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Page 4 of 11









Page 4 of 11

Prinsendam Baltic cruise - Kiel Canal, Bornholm, Gotland

At 37,845 gross register tons, Prinsendam is one of the largest cruise ships able to transit the German Kiel Canal which connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. Longer (60 miles) and narrower (338 ft) than the North Sea Canal, its Dutch counterpart, the building of the Kiel Canal was ordered by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1871.

In order to pass the seven bridges spanning the canal, Prinsendam's main mast has to be lowered. With only a few feet to spare, passing these bridges are the highlights of our day-long Kiel Canal transit. Basking in the warm sunshine with a drink in hand, we settle in one of the many lounge chairs on Prinsendam's open decks and watch the world go by from our moving vantage point which towers over the rolling countryside. By 6:00 PM our ship reaches the Holtenau Locks at Kiel, our gateway to the Baltic Sea.

The next day sees more blue skies as Prinsendam docks at the tiny port of Rønne, capital of the Danish island of Bornholm. Each summer, the island is invaded by German tourists that are drawn by the picturesque countryside, rolling hills, beautiful forests and sandy beaches. The best way to discover the island is by bike; so off we go! Once we have left Rønne behind us, our route leads northwards along stunningly beautiful coast-line to some small towns and tiny fishing ports that seem to have come directly from any of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. Wonderful!

More picturesque island vistas follow on Friday as Prinsendam anchors off the UNESCO World Heritage town of Visby, located on the western side of the Swedish island of Gotland. Visby is a medieval town with massive fortifications, beautiful parks, charming wooden houses and flower-laden alleys. But Visby's open-air museum looks belie the fact that this Swedish town is very much alive, as can be seen on the daily arts and craft market in front of the ruined medieval church. We visit the beautifully restored Lutheran church, the fragrant Botanical Gardens and discover the many elegant boutiques along the cobblestone streets in this remarkably beautiful town. All to soon it is time to head back to the tender which brings us back to our ship which waits for us at anchor offshore.

Passing one of seven bridges across the Kiel Canal

Ferries crisscross the canal
In the Kiel Canal
The center of Ronne, Bornholm
The tiny village of Vang in the northwest corner of Bornholm
Het medieval center at Visby, Gotland

One of the quaint old streets at Visby

Prinsendam hardly seems to fit the Kiel Canal

Lounging with a view in the Kiel Canal
Rønne, Bornholm
Biking on Bornholm - everyone does it!
Cruise ships at anchor off the medieval town of Visby, Gotland
The well preserved medieval city walls at Visby
Bring plenty of film if you go to Visby!



Photos and text: © 2005-2006 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on January 29, 2006

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