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12 nights
from £4575

Summer in the Baltic

A voyage to the islands and cities of the Baltic aboard the MS Serenissima with Jeremy Black

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  • History and Culture

Join us on a voyage of discovery as we explore the eight nations of the Baltic. Nations who speak different languages, have a diverse culture and cuisine, worship in different churches, yet are united by a single sea. Over the centuries, wars and conflicts may have divided them, but as always trade has been the great unifier as the Hanseatic ports brought wealth and knowledge to the Baltic shores. The cities of the Baltic offer a cornucopia of delights: whether it be the grandeur of St Petersburg and its surrounding country estates, the newly independent Baltic states and their capitals with marvellously untouched Medieval quarters, or the sheer delight of Scandinavian ports with their colourful architecture and a freshness that is unique to the area.

After operating voyages in the Baltic for twenty five years we believe this in-depth journey offers the perfect balance of time to explore cities, towns and islands during the included excursions with our excellent local guides combined with some time to relax or explore at leisure. A highlight for many will be the fact that we have included three days in the magnificent city of St Petersburg, enough time to explore the city’s many wonders. We also visit some smaller ports which the big cruise vessels are unable to access such as the islands of Christianso and Bornholm in Denmark and the Estonian Island of Saaremaa, a gem with its Medieval Episcopal castle and timeless countryside.

Useful links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  

  • Featured Experts

    Guest Speaker – Jeremy Black

    Professor of History at the University of Exeter, Jeremy has lectured and written extensively on Baltic history, especially on the response to the rise of Russia and more particularly the Great Northern War. His books include Eighteenth- Century Europe and a series of studies on war from 1450 to the present. Jeremy will speak on Baltic history from the Vikings to the Cold War, with particular emphasis on the Hansa, the rise of Russia and the World Wars. 

    More information

Serenissima

Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

View vessel details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive in Copenhagen and transfer to the MS Serenissima. Enjoy Welcome Drinks and Dinner as we sail this evening.

Day 2 - Christianso & Bornholm Island.

Over breakfast we arrive at the tiny island of Christianso, the easternmost part of Denmark. Using Zodiacs to land we will see 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 the famous 12th century Osterlars 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 3 - Gdansk, Poland.

We have a full day in this charming city. This old Hanseatic port’s 1000 years of history have left a collection of buildings and monuments designed in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. On a morning tour we will walk along the cobbled streets of the Royal Way in the old quarter and view the elaborate architecture before ending at 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. Situated in the centre of the Old Town, this Medieval church took 159 years to build, and its deceivingly plain exterior belies a bright, spacious interior with large windows and more than 30 beautifully decorated chapels. This afternoon is free for further independent exploration.

Day 4 - 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. Today 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. Return to the ship for lunch and maybe join a lecture as we enjoy an afternoon at sea.

Day 5 - 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. Explore 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 enjoying a special private classical concert at the stunning 16th century Rundale Palace, one of the most outstanding monuments of Baroque and Rococo art in Northern Europe.

Day 6 - Saaremaa, Estonia.

After a relaxing morning at sea we 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 an afternoon 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.

Day 7 - Stockholm, Sweden.

Be on deck this morning 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. On arrival 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 Serenissima we will drive through old Stockholm and past the Parliament Building and Royal Palace which overlooks the inner harbour. The afternoon is free for independent exploration from our central berth before we sail tonight.

Day 8 - Mariehamn, Finland.

Arrive over breakfast into the attractive town of Mariehamn on the island of Aland in the Finnish archipelago. It is a charming little town, founded in 1861 by Tsar Alexander II and named after his wife Maria. On a morning drive we will head into the beautiful countryside along scenic roads, stopping at Badhausberget with panoramic views over the archipelago. This afternoon is free to explore the town at leisure, maybe visit the sea quarter where boats are built and repaired using traditional techniques, walk along the esplanade, an avenue of lime trees that link the harbours or enjoy time in the handicraft shops.

Day 9 - Tallinn, Estonia.

Arrive this morning in the historic maritime city of Tallinn with its 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. After lunch on board the afternoon will be at leisure for you to explore independently before we sail in the early evening.

Days 10 to 12 - 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 including 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 Palace at Pushkin and a canal cruise through the city. In your free time you may wish to join the optional excursion to Yusupov 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 and we hope to send details 12 weeks prior to departure.

Day 13 - Helsinki, Finland to London.

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £200 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME
Prices per person based on double occupancy
31 July 2018 to 12 August 2018
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
1 Inside Twin/Double £4775 £4575
2 Standard Stateroom £5295 £5095
3 Standard Stateroom Plus £5495 £5295
4 Superior Stateroom £5695 £5495
5 Deluxe Stateroom £5995 £5795
6 Junior Suite £6295 £6095
7 Executive Suite £6395 £6195
8 Owner’s Suite £6395 £6195
9 Inside Single £4775 £4575
10 Standard Single £5295 £5095
2 Standard Stateroom for sole use £7295 £7095
3 Standard Stateroom Plus for sole use £7745 £7545

Tour Reference Code: SCSE310718

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 12 nights aboard the MS Serenissima on a full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board, Noble Caledonia onboard team including Guest Speaker, shore excursions, gratuities, transfers, port taxes, group Russian visa.

Not Included: Travel insurance. 

