Beyond The Baltic: Cruising Sweden’s Gulf Of Bothnia
New cruise destinations along the Gulf of Bothnia allow cruise passengers to explore beyond the marquee ports that typically characterize Baltic cruises.
Earlier this summer, I visited three aspiring cruise destinations in Sweden. All are members of the Bothnia Cruise Ports, along with Luleå, which I visited last year and profiled in a series of videos.
The Gulf of Bothnia is the northern extension of the Baltic Sea. In addition, Bothnia Cruise Ports represents three Finnish destinations that will be featured later this week on Avid Cruiser. The region has been relatively unexplored by cruise ships, though Bothnia Cruise Ports is bringing more recognition to the destinations. Since starting in 2005, more than a dozen cruise ships have visited the seven destinations belonging to Bothnia Cruise Ports.
I believe all of these destinations bring forth a breath of fresh air, particularly for those who have cruised the Baltic before and are seeking new ports of call.
All are relatively small cities and towns where cruise ships are still a spectacle. In fact, on the day that Silver Shadow showed up in Örnsköldsvik, practically the whole town showed up, along with a welcoming band.
The destinations also have put together a number of interesting experiences ashore, which are shown in the videos below. Of the more interesting experiences for me were 1) a visit to the Surstömming museum near Örnsköldsvik (for more on that experience, see Avid Cruiser’s port profile of Örnsköldsvik); 2) coffee and conversation in a Sami tent in Umeå (the Sami are Swedish Laplanders), and a visit to an elk (we call them moose in North America) farm; and 3) visiting the pleasant city and surroundings of the town affectionately known as “Happy Hudik.”