Skip to navigation Skip to content
Search
  • *
    St Petersburg
  • *
    Tallinn
  • *
    A bit of ballet
Ocean Cruises
Saga Cruises

The Majestic Baltic

Saga Pearl II departing Dover

from £2,457 per person 14 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £98 if not required
  • Full Board Full board
  • No fly No fly

Ballet, the Baltic and beyond…

Unravel the diverse history of the Baltic, from Hanseatic ports and former Soviet republics to grandiose echoes of the Russian Empire. The romantic turrets and spires of Tallinn beckon before Saga Pearl IIs final visit to St Petersburg gives you the chance to watch the world-famous Russian ballet during an overnight mooring. You’ll also discover the maritime feel of Kotka – a new port for Saga – and the unique baroque flair of Karlskrona.

Inspiring experiences to enjoy…watching the ballet in St Petersburg, appreciating the unique Swedish baroque architecture of Karlskrona, seeing ships come and go from Kiel’s waterfront.

Saga price includes...

save up to 30%
Book today and and save upto 30% of full fare. How our discounts work


View Full Itinerary

Dover

Embark Saga Pearl II.

Depart 1600.

Known as the gateway of England, Dover welcomes millions of visitors from all over the globe each year in its role as the ferry capital of the world and the second busiest cruise port in the UK. The White Cliffs Country has a rich heritage. Within the walls of the town’s iconic castle, over 2,000 years of history waits to be explored, whilst the town’s museum is home to the Dover Bronze Age Boat, the world’s oldest known seagoing vessel. The town’s cliffs that are a welcome sight for today's cross-channel travellers also served as the control centre for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

FactFile

Population 40,000
Language English
Currency British Pounds Sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Temperate with mild summers and cool winters, with a prevailing south-westerly wind throughout the year.
Ship berths at Dover Cruise Terminal.
Distance from Centre 1 mile
Distance from gangway to coach 400 yards, through the cruise terminal.

Useful Information

Shopping The main shops are found on Cannon Street and Biggin Street.
Shopping Opening Hours 0900 to 1730 Monday to Saturday. A few shops are open on Sundays.
Post Office The main Post Office is located inside the Costcutter store on Pencester Road.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located inside the Town Museum on Market Square.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber's number.
Emergency Services Dial 999.
Banks Banks and ATMs are located on Cannon Street.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Gdansk

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

This historic city changed hands from the Polish, the Prussians, the German Empire, the Third Reich and back to Polish, and was the home of the Solidarity Movement which helped bring an end to the Communist regime in Eastern Europe – learn more on an optional guided tour that also visits the beautiful, traffic-free old town.

Gdansk is situated at the mouth of the Motlawa River, on the southern edge of the Baltic Sea. Historically an important seaport and shipbuilding centre, Gdansk was a member of the Hanseatic League during the Middle Ages, and changed hands several times between Poland and Prussia. By the 17th century, it had become a very multi-cultural place, with sizeable German, Polish, Dutch, Flemish and Scottish populations. Gdansk was part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918, but after the First World War was granted autonomy as the Free City of Danzig, and even issued its own currency and postage stamps. Following a further period of German occupation during World War II, the city was restored to Poland under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement. During the 1980s Gdansk was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which, under the leadership of Lech Walesa, played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule in Eastern Europe. Visitors should be aware that much of central Gdansk is inaccessible by motor vehicle, and many of the city's highlights can only be reached on foot: coaches often cannot park or drop passengers near places of interest.

FactFile

Population 460,000 (approximate)
Language Polish
Currency Polish Zloty
Time Difference UK-1
Climate Gdansk enjoys a temperate climate, with warm summers and a risk of rain at any time of the year.
Ship berths at Westerplatte pier
Distance from Centre 8 miles (approximate)
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping There are plenty of opportunities for shopping in the Old Town, including Madison Mall shopping centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Shops in Gdansk are usually open Monday to Friday from 1100-1900 and Saturdays from 1000-1300.
Post Office The main Post Office is at Dluga 23.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located at Dlugi Targ 28/29. Telephone: (+48) 58 301 43 55.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services For all emergencies dial 112.
Banks There are branches of PKO Bank Polski and other banks all over the city, and ATMs are widespread.

Excursions

Your tour of Gdansk begins with a visit to the Gothic St Mary's Church, the pride of the city and the largest brick church in the world. With its 30 decorated chapels, polyptych, ancient tombs and 15th-century astronomical clock, this medieval church can accommodate 25,000 worshippers. From St Mary’s, continue on a guided tour of the old town with its gabled buildings and quaint shops. During the walk, pass the Town Hall, Long Market and the 15th-century Palace of Artus Court, before pausing at the Neptune Fountain, a symbol of the town’s Hanseatic past. From here, continue to the European Solidarity Centre. In the 1980s Gdansk’s shipyard workers, led by Lech Walesa, created the Solidarity movement that led to the first cracks in the Communist regime. Learn about the history of Solidarity in this large new complex, opened in 2014 and incorporating seven exhibition halls. Inside you can see a reconstructed Soviet-era prison cell and a typical Polish family living-room, shops of the period as well as original documents and posters. Other displays tell the story of the 1989 Round Table Agreement, and show what working conditions were like in the Lenin Shipyard when Lech Walesa worked there as an electrician. Following your visit, view the Solidarity Square Monument, dedicated to the events of December 1970

You should expect to walk about two miles, with occasional steps in the Old Town. Upper levels of the European Solidarity Centre can be reached by a lift. Access to the church interior may be restricted in the unlikely event of our visit clashing with a religious service. Learn about the history of 'Solidarity'

Gdansk is perhaps most famous to Westerners as the birthplace of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement, and the shipyards are the most prominent feature of the city. Yet the city is so much more than a working port. Gdansk is a beautiful town of cobbled streets and graceful architecture reminiscent of Amsterdam, and walking through its historic district is like stepping back into the 16th century. This revealing tour starts with the Old Town, where the majority of the attractions lie and where history has left its mark. Pass through the Green Gate, a grand ornamental arch that leads to the Royal Way, which is lined with impressive buildings with elaborate façades. Admire the towering Gothic town hall, the beautiful Neptune Fountain and Artus Court - a great 14th-century hall that was used as a meeting place for the city’s merchants. Wander along picturesque St Mary’s Street, which is lined with 17th-century houses and quaint shops, and visit St Mary’s Church - the world’s largest brick church - which took 159 years to build. See the 30 beautifully decorated chapels, the 46 foot-high astronomical clock and the ornate Baroque organ. A testament to the city’s shipbuilding industry is the 15th-century Gdansk Crane, the biggest medieval crane in Europe, which was used for installing masts on ships and for handling heavy goods. Your final stop is Oliwa Cathedral. A mixture of the Gothic and Baroque styles, the cathedral is famous for its 18th-century Rococo organ. Enjoy a musical performance on the organ during your guided tour of the cathedral, before returning to your ship.

You will need to walk approximately two miles on this tour, with a total of 13 steps. In addition, you will need to remain standing for quite long periods while your guide gives a commentary. Access to the interiors of St Mary’s Church and Oliwa Cathedral may be restricted if a service is in progress. Oliwa Cathedral

If you believe the legend, the Kashubian district of Eastern Pomerania was created by giants, whose footprints account for the numerous hills and lakes that characterise this region. Little known to foreigners, it is famous in Poland thanks to its natural beauty, heritage and unique culture. Discover this fascinating district as you board your coach and head off to Kartuzy, the regional capital, in the company of a knowledgeable local guide. Kartuzy is home to the Kashubian Museum, established soon after the end of World War II by Franciszek Treder, a local teacher and historian who wished to preserve the history of the area. Dedicated to the bygone world of Kashubian culture, the museum includes fine examples of local embroidery, pottery, clothing, tools and furniture. After touring the exhibits, take a scenic drive to a local restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon, return to the city of Gdansk for a short tour of the Old Town. The city’s history has left a fine collection of buildings and monuments in the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, although many have been restored after severe damage during World War II. To get a flavour of this ancient city, your guide will take you from the Green Gate to Long Street and the Long Market, viewing centuries-old dwellings, the Town Hall, Arthur’s Court and the Neptune Fountain. See charming St Mary’s Street with its lively atmosphere, quaint shops and lovely terraced houses, before heading back to the port.

This tour involves walking about two miles, with occasional steps and some cobblestones. Access to churches may be restricted if a service is in progress. Dietary requests must be made to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. The Kashubian Museum in Kartuzy

Begin this tour with a drive into the Polish countryside to the site of Stutthof Concentration Camp, which was opened on the second day of World War II as the first concentration camp outside Germany. The camp initially consisted of eight barrack blocks for the inmates and a huge building for the SS. In 1942, the SS began to build a new camp: 30 further barrack blocks were constructed, and in 1943 the Nazis added a crematorium and a gas chamber. The gas chamber had a maximum capacity of 150 people at one time. The camp was not liberated until May 9, 1945. Following your visit, return to the city of Gdansk for lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a guided tour of the Old Town. Start near the Golden Gate, a grand ornamental archway that once allowed access through the medieval city's defensive walls. Pass the Town Hall, the Long Market and the beautiful 14th-century Artus Court. Stop to visit St Mary's Church, the pride of Gdansk. Situated in the centre of the Old Town, this medieval church took 159 years to build and its deceptively plain brick exterior hides a bright, spacious interior with large windows and more than 30 beautifully decorated chapels.

