Thursday 23 May Auckland – Doha
We commence the tour with an afternoon flight to Doha. We cross the international dateline enroute, arriving into Doha late evening.
Friday 24 May Doha (B,D)
A leisurely start to the day today, after our late arrival last night. Late morning, discover the best that Doha has to offer as we embark on a sightseeing tour through the Qatari capital. We explore the main highlights of the city including the National Museum, Souq Waqif, and Pearl Island. We also get a closer look at Qatar’s history and culture with a visit to the Katara Culture Village.
We return to the hotel late afternoon.
Saturday 25 May Doha – Helsinki (B)
As early start this morning as we return to the airport and continue our journey. We arrive into Helsinki mid afternoon. We are met by our local representatives and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure, until we meet up for dinner this evening.
Sunday 26 May Helsinki (B,D)
A leisurely start to the day today, due to our late arrival last night. This afternoon, we enjoy a tour showing us the most interesting parts of Helsinki, Sibelius’ monument, The Church in The Rock, Finlandia Hall, the Senate, markets and the domed Russian Church. Tonight, we enjoy dinner together.
Monday 27 May Helsinki (B,L)
Today we tour The Fortress of Suomenlinna – a UNESCO Heritage site built in the second half of the 18th century by Sweden on a group of islands located at the entrance to Helsinki’s harbour. It is an especially interesting example of European military architecture of the time. The purpose of the fortress was originally to defend the Kingdom of Sweden against the Russian Empire and to serve as a fortified army base. During our walking tour our guide will tell us about 270 years of eventful history of the fortress, under the rule of three different states, as well as the life on the island today. We will see the most important sights of the fortress, such as the Great Courtyard, Piper’s Park and the Dry Dock, which in its days was among the largest in the world. We return to our hotel later this afternoon and the evening is at leisure.
Tuesday 28 May Helsinki – Overnight Cruise – Stockholm (B,D)
The morning is at leisure and late this afternoon we join the ferry for the overnight cruise to Stockholm, a wonderful journey sailing through the 2,500 islands of the Archipelago and it is still daylight at midnight. Outside cabins are reserved on the ship and we enjoy a buffet dinner on board.
Wednesday 29 May Stockholm (B,D)
An early arrival in Stockholm followed by a sightseeing tour which features City Hall, where the Nobel Prize Banquets are held; see the Royal Palace; learn about the Swedish welfare state and realities of maintaining these first class benefits; visit the 17th century Vasa Galleon Warship, the most expensive and ornamented ship built in 17th Century. At the end of the tour, after checking into the hotel, the rest of the day is free.
Thursday 30 May Stockholm (B)
This morning enjoy the ‘under the bridges’ of Stockholm cruise which shows the city from a different perspective. Sail under the fifteen bridges and locks connecting the Baltic Sea and Lake Malaren, see the various Islands making Stockholm such a beauty on water. There is so much to enjoy about this city, a favourite with many of our travellers.
Friday 31 May Stockholm – Copenhagen (B,D)
Today we travel by train from Stockholm to Copenhagen, enjoying the scenery as we pass lots of small towns and fertile farmland along the way. We arrive in Copenhagen late afternoon where we will be met and transferred to our hotel. We have a 3 night stay in Copenhagen, which sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager.
Saturday 01 June Copenhagen – Odense (B,D)
Today’s excursion takes us to the island of Fyn and the city of Odense which was the childhood home of Hans Christian Andersen and where he received inspiration for so many of his famous tales. We visit his home and the museum before returning to Copenhagen.
Sunday 02 June Copenhagen (B,D)
Meet Hans Christian Andersens ‘Little Mermaid’ gazing wistfully across the harbour, followed by a highlight visit inside the Danish Parliament Building to marvel at the opulent interior. See the Rosenborg and Amalienborg Palaces – we may see the changing of the guard; the Cathedral and the 19th century Theatre Royal. This evening, we visit the world famous Tivoli Gardens and enjoy dinner amidst the glittering lights.
Monday 03 June Copenhagen – Hamburg (B,D)
From Copenhagen, we travel south through the island of Zealand and crossing the border into Germany.
We will arrive to the maritime city of Hamburg. Check into your hotel and this evening enjoy an orientation walking tour and Dinner.
