The Northern Europe cruise region stretches from the British Isles through Scandinavia, and all the way to St. Petersburg, Russia. Amazing historical and cultural sites await passengers, and shore excursions typically visit museums, palaces, castles and cathedrals. Here is a just a sampling of the wide range of shore excursions available.
Visit Buckingham Palace in London: For just a short period each summer when the Royal Court has left London for summer vacation in Scotland it is possible to view the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace. Here, among some of the finest pictures and works of art in the world, visitors can see where the Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions.
Discover Stockholm’s waterways on a cruise: Stockholm, strategically built where the freshwater Lake Maelaren meets the Baltic Sea, shows herself from the most beautiful side when seen from the water. Often referred to as "the Beauty on Water," Stockholm is built upon 14 different islands and the mainland, all linked together by over 50 bridges. While cruising the glittering waters, pass many beautiful old buildings, new, modern residential areas, parklands and beaches. Experience the activity arising when going through a lock from the Baltic Sea into the lake.
Take a panoramic tour of Edinburgh: A panoramic narrated tour of the city takes in Edinburgh's principal sights, from Holyrood Palace to the elegant Georgian buildings of the New Town. Visit Edinburgh Castle atop the Royal Mile and enjoy free time to view the Crown Jewels of Scotland or explore St. Margaret's Chapel and the Great Hall of James IV.
Tour castles in Copenhagen: Your first stop will be at Frederiksborg Castle in Hilleroed—a magnificent Renaissance castle now serving as the National Museum of History. The visit also includes a peek into the small chapel with the oldest organ in the world still in use. Afterwards, continue to the charming village of Fredensborg for a short photo stop at the summer residence of the Royal Family -- Fredensborg Palace. Next, you head even further north to the town of Elsinore. The last stop on the tour will be a visit to Kronborg Castle, perhaps better known as Hamlet’s Castle, chosen by William Shakespeare as the setting for his play. This castle houses the largest banquet hall in northern Europe.
Kiss the Blarney Stone in Cork: Blarney village lies in the protective shadow of historic Blarney Castle. The castle was built in two sections and has a massive oblong keep, with battlements that are typically Irish in form. Below them, the famous Blarney Stone is set in the wall, and to kiss it, one has to lean over backwards from the parapet walk of the battlements. Legend tells us that by doing so you receive the gift of eloquence.
Venture away from St. Petersburg to Catherine’s Palace: It is about a 50-minute drive from St. Petersburg to reach Catherine's Palace -- truly an architectural masterpiece and a magnificent museum. Its 978-foot façade is an ornate masterpiece in white, gold and blue. Within the palace is a series of magnificent rooms, including the famous Picture Gallery and the Great Hall. You will also see the amazing Amber Room, stolen by the Nazis during the war, smuggled to Paraguay (legend holds) and lost forever. Now, Russian craftsmen have piece-by-piece reconstructed the dazzling panels of semi-precious stone, amassing a stunning, multi-hued collection designed to leave the observer breathless. Splendid gardens and “small” pavilions enhance the richly ornamented exterior of the palace.
Tour Christchurch Cathedral in Waterford: A glorious example of Georgian architecture, the church you see today is the third to be built on this hallowed site. The first was constructed in 1096; the second was built in the medieval era. The present Georgian structure, with its dramatic spire, is one of the finest churches of its time. Standing before it, you can almost feel the history, as it was here that a papal decree was read out, authorizing the English and Norman king, Henry II to reform the church in Ireland. Following an informative introduction offered by your guide, you are free to explore the cathedral's interior independently.
See the best of what Tallinn has to offer: This tour starts visiting The Song Festival Ground, and continues to Pirita, the beach-side location of the yachting complex. A short drive follows to Tallinn's Upper Town. Pass ancient walls and tower gateways and disembark the coach at Tall Hermann Tower. Walk up Toompea Hill to the Palace Square, then visit the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and continue along to visit Gothic St.Mary’s Cathedral. Descend to Town Hall Square. In one of Tallinn's typical Old Town restaurants, lunch will be served. Concert of old music will be enjoyed in one of the medieval buildings. Continue to Catherine's Passage where free time is allotted for a shopping opportunity.
Walk in the footsteps of the Beatles in Liverpool: You will pass through the city center of Liverpool and into the suburbs, viewing the birthplaces, former homes, schools and venues associated with the Fab Four along the way. Pass such renowned sights as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field before pausing at Mathew Street to see the location of the old Cavern Club.
Visit a Finnish countryside home in Helsinki: This tour includes visiting a family home in the Finnish countryside along with some of the main important highlights of Helsinki. Head out of Helsinki and travel to the farming community of Sipoo, where you will have a short introduction to the oldest church in the community, St. Sigfrid’s. From here you continue to a close-by private family home and farm, where the lady of the house will welcome you upon arrival. Enjoy your time here as your gracious hosts tell you about life in the countryside. You will be served coffee or tea along with a typical Finnish pastry. Pass the colorful open air market, the Presidential Palace and Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral.