Northern Europe's idyllically mild weather during June and August, and the phenomenon of "White Nights," when the sun virtually never sets, is a perfect setting for Deilmann Cruises' four Baltic itineraries. Departing Germany's Hamburg and Travemünde, on June 3 and 15, and Aug. 17 and 31, 2009, the 10-, 11- and 12-night itineraries explore the region's Imperial palaces, onion-domed churches, medieval cobblestone streets and fairy-tale castles, while the 520-guest MS Deutschland serves as the guests' "grand hotel," reminiscent of the golden era of cruising. Prices range from $4,930 to $15,610 per person, double. All sailings overnight in Russia's cultural capital, St. Petersburg, offering additional time to take in the famed Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum; and spend a day in Gdansk, Poland, the Solidarity movement's birthplace and home to some of Europe's finest tourist attractions. Alleviating the worry of rising air costs, Deilmann is offering a $99 air fare package that includes roundtrip air from dozens of North American gateways as well as pre-arranged shore excursions and transfers, representing a $600 value. Repeat Deilmann guests receive 5% off cruise fares.
The June 3 itinerary is a 12-night sailing calling at the grand Northern European cities of Copenhagen, brimming with Royal Palaces and the spectacular Tivoli gardens; and Stockholm, often referred to as the Venice of the North. Another Scandinavian capital, Helsinki, boasts a lively marketplace and rich cultural life and architectural gems while more diminutive destinations include Sweden's Visby, with its striking cathedral and picturesque stone buildings; Heringsdorf, on the German island of Usedom, founded as a fishing village in 1818; and Rauma, a seaside town steeped in culture. Fares range from $5,460 to $15,410 per person, double, the highest price being the owner's suite.
Ronne, the main town on the Danish island of Bornholm, and the charming German fishing village of Neustadt , serve as the shoulders of MS Deutschland's June 15 departure, also 12 nights. Sandwiched between are Russia's Pillau, founded in the 17th century; Lithuania's Klaipeda, the country's third-largest city; Tallinn, Estonia's capital whose Old Town is a World Heritage site; Latvia's Riga, boasting one of the Europe's largest outdoor markets; and Finland's Helsinki. Prices run from $5,500 to $15,610.
The August itineraries, both roundtrip from Travemünde, spend two nights in St. Petersburg. The 11-night sailing, departing Aug. 17, explores Helsinki, Stockholm and Riga as well as Germany's Rügen Island with its national park and nature reserve; priced from $5,170 to $14,230. The August 31 Baltic sailing calls at Copenhagen, Visby, Tallinn, Denmark's Aalborg, founded by the Vikings and renowned as the "Little Paris to the North," and Flensburg, Germany's most northerly port, situated between wooded hills at the head of the Flensburg Fjord. Fares range from $4,930 to $13,230.
With a guest to crew ratio of two-to-one, MS Deutschland features a variety of accommodations, all with fine moldings and artwork, classic furnishings, picture windows marble-tiled bathrooms with full-size showers; suites are also equipped with bathtubs. The nine-deck ship offers passengers a choice of three gourmet restaurants, an outdoor dining terrace plus seven bars and cafes. Other amenities include a spacious library lounge; outdoor and indoor pools; three sun decks; open-air promenade deck; grand ballroom for nightly entertainment and dancing; and fitness and spa facilities. Smoking is not permitted onboard except in open deck areas, the Old Fritz Pub and Lili Marleen Bar.