From eccentric churches to singing trees, the Baltic cities are home to many hidden gems. On your Baltic cruise, you’ll get the chance to visit beautiful cities such as Copenhagen, Helsinki and St Petersburg, and while there are plenty of world-renowned attractions to explore, it’s worth taking time to seek out some of the lesser-known places. In this guide, we’ll talk you through the hidden gems of the Baltics, so you can see a different side to these popular cities.

Orange-Pride comes alive every year in the capital of the Netherlands to celebrate the reigning Monarch for King’s or Queen’s Day. First celebrated over 133 years ago in 1885 in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina, the reigning Monarch’s have moved the official date over the years to reflect the new Monarch’s inauguration or birthday. For those on a short breaks cruise to the Dutch capital, if you arrive on King’s Day you will see the city in all it’s glory as party fever takes over and celebrations begin.

Sibuya crossing

When thinking of cruising, most people imagine exotic ports, coastal cities and sun-glazed islands. Once you dock, you’d be able to hop off of the ship for the day, and then head back on to the open ocean until the next stop.

These days though, it can be less about the port, and more about the locations you can access via the port. There are many destinations you didn’t know you could cruise to available on our world cruise itineraries, and in this article we are going to reveal some of these lesser-known cruising gems.

Lonely Planet recently listed Antwerp as one it’s top ten city destinations for its ‘Best in Travel’ for 2018. Visit Antwerp's Alderman, Koen Kennis said “This award really is great recognition for Antwerp. We very much appreciate the extra boost this will have for inspiring visits to our city." With Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s Editorial Director explaining; “While visitors to Antwerp will find all the classic Belgian experiences of cobbled lanes, gorgeous architecture, chocolate and beer, the city also boasts a thriving creative scene and cool cafes, restaurants and bars. With a packed schedule of events planned for 2018, there’s never been a better time to visit this cosmopolitan city.”

Stowaway brings you boutique cruising on smaller ships and features a relaxed ex-UK no-fly Caribbean round trip on board Marco Polo.

Denmark’s vibrant capital city is famous for its picturesque waterfront, colourful housing facades and cutting-edge design. The historic architecture blends with the modern Scandinavian style to create a fusion city, one that fits both in the future, and the past. Copenhagen is one of the most dynamic stops on any Baltic cruise. In this article, we’ll provide a handy guide on how to make the most of your stopover in the capital, including a broad range of attractions and sights for every type of traveller.
When you arrive at Copenhagen you’ll be overwhelmed by the beauty of the city, and how happy the people are! The city welcomes you into its arms with brightly painted buildings and winding cobbled streets.

Split between two picturesque harbours, the sprawling city of Auckland can be found in the north of New Zealand. Famous for its maritime past, delicious seafood and its many volcanic cones, the city should definitely be high up on your list of top travel destinations. Although New Zealand is perhaps most famous for its beautiful countryside featured in Lord of the Rings, and it’s more well-known cities of Wellington and Christchurch, Auckland is the hidden gem of your world cruise holiday. In this guide we look at what’s on offer in the city for every type of traveller.

With over 3,000 years of history, Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, is the perfect mix of ancient Chinese culture and modern architecture. With six UNESCO World Heritage sites within its reaches it may seem a little overwhelming when trying to plan your world cruise stop there, however, this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip which you should take full advantage off if you’re lucky enough to stop in Beijing.

The spectacle of the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, is nature’s original light show in the Northern Hemisphere. The natural phenomenon brightens dark winter nights and draws thousands of spectators into the Arctic Circle every winter. Onlookers can appreciate anything from an ethereal green glow on the horizon to animated cherry streaks across the sky. It’s a superb spectacle you won’t forget. For many people adding this to their bucket list is a must. It is one of nature’s most spectacular phenomenon that always causes excitement and wonder among those who have never seen it before. Anyone hoping to catch a glimpse needs to head to hotspots to increase their chances of viewing it. Since there are a lot of countries to see the Northern Lights, let us answer that all-important question; Where are the best countries to witness this magnificent spectacle for you to best plan your trip accordingly?

Blue Lagoon

When it comes to treating yourself to a little TLC every now and then, nothing can be better than heading to a spa. For many, the thought of a trained spa therapist easing aches and pains is a most welcome one. In the UK spas and health farms are booming and the UK spa market is now worth over £1.5 billion. If you think of spas, traditionally you would think of white fluffy robes, slippers and relaxation music however in central and Eastern European spas and health centres are a more social environment where people come together to enjoy some health benefits but mainly to meet up with friends and family.