This tour involves walking approximately two miles, with about 15 steps and some cobblestones. Access to the interior of St Mary’s Church may be restricted if a service is in progress. Dietary requests must be made to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Stutthof Camp

On this fascinating tour you can discover the history and traditions of Gdansk from a different perspective - and discover some local specialities too! Over the centuries, countless merchants and sailors have come from all over the world to do business in Gdansk. A relic of the city's past is the famous Gdanski Bowke steamboat, built in 1909 and still in service. It is named after a legendary local thief and pirate, and is also the name of one of the city's popular beers. Start with a walking tour of the historic Old Town, including a visit to St Mary's Church. A vast brick Gothic basilica with a massive tower 262 feet high, its foundation stone was laid in 1343 and it took 159 years to build. See the 30 beautifully decorated chapels, the fascinating old astronomical clock and the ornate Baroque organ. Built as a Catholic place of worship, St Mary's hosted German Lutheran services from 1536 until 1945. Severely damaged in World War II, it was restored and reconsecrated as a Catholic church in 1955. After a little free time, continue to the quayside to board the Gdanski Bowke for a delightful private one-hour mini-cruise, passing many of the city's historic buildings. Along the way, taste three different beers brewed in Gdansk, together with some delicious local specialites such as wild boar paté and homemade bread.

This tour involves walking approximately one mile, with occasional steps and some cobblestones. Access to St Mary’s Church may be restricted if a service is in progress. Expect a few steps when boarding the vessel, and please watch out for winches, capstans, anchor chains or other trip hazards on deck or on the quayside. Enjoy a mini-cruise on the Gdanski Bowke steamboat

This tour starts with a scenic drive to Nowy Port Lighthouse, which ranks among the most beautiful structures of its kind around the Baltic Sea. Inaugurated in 1894, it lit the entrance to the port of Gdansk for ships until 1984. From this point you will be able to see a panoramic view of Westerplatte with its monument on the opposite side of the port channel. This marks the spot where World War II broke out on September 1, 1939. The Polish garrison held out against the attack for seven days before surrendering to the German Nazi forces. The site is now a memorial to the defenders, and includes some of the ruins left over from the shelling, and a massive monument that towers above the area. Continue next to Oliwa Cathedral, for a view of this impressive structure. Situated in the grounds of an old Cistercian monastery, Oliwa Cathedral dates back to the 13th century and is a mixture of the Romanesque, Gothic and Rococo styles. There will be a final stop for photographs along the Royal Way, where many fine examples of Gdansk’s architectural heritage can be seen, before you head back to your ship.

There is approximately 600 yards’ walking on this tour. There are five steps to negotiate at Oliwa Cathedral. Further walking in Gdansk during your free time is at your discretion. Access to the interior of Oliwa Cathedral may be restricted if a service is in progress. Neptune Fountain, Gdansk

Spend the day at sea.

Tallinn

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

Discover the magic of Tallinn, where graceful watchtowers and spires overlook gabled red roofs and cobbled lanes. Though the spires and turrets paint a fairy-tale picture, the city’s 20th-century history is marked by Soviet occupation and you can still see echoes of this period in the remaining Communist tenement buildings, the Viru Hotel and the KGB Museum. Alternatively, test your nerves with a walk around the rim of Tallinn’s TV Tower roof!

This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a truly magical experience and has one of the most beautifully preserved medieval centres in Europe. The Upper Town is characterized by watchtowers, graceful spires and winding cobbled streets, while the Lower Town offers red gabled roofs and soaring spires. The golden era in Tallinn’s history came in the period between the early 15th and mid 16th centuries when the city attained fame and a powerful role in the Baltic Sea area through its membership of the Hanseatic League.

FactFile

Population 400,000 (approximate)
Language Estonian (a Finno-Ugric lanuage)
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+2
Climate Mild winters and cool summers
Ship berths at Port of Tallinn
Distance from Centre 1 mile (approximate)
Distance from gangway to coach Depending on the pier – maximum 190 yards

Useful Information

Shopping The majority of the souvenir shops, art and handicraft markets are located within the Old Town walls. There is a small craft market in the cruise harbour situated at pier 24-25, normally open when cruise ships are in port
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open from Monday to Friday between 0930-1800 and Saturday between 1000-1700. The arts and crafts market is open on Sunday
Post Office Located at 1 Narva Street and open from Monday to Friday between 0900-1800 and Saturday between 0900-1500
Tourist Office The nearest Tourist Information Centre is located near the Town Hall Square, Niguliste 2/Kullassepa 4
How to Phone Home To call the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero
Emergency Services Dial 112
Banks The nearest ATM is in the Passenger Terminal located 550 yards from the cruise harbour. There are numerous banks in the Old Town open from Monday to Friday between 0900-1800

Excursions

Enjoy a fascinating look back at life in Tallinn during Soviet times, as you tour the city with an actor who is part militiaman, part comedian and part minstrel. Meet your guide for a ride in his authentic Soviet-era bus, and listen while he shares stories of life in the Soviet Union, plays the guitar and serenades you with Russian songs. At the same time you will enjoy a fascinating overview of Tallinn. Your guide will demonstrate how foreign tourists were welcomed in the former USSR. Listen to typical Soviet propaganda and see the unfinished bridge to Finland, a monument to the Great Patriotic War (World War II). Hear about the heritage of Soviet Union, social conflicts and how people lived then. Your bus will pass the jail and drive around the Old Town to the Soviet Monument in Maarjamäe, where you can enjoy the view and have a Soviet-style picnic on the bus, consisting of a pie and a glass of local drink. A shot of vodka and some pickles are also included. Continue afterwards to Pirita, where visit the Olympics Centre. Here your guide will talk about Tallinn’s role during the Olympic Games in 1980.

Most of the sightseeing is from the bus, but there will be a small amount of walking at the stops, some of which may be over uneven ground or cobblestones. Please bear in mind that this tour is operated by an authentic historic vehicle offering a genuine vintage transport experience: access is via steep steps. Leg room may be less generous than on most modern coaches, and there are no seat belts or air conditioning. Regrettably this vehicle is not suitable for wheelchair users. The Soviet Monument in Maarjamäe

Start with a drive through central Tallinn, passing the medieval city walls that enclose the Old Town. Admire the panorama of the Upper Town and get a glimpse of the medieval castle. Leaving your coach in the Lower Town, walk to the historic centre, passing down Pikk Street with the Guildhall and the Church of the Holy Ghost to reach the Town Hall Square. Here you see the 15th-century Gothic Town Hall and the historic apothecary’s shop. Having walked for almost an hour, you may now relax in the festival hall of the 14th-century Teachers’ House, enjoying a folk show and cup of tea or coffee and cake. Afterwards, you have a little free time at St Catherine’s Arts and Crafts Centre before re-joining your coach and heading to Kadriorg, Walk through this lovely park to Peter’s Cottage, where Peter the Great stayed when visiting Tallinn. It is furnished with items that belonged to the Tsar and other objects from the period. From here a stroll along a tree-lined alley takes you to Kadriorg Palace. A mixture of the Italian and French Baroque styles, this is home to the Estonian Art Museum’s foreign art collection. A walk through the park takes you back to your coach, and you head to the Song Festival Grounds. After a short stop here, drive to the fashionable Pirita Marina, which hosts international regattas. Returning to the port, drive past the Russalka monument, commemorating a ship that sank in 1893, and the Maarjamäe Palace, originally home to a Russian aristocrat.

This excursion involves walking about 900 yards, much of which will be over cobbled streets or uneven ground, with about 20 steps at the Teachers' House and a few steps in Peter's Cottage. There is a further flight of 40 steps in Kadriorg Palace, but a lift is available. Comfortable shoes are recommended. A late lunch will be served on your return to the ship. Kadriorg Palace and Gardens

Discover the highlights of Tallinn Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on foot. Making your way into the Old Town, leave your coach in the Upper Town and see the castle, the Russian Orthodox Church of Alexander Nevsky and the 13th-century Gothic Dome Church. From the terraces of the Upper Town, there are magnificent views across the gabled rooftops and soaring spires. Stroll along Long and Short Leg Streets to the 15th-century Blackheads Fraternity; continue past the Town Hall, Town Hall Square and the 15th-century pharmacy to the medieval guild houses and merchants' residences, before ending your tour at St Catherine’s Arts and Crafts Centre. During the course of your walk, stop for an Estonian folk show and refreshments.

Tallinn covers quite a large area, with distances of between 300 and 400 yards between the various sites. Although generally flat, many of the streets have cobblestones, and there are numerous steps. Altogether the tour involves approximately one-and-a-quarter miles of walking. The picturesque Old Town of Tallinn

Drive through the heart of the city towards Cathedral Hill (Toompea), stopping at the Tall Herman Tower, one of the three remaining towers of the Knights of the Sword Castle. From nearby Cannon Tower you can admire the panoramic view of Tallinn’s Upper Town, with its numerous churches and spires. The tour continues towards Kadriorg Park and the Baroque palace designed as a summer residence for Peter the Great. As you drive through the park, pause at the Song Festival grounds, a natural amphitheatre with a capacity for 150,000 people, which makes a perfect venue for Estonia’s national song festivals. Following a drive through a scenic residential area, enjoy refreshments and folk music before continuing on to St Birgit’s Convent to see one of the best examples of local limestone architecture in Estonia. Your return journey takes you past the summer residence of Count Orlov, a Russian aristocrat, and the famous Estonian Russalka monument, which commemorates a shipwreck of 1893.

Due to traffic restrictions the coach is unable to drive through the Old Town. There is approximately 165 yards of walking on this tour, with further walking at your own discretion. The Song Festival Ground is subject to closure by the authorities without prior notice at any time. The Alexander Nevsky Church

Drive through the cultural centre of Tallinn and pass alongside the medieval city walls that encircle the Old Town. Leaving your coach at Nun’s Gate, stroll past the Church of the Transfiguration and the 15th-century Blackheads Fraternity House. Your walking tour continues past Pikk Street and across the Town Hall Square, where you can view the Old Town's most important buildings and visit St Catherine’s Arts and Crafts Centre. During your tour, enjoy an Estonian folk show and refreshments. Continue by coach along the main thoroughfare towards the central park of Kadriorg, which was founded by Peter the Great and is the setting for the Baroque-style Kadriorg Palace. You visit next the Song Festival grounds, where national song festivals are held with some 30,000 singers, and pass through a beautiful residential area on your way to Pirita Marina, the venue for international regattas, which hosted some of the yachting events for the 1980 Olympic Games. You also see 15th-century St Birgit’s Convent, the Estonian Russalka Monument - commemorating an 1893 shipwreck in the Gulf of Finland - and the summer residence of Count Orlov, a Russian aristocrat.

