Edinburgh, ScotlandThe culturally and historically rich capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is bounded by the Firth of Forth and the Pentland Hills. There is something for every interest and sites and activities too numerous to mention. Some of the most popular attractions include The National Museum of Scotland, with over 20,000 exhibits spread over 36 galleries, the Museum of Childhood, full of toys and objects both past and present, Dynamic Earth, the only place in Scotland where you can travel through time and around the planet, and Edinburgh Castle, sitting majestically at the top of the Royal Mile, where a gun has been fired daily at 1 p.m. since1861. The best preserved castle in Edinburgh is the Craigmillar Castle, built around 1400. Dirleton Castle boasts gardens first cultivated in the 16th century and featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest herbaceous border. Featured in Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, Rosslyn Chapel, founded in 1446 is both mysterious and beautiful. The National Galleries of Scotland showcase 65,000 art objects from Rembrandt to Picasso, the Royal Botanic Gardens, founded in 1670, offer 72 tranquil acres of what is considered one of the finest gardens in the world, and the award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre features a range of state-of-the-art cameras to view the lives of the many seabirds in the area. Walkers will want to tour the Real Mary King’s Close, a world-class attraction of underground streets where people lived between the 17th and 19th centuries and Old Town, with many preserved medieval and Reformation-era buildings. Amazing panoramic views all across the city are found at Scott Monument, the 200-foot-high Victorian Gothic monument to honor of Sir Walter Scott.
At SeaThis is your invitation to a day of indulgence. Treat yourself to a luxurious spa experience. Stretch out by the pool with your favorite beverage. Grab a great book or your favorite movie from the library. Stretch your muscles with our state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Dine in sumptuous casual style, or wrap yourself in that comfy waffle-weave robe and enjoy your meal in the privacy of your beautiful stateroom. Your delight is our single priority for your day at sea.
Kristiansand, NorwayAlthough the term “best-kept secret” is often used too loosely, it actually does apply to Kristiansand. Until recently, the region was known primarily among Norwegians, who come in search of recreation and adventure. Set along the south coast of Norway, it offers mile upon mile of tiny rocky islands and picturesque white-painted houses in sheltered inlets – all set against a backdrop of lush green forests and lakes, and a mountainous, majestic inland. At once relaxing, rejuvenating and uplifting, the town offers numerous opportunities for exploration by foot, bike, boat or car. Although the whole town fits within one square kilometer, Kristiansand has the country's second largest harbor and a healthy economy. Local businesses range from advanced process industrial to suppliers of offshore technology.
Oslo, NorwayNorway’s capital is a town with a relaxed attitude and energetic people passionate about the outdoors. Consisting of 40 islands and 343 lakes within its city limits, Oslo incorporates nature into every aspect of city life, which has an invigorating effect on both body and spirit. Neighborhoods are comprised of 15 boroughs, each with its own unique character. Explore Vigeland Park, featuring 212 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, or indulge at one of Oslo’s four Michelin-rated restaurants. Or visit the Viking Ship Museum, housing the world’s best-preserved Viking sailing vessels. The Viking spirit of exploration lives on with the residents, who you can join in eager pursuit of the numerous outdoor activities available – such as cycling, hiking, ice-skating, sailing and skiing. Should things seem too overwhelming, look upon Edvard Munch’s The Scream at the National Gallery, and realize the consequences of stress.
Skagen, DenmarkIf there's something familiar about Skagen (pronounced "skane") when you arrive, it may be that you've seen this place before. In the 1880s, this fishing village at the juncture of the North Sea and Baltic was home to an artists' colony, and its images have graced galleries and postcards alike. With picturesque yellow houses, famously shifting dunes, and skies so clear it's hard to tell where they end and the sea begins, there's plenty of fodder for pen and brush. A tour of the Skagens Museum is a good place to begin your exploration and put your finger on that feeling of deja vu. You'll also find miles of white beaches, a sprawling nature center designed by the architect of the Sydney Opera House, and the eerie ruins of a church abandoned in 1795 to the creeping dunes.
Copenhagen, DenmarkThis historic city of palaces, canals and copper spires casts a sense of enchantment upon all who walk along its cobbled streets. Little wonder that Copenhagen’s favorite son, Hans Christian Andersen, was inspired to write some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales – including The Little Mermaid – which in turn inspired the city’s iconic bronze sculpture at Copenhagen Harbor that is perhaps the world’s most-visited work of public art. The magnificent Opera House defines the opposite side of the harbor. As for the palaces, travelers may visit the Queen’s residence, Rosenborg Palace, and Christiansborg Palace, which houses the Danish Parliament, Supreme Court, and Ministry of State. World-class shopping beckons on Strøget, the world's longest pedestrian street, while the famed Tivoli Gardens offers tree-lined pathways, theatres, open air stages, restaurants, cafés and 26 attractions. And aficionados of Carlsberg beer can visit the brewery, which is among the city’s largest tourist attractions.
Warnemunde, GermanyThis lively sea resort and district of Rostock is renowned for its long, wide expanse of startlingly white beach, which makes it a popular spot for sun-seeking locals. Founded in 1218, Warnemünde also is a major Baltic port for cruise ships filled with travelers eager to discover its charms – such as the New Market, lined with gabled buildings from different eras and an extraordinary town hall combining gothic and baroque style, as well as the monumental St. Marien Church, distinguished by its famous astronomical clock from 1472 and a grand baroque organ. Part of the former East German Republic, Warnemünde today is a thriving base for shipbuilding and the growing wind power industry. Strolling along the beach promenade affords such scenic pleasures as the old lighthouse, built in 1897, and plentiful shopping. The Old Channel offers various restaurants and pubs in delightfully close proximity to traditional fishing boats.
At SeaRelax another day at sea while cruising towards Sweden.
Visby, SwedenKnown as the Pearl of the Baltic Sea, this town preserves its medieval heritage while keeping engaged with the 21st century. The great town wall, constructed in the 13th century, still stands as well as about 200 buildings, monasteries, church ruins and the stunning Cathedral Santa Maria. Built 500 years ago, the cathedral is known for its exquisite stained glass windows that draw those seeking an aesthetic as well as a spiritual experience. Despite the presence of modern trappings, Visby provides a strong sense of what life was like in 13th century Europe, allowing travelers a rare opportunity to experience time travel upon slipping away from modernly attired crowds to roam around the ruins and old quarters. The pride of its citizens in maintaining the town’s architectural integrity earned Visby UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995.
Sandhamn, SwedenExperienced travelers who despair of being jostled by mere tourists may be permitted their feelings of superiority and relief upon arrival on this peaceful island. Here, one can experience the remarkable maritime terrain of the outer archipelago. Sandhamn is the primary meeting place for sailors and yachters, with a vibrant party scene during summer. Decidedly off the mass-holidaymakers path, this idyllic village offers opportunities for discovery at every turn: narrow alleys, cottages in shades of rust red, and a historical sea pilot station. The classic Royal Swedish Yacht Club could be just at home in the Hamptons, while numerous restaurants and bars cater to yacht-culture patron
Stockholm, SwedenDisembark this morning for your continued journey home.