Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the top river cruise lines in the world, Vantage Deluxe World Travel offers a remarkable comprehensive small ship ocean cruise of Northern Europe. This experience begins in London and ends in Stockholm, revealing the unique cultures and rich history of 12 nations along the way! And while tendering will be required in some locations, the small size of our ship will allow for berthing in many port cities — meaning you’ll be able to walk right off the ship when we dock and spend more time in your destination!
Dive into the heart of each destination with 51 included features and Cultural Discoveries offered on this journey. You’ll visit iconic places — Normandy’s D-Day beaches, Amsterdam, Bruges, and innovative Oslo — as well as smaller ports that only small ships like ours can reach, like the medieval port of Visby and charming Rønne, gateway to the seldom-visited “Gourmet Island” of Bornholm.
This itinerary is a combination of: Ports of Timeless Wonder: London, Normandy and Scandinavian Gems and Jewels of Scandinavia, Baltic Capitals & St. Petersburg.
Fly to London
Your European voyage is underway — today you’ll fly overnight to London, England.
Please note: If you're taking advantage of the pre-trip extension to Dublin, you will follow the pre-trip itinerary until Day 2, then you will join your fellow base travelers for the rest of the journey. All activities and inclusions will be covered; please see the pre-trip extension itinerary for details.
Land in London
Land this morning in London. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located and elegant hotel. Enjoy the balance of the day free until this evening’s Welcome Briefing and Dinner at the hotel.
London’s landmarks and UNESCO Sites
Today’s half-day guided city tour by coach and by foot includes some of London’s most notable landmarks — Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and more. You’ll also be delighted by a visit to the British Museum. Lunch and dinner are on your own — perhaps you'll do as the locals do and head to the nearby pub!
Tour inside Windsor Castle, embark the Ocean Odyssey
From the bustling heart of London you’ll transfer to Poole to board the Ocean Odyssey. Along the way, embark on a guided tour of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Today, Queen Elizabeth II spends most of her private weekends at the castle, which has housed 39 monarchs since its founding by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Enjoy free time and lunch on your own in Windsor.
After embarking the Ocean Odyssey later this afternoon, take some time to explore its amenities, including the onboard boutique, spa and gym. Stop by the Destination Manager desk to perhaps even reserve a spa appointment. And that’s not all — the size of our ship will allow us to berth in many port cities, giving you unparalleled access to your destinations (please keep in mind that tendering will be required in some ports). Later, join the Captain and crew for an onboard Welcome Briefing, followed by the Captain's Welcome Dinner.
Enjoy your choice of tours in France: D-Day history or "Taste of Normandy"
Today the Ocean Odyssey arrives in the port of Le Havre, where you’ll have your choice of tours, depending on your interests.
If you’re a history lover, embark on a full-day tour of Normandy’s beaches where Allied troops landed on D-Day — June 6, 1944. We’ll drive to the coastal village of Colleville-sur-Mer and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, burial site of nearly 10,000 soldiers, for an exclusive wreath-laying ceremony in remembrance of American lives lost. You’ll have a little bit of free time to explore; then, enjoy le goûter, a traditional French snack time, in a local restaurant. Next, we’ll visit the coastal promontory of Pointe du Hoc, site of a German battery that was destroyed by U.S. Rangers who scaled the sea cliff in a daring attack. Finally, we’ll continue to Omaha Beach, where U.S. Army infantry prevailed in the face of fierce resistance.
Alternatively, you might elect to join our half-day "Taste of Normandy" tour. We’ll drive out to the Fécamp Benedictine monastery to see how the famous Benedictine liqueur, with its traditional blend of 27 spices and herbs, is produced. A scenic drive will next bring us to Étretat, an iconic site on France’s Normandy coastline, for a photo stop and light exploring. Afterward, we’ll transfer back to the ship where a late lunch onboard awaits us.
Dinner is on the ship tonight, and we’ll welcome a scintillating jazz duo onboard for evening entertainment.
Discover Honfleur — and its oysters — on a guided walking tour
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to Honfleur and embark on a guided walking tour of this picturesque town — birthplace of the early Impressionist painter Eugene Boudin and a favorite of Monet, Courbet, and other artists, who maintained studios near the harbor. Here, you’ll also be treated to a delightful tasting session of Normandy’s famous oysters. (We’ll also have local cheeses for those who prefer it.) We’ll return to the ship for a late lunch onboard and an afternoon at leisure as the ship sets sail toward Belgium. Take in a lecture this afternoon before dinner.
Your choice of tours: Explore enchanting Bruges or Ghent
Today, choose between two unforgettable experiences in two of Belgium’s most endearing cities.
Set off for Bruges on an excursion to one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A walking tour takes you to Begijnhof area and the historic center, where you’ll see highlights such as the Church of Our Lady and Grote Markt. You’ll also get a chance to taste some of the city’s famous waffles along the way. We’ll also provide you with local currency to enjoy lunch before we return to the ship.
Calling all beer lovers! Our next option whisks you to lively Ghent for a guided walking tour that includes a tasting of one of the local brews. Ghent is a vibrant college town, and you’re sure to fall in love with the canal-side medieval and classical architecture!
Back on the ship this afternoon, we’ll gather for a chocolate making demonstration and tasting.
Cruise Amsterdam's UNESCO-listed Canal Ring
This morning, you’ll discover historic homes and Amsterdam’s timeless, fairytale beauty as you embark on a scenic canal cruise along the city’s 17th-century canal ring, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. After, work up an appetite with an exclusive cooking workshop at De Kookfabriek. Here, you’ll learn how to whip up your own lunch of Dutch specialties.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore on your own and return to ship with our shuttle service. Later, an onboard lecture precedes your dinner on the ship.
Spend a day at sea as we head to Norway
Enjoy a day at sea to unwind and take advantage of the ship’s facilities. By this time, you’ve likely familiarized yourself with the onboard Destination Manager, who can help make spa appointments or plan activities on land. Head to the spa for a soothing treatment, get in a workout at the fitness center, or take in some sightseeing from the sun deck. You can also soak in the hot tub, check out a book from the library to read in the multistory lounge, and enjoy curated lectures we’ll be providing throughout your journey.
Explore Kristiansand, and take in a private organ concert
After breakfast onboard, we’ll explore Kristiansand, known as “Norway’s Floral Town,” on a leisurely-guided walking tour. During your walk, visit Posebyen, one of Northern Europe’s largest collections of charming, old, white wooden houses. Later, you'll have the pleasure of attending a private organ concert at the Gothic-style Kristiansand Cathedral, built in 1884.
After lunch, enjoy a lovely afternoon at leisure onboard or explore more of Kristiansand. Perhaps you’ll visit the lively Fiskebrygga Harbor with its stunning canal scenery — a favorite among the locals, especially on a sunny day.
Before dinner tonight, hear another lecture.
Fall for innovative Oslo on a city tour
Today is reserved for exploring one of Europe’s most eco-friendly and innovative cities — Oslo. You'll have the chance to truly immerse in local life, beginning with a panoramic tour that includes the stunning Oslo Opera House, where you can see its famed, sloped roof that visitors can walk along. Next is Aker Brygge along the water, the Nobel Peace Center, and Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle dating back to 1300 AD. You’ll then visit Vigeland Sculpture Park, with more than 200 works of art depicting humans in many unusual forms. You'll conclude your tour with a walk through the historical center of Oslo, called Kvadraturen, and a visit to Oslo City Hall, where they hold the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
Lunch is back on board. After, indulge in an afternoon at leisure in Oslo. Perhaps you'll discover Oslo on foot or explore Bygdøy and visit one of the many interesting museums, such as the Viking Ship Museum or Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. You may also ask your onboard Destination Manager to book a boat tour so you can explore the diverse and unique islands and colorful houses of the Oslo Fjord, discovering charming landscapes and amazing city views.
Enjoy a day of sailing toward Sweden
Enjoy another day at sea as the Ocean Odyssey makes its way toward Sweden. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy another enriching lecture.
