Best of the Baltic

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Priced from $13,480   Days: 17 

July 14-30, 2017

Spend seventeen days in nine countires exploring the Baltic area by sea and land.  Discover the beauty of Bornholm Island graced with rolling country side, charming villages, the ruins of Hammershus Castle, and unique round churches. Visit the UNESCO site of Visby that was once a trading center of the Hanseatic League. Tour historic districts of Gdansk, Riga and Tallinn and spend two days in St. Petersburg enjoying the architectural styles of each area. 

  • Itinerary
  • Date & Rates
  • Vessel
  • Map
  • Leaders
Itinerary:

Best of the Baltic

July 14 — July 15: Depart USA / London, England

Board your independent overnight flight to London. Transfer to the Hilton London Paddington and gather Saturday evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.

July 16: London / Embark Island Sky

Join a half-day tour with lunch at a local restaurant. Board the Island Sky this afternoon and sail in the wake of kings and conquerors as you cruise down the legendary Thames to the North Sea.

July 17: At Sea

As you transit the North Sea, attend lectures preparing you for the exciting cultural and historical encounters ahead.

July 18: Sylt Island, Germany 

Sylt Island, Germany The beautiful, windswept, 24-mile-long island of Sylt (pronounced zoolt) is the northernmost point of Germany and part of the Frisian archipelago which stretches between Denmark and The Netherlands. Unique to the region is the architecture of the houses found in island villages; their thick reed roofs slope all the way down to the ground and blend with the surrounding vegetation. After lunch ashore go for an optional bicycle tour from the village of Kampen, join a birding tour, or enjoy free time to explore Westerland, the charming capital of Sylt.

July 19: Kiel Canal Transit

Early this morning we begin our transit of the historic 61-mile-long Kiel Canal and sail from the North Sea into the Baltic. Kaiser Wilhelm I set the first foundation stone in place on June 3, 1887 in Brunsbuttel, and the final stone was laid by Kaiser Wilhelm II on June 21, 1895, in Holtenau. Today, the Kiel Canal is one of the busiest man-made waterways in the world.

July 20: Bornholm Island, Denmark

Bornholm Island, DenmarkAfter breakfast step ashore on serene Bornholm Island, endowed with sugar-white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, thick forests, and heather-clad hills. Visit the ruins of Hammershus Castle, Scandinavia’s largest medieval fortress; the unique, round 12th-century churches, Osterlars and Nylars; and the charming half-timbered fishing hamlet of Gudhjem. You may also choose to visit art studios renowned for their glass blowing and pottery.

July 21: Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk, PolandEnjoy a full day in this city whose history spans nearly 1,000 years. Stop at the Solidarity Monument in front of the Gdansk shipyard, then view the exhibition, Roads to Freedom, a fascinating audio-visual portrayal of those important, world-changing events. A walking tour through lively Old Town reveals a magnificent collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings and monuments. Pass through the Golden Gate and walk down Long Street to the 15th-century Palace of Artus, where Neptune’s Fountain commemorates Gdansk’s Hanseatic past. Also visit medieval St. Mary’s Church, the world’s largest brick church. After lunch onboard, there is time at leisure for further exploration.

July 22: Klaipeda, Lithuania

Klaipeda, LithuaniaToday you drive to the amber center of Palanga. A stroll through the Botanical Park with its 500 varieties of trees and bushes takes you to the Amber Museum, housed in a 19th-century neo-Renaissance-style mansion. Afterward drive to the Old Town for a walking tour. From beautiful Theater Square, explore the narrow streets that meander between the charming half-timbered houses and shops.

July 23: Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden

Visby, Gotland Island, SwedenDisembark this morning at Gotland Island, the largest island in the Baltic. The splendid city of Visby, a World Heritage Site, is famous for its intact medieval architecture, especially the 44 guard towers built as part of the city walls in the 11th and 12th centuries. Drive to Almedalen, a green oasis in the city center, then walk past lovely medieval granaries and the city’s oldest building, the Powder Tower. Visit the Botanical Garden, known for its exotic plant collection, and take a ride up to a splendid panoramic viewpoint of the city and its spires. Continue your tour on foot along charming cobblestone streets, to visit the impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Gotland Museum with its excellent medieval collections.