There is a 400-yard walk over cobblestones from Nun’s Gate to the Fraternity House and a similar distance from the concert back to the coach near Viru Square. Walking at all other venues is at your discretion. Admission to Kadriorg Palace is not included. The Song Festival Ground is subject to closure by the authorities without prior notice at any time. There are 25 stone steps up to the refreshment venue, with a further 14 stone steps down to the WC facilities. The historic skyline of Tallinn

This delightful tour takes you from Tallinn harbour towards the Old Town, with its picturesque medieval skyline of towers and spires. After driving around the city walls with their massive bastions, stop near the Tall Hermann Tower and walk up to Palace Square to get a glimpse of the exterior of Toompea Palace, now home to the Estonian Parliament. You next visit the largest Russian Orthodox church in Estonia, which is named after Alexander Nevsky. Its golden domes and ornate exterior make it stand out among the more sober neo-Classical buildings that surround it. Afterwards you travel by coach through the more modern part of Tallinn, with its theatres, concert halls and shopping centres, passing through industrial and residential suburbs before arriving at lovely Saue Manor. This manor house, with its outbuildings, stables and coach house was completed in 1792. Take a guided tour of the manor complex and learn of its chequered past, and then enjoy refreshments followed by a classical music concert. Afterwards, you have free time to take a stroll in the charming grounds, laid out in the English style, before returning to the ship.

There is approximately 400 yards' walking during this tour, some of which is uphill, with 15 steps at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and an additional 18 steps at Saue Manor. Although the pace of the tour is reasonably easy, we have graded it 'Moderate' on account of the steps. Additional walking in the grounds of Saue Manor is at your discretion. This excursion does not include a walking tour of Tallinn Old Town. Historic Saue Manor

This treat for adrenalin junkies starts through the new part of Tallinn, with its modern hotels, banks, offices and restaurants. Your drive continues to the eastern suburbs where the TV Tower, Botanical Gardens and various sports grounds are located. Along the way, you will pass residential areas, with high-rise blocks of flats from the Soviet era and more modern family homes. You soon get a glimpse of the TV Tower, built to provide better telecommunications services for the 1980 Olympics regatta event. A lift takes you up to the viewing platform in just 49 seconds for a breath-taking view of Tallinn and the Baltic Sea. Here you receive your safety briefing and are fitted out with your helmet and harness for the ‘Walk on The Edge’. You will be walking all the way along the edge of the viewing platform, which encircles the tower at a height of 574 feet above the ground. Unique in northern Europe, this is an experience that is sure to remain fresh in your mind for a long time! After completing the circuit of the platform, you have free time to visit the café on the 22nd floor, or browse in the gift shop, before taking the coach back to the port via the coastal road.

The walk takes approximately 30 minutes. Safety is of the utmost importance. Participants should be in good physical condition and must be able to walk without support devices. Do not take this tour if you have a fracture, are pregnant, wear an artificial limb, have had surgery or suffered a major illness in the past six months, or are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You will be asked to sign a waiver before participating. Cameras and other loose items are not permitted: all participants will receive a complimentary digital photograph of themselves on the tower. Tallinn's TV Tower

St Petersburg

Arrive 0800 on May 28. Depart 1800 on May 29.

An overnight stay in St Petersburg is always a memorable occasion and Saga Pearl IIs final visit will prove no exception. Peter the Great’s ‘window on the west’ is filled with ornate palaces, elegant gardens, colourful churches and the largest museum in the world. You’ll have two days here – explore the Hermitage, visit the Peter and Paul Fortress or marvel at the eye-popping opulence of Catharine Palace. You’ll also have the chance to watch the world-famous Russian ballet in the grand Alexandrinsky or Hermitage Theatres.

This relatively young city has packed a lot into its 300 years, and is brimming with historic treasures including ornate palaces, splendid gardens and world-renowned museums. You can learn about the October Revolution of 1917 and chart the periods of change faced by Russia during the 20th century as it forged a new path in the Soviet era. The city is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ as it has many bridges over the River Neva, an important artery of the city. Please note that anyone joining one or more of Saga’s organised shore excursions from St Petersburg does not need to obtain a visa, as Saga arranges group visas for all participants. Group visas also cover passengers using Saga’s Bespoke Car Service. Anyone wishing to go ashore on their own must obtain an individual visa for St Petersburg before the cruise. The duration of all tours is subject to change according to traffic conditions. Many thousands of visitors come to St Petersburg in the spring and summer months, and attractions can become very crowded.

FactFile

Population 5,000,000 (approximate)
Language Russian
Currency Rouble
Time Difference UK+3
Climate Summers are mild, with a risk of rain at any time.
Ship berths at English Embankment, Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment or Marine Façade, Port of St Petersburg
Distance from Centre 3 miles (Marine Façade). English Embankment is centrally located.
Distance from gangway to coach 220 to 400 yards depending on the pier

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping streets are Nevsky Prospect, Sadovaya Ul and Moskovsky Prospect. There are also shops at the Cruise Terminal.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open from 1000-2000 daily.
Post Office Post boxes are available in the Cruise Terminal.
Tourist Office The main Tourist Office is on 14/52 Sadovaya Street. Limited tourist information is available at the Cruise Terminal.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 0044 and the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112.
Banks There are banks all over the city, and ATMs at the Cruise Terminal. If you intend to use your debit card in Russia, we recommend that you inform your bank before the start of the cruise.

Excursions

Start with a one-hour drive to the gardens of Peterhof Palace, 18 miles from St Petersburg. The former summer residence of Peter the Great, it was originally commissioned to be a 'Versailles by the Sea’, and Peter’s plan was certainly brought to fruition as it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The layout of the 300-acre park includes the Great Cascade, fed by underground springs, and accompanied by waterfalls, fountains and gilded statues. Take a stroll around the Lower Park, which contains numerous fountains, the largest of which represents Samson rending the jaws of a lion - symbolising Russia’s victorious struggle over Sweden in the Northern War. The Peterhof Fountains are considered to be the most impressive in the world. From the Lower Park, make your way to the Grand Palace Terrace, from where you get a wonderful panoramic view. Following your tour of the gardens, return to St Petersburg by coach.

There is approximately 1½ miles of walking over even surfaces and gravel surfaces, with 200 steps in the park, and a further 100 steps up to the Grand Palace Terrace; these steps may be avoided by using a ramp. The steps are equipped with handrails. Entrance to Peterhof Palace is not included. A charge is usually made for the use of public conveniences: rouble or euro coins are normally accepted. Comfortable shoes and insect repellent are recommended, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. Explore the beautiful Peterhof Gardens

St Petersburg is built around some 185 miles of canals and rivers, which act as mirrors in which the city’s neo-Classical mansions, golden-domed churches and palaces are reflected. Peter the Great intended the rivers and canals to form part of his whole architectural ensemble, so that, unlike those in Paris and London, most buildings have their main façades facing the waterways. A cruise along the Neva, Fontaka and the Moika rivers is therefore a highlight of any visit to St Petersburg, as from the river you will see much of the city’s magnificent architecture. The tour also visits one of Russia’s most beautiful churches - the Spilled Blood Cathedral. One of the finest examples of the Russian Revival style, this magnificent cathedral was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881. The interior and exterior are a riot of colour, with richly-decorated onion domes on the outside and intricate mosaics within. After the October Revolution in 1917 it was closed to the public for many years, re-opening as a museum in 1997 after 25 years of restoration.

You will need to walk approximately 250 yards, with about ten steps down to the boat from the pier. Further walking may be required, as road works may be taking place by the Cathedral. Depending on the tide, there may also be a steep gangway to negotiate, and it is sometimes necessary to walk across other boats before reaching the vessel allocated to your cruise. Participants must be able to get onto the boat unaided. The route taken by the boat may vary, depending on the water level in the canals. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. There are very limited wc facilities on board the boat, and a charge is made for those at the Spilled Blood Cathedral. You will have a short amount of time in a souvenir shop, but credit cards may not be accepted. Griboedov Canal and Spilled Blood Cathedral

The tour starts with a visit to the magnificent St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Isaac’s Square. Built between 1818 and 1858, the cathedral was designed by French architect August Montferrant and is named after St Isaac of Dalmatia. The vast, opulent interior covers 43,000 square feet and is filled with hundreds of impressive 19th-century works of art. At St Isaac’s Square you also see the St Petersburg Legislative Assembly, the famous Hotel Astoria and a monument to Tsar Nicholas I. Next, visit the Kazan Cathedral, constructed by Russian architect Andrei Voronkhin and an outstanding example of early 19th-century Russian architecture. The building encircles a small square with a double row of columns that form an impressive colonnade. The cathedral was named after the ‘miracle-making’ icon of Our Lady of Kazan. Inside the cathedral are 56 red granite monolithic columns and a multi-coloured Karelian marble mosaic floor. Your final visit is to the Spilled Blood Cathedral. This magnificent Russian-styled onion-domed church was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881. For many years it was closed to the public, but after 25 years of restoration it opened again as a museum during the late 1990s.

This tour involves walking a total distance of about 400 yards, with seven big steps at the entrance to St Isaac’s, about ten steps at the Kazan Cathedral and five at the Spilled Blood Cathedral. Photography is not permitted inside the Kazan Cathedral. A charge is usually made for the use of public conveniences: rouble or euro coins are normally accepted. Conservative dress is required to enter St Isaac's and the Kazan Cathedral, and a headscarf is recommended for ladies. Inside the Spilled Blood Cathedral

To revive a tradition started by Catherine the Great, who opened her residence to friends and foreign guests, we are happy to offer you a unique opportunity to visit the Hermitage in the evening, when you can enjoy its beautiful collections on your own, avoiding the usual crowds. Your guide takes you first to the museum’s diamond display. It has taken over two centuries to assemble this unique collection of jewellery by Russian, European and Oriental artists and craftsmen. Known as the Treasure Gallery in the days of Catherine the Great, the jewellery collection includes a significant number of archaeological finds, including famous Scythian and Greek gold artefacts. Also on show are numerous royal gifts and a fabulous collection of Western European jewellery. You next climb the stairs to the Top Lighted Hall for a concert played exclusively for you by the State Hermitage Orchestra. This is followed by the tour of the main collections. Walk through the magnificent state apartments: the Field-Marshal’s Hall, the Small Throne Room, the Emblem Hall with its vast gilded columns, the Gallery of 1812 displaying portraits of Russian military heroes, and the Hall of St George, decorated with Cararra marble and gilt bronze with a parquet floor. At the end of the tour, pause for a glass of Russian sparkling wine before returning to your ship.

