Scandinavian Cruise: A Closer Look

In a recent article about Scandinavian cruises, we explained what a “Scandinavian” cruise is. This was surprisingly difficult, primarily because the word “Scandinavia” is flexible. It can be restrictive, referring only to the two countries on the Scandinavian Peninsula (Sweden and Norway); it can be inclusive, including all of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland); or it can be somewhere in between, referring only to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, three countries that are closely related for ethnic and linguistic reasons. Obviously, though, we don’t get to decide what “Scandinavia” means, so neither do we get to define what a Scandinavian cruise is. Clearly, though, it should at least involve one of the countries listed above, and if it does, it may be referred to as a “Scandinavian cruise.” With that rough criterion in mind, what specific types of Scandinavian cruises are available?

There is a great variety of Scandinavian cruises from which to choose, and they fall into several categories. To begin, there are both short and long Scandinavian cruises. With respect to the former, there are extremely short cruises, like the “Norwegian Evening Cruise” that takes place on Oslo’s fjord and only lasts three hours, but there are also plenty of full-day cruises. Day cruises are a perfect way to see a lot of a country (especially one with a long coast, like Iceland) in a short period of time because they are always focused and filled with a given area’s highlights. There are also a number of cruises that last for around three to five days. Many of these cruises will center on the major cities accessible by the Baltic Sea, with stops in places like Copenhagen and Stockholm. There are also a few longer cruises out there – for example, the MSC cruise up the Norwegian coast all the way to the North Cape that lasts eleven days – but any cruise that is approaching two weeks is generally part of larger European itinerary, which brings us to our next point about Scandinavian cruises.

A Scandinavian cruise needn’t focus only on Scandinavian countries. Of course, there are many cruises that are limited only to this area. For instance, Royal Caribbean offers a four-night “Scandinavian Capitals Cruise” that focuses on, well, Scandinavian capitals. However, there are a number of voyages that may bill themselves as “Scandinavian cruises” even though they stop by cities in countries that are (on anybody’s definition of the region) outside Scandinavia. Generally, these cities are in countries that border the Baltic Sea, and so are natural places for a Scandinavian cruise to visit, but they are occasionally outside of this area, as when a Scandinavian cruise ventures across the North Sea to some place in the UK. Occasionally, some component of Scandinavia will be incorporated into one of the grand European cruise tours that various cruise lines offer, although it would obviously be misleading to call these types of cruises a “Scandinavian cruise.”

So, a Scandinavian cruise can be many things. It can be short or long, and it may or may not focus exclusively on Scandinavian countries. For anyone out there who fancies a cruise vacation in or to Scandinavia, we recommend checking out some of the various options out there so you find something right for you. To help you along the way, we’ve compiled an article about how to book a Scandinavian cruise.

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