Scandinavian cruises will take cruise passengers to the furthest reaches of Sweden, Norway, Finland Greenland and Iceland. The cruise ships not only explore the traditional Scandinavian countries, they also venture as far as Canada. Scandinavian cruises are adventures on cruise ships and cruise passengers see a part of the Scandinavian world that usually remains hidden. The Scandinavian countries have clean air, rugged nature and fascinating history. There are mountains and fjords, glaciers and volcanoes. The Scandinavian people are friendly and welcome any cruise ship eager to delve into their rich heritage.
Most Scandinavian cruises are expedition cruises. The expedition cruise ship Polar Star is a former icebreaker and has been transformed into the ideal vessel for a Scandinavian cruise. With its comfortable observation lounge, library and gym there is plenty to do while the ship cruises between Scandinavian countries. The Polar Star carries small Zodiac boats to allow cruise guests to leave the ship and reach the shore.
The smaller cruise ships Diana and Juno, both Scandinavian built, are made for Scandinavian cruises down canal ways to get to the heart of the Scandinavian culture and people.
Scandinavian Cruises in Sweden
The Scandinavian cruise ship Diana was launched in 1931 and gives you a real taste of how cruise passengers used to travel. This elegant ship offers Scandinavian cruises round Sweden. From a mini canal cruise to a coast to coast cruise, the Diana takes you on a real Scandinavian treat.
Mini canal Scandinavian cruises take you from Motala to Söderköping in two days. The cruise ship embarks from Motala, the Scandinavian capital of the Göta Canal. The Göta Canal was constructed in the early 19th century to provide a link to Gothenburg. Although the grand Scandinavian canal was hailed as a precursor to the modernisation of Sweden, the railways soon made it redundant. Nowadays it is used mostly for pleasure cruises, including, of course, these Scandinavian cruises. Motala is home to Motala Verkstad, established to produce the machines needed to build the canal and is one of the oldest engineering companies in the Scandinavian countries. You will also find the well-known Motor Museum, not far from where your cruise ship docks at the port. It is well worth a visit with one of the largest collection of Rolls Royce in Scandinavia. Cars here date back over a hundred years and it’s a fascinating start to many Scandinavian cruises.
The cruise heads to Borenshult and a lock staircase of five locks, taking the cruise to Lake Boren then Borensberg. The Göta Canal brought growth to Borensberg and you will see the lovely Scandinavian style Göta Hotel, built in 1903. The cruise passes two aqueducts and an impressive system of fifteen locks. Here you can leave the cruise ship and walk to the Vreta Convent, which dates from 1100 and was one of the first Scandinavian nunneries. It is still in use today as a Parish Church.
This Scandinavian cruise ends its first day at the longest lock staircase in the canal, with seven connected locks. You can leave the cruise ship for an evening swim in Lake Roxen. The cruise sets off in the morning to the Scandinavian Manor House of Runstorp where the owners are happy to take you on an exclusive tour and tell you all about Sweden’s age of greatness. The Manor House is not open to the public, so cruise guests are privileged.
The cruise then crosses the main railway line between the great Scandinavian cities of Stockholm and Malmö into Lake Asplången and ends in the pleasant city of Söderköping. Söderköping is a medieval city and was once an important Scandinavian harbour. There is a rose garden in the middle of the city and plenty of beautiful Scandinavian buildings to explore. It is a lovely way to finish the Scandinavian cruises.
Söderköping also features in other Scandinavian cruises, most notably the three day cruise. For a longer Scandinavian experience, there are Scandinavian cruises from Gothenburg to Stockholm. Still aboard the cruise ship Diana, a Coast to Coast cruise takes in locks dating back to 1607 and parallel lock systems. No wonder the first stop on this cruise, Trollhättan is named the city of waterfalls and locks. There is even a Scandinavian Canal Museum to tell you more about the locks you have cruised through. The cruise ship carries on to Lake Vänern, the largest lake in Scandinavia and the third largest in Europe. Läckö Castle awaits your cruise ship this evening. It is a Scandinavian tourist attraction and dates back to 1298. Once empty, it now houses Scandinavian exhibitions and art and the more important rooms have been refurbished.
