Beyond the photogenic castles and cathedrals, Ireland’s capital city brims with character: here, history flows along the cobblestone streets, swirls about centuries-old pubs, and evolves along with the arts and cuisine created by its youthful, innovative denizens. Explore Dublin Castle, Phoenix Park, and Trinity College on an included city tour to get a sense of Ireland’s past glory. With Dublin’s attractions right by your centrally located hotel, you’ll have an easy time getting to know this cosmopolitan city.
From its start around 1000 AD as a Viking trading hub and its heyday as a Northern Renaissance maritime power to its current position as Sweden’s cultural and political capital, beautiful Stockholm is the place to go for anyone wishing to understand Scandinavia. It’s also a clean, safe, modern, and delightful haven that is easy to explore, thanks to its design-forward infrastructure, cosmopolitan cuisine, and friendly people. Your centrally located hotel is the perfect base from which to explore this beautiful capital built on 14 small islands filled with parks, medieval squares, picturesque footbridges, and more. An included Swedish cultural tour and a food tour give you a jump-start on getting oriented in the Nordic world. Then, you’ll have ample time to explore on your own. This is the perfect way to enhance your Baltic experience at a tremendous value, in a region known to be costly to visit.
Disclaimer: The day-to-day itinerary for this extension blends in some features that would otherwise occur during the Stockholm land portion of your main cruisetour program. This is done merely to ensure the most logical, relaxed, and efficient pacing. By the time you embark ship on the main cruise tour itinerary, you will have experienced all the main tour inclusions as well as your two extra extension days.
Board an overnight flight to Stockholm
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Stockholm. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension in Stockholm.
Please note: If you're taking advantage of the pre-trip extension to Stockholm, you will follow the pre-trip itinerary until Day 4, when you'll board the Ocean Odyssey and 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.
Welcome to Stockholm, Sweden’s sophisticated capital. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to acclimate before an afternoon orientation walk and evening Welcome Briefing. Tonight, enjoy a drink with your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
Discover Stockholm on a panoramic city tour, including a visit to the Vasa Museum
Get acquainted with the irresistible charms and remarkable history of Stockholm, 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 fascinating 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. Lunch and dinner are both on your own today. If you'd like to try some Swedish specialties, your Concierge can point you in the right direction and suggest a few dishes, too.
Explore Stockholm on your own and embark the Ocean Odyssey
You 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. Head 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.
Later, embark the Ocean Odyssey. Get settled in your cabin, then explore the ship's many amenities, including an observation lounge, and fitness center. Perhaps you'll visit the Concierge to plan a spa appointment. And that’s not all — the size of our ship will allow us to berth in most port cities, giving you unparalleled access to your destinations (please keep in mind that tendering will be required in some ports). After, gather for a port talk to learn about our next thrilling Scandinavian capital. In the elegant dining room, savor a special Captain’s Welcome Dinner, the first of many sumptuous meals we've curated for this journey.
Helsinki’s grand squares and sacred cathedral
This afternoon, the ship arrives to Helsinki while you're savoring a delicious lunch. Whether you’re viewing the city'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 Tsar 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. Before another gourmet dining experience this evening, you'll hear a lecture that contextualizes tomorrow's explorations of St. Petersburg.
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.
Learn more about the city and its history during an onboard lecture this morning. 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.
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 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 delicious 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 Estonia later this afternoon. Hear another talk in the lecture hall; then, another port talk will fill you in on all that awaits in Tallinn before a delectable dinner on board as you sail.
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.
The two-level city has an enchantment all its own, which you’ll discover on a panoramic tour 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. And head 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.
Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy an afternoon at leisure, perhaps utilizing the free shuttle service from the Ocean Explorer to Tallinn's Old Town.
Back on board this evening, attend a lecture and another port talk introduces tomorrow’s discoveries. Dinner is on board tonight.
Enjoy the cobbled streets and soaring spires 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 Vecriga, 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.
Tonight's dinner is a special one and takes you off the ship. Head to a celebrated local restaurant for a special dinner where you'll get a taste of traditional Latvian foods 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 Concierge 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 Vecriga. 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 Sweden.
