Some of the best views of the Portuguese capital come as your ship cruises along the Tagus River. You pass the Belem Tower and the impressive Monument to the Discoveries with its statue of Henry the Navigator before arriving at the Lisbon cruise terminal. Although small for a European capital, this city does sprawl a little so you would do best to concentrate on three districts - Baixa, Bairro Alto and Alfama, each with its own distinctive style, making Lisbon cruises a must see.
A full day of historical remembering thoughts of the Landing Beaches of the Second World War. Veterans of World War II and history buffs will appreciate this opportunity to visit the sites of the Allied landing of 1944 and to pay homage to the brave soldiers who fought and died on French soil.
London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. It is the most populous city in the United Kingdom, with a metropolitan area of over 13 million inhabitants. Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1.12-square-mile mediaeval boundaries and in 2011 had a resident population of 7,375, making it the smallest city in England. Since at least the 19th century, the term London has also referred to the metropolis developed around this core. The bulk of this conurbation forms the Greater London administrative area (coterminous with the London region), governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
One of the world's most famed ports, Southampton served as the launching point of the Mayflower and the Titanic. Today, it's one of the busiest passenger ports.
Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland, enjoys a wonderful setting of high hills, sea lough and river valley. Its name originated from the Gaelic ‘Beal Feirste’ meaning ‘mouth of the sandy fjord’. Founded in the 17th century, the city prospered becoming one of the world’s leading industrial names, and was home to Harland and Wolff – the shipbuilders who built the ill-fated Titanic. Despite its more recent political troubles, Belfast has emerged as a vibrant, alluring destination. Amidst its beautiful Victorian buildings you can shop in stylish boutiques, sip a Guinness in one its charming old pubs or take a scenic stroll in Barnett Demesne park. The centrepiece is the City Hall, completed in 1906, with its domed roof and grand Italian marble staircase. Other points of interest on the city include Belfast Cathedral, which has the largest Celtic Cross in Ireland plus Celtic themed mosaics and stained glass, Belfast Castle, sitting on the slopes of Cave Hill, and Belfast Zoo.
Glasgow (Greenock) Scotland
Glasgow was Scotland's great industrial center during the 19th century. Today, the city remains the commercial and cultural capital of the Lowlands. Lying on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow boasts some of the finest Victorian architecture in the entire United Kingdom, including the stately City Chambers. Elegant Princes Square offers excellent shopping, and among the host of museums and galleries, the Burrell Collection features a superb treasure trove of paintings and art objects.
This handsome capital has an eclectic mix of medieval and Georgian architecture. One of the city’s most obvious attractions is Edinburgh Castle, first founded in the 7th century. It’s still the headquarters for several of the British Army’s Scottish regiments and, at noon each day, the sound of a cannon fired from the castle’s battlements reverberates throughout the city. The castle sits at one end of the Royal Mile with the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other. Founded as a monastery in 1128, Holyroodhouse is the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Princes Street is the shopping district, while George Street is home to bars and restaurants. Those with a love of art will want to visit the National Portrait Gallery. Alternatively see life as it was once lived by touring the city’s remaining underground vaults. For the more active visitor the view from the volcanic sill of Arthur’s Seat may be worth a refreshing, if slightly strenuous walk.
Klaksvik Faroe Islands
Klaksvík is located on Borðoy, one of six islands that make up Denmark’s Norðuroyggjar, the Northern Isles. The town is not only the capital of the Northern Islands but also the second largest town of the Faroe Islands. With the opening of the Leirvík sub sea tunnel, Klaksvík is physically linked with the mainland of the Faroe Islands and can now be considered one of its key ports. Residents are found to be enterprising, appreciative of nature and are deeply rooted in the Faroe cultural heritage.
He name means ‘Smoky (or Steamy) Bay’ but these days the Icelandic capital Reykjavik is even hotter than that. Its reputation now as a truly cultural, cosmopolitan city, with great restaurants and lively nightlife, has made it a hugely popular destination. Another big attraction is the opportunity to swim in open-air pools heated by the very geothermal springs that inspired Reykjavik’s name. Not that Reykjavik - or most of Iceland for that matter - is actually icy at all. It may be the most northerly capital in the world and in the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, but if you want ice, you have to travel away from the capital on one of the exciting glacier safari tours. But the most popular destination remains the nearby Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, where minerals bubble up from 5,000ft below the earth’s surface.
Understand that Zeebrugge literally means Bruges-on-Sea and you immediately appreciate why this ferry port is also Belgiums major cruise port. A medieval jewel on the North Sea, the charming city of Bruges is just 10 miles away. Sometimes called the Venice of the North because of the picturesque criss-crossing canals on which you can enjoy fascinating and romantic boat rides, Bruges actually has a character all its own. Although it has all the facilities of a modern city - smart shops, restaurants, bars and hotels - these are all found behind the centuries-old facades and weathered gables of the historic buildings at the citys heart.
The beatiful city of Amsterdam, with its fine gabled houses, leafy canal walks, unusual boutiques and offbeat pavement cafés, is the last word in laid-back relaxation. Capture its true spirit by exploring the narrow winding streets, bustling bars and eclectic shops of Joordan, its fascinating old district. Other must-sees include the house of determined World War II diarist Anne Frank and the multi-level Vincent van Gogh Museum – where you progress, floor by floor, from the artist’s initial sketches to view the full glory of his completed works. Art lovers will also love the Stedelijk Museum – home to major works by Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse and Monet. And, if gardening is your interest, stroll around the daily Bloemenmarkt. This is the city’s only remaining floating market and its riotously colourful plant and flower-laden boats are a fragrant delight.
Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen was the adopted home of Hans Christian Andersen - commemorated in the waterfront sculpture of his Little Mermaid. And, true to the spirit of its most famous resident, Copenhagen has a fairytale magic all of its own. Discover the beauty of the Copenhagen cruises while visiting the delightful Tivoli Gardens, where you can soar above the city in a hot air balloon suspended from a Ferris Wheel. Stroll down leafy byways as dusk falls and hundreds of lights twinkle through the trees or in the shops and cafés of Stroget, Europes longest pedestrianised shopping street.
Ships sail along the tranquil Nordfjord to reach the Norwegian cruise port and capital Oslo; a spectacular city surrounded by snow-capped mountains and rolling green hills, it was founded in 1050 and has been Norway’s capital since the end of the 11th century. The modern city, an eclectic mix of ancient castles, frescoed 18th century houses, vast parks and glittering lakes, is a delight. Oslo cruise must-sees include the Viking House Museum with its display of 9th century longboats, the Munch-museet, which houses works by Edvard Munch, and the medieval Akershus Castle - a warren of secret passages, crypts, dungeons and magnificent halls.
One of the most beautiful cities in Scandinavia, Sweden’s capital and cruise port Stockholm – where the Baltic meets lovely Lake Malaren - is approached through a necklace of 14 islands and myriad small islets set in sparkling seas, as you will discover on our Stockholm cruises. The heart of this famous city is its medieval quarter, Gamla Stan, which dates from the 13th Century. Here you can stroll through narrow cobbled streets lined with quirky shops and atmospheric cafés. Embark on one of our cruises to Stockholm for the opportunity to explore the spooky Gothic cathedral of Storkyran, discover the elaborate 17th Century Nessin Palace and visit Sweden’s oldest museum, the Livrustkammaren – home to five centuries’ worth of royal carriages, clothes and weaponry (its most unusual exhibit is Streiff - the stuffed stallion which once carried King Gustav II into battle).
Gdansk (Gdynia) Poland
Gdynia is your gateway port to Poland's fabled city of Gdansk. The city is over a millennium old - the first mention of Gdansk in history occurs in the year 997 A.D. A member of the Hanseatic League, Gdansk was the richest port on the Baltic and a cultural center that drew artists and intellectuals from across Europe. That heritage was imperiled, however, on September 1, 1939, when a German warship opened fire on a garrison north of the city, heralding World War II. By the war's end, Gdansk was in ruins and proud Poland lay in the grip of Russian occupation. The city proved indomitable as residents set about rebuilding the old city. In 1980, the spirit of Gdansk's people proved even stronger than the iron grip of communism: a food riot led to the birth of Solidarity, the trade-labor movement that played a pivotal role in bringing down the Iron Curtain. Gdansk is one of the amber centers of the world. This petrified tree resin has been revered for both jewelry and as a source of folk remedies for centuries. Gdansk's Old Town is a superb place to browse for amber jewelry and goods.
Formerly known as Memel, Klaipeda is a unique historic city - with its roots that go back to the days of German knights - and it's a gloriously royal city, too, as Klaipeda was once the capital of Prussian Kingdom. Today Klaipeda is a modern city, known for its creative, innovative design and architecture and, even more for its friendly and welcome people. Being the third largest town in Lithuania, this relatively small town is well known for its grand annual events including the Jazz festival and Sea festival. The cultural scene offers everything from the internationally-known music concerts to sizzling jazz clubs, bars and countless museums and galleries.
Estonia’s cruise port Tallinn is also a fascinating medieval capital. This multi-faceted jewel of a city and its architecture – a legacy of Teutonic, Polish and Russian rule – will have your eyes on stalks. From the spectacular onion domes of the Nevski Russian Orthodox Cathedral to the Baroque Toompea Castle (home of the Estonian Parliament) and the elaborate Gothic façade of the 13th century Raekoda, Europe’s oldest town hall, all can be explored from our Talinn cruises. Another highlight of a Talinn cruise is the magnificent St Mary’s Cathedral, with its display of more than 100 coats of arms – but do take time out just to stroll the winding streets and cobbled squares of the city’s atmospheric old town, where you will find exquisite amber jewellery, fine lacework and gorgeous woollen jackets at bargain prices.
Saint Petersburg Russia
On cruises to St. Petersburg you will usually stay here overnight; after all the jewel in the Baltic’s crown deserves no less, for here – on the broad banks of the River Neva and in the magnificent palaces and churches which characterise the city’s skyline - you will find Russia at its most dramatic, flamboyant and captivating. Put the Hermitage Museum right at the top of your St. Petersburg cruise sightseeing list; its magnificent buildings and palaces contain the world’s most comprehensive collection of art and sculpture, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Gaugin, Rembrandt and Matisse.
Surrounded by the sea and its own archipelago, Helsinki, the Finnish capital, retains its nautical feel with many sailing events during the summer. Exploring the fascinating sights of Helsinki, cruise passengers will discover the city is also the country’s main cultural focus, offering dance, ballet, opera, and other festivals. The striking onion-shaped cupolas of the Uspensky Cathedral (modelled on the one in Odessa) are just one example of the Soviet influence on a country which achieved independence less than 100 years ago. Highlights of cruises to Helsinki also include some of the traditional Finnish building in the Senate Square and the North Harbour.