Travel insights from Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass

5 Worldly Winter Cruises

Who said cruises are limited to tropical destinations? While warm-weather cruising is popular with the masses, plenty of cruise liners are here to cater to those with a sense of wintery adventure. Whether you desire to explore an arctic destination or are looking to get into the holiday spirit, these five cruises may have you making snow angels on the top deck.

1. Cruise the Baltic Sea with Norwegian Cruise Line

Embrace a chilly escape with Norwegian Cruise Line’s 9-day Scandinavia, Russia and Baltic cruise departing from Copenhagen. On this epic journey, passengers will board one of Norwegian’s newest ships, the Norwegian Escape, and set sail for exciting excursions steeped in art, history and culture. Notable cities along the route include Copenhagen, where fairy tales come to life amongst castles and dreamy canals; Berlin, where history runs deep and people march to the beat of their own drum; Tallinn, where the charm of cobblestone streets will delight you; St. Petersburg, where the architecture wows and museums delight; Helsinki, where the coastline is dramatic and the saunas are hot; and Stockholm where the seafood is fresh and the locals are happy.

2. Head to the Northwest with Royal Caribbean International

Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle, oh my! A Pacific Northwest Cruise with Royal Caribbean is a voyage that’s sure to thrill. On this adventure, travelers will board the Ovation of the Seas and depart for Vancouver, British Columbia, where they’ll spend their first day discovering the city’s amazing views atop Grouse Mountain’s cable car, munching on local cuisine and admiring Victorian architecture. The ship’s next stop is Victoria, British Columbia, where travelers can enjoy the famous Craigdarroch Castle and discover why Victoria is nicknamed “the Garden City” as they peruse vivid floral displays and immaculate greenery. Followed by the final stop in Seattle, a city famous for its strong coffee, fresh seafood and artsy feel.

3. Helsinki Highlights with ShoreTrips

What do you get when you pair stunning architecture, a rich maritime history and strong Finnish culture? Helsinki. The perfect mix of old meets new, Helsinki is a must-see for any traveler. Take a stroll through The Market Square, a daily stop for locals in search of the freshest produce, get musical at the National Opera House or check out some art at the Finnish National Gallery. Is your interest piqued yet? If so, you won’t want to miss the excursion of a lifetime with ShoreTrips’ Helsinki Highlights and Winter Wonderland tour where you’ll explore local hot spots, sip vodka shots from an ice glass and even go for a husky ride. Best of all, ShoreTrips works with you to make your onshore excursion as easy as possible by coordinating pick-up and drop-offs right at your cruise port.

4. Get in the Christmas Spirit with AmaWaterways

Nothing says “Christmas spirit” quite like a European Christmas Market river cruise. Twinkling lights, glass ornaments, live music and piping hot food that makes the cold a little more bearable, AmaWaterways’ Christmas Markets on the Danube 7-night cruise is like something out of a Hallmark holiday movie in all the best ways. Beginning in Budapest, Hungary, this festive ship snakes its way through all the best stops for holiday cheer including popular markets in Bratislava, Vienna, Weissenkirchen, Melk, Linz, Passau and Vilshofen. If for some reason you tire of sipping gluehwein and feasting on schnitzel, the cruise offers other on-land adventures including walking tours, sweets tastings and bike excursions.

5. Surround Yourself in Nature with Fjord Travel Norway

Observe Mother Nature in all her fierce glory with a 6-night Northern Lights cruise package from Fjord Travel Norway. Beginning in Olso, Norway, this intrepid cruise stops in all the best places to view the Northern Lights. Along the way travelers will immerse themselves in the stereotypical Scandinavian lifestyle with activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling and even an overnight stay in a real snow hotel. Plus, a cool tidbit for those trying to lessen their travel footprint, each tour hosted by Fjord Travel Norway is based on their goal of sustainable tourism so you can rest easy knowing you chose a tour company that’s trying to make a difference in the world.

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