This excursion involves walking up to one mile with about 80 steps. The Hermitage will be closed to the general public, but the museum reserves the right to admit other small groups. This tour duplicates much of the content of ‘A Taste of the Hermitage’. Coats, jackets and water bottles must be left in a cloakroom. Rooms may be closed without prior notice, and the route of the tour is decided by the curators, so we cannot guarantee which works of art will be seen on the day. Enjoy the Hermitage when the public has gone home

St Petersburg is famous for its rich theatrical life, which originated more than two and a half centuries ago. Like the city itself, the art of Russian ballet has incorporated foreign traditions and gradually developed its own world-renowned style. The Tsars and aristocrats took a great interest in ballet, encouraging and supporting the construction of theatres. In days gone by, many noblemen also had private theatres on their estates, so ballet became an integral part of Russian cultural tradition. Brilliant choreographers such as Marius Petipa and Mikhail Fokin staged ballets in St Petersburg, and many famous ballet dancers have performed in the city - Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinskij, Olga Spesivtseva, Galina Ulanova and Rydolph Nureyev - to mention just a few. World-famous composers such as Tchaikovsky wrote heavenly music to accompany ballet performances. This wonderful tour affords you the opportunity to experience a memorable and extraordinary live ballet performance in one of the city’s great theatres. Arriving at the venue, you will be supplied with a programme and escorted to your seat. Russian sparkling wine will be served during the interval. Following the performance, you will be taken directly back to the ship.

The specific performance and venue will be announced on board ship. Smart casual clothing is recommended for the performance. Photography, filming and sound recording is not permitted. You may need to walk up to 500 yards between the coach and theatre and back again, and there are likely to be a few steps to the entrance plus a flight of stairs leading to the auditorium: some venues may have a lift. All theatres have public conveniences. The actual duration of the excursion will depend on the ballet performed. Ballet: the ultimate in grace, strength and control

A wonderful evening of lively Russian folk entertainment awaits you at the Officers’ Club in the heart of St Petersburg. Made up from traditional songs and dances used during celebrations all over Russia, and combined with classical aspects of ballet and modern dance, this magnificent performance is sure to delight. During the interval you will be treated to Russian sparkling wine, vodka and snacks.

There is a flight of 81 steps, with no handrails, to reach the concert hall. Smart casual clothing is appropriate. There is a charge for photography at the show. An Evening of Russian Folklore

This excursion starts with an hour-long drive to the town of Tsaskoye Selo, to reach a masterpiece of world architecture: the Catherine Palace. This lavish building, with its Baroque façade over 1,000 feet in length, originated in 1717 as a modest summer residence for Empress Catherine I. In 1752 Empress Elizabeth asked architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli to rebuild the palace on a much grander scale, and the present magnificent Rococo structure was inaugurated four years later. More than 200 pounds of gold leaf was used to decorate the exterior and the numerous statues on the roof. When Catherine the Great came to the throne in 1762, she employed the Scottish architect James Cameron to redecorate parts of the interior. A guided tour shows you the opulent State Apartments, including the Great Hall, Green Dining Room, Blue Drawing Room and the exquisite Amber Room. Presented as a gift to Peter the Great by King Frederick William I of Prussia, the Amber Room was considered a wonder of the age. It was dismantled by the Nazis during World War II, when the palace was severely damaged, but in 1979 the Soviet authorities started to re-create it, a process that took 24 years. Following your guided tour of the palace, enjoy a walk in the beautiful landscaped gardens before returning to St Petersburg.

The guided tour takes one hour, with about 45 steps to negotiate. The coach park is approximately ¾-mile from the palace, with a few steps along the way. Photography and filming in the Amber Room is prohibited, but is permitted elsewhere. Large bags, coats and bottles of water may not be brought into the palace: they can be left in a cloakroom, but you may need to queue when depositing and retrieving them. The extravagant Catherine Palace

After a short transfer from your ship, spend the morning exploring the magnificent Hermitage Museum on a guided tour. Your tour concentrates mainly on the works of European artists from the 14th to the 19th centuries, but you will also be shown other exhibits such as porcelain, pottery, silverware and furniture. See a 21st-century side of the city’s life next, as you drive along Nevsky Prospect to a restaurant in the city centre, where you enjoy lunch accompanied by Russian folk entertainment. After lunch, head to Decembrists’ Square, dominated by the Bronze Horseman, a monument to Peter the Great. A photo stop at St Isaac’s Cathedral brings you to Palace Square and past the Winter Palace. Pause by the Rostral Columns to photograph the beautiful panorama of the Neva River and the Peter and Paul Fortress, where you make your next stop: this fortress and prison was home to a roll-call of revolutionaries from Dostoevsky to Trotsky, and within its walls is the Cathedral of Peter and Paul, with its tall, slender spire.

This tour involves a lot of walking, with occasional steps throughout. Walking at the fortress is over cobbles and amounts to about 450 yards. A charge applies to use the wc. At the Hermitage there are about 125 steps. The guided tour takes 2½ hours, depending on the size and pace of the group, and involves just over a mile of walking. There is also a lot of standing as your guide will stop to give a commentary on numerous exhibits. Coats, large bags and water bottles are not permitted inside the Hermitage: these can be left in cloakrooms, and you may need to queue when depositing and retrieving them. The Hermitage has the right to close any room without prior notice. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Impressive St Isaac's Cathedral

The tour starts with a drive along the embankment to Decembrists’ Square, dominated by the Bronze Horseman - a statue of Peter the Great. Stops for photos will be made at St Isaac’s Square, St Nicholas’ Naval Cathedral and at the Cathedral of the Spilled Blood. See a more contemporary side of the city’s life next, as you drive along the boulevard of Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main avenue, to view the impressive Kazan Cathedral. Based on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, this was intended to become the country’s main Orthodox church. Drive past Palace Square and the Alexander Column before stopping for lunch at a Russian restaurant. After lunch, continue to Peterhof - the former summer residence of Peter the Great and his successors. A guide will escort you through the gorgeous Peterhof Gardens, which have 150 fountains, four cascades and ornamental ponds. The water is supplied by a gravity-fed system that exploits the natural slope of the ground: it uses no pumps and supplies enough water to keep the fountains and cascades working for up to ten hours a day.

This tour involves walking approximately 1½ miles on level ground and gravel paths. There are 100 steps in the gardens, although a ramp is also available. Anyone not wishing to walk around the gardens may wait at the Grand Palace Terrace, overlooking the Grand Cascade. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. Admission to the palace interior is not included. A charge is usually made for the use of public conveniences: rouble or euro coins are normally accepted. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. St Nicholas' Naval Cathedral

Start this tour with a drive through Basil Island, the oldest residential area of St Petersburg. Crossing the Malaya Neva, drive past the Peter and Paul Fortress, where construction work on the city started in 1703. As you cross Trinity Bridge, you have a fine view of the Spit of Basil Island and the Field of Mars park. Your first photo-stop is at the Spilled Blood Cathedral. This beautiful Old Russian-style church stands on the spot where the Tzar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. From here, drive along the city’s main avenue, Nevsky Prospect, to a pier on the River Neva, where you board your riverboat for a fascinating trip past some of St Petersburg’s most beautiful buildings. See Peter the Great’s Summer Garden - fenced off from the Neva by a black and golden grille - and the lovely Marble Palace, a present from Catherine II to her favourite Grigory Orlov. View the magnificent Winter Palace, where the Tzars lived from 1764 until 1917, and pass close to the battleship Aurora, which fired the first shot of the 1917 Revolution. Following your boat ride, your coach takes you to Spit of Basil Island, flanked by the two Rostral Columns. Your tour concludes with a photo-stop at St Isaac’s Square, where you can view the magnificent St Isaac’s Cathedral, a monument to Tsar Nicholas I, the Legislative Assembly Building and the famous Hotel Astoria.

You should expect to walk up to ½-mile. There are 12 steps at the piers when embarking and disembarking the boat. Participants must be able to board unaided and climb up 14 steps if they wish to reach the open upper deck. Boats have inside and outside seating; if you choose to sit inside, a window seat cannot be guaranteed. The guide's commentary may be harder to hear if you sit outside. All buildings are viewed from the exterior only: no entrances are included. Get a close view of the battle cruiser Aurora

Explore the magnificent halls and staterooms of the elegant Winter Palace on a guided tour. This is home to the world’s largest museum - the Hermitage. Your tour concentrates mainly on the works of European artists from the 14th to the 19th centuries. You also see other exhibits such as porcelain, pottery, silverware, furniture and antiques. It was Catherine the Great who founded the museum in 1764 as a home for her own art collection, but it was not open to the general public until 1852. The collection greatly expanded after the October Revolution in 1917, when many works of art from Imperial palaces were confiscated by the Soviet government and distributed among the country’s museums. There are now more than 3,000,000 pieces of art occupying more than 1,000 rooms. This must-see attraction is housed in four separate buildings: the spectacular Winter Palace, Little Hermitage, the Old Hermitage and the New Hermitage; two other buildings are used for storage, as only a small proportion of the exhibits can be displayed at any one time.

