Best kept secrets in Amsterdam

When you visit a city you may be blinded by the lure of the major attractions and tourist hot-spots. But with a little bit of inside knowledge, there are secrets waiting to be discovered. Whether it is a hidden eatery that only the locals are savvy to, or an overlooked beauty spot, here we unearth Amsterdam’s best kept secrets for you to discover on your mini cruise holiday.

Coffee Shops in Tallinn

No matter where you are in the world, it’s always a great comfort when you find a nice cup of coffee. For some people, you may not be fully awake in the morning until you have had your dose of caffeine. Maybe you need a coffee with your lunch to keep you going through the day? Or just need one to warm you up if you’re in a colder climate.

If you are lucky enough to be on one of our Baltic cruises anytime soon and happen to be stopping in Tallinn, a cup of fresh coffee is never hard to find. As there are so many places to choose from, we have made it easier for you to find that perfect cup so you can carry on enjoying the sites of Tallinn. 

Breakfast around the world

During a world cruise, one of the few constant routines which can be kept, and what most passengers base their day around, is mealtimes. Cruising is notorious for those who love to indulge and quite often all those weeks of portion controlling and healthy eating can go out of the window once on board being treated to three beautifully prepared meals a day - plus plenty of snacks in-between!

When sailing on a world cruise you have 120 nights of sampling cuisines from all over the world as our culinary teams take inspiration from far-flung ports and enchanting destinations to create stunning dishes for passenger satisfaction.

So as breakfast is the most important meal of the day we are rounding up the top breakfasts from our 2018 and 2019 Grand Round the World Cruises destinations.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a diverse landscape of towering skyscrapers, mystical mountains, a harbour that glistens beneath the sunshine and places of significant religious value. This amalgamation of sites provides an almost endless supply of beauty spots available for those interested in photography.

The city bustles with life, meaning you have an endless stream of subjects to focus on. But here, we share with you some of Hong Kong’s best beauty spots to visit on your world cruise holiday.

Marco Polo in Greenland

The Marco Polo departed Rosyth on the evening of 12th July for Greenland making its way via the Faroe Isles and Iceland. My husband John was one of the Guest Speakers aboard and the following are a selection of some of the many photos we took. Greenland is such an amazing place we just wanted to share them with you. John presented his talks on photographing the delightful people and places we would be visiting. He used images we took on our brief visit to the world’s largest island in 2015. The previous cruise had been to mark the Marco Polo’s 50th Anniversary. Originally, she was the Alexandra Pushkin and operated from Leningrad (St Petersburg) to Montreal calling at London Tilbury.


Despite being a prominent feature on happiness indexes and a regular ‘must-visit’ destination from bloggers and travel sites, Helsinki still remains an overlooked Baltic cruise destination. Overshadowed by the likes of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen, the capital city of Finland is a real treasure.

Few places on Earth can offer a natural landscape with a cutting edge metropolitan city quite like Helsinki, as Jenni Pöyry, Communications and Media Relations at My Helsinki, says: “Helsinki is a city of contrasts; the hidden gem of the North. Helsinki is a city where urban life and beautiful nature combines. It’s also very compact and functional city which makes it also possible to explore within short amount of time.”

But what if you haven’t got long to spend in the city? If you are tight for time on your Baltic cruise holiday but you really want to make the most of it, here is our guide on how to spend 12 hours in Helsinki.

Norwegian Fjords

Norway as a country is best known for its magnificent scenery and stunning fjords. But that's not all this Scandinavian state has to offer. Norway is a very modern, forward thinking country, with a rich culture and are extremely proud of their heritage. They welcome tourists to come and visit their fjords, while at the same time preserving the stunning landscape is a top priority for them.

It is also said, the best way to discover Norway is by cruise. Taking a Norwegian fjords cruise really gives you a great taste of what this country is really about.

Below we have highlighted some of the best destination to visit in Norway. These destinations have been highlighted to showcase what really makes Norway such a wonderful country, covering art, history, culture and of course nature.

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.