Changing Tides: Baltic Sea
Experience the cultural rebirth of the Baltic states, the magnificent imperial riches of St. Petersburg and the luminous “White Nights of Summer” on this remarkable six-country, eight-night Baltic Sea cruise. Enjoy a rare opportunity to hear enriching presentations by former President of Poland Lech Wałęsa and noted author and scholar Sergei N. Khrushchev, son of Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Cruise the Baltic Sea aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star LE DUMONT D’URVILLE, from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Stockholm, Sweden, with an excursion included in every port. Immerse yourself in the historic epicenter of the Solidarity movement in Gda´nsk, Poland; revel in the medieval charms of Tallinn, Estonia, and Visby, Sweden, both UNESCO World Heritage sites; and discover the stunning architecture of cosmopolitan Helsinki, Finland. Enjoy two days exploring regal St. Petersburg, including a specially arranged early entry into the world-acclaimed State Hermitage Museum, a visit to Peter and Paul Fortress and an excursion to Catherine’s Palace and Petrodvorets, two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Wonders of Norway Pre-Cruise and Splendors of Stockholm Post-Cruise Options.
Shared departure: this departure is shared with other universities.
Depart the U.S.
Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark’s vibrant world-class capital of great heritage and seafaring traditions, and embark the Five-Star LE DUMONT D’URVILLE.
Once a flourishing Hanseatic League port, today Gda´nsk showcases its glorious architectural heritage in the meticulously restored, elegant patrician mansions featuring late Renaissance and Baroque façades in the Stare Miasto (Old Town). Stroll along the pedestrian-only Droga Królewska (the Royal Route) to see the iconic Neptune’s Fountain and the 14th century Artus Court, a Gothic guildhall inspired by the ideals of Britain’s legendary King Arthur, which now houses a fascinating collection of Polish artifacts. In 1980, shipyard workers led by Lech Wał˛esa founded the Solidarity movement, the first independent trade union in Eastern Europe and the key factor in winning the Polish struggle against Communism. Visit the historic Lenin Shipyard, where the movement began, and see its Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers. Enjoy time to explore Gda´nsk’s lovely Old Town at your own pace. By special arrangement, meet the leader of the Solidarity movement, former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lech Wał˛esa on board the ship this evening. Mr. Wał˛esa will discuss his perspective on Solidarity, globalization and progress in the region, with time for questions and answers.
Cruising the Baltic Sea
Spend the day at leisure cruising the Baltic Sea while enjoying a series of enriching lectures. This evening, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception.
Having largely escaped the ravages of World War II, Tallinn’s UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Town has remained virtually unchanged for 600 years. During the walking tour, see Toompea Castle, the seat of Estonia’s Parliament; the landmark Alexander Nevsky Cathedral; and the 13th century Church of St. Nicholas. Visit the medieval Town Hall, the only intact Gothic-style hall in Northern Europe. Enjoy time on your own to explore Tallinn’s Old Town before returning to the ship.
Peter the Great founded majestic St. Petersburg in 1703 as his “Window on the West.” After cruising into the heart of the city, enjoy a specially arranged early-entry guided tour of the incomparable State Hermitage Museum. One of the world’s greatest art repositories, the UNESCO World Heritage designated museum was the former czarist palace of Catherine the Great. Its spectacular collections are rivaled only by the museum’s lavish interior. This afternoon’s panoramic tour of the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, features legendary landmarks scattered across more than 100 islands and linked by more than three times as many bridges. St. Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt, showcases exquisite examples of Russian Baroque and neoclassical architecture. See the ornate Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (Church of the Resurrection of Christ), built on the site of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination, and the 19th century St. Isaac’s Cathedral, with a striking golden dome that is one of the glories of the city’s skyline. Visit St. Petersburg’s first building, the Peter and Paul Fortress, constructed to secure the country’s access to the sea, and the impressive Baroque Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, containing the tombs of 32 czars, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs. The evening is at leisure. An optional opportunity to attend a Russian folklore show performed in the Nikolaevsky Art Center is offered.
This morning, visit the imperial compound of Pushkin and Catherine the Great’s elaborate rococo palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, highlighted by a special visit to the extraordinary Amber Room, which is said to be the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Then, savor a lunch of traditional Russian specialties while enjoying a traditional Cossack dance performance. Enjoy a guided tour of the splendid parklands and extravagant UNESCO World Heritage- designated Grand Palace of Petrodvorets, commissioned by Peter the Great to rival the Palace of Versailles. The elaborately landscaped grounds feature magnificent formal gardens and cascading fountains. Return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil, skimming over the Gulf of Finland.
Helsinki was named the World Design Capital in 2012 for its innovative use of design in stimulating an urban environment. Stand on deck as the ship approaches the city for the best view of the 18th century maritime fortress of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On a panoramic city tour, see the stately Senate Square and the diplomatic quarter of Kaivopuisto. Visit the modernistic Temppeliaukio Church, or “Church of the Rock,” impressively hewn out of natural bedrock. Enjoy free time to explore Helsinki’s lively Market Square before re-boarding the ship. By special arrangement, enjoy an informative lecture with time for questions and answers by distinguished author and scholar, Dr. Sergei Khrushchev.
Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden
Call at the Baltic island of Gotland, rich in Swedish history with abundant ancient sites and more than 100 medieval churches. The marvelous Old Town of Visby, the former Baltic center of the Hanseatic League, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and arguably the best-preserved medieval city in Scandinavia. On the walking tour of this “city of roses,” see the 13th century walls and the original medieval gates, towers and stone warehouses, and tour the iconic Cathedral of St. Mary. Enjoy time at leisure before returning to the ship. This evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception.
Early this morning, cruise through the scenic Stockholm archipelago, the gateway to Sweden’s magnificent “Venice of the North.” Disembark and continue on to explore the historic splendor and dramatic beauty of Stockholm on the Post-Cruise Option or depart for the U.S.
All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.
Meet Your Trip Host
Mike Hilliard is the Assistant Vice President for Leadership Giving at the University of Michigan. He has served numerous roles within Development for the University since 1997, including Director of Development for the Ross School of Business, and as Director of Development for Intercollegiate Athletics. During his stint in Athletics, Mike met his future wife Eileen (Shea) who was at the time the lead assistant for the Michigan Women’s Basketball Team. They have a daughter, Maggie, who is a HUGE Wolverine fan, accomplished Irish singer and dancer, and fourth grader at Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, MI, where Mike also served previously as Chief Campaign and Development Officer. The Hilliards reside in West Bloomfield and anxiously await the arrival of Week 1 at Camp Michigania each and every year. GO BLUE!