Day 1: New Zealand– – Helsinki
Depart New Zealand today bound for the capital of Finland, Helsinki.
Day 2: Helsinki (B)
Arrive at Helsinki airport and make your own way to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Helsinki (B)
Explore the capital of Finland today. Helsinki sits on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland, and its main thoroughfare, Mannerheimintie, is flanked by the likes of the National Museum, Parliament House and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. Happily for walkers, Finland is a city that is easily explored on foot. Discover its quintessential Nordic style, from its architecture and design, to its restaurant, arts and shopping culture. Those wanting to savour green spaces and fresh air can make for any of the parks, forests, lakes or quiet coastal stretches fringing the city’s limits.
Day 4: Helsinki – Tallinn – Helsinki (B)
Take breakfast at the hotel and then head out on a full-day excursion to the Estonian capital, Tallinn. This journey is undertaken by boat and is led by an English-speaking guide, who will show you around the city’s big name sights. Expect to discover the history of medieval Tallinn and to see the 18th-century Kadriorg Palace and Park. This day trip sees you walk around Old Town, admiring the heritage facades and beautiful cityscape views. Lunch is taken in a restaurant in Old Town. Spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, using these hours of independent exploration to see more of the Old Town or visit other sights, such as the Gothic town hall, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral or one of the public squares. The group makes its return journey to Helsinki in the afternoon.
Day 5: Helsinki – – Stockholm (B)
You have the morning at your leisure. In the afternoon, make your own way to the Helsinki port to begin the boarding process for your overnight ferry voyage across the Baltic Sea to Stockholm, Sweden. Entertainment is provided on-board, along with food and shopping facilities.
Day 6: Stockholm (B)
Wake up as you cruise through Stockholm’s archipelago of thousands of islands. Breakfast is served on-board before you disembark and make your own way to the hotel to drop off your luggage. Later, an audio-guided sightseeing tour of the city centre will be your introduction to the Swedish capital. This tour, conducted on a comfortable coach, encompasses Stadshuset (City hall), Vasa Museum, the Royal Palace, and the island of Djurgården. Swap the coach for a canal boat to cruise around Stockholm’s main waterway, an experience that ends with a photo opportunity of the city skyline from the water. Make your own way back to the hotel for check in.
Day 7: Stockholm –– Copenhagen (B)
Make your own way to Stockholm’s Central Station and board the train that will take you to Copenhagen. Don’t worry about having to find a space in an empty carriage; you have reserved seating for this journey, so all you have to do is kick back and relax as the train speeds from Sweden to Denmark. Find your own way to the hotel upon your arrival in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, and then take advantage of this afternoon’s leisure time. You may perhaps make a beeline for the historic city centre, or some of Copenhagen’s recognisable sights, such as Tivoli Garden or Nyhavn.
Day 8: Copenhagen – Norwegian Fjords Cruise (B, D)
Take breakfast at the hotel and then head out on a scenic Hop On Hop Off tour around Copenhagen. While on the tour you will have the chance to explore the city centre, home to the Christiansborg Palace (Danish Parliament) and the Rosenborg Castle. Two of the city’s most popular sights – Amalienborg Palace and The Little Mermaid statue – are also featured on this excursion. Later, make your own way to the port to board your cruise of the Norwegian Coast.
Day 9: At Sea (B, L, D)
Enjoy the day at sea on the MSC Virtuosa as it makes its way towards the pristine coast of Norway. Take advantage of the ship’s on-board facilities, such as swimming pools, speciality eateries, bars and restaurants, shops and boutiques, and plenty of deck space where you can simply stare out onto the horizon.
Day 10: Hellesylt – Geiranger (B, L, D)
This spectacular cruise makes its first port in Hellesylt, a quaint town perched on the fringe of the Geiranger fjord. Step ashore to discover the area. An excellent vantage point of the town and fjord can be had from one of two observation posts along the steep Eagle Route. Choose from the 1500-metre high Dalsnibba or the Flydalsjuvet Rock, which has a great outlook onto the ice valley. Outdoor enthusiasts may opt to continue along the Ørnesvingen to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls.
Day 11: Alesund (B, L, D)
The streets of Ålesund are filled with turrets, spires and splendid decorations that make it truly unique; if you enjoy this style, you should visit the Jugendstilsenteret, the National Art Nouveau Centre. You can admire the centre of Ålesund from above by climbimg up the 418 steps that lead you to the panoramic heights of Mount Aksla with a view of the islands that surround the town and of the Sunnmøre Alps. In alternative you can reach the Sukkertoppen, the “sugar peak”, by taking a walk that starts from Hessa, just above the port where your MSC cruise ship is anchored. To get a closer look at the traditional architecture you should instead go the island of Godøy, where you can visit Alnes, a picturesque fisherman’s village built very close to the beach where you find local crafts and food sold in the courtyards.
Day 12: Flam (B, L, D)
The MSC Virtuosa’s next stop is Flam, a picturesque village known as a gateway to some truly breathtaking fjords. A popular activity is taking a scenic train ride from Flam to the Kjofossen waterfall or further to the mountain-flanked station at Myrdal; a 20-kilometre route that traverses the scenic countryside encompassing river-carved forges, towering waterfalls, verdant valleys, deep-cut tunnels, and mountain farms. Travel along the Flam Railway is a two-hour return trip.
Day 13: At Sea (B, L, D)
Enjoy the day at sea on as the MSC Virtuosa makes its way to Germany. Use this time on-board to continue making the most of the ship’s facilities and amenities. Sit down to eat at one of the restaurants or cafes you’ve not yet tried; relax in your cabin; shop for souvenirs in the gallery or boutiques; hit one of the sporting courts; book in for a treatment at the spa; or soak up some Vitamin D as you laze in a sun lounger.
Day 14: Kiel (B, L, D)
Arrive in Kiel, Germany, this morning. Kiel is an important maritime city and former Imperial Military port, thanks to its canal that connects the Baltic and North seas. Today, the city plays host to the largest sailing regatta in the world – Kiel Week, happening every year in June – and there are several maritime-inspired attractions and things to do for passengers. Meander the pier-adjacent promenade (called Kiellinie) to see the vessels currently moored in the harbour, pay a visit to the Kiel Maritime Museum, head to Laboe beach to view a wartime U-boat, or walk along the banks of the canal to the viewing platform at Holtenau. There is also an open-air museum, the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Freilichtmuseum, which displays 70 traditional buildings assembled into miniature villages. Return to the ship to set sail for Copenhagen.
Day 15: Copenhagen – – New Zealand (B)
Spend your final morning aboard the cruise ship saying goodbye to your newfound travelling friends, and then make your own way to the airport at the necessary time for your flight back to New Zealand.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the cruise terminal to your next travel arrangements.
Day 16: New Zealand
Arrive home today.