4 DAYS FROM $1,499
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Seven countries … one departure … innumerable discoveries. Northern Europe’s many charms beckon on a Scandinavia, Kiel Canal & North Sea Gems cruise, with unparalleled historical treasures, culinary delights, storybook landscapes, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Stonehenge, Bruges, and Amsterdam’s canal ring. But beyond the iconic must-do sites, you’ll step foot in charming Bornholm, the “gourmet island”, learn about the history of shipbuilding in Papenburg, Germany; and marvel at the breathtaking cliffs of Étretat, known for its cliffs that inspired artists like Claude Monet and Victor Hugo.
Whether you’re an experienced traveler or new to the experience of sailing by small ship, this is the this is the most comprehensive itinerary you'll find. Just imagine yourself strolling through medieval villages, living like a king as you visit castles; falling under the spell of the works of Michelangelo and Rembrandt; and marveling at prehistoric ruins and modern marvels of engineering, like the 8-kilometer-long Øresund bridge in Copenhagen. Øresund is an engineering marvel that connects the Danish capital of Copenhagen to the Swedish city of Malmö.
Each experience will be intimate and immersive, thanks to the four-star 36-cabin my Variety Voyager. With the most included meals and ports, 15 sightseeing tours and 8 Vantage-exclusive Cultural Connections, along with the best pacing to make your own discoveries, this is the cruise you’ve been waiting for! Add on more time with optional extensions in Stockholm or London, and you’ll enhance your value and experience.
Today, head to the airport to catch your flight for Stockholm.
Arrive in Stockholm, Sweden, and meet your fellow travelers at tonight's dinner
Today, you’ll arrive in Stockholm, one of Europe’s most unique capitals. A city of islands, Stockholm is also one of the world’s happiest cities, as the distinctive combination of urban culture and rustic natural escapes — including incomparable Djurgarden and more than 24,000 islands and islets in its archipelago — offer a distinctively pleasant environment. Transfer to your hotel, where we’ll enjoy a wonderful Welcome Dinner.
Discover the “Venice of the North” on a panoramic tour
After breakfast, embark on a panoramic tour of Stockholm, which is known as the “Venice of the North.” 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. After lunch on our own, we’ll have a little time to explore independently before boarding the deluxe Variety Voyager, our floating home on this remarkable European cruise.
Discover the treasures of Visby, Sweden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
We awake to a buffet breakfast, after which we arrive in Visby. Located on the island of Gotland, this charming town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its remarkably well-preserved medieval port area. Visby was a key link in the powerful Hanseatic League, which was a dominant force in European trade in the 12th- and 13th-centuries. On your walking tour of the Old Town’s winding streets this morning, you’ll see Almedalen Park, the Powder Tower, Fish Alley, and Visby Cathedral. Cultural Connection: You’ll enjoy a special glassblowing demonstration on your morning tour, which allows you an insider’s look at this fascinating process. The afternoon is yours to explore the town as you wish, and dinner is back on board.
Get to know Bornholm, a charming “gourmet island”
This morning finds us at Bornholm Island, where the open fields and granite headlands get more days of sunshine than anywhere else in Denmark. On your island tour, you’ll see the dramatic clifftop ruins of Hammershus, a medieval castle; and stop in the quaint fishing village of Svaneke, a remarkably well-preserved and historic market on the island. Cultural Connection: You’ll also participate in a special tasting on your tour, which will allow you to sample some of the local delicacies. Return to the ship for dinner and entertainment in the form of enlightening fairy tales and stories about Hans Christian Andersen, one of Denmark's most famous and prolific authors.
See some of the “happiest people in the world” in Copenhagen
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 and visit the Nyhavn canal district. We'll follow in royal footsteps as we 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.
After lunch on board, you’ll have the afternoon at leisure, or you can join an optional tour of Dragor, a charming fishing village just a short journey away. This is a unique opportunity to see another side of Danish life, and perhaps experience some of the hygge (coziness) to which many Danes attribute their contentedness. Dinner is on board this evening.
Cruise the famed Kiel Canal and soak in the surrounding beauty
Today, you’ll enjoy a special treat: a scenic daylight cruise through the Kiel Canal, an historic waterway that connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. The 62-mile-long canal was completed in the late 19th-century, and is currently the busiest artificial waterway in the world. Cultural Connection: We’ll gain some insight into the history of this waterway during a lecture on board. In addition, our cruise will showcase the beautiful scenery that surrounds the canal. Later, we arrive in Hamburg, one of Germany’s most beloved cities. After dinner, we'll embark on a "Hamburg: City of Lights" coach and walking tour to visit St. Pauli and explore the Reeperbahn district.
Experience Germany’s “gateway to the world”: Hamburg
Today, we embark on a coach and walking tour of the city known as Germany’s “Gateway to the World.” The tour will include seeing Elbphilharmonie, Town Hall, and the Speicherstadt and Kontorhous District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch, you can enjoy an afternoon at leisure, or join an optional “off the beaten track” tour of Hamburg. This tour showcases the less-visited districts of Eppendorf and Winterhude, giving you a more expansive understanding of the city. Cultural Connection: There will be some local entertainment on board before dinner this evening.
