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Crusaders of the Baltic Sea

Crusaders of the Baltic Sea

From AUD $3,790

Description

After the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, Christian states and their crusading knights pointed their weapons at the pagan tribes along the Baltic Sea. This rarely told story of the Danish medieval kings and the expansion of the German order of knights forms the framework for this cruise.

Historical cruise from Copenhagen to Turku in Finland – with a visit to ancient kingdoms of the Baltic.

The Baltic Sea has always played a central role in the history of Northern Europe. It acted as a parallel to the Mediterranean for the surrounding states, and for a short number of years Denmark – due to her maritime sovereignty – expanded into an empire that stretched around the Baltic Sea all the way to Estonia. But the Danish king soon lost all in fierce competition with Teutonic knights, Swedish rulers, and powerful members of the Hanseatic League’s extensive community. On our route east, we visit a couple of the medieval trade association’s strongest members, Gdansk and Klaipéda, then called Danzig and Memel. We reach the island of Øsel, now Saarema, Denmark’s easternmost possession. Our voyage ends in Finland in the beautiful town of Turku, after which we fly back to Copenhagen from Helsinki.

Our brand-new expedition vessel Ocean Albatros will be our home for this unique cruise. Like her sister ship Ocean Victory, she is a revolutionary and stylish small ship that combines exquisite comfort with modern technology as well as unique stability in rough seas to a degree only seen on the largest cruise ships. Ocean Albatros can accommodate 188 passengers, and the elaborate design, together with a fantastic service from the staff, provides an intimate atmosphere on board. It is easy to find your way around both the common areas inside and the view areas at the top of the ship, and you avoid large crowds and queues. The total of 93 comfortable and spacious guest rooms all have unobstructed views of the sea and the coasts we pass. Most rooms have a private balcony.

The cruise takes place in the late spring, when the weather, not least in the eastern part of the Baltic, is often stable and warm.

