Guest Post by On the Beach.
The ocean cruise has been a staple of holidaymaking for a long time. Indeed, the notion of commercial ships taking passengers on holiday predates commercial jetliners by decades. Little wonder, then, that the idea of what constitutes ‘a cruise’ is firmly entrenched in most people’s minds. To many, it’s about sailing through the tropics, with the heat and light of the sun a key component.But the world of cruises is changing. In North America, cruising around the coast of Alaska is growing in popularity, whilst here in Europe, the Baltic Sea is a new option for people looking for a non-traditional cruise. It’s a great way to see Northern Europe – just as cruising the Mediterranean is the best way to see Southern Europe.
The Baltic Sea is an inland sea, formed by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Danish Islands and mainland Europe. It’s so cold here in the winter months that much of the sea is frozen over. Cruises operate only during the summer months. In July, air temperatures can reach 16 or 17 degrees centigrade out in the middle of the Baltic, with coastal temperatures a few degrees warmer still. Thunderstorms are a regular occurrence year round, which can make for an exciting day on board ship – certainly not something you could expect in the easy waters of the Med.
In the absence of a storm, the waters of the Baltic Sea are fairly calm, being in such isolation from the ocean. Tides are minimal, the going is smooth and you may feel as though you’re floating in a giant lake. There are many beautiful bays along the way, giving you the chance to dock in Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. As with any cruise, the real advantage is getting to experience a far greater number of sights and cultures than you would on a static vacation.
The Baltic States themselves (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are oft-ignored, which is reason enough to visit them. Everybody likes to share an unusual holiday story, and there is some truly stunning scenery as well as the sort of high-grade hospitality one often gets from the less-visited countries. You can also find cheap flights to Sweden and start your Baltic Sea cruise from there.