Regent Seven Seas Voyager sailed from Stockholm under a sky just like the one pictured here. Note that none of these vessels, thankfully, are the Seven Seas Voyager.
Our course took us through Stockholm’s beautiful archipelago, comprised of 30,000 islands, islets and rocks, a photographer’s paradise.
The transit of the archipelago takes about three hours, before reaching the open sea and setting a course to the charming countries and fairy-tale kingdoms along the Baltic Sea.
Seven Seas Voyager arrived the next morning to sunny Tallinn, Estonia, and its charming Medieval Old Town.
Simply walk Tallinn. Hire a guide if you want to learn the history and be made aware of what you’re seeing. Begin in the Upper Old Town and make your way to the Lower Old Town. The way back to the ship is easy, and people are friendly. Be sure to try the sugar-coated almonds being handed out by girls in Medieval Age costumes. There’s never any pressure to purchase.
As Seven Seas Voyager made its way toward St. Petersburg, a Celebrity Cruises’ vessel was making its way in the opposite direction. This photo, taken after midnight, was only a taste of the beauty we would experience under St. Petersburg’s “white nights,” when the sky never totally darkens.
St. Petersburg requires that passengers pass through immigration with a visa. Not to worry. If you’re doing a ship-sanctioned tour, you’ll be covered by the tour operator’s blanket visa, but be prepared to stand in line for a few minutes to pass immigration. The line moved quite quickly, and the Russian officials were polite, friendly and even efficient.
First stop was The Hermitage, the world’s second-largest art museum, after the Louvre. The Hermitage’s collection was started by Catherine the Great. That’s not her pictured above.
We heard the tragic story of a Tsar and a 10-year-old boy who were ambushed and killed here on the spot where the Church on the Spilled Blood commemorates their deaths.
There was time for shopping.
Popular were the Babushka Nesting Dolls.
Regent, and the larger cruise ships, don’t dock in the most charming of ports in St. Petersburg. Small ships can get right into the city center. Big ships often use the container port.
After three full days in St. Petersburg, Seven Seas Voyager charted a course to Helsinki.
Our first stop was the Rock Church.
All denominations and religions are welcome to worship or even contemplate here.
Finnish Hymn Book
Coffee and cakes overlooking a lake in Helsinki’s city center.
The name of the bun translates to “ear slap.”
Beautiful people and beautiful woven sweaters and wraps at Kauppatori Market.
Roses line the streets in Visby, Sweden.
Gardens in Visby’s city center.
“As Times Goes By”
Regent Seven Seas Voyager anchored off Visby, Sweden.
Posted from my Blackberry.