July 24: Riga, Latvia

Riga, LatviaYour day in Latvia showcases the riches of this 800-year-old Hanseatic river port. A walking tour takes you to multiple landmarks, including the Blackheads House, one of the oldest buildings in Riga; St. Peter’s Church, a superb Gothic masterpiece; the 15th-century Three Brothers merchant houses; and both St. Jacob and St. John churches. Also visit the 13th-century Dome Cathedral, whose organ concerts are legendary. Continue your exploration by motorcoach, driving past lovely parks along the City Canal lined with the stunning Art Nouveau architecture built in 1899 during the Jugendstil movement. There is free time this afternoon to explore Riga on your own.

July 25: Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, EstoniaToday set out for old town Tallinn, a visual feast of soaring spires, towers, and turrets. After a renaissance in restoration and reconstruction, Tallinn proudly proclaims itself the finest preserved city in the Baltic. In the upper Old Town, visit Palace Square and the magnificent cupola-crowned Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the lower Old Town, visit the Town Hall Square, once a medieval marketplace; one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, founded in 1422; and stroll along St. Catherine’s Passage in the Latin Quarter. You will also visit Kadriorg Palace and Park, built by Peter the Great as a summer residence.

July 26 — July 27: St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, RussiaArrive in splendid St. Petersburg in the late morning and enjoy two days of exploration. Visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace which houses Catherine the Great’s incomparable Hermitage Museum. Enjoy an advanced entry and special guided tour which includes the Gold Room—a dazzling display of jewelry, as well as the famous Scythian and Greek gold. Drive across the Neva River to the burial place of the tsars, Peter and Paul Cathedral, its 18th-century spire dominates the skyline. Visit the spectacular Church of the Resurrection and drive along Russia’s most famous street, the Nevsky Prospect, lined with magnificent palaces, churches, and theaters. A scenic drive takes you to the palace and gardens of Peterhof, a grand summertime residence built by Peter the Great.

July 28: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, FinlandThe capital of Finland since 1812, Helsinki is a cosmopolitan city with a small-town feel. A city tour reveals the beautiful neoclassical architecture of Senate Square and allows you the opportunity to stroll through picturesque Market Square, where numerous vendors offer a variety of Finnish foods and souvenirs. Or choose to tour Suomenlinna Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Sweden in 1748 to protect Helsinki’s harbor.

July 29: Turku

Today visit Turku, the oldest city in Finland and its one-time capital. Your tour includes the 13th-century castle and cathedral, the handicrafts museum, and lively market. Conditions permitting, board Zodiacs to cruise among verdant islands and rocky outcroppings of the scenic Turku archipelago.

July 30: Stockholm, Sweden / Disembark / USA

Arrive in Stockholm and disembark the Island Sky. Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.


Date & Rates:

Island Sky Category 1

Ocean-view staterooms on the Magellan Deck are 230 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and four portholes.

Single- $13,480 per person LIMITED AVAILABILITY - PLEASE CALL

Double - $13,480 per person 

Island Sky Category 2

Ocean-view staterooms on the Columbus Deck are 240 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a large picture window.

Single - $14,880 per person LIMITED AVAILABILITY - PLEASE CALL

Double - $14,880 per person 


Island Sky Category 3

Ocean-view staterooms on the Marco Polo Deck are 225 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a large picture window.

Single - $18,480 per person LIMITED AVAILABILITY - PLEASE CALL

Double - $18,480 per person 


Island Sky Category 4

Ocean-view staterooms on the Marco Polo Deck are 240 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a large picture window.

