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About Helsinki

Surrounded by the sea and its own archipelago, Helsinki, the Finnish capital, retains its nautical feel with many sailing events during the summer. Exploring the fascinating sights of Helsinki, cruise guests will discover the city is also the country's main cultural focus, offering dance, ballet, opera, and other festivals.

The striking onion-shaped cupolas of the Uspensky Cathedral (modelled on the one in Odessa) are just one example of the Soviet influence on a country which achieved independence less than 100 years ago. Highlights of cruises to Helsinki also include some of the traditional Finnish building in the Senate Square and the North Harbour.

Helsinki is a compact city - 'a pocket-sized metropolis', as it was once described - so it is easy to get around, especially in the historical centre. Or you can take the touring 'pub tram' and drink in the views, including the colourful flower market near the harbourfront.

After months of dark, cold winter, it is hardly surprising that the Finns pull out all the stops to celebrate the genuine warmth of their summers with outdoor events all around the city such as the Coming of Spring, Midsummer, the Helsinki Festival, and the Annual Night of the Arts.

 

Shore excursions in Helsinki

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

A Taste of Finland

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

A scenic city tour followed by a Finnish food tasting at a local restaurant and free time to explore at your leisure.

Your scenic journey will take you from Helsinki’s bustling harbour, to its fascinating city centre. This unique city blends old, new, Eastern, and Western influences and yet maintains a distinctly Finnish flavour.

A panoramic drive will take you past the iconic Sibelius Monument, the modern opera house and the imposing Parliament House. During the drive your guide will bring the city’s history to life. Discover the influence of architect Carl Ludvig Engel, known as ‘the creator of neoclassical Helsinki’ as you view his Presidential Palace and City Hall. Admire the fine shops and open air restaurants of Esplanade Street, a local’s favourite.

Reaching Senate Square, it’s time to head to a local restaurant, where you will learn about Finnish food and have the chance to taste some local sweet and savoury delicacies such as smoked fish, cheese and a Finnish pastry.

Complete your tour with some free time to explore the square and nearby Market Square, before returning to your ship.

Beauty on Water

Activity lowShoppingFamily

Duration: 3 hours

Surrounding the city of Helsinki is an archipelago of beautiful green islands surrounded by blue seas.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a 1½-hour-long narrated cruise through the beautiful island-studded sea surrounding Helsinki. Begin by passing the old Yacht Club, a landmark of the city and view the diplomats’ area, located on a peninsula jutting into the sea. Continuing out to sea, you’ll cruise by the old Suomenlinna Fortress, built during Swedish rule to defend Helsinki from the Russians; today it serves as an outdoor museum. As you glide through the Finnish Archipelago, enjoy views of cottages, villas and waterfront saunas.

A stop will also be made at the open-air market, where you’ll have approximately 1 hour of free time to browse for souvenirs and local products.

Essential information

A coach will take you on the short journey from the pier to the landing area to board your sightseeing boat. Return to the ship will also be by coach. Operation of this tour is weather dependent. Numbers are strictly limited and early booking is recommended. There are a few steps to negotiate when embarking/disembarking the sightseeing boat. Refreshments can be purchased on board. If the Market Square is closed, an alternative shopping venue will be visited. The order of sites may vary.

Free Time at 3 Sites

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

The perfect way to explore Helsinki independently. Enjoy free time at 3 of the main visitor areas.

Once onboard your 3 stop transfer, you will be provided with a map of Helsinki, so you can plan your free time.

Venture into the heart of the city centre to indulge in a spot of retail therapy or visit the famous Temppeliaukio Church. ‘The Rock Church’, as it is more commonly known is an architectural masterpiece, the interior was excavated and built into the rock and the ceiling clad in copper.

At Sibelius Park, view the magnificent Sibelius Monument dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, which caused some controversy when it was first unveiled; the 600 hollow steel pipes in a wave-like pattern capture the spirit of Sibelius’s music. Enjoy some time to make your own mind up about this piece of abstract art.

Enjoy refreshments of tea and biscuits at a local hotel with a difference, formerly the local prison the historic building has now been converted into a modern hotel but has retained many of the original features which you will have a short time to ‘break out’ and explore.

Finally call at the thriving Market Square where you can discover a myriad of local produce and goods for sale or take a short walk to the neo-classical Senate Square with its elegant public buildings and imposing Lutheran Cathedral.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. A tour assistant will be on hand to provide practical information about where and when to meet for the onward transportation. Please note that the assistant is not a tour guide. The entrance fee for the ‘Rock Church’ is included in the cost of your tour, all other entrance fees are not included and are payable locally. A map of Helsinki will be provided. There is a 5 minute uphill walk to reach the ‘Rock Church’ from the drop off point. The order of stops may vary.

Helsinki by Bike

Activity high

Duration: 3 hours

‘Get on your bike’ and explore the city of Helsinki!

Hop on your bike directly at the pier and after receiving a short safety briefing and a bottle of water, your instructor will lead you and your fellow cyclists into the city of Helsinki.

As you venture through the Finnish capital, your route will take you past exclusive waterfront homes belonging to diplomats, as well as Kaivopuisto Park with its panoramas of Suomenlinna Island Fortress. You’ll soon reach Sibelius Park, home to one of the most important monuments in the city; the Sibelius Monument. After pausing to capture photos of the monument dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, your cycle tour continues through Töölö Bay, where you’ll be treated to wonderful views of the city, the Opera House and charming 19th century wooden houses.

As you reach Eastern Harbour, a spectacular view over Katajanokka Island, the site of gold-domed Uspenski Cathedral awaits you. Enjoy a brief photo stop, before cycling back to the pier via Market Square.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by bike. This tour carries a minimum height restriction of 5 feet. Pregnant women and children under the age of 10 are not permitted to participate. Please note that the bikes are fitted with pedal breaks. The cycle ride is around 2½ hours over mainly flat terrain; distance covered is approximately 10 miles. Helmets are provided, which must be worn. Passengers must be in a good physical condition and have previous experience riding a bike. Please wear comfortable footwear and clothing suitable for bike riding. The tour will operate in all weather conditions.

Helsinki by Vintage Tram

Activity low

Duration: 2¾ hours

Discover the historical sights of Helsinki by vintage tram.

Regular tram traffic began in Helsinki in 1891 and the first carriages were open sided and pulled by horses. In 1901 electric powered trams took over and through the years the city has seen different styles of tram in all weird and wonderful colours.

After a short transfer to Helsinki’s central Railway station, you’ll continue your city tour on a unique vintage tram from the 1960's. Sit back and admire the scenery as you travel along Mannerheimintie where most of the cities important sights are located. During your panoramic tram ride you’ll pass by the Finlandia Hall, the National Museum and Parliament House to name but a few.

Your final destination is the stunning neo-classical Senate Square. Time permitting, you may wish to remain in the city to enjoy a spot of shopping or alternatively a coach transfer will take you back to the ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, vintage tram and on foot. Passengers must be able to negotiate the steps of the coach. There is approximately 10 minutes of walking over flat ground included.

 

A selection of cruises to Helsinki

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