Sailing from the Baltic to Britain

Sailing from the Baltic to Britain

From GBP £7,445

Description

Exploring the Baltic by small ship is the most perfect way to visit this endlessly fascinating corner of Northern Europe. The history of the region is intriguing, with countries vying for commercial and political influence for over a thousand years and this complex past will be brought to life by our onboard Guest Speakers and informative local guides, helping us to gain a greater understanding of both old and new Baltic nations.

Our trip is certainly one of the most comprehensive, visiting as it does Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands before ending in the UK. We will spend time in the charming Scandinavian ports before arriving in St Petersburg, surely the most endlessly fascinating of all Baltic ports. Our three full days here will be spent exploring Peter the Great’s magnificent city as well as venturing out to some of the fabulous country estates on the Baltic shores. We will visit some relatively new states with their charming Medieval old towns, especially striking are those of Tallinn and Riga where the old and new flourish like never before since the departure of their Soviet masters.

With over twenty five years of operating cruises in the Baltic, we believe we have the perfectly balanced itinerary combining visits to the “must see” sights with some of the more remote ports and islands such as the Estonian island of Saaremaa and the islands of Christianso and Bornholm, places only accessible by a small ship like the MS Hebridean Sky.

Trip Name
Sailing from the Baltic to Britain
Days
17
Overview
Vessel Type: Expedition Length: 90.6 metres Passenger Capacity: 118 Built / Refurbished: 1992 / 2016 The MS Hebridean Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island Sky and MS Caledonian Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world. Formerly known as the Sea Explorer, the vessel underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in Sweden in Spring 2016 before being re-launched as the MS Hebridean Sky. Your Suite. On board there are 59 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites. All feature a sitting area and fourteen suites have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht. The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views with suites on the Scott and Shackleton Decks featuring private balconies. Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring vanity unit with sink and walk-in rainfall shower, large wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a minifridge, flat screen television and a telephone in each suite. Refillable water bottles, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Additional facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries and individually controlled air-conditioning and heating. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be. The beds in each suite can be configured as twins or double with the exception of suite 601 and 602 which feature fixed double beds. The impressive Hebridean Suite, located on the Shackleton Deck consists of a separate bathroom and sitting room with extra large balcony stretching the length of the suite. Additional benefits of booking this marvellous suite include complimentary mini-bar stocked with your preferences and complimentary laundry. Your Space. The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Hebridean Sky include a large lounge on the Byrd Deck featuring a selection of seating options from individual armchairs and sofas to side cushioned benches. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in The Lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. In addition to the Lounge, there is also The Club, located on the Mawson Deck which features the main bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The Club also offers a 24-hour tea and coffee station. Towards the aft of the ship on the Mawson Deck is The Library which is well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a selection of essential reads. A collection of games and devices to access the internet via the ship’s satellite can also be found in the library. Access to the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi via your own device is complimentary on board (signal strength varies depending on location and demand). The Dining Room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Amundsen Deck and is a bright and charming setting to enjoy the delicious meals on board. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Scott Deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Whilst heaters and blankets make dining al fresco comfortable in cooler climates. Further to this, on the top Shackleton Deck there is an observation area which offers a fantastic platform for spotting wildlife complete with deck furniture, ideal for relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. You will also find a clinic and Doctor on board and a lift that serves all decks. Additionally there is a small hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your Dining. It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board our Sky vessels when you are cruising in far-flung corners of the globe, indeed it takes a team of highly talented chefs to deliver fresh, varied dishes no matter where you are at sea. Fortunately, our catering teams are well adapted to the world of small ship cruising where no two days are the same and the menus are often scheduled and tailored around the days’ excursions. With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine on board is of a consistent superior quality that befits such vessels. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Such purchases enhance the well-stocked larders and enable the chefs on board to exhibit their culinary skills and bring a local touch to the varied menus, emphasising the international expertise of the chefs on board. