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Page 6 of 11



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Page 6 of 11

Prinsendam Baltic Cruise - Helsinki, Tallinn, Stockholm

Visiting so many countries, our Baltic cruise is like a whirlwind tour of the United Nations. After visiting small-town Rønne and Visby, Prinsendam brings us to three neighboring cities that each has its distinct charm. Helsinki combines stately neoclassical buildings with clean-cut Finnish design, while walking down Tallinn's cobblestone streets make you feel like going back in time. Last but not least, Swedish capital Stockholm is a bit of both in a big-city environment, with one of the world's most beautiful archipelagos at its front door.

Stockholm is the largest city of the three and is home to 760,000 people. Its location at the edge of an incredible maze of islands has turned the Swedish capital into a very popular cruise destination. Prinsendam docks right in the heart of the city, with "Gamla Stan" (the Old Town) at walking distance. Full of cobblestone streets, brightly colored houses and antique shops, Gamla Stan is a popular hangout for visitors and locals alike. But Stockholm's must-see attraction is its magnificent archipelago. Prinsendam sails from Stockholm at 5:45 PM and crisscrosses through the island maze, which for once makes us reluctant to go for dinner.

A first look at the spires and red-roofed houses in the old town of Tallinn and chances are you are hooked by this charming walled city that seems to have escaped from a fairytale. As capital of  Estonia, Tallinn has seen a turbulent past under Soviet rule. Estonia choose to part with the Soviets in 1991 and continue as a sovereign state. In the last 15 years the look and feel of Estonia has changed completely and despite the Medieval looks of Tallinn, hardly anything will remind you of the former Communist rule. I count more Porsches here than in Paris, the sidewalk cafes are crowded and it seems like everyone speaks English. With a clear blue sky, smiling people and a great atmosphere, life is good in pretty Tallinn!  

In complete contrast, Helsinki welcomes visitors with a stern, neoclassical look. Capital of the country that brought us Nokia and some of the best cruise ships in the world (Prinsendam is a prime example of that), the Finnish capital is an intriguing mix of east and west, old and new. The onion-shaped domes of the Uspenski Cathedral reveal the closeness of Russia, while cutting edge design can be found in the many boutiques that line the tree-shaded Esplanade. 

Helsinki as seen from the South Harbor

Helsinki open-air market
View of the old town of Tallinn
Alley in Tallinn
Tallinn still life

Lonely female guard at the Stockholm Royal Palace

Helsinki landmark - the Lutheran Church on Senate Square

A sunny Saturday afternoon in Helsinki
Impressive Tempel Church, Helsinki
Tallinn - market square
Sergel Torg in the modern center of Stockholm
The most beautiful capital city in Scandinavia: Stockholm
Sailing out to sea - the magnificent Stockholm archipelago


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

First published on January 29, 2006

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