Viking Homelands Ocean Cruise

Sailing the waters of Scandinavia and the Baltic on a 15-day cruise. Enjoying overnights in cosmopolitan Stockholm, majestic St. Petersburg (bucket Item) and scenic Bergen, and explore charming historic city centers in Tallinn and Gdańsk. Visiting Helsinki, Berlin and Copenhagen and witnessed great scenery from the veranda of our ship with my lively wife as we were going through the Norwegian fjords in the legendary homelands of the Vikings. Plus we also arrived 2 days earlier in Stockholm and stayed 2 nights extra in Oslo. What more could you ask?

Holiday Dates: 5 September - 24 September 2019

Viking Ocean Cruise assigned Room: Deluxe Veranda DV2, #5053

To see a more detailed view of the ship deck by deck, click here

Viking Sky-built in 2017. It has 9 decks, a crew of 465 and can hold up to 930 passengers.

The Baltic Sea is so nearly landlocked (and its outlet so shallow) that its waters are remarkably fresh. The Baltic, sheltered from the strong North Sea tides, is remarkable for the general absence of tidal currents. The Baltic Sea in Northern Europe is surrounded by nine countries: Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden. The Baltic is the youngest sea on our planet, emerging from the retiring ice masses only some 10,000-15,000 years ago.

This map of the waterways will help in knowing where we are, what water we are in and where we are going.

As with the River Cruise, the Ocean Cruise helps count down the days

As a note, we could not book any of the included excursions nor any of the optional excursions until July 2019. The specialty restaurants, we could only book 60 days prior to embarkation. It seems that we compete with the other 1,000 people on the cruise and the priority goes by stateroom class for the better times etc. Since our Deluxe Veranda Class is the most popular, we compete with them. Not sure I like this but it is what it is.

We left Hone for the Ottawa airport on a bright sunny day. This time we were home for my son's and daughter's birthday (last year our cruise dates coincided with their birthdays). We flew Air Canada on the 4th Sep and arrived in Stockholm on the 6th for the beginning of the pre-cruise schedule.

PRE-CRUISE

Day 1: (Friday Sep 6) Pre-cruise in Stockholm, Sweden

Day 2: (Saturday Sep 7) Pre-cruise in Stockholm, Sweden

Day 3: (Sunday Sep 8) Pre-cruise in Stockholm, Sweden

CRUISE

Day 1: (Sunday Sep 8) Stockholm, Sweden

Day 2: (Monday Sep 9) Stockholm, Sweden

Day 3: (Tuesday Sep 10) Helsinki, Finland

Day 4: (Wednesday Sep 11) St. Petersburg, Russia

Day 5: (Thursday Sep 12) St. Petersburg, Russia

Day 6: (Friday Sep 13) Tallinn, Estonia

Day 7: (Saturday Sep 14) Cruise the Baltic Sea

Day 8: (Sunday Sep 15) Gdańsk, Poland

Day 9: (Monday Sep 16) Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany

Day 10: (Tuesday Sep 17) Copenhagen, Denmark

Day 11: (Wednesday Sep 18) Ålborg, Denmark

Day 12: (Thursday Sep 19) Stavanger, Norway

Day 13: (Friday Sep 20) Eidfjord, Norway

Day 14: (Saturday Sep 21) Bergen, Norway

Day 15: (Sunday Sep 22) Bergen, Norway

POST CRUISE

Day 1 - (Sunday Sep 22) Extension Oslo

Day 2 - (Monday Sep 23) Extension Oslo

Day 3 - (Tuesday Sep 24) Extension Oslo

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PRE-CRUISE IN STOCKHOLM

Explore this elegant city of historic buildings and cultural gems. Stroll through the Gamla Stan (Old Town), sample fare in the food halls and cafés, and view the 17th-century Vasa ship at its namesake museum.

Day 1 (Friday Sep 6) - Stockholm, Sweden

Arrive in Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm. A small city by some standards, it is easy to get around in and has much to offer. We were met by a Viking Representative at the airport and escorted to the First-Class Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Stockholm. Depending on your arrival time, you may choose to relax or begin exploring the city on your own. Perhaps take a leisurely walk to the Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral. A Viking host was available to help plan our time in Stockholm to make the most of our visit. Click here

 Day 2 (Saturday Sep 7) - Stockholm, Sweden

Explore Stockholm on your own today. Indulge in a smorgasbord—once the realm of the noble elite—of maritime delicacies such as cured herring, dill-smoked salmon and chilled belon oysters. Visit the Vasa Museum, home of the Swedish warship Vasa—the only surviving 17th-century ship in the world. Be sure to stroll the 13th-century Gamla Stan, along the quaint cobblestone streets to admire the German-influenced architecture. 

Day 3 (Sunday Sep 8) - Stockholm, Sweden

On your final day, you will transfer by motor coach to your ship to begin your cruise.

