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Passport-stampers, rejoice—nine ports in seven countries await on 2020 departures of Great Northern Discovery: Baltic Capitals & St. Petersburg and each is remarkable unto itself. Discover the juxtaposition of striking contemporary architecture and design trends in lands where strong cultural identities and traditions have been upheld for centuries, unspoiled by modern innovation. From the castles and cliff tops of Denmark to the Hanseatic heritage of Sweden; Latvian folk customs to centuries of remarkable political intrigue and artistic excellence in St. Petersburg, your time aboard the exclusively chartered 72-passenger yacht the my Variety Voyager will be enriching, exciting, and engaging.
Enhancements for 2020 include more meals (with taste-tempting local dining!), added Vantage-exclusive Cultural Connections, and better hotels offering you contemporary accommodations when on land with the most classic of European service. It’s what you’ve come to expect with Vantage, and what we take pride in offering, time and time again.
You'll already be in Europe, so why not add three extra nights in charming Copenhagen, a delightful city with so much to offer? Whether you’re sipping a steaming brew as part of the city’s intrinsic coffee culture, wandering the Norrebro neighborhood on your way toward the Nyhavn canal’s colorful rowhouses, or taking a dip in the outdoor canal pools at Islands Brygge, there’s plenty to do—especially since we treat you to a walking tour and a fishing village excursion. There is no better way to see more of Denmark at the best value.
Fly overnight to Copenhagen, Denmark
This evening, you’ll fly overnight to Copenhagen, Denmark.
Arrive in Copenhagen for a day at leisure
Arrive today and transfer to your hotel. You’ll have lunch on your own, and an orientation walk. Later, enjoy a welcome briefing cocktail, and Welcome Dinner. (If you reserve our Copenhagen pre-trip extension, you’ll meet the other travelers on the base tour today.)
See the best of Copenhagen, then welcome on board
Why do Danes consistently rank as “the happiest people in the world,” according to the UN’s World Happiness Report? Your panoramic tour of charming, friendly Copenhagen may give you a clue, as you view the famed Little Mermaid statue on her watery perch, visit the Nyhavn canal district, swing by towered and turreted Rosenborg Castle, and contrast that with the more-dignified Amalienborg Castle where Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II resides today. Part of your tour includes a scenic canal boat ride. Cultural Connection: Visit a local food market to taste the freshest local fare and interact with the people who live here and grow produce, flowers, and more.
Afterwards, enjoy a lunch on your own and a few hours to stroll around. Board your elegant small ship later in the afternoon. Get settled in your cabin, then gather for a briefing by the Captain and ship’s staff, followed by your first dinner on board. We get underway later in the evening.
Cliff-top castles and medieval Danish heritage in Bornholm and Rønne
Enjoy breakfast this morning as the ship arrives to Rønne, gateway to Bornholm Island, site of your explorations today. The island's open fields and granite headlands receive more days of sunshine than anywhere else in Denmark, drawing summer tourists to the sandy beaches. On an island tour, you’ll see the dramatic cliff-top ruins of Hammershus, a medieval castle; stop into the quaint fishing village of Svaneke; and visit one of the island’s 12th-century round churches. You’ll have the afternoon free to stroll around the port of Rønne. Be sure to look for galleries that display the island’s famous glass and ceramic creations. Enjoy dinner on board tonight as the ship sets sail toward Poland.
Follow the Solidarity Route through historic Gdansk, Poland
The great shipyards of Gdansk were the incubator for the legendary Solidarity movement of 1980, the first crack in what would ultimately be the crumbling of the entire Soviet Union. You’ll follow the Solidarity Route through this historic seaport, including the charming Old Town and massive St. Mary’s Church. Cultural Connection: A visit to the European Solidarity Centre reveals the Solidarity story in impressive detail, as you follow an English-language audio tour through the captivating exhibits. Enjoy free time in Old Town this afternoon.
See the Hanseatic gem of Visby, Sweden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
A morning of scenic cruising brings us to Visby, located on the large Swedish island of Gotland. Rightfully declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the extraordinary preservation of its medieval port area, Visby was a key link in the powerful Hanseatic League. On your walking tour of the Old Town’s winding streets, you’ll see Almedalen Park, the Powder Tower, Fish Alley, and Visby Cathedral.
UNESCO treasures await in Riga
When you awake today, you’ll be sailing in the Gulf of Riga, headed for the Latvian capital of the same name.
Cultural Connection: In a lecture aboard ship this morning, learn about the amazing Singing Revolution, carried out by protestors in the Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, that sparked the Baltic States' independence from the Soviet Revolution.
