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St. Petersburg's Hermitage, the former home of the Russian imperial family

Best of the Baltic

Example 16 Day Cruise aboard Island Sky
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Follow in the historic footsteps of explorers as you cruise down the legendary Thames River to the North Sea on this 16-day Baltic Odyssey on the Island Sky. Discover the scenic beauty of Bornholm Island, graced with rolling countryside, charming villages, unique round churches, and the impressive ruins of Hammershus Castle. Step ashore in beautiful Visby; a World Heritage Site, this city of ‘roses and ruins’ was once the trading center of the Hanseatic League. Tour the historic districts of Gdansk, Riga, and Tallinn, which feature a treasure-trove of architectural styles. Spend two days in St. Petersburg—the Venice of the North—and enjoy a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum, Peterhof, and other important sites. Enjoy a daylight transit of the 61-mile Kiel Canal, a fascinating example of 19th-century engineering.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : London, England
Day 2 : London | Embark Island Sky
Day 3 : At Sea
Day 4 : Sylt Island, Germany
Day 5 : Kiel Canal Transit
Day 6 : Bornholm Island, Denmark
Day 7 : Gdansk, Poland
Day 8 : Klaipeda, Lithuania
Day 9 : Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden
Day 10 : Riga, Latvia
Day 11 : Tallinn, Estonia
Days 12-13 : St. Petersburg, Russia
Day 14 : Helsinki, Finland
Day 15 : Turku
Day 16 : Stockholm, Sweden | Disembark


  • Discover the scenic beauty of Bornholm Island & ruins of Hammershus Castle
  • Step ashore in beautiful Visby, a World Heritage Site
  • Tour the historic districts and architecture of Gdansk, Riga, and Tallinn
  • Spend two days in St. Petersburg and tour the Hermitage Museum
  • Enjoy a daylight transit of the fascinating 61-mile Kiel Canal


Island Sky

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

St. Petersburg's Hermitage, the former home of the Russian imperial family Cultural homes of Sylt Locals of Poland wearing colorful traditional clothing. Sailboats docked at harbor in Visby Beautiful architecture of Tallinn, Estonia

Day 1 London, England

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in London and transfer to the Paddington Hilton. Gather Saturday evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.

Day 2 London | Embark Island Sky

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Join a half-day tour with lunch at a local restaurant. Board the Island Sky this afternoon and sail in the wake of kings and conquerors as you cruise down the legendary Thames to the North Sea.

Day 3 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you transit the North Sea, attend lectures preparing you for the exciting cultural and historical encounters ahead.

Day 4 Sylt Island, Germany

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The beautiful, windswept, 24-mile-long island of Sylt (pronounced zoolt) is the northernmost point of Germany and part of the Frisian archipelago which stretches between Denmark and The Netherlands. Unique to the region is the architecture of the houses found in island villages; their thick reed roofs slope all the way down to the ground and blend with the surrounding vegetation. After lunch ashore go for an optional bicycle tour from the village of Kampen, join a birding tour, or enjoy free time to explore Westerland, the charming capital of Sylt.

Day 5 Kiel Canal Transit

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Early this morning begin your transit of the historic 61-mile-long Kiel Canal and sail from the North Sea into the Baltic. Kaiser Wilhelm I set the first foundation stone in place on June 3, 1887 in Brunsbuttel, and the final stone was laid by Kaiser Wilhelm II on June 21, 1895, in Holtenau. Today, the Kiel Canal is one of the busiest man-made waterways in the world.

Day 6 Bornholm Island, Denmark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast step ashore on serene Bornholm Island, endowed with sugar-white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, thick forests, and heather-clad hills. Visit the ruins of Hammershus Castle, Scandinavia’s largest medieval fortress; the unique, round 12th-century churches, Osterlars and Nylars; and the charming half-timbered fishing hamlet of Gudhjem. You may also choose to visit art studios renowned for their glass blowing and pottery.

Day 7 Gdansk, Poland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a full day in this city whose history spans nearly 1,000 years. Stop at the Solidarity Monument in front of the Gdansk shipyard, then view the exhibition, Roads to Freedom, a fascinating audio-visual portrayal of those important, world-changing events. A walking tour through lively Old Town reveals a magnificent collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings and monuments. Pass through the Golden Gate and walk down Long Street to the 15th-century Palace of Artus, where Neptune’s Fountain commemorates Gdansk’s Hanseatic past. Also visit medieval St. Mary’s Church, the world’s largest brick church. After lunch onboard, there is time at leisure for further exploration.

Day 8 Klaipeda, Lithuania

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today drive to the amber center of Palanga. A stroll through the Botanical Park with its 500 varieties of trees and bushes takes you to the Amber Museum, housed in a 19th-century neo-Renaissance-style mansion. Afterward drive to the Old Town for a walking tour. From beautiful Theater Square, explore the narrow streets that meander between the charming half-timbered houses and shops.

