Cruise the Baltic States

Trevor Smith on 26 July 2010
You may see a theme with my Travel Journals, Cruises with Fred Olsen, but I love these cruises as I travel with my mother and father and having a Dover start and end point makes it so easy for them both. Both, now seventy and my mother needs some special attention at times as cannot walk too far.

This Cruise, our fourth with Fred Olsen, is a celebratory cruise, and one not to be forgotten.

The "Beauty of the North" as the brochure indicated was truly that for a twelve night cruise to the Baltic States;- Germany, Denmark, Poland, Estonia and Russia - St Petersburg being the highlight for the thirteen hundred guests on board.

This travel journal is an outline of what we encountered, but I have added more as, I believe, all the ports of call would make ideal "weekend breaks" to discover the wonders of each city further.

Firstly, sailing the Kiel Canal through Germany was a terrific experience, which I did not expect to be for eight hours! Gentle country scenery very close to both port and starboard sides of the Balmoral.

Warnemunde, our first port of call, was a pleasant and interesting visit with the added bonus of a train station being at the cruise terminal allowing us to visit Rostock also.

Short sailing overnight saw us, next in Ronne, a Danish Island of Bornholm, a modern town in a pleasant location for morning teas or coffees with a traditional Danish pastry.

Next to Gdynia in Poland and industrial, military and commercial port being the port to explore Gdansk, and I was pleasantly surprised on the beauty of this bomb devastated city from the last World War - I could have spent much longer here and whilst there made contact with a hotel that would make the perfect base for a weekend break overlooking the river. Much here to explore, see and do with more detailed information on another travel journal.

A day at sea was next before entering St Petersburg and a new Cruise Terminal just a short drive to the main sights of the City.

I decided on the Ships own tours programme as this saved me money for not having my own visa, but the ones for the Balmoral.

The first half day excursion was to the magnificent Peterhof Palace and Gardens with their magnificent set of gravity driven fountains - many photos available of these if you would like to contact me!

The highlight of the cruise, being St Petersburg, was the fact that the Fred Olsen Balmoral enjoyed an overnight stay here.

My next half day excursion, organised by Fred Olsen, was the "Waterways of St Petersburg" which also enjoyed a city tour, this giving the best impression of this magnificent city. So much to see and do with also a visit to a traditional Russian Bazaar.

Tallinn, Estonia, for me, was a surprise and great experience for myself, as not exactly expecting the splendour of the features of this city, the Old City Walls, the heritage of this city and the many places to eat, relax and enjoy a drink in many of the squares watching the "world go by" - tremendous and Tallinn will go further up my list as being a City Tour "not to be missed"

To conclude the cruise, a short visit to Copenhagen and a guided city tour including the canals of Copenhagen bought this cruise to a fantastic conclusion of the Baltic States.

For me and many others guests on board the Balmoral was the attitude of the crew on board, all immaculate at all times with service the main focus to ensure all guests had a truly fantastic time.

I will definitely "stick" with Fred Olsen as my preferred Cruise line for me and anyone that asks me who to travel with as I find the overall experience a pleasure and enjoyable at all times.

My next Fred Olsen Cruise will be in June 2011 and to the Norwegian Fjords to which I invite anyone to join me!

I can be contacted at any time to talk further and also would be pleased to visit WI's, Active Retirement Association's, in London, Kent, Essex and Surrey to give talks about Fred Olsen Cruises and what they can offer