Tuesday 04 June Hamburg – Sightseeing (B)
Today, discover this great maritime city during our city tour. We will see the historic centre including St Michaelis Church and St Pauli Quarter. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the city further on your own or take an optional cruise to see the city from a different point of view.
Wednesday 05 June Hamburg – Bremen (B,L)
Today, travel west to charming Bremen. On arrival, join an insightful tour through the city’s picturesque centre, lined with quaint red brick houses. See the market-square, the statue of Brother’s Grimm, “The Bremen Town Musicians” and visit the ornate 15th century Rathaus (Town Hall). Lunch will be served at a local restaurant and your evening will be at leisure.
Thursday 06 June Bremen – Amsterdam (B,D)
Admire the picturesque German countryside and cross the border to the Netherlands and arriving in the capital, Amsterdam in the early afternoon. We transfer to our hotel and take a wonderful cruise tour through the canals of the city.
Friday 07 June Amsterdam (B)
This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour around Amsterdam itself. The city is famous for its three rings of canals lined by elaborately decorated merchants’ residences and warehouses built during the 17th century. We see Dam Square, the Royal Palace, Skinny Bridge and much more. We take a cruise on the canals in a glass topped boat. At the conclusion of the tour the afternoon is at your leisure.
Saturday 08 June Amsterdam (Join Holland America Cruise) (B,D)
This morning is yours at leisure. Art lovers will want to visit the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the Flower Market on the Singel Canal – the only floating flower market in the world. Early afternoon we are transferred to the port in time to join our luxury floating home, the “MS Rotterdam”. Our ship departs at 3.00pm.
Sunday 09 June At Sea (B,L,D)
Enjoy the opportunity to get acquainted with your floating hotel and the many activities that are offered during sea days.
Monday 10 June Alesund, Norway (B,L,D)
Ålesund, a quaint fishing town of approximately 45,000 in western Norway, has been called Norway’s most beautiful city. A fire in 1904 destroyed much of it, resulting in the town being rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style—also known as Jugendstil—that was popular around the turn of the 20th century. A year after the fire, Norway gained its independence from Sweden, which led to a campaign to build a “Norwegian town” to mark the creation of the new nation. The colorful buildings feature castle like turrets and spires with intricate facades of ornamental flowers, gargoyles and Viking-inspired decorations.
Arrives 10.00am, Departs 6.00pm.
Tuesday 11 June Trondheim, Norway (B,L,D)
Founded in AD 997 as a Viking seat of power, Trondheim (then Nidaros) holds the Nidaros Cathedral where all Norwegian coronations take place and the crown jewels are kept. The cathedral, the second largest church of Northern Europe, towers over the city centre. Its old heritage can still be traced in and around the city centre. It is also home to Norway’s University of Science and Technology with over 25,000 students.
Arrives 8.00am, Departs 4.00pm.
Wednesday 12 June At Sea (B,L,D)
Thursday 13 June Honningsvåg, Norway (B,L,D)
Invigorating and scenic, Honningsvåg, the world’s northernmost village, is your gateway to the North Cape. It’s Norway’s third largest harbor and the last port of call before heading eastward to the Arctic Ocean. This is one of the best towns in northern Norway to experience the beauty of continuous daylight. Fishing is the main industry of this Arctic Circle town, and the port is always brimming with activity.
Arrives 11.00am, Departs 6.00pm.
Friday 14 June Harstad, Norway (B,L,D)
Situated on Norway’s biggest Island, Hinnøya, you find Harstad – a region with unforgettable nature experiences, local food with excellent chefs, genuine shops, music festivals, an untouched archipelago and much more! Located north of the Arctic Circle, Harstad has a surprisingly mild climate. During the summer months, bask in the midnight sun, head out on one of the area’s scenic hiking trails, explore Trondene Church, built in 1250, or make a big splash in the Grottebadet Waterpark.
Arrives 12.00pm, Departs 8.00pm.
Saturday 15 June Bodo, Norway (B,L,D)
If there is a gateway to Norway’s Arctic region, it is the small coastal city of Bodø, in Nordland County. As was true of many of the country’s industrial ports, Bodø was heavily bombed by the Germans in World War II, which accounts for its largely contemporary look today — even more so with the new state-of-the-art Stormen concert hall and library complex. It’s worth a stop to admire the spacious blond-wood interiors of this institution that’s helping to promote Sami culture. With a backdrop of snowcapped peaks, Bodø is nicely walkable, especially along its concrete breakwater, which, as part of the Artscape Nordland program, includes a dramatic work by British sculptor Tony Cragg in which seven gray boulders with holes drilled through them produce “a place where land and water meet, where nature and construction collide.” As part of a recent street art festival, the facades of dozens of buildings are now covered in works by international artists. For those who thrill to jet planes, the Royal Norwegian Air Force and NATO train here, and the city is home to the Norwegian Aviation Museum.
