Cruising the Baltic Sea

Experience the cultural rebirth of the Baltic States and imperial treasures of St. Petersburg, Russia, with the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from June 8 - 17, 2017. 

Baltic

Encounter the lands and legacies forged by centuries of Baltic history and hear firsthand from a participant in pivotal 20th-century moments -- former president of Poland, Lech Wałesa, and Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Travel with alumni, friends, and participants from cosponsoring associations and enjoy this unique opportunity to attend enriching lectures by Wałesa, a historic world leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Khrushchev, a noted author and award-winning scholar, on this unique Baltic Sea voyage. Featuring six Baltic countries and seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, experience the luminous “White Nights” of the summer solstice, while cruising aboard the, five-star small ship M.S. LE BORÉAL.

In the tradition of ancient Viking mariners and medieval merchants, set forth from Denmark’s beautiful, sophisticated, innovative, and exceptionally “green” capital city of Copenhagen to the cosmopolitan and royal Swedish capital of Stockholm. Immerse yourself in the historic epicenter of the Solidarity movement in Gdansk, Poland and enjoy the well-preserved medieval Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia. Spend two days docked in the heart of regal St. Petersburg, with an early-opening tour of the world-acclaimed State Hermitage Museum and visits to the Peter and Paul Fortress and the spectacular czarist palaces at Petrodvorets and Pushkin.

Discover the stunning architecture of Helsinki, Finland, and tour the seldom-visited Hanseatic League town of Visby on Sweden’s Gotland Island. During the extraordinary Wonders of Norway pre-cruise option, visit the vibrant city of Bergen and travel through stunning fjord lands and majestic mountains by private cruise and one of the world’s most scenic train

This comprehensive travel offering includes five-star accommodations, a specially arranged shore excursion in each port and all meals. Please contact the Travel Study Program office to reserve your place while choice accommodations and early booking savings are available.

Dates and Prices:

Trip Dates: June 8 - 17, 2017

Prices: from $6,195 to $15,995 per person based upon double occupancy

Singles are offered in category 6 at $15,395 and in category 4 at $16,895. While we can not guarantee roommate matching, we are happy to assisy to try and find a share for any single travelers interested in such options. Taxes are an additional $495 per person and are subject to change.

At this time we ask that you please contact us to check availability prior to sending in any new reservations.

 Itinerary:

U.S. - Thursday, June 8
Depart the U.S. on independently arranged overnight flights to Copenhagen

Copenhagen,Denmark - Friday, June 9
Arrive in Copenhagen, Denmark's vibrant world-class capital of great heritage and seafaring traditions and
embark the Five-Star M.S. LE  BOREAL.

Gdansk, Poland/Lech Walesa -  Saturday, June 10
Once a flourishing Hanseatic League port today Gdansk showcases its glorious architectural heritage in the meticulously restored, elegant patrician mansions featuring late Renaissance and Baroque facades in  the Stare Miasto  (Old Town). Stroll along the pedestrian-only Droga Kr6lewska  (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 Walesa  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 its Monument to  the Fallen Shipyard Workers. Enjoy time to  explore Gdansk'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 Walesa,  on board the ship this evening. Mr. Walesa  will discuss his perspective on Solidarity, globalization and progress in the region, with time for questions and answers.

Cruising the Baltic Sea - Sunday, June 11
Spend the day at leisure cruising the Baltic Sea while enjoying a series of enriching lectures. This evening, attend the Captain s Welcome Reception.

Tallinn, Estonia - Monday, June 12
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.

St. Petersburg, Russia - Tuesday, June 13
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 one of the world's greatest art repositories, the incomparable State Hermitage Museum. Former czarist palace of Catherine the Great and a UNESCO World Heritage site, 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

St. Petersburg - Wednesday, June 14
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. 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, Finland - Thursday, June 15
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 reboarding the ship.

Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden - Friday, June 16
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, the original medieval gates, towers and stone warehouses. Tour the iconic Cathedral of St. Mary and the Gotlands Historical Museum. Enjoy time at leisure before returning to the ship. This evening, attend the Captain's Farewell Reception.

Stockholm/U.S. - Saturday, June 17
Be on deck as you 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.


Acclaimed Guest Speakers

President Lech Walesa

By exclusive arrangement, Lech Walesa, former president of Poland (1990 to 1995), Polish hero and international icon in the pursuit of freedom and democracy, will meet with our group on board the M.S. LE BOREAL. From his position as a marine electrician in Gdansk's Lenin Shipyard, Mr. Walesa emerged as a world-renowned figure in the struggle against Communism during the 1980 shipyard workers' strike and the establishment of the Polish Solidarity labor movement. Despite winning the right to form an independent union, Mr. Walesa and Solidarity continued to confront the Soviet-backed regime of General Wojciech Jaruzelski, which jailed Mr. Walesa and imposed martial law in Poland in December 1981. Mr. Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, a watershed moment widely considered to have been the first crack in the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain, which crumbled with the Berlin Wall in 1989. Mr. Walfsa became the first foreign non-head of state to address a joint meeting of the u.s. Congress in 1989.

Dr. Sergeil Krushchev
A distinguished author and scholar, Dr. Sergei Khrushchev is the son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev (1957-1964) and a visiting professor of Slavic studies at Brown University, where he has also served as a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies. Dr. Khrushchev's research has focused on the history of the Cold War and the turning points in relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the Khrushchev, Eisenhower and Kennedy periods; the history of Soviet missiles and space development, in which he played an active role ; and the Soviet Union's transformation from centralized to decentralized government and market economy. He co-authored his father's memoirs, The Time, the People, the Power (1999), and translated them into English (2005-2007). Dr. Khrushchev is a popular commentator for the American media and the author of more than 350 books and articles, including Khrushchev a ll Khrush chev (1990), Nikita Khrushchev: Crisis and Missiles (1994) and Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Super Power (2000 ).

Scheduled guest speakers may be altered due to circumstances beyond our control. See Release of Liability, Assllmption of Risk: and Binding Arbitration Agreement in the program brochure for more details.

INCLUDED FEATURES

  • Eight-Night cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark, 10 Stockholm, Sweden, featuring port calls at Gdansk, Poland; Tallinn, Estonia: St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Visby, Sweden.
  • Elegantly appointed, Five-Star Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.
  • All meals-continental breakfasts, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and dinner-throughout the cruise, featuring fine international and regional cuisine, served at single, unassigned seatings.
  • Complementary wine is served with lunch and dinner.
  • Tour of the storied port city of  Gdansk, including its historic Lenin Shipyard and Old Town.
  • Walking tour of Tallinn's historic and medieval quarters, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Specially arranged, early entry to St. Petersburg’s world-renowned State: Hermitage Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • City tour of St. Petersburg. a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring a visit to the impressive Peter and Paul Fortress.
  • Excursion to two UNESCO World Heritage sites-Peter the Great's Petrodvorets and Catherine the Great's palace in Pushkin, featuring the acclaimed Amber Room-including a lunch of traditional Russian specialties.
  • City tour of Helsinki featuring a visit to Temppeliaukio Church and a view of the old fortifications of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Suomenlinna.
  • Walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Visby, a historic former Hanseatic city on the island of Gotland.
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined in the itinerary, led by experienced, English-speaking local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions.
  • The services of an experienced team of professional travel directors throughout the program.
  • Hospitality desk aboard the ship.

Not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport fees; visas and fees for obtaining visas; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air taxes; airfare and associated local taxes*, airport facility taxes and federal inspection fees not listed int he "included features" section of the program brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from airport/hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later and/or departing earlier or later that scheduled group transfer(s); meals and and alcoholic beverages not listed in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure; and all other services not specifically mentioned in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure.


Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.