Nothing makes as much sense as a cruise in the Baltic if you want to see as much as possible in a limited amount of time. The advantages of a summertime cruise to this shimmering, ethereal wonderland are numerous enough to write a book on. But let’s just stick to the salient points here.

Think of the Baltic as a huge inland lake, accessed via the Kiel Canal or the Great Belt that divides Norway and Denmark. The main cities of each principal country are almost all on the coast, like the jewels on a fabulous, ornate necklace. This is hardly surprising, since many of these are the capitals of what was once the old Hanseatic League, which was built on sea trade and thrived for centuries.

Stockholm

But it goes deeper than mere convenience. Some cities have to be approached from the sea to truly appreciate their staggering scope and sheer beauty. Sailing into the centre of Stockholm through its myriad of islands is an unforgettable thrill.

The approach to Oslo runs through sixty miles of glorious fjord country that unwinds at a gentle pace. And your first sight of the diminutive Little Mermaid as you dock in Copenhagen is an adrenaline rush that no airline flight could ever compete with.

And most Baltic sailings, such as those with Regent Seven Seas, spend a night or two in St.Petersburg, surely the jewel in the Baltic crown. You can see the city safely, and in depth, from a secure, comfortable base that costs a fraction of the stratospheric hotel prices in the city itself.

Cruise From The UK

One of the best things of all is that you can forget the idea of airports, and all the attendant hassle that goes with flying these days. Embark in Southampton, Dover or Harwich instead; unpack once, and just settle in as someone else shifts the scenery for you, day in and out. For an amazing kaleidoscope of sights and sounds, cruising around the Baltic is one of the most spectacular single travel experiences anywhere in the world.

Oh, and as an added incentive, don’t miss the mellow, scenic smorgasbord that is the ‘white nights’, where it never gets truly dark at all in the height of the long summer evenings.

And, if you choose to travel on a smaller ship, the odds are good that you will pass through the amazing, green patchwork quilt of the Kiel Canal on either the inwards or outwards route. Many people actually consider this to be one of the scenic ‘greatest hits’ of the entire Baltic circuit.