Arrives 7.00am, Departs 3.00pm.
Sunday 16 June At Sea (B,L,D)
Monday 17 June Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland (B,L,D)
While the southernmost isles of Orkney closely straddle the northeast corner of the Scottish mainland, historically the archipelago (around 70 islands in all) and its people have had as much in common with Scandinavia as they have had with Scotland. In fact, until the 15th century, the Orkney Islands were politically part of Norway. Today the Orcadians are a fairly tight-knit and cooperative group of Scots — a rich community of artists and crofters (small-holding farmers), fisherfolk and those in the trades. A key attraction for tourists is the wealth of prehistoric sites on Orkney, including standing stones, burial chambers and even Stone Age settlements, such as Skara Brae, inhabited sometime around 3000 B.C.E. More recently, because of its isolation, Orkney was chosen as the place to keep Italian prisoners of war during WWII; a chapel built by them is a popular site to visit. The island capital is Kirkwall (originally Kirkjuvagr meaning Church Bay). Here you’ll find the Cathedral of St. Magnus — one of only two pre–Reformation cathedrals still largely intact in Scotland (the other is Glasgow’s St. Mungo).
Arrives 8.00am, Departs 4.00pm.
Tuesday 18 June Portree (Isle of Skye), Scotland (B,L,D)
The Isle of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides, offers an intriguing and curious contrast of landscapes and cultures. Between the green rolling hills and the jagged mountain ranges, the Quiraing ridge dominates the north of the island, attracting wildlife watchers and hikers keen to test their abilities. The island’s rich with history, too—its Celtic, Norse and Scottish influences can be picked up in casual conversations (and more formally at the Aros cultural centre), while Scottish Gaelic is enjoying something of a revival. Skye’s also home to 170-million-year-old dinosaur footprints, the 800-year-old Dunvegan Castle and the Talisker distillery which dates back to 1830.
Arrives 8.00am, Departs 4.00pm.
Wednesday 19 June Invergordon (Inverness), Scotland (B,L,D)
Welcome to the Highlands, the wildest and least trammeled region in the entire United Kingdom. Inverness is considered the Highland capital and, while a very small city by international comparisons, it does offer more than a few hours of enjoyment and entertainment with first-class restaurants among its attractions. Just outside Inverness is a trove of Scottish and Celtic history, myth and natural beauty amid unspoiled glens, mountains, lochs, rivers and more.
Arrives 8.00am, Departs 5.00pm.
Thursday 20 June South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland (B,L,D)
History was made in this port, just across the Firth of Forth from Rosyth, when the future Queen Margaret of Scotland arrived around 1071. Her devout religious attitude established “Queen’s Ferry” as the place for pilgrims from abroad to alight on their way to St. Andrews—Scotland’s ecclesiastical capital in the Middle Ages. Margaret’s legacy continues less than a dozen miles away at Edinburgh Castle. A key attraction up on the castle’s rock is St. Margaret’s Chapel, believed to be the oldest section of the fortifications and the place where she worshipped. There’s more to Scotland’s capital than the Castle, though. Edinburgh proudly displays multiple exhibits on national and international scientific achievement at the National Museum of Scotland, as well as some fantastic works of visual art at the National Galleries of Scotland. South Queensferry’s moorings are also within easy striking distance of Scotland’s largest metropolis: the city of Glasgow.
Arrives 8.00am, Departs 5.00pm.
Friday 21 June At Sea (B,L,D)
Saturday 22 June Rotterdam – Amsterdam – Doha (B)
Sadly, it is time farewell our ship as we disembark this morning. We make our way by coach back to Amsterdam, in time to join our flight back to Doha. Arrival time is late evening, we remain in transit until early morning and then continue our journey on to Auckland.
Sunday 23 June Doha – Home
Time for the last leg of our journey on our flight home.
Monday 24 June Arrive Home
Arrival is mid-morning.