Trip Name
Crusaders of the Baltic Sea
Days
7
Overview
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Passenger Capacity: ~190 (95 cabins) Built: 2022 The Ocean Albatros, sistership to the Ocean Victory, will join the fleet of Albatros Expeditions in November 2022. The Ocean Albatros will be deployed to a large selection of expedition cruise destinations, Antarctica, the Arctic, any various exciting new destinations in between. With a total of 95 comfortable staterooms and suites, all with unobstructed sea view, most with their own balcony, the Ocean Albatros will definitely become one of the most popular expedition cruise vessels in the world. Like it's sistership the Ocean Victory it offers two restaurants, a wellness area, an Albatros Nordic Bar, an open deck dining facility, a modern lecture lounge, and other state-of-the-art amenities.  The vessel will have more than a 50% lower carbon footprint than traditional expedition vessels and be one of the most environmentally friendly, implementing the Green Initiative Program, ensuring both absolute comfort and sustainability for our guests. Unlike the Ocean Victory, the Ocean Albatros will also offer a unique panorama sauna, and a total of 12 dedicated solo travel cabins without a single-supplement. BRIDGE Due to its important role as a control center for all nautical and technical processes, the ship's bridge is a vital, sensitive place. Therefore, the bridge may not be accessible to the public at all times. Conditions permitting, we will be happy to welcome you into the bridge for a visit. Guests must be accompanied by the master or our expedition leader. STATEROOM SERVICE Your stateroom is serviced daily. We provide a turn-down service. We provide meal to room only for serious cases of guest being sick. Our suites will have VIP services. ZODIAC LANDINGS One feature of our expedition cruises includes landings and excursions aboard Ocean Albatros's fleet of 18 inflatable, motorized rubber "Zodiac" boats. The Zodiac brand has earned a well-deserved reputation as the sturdiest and safest small watercraft available. These boats have a low draft and great stability. Zodiacs are constructed for professional use and are outfitted with a top-quality outboard engine, yet their design minimally impacts the environment. The Zodiacs are designed to provide unrestricted access to the world’s last great frontier. Their versatility enables us to make landfall on remote shores, cruise along awe-inspiring coastlines and share breathtakingly close encounters with whales, seals, penguins, seabirds and more. We will come within arm’s reach of icebergs and set foot on land discovered by pioneering explorers just over a century ago. Your safety and comfort are our #1 priority, and your expedition leader will carefully plan for as many Zodiac excursions as possible, dependent upon the local weather and prevailing conditions. In each case, the expedition leader makes the final decision if the landing is possible or not. Safety regulations apply on landings. All guests receive a mandatory instruction of the safety guidelines. Life jackets are mandatory to wear. Please note, we highly recommend the use of waterproof bags in order to protect your personal camera or binoculars, as both hands must be free of everything during boarding. Participation is fairly easy and comfortable for able-bodied guests but can be more challenging for those with physical handicaps. GRATUITIES Following international standards in the service industry, it is customary to leave gratuity for the ship’s crew at the end of the voyage. All gratuities will be divided among the crew. Typically, a recommended amount is approximately 13.5 USD per person per day. Gratuity is, of course, not required and any gratuity payments are voluntary. DRESS CODE The dress code on board is casual. Ties, jackets and evening dresses you may leave at home. It is rather more important to wear the right clothes in order to adapt to the different weather conditions. We recommend comfortable, breathable, waterproof and windproof clothing. Also, you should have a pair of gloves, thermal underwear and sturdy footwear in your luggage. For the captains and farewell cocktail, we recommend a smart casual dress style. INTERNET / PHONE Keep in mind, we will be cruising in a very remote region of the world. Where accessible, internet access is available for an extra charge. Mobile phone reception may be possible in select regions along our route. For further details please contact your mobile phone operator. Prices can be found in the information folder in your state room. Please ensure that your ‘Data Roaming’ function is switched off. RECEPTION The daily office hours of the board reception are from 06:00 until 23:00. ALBATROS OCEAN SHOP The selection of items available for purchase varies by ship, and may include a range of warm and practical clothing, as well as souvenirs, local arts and postcards at reasonable prices. A small selection of soap, toothpaste and other personal effects are also sold. HEALTH / MEDICAL EMERGENCY Each of our vessels has a small medical facility equipped with the necessary equipment and medicine to handle small emergencies. The infirmary is always staffed by a professionally licensed, English-speaking physician and nurse. Should a serious incident occur, the nearest hospital will be contacted. All guests must have personal travel/health insurance. Although we do not have an official requirement regarding personal fitness, you should be able to move on board and ashore without the help of others. Please be aware that the ship does not provide wheelchair accessible state rooms. Due to safety reasons a cruise is only possible for pregnant women until the 24th week of pregnancy. The state of pregnancy must be presented by a medical certificate. PHYSICAL DISABILITIES / WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBILITY Guests with physical disabilities are recommended to travel with an accompanying person. The processes on board should be handled without external help. The gangway can be – depending on the individual disability – a challenge. The angle of inclination of the gangway varies due to tide and different circumstances in the respective port. Please note that the guest’s participation in shore excursions as well as the (dis-)embarkation by Zodiac can be denied by the expedition leader due to security reasons. The instructions of the expedition leader must be followed. The ship is not suitable for wheelchairs. SEASICKNESS / STABILISATORS The ship is equipped with stabilizers in order to reduce the ship’s roll. However, these expeditions are hosted in remote regions, and it is possible to periodically encounter changing environments and climate patterns, including rough seas and large swells. Seasickness patches (Scopoderm or similar) work solely or in part to help cure nausea for most people. These medicines can cause sleepiness. If you are prone to motion sickness, consult with your doctor prior to departure to help ensure your comfort while travelling. SPECIAL DIETARY REQUESTS All meals on board the vessel is chef-prepared. If you have special dietary requirements (food allergies, intolerances, health conditions or religious preferences), please inform us as early as possible - ideally, no later than 2 weeks before departure. In order to ensure efficient service, please re-confirm your requirements with the crew upon boarding the ship. LAUNDRY If you wish to have some laundry done while aboard the ship, laundry service is available for an additional fee.