CRUISE

Day 1 (Sunday Sep 8) - Stockholm, Sweden

Begin your cruise in Stockholm’s stunning archipelago, nestled where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic. Take in this amazing city spread over 14 islands and its 13th-century Old Town, or Gamla Stan, with German-influenced architecture. Consider a trip to the Vasa Museum to see an amazingly preserved 17th-century ship, or indulge in a smörgåsbord complete with traditional smoked salmon. Or opt to visit Skokloster Castle in the Swedish countryside. If you want to see the photos from the first day of Stockholm as part of the cruise, click here.

Day 2 (Monday Sep 9) - Stockholm, Sweden

Spend the morning exploring Stockholm’s architectural and natural wonders. Perhaps you will embark on an intimate boat tour and take in the breathtaking cityscape from the waters. Attend a private performance at the famed opera house. Or head on your own to the heart of the city to stroll the inviting footpaths of Djurgården Island, once a royal game park and today a picturesque recreational area blanketed in green. We depart at 2:30pm for a scenic cruise through the Stockholm archipelago.

 

Day 3 (Tuesday Sep 10) - Helsinki, Finland

Arriving at 8:30am in Helsinki, known as the “White City of the North.” Take an included city tour and view the Uspenski Cathedral; its 13 magnificent green and gold domes represent Christ and the apostles. Nearby is Porvoo, a charming medieval town with cobblestone streets that weave between historic wooden buildings. Or travel to the home of composer Jean Sibelius at Ainola and take in a concert at the summer school. Alternatively, visit the 18th-century Suomenlinna Fortress, one of the world’s largest historic maritime fortresses. Another highlight is the spectacular Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the “Rock Church”—a subterranean sanctuary with rough-hewn walls of granite. We leave Helsinki at 5PM. To see photos of our excursion to Helsinki, click here

Day 4 (Wednesday Sep 11) - St. Petersburg, Russia

We arrive in St Petersburg at 7am. From morning through the next day, explore majestic St. Petersburg. Enjoy an included tour that shows you St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Peter and Paul Fortress, Nevsky Prospekt and more. Our overnight stay allows time to choose an optional tour of the Hermitage Museum, an evening at a private concert and more, as we will be spending the night in port. To see photos of our excursions of Days 1 and 2 to St Petersburg click here

Day 5 (Thursday Sep 12) - St. Petersburg, Russia

Awake in St. Petersburg for a second day of exploration. Today you can choose to return to the city for a more detailed look at the wonders on display or journey into the countryside to visit the magnificent summer palaces of the tsars of Russia. If you didn’t take yesterday’s included guided tour, you can do so today. Or opt for one of the many optional tours. We depart at 6PM.

Day 6 (Friday Sep 13) - Tallinn, Estonia

We arrive in Tallinn at 8am As you take a stroll through the meticulously restored medieval streets of old town Tallinn, you will feel the aura of the 14th and 15th centuries of the Estonian capital. Essential is a visit to the colossal Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built in the Russian Orthodox style. Explore the sumptuously Baroque Kadriorg Palace, intended as a summer residence for Catherine the First of Russia, now the home of the foreign art collection of the Art Museum of Estonia. Last but not least, feast on marzipan, for this is the honey and almond confection’s birthplace. Intricate edible creations can be found throughout the city, and should be sampled as often as possible. After a full day, at 9PM we leave Tallinn. To see photos of our excursion to Tallinn, click here

Day 7 (Saturday Sep 14) - Cruise the Baltic Sea...photos of the day click here

Day 8 (Sunday Sep 15) - Gdańsk, Poland

We arrive at Gdansk at 6am. Gilded Goldwasser. Glowing amber. Gothic cathedrals. Your stop in Gdańsk is a visit to one of the richest cities in the Hanseatic League of old. Spend the morning strolling the remarkably restored Old Town with its mix of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque styles. Perhaps you’ll indulge in the traditional pierogi dumplings, or a glass of gold-flecked Goldwasser—a liqueur created here in the 16th century. Or, opt to explore the medieval Teutonic stronghold of Malbork Castle, the world’s largest brick castle and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was only a short stay and at 1PM we leave. To see photos of our day in Poland, click here

Day 9 (Monday Sep 16) - Berlin (Warnemünde), Germany

At 7:30am we arrive in Germany. From port, take the included transfer through the scenic countryside of the Mecklenburg region to Germany’s historic capital, Berlin—just a few hours away—where you will have the day to explore. Here you can discover at your own pace the major sights of the Berlin Wall, Alexanderplatz square and Checkpoint Charlie. Alternatively, on an optional tour take lunch in the Käfer restaurant, which perches atop the magnificent Reichstag. After a full day, at 9PM we leave. Photos of the day, click here

