Our guide to cruising the Baltics

Cunard's guide to cruising the countries of the Baltic Sea.

Savour Northern European cuisine, unlock hidden history and visit the many unique treasures and sights that the Baltics have to offer as you explore countries such as Denmark, Estonia, Sweden, and Finland.   

From the gothic architecture of Riga to Tallin’s UNESCO-protected old town and Copenhagen’s Michelin Star gastronomy, there are extraordinary contrasts to be found in every port as you sail the Baltic Sea.

Read on to find out more about this beautiful Northern region, or click the shortcuts to go straight to the sections that interest you the most.

Why choose the Baltics for your cruise?

The Baltic Sea surrounds some of Northern Europe’s most historic capitals, making this route perfect for immersing yourself in a rich and vibrant spectrum of art, architecture, and culture.

Whether you spend your days exploring magical old towns, discovering the fascinating history of the Cold War, or enjoying a spot of Scandinavian island hopping, you’re sure to leave with fond memories.

Baltic cruise routes

We offer several different Baltic cruise routes, so there’s sure to be one that encompasses the destinations you most want to visit.

Baltic explorer voyages

These longer voyages take you all the way across the Baltic Sea and back again. Visit northern gems such as Helsinki, Visby and Tallinn for a true taster of the Baltic experience.

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Roundtrip Baltic voyages

Remove baggage limitations and flight planning by sailing roundtrip from Southampton. Take a shorter cruise to western Baltic waters, or travel all the way to Helsinki before returning to England in style.

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Short breaks to the Baltics

Break away from the day-to-day rhythm with a short cruise to the edge of the Baltic Sea. These mini cruises typically last 3 nights and take you around the coast of Denmark to the German city of Kiel.

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Where we sail in the Baltic

Stockholm, Sweden

With its collection of palaces, fairytale buildings, inviting cafes and restaurants, galleries and museums, Stockholm is the perfect celebration of old and new.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Known for its many Michelin star restaurants, picturesque canals, sprawling streets, and colourful harbour, Copenhagen is a popular stop-off point for many Baltic cruise routes.

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Helsinki, Finland

Boasting stunning, neo-classical architecture, lively markets and must-visit islands, Helsinki’s world-class culture is just waiting to be explored.

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Tallinn, Estonia

A city of contrasts, Tallinn’s modern dining and cultural scene is as vibrant as the city’s UNESCO-protected old town, offering stunning medieval architecture and a thriving culinary movement.

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Riga, Latvia

Riga, the ancient Latvian capital, is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town, 3000-stall market, vibrant café and bar scene, as well as the beach resort of Jurmala.

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Warnemünde, Germany

With its salt white sandy beaches and historic fishermen houses, a port call to the picturesque resort of Warnemünde offers a glimpse into one of the Baltic Sea’s most beautiful coastal escapes.

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Visby, Sweden

Nestled in Sweden’s Gotland, Visby’s cobbled streets connect a labyrinth of gothic ruins and medieval churches, where centuries of history coexist with colourful candy-hued houses.

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Baltic cruise highlights

Old City, Riga, Latvia
With its narrow cobblestone streets and medieval buildings, Riga’s Old City boasts an array of iconic sights, including the statue of Roland, patron saint of Riga, and the House of Blackheads building. You’ll also encounter plenty of atmospheric spots to enjoy delicious Latvian food and drink including rye bread and liquid bread, as well as beet soup.

Curonian Spit National Park, Klaipeda, Lithuania
With a stretch of sand dating back to prehistoric times, an inviting lagoon and pine forests, you’ll find plenty to explore in Klaipeda’s Curonian Spit National Park. The Hill of Witches, an open-air park dotted with wooden sculptures depicting Lithuanian legends, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site attracting thousands of cruise travellers each year. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Dlugi Targ, Gdansk, Poland
Once the main market square, today Dlugi Targ is one of Gdansk’s most notable attractions. Alongside the colourful, period architecture, you’ll find the 1618 Golden House, designed by Johan and the legendary Neptune Fountain, which once flowed with the city’s Goldwasser liqueur.

Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen, Denmark
Located in one of Copenhagen’s oldest royal parks, this fairytale castle was built as a summer residence for Christian IV. As you explore the lavish rooms, you’ll see the Danish crown jewels and a priceless wine collection.

Baltic cruises throughout the year

The most popular Baltic cruise season sails between July and August, when temperatures are warm and pleasant, sitting at an average of 18 °C/64 °F. However, weather conditions are also pleasant in April, May, June, and September. 

That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy sunny days and pleasant weather conditions when you embark on a Baltics cruise during the winter months. Just like the Mediterranean, the Baltics have a changeable climate, with higher temperatures during the peak summer months and colder weather during winter, when temperatures fall to an average of -5 °C/23 °F.

Baltic cruise weather in winter - December, January, February

If you embark on a Baltics cruise during winter, it’s advisable to bring warm layers such as a hat, scarf and thermals. With winter temperatures averaging at -5 °C/23 °F, you’ll need to wrap up warm as you explore.

Baltic cruise weather in spring – March, April, May

If you book a Baltic cruise during the springtime, you'll enjoy mild temperatures, lush landscapes, flowers in bloom and sunshine-filled days.

Spring temperatures usually range from -4 to 7 °C or 25 to 44 °F, however, you should be aware that this does vary depending on the country you are visiting.

Baltic cruise weather in summer – June, July, August

Embarking on a Baltic cruise during the summer months is undoubtedly one of the best times to travel as you will be able to enjoy hot days, warm evenings and more appealing sea temperatures.

In June, July and August, temperatures frequently reach 24 °C /75 °F and higher – so make sure you pack your suncream, sunglasses and lighter clothing.

Baltic cruise weather in autumn – September, October, November

If you’re thinking of booking a Baltic cruise during the autumn months, you can expect cooler and fresher days, with a maximum temperature of around 13 °C/55 °F, however, this does vary depending on where in the Baltics you visit.

What to pack for a Baltics cruise

Whatever time of year you travel to the Baltics, we recommend including the following on your packing list:
  • Your passport
  • Travel documentation/visas
  • Weather-appropriate clothing for days on board and on shore
  • Outfits for formal evenings
  • Travel adapters
  • Any prescribed medications you take
  • Local currency for the ports on your itinerary

Comfortable shoes are a must on a Baltics cruise, for long walks around your ship’s deck and exploring each port of call. Opt for shoes that offer good grip and support, and don’t forget to pack a warm coat if you plan on looking at the stars from the deck at night. Temperatures during winter are extremely cold in the Baltics so it’s important that you wrap up well.

In spring and summer, daytime temperatures can reach a pleasant 24 degrees Celsius in some parts of the Baltics. If you’re sailing at this time of year, light sundresses, shorts, T-shirts, sunglasses and a sun hat, should keep you comfortable while out exploring. Cotton and linen are ideal materials to pack.

When it comes to evenings on board, you’re free to dress as formally or informally as you like, choosing between our fine dining restaurants or more casual options such as our Golden Lion pub. Do remember to pack at least one black-tie outfit however, as on Gala Evenings we’ll invite you to dress to the nines in your best tuxedos, suits, cocktail dresses and ballgowns.

Baltic cruises: your questions answered