June 22 to July 4, 2009
In the tradition of ancient Viking mariners, sail across the Baltic Sea under sunlit northern skies on this special voyage featuring a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with Lech Walesa, Nobel Prize Laureate and leader of the Polish Solidarity movement's struggle against Soviet domination. While cruising from the beautiful Swedish capital of Stockholm to the medieval port of Bergen, Norway marvel at the stunning beauty of Norway's spectacular Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord, discover the stunning architecture of Scandinavia's most historic ports and immerse yourself in the cultural renaissance of the recently liberated Baltic States. From the medieval treasures of Riga, Tallinn and Gda´nsk, to the unrivaled artistic heritage of St. Petersburg, Russia, delve into the region's fascinating historical legacy as these nations reclaim their national destinies. This customized itinerary encompasses numerous cultural enhancements, including a special early opening tour of the world-acclaimed Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and features accommodations aboard the deluxe M.S. LE DIAMANT, one of the world's most celebrated small cruise ships. A Pre-Program Option in Stockholm, and a two-night Bergen Post-Program Option are also offered.Back to the top »
Monday, June 22, 2009
Depart from the U.S. for Stockholm, Sweden
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 – Stockholm, Sweden
Transfer to the M.S. Le Diamant upon arrival. This evening join the Captain for a special welcome reception and dinner.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 – Tallinn, Estonia
Having largely escaped the ravages of World War II, Tallinn's Old Town has remained virtually unchanged for the past 600 years and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the walking tour, visit the medieval Town Hall the only surviving Gothic-style hall in Europe and see the landmark Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the 13th century Church of St. Nicholas.
Thursday, June 25, 2009 – St. Petersburg, Russia
Arrive in the marvelous city of St. Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Spend one and a half days exploring the city's legendary landmarks, scattered across more than 100 islands linked by six times as many bridges.
Following lunch, drive along the main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospect, lined with exquisite Russian Baroque and neoclassical architecture, and see the church of the Spilled Blood and 19th-century St. Isaac's Cathedral, crowned by a striking golden dome. During your visit, tour the city's first building, Peter and Paul fortress, which was constructed in 1702 to defend Russia against Swedish invasion and to secure Russia's access to the sea. The impressive Baroque Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul contain the tombs of all Russia's czars, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II.
This evening attend an optional ballet performance in the historic Hermitage Theater or an optional; Russian folklore show in the Nikolevsky Art Center
Friday, June 26, 2009 – St. Petersburg, Russia
Begin your day with the specially arranged tour of the renowned Hermitage, a former czarist palace and one of the world's greatest art museums. Its spectacular collection is rivaled only by its ornate interiors.
Spend this afternoon in St. Petersburg on your own, or join an optional excursion to the imperial compound of Pushkin and Catherine Palace, an elaborate Baroque edifice build in 1742 by Peter the Great's daughter, Elizabeth I, in honor of her mother. Visit the extraordinary Amber Room, where six tons of amber, deftly carved and framed in gold leaf, was the crown jewel of Russian Art until the room was looted by the Nazis in 1941. The room was meticulously reconstructed to commemorate St. Petersburg's 300th birthday in 2003.
Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Peter the Great's elegant summer estate and palace at Petrodvorets. Lined with exquisite gilded fountains and white marble statues, its gardens are among the most spectacular in the world. The visit includes a walk through the palace and grounds. Return to St. Petersburg by Hydrofoil. The ship departs St. Petersburg later this evening.
Saturday, June 27, 2009 – Cruising the Baltic Sea
The day is at leisure on board the deluxe M.S. Le Diamant as you cruise the Baltic Sea.
Sunday, June 28, 2009 – Riga, Latvia
Once a member of the Hanseatic League, Riga has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its eclectic combination of national romantic, art nouveau, neo-Gothic, neo-Baroque and ultramodern architecture. Attend the specially arranged organ recital in St. John's Church, one of Riga's oldest buildings, originally a Dominican chapel consecrated in the 13th century. Tour Old Riga and see the Great Guild All Square, the Swedish Gate and the artfully designed Blackhead's House a magnificent 14th century guild house destroyed in World War II. It was completely rebuild with bricks donated by Riga's citizens to commemorate the city's 800th anniversary in 2001.