We arrive in Gothenburg later this afternoon. Tonight, more local entertainers join us onboard the ship after dinner.
Explore the Swedish city of Gothenburg
Dive into Swedish tradition and fun with a morning city tour of Gothenburg. Your experience will include a visit to the popular indoor fish market, Feskekôrka, as well as the main indoor market called Store Saluhall. You'll have the opportunity to try some savory and sweet samples at some of the stalls in the markets.
In addition to the market visit, you'll enjoy a guided sightseeing tour that takes you on a combined motorcoach and walking tour. Begin with a panoramic tour through some distinct neighborhoods, then past major attractions such as Maritiman, Gothenburg Opera, Feskekôrka, Liseberg Amusement Park, and many more. We'll take a closer look at the neighborhoods of Haga, full of wooden homes, and Vasastan, boasting neo-renaissance stone houses, on the walking portion.
In the afternoon after lunch back on the ship, you'll have a choice of two tours — either a visit to the massive vehicle collection housed at the Volvo Museum or the Botanical Garden, full of more than 16,000 species of local and exotic plants.
A delicious dinner will be offered in the evening on board the Ocean Odyssey.
Explore Copenhagen, Denmark’s cozy capital
This morning after breakfast, your ship will sail into Denmark’s modern and eye-catching capital, Copenhagen. Depart by coach for a panoramic city tour that will bring you to site such as the famous Little Mermaid Statue where you can stop to snap some photos, Rosenburg Castle—a 17th-century fortress flanked by quaint courtyards and picturesque landscaping, Tivoli Gardens, and more. Your tour will conclude at the canal where you’ll enjoy a private boat ride that allows you to take in the sights of the city from the water, before witnessing the Changing of the Guards at Amalienborg Palace.
After your tour you’ll head to Torvehallerne Market, a sleek, glass-paned market of the city’s center where locals sell fresh produce, fish, meat, cheese, and more. You’ll take part in a sampling of local products here before enjoying free time for lunch, with lunch money provided.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure aboard your ship. Dinner is onboard tonight.
Cliff-top castles and Danish gastronomy of Bornholm
This morning you'll explore Bornholm Island, where the open fields and granite headlands get more days of sunshine than anywhere else in Denmark, drawing summer tourists to the sandy beaches. On your island tour, you’ll stop for photos at the dramatic cliff-top ruins of Hammershus, a medieval castle. Stop in the quaint fishing village of Svaneke, one of the best-preserved market towns on the island.
During your visit, you'll sample firsthand the island’s burgeoning reputation as a food destination. Not only is its climate ideal for growing a common fig known as the Bornholm Diamond, but the island also embraces the products grown on its many farms. You'll stop for tastings at the Garden, a food and cultural house that showcases Bornholm’s exciting flavors before returning to the ship for lunch.
Relax this evening with a lecture on the region, then savor dinner and attend a port talk to learn about tomorrow’s explorations.
The Solidarity Route through historic Gdańsk, Poland
The Ocean Odyssey arrives to Gdańsk this morning. Gdańsk was a powerful member of the Hanseatic League, the maritime organization that controlled much of medieval trade in the area. Today, the legacy of its prosperity has been lovingly restored. On a morning tour, set out to explore this great maritime city whose great shipyards served as the incubator for the legendary Solidarity movement of 1980, the first crack in what would ultimately be the crumbling of the entire Soviet Union. You’ll follow the Solidarity Route through this historic seaport, including the charming Old Town and massive St. Mary’s Church, one of the largest brick churches in the world. A visit to the European Solidarity Centre reveals the Solidarity story in impressive detail; you will follow an English-language audio tour through the captivating exhibits.
Return to the ship for lunch, then utilize the shuttle service from the ship back to Gdańsk's Old Town. Stroll down Long Street, also known as the Royal Route for the kingly processions it once hosted, to witness reconstructions of its beautiful 17th-century buildings.
