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					Basic Facts
— a first eye opener to enjoy the Baltic region

Take your desktop globe for a spin or pull out your atlas and cast your eyes on Europe. Look north, not south,
to find the cruising region known as the Baltics.

Even experienced travellers sometimes confuse the Baltic with the Balkans. The two regions could not be
more different. The Balkans fought long and drawn-out wars for most of the 1990s, The Baltics, on the other
hand, remained peaceful, stable, safe and clean — just as they are today.

One of the world’s most popular and fastest-growing cruise destinations, the Baltic cruising region refers to
the Baltic Sea, which stretches from southern Denmark to near the Arctic Circle. Along its shores are some of
the world’s most fabled cities — Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, to name a few.

Members of the Cruise Baltic Project, 19 harbor towns in 10 countries represent the key cruise ports in the
Baltic cruising region. Ranging from Malmö, Sweden, which welcomed a mere 1350 cruise passengers in
2006 to Copenhagen, which welcomed more than 399,000 cruise passengers in 2006, all share a common
climate, with the cruise season running from May through September, and a common history.

Cruise passengers set foot in lands once inhabited by kings and queens (and the monarchy still exist in some
of the Baltic Region countries), of Viking warriors and German merchants, of Tsars and seafaring wanderers.
In many cities visitors see reminders of a time long ago: medieval town walls, cobblestone streets, castles,
palaces and museums that house age-old artifacts.

The past decades have brought great change in the Baltics. Former Soviet-bloc countries in the Baltic region
now embrace cruise passengers, and even though English is typically spoken as a second language in many
of the port destinations, cruise passengers will hear a variety of tongues spoken as they stroll city streets.

Copenhagen and Stockholm, the Baltic Cruising Region’s primary turnaround ports (where most cruises
begin or end), not only are conveniently connected to the rest of the world but also conveniently connected
between the airports and the city centres and cruise terminals. Infrastructure is among the best in the world,
and Copenhagen boasts not only the world’s best airport (according to one survey of travellers) but also
Europe’s cheapest and fastest airport-to-city-center connections.

You might say that with all that is has going for it, the Baltics were ―tailor-made for cruises.‖ Cruise
passengers certainly think so. Year after year, they return in record numbers to cruise one of the world’s
greatest destinations.

Geography
The Baltic cruising region refers to the Baltic Sea, an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean that separates the
Scandinavian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe. Stretching from southern Denmark to near the
Arctic Circle and from eastern Denmark to southern Finland, the Baltic Sea is the world’s largest expanse of
brackish water, fed by freshwater rivers from a catchment area four times as large as the sea itself.

Though the two regions share similar-sounding names, the Baltics are not to be confused with the Balkans.
The Balkans are comprised of countries (such as Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey) on the Balkan Peninsula in
the southern reaches of Europe. The Baltics, by contrast, are situated at the same northerly latitude as
Anchorage, Alaska. Countries bounding the Baltic Sea and its arms, clockwise from the west, are Denmark,
Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany.

The Baltic cruising region is characterized by a variety of landscapes - low, rocky islands called skerries along
the coasts of Sweden and Finland, Norwegian fjords, lagoons, inlets, and some of the world’s most fabled
cities. On the far eastern edge of the Baltic Sea, Peter the Great’s ―window to Europe,‖ St. Petersburg, is
situated at the head of the Gulf of Finland. On the western edge of the Baltic Sea, Elsinore, Denmark, lays
claim to Kronborg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s ―Hamlet.‖ The Scandinavian capitals of Copenhagen
and Stockholm, with their myriad attractions, serve as transportation hubs and are where most Baltic cruises
begin or end.

One of the world’s most popular cruising regions, the Baltics also are one of the world’s fastest growing cruise
markets. Annually, for several years running, port destinations in the Baltics have set records both in the
number of cruise ship calls and the number of cruise ship passengers visiting ports.

Key Cruise Baltic Ports
Seventeen harbor towns in 10 Baltic countries represent the key cruise ports in the Baltic cruising region. Port
destinations listed in the accompanying table are in order of cruise passenger visitations, highest to lowest.

