Northern Lights

More and more people are choosing to venture north during the winter months to try and catch a glimpse of the elusive and beautiful Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). This natural phenomenon has been fascinating man for thousands of years. While nowadays we have a good understanding of how we can see the lights, how they are produced and the factors that come together to cause this natural light show, there have been quite a few different ideas on what the swirling lights could have meant.

Church of the Savior on Blood

2017 will mark the centenary year of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Often cited in history as the making of Soviet Russia and the breaking of Imperialist Russia, it marks one of the most significant periods in Russian history.

What you may not know is that there was not one but two revolutions in Russia in 1917, the February and October Revolutions, although civil unrest had been simmering away for more than a decade after almost 300 years of imperial rule by the Romanov’s. The February Revolution of 1917 resulted in the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the creation of a provisional government with the October Revolution, better known as the Bolshevik Revolution, of 1917 resulting in the beginnings of the creation of the Soviet Union.

Here we mark the most important locations in St. Petersburg that still stand today and were key to Russia breaking away from the Romanov rule in February 1917 and beginning its 74 years under the control of the Soviet Union, before its dissolution in December 1991.

Many of these important landmarks located around St. Petersburg can be visited on a Baltic Cities cruise, with our shore excursions department offering tours to various locations across the city.

Short Cruise Destination

You don’t need to book two weeks off of work to enjoy a cruise holiday. The delights of Europe and the British Isles are ready for you to discover thanks to the wide selection of short cruises on offer.

Now all you need is two or three days to escape to Amsterdam, Dublin, France and many more destinations. Cruise holidays really are for everyone with these short breaks that allow you to choose from a relaxing break or a whirlwind city break. But how to you make the most of a short cruise?

With so much to see, taste and experience, how do you fit it all in to just a few days? To ensure you have the best cruise possible, let us walk you through everything you need to do to really enjoy your short cruise holiday.

Hamburg Christmas Markets

While many major cities across the UK host festive events and markets in the lead up to Christmas day, it is always tempting to jump across to the continent on a mini cruise to experience traditional European Christmas markets. But the problem is what European market do you go to? German, Dutch, French or Belgian. With a Christmas market cruise, there is the opportunity to taste Glühwein in Hamburg on one day or indulge in Belgian chocolates in Antwerp on another day. Ensuring that even the most Scrooge-like individuals among us begin to feel the Yuletide spirit, and with only 15 weeks to go until Christmas day, here is a roundup of the best European markets this winter.

Hong Kong

What could be better than taking 4 months off from the humdrum of home life and sail the world on board your very own floating hotel? Well not much really according to our 2017 Magellan Maiden Round the World Voyage passengers; There are tales of heavenly white Caribbean and French Polynesian beaches, adventures in the Great Barrier Reef, frenetic energy and bright lights in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the ancient cities of Luxor, Petra, Jerusalem and Athens.

So how do you prepare for 4 months of life at sea, what do you need to know, what do you pack, and how do you plan for a quarter of a year. Well here are our top tips:

Canary Islands

When we think of the Canary Islands, images of crystal clear water and sandy beaches come to mind. But there’s so much more to these enchanting islands than meets the eye. On your cruise holiday, you’ll get the chance to uncover the secrets of Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote. Take a look at our guide to discover 10 things you didn’t know about the Canary Islands

German cruisine

When we think of food in Germany, it’s easy to imagine plenty of delicious sausages and tankards of beer. And while you won’t be disappointed with this expectation on your cruise holiday, there’s so much more to the cuisine.

Indulgent pastries, humble fish dishes and glorious breads are all staples of the German diet. The country’s most traditional dishes are paired with new and exciting craft beers, alongside its more famous weissbeers (wheat beers). Visit one of Northern Germany’s iconic beer halls to pair your refreshment with a tasty pretzel or sausage.

French Polynesia

Simply put, French Polynesia is a tropical paradise. Whether you are stood on the warm white sand looking out at the clear blue sea, dipping your toes into an emerald lagoon or exploring its volcanic peaks and waterfalls, the islands are a place of great natural beauty.

Avichai Ben Tzur is the author of the The Independent Traveler’s Guide to French Polynesia and travel consultant for tailor-made trips to the region as well as the publisher and Editor at X Days in Y. Avichai told us what made this Pacific paradise such a desirable stop on a world cruise holiday:

Funchal, Madeira

In the North Atlantic Ocean, the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira is truly a world of its own. Towns and villages are hidden among towering sea cliffs and lush green hills in one of the most remarkable landscapes on Earth. In this guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about these mysterious islands.

Hong Kong

When heading out on a World Cruise you may worry about how much you can really see of each country before getting back on board to continue your grand voyage. Whilst small tropical islands can be the perfect day stop travellers can often leave big cities feeling as though they have only scratched the surface.

Whilst Hong Kong can be perceived as a large and daunting destination, made up of multiple islands and districts, it is actually a great city to do on a 24 stop. With its modern and efficient MTR system, it makes the perfect overnight stop on a world cruise. Keep reading to see my top highlights for those with 24 hours to spend in Hong Kong.