Single - $20,180 per person LIMITED AVAILABILITY - PLEASE CALL

Double - $20,180 per person 


Island Sky Category 5

Ocean-view staterooms on the Erikson Deck are 270 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and patio doors which lead to a private balcony.

Single - $24,280 per person LIMITED AVAILABILITY - PLEASE CALL

Double - $24,280 per person 


Island Sky Category 6

Ocean-view staterooms on the Explorer Deck are 325 square feet, and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and patio doors which lead to a private balcony.

Single - $26,880 per person LIMITED AVAILABILITY - PLEASE CALL

Double - $26,880 per person

Inclusions: Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises; all gratuities; all accommodations; world-class lecture and expedition team; all onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; all entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials; and medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance.

Exclusions: Airfare from your home city/London and Stockholm/home city; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, and alcoholic beverages (other than listed above); and email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.

Airfare: You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/London and Stockholm/home city. Please contact Zegrahm's Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions. We will be happy to help you with this. 

Deposit: 30% per person. Balance is due at 120 days prior to travel. All rates are based on double occupancy and are in USD. 

Insurance: Because many advance logistical arrangements have been made prior to the running of this trip, we must adhere to the above policy. In addition, please be aware that many insurance policies do not cover illness and accident expenses outside of the U.S., and Medicare does NOT cover any such expenses at all. In light of this, we strongly recommend trip cancellation and supplemental insurance.

A travel insurance quote will be sent to you upon registration.  Our insurance carrier is Travel Guard. 


Vessel:

Island Sky

 

Built in 1992 and recently refurbished, the Island Sky is a comfortable and contemporary expedition vessel. Public spaces include a large lounge, elegant bar with piano, library stocked with fiction and reference books along with a selection of games, and a single-seating dining room. Outside decks feature a bar, spa pool, and a sun deck where meals are served in pleasant weather.

All suites feature ocean views, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, large wardrobes, small refrigerator, and television.

Ship Details & Deck Plan

  • Tonnage: 4,200
  • Year Built: 1992
  • Year Refurbished: 2011
  • Number of Guests: 100
  • Number of Crew: 72
  • Registry: Bahamas
  • Length: 297 feet
  • Beam: 50 feet
  • Draft: 14 feet

ISLAND SKY DECKPLAN 2014

Island Sky Cabins

  • Category 1
    Category 1
  • Category 2
    Category 2
  • Category 3
    Category 3
  • Category 4
    Category 4
  • Category 5
    Category 5
  • Category 6
    Category 6
  • Dining Room
    Dining Room
  • Club
    Club
  • Library
    Library
  • Lounge
    Lounge
  • Category 1
  • Category 2
  • Category 3
  • Category 4
  • Category 5
  • Category 6
  • Dining Room
  • Club
  • Library
  • Lounge

 

GENERAL

  • Five decks of guest facilities.
    - Magellan Deck – guest suites, restaurant, doctor’s of ce.
    - Columbus Deck – guest suites, lounge, reception.
    - Marco Polo Deck – guest suites, club, library.
    - Erikson Deck – guest suites with balconies, bridge, outdoor bar, and café. - Explorer Deck – guest suites with balconies, salon, and sun deck.

  • Stairs and an elevator service all guest decks.

  • The bridge is available to visit most times throughout the day, contingent upon weather, security, and navigation conditions.

  • Smoking is permitted in designated areas.

    SUITES

  • All suites feature ocean views and have two twin beds that can be recon gured into one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, large wardrobes, vanity table, small refrigerator, television, personal safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, and American-style outlets (two at prongs) at 110 volts.

  • Magellan Deck suites are 230 square feet and have two to four portholes.

  • Columbus Deck suites are 240 square feet with large picture windows.

  • Marco Polo Deck suites range between 225 to 240 square feet and feature large picture windows.

  • Erikson Deck suites are 270 square feet including private balconies.

  • Explorer Deck suites are 325 square feet including private balconies.

