Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the lands and legacies forged by centuries of Baltic history and hear firsthand from historic world leader, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Poland, Lech Wałesa, and noted author and award-winning scholar Sergei Khrushchev, son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. One of the great cruise itineraries of the world, this unique Baltic Sea voyage features six Baltic countries and seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is scheduled during the best time of year when you can experience the luminous “White Nights” of the summer solstice.
Complementary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!
Encounter the lands and legacies forged by centuries of Baltic history and hear firsthand from a participant in pivotal 20th-century moments—former President of Poland, Lech Wałesa, and Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
Tom Moriarity is a nationally recognized preservationist and urban development specialist. Trained as an architect, Tom was one of the founders of the National Trust’s pioneering Main Street Program. A partner in Economics Research Associates, a global real estate consulting firm, Tom has been involved in many major restoration and rehabilitation projects across the world. He will bring his expertise on architecture, architectural history, historic preservation and adaptive use that will help each traveler better understand the beauty and significance of the places we will visit. Tom holds two degrees in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.
U.S. – Thursday, June 14
Depart the U.S.
Friday, June 15
Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark’s vibrant world-class capital of great heritage and seafaring traditions, and embark the Five-Star LE SOLÉAL. (D)
Saturday, June 16
Once a flourishing Hanseatic League port, today Gda´nsk showcases its glorious architectural heritage in the meticulously restored, elegant patrician mansions featuring late Renaissance and Baroque façades in the Stare Miasto (Old Town). Stroll along the pedestrian-only Droga Królewska (the Royal Route) to see the iconic Neptune’s Fountain and the 14th-century Artus Court, a Gothic guildhall inspired by the ideals of Britain’s legendary King Arthur, which now houses a fascinating collection of Polish artifacts. In 1980, shipyard workers led by Lech Wał˛esa founded the Solidarity movement, the fi rst independent trade union in Eastern Europe and the key factor in winning the Polish struggle against Communism. Visit the historic Lenin Shipyard, where the movement began, and see its Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers. Enjoy time to explore Gda´nsk’s lovely Old Town at your own pace. (B,L,D)
Cruising the Baltic Sea
Sunday, June 17
Spend the day at leisure cruising the Baltic Sea while enjoying a series of enriching lectures. This evening, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception. (B,L,R,D)
Monday, June 18
Having largely escaped the ravages of World War II, Tallinn’s UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Town has remained virtually unchanged for 600 years. During the walking tour, see Toompea Castle—the seat of Estonia’s Parliament, the landmark Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the 13th-century Church of St. Nicholas. Visit the medieval Town Hall, the only intact Gothic-style hall in Northern Europe. Enjoy time on your own to explore Tallinn’s Old Town before returning to the ship. By special arrangement, meet the leader of the Solidarity movement, former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lech Wał˛esa, on board the ship this afternoon. Mr. Wał˛esa will discuss his perspective on Solidarity, globalization and progress in the region, with time for questions and answers. (B,L,D)
St. Petersburg, Russia
Tuesday, June 19
Peter the Great founded majestic St. Petersburg in 1703 as his “Window on the West.” After cruising into the heart of the city, enjoy a specially arranged, early-entry guided tour of the incomparable State Hermitage Museum. One of the world’s greatest art repositories, the UNESCO World Heritage-designated museum was the former czarist palace of Catherine the Great. Its spectacular collections are rivaled only by the museum’s lavish interior. This afternoon’s panoramic tour of the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features legendary landmarks scattered across more than 100 islands and linked by more than three times as many bridges. St. Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt, showcases exquisite examples of Russian Baroque and neoclassical architecture. See the ornate Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (Church of the Resurrection of Christ), built on the site of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination, and the 19th-century St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with a striking golden dome that is one of the glories of the city’s skyline. Visit St. Petersburg’s fi rst building, the Peter and Paul Fortress, constructed to secure the country’s access to the sea, and the impressive Baroque Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, containing the tombs of 32 czars, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs. The evening is at leisure. An optional opportunity to attend a Russian folklore show performed in the Nikolaevsky Art Center is offered. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, June 20
This morning, visit the imperial compound of Pushkin and Catherine the Great’s elaborate rococo palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, highlighted by a special visit to the extraordinary Amber Room which is said to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Then, savor a lunch of Russian specialties while enjoying a traditional Cossack dance performance. Enjoy a guided tour of the splendid parklands and extravagant UNESCO World Heritage-designated Grand Palace of Petrodvorets, commissioned by Peter the Great to rival the Palace of Versailles. The elaborately landscaped grounds feature magnifi cent formal gardens and cascading fountains. Return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil, skimming over the Gulf of Finland. (B,L,D)
Thursday, June 21
Helsinki was named the World Design Capital in 2012 for its innovative use of design in stimulating an urban environment. Stand on deck as the ship approaches the city for the best view of the 18th-century maritime fortress of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a panoramic city tour, see the stately Senate Square and the diplomatic quarter of Kaivopuisto. Visit the modernistic Temppeliaukio Church, or “Church of the Rock,” impressively hewn out of natural bedrock. Enjoy free time to explore Helsinki’s lively Market Square before reboarding the ship. By special arrangement, enjoy an informative lecture with time for questions and answers by distinguished author and scholar, Dr. Sergei Khrushchev. (B,L,D)
Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden
Friday, June 22
Call at the Baltic island of Gotland, rich in Swedish history with abundant ancient sites and more than 100 medieval churches. The marvelous Old Town of Visby, the former Baltic center of the Hanseatic League, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and arguably the best preserved medieval city in Scandinavia. On the walking tour of this “city of roses,” see the 13th-century walls and the original medieval gates, towers and stone warehouses, and tour the iconic Cathedral of St. Mary. Enjoy time at leisure before returning to the ship. This evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception. (B,L,R,D)
Saturday, June 23
Early this morning, cruise through the scenic Stockholm archipelago, the gateway to Sweden’s magnifi cent “Venice of the North.” Disembark and continue on to explore the historic splendor and dramatic beauty of Stockholm on the Post-Cruise Option or depart for the U.S. (B)