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As cruising has become more common along the shorelines of the nine nations that border the Baltic Sea, passengers are crossing various iconic attractions -- such as Stockholm's Gamla stan, Helsinki's Church in the Rock, Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens and St. Petersburg's esteemed Hermitage
There's always been an enchantment to the countries of the Northern Baltic Sea -- from Russia's decadent royal past to Estonia's quirky present and Copenhagen's inspiring future, the desire to cruise the Baltic Sea has never been higher. Now, thanks to a more comfortable political climate, a
St. Petersburg is like no other cruise port. Ships typically stop there for two, even three days, with options for lengthy day tours (including side trips to Moscow) and evening excursions. The complicated visa process, safety concerns, travel distances and the need to maximize time ashore means that nearly everyone who ventures off the ship does so on a group or private tour. While your cruise line will likely offer a smorgasbord of tour options, from half-day tours to three-day packages, St. Petersburg is one place where you might be better off booking a tour independently of the ship. On a three-day visit aboard Seabourn Ovation, we booked an independent group tour with well-regarded company TJ Travel; here's what we learned that will help you make your Russia travel plans.
The King Crab Safari (as it is called) is an excursion offered by Hurtigruten in Kirkenes, in the far north of Norway, during the winter months. It is organized by the Snow Hotel, which is around 20 minutes' drive from where your ship docks. The excursion takes place on a frozen fjord a short drive from the hotel. It costs 1,890NOK (about $240USD/£162) booked through Hurtigruten.
In the frigid, remote lands above the Arctic Circle, adventurous cruisers will find not only spectacular landscapes -- deep fjords choked with ice, rugged snowy peaks, the sun shining throughout long summer nights -- but also Arctic animals, some of the world's most unique wildlife. The extreme