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapés take place every day in either the comfort of the Lounge or out on the Lido Deck when the weather is favourable. Tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day. Special diets can be catered for with sufficient notice. In keeping with the informal atmosphere on board, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like-minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals and there is also a comprehensive wine list with a wide selection of new and old world wines from which to choose. The onboard catering and restaurant staff are experienced at sea and enthuse a passion for superb service. Whether it be ensuring you have an outdoor blanket as you enjoy the crisp sea breeze on the Lido Deck or sharing their knowledge of the characteristics of the days’ wine selections, you will experience a service on board like no other. You may also enjoy sumptuous barbeques on deck whilst at times, the chef will make your dish to order at special pasta or stir fry stations. For Your Comfort. The MS Hebridean Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. During your voyage we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and Doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to a specific area on deck. Life Onboard. If large resort-style vessels accommodating many thousands of passengers are your ideal, then our ships are not for you as you will not find endless entertainment, round the clock buffets and the people management which is so much a part of today’s big ship on board style. However, if like us you prefer a more peaceful life at sea you will find our flagships the perfect vessels. When choosing your next voyage the choice of vessels is astounding. You can select a ship carrying in excess of 4000 passengers with impersonal service or join us aboard the MS Caledonian Sky, MS Island Sky or MS Hebridean Sky where peace, high quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day. We promise there will be no organised entertainment, fancy dress, deck games or any of the usual big ship experiences. Instead, the atmosphere is warm and convivial and more akin to a private yacht or country hotel in which you can learn more about the wonders of nature, culture and ancient civilisations in the company of like-minded people. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, Guest Speakers and informative port briefings from our Expedition Leader or Cruise Director and of course good food with wine included at lunch and dinner, all contribute to make any voyage aboard these wonderful vessels a memorable and joyful experience. After a day ashore you will return to the comfort and peace of an exceedingly comfortable ship. The daily programme on board is in the capable hands of our Cruise Director or Expedition Leader and staff who coordinate with the Captain and Officers to make the most of each day. Briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage together with a ‘Daily Programme’ that is distributed every evening to your suite outlining the next day’s activities. Dress on board is casual and relaxed and there will be no ‘black tie’ evenings.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 - Stockholm, Sweden.
Arrive in Stockholm and make your way to the MS Hebridean Sky. Enjoy Welcome Drinks and Dinner on board and moor overnight.
Day 2 - Day 2 - Stockholm.
This morning we will enjoy a guided city tour which includes the Vasa Museum, built around the 17th century warship which sank in Stockholm’s inner harbour on her maiden voyage in 1628; its discovery in 1956 and subsequent salvage in 1961 is one of the most important events in marine archaeology. In addition to the well-preserved, elaborately decorated hull, thousands of items from the ship, including hundreds of sculptures, have been recovered. On our return to the MS Hebridean Sky we will drive through old Stockholm and past the Parliament Building and Royal Palace which overlooks the inner harbour. Be on deck this afternoon as we sail through the many islands of the Swedish archipelago into Stockholm. This is a great sailing area and the islands are peppered with attractive summer homes.
Day 3 - Day 3 - Helsinki, Finland.
Enjoy a morning at sea and this afternoon a guided city tour of Helsinki will take us to the colourful Market Square, the President’s Palace and the impressive architecture of Senate Square including the Lutheran Cathedral of Finland and Uspenski Cathedral. We continue to the Sibelius Monument and the impressive Temppeliaukio, the church in the rock, before returning to the vessel in the late afternoon and setting sail for St Petersburg.
Day 4 - Days 4 to 6 - St Petersburg, Russia.
We have the luxury of three days to explore this most endlessly captivating of Russian cities. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, St Petersburg is a fascinating mix of classic and Baroque architecture on a network of canals. We will be offering a number of tours during our time here including visits to the Peter and Paul Fortress, the wonderful Peterhof Palace and gardens, the fascinating Hermitage Museum, Catherine’s Palace at Pushkin and a canal cruise through the city. In your free time you may wish to join the optional excursion of Yusupov’s Palace, the famed scene of Rasputin’s murder, or attend a Folklore show. For anyone wishing to visit the ballet one evening we will be able to assist with bookings once the schedules for the theatres are released, we hope to send details of this 12 weeks prior to departure.
Day 5 - Day 7 - Tallinn, Estonia.
After a morning at sea we arrive in the historic maritime city of Tallinn with her awe inspiring city walls and fortifications, narrow Medieval streets and the gateways which remain remarkably well preserved. In the Upper Town we will enjoy the views from Dome Hill with the extraordinary vista of domes, spires and gables and see Toompea Castle, once a fortress, and now the seat of the Estonian parliament. Walking to the Lower Old Town we will visit the main Square where we will find the oldest pharmacy in Europe, the Gothic Cathedral and the 15th century Town Hall.
Day 6 - Day 8 - Saaremaa.
Just before breakfast arrive at Estonia’s largest island which offers a glimpse of a bygone age. Untouched by industry it is a green and very pleasant land dotted with attractive villages in a rolling forested landscape. During a morning drive we will visit the lovely capital Kuressaare with its magnificent Medieval castle and stroll through the streets of the enchanting old town. Continue inland on a journey that will take you back in time through a countryside of stone walls, thatched roofs, traditional villages and windmills. Return to the vessel and relax on board or out on deck as we spend the afternoon at sea.
Day 7 - Day 9 - Riga, Latvia.