The cruise sets off again through more locks and stunning Scandinavian scenery along the Göta Canal. Passing through a narrow stretch with water lily filled lakes, the cruise comes to the Spetsnäs Canal and Forsvik with its Scandinavian industrial history. Karlsborg Fortress is a famous Scandinavian construction and one of the biggest in Scandinavia. The cruise ship halts and you have time for a unique guided tour with films of Scandinavian life in 1865 and a chance to wander the underground passages.
Motala with its Motor Museum and Söderköping are next on the cruise itinerary. Then this Scandinavian cruise crosses the open Baltic water to reach Södertälje, the largest Scandinavian lock. Birka, on the island of Björkö is known as the Viking town for its importance in the Viking Era. Scandinavian archaeologists show you round this UNESCO site. There have been excavations here since the early 19th century and a lot has been learnt about the life of early Scandinavian people. The cruise ends in the old town of Stockholm.
Glaciers and Fjords in Norway
Norway is one of the most beautiful Scandinavian countries and the cruise ship Polar Star takes you to the cultural city of Bergen. Bergen Port is in the centre of the city, allowing cruise ships to get right to the hub of the action. The fish market is the first attraction followed by art galleries, Scandinavian museums and Hanseatic houses.
One of the most action-packed Scandinavian cruises, the Polar Star cruises to Runde Island and its half a million birds, the aquarium at Ålesund and beautiful Trondheim. There are many Scandinavian legends and folklores and the Torghatten Mountain has a legend of its own. You will see from your cruise ship that the mountain has a hole through its centre. It is said to have been made by The Horseman’s arrow while he was chasing the beautiful Lekaya. Norway is full of Scandinavian legends such as this one. You can leave the cruise ship and take a hike through the hole.
Next on the Norwegian Scandinavian cruises you can see a Scandinavian glacier, the Svartisen glacier. It is only a short walk from the cruise ship to catch a glimpse of the glacier, but there is a more energetic hike to get a closer look for those who wish to. An evening cruise through the dramatic Trollfjord and its surrounding mountains is a perfect end to the day.
Tromsø boasts that there is no better place in Scandinavia to see the Northern Lights and at only a thousand kilometres from the North Pole, you might just be lucky. This cruise gives you a chance to walk the tundra and discover a lively Scandinavian city. Scandinavian cruises give you the opportunity to cruise past bird filled cliffs and caves to reach Svalbard.
Svalbard is a Scandinavian archipelago, which makes up the most northern part of Norway. Barren and austere at first sight, the archipelago is a wondrous place with glaciers and vast icebergs rising majestically out of the sea. Tiny flowers and lichen poke their way through the ice, a fine example of life surviving in even the harshest of conditions. Your Scandinavian cruise takes you to the largest island of Spitsbergen. An integral part of Scandinavian cruises to Norway means watching out for Scandinavian wildlife – Walrus, Seal, Reindeer and Polar Bear. Once the cruise ship tears you away from the amazing Scandinavian wildlife, it heads to Longyearbyen where you disembark. Longyearbyen is the largest community on Spitsbergen and is Scandinavia’s most northerly town.
Exciting Scandinavian Cruises on the Polar Star
The cruise ship Polar Star not only cruises to Norway. It takes passengers on expedition cruises to East Greenland and Iceland. These Scandinavian cruises set off from two places. Longyearbyen where you get the chance to visit Spitsbergen and cruise past Moffen Island where the walrus breeds and Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Both cruises disembark at Reykjavik.
These two Scandinavian cruises spend time at sea and you can relax, attend lectures and keep a lookout for Scandinavian wildlife before arriving at Greenland. The watch for wildlife is continuous. Reindeer, Musk Oxen, Polar Bears, Whales and countless species of Scandinavian birds can all be seen in Greenland. Passengers are not confined to the cruise ship and cruises on the smaller Zodiac ships are possible. There are landings and treks to explore the beauty of the world’s biggest National Park.
Ittoqqortoormiit is the gateway to Greenland and its most northerly permanent settlement. You enter Scoresbysund Fjord, the longest fjord in the world, not just Scandinavia, and cruise silently past icebergs and glaciers. It is a spectacular sight, one of the best on these Scandinavian cruises. You leave the cruise ship at Ittoqqortoormiit where you can visit the weather station and the museum.