    DINING

    • The main restaurant can accommodate all guests at one seating.
    • Most diets can be catered for on board, but special dietary requests must be made in advance.
    • Breakfast is served in the restaurant with a la carte and buffet options.
    • When weather permits, meals can be served on deck, but are usually served in the main restaurant. • Afternoon tea and hors d’oeuvres are served in the lounge; coffee and tea are available in the club.

    SERVICES

  • Island Sky carries a eet of Zodiacs and a small tender.

  • Public spaces include a large lounge, club and bar with piano, and library with games, reference books, novels, DVDs, and

    computers with Internet access.

  • There are two sun decks: one on the aft of the Erikson Deck with an outdoor bar and café, and one on the Explorer Deck.

  • Laundry services (no dry cleaning), a hair salon, and a small doctor’s of ce are available. Rates are posted on board.

  • The U.K. pound is the currency used on board. Traveler’s checks, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted for payment of shipboard accounts. 

 

Map:

Baltic map 1000px

Leaders:

Nadia Eckhardt

Expedition Leader

Nadia EckhardtBorn in Cape Town, South Africa, Nadia now calls Seattle her home. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and is well versed in many adventure destinations, including Central and South America, Indonesia, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, the South Pacific, and more. She spent much of her youth exploring southern Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean. Nadia has been working with Zegrahm since 1992 and is an experienced cruise director and Zodiac driver. Currently Nadia divides her time among her home in Seattle, her family in South Africa, and leading expeditions throughout the world.


 

Lynne Greig 

 
Cruise Director


Lynne GreigLynne was born and raised in South Africa and after finishing her education spent several years teaching there. Her love for travel led her around the globe, and eventually turned into a career in the adventure travel industry as cruise director. Since 1995 she has traveled from Antarctica to the Arctic, through Africa and the Indian Ocean, Russia, the South Pacific, and Australia. Voyages have taken Lynne to every continent and across every ocean aboard expedition vessels ranging from Russian icebreakers to Australian catamarans. She has tried to settle down on numerous occasions; however, the lure of the sea is too strong, and she keeps going back out in the field, where her cheery personality, abundant energy, and industry knowledge serve her well in her positions as expedition leader and cruise director.


 

Olga Eggert

Lecturer

Olga EggertOlga was born in Crimea, Ukraine. She graduated from the Odessa Conservatoire with distinction in piano, piano accompaniment, and the teaching of music. After leaving the Conservatoire she embarked on a career as a professional pianist and accompanist and performed in Moscow, Minsk, Kiev and other cities of the former Soviet Union. She has made many appearances on Ukrainian, Russian, and Belorussian television. She moved to the Isle of Man in 1998 and in 2001, was elected a Fellow of Trinity College of Music in London (F.T.C.L.). Olga has performed in various venues around the world, as well as on board a large number of cruise ships. When not on concert engagements, Olga teaches piano, classics, and Russian at King William's College (Isle of Man). She also is the organist at St. Andrew's Church, Isle of Man. Apart from degrees in music, Olga has a MA in classics and BA in the history of arts, and is a part -time history lecturer for the University of Liverpool and for the University of Chester. Olga’s training in history, art and music gives her lectures a unique blend of creativity and allows her to provide all-round and deep insight into a subject.


Rich Pagen

Conservation Biologist / Naturalist

Rich PagenRich first became enthralled by the wonders of the natural world around the tide pools and forests of his native New York. Since then, he has embarked on a career in conservation biology that has ranged from teaching science and environmental awareness to teenagers from Los Angeles, to traveling the coast and river deltas of Alaska’s North Slope by Zodiac to reach remote wetlands where he monitored loon nests. After such field biology projects as surveys for mammalian carnivores in the mountains of California, bird migration monitoring in Canada, and a study of army-ant-following birds in the Peruvian Amazon, Rich was drawn back to the sea where he taught marine science and island ecology on Catalina Island in California for several years. He has also conducted shipboard surveys for marine mammals and seabirds, as well tagging studies of sea turtles and pelagic sharks.