Day 9 Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark this morning at Gotland Island, the largest island in the Baltic. The splendid city of Visby, a World Heritage Site, is famous for its intact medieval architecture, especially the 44 guard towers built as part of the city walls in the 11th and 12th centuries. Drive to Almedalen, a green oasis in the city center, then walk past lovely medieval granaries and the city’s oldest building, the Powder Tower. Visit the Botanical Garden, known for its exotic plant collection and take a ride up to a splendid panoramic viewpoint of the city and its spires. Continue your tour on foot along charming cobblestone streets to visit the impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Gotland Museum with its excellent medieval collections. 

Day 10 Riga, Latvia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your day in Latvia showcases the riches of this 800-year-old Hanseatic river port. A walking tour takes you to multiple landmarks, including the Blackheads House, one of the oldest buildings in Riga; St. Peter’s Church, a superb Gothic masterpiece; the 15th-century Three Brothers merchant houses; and both St. Jacob and St. John churches. Also visit the 13th-century Dome Cathedral, whose organ concerts are legendary. Continue your exploration by motorcoach, driving past lovely parks along the City Canal lined with the stunning Art Nouveau architecture built in 1899 during the Jugendstil movement. There is free time this afternoon to explore Riga on your own.

Day 11 Tallinn, Estonia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today set out for old town Tallinn, a visual feast of soaring spires, towers, and turrets. After a renaissance in restoration and reconstruction, Tallinn proudly proclaims itself the finest preserved city in the Baltic. In the upper Old Town, visit Palace Square and the magnificent cupola-crowned Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the lower Old Town, visit the Town Hall Square, once a medieval marketplace; one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, founded in 1422; and stroll along St. Catherine’s Passage in the Latin Quarter. Also visit Kadriorg Palace and Park, built by Peter the Great as a summer residence.

Day 12-13 St. Petersburg, Russia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Arrive in splendid St. Petersburg in the late morning and enjoy two days of exploration. Visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace which houses Catherine the Great’s incomparable Hermitage Museum. Enjoy an advanced entry and special guided tour which includes the Gold Room—a dazzling display of jewelry, as well as the famous Scythian and Greek gold. Drive across the Neva River to the burial place of the tsars, Peter and Paul Cathedral, with its 18th-century spire dominating the skyline. Visit the spectacular Church of the Resurrection and drive along Russia’s most famous street, the Nevsky Prospect, lined with magnificent palaces, churches, and theaters. A scenic drive takes you to the palace and gardens of Peterhof, a grand summertime residence built by Peter the Great.

Day 14 Helsinki, Finland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The capital of Finland since 1812, Helsinki is a cosmopolitan city with a small-town feel. A city tour reveals the beautiful neoclassical architecture of Senate Square and allows you the opportunity to stroll through picturesque Market Square, where numerous vendors offer a variety of Finnish foods and souvenirs. Or choose to tour Suomenlinna Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Sweden in 1748 to protect Helsinki’s harbor.

Day 15 Turku

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today visit Turku, the oldest city in Finland and its one-time capital. Your tour includes the 13th-century castle and cathedral, the handicrafts museum, and lively market. Conditions permitting, board Zodiacs to cruise among verdant islands and rocky outcroppings of the scenic Turku archipelago.

Day 16 Stockholm, Sweden | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive in Stockholm and disembark the Island Sky. Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight.

Island Sky

Per person starting at
Island Sky's Category 1 Magellion Deck.
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Category 1
Magellan Deck, Suites #254-262. 215 square feet and have two to four portholes.
Island Sky's Category 2 Columbus Deck.
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Category 2
Columbus Deck, Suites #331-348. 215 square feet and have a large picture window.
Island Sky's Category 3 Marco Polo.
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Category 3
Marco Polo Deck, Suites #416-430. They range between 225 to 240 square feet and feature large picture windows.
Island Sky's Category 4 Marco Polo.
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Category 4
Marco Polo Deck, Suites #414-415. They range between 225 to 240 square feet and feature large picture windows.
Island Sky's Category 5 Erikson Cabin.
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Category 5
Erikson Deck, Suites #505-512. 265 square feet and have patio doors leading to private balconies.
Island Sky's Category 6 Explorer Cabin.
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Category 6
Explorer Deck, Suites #601-604. 312 square feet and also feature private balconies.


- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. Request the Twin Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.
- Cabins may be available for single occupancy at 1.6 times the double occupancy rate. The supplement for a suite is 2 times the shared rate.

For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You must be able to walk distances of one to three miles, sometimes over rough and uneven surfaces, such as cobblestones, and climb stone steps that at times may not have handrails. Excursions are timed to depart when temperatures are most pleasant. During this time of year, temperatures range from the low 70sºF during the day to the upper 50sºF and low 60sºF at night and you can enjoy long hours of daylight. 

  • Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

  • Airfare from your home city to London and Stockholm to home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, and alcoholic beverages (other than listed above)
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges


  • 15 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 15 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Erin Correia
Erin C

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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