Best travel podcasts

Our desire to travel often comes from images we see online, adverts on the TV, books we read and also what we listen to. While music can stimulate feelings and emotions, podcasts can speak to your inner traveller and even have the power to influence where you book your next holiday.

Created by seasoned travellers who have definitely lived through the main travel-related concerns you have, podcasts are a brilliant resource that everyone should be listening to.

Whether you’re planning a short cruise or a year out from the rat-race, travel podcasts help to inspire and also answer your questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a trip or if you’re in need of something to listen to during your travels, our list of the top travel podcasts will cover every detail you need to know.


Sweden’s capital is an elegant, sophisticated and stunning city that can be enjoyed on a budget. Stockholm is one of the most stylish cities in Europe and is made up of individually distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own style and personality.

Spread across 14 islands, the city boasts cutting-edge museums, both independent and luxurious shopping, gorgeous natural beauty and stunning architecture. But this doesn’t have to come at a price, as Bruno from Geeky Explorer explains:

"Apart from a modern and edgy city, Stockholm is also one of the most expensive capitals of the world, but that doesn't mean you can't have a great time there for dirt cheap. In fact, you can have a great Nordic experience for free!"

Like with any city, there is much that you can enjoy without having to spend a penny. So to help you before your Baltic cruise holiday, we will guide you through the best free things to do in Stockholm.

Women's Cricket

England’s cricket team have won the Women’s Cricket World Cup.  England women 228 for 7, beat India women 219 by 9 runs.

A transformative World Cup for women’s cricket ended with the final it deserved. A nearly full house at Lord’s, a tense finish and every imaginable thrill and spill. It was Anya Shrubsole who stood tallest on a drizzly day in London.

24 Hours in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has more than 40 museums, countless gardens, spectacular architecture and so much more. So when you are taking a mini cruise or a short break, you might be worried that you aren’t going to be able to fit it all in.

But fear not. Amsterdam’s layout means that you can quite easily walk to many of the sights, or even just jump on a bike or the tram. So before you slip on a comfortable pair of shoes, check out this list of activities and attractions to enjoy during your 24 hours in Amsterdam. 

Currencies of the World

When Columbus departs on her world cruise in January 2018 she will visit 26 different countries over 121 nights, covering every continent except for Antarctica.

Going on a trip this long needs some serious planning, clothes for every climate, plenty of travel adapters for charging your electronic devices and of course the correct currencies  that you will need to take with you.

Don’t worry, we have you covered (on the currency front). We’ve put together a list of all the currencies you will need on Columbus’ 2018 world cruise.


Europe, in particular Scandinavian and Nordic countries, dominated the top ten of the World Happiness Report’s happiest countries. With the likes of Norway and Finland making the list, two destinations blessed with stunning natural beauty, it’s not hard to see why everyone is so happy.

Here we run through the top five happiest countries, all of which are sure to give you some serious wanderlust.

Best Burger In Iceland

A pretty big statement but the guys over at Must See in Iceland have been compiling a comprehensive list of the best burgers available in Iceland. They have been contacting hundreds of Icelandic locals asking for their opinions on the best burger joint on their small beautiful island. There are hundreds of restaurants in Iceland, many which offer unique and great tasting burgers, however they have chosen the real stand out restaurants where the burgers are mind blowing.

So, what does this mean for you? Well if your cruising to Iceland, whether you just be passing through or spending a few days around the island on an ‘Iceland & Northern Isles’ cruise, you’re now going to know when you need to pass on having lunch on the ship and head into town for something different.


Everyone is different, with their own unique tastes and desires. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for something that is spicy or authentic, hearty or light, the only thing that counts is if it is delicious.

If you’re heading on a world cruise and are stepping onto land with a rumbling stomach then you’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to eat in Auckland.

Norwegian Fjords

For most people, when looking to find an autumn or spring holiday destination it can be quite difficult to sway yourself away from the alluring thought of warmer climes and look to seek out a new adventure. Most city breaks these days can make even the hardiest traveller feel claustrophobic squeezing down streets packed with tourists. Sometimes it is good to just get away and take a trip where you can switch off from the world and take a step back into nature. With all the trappings of modern life sometimes it’s difficult, even in retirement, to seek out new adventure and rediscover the simplest pleasures in life. The Norwegian fjord’s offer travellers a chance to see a different type of natural beauty that doesn’t involve sun, sea and sangria.

Amsterdam Canal

For those among us who are new to cruising, the thought of an extended cruise, could leave you anxious. Jumping straight onto a cruise that is for over forty nights and journeys to the depths of South America or Canada can leave you with many questions and worries. Whilst most people these days have experienced trips abroad that entail the drama of modern travel, including flights, airports, transfers, hotels, etc, which when trying to plan can culminate in an almighty headache. Cruising allows for the stress to be removed as the cruise line takes all the responsibility and hassle from planning your perfect trip.

Modern cruising allows passengers to pick their theme or destination and then provides a full itinerary and schedule based on that selection. It takes the stress of multi-destination trips from travel, accommodation to visas and finding restaurants and harks back to the heyday of the travel agencies where the passenger need only to describe their perfect trip and the agent would produce it.