The Hanseatic gem of Visby, Sweden
Following a morning of scenic cruising (have your included binoculars handy!) and a lecture that will prepare you for the explorations ahead, you'll arrive 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. After an early lunch on board, enjoy a "Hidden Visby" walking tour, including introductions to Almedalen, Powder Tower, Fish Alley, and Visby Cathedral. Plus, visit the Gotland Museum, which has keys to some of the most thrilling (and locked) historical buildings and ruins in Visby. Join our knowledgeable guides who will unlock the doors to exciting worlds where time has stood still. Savor dinner tonight as you cruise to your next destination: Gdansk, Poland.
The Solidarity Route through historic Gdańsk, Poland
After noon, the Ocean Odyssey arrives in Gdańsk. Before your discoveries of this city today, learn about the liberation of Poland during a captivating lecture. An early lunch on board will fuel you up for an afternoon tour.
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 afternoon 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.
This evening, 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. Tonight, enjoy another gourmet dinner and a port talk about your next remarkable city.
Cliff-top castles and Danish gastronomy of Bornholm
This afternoon 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 gourmet 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.
Relax this evening with another lecture, then savor another elegant dinner and attend a port talk to learn about tomorrow’s explorations of Copenhagen.
Get acquainted with charming Copenhagen today on an included panoramic tour. View the famed Little Mermaid statue on her watery perch, visit the Nyhavn canal district, swing by towered and turreted Rosenborg Castle, and contrast that with the more-dignified Amalienborg Castle where Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II resides today. Make sure you have your camera and GoPro ready, as we've planned your arrival at the royal residence to coincide with the Changing of the Guard. Your tour also includes a private and exclusive canal boat ride so you can take in this lovely cityscape from the water. This is an experience not to be missed!
Next, you'll visit the Torvehallerne food market to taste the freshest local fare and interact with the people who live here and grow produce, flowers, and more. With over 60 food stands, you'll have plenty to choose from for lunch on your own here with included lunch money.
Explore the Swedish city of Gothenburg
Enjoy breathtaking scenic sailing this morning as you make your way to Gothenburg. After lunch onboard, disembark and dive into Swedish tradition and fun with a city tour. 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.
Enjoy a delicious dinner tonight, followed by onboard entertainment.
Enjoy your tours in Gothenburg: Volvo cars or botanical gardens
This morning, 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.
After lunch onboard, your ship will depart for its next destination. Enjoy an informative lecture onboard tonight before dinner.
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 1300AD. 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 Concierge 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.
Explore Kristiansand and take in a private organ concert
Enjoy the morning aboard the Ocean Odyssey and the ship makes its way to Kristiansand. After a lecture, followed by lunch, we’ll disembark to 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.
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.
Spend a day at sea as we head to the Netherlands
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 Concierge, 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.
Discover Amsterdam’s Jewish cultural history
Today we wake up in Amsterdam to discover the city’s WWII history on a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter. See the Hollandsche Schouwburg National Holocaust Memorial, which was used by the German occupying forces as a collection center for Jews. From here, tens of thousands of women and men were deported to concentration and extermination camps. It is now a place of commemoration. We’ll also view the Portuguese Synagogue and Amsterdam’s UNESCO-listed 17th century canal ring.
Lunch is back onboard, with afternoon shuttle service back into Amsterdam. If you’re interested in visiting the Anne Frank House, you’ll want to make a request with our Concierge months before your trip departs — tickets sell out quickly. This evening, we’ll hear another lecture before dinner onboard.
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.
Discover Honfleur — and its oysters — on a guided walking tour
After breakfast, we’ll transfer from Le Havre 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. Take in another lecture this afternoon before dinner. After, enjoy more onboard entertainment.
Enjoy your choice of tours in France: D-Day history or Taste of Normandy
On your second day in France, 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 & 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.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and tour inside Windsor Castle
The ship arrives to England just as you're enjoying breakfast this morning. You'll disembark in Poole, and we hope you enjoyed your time on Vantage's second small ship oceangoing small ship!
En route to London, you’ll set off on a guided tour of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Today, Queen Elizabeth 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. Afterward, enjoy lunch on your own before transferring to London where you’ll check into your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure in London, with dinner on your own. Do as the locals do and head to the local pub!
London’s landmarks and a Farewell Dinner
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 is on your own; tonight, reunite with your fellow travelers for one last toast at the Farewell Drink and Dinner at the hotel.
You’ll head to London’s airport today for your return flight back to the U.S. Or, extend your journey with a few days in Dublin, Ireland.
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.