Day 1: New Zealand – – Stockholm
Depart on your flight and travel to the capital of Sweden, Stockholm.
Day 2: Stockholm
Welcome to Sweden! Make your own way from the airport to the hotel for check in. Choose to relax in your hotel room following the long-haul flight or drop off your suitcase and acquaint yourself with the city’s streets by taking a leisurely wander.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Stockholm – Turku (B)
Be introduced to the heritage and culture of Stockholm on a guided city tour. Some of the sights you can expect to see and admire on this excursion include the Royal Palace and Gamla stan (the Old Town). Meander past sandstone walls and picturesque houses around the beautiful cityscape and learn about the history of the Swedish capital – which also happens to span across 14 islands. In the evening you will board an overnight ferry for the journey to Turku. There are cafes, bars and shopping opportunities on-board.
Day 4: Turku – Helsinki – Lahti – Finnish Lakeland (B)
Wake up to find yourself having arrived in Turku, a former Finnish capital. The city is most famously home to its castle, which is among the best-preserved medieval buildings in Finland. As you drive out of Turku you will also pass its magnificent cathedral. Today’s drive takes you to the present-day capital of Finland, Helsinki. Join a guided city tour upon arrival. This tour sees you admire Helsinki Cathedral, a landmark that dominates the city skyline, as well as local markets (make sure to try any local Finnish delicacies!). It is then onto Lahti, the Finnish epicentre for winter sports, to see its Salpausselkä ski jump. Finally, arrive in Finnish Lakeland for an overnight stay among this wild landscape.
Day 5: Finnish Lakeland – Rovaniemi – Finnish Lapland (B)
Visit the capital of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi. This modern city doubles as the ‘official’ home of Santa Claus and has a magical atmosphere. Christmas is the backbone of the city and festive music is played year-round! Before entering the Santa Claus village however, you get to tick off a bucket list experience: crossing the Arctic Circle. To commemorate the occasion, you will attend a polar circle baptism, which includes a toast with sparkling wine. It is then onto meeting Father Christmas and stopping off at the Post Office to send any Christmas mail back home to family and friends.
Please note that sparkling wine is served at the bus due to operational reasons.
Day 6: Finnish Lapland – Finnmark (B)
Continue your travels through the exquisite Finnish Lapland today. Head to Inari Lake to appreciate the stillness of this quintessential Finnish region. There is a pitstop by the lake to unwind and relax. The group carries on north-bound towards Norway and Finnmark.
Day 7: Finnmark – North Cape Peninsula – Finnmark (B)
Take in the Porsangerfjorden as you follow its waters to the island of Magerøya. Along the way, expect to take in some truly memorable scenery. The destination for this adventure is the North Cape! Visit the North Cape Hall (also known as Nordkapphallen), stand on the edge of the North Cape Plateau, and fill up your camera storage or smartphone camera roll with photos of the Globe. Once you’ve had your fill of this incredible location you will commence the return journey back to Finnmark.
Day 8: Finnmark – Finnish Lapland (B)
Today sees you travel towards Alta. Located at the head at its eponymous fjord, Alta is a magnet for travellers wanting to catch a glimpse of the other worldly Northern Lights, which are most prominent in Winter when darkness falls early. Once in the city you will stop at the Northern Lights Cathedral to take in the sweeping views across the surrounding wilderness. Afterwards, continue in the direction of the Norway-Finland border and spend the night in the Finnish Lapland.
Day 9: Finnish Lapland – Luleå – Umeå (B)
Cross over the border from Finland into Swedish Lapland, the landscape that inspired the works of Swedish screenplay writer, Astrid Lindgren. Reach the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia and follow the water to Luleå, the capital of Norrbotten County. This is the northernmost county in Sweden. While in Luleå you will visit Gammelstad Church Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to gain insight into what a traditional northern Scandinavia town once looked like. The tour moves along the coast onto Umeå, a city located on the Swedish High Coast, another of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will spend the night in the city.