This morning we will explore Latvia’s capital by foot. Founded in the 13th century it became one of the most successful trading cities of the Baltic. Visit the Old Town with its Medieval streets lined with Hanseatic warehouses and punctuated with Gothic and Baroque churches including St Peter Cathedral, the largest Medieval church in the Baltic. Spend an afternoon exploring independently before we set sail for Klaipeda.
Day 8 - Day 10 - Klaipeda, Lithuania.
Founded in 1252 by the Teutonic Knights of East Prussia, Klaipeda was annexed by Hitler in 1939 and almost destroyed towards the end of World War II. Arriving in the afternoon, we have a choice of touring options. You may wish to head into the countryside where we will experience village life and visit the Memorial Museum dedicated to Lithuanians sent to Siberia or who fought against the Soviets during the Cold War years. Alternatively, take the scenic drive to the Zemaitija National Park, home to Lake Plateliali and surrounded by dense forest. It was in these forests that, during the Cold War, the Soviets hid their first nuclear missile base directed at all the major European cities. Our tour will visit the Cold War Museum located in the former Soviet missile base. We will visit the bunkers, see the control centre and learn more about the weapons held at the site and their evolution.
Day 9 - Days 11 & 12 - Gdansk, Poland.
We will spend a day and a half in this charming city. Gdansk’s 1000 years of history have left a collection of buildings and monuments designed in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Upon arrival we will leave the city and enjoy a full day tour to Malbork Castle and a journey on the Elblag Canal. The 13th century Malbork Castle belonged to the Teutonic Order and at the time was the largest castle in the world. Over the years it has been used as a royal residence as well as a fortress and was renovated after being damaged during World War II. The 80 kilometre Elblag Canal is a wonder of engineering designed in 1860 to connect East Prussia with the Baltic Sea. The challenges of the 100 metre difference in water levels between Bruzno Lake and Piniewo Lake was solved by a series of slipways, locks and dams with boats being carried across dry land on rail mounted trolleys. We will take a boat trip along the canal before returning to the ship in Gdansk. The following morning enjoy a city tour where we will walk along the cobbled streets of the Royal Way in the old quarter and view the elaborate architecture, including the 15th century merchant’s palace of Artus Court. Also see the pride of Gdansk, Gothic St. Mary’s, which is the world’s largest brick church, accommodating some 25,000 worshippers.
Day 10 - Day 13 - Christianso & Bornholm Island, Denmark.
During breakfast we arrive at the tiny island of Christianso, the easternmost part of Denmark. Using Zodiacs to land, explore the area independently and perhaps visit the old fortress of King Christian V and learn about the island’s past including its history as an island prison. Today, it is a very special and peaceful place where eider ducks appear everywhere and on the bird sanctuary of Grasholmen, thousands of herring gulls, razorbill and guillemot breed. Over lunch we sail to neighbouring Bornholm. Peaceful and scenic, Bornholm Island is a mixture of wheat fields, forests and an attractive coast dotted with fishing villages. On an island drive we will see a 12th century round church and visit the town of Gudjem where we can sample the smoked herring. Also see Hammerhaus Castle offering fantastic views of the island’s rugged coastline.
Day 11 - Day 14 - Wismar, Germany.
The Medieval town of Wismar was a major trading centre of the Hanseatic League in the 14th and 15th centuries before coming under Swedish rule in the 17th century for approximately 200 years. Today the small, photogenic city is a lovely place to explore the cobbled streets and picturesque old harbour. It is also our base for a visit to one of Germany’s most decorative castles in Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg. After a relaxing lake cruise we will visit the grand residence of the former Dukes of Mecklenburg gaining an insight into the ancestors and royalty of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania. While here, enjoy viewing the lovely painted oil canvasses and admire intricate wooden carvings and inlays in this fairy-tale castle museum. We return to the ship for lunch followed by an afternoon at leisure in Wismar.
Day 12 - Day 15 - Kiel Canal Transit.
Early this morning we begin our transit of the historic 61 mile long Kiel Canal and sail from the Baltic into the North Sea. Kaiser Wilhelm I set the first foundation stone in place on June 3, 1887 in Brunsbuttel, and the final stone was laid by Kaiser Wilhelm II on June 21, 1895, in Holtenau. Today, the Kiel Canal is one of the busiest man-made waterways in the world. Depart the canal in the early afternoon and spend the afternoon cruising.
Day 13 - Day 16 - The Hague, Netherlands.
This morning we will call into the port of Scheveningen and visit The Hague, the Netherlands’ third largest city. A stately, regal place it is filled with mansions, green boulevards and parks and some of the most stunning palaces and museums. On our tour this morning we pass the Peace Palace and explore the historical Binnenhof on foot. Also visit the delightful Mauritshuis Museum, the unique 17th century palace that houses “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” and “The Goldfinch” as well as many other world famous paintings by the Dutch Masters. Return to the MS Hebridean Sky for lunch and this afternoon discover the small fishing port of Scheveningen at leisure. Spend a few relaxing hours exploring the area or simply walking on the beach.
Day 14 - Day 17 - Dover, UK.
Arrive this morning. Transfers will be provided to London Heathrow and London Victoria Coach Station at a fixed time.
Day 15 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £7,445Amundsen Standard Suite
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £7,645Byrd Superior Suite
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £9,345Amundsen Standard Sole
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £9,645Byrd Superior Sole
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £10,145Shackleton Hebridean Suite
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £7,945Mawson Premuim Suite
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £8,245Mawson Corner Suite
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £8,645Scott Deluxe Balcony Suite
15-08-202031-08-2020GBP £8,745Shackleton Owner's Balcony Suite