Arrive in Delfzijl, the Netherlands, and see how an ocean liner is built in nearby Papenburg, Germany
A unique experience awaits today: a tour of the shipyard of Meyer Werft. Travelers can see firsthand how massive ocean liners are built here, and learn about the history of the organization — how the company started from much simpler ships in 1795 to the gigantic vessels we see on our oceans (and unlike the intimate yacht experience we're enjoying on this cruise). We return to the ship and have time at leisure in Delfzijl before dinner on board this evening.
Arrive in Amsterdam, a dynamic Dutch destination unlike any other
You’ll dock in Amsterdam and enjoy time to explore this eclectic Dutch capital that offers both a fascinating history and a vibrant culture. And with more than 1,200 bridges, 1,500 bars and cafés, 165 canals, and limitless charm, there’s plenty to discover! Dinner is on the ship this evening.
Amsterdam Canal tour and the world-famous Rijksmuseum
Unforgettable Moment: Today you'll embark on a lovely canal cruise along the city’s 17th-century canal ring, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will then visit the recently renovated Rijksmuseum, home of Amsterdam’s premier art collection, including works by such Dutch masters as Rembrandt and Vermeer. After lunch on board, this afternoon explore Amsterdam on your own or consider an optional cultural tour through the historic former Jewish district.
During centuries of persecution in Europe, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews fled to Amsterdam in order to live and worship in peace. That changed during World War II, when the Nazis invaded Holland and turned a theater in the Jodenbuurt Quarter into a deportation center, and this once-prosperous area into the infamous Jewish Ghetto. On this tour, you’ll visit this theater as well as the rest of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, which includes the Portuguese Synagogue and other monuments in this historic section of the city. Join us on this tour that highlights the powerful story of this unique part of Amsterdam.
Fall under the spell of Bruges, a storybook city and UNESCO World Heritage Site
Unforgettable Moment: You’ll dock in Ostende, and then embark a train for an included excursion to picturesque Bruges, one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. First, experience Bruges on a walking tour with ancient cobbles under your feet and fairy-tale turrets overhead. We’ll stop inside the Church of Our Lady to study Madonna of Bruges in person, a small but remarkable marble sculpture by Michelangelo and one of his only works found outside of Italy. You'll then be enchanted by a new view of the city from a canal cruise as you glide beneath graceful bridges, listening to commentary. After the tour, you'll have time to explore at your own leisure, and use the lunch money provided for a local meal.
In the afternoon, we’ll stop back at the ship to relax and refresh ourselves. Then, we venture back to Ostend to view part of the infamous “Atlantic Wall,” a series of gun batteries, fortresses, and other obstacles built in the early 1940s by Nazi Germany in order to beat back the eventual Allied invasion of northern Europe. In spite of this impressive strategic and engineering feat, the Allies prevailed. Seeing this remarkable setting reminds us of the seemingly insurmountable impediments that our troops overcame in World War II. After an eventful day, you will have dinner on board — another meal featuring regional specialties from your on board expert chef.
Experience Honfleur, an Impressionist muse and a charming coastal town
We then make our way to France, and yet another unforgettable destination. Unforgettable Moment: Earlier in the day, enjoy a guided walking tour of picturesque Honfleur — birthplace of the early Impressionist painter Eugene Boudin and a favorite of Monet, Courbet, and other artists, who maintained studios near the harbor. You’ll also have some free time here to explore a bit on your own on board lecture on impressionist Honfleur
Marvel at the cliffs of Étretat on the Alabaster Coast
After breakfast on board the ship, we’ll embark on an excursion to Étretat, a region famous for its breathtaking collection of cliffs. Spread along a stretch of northern France known as the Alabaster Coast, these cliffs have inspired artists ranging from Claude Monet to the novelist and poet Victor Hugo. We’ll have plenty of time to breathe in the sea air as we admire the striking shapes of these iconic cliffs. You’ll have the afternoon at leisure to discover more of Honfleur on your own.
Disembark and venture to mysterious Stonehenge on your way to London
The cruise portion of your journey ends this morning, but you still have some incredible discoveries waiting today. After disembarking the ship, we’ll head to the open Salisbury Plain and the great circle of standing stones known as Stonehenge. The ancient ritual site, part of vast complex of prehistoric burial mounds, earthworks, and avenues, attracts modern-day druids for summer and winter solstice celebrations. Cultural Connection: Embracing British history and culture, we’ll enjoy lunch at a pub in Salisbury, before continuing on to jolly old London. This evening, we'll savor a Farewell Drink and dinner at the hotel.
Return home with memories from seven different countries and one remarkable journey
Our journey concludes today as we head to the airport for our flight home.
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.