  • All Decks

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Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

 
  • MS Serenissima
  • Jacuzzi - On Deck
  • On Deck
  • Venice Restaurant
  • MS Serenissima - Owners Suite
    Owners Suite - approx 22 sq metres
  • Executive Suite
    Executive Suite - approx 25 sq metres
  • Junior Suite
    Junior Suite - approx 21 sq metres
  • Standard stateroom plus (from 2016 onwards) approx. 14 to 19 sq metres
  • Superior Stateroom
    Superior Stateroom - approx 11.5 to 18 sq metres
  • Standard Stateroom
    Standard Stateroom - approx 10 to 11.5 sq metres
  • Inside Twin/Double
    Inside Twin/Double approx 10 sq metres
  • Standard Single
    Standard Single approx 7 to 12.5 sq metres
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Accommodating no more than 100 passengers, the cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an ensuite bathroom with shower, sink, toilet, a selection of toiletries including shower gel, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. There are ten different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and with the exception of the three inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm. 

    Cabin sizes vary between 7 and 25 square metres.

  • Your Space

    The facilities onboard include two lounges – the larger Andrea Lounge is comfortable and spacious and the smaller Harald Lounge is more intimate. There is also a small library with a computer for internet access. The outside areas are something special with a spacious observation deck allowing for 360 degree views of the passing scenery. From here, step down to the lido area with two treadmills, Jacuzzi and outside bar.

    The covered seating area at the back of deck 6 is ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand. Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. 

  • Your Dining

    The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. Being on deck 5, it has great views from all tables. The picture windows mean the restaurant is light and airy. Breakfast is served buffet-style with cooked dishes available and eggs to order by the ship’s accomplished chef. Lunch is also served buffetstyle with hot and cold dishes available. Dinner is served a la carte and is four courses, except for at the Captain’s Dinner, which is a six course affair. In addition, there are al fresco dining facilities available in good weather.

    Where possible, local produce is sourced for an authentic dining experience. A choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks, and water are included at lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee are served around the clock in the Andrea Lounge. In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere onboard, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure and dress is informal except for the Captain’s Dinner for which you may wish to dress in smarter attire.

  • Life Onboard

    The MS Serenissima is more akin to a countryhotel than one of the large ships trawling the seas today. The European Captain, Officers and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on around the clock entertainment and dining, but instead on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. 

  • For your comfort

    There are so few ships of this generation still cruising and MS Serenissima is a great testament to her present and previous owners that they have seen fit to invest considerable sums over the years to keep her in top form and complying with the stringent health and safety requirements. There is a doctor onboard and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the bridge.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

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  • Deck plans
    • All Decks

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Onboard Team

  • Jeremy Black

    Jeremy Black

    Jeremy Black is a prolific historian with specialties in world military history, the history of tourism, and both the 18th and 20th Century. Educated at Cambridge and Oxford, he is Professor at Exeter having previously been Professor at Durham.  He received his MBE for services to stamp design.

    Jeremy Black will be on the following tour dates: 31 July 2018 to 12 August 2018

Tour Extensions

    • 12th to 15th August 2018

      For those who would like to extend their time in Finland after disembarking the MS Serenissima we are offering a three night tour exploring the beauty of the Finnish Lakes.

      Day 1 Helsinki & Hameenlinna. After breakfast we will disembark and enjoy a tour of Helsinki including Senate Square, the rock church and Sibelius monument before continuing out of the city to Hameenlinna and Hame Castle where we enjoy lunch. Hame Castle is one of Finland’s Medieval royal castles and is believed to have been built at the end of the 13th century, following the crusade by Swedish Earl Birger to Hame region. During the Middle Ages the original fortified camp was built into a residential castle for its commandant before being used as a prison from 1837 to 1972. After our tour we will transfer to the hotel situated on a lake in the Aulanko Nature Park. Relax and enjoy the views before meeting for dinner this evening.

      Day 2 Aulanko & Tampere. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before our full day cruise through the beautiful forest-covered landscape of the lake district. Take in the scenery of Lake Pyhajarvi and Lake Vanajavesi before lunch on board. In the early afternoon we will make a stop at Visavuori, the house and studio of sculptor Emil Wikstrom who designed the buildings himself and is one of the finest examples of Karelian architecture in existence. Wikstrom’s home is typical of Nordic artists’ homes of the time and in the studio almost 100 of Wikstrom’s works are displayed. Reboarding our ship we will continue through the lake country to Tampere where we stay overnight by Lake Pyynikki.

      Day 3 Tampere & Helsinki. After breakfast in the hotel we enjoy a scenic drive around Tampere finishing at the Nasineula restaurant, renowned in for its wonderful panoramic views over Tampere and the view beyond. After lunch continue on to Iittala Glass Centre, where the Aalto Vase is produced along with other signature glass pieces. The history of Iittala glass is on display with works of such great artists as Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva. We will also have the opportunity to see how these glass pieces were made before we re-board the coaches and drive to our hotel in Helsinki for an overnight stay.

      Day 4 Helsinki to London. Enjoy a free morning to explore Helsinki before transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £1195
      Single £1395

      Price Includes: Overnight accommodation in Helsinki, Hameenlinna and Tampere at four-star hotels on a bed and breakfast basis, lunch and dinner daily, excursions, Tour Manager, gratuities to guides and drivers, transfers.

      Not Included: Travel insurance.

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