There is just over a mile of walking inside the Hermitage, with approximately 125 steps. The guided tour inside the museum takes 2½ hours, depending on the size and pace of the group. This tour is designed to cover a lot of ground, and you should be prepared to remain standing for long periods while your guide gives a commentary. The museum is extremely popular and can become very crowded. Coats, jackets and bottles of water may not be brought into the Hermitage: they may be left in a cloakroom, but you may need to queue when depositing and retrieving them. Rooms may be closed without prior notice, for renovation or for government meetings. The Hermitage is not air-conditioned. Please note that this tour does not include a visit to the Gold Room, or to the General Staff Building where the French Impressionist collection is on display. Explore the Hermitage

See one of the world’s greatest jewellery collections on this excursion to the fabulous Hermitage Museum. The State Hermitage is Russia’s most famous museum, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. Originally her own private museum, the Hermitage has a collection of around three million works of art. Occupying the Winter Palace, which comprises the Small, Old and New Hermitages, your tour will take you to different parts of the museum including the State Apartments and the Throne Room in the Winter Palace. The highlight of this tour is a visit to the Gold Room. Assembled over two centuries, this significant collection includes jewellery dating from the period of the Scythians and Ancient Greeks up to the 19th century, together with works by renowned jewellers including the world-famous Peter Carl Fabergé.

This tour involves walking about 1¼ miles over even ground, plus about 125 steps. Cameras and camcorders are not permitted in the Gold Room. This tour follows a similar route to ‘A Taste of the Hermitage’. Large bags, coats, jackets and bottles of water may not be brought into the Hermitage: they may be left in a cloakroom, but you may need to queue when depositing and retrieving them. Rooms may be closed without prior notice, for renovation or for government meetings. Please note that the Hermitage is not air-conditioned. Discover the treasuress of the Hermitage

Spend a day at beautiful Peterhof, the summer residence of the Russian tsars. Arriving via the Upper Park, a French-style formal garden, this excursion starts with a guided tour of the Grand Palace. Originally built for Peter the Great in the early 18th century, it was remodelled for Peter’s daughter, Elizabeth, between 1747 and 1756. Your tour of this glorious palace shows you the State Apartments, the dancing and audience halls together with a suite of rooms designed by Rastrelli. The White Dining Room displays a Wedgwood dinner service, and Peter the Great’s oak study has survived unaltered. Leaving the palace, descend to the Lower Gardens, with their pavilions, 150 fountains and four cascades - all overlooking the Gulf of Finland. After a stop for lunch, a short coach ride takes you to the Park of Alexandria, where you visit the Cottage Palace. Constructed between 1826 and 1829 in the English neo-Gothic style, this was the private home of Tsar Nicholas I and Tsarina Alexandra, and during their reign only select visitors were admitted. As you tour the palace you will see Alexandra’s study, the grand Drawing Room and the private Royal Apartments, before leaving this unique building for the return journey to your ship.

This tour involves walking approximately two miles, some of which is over uneven ground and cobblestones. There are 100 steps up to the Grand Palace, although a ramp is also available. There are 60 steps at the Cottage Palace. Photography is prohibited inside the palaces. Large bags, coats and bottles of water cannot be taken inside: they may be left in a cloakroom, but you may need to queue when depositing and retrieving them. Rooms may be closed without prior notice. A charge is made for the use of public conveniences: rouble or euro coins are normally accepted. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. The grandeur of the Peterhof in St Petersburg

This panoramic tour starts with a drive along the embankment to Decembrists’ Square, dominated by the ‘Bronze Horseman’ monument to Peter the Great. Photo-stops will be made at St Isaac’s Square, the St Nicholas Naval Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Spilled Blood. See a more contemporary side of the city’s life next, as you drive along the boulevard of Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main avenue, to view the impressive Kazan Cathedral. Inspired by the architecture of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, this was intended to become the country’s main Orthodox church. Your drive continues past Palace Square, the Alexander Column, the Admiralty and the Hermitage - home of the largest museum in the world - before bringing you back to your ship.

All sightseeing is from the coach. Any walking at photo-stops is minimal and entirely at your discretion. The colourful Spilled Blood Cathedral

This panoramic tour starts with a short drive to the historical centre of the city. Your first photo-stop is by the Academy of Fine Arts and the 3,500-year old Sphinxes on the Neva River embankment. Continue past the St Petersburg State University and the Rostral Columns - these studded beacons flank the white colonnaded Stock Exchange and once served as navigational beacons. Stop to photograph the beautiful panorama of the Neva River and the Peter and Paul Fortress. You next stop at the pavilion that encloses the Cabin of Peter the Great. The cabin was constructed for the Tsar in 1703 and used by him while he supervised the construction of the new city and the Peter & Paul Fortress. He had it encased for its protection inside the red-brick pavilion in 1723. After a short stop for souvenir shopping, continue your tour with a photo-stop at the Smolny Convent of the Resurrection: this stunning blue-and-white church with its numerous domes and bell-towers is one of the masterpieces of the Italian architect Rastrelli, who also designed the Winter Palace, Catherine Palace and the Grand Palace in Peterhof.

All sightseeing is from the coach. Any walking at photo-stops and at the souvenir shop is minimal and entirely at your discretion. The Bronze Horseman Monument

One of St Petersburg’s newest attractions, the Fabergé Museum opened in 2013 in the Shuvalov Palace, an elegant 18th-century neo-Classical mansion. It contains over 3,000 exhibits, including approximately 1,500 works by Peter Carl Fabergé. This renowned jeweller created the first of his famous eggs in 1885 as an Easter gift from Tsar Alexander III to his wife. This started a tradition that lasted until Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown in 1917. Although Fabergé is now best known for his eggs, his company produced a wide range of other beautiful items, ranging from silver tableware to fine jewellery. By 1900 Fabergé was the largest jewellery business in Russia, with branches in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. The museum is the brainchild of Viktor Vekelsberg, one of Russia’s wealthiest men, who bought numerous Fabergé masterpieces from the private collection of Malcolm Forbes, the American publisher who died in 1990. The museum has nine of the famous Imperial eggs, including the first of them all, the Hen Egg. When opened, this reveals a ‘surprise’: a golden yolk containing a tiny gold hen. Also on display is the Imperial Coronation Egg, made in 1897 to commemorate the coronation of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. After a tour of this remarkable collection, you have time to browse in the gift shop - where replica Fabergé eggs are on sale - before returning to the ship.

You should expect to walk approximately 800 yards, with a flight of 40 steps up and down. There are 11 steps to the W.C. The museum visit lasts around one hour. Photography is permitted. Exhibits may be removed for loan to other museums or for conservation without prior notice. The museum gift shop accepts only Roubles or credit / debit cards. The Imperial Coronation Egg

Start with a short drive to the city’s historical centre, passing the Academy of Fine Arts, the State University and the Rostral Columns, which flank the white colonnaded Stock Exchange and once served as navigational beacons. Photo-stops will be made overlooking the River Neva, at the Peter & Paul Fortress and at Peter the Great’s first home in the city. Now enclosed by a brick pavilion, this small log cabin was erected in 1703 and occupied by the Tsar while he supervised the construction of his new city. Next you continue to the Spilled Blood Cathedral. Built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, this magnificent church was reopened as a museum in 1997 after 25 years of restoration. Its exterior is a riot of colour with its onion domes of varying heights and sizes. After lunch in one of the city’s restaurants, you have another opportunity to appreciate the splendid architecture of this beautiful city as you cruise along the Moika and Fontanka Rivers. Conclude your tour by pausing at the Smolny Convent of the Resurrection, a stunning blue-and-white church built by the Italian architect Rastrelli.

You will need to walk approximately 600 yards, with about ten steps down to the boat from the pier. Further walking may be required. Depending on the tide, there may also be a steep gangway to negotiate. Participants must be able to get onto the boat unaided. The route taken by the boat may vary, depending on the water level in the canals. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. There are very limited wc facilities on board the boat, and a charge is made for those at the cathedral. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. The Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns

Kotka

Arrive 0830. Depart 1900.

As Finland’s only island city, Kotka has a real maritime feel to it – it was from here that the Vikings launched their expeditions into Russia. Perhaps pay a visit to the Maretarium aquarium or the Maritime Centre Vellamo, a modern complex of museums and interactive exhibitions that reveal the local heritage and natural history, or opt for a thrilling rafting trip on the River Kymijoki rapids.

Kotka is a small city on the Gulf of Finland, at the mouth of the River Kymi, about 75 miles from Helsinki. The town centre occupies the island of Kotkansaari, which is linked by bridges to the mainland. Owing to its strategic location, Kotka has had a turbulent history. In the 16th century it was a Royal Manor owned by King Gustavus Vasa of Sweden, but it was captured by Russia during a war in 1743. The Russian Empress Catherine the Great and the Swedish King Gustav III held a conference in 1783 at Hamina, about ten miles from Kotka, in a building still known as ‘Catherine’s Palace’, which is now a museum. In the 1790s the Russian General Aleksandr Suvorov constructed the Kyminlinna Fortress above the town: this remained a military base until 2005. In April 1918 it was the site of a battle between German troops and the Finnish Red Guard. Kotka today is a green and pleasant city, with attractive parks and a number of buildings designed by Alvar Aalto, the renowned Finnish modernist architect. Very popular in the summer with sailing and yachting enthusiasts, it is also a busy sea port for container ships.

FactFile

Population 54,342 (2016)
Language Finnish
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+2
Climate Cold and temperate
Ship berths at Kantasatama City Terminal or Mussalo Terminal
Distance from Centre 500 yards (Kantasatama Terminal) or 3 miles (Mussalo Terminal)
Distance from gangway to coach 150 yards (approximate)

Useful Information

Shopping The Pasaati Shopping Centre is located on Keskuskatu. A market is held on the main square from Monday to Saturday between 0600 and 1430.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 1000-1600.
Post Office Located at Keskuskatu 11. Open 0700-2100 on weekdays, 0800-1900 on Saturdays and 1000-1800 on Sundays.
Tourist Office Located at the pier.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112.
Banks The Kymenlaakson Osuuspankki is located at Kirkkokatu 14, and is open 1000-1630 from Monday to Friday. 24-hour ATMs are available.