Learn about the liberation of Poland during a captivating lecture, then enjoy another gourmet dinner and a port talk about your next remarkable city.
The Hanseatic gem of Visby, Sweden
Enjoy breakfast this morning as the ship arrives in Visby. This charming seaside treasure is located on the large Swedish island of Gotland. Rightfully declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the extraordinary preservation of its medieval port area, Visby was a key link in the powerful Hanseatic League. Enjoy a "Highlights of Visby" - morning panoramic and walking tour of Visby, including panoramic tour, with a stop by the town wall and a walking tour of Visby Old Town (Almedalen, Powder Tower , Fish Alley and Visby Cathedral). Then return to the ship for lunch.
Leisure time in the afternoon allows you more time to return to favorite spots on your own; perhaps you will duck into the cathedral to admire its lovely stained glass and ornate altarpiece. Or, enjoy the ship's amenities — maybe you'll reserve a massage, hit the gym, or even pick up some items in the boutique. Before dinner, hear another fascinating lecture, followed by a port talk on tomorrow's adventures.
Savor dinner this evening as you cruise to your next destination, cosmopolitan Riga, the Russian-flavored capital of Latvia.
Enjoy the cobbled streets of Riga with an included organ concert and a special dinner
When you awake this morning, you’ll be sailing in the Gulf of Riga, headed for the Latvian capital of the same name. After lunch on board, set out into the largest city of the Baltic States for a rewarding tour by coach and by foot. Begin on the eastern bank of the Daugava River, where Vecrīga, or Old Riga, is punctuated by the three spires of St. Peter’s, the Dome Cathedral, and St. Jacob’s. These streets are dripping with charm and beauty, much of it embodied in graceful Art Nouveau architecture. After exploring, pause at St. John’s Church for an included concert on the church’s splendid organ that’s sure to inspire you.
Head to a celebrated local restaurant for a special dinner where you'll get a taste of traditional Latvian food and watch a festive performance of traditional Rigan organ music and dancing.
You will overnight on board in Riga. Take some time to attend this evening’s port talk to learn how you may further explore this charming city tomorrow.
Riga at leisure
Today is free for you to explore as you please, and you can take advantage of complimentary shuttle service between the ship and Riga’s Old Town for your convenience. You may also check with our Destination Manager to plan a unique and exciting excursion. Perhaps you’d like to visit one of the beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Riga or explore the atmospheric Vecrīga. After, participate in an insightful lecture on the Singing Revolution of the Baltic states. Our port talk previews our next exciting destination before another delicious dinner on board as the ship begins its overnight sail to Estonia.
Medieval splendors in Tallinn
Tallinn, one of the Hanseatic League’s trading centers, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its remarkable preservation. After breakfast, attend a lecture that will offer some insight into your explorations of Tallinn today.
After an early lunch on board, embark on a panoramic tour of the city. The two-level Tallinn has an enchantment all its own, which you’ll discover from the winding streets of the Lower Town to the fortified Upper Town on Toompea Hill, where you can take in the amazing view from the Patkuli viewing platform. You’ll also see the Dome Church and the Opera House before heading to the Song Festival Grounds to see the spot where locals raised their singing voices in protest to eject the Soviets in a “Singing Revolution.”
Tallinn boasts a thriving high-tech economy, too, which has earned it a reputation as Europe’s Silicon Valley. The young, entrepreneurial population supports a lively cultural and dining scene.
Back on board this evening, enjoy another sumptuous dinner as we sail toward Russia.
Glittering St. Petersburg and Peterhof
Enjoy breakfast this morning as the ship arrives to St. Petersburg. Peter the Great broke ground for his gilded capital city in 1703, intending to emulate and surpass the best of Western Europe. He came close to succeeding, because no matter how often you’ve been, you simply cannot get enough of this magnificent city.
Today’s full day of exploring takes you first on a panoramic tour to see the palaces, canals, and churches in the heart of the city. Then, following lunch in a local restaurant, you'll travel to Peterhof, the spectacular “Russian Versailles” that Peter designed and built on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. The gardens and Grand Cascade of fountains are a marvel in themselves.
