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Old Town in Gdansk, Poland

Circumnavigating the Baltic Sea

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Explorer
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Explore eight countries united by the Baltic Sea, discover their intertwined histories, and encounter fascinating cultures. Delve deeper through dramatic water approaches, and foray into character-filled villages and island stops for quiet walks. Wander along the medieval walled city of Visby, explore dazzling St. Petersburg over two days, dine on local specialties, and enjoy private musical performances—or have a deck party in the tranquil Swedish Archipelago. Enjoy ample choices and avenues for exploration in each of the cities. Explore from a privileged vantage point—going by ship allows you to sail routes of the old Hanseatic League, in the paths of early traders and nobles, and lets you enter the cities as they were meant to be—by sea.
Brightly colored houses decorate the pier.Peaceful homes on the shores of the Baltic SeaCityscape of Tallinn, EstoniaView the magnificent gardens at the Peterhof Palance in St. PetersburgOld Town in Gdansk, Poland
  • Venture into the medieval Old Towns of Riga and Tallinn, UNESCO sites
  • Explore the tiny islands along Finland and Sweden by kayak or nature walks
  • View one of the world’s greatest art collections at the Hermitage Museum
  • Experience the fascinating history of eight Baltic countries
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Copenhagen, Denmark | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today arrive in Denmark’s capital. The fairytale feel of the city where Hans Christian Andersen wrote is the home of incredible stories and a long history. After lunch, have a water-level view of this old maritime city from a boat sailing on its charming canals, seeing the city’s landmarks, palaces, and of course, The Little Mermaid statue. Back on board enjoy your first taste of Danish pastries as you prepare to set sail.

Day 2: Lübeck, Germany

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Lübeck, medieval capital of the Hanseatic League and its intact ensemble of step-gabled merchants’ houses, red-bricked warehouses and narrow alleys are protected as a World Heritage Site. Our Zodiac or walking tour will take us to Buddenbrockhaus, home of Lübeck’s famous sons, authors Heinrich and Thomas Mann. 

Day 3: Christiansø and Bornholm, Denmark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning will be an expedition morning on the small island of Christiansø, where you’ll have a chance to take a morning hike with our naturalists or photographer. This afternoon on Bornholm you may hike up to the cliff-top ruins of Hammershus fortress, explore the island’s round churches and white sandy beaches, or opt for a smoked herring tasting and a leisurely stroll around the fishing harbor.

Day 4: Gdańsk, Poland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Poland and take in Gdańsk’s art and architectural highlights including the Gothic-Renaissance Town Hall and the National Museum, featuring the Last Judgment triptych by Hans Memling. Or, learn about the significance of ship building and trade at the Maritime Museum. Zodiacs take you through the shipyards of Gdańsk, an important area for the organized resistance against the communist regime in 1980. Take a guided tour of the European Solidarity Center, commemorating the trade union that made Lech Walesa a household name.

History buffs may opt for a morning visit to the Westerplatte peninsula, where World War II began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the Polish Post Office Museum, still marked by signs of the attack. In order to maximize your time in Gdańsk, an authentic Polish-style lunch has been arranged in town with open seating so you can arrive at your convenience. 

Day 5: Klaipėda, Lithuania

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore the wild barrier peninsula called the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage site shared by Lithuania and Russia. Choose one of two options: Take a cultural tour to a seaside resort town to learn of folk tales at the Hill of Witches and see some of Europe’s tallest sand dunes. Or, spend the afternoon at the Ventė Cape Ornithological Station to explore the lighthouse and dunes while learning about migratory bird populations.

Day 6: Riga, Latvia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tour Riga’s wooden houses, art nouveau architecture, cafes, and the Central Market.

Day 7: Tallinn, Estonia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cross the Gulf of Finland to Estonia, arriving in Tallinn. Stroll the medieval streets of Town Hall Square on a guided walk through the walled, cobblestoned old town with its Kiek in de Kök, a 15th-century defensive tower. Take in the view from Dome Hill of Tallinn’s picturesque spires and gables, and visit the grand Kadriorg Palace and grounds built in the Baroque style for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great. Can music change history? Most people don’t think about music when they think revolution. But song was the weapon of choice when Estonians sought to free themselves from Soviet rule. Visit the singing grounds in person. 

Day 8-9: St. Petersburg, Russia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Peter the Great established his city in 1703 as Russia’s “window to the west.” With grand palaces and residences and its planned streets, canals, and parks, St. Petersburg is surely one of the most dazzling cities in Europe. Your days are spent exploring St. Petersburg’s imperial luxuries and artistic treasures: the Hermitage with its world-renowned art collections, the grandiose Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter the Great’s summer palace at Petrodvorets, known as the Russian Versailles, and the opulent royal palace and parks of Catherine the Great at Pushkin. 

Day 10: Exploring Coastal Finland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Discover Finland's intricate coastline with numerous bays, inlets, and islands rich with natural history and ripe for exploration by kayak and Zodiac. 

Day 11: Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise the Stockholm Archipelago on your way from coastal Finland to Sweden's beautiful capital.  Keep your camera handy as you maneuver through the scenic archipelago to arrive in Stockholm, the city built on 14 islands.

Day 12: Stockholm

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
See the royal Vasa warship and stroll the streets of the Old Town. We stay docked overnight so you can enjoy this magical Scandinavian city. 

Day 13: Visby, Gotland, Sweden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a walking tour of the Viking city of Visby, wandering through its cobblestoned streets to the edge of the city’s stone walls. End at the Gotland Museum, where you’ll learn of the island’s fascinating history. Alternatively, opt to bike across the Gotland countryside with a local guide. 

Day 14: Exploring Southern Sweden

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the day exploring the Southern archipelago of Sweden.

Day 15: Stockholm | Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Enjoy breakfast aboard before being transferred to the airport for your flight home.


National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Explorer

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
National Geographic Explorer's Category 1 Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
National Geographic Explorer's Category 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 3 Cabin.
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Cat 3
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 4 Cabin.
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Cat 4
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 5 Upper Deck Cabin.
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Cat 5
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 6 Cabin.
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Cat 6
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Luxurious Catagory 8 Suite
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Cat 7
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SA
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SB
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.


Cost Includes:
  • Accommodations
  • Meals indicated
  • Excursions
  • Services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides
  • Use of kayaks, bicycles
  • Entrance fees
  • All port charges and service taxes
  • Your bar tab and all crew gratuities are included in the voyage price on all National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, National Geographic Resolution, and National Geographic Orion voyages. Please call for details.
Not Included:
  • Immigration fees are not included
  • Air transportation
  • Personal items such as emails, laundry, etc. 

Rates are capacity-controlled and are subject to change without notice.



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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor
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