Excursions

A short transfer takes you from your ship to the RIB harbour where your skipper is already waiting for you. Step on board your Rigid Inflatable Boat and enjoy a fast ride out to sea. Your adventure begins with a mini-cruise through the beautiful Finnish archipelago, during which you can also view Kotka from a new perspective. Your boat reaches a speed of over 40 knots and takes you up to the Russian Border, to view an island belonging to Russia, where your skipper will arrange a photo-stop. Afterwards you continue to Kaunissaari (Beautiful Island), where you can explore the network of public footpaths, view the local inhabitants’ summer cottages and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, or a glass of local beer, with a tasty salmon sandwich. Your return journey to Kotka will hug the coast, where you can see numerous private houses in addition to public open spaces.

This trip is not recommended for those with back or neck problems, as the ride is likely to be bumpy. The boats take 10 passengers each, and waterproof gear is provided in inclement weather. Lifejackets are supplied and must be worn. Please wear fully-enclosed, sturdy shoes and warm weatherproof clothing appropriate for high-speed ocean racing: you are likely to get splashed. Sunscreen is also recommended. Although this excursion involves walking only about 400 yards, we have graded it ‘Moderate’ as a certain amount of dexterity is needed to get on and off the boat. A safety briefing will be given at the start of the tour. Your RIB Boat awaits

Experience the power of the fast-flowing and unspoilt River Kymi and savour traditional Finnish food on this exciting tour. A road transfer taking approximately 30 minutes brings you from your ship to the departure point for your rafting adventure. Here you will be given instructions and a safety briefing before boarding your raft. As you travel down the river, you will experience at close hand some of the miracles that the wild River Kymi has to offer. The free-flowing stream, peaceful inlets, trees hanging over the river, fishermen waiting for their catches, idyllic fields and the vibrant sounds of nature: all of these will remain on your mind for a long time. After your raft journey, enjoy a delicious snack by the riverside. You will get to taste traditional Finnish coffee with salmon flambé, prepared over a campfire. This is a ‘back to nature’ experience that you absolutely have to try. Following this wonderful time spent on and by the river, you can share stories with your fellow travellers during the transfer back to your ship.

This tour involves minimal walking. However, we have graded it 'Strenuous' as a considerable amount of dexterity is required to get in and out of the rafts, and participants will need to paddle and manoeuvre them for between one and one-and-a-half hours. Each raft can carry between six and eight people. No prior rafting experience is needed, but a good level of general fitness is required, and you must be able to keep up with the pace. We regret that this tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties, back or neck problems. Appropriate clothing and footwear is essential. Prior to the port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will call a meeting of all participants booked on this tour. Enjoy the scenic views from your raft

Your tour starts with a coach drive through Kotka. Only 1½ hours by road from the Finnish capital Helsinki, Kotka was originally built as a fortress by the Russians to protect St. Petersburg. Established where the River Kymijoki meets the sea, it has a long tradition in seafaring. A trading post was already established on this site in the 13th century, although the town did not receive city status until 1879. Today it is the largest port in Finland. Stop to visit Sapokka Water Garden, an oasis in the center of Kotka, where you can walk around and admire the beauty of the flowers and trees. From here your tour takes you past Sapokka Marina and the industrial site of Kotka Mills to Isopuisto Park, the oldest park in Kotka. Your next stop is at Kotka Church. Enjoy a short organ recital here before re-joining your coach for a drive to the idyllic frontier town of Hamina. Founded in 1653, Hamina is one of the oldest Finnish seaports. Its location at the crossroads of ancient trade routes, and its role as a frontier town have greatly influenced Hamina’s architecture, culture and customs. See the historic town centre with its old timber houses, as you are entertained by costumed characters on a guided walking tour. Your tour concludes with a stop for refreshments in the garden of a wooden villa, where you can enjoy refreshments while listening to music played by local artists. Suitably refreshed, return by coach to Kotka and your ship.

Almost all sightseeing is on foot, and you will be spending around two hours standing or walking, sometimes over uneven ground, covering almost two miles. Comfortable shoes and casual, layered clothing are recommended. Please be prepared for changeable weather. Picturesque Hamina

Your tour starts with a short walk to a motor boat, which takes you on a trip to discover Finland’s fascinating history: it was once part of Sweden, and later became the Grand Duchy, an autonomous state within the Russian Empire. On board, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and local delicacies, as your guide tells you about the era of the Vikings and Hanseatic times, and of the strong links that exist between Finland and both Russia and Western Europe. You cruise past the place where the Battle of Svensksund was fought in 1790: it is still the biggest battle to have taken place in the Baltic Sea. Your boat also passes Fort Slava and the Elizabeth Island forts, originally built to protect St Petersburg. Heading upstream on the River Kymi, reach the Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge, originally the summer home of Tsar Alexander III, where you disembark for an imperial welcome. The future Tsar came to Kotka in 1880, fell in love with the area, and had the fishing lodge built. His family spent most of their summer days in Langinkoski, escaping the hectic life in St Petersburg for the peace and quiet of the River Kymijoki. Your guide will tell you all about the cottage and the Imperial family, and you have free time to see Kymijoki rapids and the beautiful surroundings on your own. On the way back to your ship, your coach will take you for a panoramic tour of Kotka.

This tour involves approximately 700 yards' unavoidable walking, with additional walking at your discretion at Langinkoski. In addition, you must be able to board the boat unaided and negotiate a short flight of steps to reach your seat. Boats have inside and outside seating; if you choose to sit inside, a window seat cannot be guaranteed. The guide's commentary may be harder to hear if you sit outside. Outdoor clothing, a waterproof jacket and flat-soled shoes should be worn. Travel by boat to the Imperial Fishing Lodge

Kotka is undeniably a maritime city, and has hosted the Tall Ships Race three times. On this tour you can relive the excitement of this event and go back in time to the great days of sail. Board the conch train - a small ‘road train’ running on rubber tyres - for your transfer from the pier to the Tall Ship harbour. During this short journey you will travel through the city centre of Kotka. On arrival at the Tall Ship harbour, step on board a century-old cargo vessel that used to sail around the Baltics bringing goods and merchandise to Finland. Today this ship has been beautifully restored and converted to carry passengers during the summer months. Once on board, you can assist the crew with the sails, or simply enjoy the views of Kotka's beautiful archipelago, which has over 400 islands. Your guide will tell you about Kotka and the importance of the sea for this coastal city. As you sail around the archipelago, refreshments will be served on board. After this relaxing mini-cruise, you sail back to the harbour, where the conch train will be waiting to take you back to your ship.

You will need to walk approximately 200 yards from the cruise ship to the Conch Train and from the Conch Train to the Tall Ship, and must be able to embark and disembark the Tall Ship unaided. Boarding is via a gangway, which may be steep, depending on the tide. We regret that wheelchairs cannot be accommodated on board. Once on board, virtually no walking is required. You should wear outdoor clothing and a waterproof jacket: comfortable flat-soled shoes are essential. You must obey the crew's instructions at all times when on board. There may be winches, capstans, anchor chains or other trip hazards on deck or along the quayside, so please watch your step. We reserve the right to change the departure time should conditions make this necessary. Sail around the archipelago on board a Tall Ship

Spend the day at sea.

Visby

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

Beginning as a Viking outpost on the island of Gotland, Visby developed into a Baltic hub for the Hanseatic League and its rich history has earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The beautifully preserved medieval streets are encircled by a two-mile-long wall dating from the 13th century, and they’re perfect for exploring on foot.

Situated on the island of Gotland approximately 60 miles from the Swedish mainland, Visby is a beautifully preserved medieval port which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Known as the ‘town of roses and ruins’, this unique location is one of the most important reminders of the Hanseatic League, featuring cobbled streets and architectural relics of bygone times. The imposing two-and-a-half mile city wall located here dates from the 13th century and is a monument to the great wealth accumulated here during the era of successful merchant trading. Another sign of the city's former wealth is the astonishing number of medieval churches inside its walls: many of these have been disused since the Reformation and are now preserved as picturesque ruins.

FactFile

Population 22,000 (approximate)
Language Swedish
Currency Swedish Krona
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Cool and temperate with frequent rain. There is an average of nine hours of sunshine from May to July
Ship berths at Barkassläge 1
Distance from Centre 550 yards (approximate)
Distance from gangway to coach 150 yards (approximate)

Useful Information

Shopping Located at Adelsgatan
Shopping Opening Hours Open from Monday to Friday between 1000-1800 and on Saturday between 1000-1400. Some shops are open between 1000-1400
Post Office Located at Skeppsbron 4-6. Open for the purchase of stamps, from Monday to Friday between 0800-1700 and on Saturday between 1000-1600. If wishing to send a parcel, this service is available at Skarphällsgatan approx 1½miles from the pier
Tourist Office Located at Skeppsbron 4-6. Open seven days a week between 0800-2000
How to Phone Home To phone the UK dial 00 44 followed by the STD number, omitting the first zero
Emergency Services Dial 112
Banks Handelsbanken located at Kung Magnus väg 6. Open from Monday to Friday between 1000-1600. Closed at weekends

Excursions

Enjoy a scenic rural drive through the countryside of Gotland. Leaving the pier, pass the old Hanseatic harbour at Almedalen, where you can see the oldest remaining structure in Visby, the old Powder Tower, built in the 12th century. Fine views of the city can also be seen from here. Continue to Galgberget, a high limestone cliff with beautiful views of the ocean and the medieval town. At the top of the cliff you can see three stone pillars in a circle: these are the remains of a gallows, where in earlier times criminals were executed. From here your coach takes you through farming country to the south and east of Visby, stopping along the way to visit one of Gotland's numerous well-preserved medieval churches. A further stop will be made at a Bronze Age burial site known as a 'Skeppssättning'. Dating from around 600 BC, these graves consist of stones standing on their edges, laid out in the shape of a ship. This stone ship was intended to carry the departed Chieftain on his voyage to eternity. You next make a short stop at Gnisvärd, a picturesque old fishing village dating back to the 1700s, before returning to Visby. Here you may remain on the coach or join your guide for a short walking tour of the old walled city, before returning to the pier.