Hector Williams

Maritime Archaeologist

Hector WilliamsHector Williams was raised in Churchill, Manitoba, the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” and worked for various northern agencies like the Hudson's Bay Company, the Northern Service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Department of Northern Affairs before deciding to move to warmer climes and become a classical archaeologist. He has maintained an interest in the north, its history, and its archaeology and has published several articles on Arctic Canada. He is currently working on Jens Munk, a Danish mariner who wintered near the mouth of the Churchill River in 1619-20. He has taught Greek, Roman, and maritime archaeology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and has been President of the Archaeological Institute of America/Canada as well as President of the Vancouver Maritime Museum Society. He directs UBC's archaeological projects in Greece at Mytilene and Stymphalos and has also worked on various other excavations in both Greece and Turkey. He has lectured on numerous trips for Zegrahm in the Mediterranean, Black Sea, down the coast of West Africa, in the Caribbean, and most recently down the west coast of South America.


Ann Wilson

Assistant Cruise Director

Ann WilsonBorn and raised in Ireland, Ann lectures in visual culture and design history at the Cork College of Art and Design/Cork Institute of Technology. Her main areas of expertise include the history of European art, design, and architecture; visual cultural studies; and 19th- and 20th-century Irish history. She has published numerous papers and co-authored the book The Cathedral of Saint Fin Barre at Cork: William Burges in Ireland (2006) with Dr. David Lawrence. Ann’s career has been varied, as she initially worked for fifteen years as a biomedical scientist, before changing course completely and earning a degree in ceramic design. She then worked as a ceramic artist, exhibiting and selling her pieces in galleries throughout Ireland. In 2011 she received her doctorate in Visual Culture studies, and since then has concentrated on teaching and research, both of which she loves. Ann has worked on Zegrahm's European expeditions and has followed her research interests to many countries, particularly Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Nordic countries, but her home is in the historic seaside town of Cobh in southern Ireland, where she lives with her husband Jim.


Jim Wilson

Ornithologist

Jim WilsonJim hails from the seaside town of Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. He is a highly respected ornithologist and ecologist with more than 40 years of birding experience in Ireland, Europe, USA, Africa, the Antarctic, and the Arctic. Before setting out as a full-time freelance wildlife author, tour guide, and broadcaster, Jim had a career in medical laboratory science and pathology IT administration. He has written a number of books including, The Birds of Ireland – A Field Guide (2013), Shorebirds of Ireland (2009), Irish Garden Birds (2008) and An Identification Guide to Irish Whales and Dolphins (2006). He has produced two educational DVDs, Bats of Ireland (2009) and Whales and Dolphins of Ireland (2004). He also co-produced an iPhone app called Antarctic Wildlife Guide (2015), the first photo-ID guide app to the birds, whales, dolphins, and seals of the Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Beagle Channel. As well as being involved in many national and international conservation projects, he set up the long-running national Irish Garden Bird Survey. He was national chairman of Birdwatch Ireland, Ireland’s equivalent of the Audubon Society and is a former director of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.


Ron Wixman

Cultural Geographer

Ron WixmanRon is a specialist in world cultural geography and is well-versed in both the ancient and modern societies of the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Ron is conversant in several languages, including Croatian and Bulgarian. For 20 years, he spent the summers living in shepherds' villages in the Balkans. His extensive knowledge of the region has led to his work as a consultant to the State Department and CIA on ethno-cultural conflict. Over the years, he has amassed one of the largest private collections of Balkan folk costumes in the world. Much of the collection has been displayed in museum exhibits. He has traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe and is a consultant with a number of government agencies in the U.S. and abroad on issues of ethnic, religious, and territorial conflicts in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the post-Soviet states, and the Middle East.

Ron recently retired from the University of Oregon where he taught courses on the rise of cultures and civilization, traditional ways of life, food culture and cuisine, and geopolitics in the Middle East, in the Geography Department. He is also a specialist on general issues of religion, culture, and ethnicity around the world.

 

 

 

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