Monday, June 29, 2009 – Cruising the Baltic Sea
The day is at leisure on board the deluxe M.S. Le Diamant as you cruise the Baltic Sea.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 – Gdańsk, Poland
Arrive in Gdańsk, a historic city hat features some of Poland's finest medieval and Renaissance architecture. In 1980, Lenin Shipyard workers, led by Lech Walesa, founded the Solidarity movement – the first independent trade union in Eastern Europe and the key factor in the Polish struggle against Communism. Tour the historic yards and see the Monument to the Shipyard Workers – a document of recent history, erected in memory of the workers killed in the riots of 1970. Continue to the Old town and visit the 14th century Gothic Town Hall. This building with its lavish decorations now houses the Historical Museum of the City of Gdansk. The interior is decorated in the Dutch Mannerist style. Among the highlights here is the Great Red Hall, which is one of the most beautiful in Europe. The ceiling is composed of 25 allegoric paintings by Izaak van den Block, painted between 1606 and 1608.
By exclusive arrangement, enjoy a private visit on the ship with Lech Walesa. - Former President of Poland, Nobel Peace Prize winner, leader of Solidarity Movement. He will share his insights into the Solidarity movement, which played a seminal role in the pursuit of Polish democracy, and the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe.
Wednesday, July 1 – Copenhagen, Denmark
Begin with a drive to the old fish market Gammel Strand to embark on a sightseeing cruise through the old canals and the port of Copenhagen. We will see major buildings such as Christiansborg Palace, the Naval Church and the Old Stock Exchange before entering the harbor where you will see the ancient Battery Sixtus and the fortress Three Crowns. We will also see the Little Mermaid statue, which honors the work of Denmark's favorite author Hans Christian Andersen and the Amalienborg Palace before entering into the canal of Christianshavn, with its fine mixture of ancient warehouses, houseboats and modern architecture. Disembark and drive towards the City Hall Square where the famous pedestrian street "Stroget" begins.
Thursday July 2, 2009 – Kattegat & Skagerrak Straits
Sail in the wake of ancient Viking seafarers through the Kattegat and Skagerrak Straights en route to Norway.
Friday, July 3, 2009 – Cruising the Norwegian Fjords
Norway's majestic fjords offer the most stunning coastal scenery in Europe. Cruise past traditional farmsteads and villages along the placid Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord, flanked by soaring, snowcapped mountains plunging dramatically into the cobalt blue waters at their base.
This evening, attend the Captain's special farewell reception.
Saturday, July 4, 2009 – Bergen, Norway/US
Disembark the ship this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Enjoy two nights in the newly renovated Sheraton Stockholm Hotel. Visit City Hall, where the Nobel prizes are awarded each year. Also see fascinating Viking artifacts and explore the historic Gamla Stan (old Town).
On your second day in Stockholm, enjoy a guided visit of this main historical museum in Stockholm, Museum of National Antiquities, housing large collections of Viking objects such as jewelry, utensils, textiles, and other artifacts. It also has a large collection of Catholic, ecclesiastical Medieval Art and other antiquities from Sweden's past. The gold Room is found in the granite bedrock under the museum which boasts the richest collection of prehistoric European gold jewelry.
Spend two nights in the Radisson SAS Royal in Bergen. The city tour includes the district of colorful medieval houses, known as Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the tour of composer Edvard Grieg's former home features a specially arranged recital. On this introduction tour, drive along the old wooden Hanseatic quarters "Bryggen". View the medieval King Hakons Hall erected during the reign of King Hakon Hakonsson, pass the Rosenkranz Tower and St. Mary's Church. Back in the modern part of the city we will pass the Fish market, Bergen Theater, the Grieg Hall and the Aquaruim.Back to the top »
From: $6,295 per person (land only) On board the M.S. Le Diamant
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