You should expect to walk around 400 yards, with some uneven ground and occasional steps. If you wish to join the guide for the optional walk inside the walls of Visby, you will need to walk a further 500 yards, and we would consider the excursion to be Moderate rather than Easy. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. See a Bronze Age 'Skeppssättning' burial site

Your walk starts in Almedalen, the site of the former Hanseatic habour: a verdant, peaceful oasis in the centre of Visby. Here you enjoy a pleasant stroll along Standgatan, lined with beautiful medieval granaries, passing the Kruttornet or Powder Tower, the oldest building in Visby, and finally coming to the lovely Botanical Gardens with their exotic plants, rich bird-life, stunning roses and magnolias. After stopping at the gardens, visit the impressive St Mary's Cathedral in Visby itself and walk along the city's picturesque cobbled streets. Following this, continue to the Gotland Museum, erected in 1776 by Royal Command to house the Royal Distillery. The museum incorporates a four-storey warehouse, of which the lower floors have remained virtually intact since the building was first constructed. The original merchant's shop is still standing. Once it was filled with wafting smells of food and drink, furs and leather, exciting perfumes and exotic spices from faraway lands. Among the wares found here in times gone by were beautiful glass goblets from Venice, patterned silk cloth from Italy and deep red woollen fabrics from Flanders. After visiting this fascinating museum with your guide, walk back to your ship.

This walking tour covers a distance of approximately one mile over mainly level ground, but with some cobblestones and a few flights of stairs at the museum. St Mary's Cathedral in Visby

Gotland is an island of contrasts, and Visby, its capital, is a medieval town still encircled by fortifications over two miles in circumference. From your ship the coach takes you alongside the old harbour, Almedalen, into the countryside, where you stop to visit one of Gotland's numerous medieval churches. Afterwards you head to the south-west and drive along the lovely Eksta coastline. After a short stop in the fishing village of Kronvalls, continue to Gannarve, where you can see ancient graves marked with stones from the Iron Age. Spend some free time here before re-joining your coach for a scenic journey through the countryside to a local restaurant, where you enjoy a light lunch before heading back towards Visby. Stop along the way at Galgberget, a high limestone cliff with beautiful views of the ocean and the medieval town. At the end of the cliff you can see three stone pillars standing in a circle : these are the remains of a gallows where criminals were formerly executed, and are unique in northern Europe. Pause here to enjoy the panoramic views across the sea before returning to the pier.

Expect to walk around 600 yards altogether, with a few steps at the medieval church. Comfortable shoes and layered clothing are recommended: there is a risk of sudden showers. Views will depend on the weather. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Enjoy wonderful coastal views

From the pier, travel south by coach, stopping along the way to visit one of the 92 medieval churches still in use on the island. Their history can be seen today both in their architecture and in their internal decoration. From the church, continue to Stafva Farm. The farm has been in the Corswant family for five generations and is one of the largest on the island. With meat and milk production and its own dairy, you can taste some of their fantastic locally-produced cheese. Continue afterwards to Dalhem and the Gotland Railway Museum, where you leave your coach for a ride on a vintage narrow-gauge train. The old carriages take you through quiet pastoral scenery, passing through Tule and ending at Roma station. After the train ride, re-join your coach for the return journey to Visby, passing through coastal, agricultural and wooded landscapes. Back in Visby, before returning to your ship, enjoy a short walking tour to see the highlights of this medieval town. Walk through Dalmans Gate to the Cathedral of Santa Maria, built by German merchants in the late 11th century. Continue on foot through the main square to Almedalen, the old medieval harbour, where your coach will be waiting to take you back to your ship.

You should expect to walk around half-a-mile: the walking tour of Visby includes cobbled streets with occasional steps. For this reason, we have graded this excursion as Moderate. The railway carriages are old-fashioned and are accessed by two or three steps. Station platforms are low and there may be a wide gap between the platform edge and the carriage door. Trains are normally hauled by a heritage diesel locomotive. Finish your tour with a walk around historic Visby

Karlskrona

 Land by launch or tender.

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

Karlskrona is sprawled across 30 small islands linked together by bridges and canals. Famous for its baroque architecture, unique in Sweden, Karlskrona is the country’s only naval base. Perhaps take an excursion to the Naval Museum to learn more about the city’s military history and even step aboard a submarine.

Situated in Southern Sweden on the breathtaking Baltic Coast, Karlskrona is built across 33 islands linked by a series of bridges. The port was founded by King Karl XI in 1680 and has been Sweden’s main naval base ever since, building ships and producing rope for the industry. It is also a breathtaking example of a Renaissance town, boasting many noteworthy buildings in this style of architecture. Proud of its important naval heritage and beautiful buildings, the city was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998.

FactFile

Population 32,606 (approximate)
Language Swedish
Currency Swedish Krona
Time Difference UK+2
Climate Cool and temperate with frequent rain. There is an average of nine hours' sunshine daily from May to July.
Ship berths at At anchor
Distance from Centre The tender pier is about 200 yards from the centre.
Distance from gangway to coach 25 yards (approximate)

Useful Information

Shopping The best shops are on Borgmästaregatan and Storgatan.
Shopping Opening Hours Shops are open from Monday to Friday from 1000-1800 and Saturday from 1000-1400. Some are open from 1000-1400 on Sundays.
Post Office The Post Office is at 13 Borgmästaregatan. Opening hours are from Monday to Friday 1000-1800, Saturday 1000-1600. Closed on Sundays.
Tourist Office Located at 2 Stortorget and open daily from 0900-2000.
How to Phone Home To dial the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 112.
Banks Swedbank at 13 Borgmästaregatan is open 1000-1800 from Monday to Friday. 24-hour ATMs are available.

Excursions

Karlskrona, the capital of the province of Blekinge, is an important naval port with a strong maritime tradition. This tour allows you to enjoy a guided walk through this beautiful World Heritage city. Your walk starts at Kungsbron, which literally means 'The King's Bridge' as it was the elegant approach to Karlskrona where royalty would come ashore. From here you head to the Admiralty Church, which dates from 1685 and is the largest wooden church in Sweden. In front of the church is the carved wooden figure of Old Rosenbom, a character in Selma Lagerlöf´s book 'The wonderful Adventures of Nils', a morality tale published in 1936 that is arguably the best-known Swedish novel of all time. Take a quick look inside the church before walking to the wide main square, Stortorget, in the historic city centre. This square is surrounded by beautiful buildings, and you pause in a local café for refreshments before continuing on foot to Björkholmen. Admire the traditional 18th-century cottages here, which were once home to the original craftsmen who came to work in the shipyards. As your tour draws to a conclusion, you will walk past Blekinge Museum, dedicated to the preservation of local culture, and the famous Fisketorget fish market, before returning to your ship.

Participants will need to walk approximately two miles, partly over cobbled streets, with occasional steps. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. Access to the church interior may be restricted in the unlikely event of our visit clashing with a religious service. The Admiralty Church in Karlskrona

Karlskrona is a living history book, and your tour of this fascinating town starts with a drive up to Bryggareberget viewpoint, where you will have a great view of the city, including the Island of Stumholmen, the Aurora Bastion and the Governor's Residence. A short drive from here brings you to Stortorget, the main square, surrounded by the neo-Classical Town Hall, the Baroque Frederiks Church and the circular Trinity Church, built for the area’s German community. After a short photo-stop here, continue to the nearby Admiralty Church, built in 1685, which is the largest timber church in Sweden. In front stands the legendary figure of Old Rosenbom, his outstretched arm begging for alms. From here, your coach takes you through the district of Björkholmen, with its picturesque little 17th-century workmen’s houses, to the old naval shipyard, where Sweden's navy was once built and maintained, and more than 400 sailing ships were launched. On a short walk, you can admire the interesting 17th-century buildings as well as Polhem Dock, one of the world’s oldest dry docks. Visit the ropewalk, where you can and witness the various stages of rope making, which was an essential part of ship construction during the era of sail. Your final visit is to Karlskrona's impressive Maritime Museum, the pride of Karlskrona, which houses a variety of fascinating exhibits about the history of the Swedish Navy. Visit the model chamber, admire the 18th-century ships' figureheads and visit a submarine from the Cold War, as you explore centuries of Sweden's maritime past.

Expect to walk about ¾-mile altogether, over level ground but with a few cobblestones. Further walking at photo-stops is entirely at your discretion. Stortorget Square with the statue of King Karl XI

With its historic dockyard and fascinating 17th- and 18th-century buildings, Karlskrona has many attractions to offer, and one of the finest is Kungsholm Fortress. Since it was founded in 1680, this fort has guarded the sea approach to Karlskrona and forms part of the World Heritage Site. The fortress can only be reached by boat and is still in military use. It has a unique circular harbour and has a small museum. There is also a small Botanical Garden which contains exotic plants and trees from all over the world, brought here on naval expeditions in years gone by. Your guided tour starts with a delightful boat ride through the archipelago before reaching the fortress, where you visit the museum and listen to the guide telling you of its exciting history. Afterwards, you can explore some of the interesting structures that form part of the fortress, such as the keep, the North Redoubt and the main powder magazine. After touring the fortress, take the boat back to Karlskrona and visit the impressive Maritime Museum, the pride of the city. Here you can see all kinds of intriguing exhibits about the history of the Swedish Navy, including historical recreations with wax figures in period uniforms. See models of historic ships and a unique collection of late 18th-century figureheads, and come right up-to-date with a visit to the Submarine Hall, where you can see a submarine from the Cold War period, and discover how these mysterious vessels have evolved over the past 110 years.

