When cruising the Baltic and Scandinavia, you can be spoilt for choice with nearly every major cruise line sailing in the region. One way to help you narrow down your choice is by selecting the port from which you wish to join your ship. We’ve taken a look at nearly every cruise line to break down where you can sail from and on which ships.
Amsterdam & Rotterdam, Netherlands
Seasonality: Year Round
Pick of the ships: Holland America Line’s MS Koningsdam
Other ships based in this port: Holland America Line’s MS Rotterdam, Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Silhouette
If cruising the Baltic in winter is your idea of fun, you will most likely be cruising from Amsterdam or Rotterdam.
The cities are located one hour apart and both host ships from a variety of cruise lines including Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line, the latter having been founded in Rotterdam in 1873 and still calling the city home. MS Rotterdam sails year-round from here.
Voyages from both cities will typically be in the 12-14-night bracket and occasionally a seven-night adventure will be thrown in as well. Voyages from both ports can be combined with others going to the Arctic Circle, Iceland and Greenland if you’re opting to cruise back-to-back. Alternatively, you can extend your trip with a river cruise from Amsterdam and add another dimension to your Baltic and Europe experience.
Throw in the fact Amsterdam often features some of the cheapest airfares from Australia, which often leads to the city becoming the embarkation point of choice for many Aussies.
Seasonality: May to August
Pick of the ships: Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess
Other ships based in this port: MSC Cruises’ MSC Magnifica
Berlin’s city centre is actually two and a half hours from a cruise port, so you’re probably wondering what it’s doing in this article. But most cruise lines consider the northern German town of the port of Warnemunde as the port for the national capital.
Many cruise lines offer passengers the chance to embark on a voyage around the Baltic from this port, including Princess Cruises, which operates the Regal Princess on an 11-night voyage which includes two full days and an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. Unique to this itinerary is also an call into Oslo, Norway – a port which normally only features on longer cruises from Southampton or on voyages specifically covering the Norwegian Fjords.
Passengers can also immerse themselves on Europe’s largest line MSC Cruises, which sails seven-night port intensive voyages aboard MSC Magnifica to key cities in the region.
Seasonality: April to August
Pick of the ships: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway
Other ships based in this port: Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess, Holland America Line’s MS Westerdam, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas and MSC Cruises MSC Fantasia.
The Danish capital is one of the major ports in Europe and home to nearly every major cruise line, with Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean & MSC Cruises all basing ships in the city from April to August. Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Oceania also make appearances in the city in the peak summer months of June and July.
Given Copenhagen’s proximity to other key ports of the Baltic and Scandinavia, voyages are generally shorter than those from other ports such as Southampton and Amsterdam, with many seven-night and nine-night voyages commonplace on the city’s cruise schedule.
In 2017, Copenhagen also plays host to one of the largest ships ever to sail in the region. Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway will sail a nine-night itinerary, calling at ports in Russia, Germany, Estonia, Finland and Sweden. The ship – often touted as one of the most revolutionary ships afloat, is a great destination in itself for multi-generational groups, featuring an onboard experience with something for everyone.
Southampton & Dover, England
Seasonality: April to August
Pick of the ships: Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria
Other ships based in this port: Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess, MSC Cruises’ MSC Fantasia, P&O Cruises World Cruising’s Azura, Aurora, Arcadia, Oriana, Ventura and Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth.
Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises UK and Princess Cruises are among a number of cruise lines which sail from the two main English ports. As the home ports for British travellers, guests sailing out should expect a predominantly British passenger base, particularly on ships from Cunard and P&O Cruises UK which are geared to British standards.
Typically, voyages originating in the United Kingdom are longer than those from continental Europe. In fact, it’s common to have voyages as long as 18 to 20 days departing from Southampton.
Sailing from Southampton is a great opportunity for guests looking for a predominantly English speaking passenger base, as continental based ships normally attract a diverse passenger base and thus a diverse mix of languages.
Seasonality: April to August
Pick of the ships: Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Star
Other ships based in this port: Seabourn’s Seabourn Quest, Ponant’s Le Soleal
One of the key ports for luxury cruising, Stockholm provides guests an extravagant start to their cruise, with lines including Viking Ocean Cruises and Ponant using the city as one of their Northern Europe embarkation ports.
Guests can sail on a range of both big and small ship itineraries to a wide selection of ports. Viking Star operates a selection of voyages from Stockholm to Bergen calling in ports visited only by the line such as Gdansk, Poland – one of the most remote ports offered on any Baltic itinerary.
Ponant guests can experience a week-long luxury expedition cruise with the small ship line sailing between Stockholm and Copenhagen on itineraries which feature an amazing three nights in St. Petersburg, Russia – the longest scheduled call to the city by any cruise line.
Which port did you sail the Baltic and Scandinavia from? Tell us below in the comments.