Inclusions

    • Travelling with You
    • Major Gordon Corrigan. Gordon Corrigan spent most of his adult life as an officer of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, serving mainly in the Far East but also in Cyprus, Berlin, Northern Ireland and Belize. He is now a military historian and the author of a number of books on subjects ranging from the Hundred Years War to the Peninsula War to the First and Second World Wars. To date he has been the presenter of five TV series dealing with various aspects of military history, in addition to regular appearances in documentaries. He conducts military history study tours in Europe, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Turkey and North Africa. He has lectured in Russia and Central Asia and is a regular speaker on Noble Caledonia cruises. He has lectured in the United States and Canada and is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Universities of Birmingham and Kent, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, a Member of the British Commission for Military History, and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. During our cruise he will be lecturing on the history of the nations and the areas that we will be visiting or travelling though.
    • Travelling with You
    • Imogen Corrigan. Imogen served for nearly twenty years in the British army, retiring in the rank of Major at the end of 1994. She then went to the University of Kent to study Anglo-Saxon and medieval history and art, graduating with 1st Class Honours. She became a freelance lecturer, running study tours for several travel companies and lecturing for the Arts Society and Noble Caledonia. She has a wide range of lecture subjects encompassing most of Europe from the west of Ireland to Istanbul, and from North Cape to Morocco, covering 1,000 years of history. Imogen is always interested in ideas, artistic techniques and motifs travelling and especially in trying to understand the mind-set of the people who lived at that time. Her first book: Stone on Stone: the Men who built the Cathedrals is due to be published in 2019.

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