This afternoon, you’ll explore Riga, a picturesque and vibrant UNESCO World Heritage Site, by coach and on a walking tour. Riga was also the home of a large and thriving Jewish population, from which many Americans of Jewish descent trace their ancestry. Your tour includes a stop outside at Riga Cathedral, then an exclusive organ concert at another local church.
Cultural Connection: Enjoy an energetic performance by Latvian folk musicians and dancers aboard ship this evening. We'll overnight in Riga.
Celebrate the Jewish heritage of Riga, Latvia
Today, you’ll enjoy a day at leisure to explore this historic jewel, perhaps strolling the pedestrian-only Old Town’s many shops and restaurants.
Or, opt for our Jewish Riga optional tour, visiting the Holocaust Museum, Riga Synagogue, and more.
This afternoon, your ship departs and you can relax during an afternoon sailing with an informative port talk.
Riga was home to a thriving Jewish population, from which many Americans of Jewish descent trace their ancestry. Join our optional tour to learn the history of Jewish Riga, and their fate under the Nazi occupation. Includes a visit to the Ghetto & Holocaust Museum, Riga Synagogue, and the Janis Lipke Memorial.
Medieval walled Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn, another one of the Hanseatic League’s trading centers, has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The two-level city has an enchantment all its own, which you’ll discover on our tour from the winding streets of the Lower Town to the fortified Upper Town on Toompea Hill, where you can take in the amazing view. You’ll also see the Dome Church and the Opera House. Tallinn has a thriving high-tech economy, too, which has earned it a reputation as Europe’s Silicon Valley. The young, entrepreneurial population supports a lively cultural and dining scene. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore on your own.
Discover glittering St. Petersburg and the palace at Peterhof
Peter the Great broke ground for his gilded capital city in 1703, intending to emulate and surpass the best of western Europe. He came close to succeeding, because no matter how often you’ve been, you simply cannot get enough of this magnificent city. Unforgettable Moment: Today’s full day of exploring takes us first on a panoramic tour to see the palaces, canals, and churches in the heart of the city. Then, following lunch in a local restaurant, we travel to Peterhof, the spectacular “Russian Versailles” and UNESCO World Heritage Site that Peter designed and built on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. The gardens and Grand Cascade of fountains are a marvel in themselves. Cultural Connection: Back aboard ship this evening, Russian entertainers come aboard for a lively performance.
Achieve an art lover’s milestone when you visit the Hermitage Museum
This morning you’ll visit what is widely considered the world’s most comprehensive collection of European art. The amazing Hermitage Museum was started by Catherine the Great, expanded under subsequent czars, then grew exponentially as the Soviets seized scores of private collections. You’ll be introduced to the cream of the collection as you wind through the spectacular exhibition halls of the gilded Winter Palace.
Savor lunch at a local restaurant, before heading off for an afternoon visit of St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Vibrant green columns prop up a gilded ceiling and gold adorns nearly everywhere you look, whether it’s stunning light fixtures or religious or historical icons that line the walls. Your expert local city guide will enlighten you on the cathedral’s fascinating story and its role in the imperial capital’s collective identity.
Visit Helsinki, Finland, and sail to Stockholm, Sweden
Whether you’re viewing Helsinki’s 1852 cathedral, crossing one of its many parks or squares, or seeing yourself reflected in the glass of a brand-new building, you'll find that there’s an appealing orderliness and grace to this northern capital. Your panoramic city tour includes bustling Market Square and Old Market Hall, elegant Helsinki Cathedral, and the stately government buildings of Senate Square. Afterwards, we sail west along Finland’s scenic coast en route to Stockholm, our final port of call.
Explore the Stockholm archipelago and Vasa Museum
We’ll disembark this morning to spend our final night ashore. Unforgettable Moment: On your tour of this “Venice of the North” — Stockholm spreads across 14 islands knit together by some 57 bridges — you’ll walk through the narrow streets of the delightful Gamla Stan, or Old Town, and enjoy views of Stockholm City Hall and the city’s equally attractive newer sections. Cultural Connection: On an included tour, visit the fascinating Vasa Museum, where you’ll see the amazing “ghost ship” of the same name — the world’s only fully intact 17th-century warship. The massive vessel sank just offshore on its maiden voyage in 1628. It lay preserved in the mud for three centuries, before being recovered and displayed in its full glory. Afterwards, enjoy your last afternoon free and a Farewell Dinner and reception in your hotel.
Fly home or stay on for your Stockholm, Sweden post-trip extension
Transfer to the airport for you flight home, unless you’ve signed on for the Stockholm extension.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.