Sail on Viking Star, in Scandi-style all-inclusive small ship luxury, on a trip that does Scandinavia proud (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland) alongside Baltic gems. There are two days in St Petersburg, a day in
the Polish city of Gdansk and Tallinn in Estonia. Sightseeing tours are included in every stop, such as the trip to Berlin from the German port of Warnemünde with its jaunty seaside atmosphere.
GETTING THERE: Viking Cruises (0800 298 9700/vikingcruises.co.uk) has a 15-day Viking Homelands cruise from Bergen to Stockholm on Viking Star on regular dates from 1 May 2016, from £4,499pp (two sharing) including flights and excursions.
GOLF AND SAIL
Yes, you get to do the Hermitage and other wonders of the world, but this trip also lets you tee off on five of Europe’s great golf courses. There’s Ian Woosnam’s International near Amsterdam, the Robert Trent Jones II-designed Scandinavian near Copenhagen, Hirsala Golf Club in Helsinki, Estonian Golf and Country Club in Tallinn and Sweden’s Bro Hof Slott. Azamara Club Cruises’ mid-size ship luxury trip includes two nights and three days in St Petersburg plus nights in Amsterdam and Stockholm, and an included AzAmazing Evening cultural event on one of the stops.
GETTING THERE: Azamara Club Cruises (0844 493 4016/azamaraclubcruises.com) has a 12-night London to Baltic Voyage (Golf) cruise from Southampton to Stockholm on Azamara Quest on 11 June 2016, from £3,112pp (two sharing), all-inclusive, cruise only. Golf package £1,652pp, including transfers, lunch, drinks and parties.
This voyage combines sheer indulgence (Regent Seven Seas’ Voyager is one of the most luxurious cruise ships to be built) with an intellectual edge, right in the heart of the Baltic. It’s run in conjunction with the Smithsonian, with an expert speaker on the area from the University of Washington, Seattle. You get a full immersion in the region with three full days in St Petersburg, visits to Klaipeda in Lithuania, Tallinn in Estonia and even Riga in Latvia, with its historic UNESCO World Heritage Site centre rich in Art Nouveau architecture.
GETTING THERE: Regent Seven Seas Cruises (02380 682 280/rssc.com) has a 10-night Copenhagen to Stockholm cruise on Seven Seas Voyager on 12 September 2016, from £5,199pp (two sharing), all-inclusive, including flights and excursions.
This Holland America Line cruise on MS Prinsendam is like heading to the Baltic by the back door. Leaving Amsterdam you head north up the coast then down the River Elbe, cruising past charming villages, little beaches and grand hotels. There are two nights
in Hamburg, with its excellent waterfront full of museums, bars and galleries, before a day passing through the 60-mile Kiel Canal. You emerge at Travemünde (for a visit to the medieval German city of Lubeck) before heading on to Tallinn and a two-day stop in St Petersburg. And you get to do a sweep of Scandinavia on the way back.
GETTING THERE: Holland America Line (0843 374 2300/ hollandamerica.com) has a 14-night Kiel Canal and Baltic Explorer cruise on MS Prinsendam on 2 June 2016, from Amsterdam, from £2,300pp (two sharing), including flights.