Rank       Port                                Population          Cruise Passengers 2006
1          Copenhagen, Denmark                      1.7 million                                 399,000
2          Tallinn, Estonia                           400,000                                   305,835
3          St. Petersburg, Russia                     5 million                                 292,000
4          Helsinki, Finland                          559,000                                   280,000
5          Stockholm, Sweden                          758,000                                   230,000
6          Oslo, Norway                               550,000                                   200,000
7          Rostock, Germany                           197,000                                   145,500
8          Gdynia, Poland                                                                        95,738
9          Visby, Sweden                                 22,000                                  80,000
10         Riga, Latvia                                 747,000                                  74,971
11         Klaipeda, Lithuania                          192,000                                  20,400
12         Elsinore, Denmark/                            61,000                                  18,555
           Helsingborg, Sweden                          118,000
13         Rønne, Denmark                                15,000                                  16,311
14         Göteborg, Sweden                             600,000                                  12,000
15         Turku, Finland                               175,000                                   3,273
16         Mariehamn                                     27,000                                   2,721
17         Kalmar, Sweden                                60,000                                   2,717
18         Karlskrona                                    61,000                                   2,460
19         Malmö, Sweden                                267,000                                   1,350


Cruise Lines and Itineraries
Nearly all of the major cruise lines offer Baltic itineraries. Most cruise itineraries span seven days or longer
and visit several port destinations during a single sailing. Pre- and post-cruise stays are popular, particularly
in the primary turnaround ports (where Baltic cruises begin or end) of Copenhagen and Stockholm. Some
cruise lines overnight one or more nights in port, particularly in St. Petersburg.

Climate
During the cruise season, April through October, the Baltic Sea climate is similar to that of London or
Amsterdam. While summers are short, they are comparatively warm. The climate is moderated by a section
of the warm Gulf Stream. Average daytime temperatures during July and August are around 70°F/21°C.
Spring and fall sees average daily temperatures at around 50°F/10°C.

Precipitation averages 20 to 24 inches annually throughout much of the Baltic. By contrast, Ketchikan,
Alaska, at roughly the same latitude, receives 150 inches of rain annually. Statistically, Oslo is the Baltics’
sunniest capital.

In these northerly latitudes, the sky does not darken during June and July until 2 a.m. - and then only slightly,
allowing cruise passengers in many of the Baltic Sea destinations to experience ―endless‖ summer days and
―white nights.‖

History
The Baltic Sea and the landmasses surrounding it were exposed when the Scandinavian ice sheet retreated
toward the Arctic roughly 10,000 years ago. Perhaps the best known of the early settlers were the Vikings,
                                                                                                          th
also called Norseman, seafaring warriors who raided and colonized wide regions of Europe between the 9
       th
and 11 centuries. The Vikings opened the Baltic to trade and were followed in the late Middle Ages by
German merchants of the Hanseatic League, which dominated the Baltic in the 13th and 15th centuries.

Throughout the Baltic Seas’ history, a succession of wars were fought, primarily between Sweden and
Denmark, for control of the Baltic trade routes. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Swedish empire
encompassed nearly all of the Baltic Sea. Russia and Prussia became the leading powers in the Baltic Sea
during the 18th century. In 1703, Peter the Great founded his strategic outpost, St. Petersburg, on the Gulf of
Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea.
             th
In the mid-19 -century Crimean War, a joint fleet of Great Britain and France attacked Russian fortresses
guarding St. Petersburg.

The countries surrounding the Baltic are bound together by a common sea and a common history. They have
been united -- and sometimes torn apart -- through wars, empire-building and also trade. While wars and
empire-building have long ended, those events left behind indelible reminders throughout the Baltic region –
particularly in architecture, in customs and in lifestyles to some degree.

Trade between the Baltic nations, however, is thriving, perhaps now more than ever before. Initiated in 2004,
the Cruise Baltic Project represents the invigorated spirit of trade and cooperation in the region. The initiative
is built equally upon a common sea and a common trade history. Today, cruise ships follow the same routes
as traders followed hundreds, and even thousands, of years ago.

Also in 2004, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland joined the European Union, further strengthening
cooperation within the region. Of the port cities surrounding the Baltic Sea, only Oslo and St. Petersburg are
non-EU areas.

Language
Though English as a second language is spoken throughout much of the Baltic Sea, particularly among the
young and in tourist areas, the primary languages are Finnish, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, Russian,
Norwegian, Danish, Lithuanian and Polish.

Interesting facts about languages spoken in the Baltic Sea region:

    1. The Lithuanian language is the oldest living Indo European language. Its grammar structure is related
        to the archaic Sanskrit or Latin.

    2. The Scandinavian languages Swedish, Danish and Norwegian have most words and grammatical
        features in common, so that Norwegians, Danes and Swedes often converse with one another in their
        own languages.
                                                                                                    th
    3. Swedish was used in Finnish education, government and literature until the end of the 19 century.
        Finnish, closely related to the Estonian language, gradually became the predominant language, but
        the country is officially bi-lingual with higher education and a rich cultural life in both Finnish and
        Swedish. The self-governed Åland Islands of Finland is entirely Swedish speaking.