Day 10 (Tuesday Sep 17) - Copenhagen, Denmark

At 7:30am we arrive in Copenhagen. Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, the Danish capital boasts over 850 years of history. With an entire day to explore, pass the brightly colored houses of Nyhavn, or New Harbor, once the home of Hans Christian Andersen. Discover the sumptuously rococo interiors of Amalienborg Palace, the winter residence of the Danish royal family. You may also want to consider a trip to the ornate Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspirational setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This fairy-tale city provides plenty to explore, including delights for your palate at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants, where you can indulge in a decadent lunch or an early dinner. At 10PM we depart the port. Photos of the day, click here

Day 11 (Wednesday Sep 18) - Ålborg, Denmark

At 8am we arrive at Alborg. Founded by the Vikings in the late 900s, this historic city straddles both sides of the Limfjord Sound. Spend the morning strolling along to Nytorv (New Square) to see the Renaissance-style Jens Bang’s House, the baroque-style Town Hall, and the charming 14th-century Budolfi Church. Take in the lively Jomfru Ane Gade, a street lined with trendy cafés and restaurants. Or, opt for a tour led by a local chef to taste traditional aquavit, an herb-infused spirit distilled here since the 15th century. At 1:30PM we leave the port. Photos of Alborg, click here

Day 12 (Thursday Sep 19) - Stavanger, Norway

At 10am we arrive at Stavanger. From the heart of the Old Town, where your ship berths, you will have the morning and early afternoon to explore. Start here in the old quarter, Gamle Stavanger, which has Europe’s highest concentration of wooden buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. Or consider a cruise along the Lysefjord to see the famous Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, jutting out nearly 2,000 feet above—it is one of Norway’s most famous natural attractions. Offshore oil drilling is an important industry for the local economy, and the award-winning Norwegian Petroleum Museum tells the story of the dangers faced in extracting this precious fuel. While ashore, don’t forget to indulge in waffles with cream and sweet jams with a steaming cup of hot tea. At 6PM we leave Stavanger for photos, click here

Day 13 (Friday Sep 20) - Eidfjord, Norway

At 7am we arrive at Eidfjord. Cruise through breathtaking fjords into the village of Eidfjord, nestled in the heart of one of Norway’s most scenic regions. Ascend Europe’s largest mountain plateau, Hardangervidda, for sweeping views of epic Nordic landscapes. Here, in Norway’s largest national park, visit the informative Nature Center and perhaps view the Hardangerjøkulen glacier in the distance. You can also marvel at the stupendous 550-foot drop of the Vøringsfossen waterfall into the cavernous Måbødalen canyon. Alternately, you can opt to visit the expansive fruit orchards of Lofthus or tour Europe’s largest hydroelectric power plant at Simadal. We depart Eidfjord at 7PM, for photos, click here

Day 14 (Saturday Sep 21) - Bergen, Norway

At 8am we arrive at our final destination on a cruise ship. When you arrive in Bergen, encircled by majestic mountains, fjords and glaciers, you will quickly understand how its setting inspired the Viking sagas. With your ship berthed next to Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can easily stroll along its waterfront. This evening mingle with the locals and dine ashore, as we will be spending the night in port. Bergen photos days 14 and 15, click here

Day 15 (Sunday Sep 22) - Bergen, Norway

Awake in Bergen, where you will be departing your ship. If you wish, you may explore more with Viking: Stay on in this fascinating old mercantile city, visit Norway’s cosmopolitan capital of Oslo or journey to Iceland.

POST CRUISE

Day 1 (Sunday Sep 22) - Oslo, Norway

Disembark your ship in Bergen and board the Bergen Railway for your journey to Oslo, often described as the most beautiful train ride in the world. You will ascend to over 4,000 feet above sea level as you cross the Hardangervidda plateau, featuring breathtaking views.

Upon your arrival, transfer to the First-Class Thon Hotel Opera (or similar). Settle in and relax, or begin exploring Oslo on your own. Consider taking a walk through the Vigeland Park or going for a stroll along the revitalized waterfront, lined with cafés, shops and modern architecture. A Viking host is available to help you plan your time in Oslo so you can make the most of your visit. For photos of Oslo days 15, 16 and 17 (or post cruise days 1, 2 & 3) Click here

Day 2 (Monday Sep 23) - Oslo, Norway

Immerse yourself in the history and artistic legacy of Oslo at your own leisurely pace today. Visit the 700-year-old Akershus Fortress, a fascinating blend of medieval and Renaissance styles, where the history of Oslo unfolded. Or spend time browsing the treasures of the Munch Museum, a priceless repository of paintings, drawings, sculptures and personal items of Norway’s most famous artist, including his most recognizable work, The Scream

Day 3 (Tuesday Sep 24) - Oslo, Norway

On our final day, we were transfered to the airport for our return flight home.

 

 

 

 

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