Shanghai

Gōng xǐ fā cái, Happy New Year! 2018 welcomes the Year of the Dog, the eleventh animal of the zodiac, which symbolises loyalty and honesty. Those who are born in the year of the dog are considered to be friendly, loyal and smart and have a strong sense of responsibility. The Chinese New Year celebrations run from 8th February to 2nd March with three sections; Little Year, Spring Festival and Lantern Festival, and with our 2018 and 2019 world cruises visiting Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong here are top highlights of the Chinese New Year.

When we think of wine, the regions of Bordeaux, Tuscany and Napa Valley come to mind. However, the Canary Islands are often overlooked. This sunny archipelago was once renowned for its exquisite wine, and still produces some of Europe’s finest bottles today. If you’re setting off on a Canary Islands cruise, it would be a crime not to sample some of Lanzarote’s delicious white wine.

Valentines

When we think of Valentine’s Day, cupids, cards and flowers spring rapidly to mind, and as of last year the UK spent over £1.3 billion to celebrate the day of love, it’s clear that we are a loved-up nation. Far from the origins of the festival - which has its roots in Pagan fertility and then through the martyrdom of two Valentine’s (or, in Latin Valentinus) who both met their end in Ancient Rome on 14th February - we nowadays adopt the ideal of love and romance which was first penned by Chaucer in the ‘Parlement of Foules’. So if you’re looking for some inspiration, why not take a look at some of our world cruise destinations to see how love is celebrated around the world.

 

Amazon

We boarded Magellan having not cruised before

With minor concerns about what was in store

But the ship was a smasher – it sure looked the part

And so did the crew in their uniforms smart.

Over 2,000 years ago a list known as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was used throughout the Mediterranean as a tourist guidebook of the top places to visit, highlighting:

 
  1. The Colossus of Rhodes
  2. Great Pyramid of Giza
  3. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  4. Lighthouse of Alexandria
  5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  6. Statue of Zeus, Olympia
  7. Temple of Artemis, Ephesus


The list has been accredited to many different Greek and Byzantium writers and it was first called a ‘themata’ the Greek for ‘things to be seen’ or ‘must sees’. Many credit Philo of Byzantium with a work called ‘On the Seven Wonders’ supposedly written in 225BC. From this list, the only surviving wonder is the Great Pyramid of Giza which still stands in the Giza pyramid complex in Egypt having been built between 2580-2560BC making it over 4,500 years old and it takes a place on the 7 Wonders of the Modern World list as an honorary wonder. 

Singapore Skyline

One of the most exciting parts of a world cruise is exploring new cultures. The island city-state of Singapore is an amalgamation of Asian cultures, forming the tip of southern Malaysia. Here, historic enclaves co-exist with innovative architecture to create a fascinating destination.

To find out more about the city, we spoke to Singaporean travel blogger Jaclynn Seah, who runs The Occasional Traveller. Jaclynn describes herself as “your average person with a job and only limited time to travel”, and started her blog while working in advertising. Having realised she was so busy that she’d forgotten to get away that year, Jaclynn decided to create a blog to inspire workaholics to take time out to explore the world.

Tulips in Amsterdam

Across the Netherlands, on Saturday 20 January locals and visitors alike celebrate the arrival of National Tulip Day as the flower season starts for another year. Dam Square, in central Amsterdam, becomes a temporary themed garden with more than 200,000 tulips. The theme for 2018 is ‘Romantic’, and over 10,000 people are expected to visit the square to collect their free tulip to mark the start of spring. Over 1.7 billion Dutch tulips are expected to be taken home across the world in the 2018 tulip season which runs from January to the end of April.

Sydney Harbour

When you think of Sydney you imagine the Opera House, Bondi Beach and the Harbour Bridge, but what if you wanted to do something a little different? Skip the crowds and discover a whole new side to the city as you check out these secret places to discover in Sydney.

Guernsey, Channel Islands

No British Isles Discovery cruise would be complete without a stop on the beautiful Isle of Guernsey, which  Cruise Critic has named  the ‘Best UK & British Isles Port of Call’ for 2017. Cruise Critic’s international team of editors who chose Guernsey explained that they felt “Guernsey encapsulates all the charm of a lost 1950s idea of Britain, with a French twist and a fascinating history”. The team went on to say: “St Peter Port (the capital) with its tiny streets and pretty houses, is charm personified; beautiful, unspoilt beaches lie just minutes away and the Second World War history is fascinating. Guernsey welcomes cruise ship passengers with free street Wi-Fi, an upgraded port area and an army of helpful volunteers during high season.”

Cruising the Fjords

The towering cliffs and deep blue waters of the Norwegian Fjords draw travellers from all over the world. With its fascinating Viking history, remote villages and some of the best views on earth, it’s easy to see why visitors flock to the country. If you’re not quite convinced, we’ve put together a list of 10 reasons to book a Norwegian Fjords cruise.