of the fish market. The statue was designed in 1908 by Finland’s most beloved artist, Ville Vallgren. Also known as Manta, it is commonly regarded as the symbol of Helsinki, if not all of Finland.


To experience just one of these cosmopolitan cities is a dream. To visit them all while in the pampered care of a luxurious cruise ship is divine. Contact your trusted travel agent today and discover the Viking spirit within you. Your agent can even expand your itinerary, adding additional destinations like St. Petersburg in Russia, Tallinn in Estonia, and Gdansk in Poland.


Enjoy a cruise on the Baltic Sea and open up a whole new corner of the world.


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