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A Voyage from Scotland to the Baltics
This 12-night cruise sails from Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, to Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. En route, you’ll call at a number of Northern Europe’s most delightful cities. Copenhagen, with its canals and acclaimed food scene, is the first stop after Scotland. Then you’ll travel back to the medieval golden age of the Polish city of Gdansk. Fast-forwarding ahead, Tallinn, Estonia, has emerged as one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, while three nights in St. Petersburg offer opportunities to immerse yourself in Peter the Great’s canal city. Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden, round out the trip.           

Best of all this Azamara cruise to Europe’s northern gems takes place at the beginning of August, when days are long and locals share an infectious and unbridled enthusiasm for summer that’s typical of those who also have to endure long winters.
  • Day 1
    Edinburgh
    Your cruise will depart from Edinburgh late today, at 8:45 p.m., giving you some time to explore Scotland’s capital before you head to your ship. The city famously offers two urban experiences in one—a juxtaposition that has earned it a place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The Old Town is a warren of twisting medieval streets with some of the world’s earliest “high rises,” as residents chose to build upwards rather than live outside the city walls. In the 18th century, developers created Edinburgh’s New Town, to the northwest of the city’s medieval heart. An orderly grid of stately Georgian buildings, with occasional small parks, the New Town remains a milestone in urban planning—and simply a wonderful neighborhood to explore on foot. If you want to spend more time getting to know Edinburgh, Azamara can arrange accommodations for a pre-cruise extension.
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    Day 2
    Day at Sea
    A day at sea is a welcome opportunity to enjoy the amenities aboard Azamara ships. You might indulge in a treatment at the Sanctum Spa, a lecture by a featured speaker, or a leisurely meal that incorporates the local flavors of the regions you are visiting—a key element of Azamara’s Destination Immersion program. With only 690 guests aboard each Azamara ship, you won’t face long lines however you choose to spend your day. But perhaps you’d rather bask in the comfort of the ships’ staterooms, all of which have been redesigned to offer guests a boutique hotel experience. We won’t judge if you spend the morning in a plush robe with a book or taking advantage of the upgraded onboard WiFi.
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    Photo By Kim Wyon
    Day 3
    Copenhagen
    You’ll arrive this afternoon in Copenhagen, one of Europe’s most appealing capitals. It has a cosmopolitan attitude and a typically Danish emphasis on designing inviting spaces. There’s an abundance of cozy candlelit cafés, waiting for you to walk in and order a beer or coffee.

    You can head out beyond the city this afternoon, however, with the Castles of North Zealand excursion. After passing Hvidøre Palace on the outskirts of the city, you’ll continue to Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, or Elsinor, in English—a name familiar to anyone who knows Hamlet. After some time wandering its grounds, you’ll continue to a charming countryside inn for a meal. Next you’ll visit Fredriksborg Castle. This Danish Renaissance masterpiece houses the country’s Museum of Natural History, though some rooms are still furnished with the antiques, paintings, and tapestries of its earlier royal residents.

    If you have spent the afternoon closer to your ship, you’ll be able to join the Cruise Global, Nights Local Series: Copenhagen Evening Canal Cruise this evening. You’ll also pass royal castles on this tour, namely Christiansborg, while getting a unique perspective on buildings from the Royal Library, nicknamed the Black Diamond, to the soaring gold-and-green steeple of the Church of Our Savior. The famous Little Mermaid statue is, of course, included on the cruise.
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    Photo By RayandBee
    Day 4
    Explore More of Copenhagen
    Tivoli Gardens, the world’s second-oldest amusement park still in operation, is as much about its world-class restaurants and beer gardens as it is about the rides. A stroll around the lake and landscaped grounds is also a journey around the world, with pavilions inspired by Japanese pagodas, the Taj Mahal, and even modernist Danish architecture. If you come late in the day, then you will see how thousands of electric lights create a glittering fairy-tale wonderland. Free classical concerts each day are an added draw.
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    Day 5
    Gdansk
    On your fifth day, you’ll arrive in Gdansk, Poland, at around noon. The Medieval Gdansk excursion traces the 1,000-year-plus history of the city, which was one of the most important members of the Hanseatic League. Among the sites you’ll visit are the Town Hall, Long Market, and the Palace of Artus Court, a 15th-century merchant’s home. St. Mary’s Church, also in the Old Town, has the distinction of being the world’s largest brick church.

    After you are done exploring the historic sites, you can drop into the Old Brewery for a glass of beer that was brewed following traditional techniques.
  • Day 6
    At Sea
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    Day 7
    Tallinn
    Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, has recently emerged as one of Eastern Europe’s most exciting cities led by a new generation of entrepreneurs. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, given that Tallinn’s roots as a trading center dates back centuries.

    The Tallinn Old Town with Beer Tasting excursion starts in the historic center, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. You’ll walk along the cobblestone streets and visit Palace Square and the Gothic Toompea Castle. You’ll then continue on to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church which glows with golden icons and stunning mosaics. Afterwards you’ll descend to the Lower Town where your guide will explain the long tradition of beer brewing. Estonians continue to take pride in their beers, and you’ll savor three of them with a traditional lunch. Afterwards, the tour concludes at the busy Town Hall Square, where you’ll be able to take some photos before returning to your ship.
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    Photo By David Orban
    Day 8
    St. Petersburg
    Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in 1703 to fulfill his vision of providing Russia with a window on the West. Part of his inspiration was found in Amsterdam and like the Dutch capital, St. Petersburg was built on a network of canals. The buildings along those canals, painted in white and pastels, seem to glow during the long summer evenings.

