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Cruising with Natascha and Alexis: the wonders of Northern Europe

When I was in my twenties, my husband and I loved to go on cruises. During one cruise, I was pregnant with Alexis, so I ravaged every buffet on board… and believe me, there were many. Ten years ago, the kids were old enough to join us, so we booked a family cruise. They absolutely loved it, so ever since then, family cruises have become a yearly tradition.

Evening dresses

Every cruise is a string of discoveries. What makes this type of travel so interesting? It’s simple: you get to visit lots of interesting locations in a short time.

We try to get the most out of every moment, so for us, a cruise is everything but lazing away a week on a boat. In the morning, we go ashore as early as possible to explore the country. During the day, we stay on land to take in the atmosphere of the local towns and cultures. When we go back on board, we enjoy the last rays of sunshine on the deck, and after dinner, we dress up in accordance with the day’s dress code to have a delicious cocktail in one of the many bars and enjoy the beautiful background music. It’s pure bliss – and it’s the perfect occasion for the female cruise guests to put on some make-up and wear fancy evening dresses.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, we never book a cruise with the intention of having a lazy holiday, but we’re still glad that every cruise includes a day or two of staying on board while the ship sails to the next cruise stop. It gives us a moment to enjoy everything there is to see on the ship itself. There’s something for everyone, so we never get bored.

Northern Europe

Last summer, we crossed Northern Europe off our bucket list. We’d never been there before – and we were simply blown away.

We drove our car to the starting point, which was Kiel in Germany. Unfortunately, there’s not much to see in Kiel, so we boarded the ship as soon as we arrived at the port of departure. The next day, we visited Copenhagen, a magnificent (and clean!) city where we took the opportunity to see the famous Little Mermaid sculpture. The journey to our next stop – Stockholm – took a bit longer, so we spent a day at sea. As soon as we set foot on land, we were amazed at how beautiful Stockholm is. During a boat tour and a long walk through the city, we enjoyed the highlights of this Swedish gem.

Before we boarded the ship again, we took some time to cool down in the Icebar. We just about froze to our seats – maybe the shots had something to do with it? On our fifth day, we discovered the picturesque town of Tallinn with a fun bicycle ride organised by our cruise agency, MSC. Our last stop was in Saint Petersburg. The architecture there was simply breathtaking. Everything in the city looked dazzling. We also went on a full-day excursion here, including a visit to the impressive Catherine Palace, sightseeing around the city and a boat tour. Everything was planned by MSC so that we could visit as many places as possible in one day; we briefly saw the most important spots in the city and only slowed down inside the buildings we visited.

After visiting these unforgettable cities, we spent a day relaxing on the ship. The next item on our schedule: sailing back to Kiel. In my opinion, one day was sufficient for Copenhagen and Tallinn. We’ll definitely go back to Saint Petersburg and Stockholm, though.

Travel wish list

A Northern Europe cruise had been on our wish list for a while, but we always postponed it because we feared the weather would be bad. This year, we finally decided to go for it – and coincidentally, there was a heat wave during the cruise.

We loved every minute of our vacation. Maybe this is the perfect moment to book the next trip on our travel wish list: a cruise along the Norwegian fjords...

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