Itinerary



Day 1 - DAY 1 - COPENHAGEN, EMBARKATION AND DEPARTURE FROM CENTRAL COPENHAGEN
The cruise begins in the heart of Copenhagen, where Ocean Albatros is moored.After embarkation and mandatory safety procedures the lines are thrown and the captain sets a southern course through Øresund, the strait between Sweden and Denmark. We can then enjoy our first dinner in the ship’s exquisite restaurant.
Day 2 - DAY 2 ISLAND OF RÜGEN AND CAPE ARKONA, GERMANY
Rügen is Germany's largest island. High white limestone cliffs, a winding coastline with fjords, headlands, and excellent sandy beaches as well as beautiful historic towns make the island one of the country's most distinguished travel destinations.In the Middle Ages, Rügen was inhabited by the Wends, a West Slavic, pagan people. Everyone robbed everyone at the time, but in Danish history, the Wends stand as some particularly unchristian pirates who made repeated looting expeditions against Denmark. In 1168, the Wends were defeated on Rügen during a so-called crusade led by King Valdemar I and Bishop Absalon. As a final punishment, a sculpture of the four-headed god Svantevit, was chopped down as fuel for the Danish soldiers' cooking fire.Ocean Albatros docks in Rügen’s Sassnitz. From here it is possible to participate in the day's excursion by bus. The trip goes past the Jalsmund with its white chalk cliff to Cape Arkona on the northernmost tip of Rügen. Here we can get an impression of the Wends’ fortifications. We visit to the old Hanseatic town of Stralsund, one of the most important historic cities in Northeast Germany, before returning to Sassnitz and our ship.
Day 3 - DAY 3 GDANSK, A CRUSADERS’ STRONGHOLD IN POLAND
We dock in the Gdynia, the port city of Gdansk. Today it is possible to take part in an excursion by bus to the nearby over 1000-year-old city of Gdansk, Poland’s maritime capital.The beautiful city centre and the shopping street between the Golden Gate and the Green Gate is worth seeing. The courthouse and the Neptune Fountain also help to make the city something very special.Gdansk is probably best known for its tumultuous history and the city was largely razed to the ground during World War II. Today, however, it is not marked by this and has been rebuilt, so that the old traditions of architecture have come into their own.From Gdansk we drive to nearby Malbork or Marienburg, where we will take a trip back to the Middle Ages of the Baltic Sea. We visit the huge castle complex of the German Knights. The so-called Teutonic Crusaders were originally a hospital order that was transformed into a military order in the 13th century. The order became more and more active in the Baltics as the influence in Palestine faded, and with the blessing of Pope Honorius, they embarked on a centuries-long crusade against the Baltic tribes accused of murdering Christian priests and missionaries. The order received the blessing of both the dukes and the pope to retain and control conquered lands and eventually came to rule the entire area between the German Empire to Latvia and the border with present-day Finland.We drive back to the port of Gdynia and our ship, and we continue our voyage to the northeast through the Baltic Sea.
Day 4 - DAY 4 CITY OF KLAIPEDA, LITHUANIA
Klaipeda or Memel, as the Germans called the city in the period from 1252 to 1918, when they ruled the area. When the first crusaders came, there was only an empty coastline, and they quickly defeated the local pagan Baltic tribes. To fortify the natural harbour area at mouth of the Curonian Inland Lake, the castle Memelburg was built. German artisans and traders gradually settled, not least because of the membership of the Hanseatic League.In 1923, the city was annexed by Lithuania and changed its name to Klaipéda. Today, the city is clearly marked by the wealth of earlier times, even though large parts of the city were destroyed during World War II. The centre is beautifully rebuilt, and you feel the ancient ambiance as you stroll through the cobbled streets.A guided city walk is arranged, after which you can explore through the narrow streets on your own – maybe followed by a snack in one of the many cosy cafes.We depart Klaipéda in the late afternoon
Day 5 - DAY 5 KURESSAARE ON ISLAND OF SAAREMA, ESTONIA. FORMER DANISH POSSESSION
The conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 resonated all the way to Denmark. When the Pope legitimized Christian rulers to convert pagans, the Danish medieval kings were not late in exploiting Denmark's superiority as a maritime nation. Within a few years, Denmark conquered large areas around the Baltic Sea. In 1206, King Valdemar the Conqueror directed a successful attack on the island of Øsel near Estonia, and later - in 1219 - Tallinn was conquered.We arrive at Øsel, which is now called Saaremaa, from the south to dock at the main town of Kuressaare. The port is located approximately 5 km from the small towncentre, and after lunch on board, transport to the city is arranged.We will visit the beautiful bishop's castle, which is the best-preserved medieval fortress in Estonia. The Danes built a fortification on the same site, but when Øsel proved impossible to hold, it was burned off again. The castle in Kuressaare was built in the 14th century by the town's bishop, but was subsequently used by Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian occupying forces, who all left the building unchanged.The island of Saaremaa has had a harsh history, which made it one of the poorest areas of the Baltic Sea. The last occupation during the Soviet era completely isolated the island which is a reason why Kuressaare has retained its beautiful provincial character with Gothic and Baroque architecture. The city has been spared industrial expansion and has just 16,000 inhabitants.We go on a city walk before taking the bus back to the harbour and Ocean Albatros.
Day 6 - DAY 6 TALLINN, FASCINATING MEDIEVAL TOWN CENTRE
During the night we have cruised from the Gulf of Riga into the Baltic Sea, and during the morning we entered the Gulf of Finland. We arrive in Estonia's largest city Tallinn after lunch.The written history of the city begins with the Danish conquest of this strategic area, a natural harbour at Gulf of Finland, and “Tallinn” supposedly translate as "The Danish City", named after the castle, built in 1219 on top of a hill. The castle ring wall subsequently defined the original outline of old Tallinn. The legend tells us that Dannebrog, the flag of Denmark, fell from the sky here in central Tallinn during a fierce battle in 1208 – which miraculously led to a Danish victory. A visit to the memorial is of course a must.Tallinn is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities. With its winding, cobbled streets, the city has retained its appearance since the 14th century. Tallinn's golden age was between the early 15th century until the middle of the 16th, when the city was a power factor in the Baltic Sea region, not least by virtue of its membership of the Hanseatic League. The economic progress led to a need for a strong defence, and enabled large investments in architecture and art.Today, we offer a guided city tour around Tallinn. By bus we take the short trip into the old town. Places to be seen are the high-lying quarters at the Kiek in de Kok cannon tower, the narrow, winding streets to the lower part of town with the Danish King’s Garden, the castle, which now houses the parliament, and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The magnificent 15th-century building is one of the best-preserved Gothic town halls in Europe.In the late afternoon we return by bus to the harbour and Ocean Albatros.
Day 7 - DAY 7 TURKU, OLDEST CITY IN FINLAND. DISEMBARKATION AND TRANSFER TO AIRPORT
During the early spring morning, the ship has passed thousands of small and large islands in the hundred-kilometre-wide archipelago that surrounds the town of Turku in southwestern Finland.Turku is Finland's oldest city and has been the country's administrative centre for several periods. Under Swedish rule, the city was called Åbo and a large part of the inhabitants still have Swedish as their first language.After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye to the ship's crew. A bus transfer has been arranged from Turku Port to Helsinki Airport, approximately 170 km.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $3,790Category F
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $4,990Category D
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $5,290Category E
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $5,690Category C
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $5,990Category G
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $6,490Category B2
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $7,490Category B1
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $8,490Category A
07-05-202313-05-2023AUD $9,990Premium Suite

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