Cruise past more ice laden fjords and glaciers and wonder at the Scandinavian scenery so cold and white, yet so beautiful. These Scandinavian cruises visit islands around Greenland and see Inuit settlements. It is amazing how man can survive in such a harsh climate. There are the remnants of explorers’ huts, both Scandinavian and non Scandinavian. Scandinavian cruises to Greenland take you to an Arctic paradise, with scenery and wildlife that is not matched anywhere else in the world.
As the Scandinavian cruises end in Reykjavik, it is an ideal opportunity to discover this vibrant Scandinavian city. Reykjavik has a thriving cultural scene with art galleries, museums, exhibitions and live Scandinavian music. Once you disembark from your cruise ship you can learn more about Scandinavian life by exploring the Icelandic capital.
Scandinavian History in the Wake of the Vikings
Step aboard the cruise ship the Polar Star at Reykjavik once more to follow in the footsteps of the most fascinating people in Scandinavian history – the Vikings. This Scandinavian cruise takes you to Brattahlid, founded by Erik the Red. A replica village has been built in its place and a reconstruction of the church built by the famous Viking stands near the site of the original. The cruise allows you to walk among the buildings, a reminder of Scandinavian beginnings.
Qaqortoq is home to the Hvalsey Church ruins, some of the best preserved Viking remnants in Scandinavia. You leave your cruise ship behind and find that Scandinavian history comes to life walking through the ruins, especially when you hear that a Viking wedding took place here in 1408. This wedding is the last evidence of Viking settlers in Greenland.
There is evidence to suggest that the Vikings reached Canada from Scandinavia. Although not a Scandinavian country, the cruise ship sets sail to Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory. You cruise through bays and past islands and mountains and learn about the first Europeans and Scandinavians in Canada. Wildlife is ever present and a glimpse of the Polar Bear or the Black Bear is possible from Northern Labrador.
Then, one of the furthest reaching of all the Scandinavian cruises heads to the archaeological site l’Anse aux Meadows, where the cruise ship drops you off. In 1960, evidence of a Viking settlement was discovered here and it remains the only proof that the Vikings ventured as far as North America from their Scandinavian homeland. Nearby is Norstead, a reconstruction of a Viking settlement. It is a very interesting addition to the cruise and it is amazing to think of these early Scandinavians sailing as far as your cruise ship. It’s time to be grateful for the comfort and warmth of your cruise ship, because the Vikings would not have had this luxury! The cruise finishes in St. John’s, North America’s oldest city.
Explore Finland on a Scandinavian Cruise
Scandinavian cruises also go to Finland. The cruise ship The National Geographic Endeavor is a grand expedition ship and perfect for discovering the last of our Scandinavian countries. Finland is a country of contrasts. Helsinki is a sea town and has a harbour at its heart where cruise ships come and go. It has Art Nouveau buildings and bustling cafés, museums where its Scandinavian heritage is preserved and lively nightlife. The north and east of this Scandinavian country are taken up by vast forests and National Parks. Scandinavian cruises can’t show you the whole of this extraordinary Scandinavian country, but you will discover the best it has to offer.
A cruise around Finland reveals thousands of islands in the Finnish archipelago. Some of the islands have traditional fishermen’s villages. Much of the tradition and culture of Finland remains. It was the last of the Scandinavian countries to modernise and depended largely on agriculture until the 1950s. Your cruise highlight the difference between modern Scandinavian cities, such as Helsinki and the long-established villages where Scandinavian tradition holds strong. Scandinavian cruises show you this contrast.
The Finnish people are independent and welcoming. They have their own language and are fiercely proud of their Scandinavian background. A Scandinavian cruise to Finland is a perfect way to immerse yourself in a different culture and landscape.
Scandinavian cruises are extraordinary due to the countries the cruise ships visit. On no other cruise will passengers see the variety of wildlife it is possible to see in Scandinavia. The Scandinavian landscape is wild and untouched and demands respect from those who cruise through it. From Sweden with its historical locks and Scandinavian castles, to remote Greenland and its ice covered terrain, Scandinavian countries are an ideal cruise destination.