    An interesting, and often overlooked, aspect of the city’s history is the role that Jewish residents have played in shaping its culture. The Jewish Heritage of St. Petersburg excursion focuses on exactly that topic. You’ll enjoy lunch at the kosher restaurant, Lechaim, before heading to the Great Choral Synagogue. After a concert performed by the cantor and other musicians, you’ll meet members of the Jewish community and hear firsthand about everyday life and Jewish culture in Russia. Alternatively, the Two Days in St. Petersburg itinerary includes visits to key landmarks of the city and the surrounding area. Today, your guide will take you to the nearby town of Pushkin and Catherine’s Palace, one of the most impressive of the outlying royal palaces. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Hermitage Museum, the world’s largest art collection, located in the Winter Palace. You’ll then visit the Peter and Paul Fortress and the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral.

    This evening the Cruise Global, Nights Local series features a show of folk dances and songs—along with plenty of vodkas and traditional snacks—at Troika restaurant, a local institution famous for its elaborate interiors.
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    Photo By Jason Eppink
    Day 9
    Moscow
    While St. Petersburg has no shortage of sites, the Moscow and the Mysterious Kremlin by High Speed Train excursion is a chance to compare and contrast it with the city that replaced St. Petersburg as the country’s capital. You’ll board a high-speed Sapsan train and head south through the Russian countryside. Once you arrive in Moscow, you’ll visit Red Square and St. Basil Cathedral, with its onion domes. In Cathedral Square, you’ll visit all three cathedrals located there. A ride on the Moscow metro, with its ornate mosaic-filled stations, and a traditional dinner will round out your day before you catch the train back to St. Petersburg.

    If you opted for the Two Days in St. Petersburg tour, you’ll spend today visiting the Grand Palace of Peter the Great, which rivals Versailles in its opulence. After a tour of its various halls and the throne room, you’ll visit the Lower Gardens with its many fountains overlooking the Gulf of Finland. At the end of the day, you’ll continue to the neoclassical Cathedral of St. Isaac, the country’s largest cathedral with capacity for up to 14,000 worshippers.
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    Day 10
    The Palaces of St. Petersburg
    The Tsarskoye Selo: Catherine Palace and Park tour visits one of the world’s most spectacular royal residences, the palace constructed for the wife of Peter the Great in the town of Tsarskoye Selo, now better known as Pushkin. The lavishly decorated rooms are rivaled by the 1,400 acres of grounds with their pavilions, marble bridges, Chinese pagodas, and a shimmering lake.

    Another highlight of the palace is the recreation of the Amber Room. Often called the Eighth Wonder of the World, the original Amber Room disappeared in World War II. This precise recreation took more than two decades to create.

    Alternatively you can visit the Faberge Museum. Located in the Shuvalov Palace, the museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works of arts. Its most celebrated items are nine bejeweled Imperial Easter eggs, commissioned by the last two tsars. They embody the opulence of the final years of the Romanovs’ rule.
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    Photo By Visit Helsinki/Ewan Bell
    Day 11
    Helsinki
    Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is a famous capital of design—the home of architect Alvar Aalto and Marimekko, among many others who have shaped the tastes of the world. It’s also a city that embraces the outdoors, whatever the weather. The combination of the two creates a singularly stylish and appealing place to visit.

    While you are in Helsinki, you’ll have an opportunity to get out on the water on the Kayaking in the Finnish Archipelago excursion. But first, you’ll take a look at some of the most famous landmarks: the Cathedral, Presidential Palace, and the city’s fleet of icebreakers. A guide will explain the basics of kayaking before you explore the islands of the Helsinki archipelago while admiring its remarkable bird life and learning about its ecosystem and history.
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    Day 12
    Stockholm
    This morning your ship will pull into Stockholm, Sweden. The best place to start exploring the capital is in medieval Gamla Stan on the Royal Palace and Old Town excursion. You can admire the palace’s grand façade and then tour its opulent interiors still used for official functions. As you explore the twisting, narrow lanes, you’ll pass by the city’s cathedral and arrive at the Great Square, where the Old Stock Exchange today houses the Nobel Museum. After the end of the tour, you can continue exploring Gamla Stan’s boutiques, museums, and restaurants.

    Stockholm’s historic buildings become especially magical when they are illuminated against the summer night sky. The Cruise Global, Nights Local Series presents an Evening Glimpse of Stockholm, which passes landmarks including the Parliament Building, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, and the Opera House before continuing on to the island of Djurgarden, site of the Skansen Open Air Museum and the Vasa Museum. The tour concludes at Kakn Astomet, the city’s television tower and tallest building. You’ll enjoy a glass of sparkling wine as you soak up the view.
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    Photo By Stockholm-Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
    Day 13
    Another Day in Stockholm
    On the final day of your cruise, you’ll visit Stockholm’s most visited site on the Vasa Museum and City Hall excursion. The enormous Vasa warship was constructed in 1628, and then promptly sank on its maiden voyage. The ship was located in 1961, remarkably preserved in the cold waters of Stockholm’s harbor. The museum covers the history of the ship, but also Sweden’s history as a maritime power and the challenges of preserving this enormous artifact. Afterwards you’ll visit Stockholm’s City Hall, one of the most distinguished examples of the national romantic school of architecture and also the site of the annual Nobel Prize Banquet.