    4. German belongs to the same language family as English, Frisian and Netherlandic (which includes
        Dutch and Flemish). The first recorded use of Germanic languages was during contact with the
                       st
        Romans in the 1 century BC.
    5. Polish is closely related to Czech, Slovak and the Sorbian languages of eastern Germany. The first
        written Polish appeared as a list of names in the Papal Bull issued in 1136.

    6. Latvian belongs to the Indo-European languages that also include Lithuanian and the extinct Old
        Prussian, Yotvingian, Curonian, Selonian and Semigallian languages.

    7. Russian, the primary language of Russia, is divided into the Northern group (stretching from St.
        Petersburg eastward across Siberia), the Southern group (in most of central and southern Russia),
        and the Central group (between Northern and Southern).

    8. Estonia has witnessed a large-scale migration of peoples. Those battling through (Danes, Germans,
        Swedes, Poles and Russians) or traveling through doubtlessly left their marks on the Estonians' way
        of thinking, their character and language. In the course history, Estonian has borrowed from Low
        German, High German, Swedish and Russian.

Standard of Living
The standard of living varies greatly within the Baltic Sea region. The Scandinavian countries enjoy the
world's highest standards of living. Social systems feature subsidized (or government assisted) health care,
generous unemployment benefits and retirement pensions.

The high standard of living benefits tourists, who find diverse dining, shopping and sight-seeing opportunities
as well as well-developed port and transportation infrastructure to accommodate cruise ship passengers.

After the collapse of communism, many of the former Soviet-block countries began to rebuild their economies
through enterprise such as tourism. Baltic cruises have brought tourist dollars as well as harbor development
that extends into the city centers and beyond.

The prospect for many former Soviet-bloc countries has further brightened since they joined the European
Union (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland joined only in 2004). The Economist has cited Estonia ―as the
biggest, most complicated, and most promising piece of the new Europe."


Infrastructure
For cruise passengers, most of the Baltic Sea ports are close to the city centers and attractions. Many piers
and terminals are within walking distance of the city centers. Others are only a short transit away.

Public transport in the Baltic Sea region is safe, reliable, clean and cheap. Of the two turn-around ports
Copenhagen and Stockholm, Copenhagen has the fastest and cheapest airport-to-city-center rail link of any
European capital: just 13 minutes and US $6. Its primary cruise terminal, Langelinie, is within walking
distance of the major sites in Copenhagen. Some ships dock at Freeport Cruise Terminal, a 10- to 15-minute
shuttle or taxi ride away from the city center.

Stockholm’s city center can be reached from the airport in about 20 minutes on the Arlanda Express for about
$35 per person. Stockholm has numerous docking facilities, with the farthest being a one-hour transit away
from the city center. Most ships, however, dock at the city center, within walking distance of Stockholm’s
primary attractions.

In some port destinations, cycling is popular. In Copenhagen, for example, you will find cycle paths alongside
virtually every street, as well as free city bikes available to borrow from stands throughout the city from spring
to autumn.

The Cruise Baltic Project aims to create continuity between port facilities and services in all member ports.

How To Get There
Copenhagen and Stockholm are the primary ports of embarkation and disembarkation for all Baltic cruises.
Nearly all cruises begin or end in one of these Scandinavian capitals. Both have excellent air connections
with the rest of the world.
Copenhagen Airport is Scandinavia’s largest airport with 20-22 million passengers a year. In 2006,
Copenhagen Airport was voted Europe’s best for the fifth time in a row.

Stockholm’s Arlanda International Airport is located 26 miles north of the city and is the largest airport in
Scandinavia.

SAS, Europe’s sixth largest airline company, has several hundreds daily flights to Copenhagen and almost as
many daily flights to Stockholm. With its membership of Star Alliance, SAS covers the world. Scandinavian
Airlines, www.scandinavia.net

Flight times to Copenhagen with SAS:

· London, Paris and Geneva 1h 55m
· Rome 2h 35m
· Berlin 1h 10m
· New York 7h 40m
· Frankfurt 1h 30m
· Beijing 9h 40m
· Helsinki 1h 35m
· Tokyo 11h 30m
· Milan 2h 05m

Flight times to Stockholm with SAS:

· London 2h 20m
· New York 7h 50 m
• Geneva 2 h 40 min
• Rome 3 h
• Berlin 1h 40 min
• Frankfurt 2 h10 min
• Helsinki 1 h
• Milan 2 h 40 min

				
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