The term Scandinavia collectively includes the countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland. These Nordic countries are located in Northern Europe. These countries share a close cultural and historical bond and what better way to explore these countries than by taking one of the innumerable cruise options available. From 5 Star deluxe cruises to economy cruises, tourists today have a wide range to choose from.
The best period to book a Scandinavian cruise is between May and September, when the sun constantly seems to shine on you. Visitors can enjoy traveling to the cities of Oslo, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Stockholm and Amsterdam in addition to other smaller ports. The innumerable fjords, sturdy windmills, vast expanses of tulips, floating flower markets and number of museums combine to provide great offshore activities. In fact there are many fjord cruises, wherein one can sail by day and spend the night at one of the many fjord resorts.
Scandinavian cruise locations
There are innumerable river and canal cruises ranging from 2 days to a week. The Gota Canal cruise is a great cruise option for discovering Sweden. The Gota Canal Waterway wends its way across Swedish archipelagos with hundreds of small islands and a number of narrow locks. Visitors can take a glimpse of Sweden's past, its medieval churches, picturesque small towns and lush forests. You can cover the cities of Gothenburg, Motala, Soderkoping, Vadstena and a number of smaller towns.
Other exclusive nature cruises offer a glimpse of the exotic wildlife of the region. Visitors get to travel past rugged mountains, sweeping tundra and ice caps and glaciers - unspoiled wilderness at its best. Cruises to Spitsburgen, which is a favorite with whalers, take visitors very near to the North Pole. Today, tourists can enjoy photographing walrus, reindeer, polar bear, Arctic fox and other Arctic sea birds. One can also visit Alesund, the northernmost permanent settlement in the world, which is the starting point for many North Pole expeditions.
One of the most visited cities and a must on any cruise itinerary is Copenhagen, Denmark. You will find almost all the tourists posing with the Little Mermaid, one of the most famous statues of the world. The city of Copenhagen is ideal for exploring and hence is a favorite among the cruisers. Beautiful churches, ancient and historical buildings, charming streets lined with quaint shops and inviting cafes, canals and castles are all part of this charming city. A visit to the Tivoli gardens is a must, especially at night when the lights turn it into a fairyland.
And if you really want to experience Norway, do take a minimum of six to seven day cruise and sail along lots of fjords and fishing villages. Close to the North Cape, you can experience the famous 'midnight sun' in summer. You can also select a cruise which will take you to the Lapland in Northern Norway where you can see the indigenous Sami tribe and their reindeer. You can also opt for the twelve to fifteen day round trip, with departures from Bergen and Kirkenes.
The north bound voyage starts in Bergen and ends in Kirkenes, close to Russia. The trip calls at over thirty ports including Alesund, Bodo, Harstad, tromso, Hammerfest and Trondheim among others. The ports visited during daytime on North bound journey are called at during the night on the return southbound tour. Port calls may vary from just over an hour to nearly a full day.
Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden is one of the most beautiful cities. The city itself is spread over a number of islands connected by bridges. One can also have a look at the Royal Palace and the City Hall, which hosts the world famous Nobel Prize ceremony.
Choosing Scandinavian cruise
One important point to be noted by all visitors is that most of the Scandinavian cities tend to be expensive and hence it would be better if you can clarify with the cruise operator as to what the entire package includes. Most of the cruises include port charges, three meals per day, sightseeing trips including a guide and stay at any hotel as per specifications (if the cruise involves inland stay). Some cruises also include airfares from your home town while you also have the option of paying the fare yourself.
The type of cruise you choose will also depend on the type of vacation you are planning. Some liners offer child free cruises, while others offer single only cruises. Cruises are available for the individual traveler, families as well as groups. Some liners are family oriented with child friendly playrooms, play pens as well as daycare centers. Don't forget to ask your travel agent for some special savings while booking your cruise. Different liners offer varying discounts such as senior citizen savings, children savings, off-season savings and early bird savings.
Depending upon your budget you can choose your Scandinavian cruise liner. While on the lower end, there are cruises for as low as five hundred dollars; it may go up to as high as ten thousand dollars. The high-end liners are more luxurious and include sauna, massage parlors, library, bar, Internet cafes, fitness center, salon, swimming pool, restaurants, observation decks, Jacuzzi, sundeck, playroom, shops.
So, pack your bags and get set to discover some of the world's most beautiful spots - Scandinavia's warm and friendly people, its quaint and charming villages, various museums and palaces and natural wonders.