Expect to walk about one mile altogether, with some cobblestones, uneven surfaces and about 50 steps. Some dexterity is required when getting on and off the boat. Sweden's history comes to life in the Maritime Museum

This scenic tour starts with a short panoramic drive around Karlskrona, viewing the most important sights of this naval city. You then drive on to idyllic Brändaholm, situated on the secluded Island of Dragsö, a popular recreation area for the residents of Karlskrona. Here you can see typical Swedish allotment cottages with beautiful adjoining gardens, which were created in the 1920s. Your guide will take you for a short walk around the gardens. Leaving Brändaholm, drive through the country to the picturesque little village of Kristianopel, founded in the 1600s and surrounded by the sea. This village has maintained its historic appearance, with its defensive walls, old houses and narrow streets together with restaurants, cafés and a picturesque harbour area. Your guide will take you on a walk around the village, and there will be a little free time to explore on your own. On your way back to Karlskrona, you will pass fields of lavender and asparagus, and also enjoy lovely views of the sea. If you are lucky, you may even see some seals. Back in Karlskrona, visit the impressive Naval Museum, which houses a variety of fascinating exhibits about the history of the Swedish Navy. See a magnificent collection of late 18th-century ships' figureheads, and visit the submarine hall, where you can see a submarine from the Cold War, which until recently was top secret! From the museum, your coach takes you back to the ship.

Expect to walk just under one mile, over generally level ground. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and you should be prepared for changeable weather. The village church in pretty Kristianopel

Kiel

Arrive 1000. Depart 1700.

Kiel is dominated by its grand harbour. Take a stroll along the waterfront promenade, perhaps pausing in a cafe to enjoy views of ships of all types and sizes. Being the eastern entry point of the Kiel Canal, the 60-mile waterway that links the North Sea to the Baltic, there’ll be plenty of ship traffic to observe.

Situated in northern Germany beside the Baltic Sea, the old port of Kiel has been the country’s main naval base since the 1860s and is the centre for German ship builders and the eastern terminus of the Kiel Canal. Established as part of the Hanseatic League in 1284, it was heavily bombed during World War II and has subsequently largely been rebuilt. However, some historic buildings survive, including Nikolai Church, which dates back to 1242. The port is known as the ‘City of Fresh Air’ and is famous for one of the biggest sailing festivals in the world, the Kieler Woche, held in June. Involving the whole city and attracting over three million visitors annually, this great sailing event includes not only races and sailing spectacles but visiting ships, too, including naval craft together with schooners, brigs and many other kinds of craft.

FactFile

Population 236,900 (approximate)
Language German
Currency Euro
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Mild, wet winters and warm summers, with temperatures between 18-25°C.
Ship berths at Ostseekai
Distance from Centre Approximately 600 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Coaches can pull up alongside the cruise terminal.

Useful Information

Shopping Holstenstrasse is the main shopping street.
Shopping Opening Hours Typically open Monday to Friday from 0900 to 1800, Saturday 0900 to 1600. Closed on Sundays.
Post Office The Post Office is at 23, Brunswiker Strasse, and is open on weekdays from 0900-1400 and 1500-1800. Closed Saturday afternoons and Sundays.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is at 31, Andreas-Gayk-Strasse.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Police: 110. Fire and ambulance: 112.
Banks Most main banks have branches in and around the city centre. 24-hour ATMs are widespread.

Excursions

Meet your guide by the ship and enjoy a walking tour of this city that is dominated by water. As you stroll along the attractive waterfront with your guide, see and breathe the maritime influence everywhere you go, viewing the main sights of Kiel and hearing some of the interesting stories behind the past and present of this maritime town. Severely damaged during World War II, a brand-new city has arisen from the ashes, and over the past few decades parts of the centre, around Alter Markt and the historic Eggerstedstasse, have been further enhanced by pedetrianisation, sensitive renovation and the reconstruction of some historic buildings, helping the Old Town district regain its former flair and laid-back character. View the Town Hall, built between 1907 and 1911 and designed by Hermann Billing, and the 13th-century Nikolai Church, in the heart of the Old Town, before heading to the brewery in Alter Markt. The Kieler Brauerei maintains a 750-year-old tradition of brewing in the city, producing naturally fermented beer from malt, hops, yeast and water. On a tour of the brewery you can learn about the different stages in the brewing process and view the vats of fermenting beer from behind a glass screen. Your visit concludes with a beer and a pretzel. Suitably refreshed, walk back through the streets of Kiel to your ship.

All sightseeing is on foot, and you will be walking and standing for about three hours, most of which will be out-of-doors. You should expect to cover over one mile, with about 20 steps at the brewery. We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes and layered clothing. Please be prepared for changeable weather. There is usually a charge of about €0.50 to €0.70 for the use of public conveniences. Kiel's magnificent Town Hall

Start with a drive through Schleswig-Holstein to reach Plön with its historic hilltop castle, which overlooks a lake. Here you leave your coach and board a boat for a delightful trip across five interconnecting lakes to reach Malente. These waterways are a popular tourist attraction thanks to their crystal clear waters, the medieval villages that line their shores and the dense forests that surround them. Disembarking in Malente, visit the seven-acre Ingenhof vineyard, the only one in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. During a two-hour tour of the vineyard and wine cellar, discover interesting facts about wine production at this unusually northerly location. After seeing how the grapes are cultivated, you have the opportunity to taste the wine, together with some farmhouse bread. Leaving Ingenhof, continue to Eutin, a town of around 17,000 inhabitants that is nicknamed the City of Roses. Stop here to explore the gardens of Eutin Castle, one of the most historic buildings in Schleswig-Holstein. Now a mixture of styles, it was originally a medieval fortress, but over the centuries was converted to a comfortable stately home by the Dukes of Oldenburg. From Eutin, you return by coach to Kiel.

Expect to walk up to one mile, with some uneven ground at the vineyard. You will be on your feet for up to 3½ hours altogether. There are a few steps into the boat, and a flight of 20 steps, with a handrail, on the quayside at Malente. All participants must be able to embark and disembark the boat unaided. Boats vary in size and layout, but most have inside and outside seating; if you choose to sit inside, a window seat cannot be guaranteed. The guide's commentary may be harder to hear if you sit outside. We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes and layered clothing. Please be prepared for changeable weather. Eutin Castle

Experience the thrill of sailing on board the 164-foot Dutch square-rigged tall ship Mercedes. After a short coach transfer from Saga Sapphire, the friendly crew will welcome you on board, and, after a safety briefing, you can sit back and enjoy your mini-cruise. You may even choose to help sail the vessel should you so wish. Stepping aboard the immaculate Mercedes, which today provides unashamed luxury with her comfortable lounge and bar, will enable you to enjoy first-hand the unique atmosphere of a bygone age of travel. Although she is among the youngest of today’s fleet of tall ships, her timeless design with its wealth of mahogany and teak, black leather seats and polished brass, will take you back in time to the classic sailing ships of long ago. Please feel free to ask the crew and captain about the ship and the places that you see along the way. The Firth and the Bay of Kiel are ideal sailing areas with a long history of yacht and boat racing, and you will pass the city, shipyards, the entrance of the Kiel Channel and the village of Laboe as you sail on the open water up to Kiel Lighthouse.

To avoid disappointment we recommend that you pre-book this excursion, as places are limited. This is an exclusive charter for Saga passengers only. The time spent on board the Mercedes is three hours. Soft drinks and snacks are included on board, in addition to a selection of alcoholic drinks. We regret that this excursion is not suitable for those confined to wheelchairs or with walking limitations. Although little actual walking is involved, all participants must be able to board and disembark without assistance. There are three steps to board the ship, and the wc facilities are below deck, reached by a flight of ten steps. We reserve the right to change the departure time should conditions make this necessary. Tall Ship Mercedes

Leaving the ship, your coach takes you out to the eastern shore of the Kiel Fjord, where you visit the famous Navy Memorial in the town of Laboe. Consisting of a 236-foot tower with an observation deck, this impressive structure was originally designed as a memorial to German sailors who died during World War I, but since 1954 has been dedicated to the sailors of all nationalities. Learn about the history of the German navy, see the exhibition in the Memorial Hall and enjoy the view from the observation deck. Below the memorial is a preserved World War II U-boat, the U995. You have time to look inside and see the cramped crew quarters, before returning by coach to Kiel, where your coach takes you on a panoramic city tour. Capital of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel is intricately linked with the Baltic Sea, which reaches right into the heart of the city. View the vast town hall, with its 347-foot Venetian-style campanile. Built between 1907 and 1911 by architect Hermann Billing, it is noted for its carillon of bells that chime every quarter of an hour. Before returning to the ship, you also see the famous Kiel Canal, which links the North Sea with the Baltic and was opened in 1895.

You should expect to walk around 500 yards from the coach to the memorial and the same distance back again, partly over uneven ground. A further 200 yards’ walking is required to visit the Memorial and U-boat. There are approximately 25 steps to be climbed at the submarine, but there is a lift to the observation deck of the Memorial. You may walk up a further flight of 45 steps if you wish to see the views from a higher platform. All sightseeing in Kiel is from the coach. There is usually a charge of around €0.50 - €0.70 for public conveniences. The German Naval Memorial

Spend the day at sea.

Dover

Arrive 0800.

Disembark Saga Pearl II after breakfast.

Known as the gateway of England, Dover welcomes millions of visitors from all over the globe each year in its role as the ferry capital of the world and the second busiest cruise port in the UK. The White Cliffs Country has a rich heritage. Within the walls of the town’s iconic castle, over 2,000 years of history waits to be explored, whilst the town’s museum is home to the Dover Bronze Age Boat, the world’s oldest known seagoing vessel. The town’s cliffs that are a welcome sight for today's cross-channel travellers also served as the control centre for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

FactFile

Population 40,000
Language English
Currency British Pounds Sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Temperate with mild summers and cool winters, with a prevailing south-westerly wind throughout the year.
Ship berths at Dover Cruise Terminal.
Distance from Centre 1 mile
Distance from gangway to coach 400 yards, through the cruise terminal.

Useful Information

Shopping The main shops are found on Cannon Street and Biggin Street.
Shopping Opening Hours 0900 to 1730 Monday to Saturday. A few shops are open on Sundays.
Post Office The main Post Office is located inside the Costcutter store on Pencester Road.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located inside the Town Museum on Market Square.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber's number.
Emergency Services Dial 999.
Banks Banks and ATMs are located on Cannon Street.

Please note

⚓ Land by launch or tender. All excursions mentioned during the cruise are optional, at an additional cost, and are subject to availability and change. Some of the highlights detailed may only be seen on optional excursions or by exploring independently.


Read reviews
Ask a traveller