Day 10: Umea – Sundsvall – Uppsala/Stockholm (B)
Leave Umeå behind and make a scenic stop in Sundsvall, a pretty town with a picturesque market square. The last destination of the day is Uppsala, a university town known for its grand cathedral. You will spend the night in the Uppsala/Stockholm area.
Day 11: Stockholm – Baltics Cruise (B, D)
It is time to embark on your incredible voyage around the Baltic Sea, travelling aboard Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas. This magnificent ship spans a baffling number of decks and is the floating home to myriad activity, dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities. The ship departs at 6pm and you will be transferred as a group from your hotel to the cruise terminal.
Day 12: At Sea (B, L, D)
Your first full day on your cruise of the Baltic Sea is spent at sea – the perfect opportunity to begin discovering everything available to you on-board. Sign up to a salsa, cooking or language class, go for a round of mini golf, scale the rock-climbing wall, dip a toe into one of the swimming pools, move between menus at the excellent restaurants, or simply relax in your cabin.
Day 13: St Petersburg (B, L, D)
Greet the day to find the Jewel of the Seas docked in the glittering city of St Petersburg. This iconic Russian city has witnessed staggering change over the centuries, acting as an epicentre for history book-bound events, sweeping social reforms and fabled WWII sieges. Walk its streets to stroll past opulent facades, elaborate palaces and spectacular builds reminiscent of Tsarist Russia. Keen gallery-goers may make a beeline for the State Hermitage Museum, the second-largest art museum in the world and home to a collection of works displayed across 120 exhibits and rooms. Some of the museum occupies parts of the Winter Palace too.
Day 14: St Petersburg (B, L, D)
Another day in St Petersburg and there is still so much to see, do and experience. Those keen for another museum or gallery fix can set their sights on the State Russian Museum and Faberge Museum. History buffs can peer into the once-lavish lives of Russian royalty at Peterhof Grand Palace and Catherine Palace and Park. One last-must see in St Petersburg is the Savior on the Spilled Blood, the striking 1880s church that has become a symbol of the cityscape. Be sure to be back on the Jewel of the Seas for a 6pm departure.
Day 15: Helsinki (B, L, D)
The ship docks in Helsinki, the exciting capital of Finland, at 7am. Take breakfast on-board the ship and then make the most of your day in the city. Helsinki sits on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland and is home to a vibrant culture, social scenes and rich history. Visit the Suomenlinna Fortress or the open-air museum on Seurasaari Island. Peer inside the incredible Temppeliaukio Church, which was carved straight into solid rock; and head up the hill to admire the view from Helsinki Cathedral. The ship departs at 5pm.
Day 16: Tallinn (B, L, D)
Welcome to Estonia! Jewel of the Seas docks in Tallinn at 8am and you have an entire day to uncover the Estonian capital’s charms. Seek out the Old Town, an exemplary example of a preserved medieval city centre, or make for the palace and park established by Russian Tsar Peter the Great. The ship sets sail for Visby, Sweden at 5pm.
Day 17: Visby (B, L, D)
Take breakfast on-board as the ship ports in Visby at 9am. Visby is situated on the island of Gotland and is most visited for its preserved town wall. This piece of history is an extraordinary medieval fortification that also features defensive towers. Much like other medieval towns, Visby is home to several postcard-worthy sights such as churches, public squares, and cobblestone streets. Venture into Visby and explore however you like until the boat departs at 7pm. Tonight is your final evening aboard the Jewel of the Seas.
Day 18: Stockholm – – New Zealand (B)
Jewel of the Seas makes its final port of the Baltic Sea cruise in Stockholm at 7am. Disembark and use the remainder of the day in Stockholm to squeeze in any last-minute sightseeing. At the appropriate time, please make your own way to the airport to catch your return 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 19: New Zealand
Arrive back in New Zealand today.