After tonight's sumptuous dinner on the ship, Russian entertainers join you on board for a lively performance that showcases a rich and colorful tradition of music and dance. You'll overnight in St. Petersburg, hearing about tomorrow’s discoveries during a port talk.
The magnificent art of the Hermitage
This morning, enjoy an early “pre-rush” visit to what is widely considered the world’s most comprehensive collection of Western European art. The amazing State Hermitage Museum was started by Catherine the Great, expanded under subsequent tsars, then grew exponentially as the Soviets seized scores of private collections. You’ll arrive early so you can immerse yourself in the masterpieces in a more relaxed setting. Admire the cream of the collection as you wind through the spectacular exhibition halls of the gilded Winter Palace.
After a lunch of local specialties at a nearby restaurant, tour the magnificent St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Completed in 1858 as a Russian Orthodox church, today the cathedral operates as a fascinating museum.
The ship departs for Helsinki later this afternoon. Enjoy another lecture in the lounge; Then, a port talk will fill you in on all that awaits in Finland.
Helsinki’s grand squares and sacred Cathedral
This morning the ship arrives to Helsinki as you're enjoying a breakfast that will power you up for walking and panoramic tours of the city today. Whether you’re viewing Helsinki’s 1852 cathedral, crossing one of its many parks or squares, or seeing yourself reflected in the glass of a brand-new building, you'll find that there’s an appealing orderliness and grace to this northern capital. Your panoramic city tour includes the bustling waterside Market Square (known locally as the Kauppatori) and Old Market Hall.
As you admire the stately government buildings of Senate Square, the impressive green domes of the Helsinki Cathedral watch over your progress. This neoclassical wonder — completed in 1852 as a tribute to Czar Nicholas I of Russia, the Grand Duke of Finland at the time — crowns the cityscape like a jewel. Today, it is the worship house for the city’s Evangelical Lutherans. Its high perch and its rooftop statues of the Twelve Apostles remind the devout of Helsinki that their god is ever-present.
You'll also pass the Sibelius Monument, sculpted in tribute to the famed Finnish composer, and the remarkable Temppeliaukio Church, built into solid rock. Return for lunch on board; later, the ship sets off for Stockholm.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey, and take a panoramic city tour of Stockholm, and the Vasa Museum
Arrive this morning in Stockholm, Sweden’s sophisticated capital, and say goodbye to the ship after breakfast. We hope you enjoyed your time on the Ocean Odyssey, Vantage's second small ship ocean cruising vessel!
Get acquainted with Stockholm's irresistible charms and remarkable history, spread across 14 islands knit together by some 57 bridges. On your cultural tour of this “Venice of the North,” you’ll walk through the narrow streets of the delightful Gamla Stan, or Old Town, and enjoy views of Stockholm City Hall and the city’s equally attractive newer sections. On an included tour, visit the Vasa Museum, where you’ll see the amazing “ghost ship” of the same name — the world’s only fully intact 17th-century warship. The massive vessel sank just offshore on its maiden voyage in 1628. It lay preserved in the mud for three centuries, before being recovered and displayed in its full glory.
Later, check into your Stockholm hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Lunch and dinner are both on your own.
Explore Stockholm on your own
You'll have the entire day to take in the sophisticated pleasures of Stockholm today. Maybe you’ll start your day with a lussekatt (a saffron bun), then set out to stroll the endless waterways of the archipelago on which the strikingly beautiful and compact city is built. Return to the cobbled lanes of the Gamla Stan, the Old Town, or visit the renowned Skansen Museum, an open-air recreation of history’s traditional Swedish houses.
Celebrate your Baltic journey this evening with a Farewell Drink and Dinner alongside your fellow travelers.
After breakfast, transfer to the Stockholm airport for your return flight home, or stay in Stockholm for your post-trip extension.
Please note: Arrive to your destination rested and refreshed! Convenient gateway city stopover options mean you can break up longer flights easily — just ask our Flight Experts for assistance.
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.