Sweden’s capital city encompasses the Scandinavian way of life better than other cities in the region, says Josh Stephenson.
Sweden is not the most obvious place for a budget city break. Food is expensive. Hotels are expensive. And if your customers happen to enjoy a few drinks, they’ll need to factor this into their budget too.
But this is exactly the reason you should be recommending a cruise holiday to the capital city of Stockholm: it makes this famously unaffordable destination altogether easier on the pocket.
More importantly, Stockholm is an incredible destination that showcases the region’s charms in a way no other Scandi city does.
Stockholm – and by association Sweden – is a healthy and happening nation and the perfect place to unwind for a few hours (or even days if your passengers have an overnight stay).
There’s plenty of culture to be found in the city’s numerous museums (including the world’s oldest outdoor museum, Skansen), some truly delicious cuisine (especially those IKEA meatballs), and those with a keen eye will spot numerous instances of Scandi-chic style just begging to be brought home.
Take a chance on this interactive museum dedicated to the career of Swedish music titans ABBA. Visitors can prove they’re the one true dancing queen and take to the stage alongside the group, posing for selfies with life-sized statues of the band, and thank Benny for the music as they sit behind his famous piano. It’s a perfect celebration of the group for fans but, be warned, the day will set you back some money, money, money.
Gröna Lund Fairground
Kids will love a trip to Stockholm’s famous amusement park, Gröna Lund, where there are more than 30 rides that will have them screaming all the way back to their cabins. There are rollercoasters for adrenaline junkies, squeal-inducing sheer drops for those without fear, plus rides that spin around for those who want to lose their lunch. It’s worth noting that this popular attraction is only open during the main cruising season, from April to September.
Welcome to the home of the King of Sweden. Construction on the Royal Palace started in the 18th century and it has been home to the Swedish royal family since then. It is one of the largest palaces in Europe (there are a staggering 600-plus rooms) and it is open to the public – there are five different museums to explore. A great day out and a fascinating look at Sweden’s history.
Who sails in?
Easter hidden Baltic treasures
A 12-night cruise-only on board Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Magellan from £696pp (full-board) departing from Tilbury on 20 April 2019. The cruise ship is home to a fitness and wellness centre and makes stop-offs in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania and Poland.
A seven-night fly-cruise on board Costa Cruises’ Costa Magica from £879pp (full-board) departing from Stockholm on 8 June 2019. The cruise includes overnight stays on board in Stockholm and St Petersburg, return UK flights, checked luggage, all non-UK transfers, plus stop-offs in Helsinki, St Petersburg and Tallinn.
Monarchs and Tsars
A seven-night fly-cruise on board Regent Seven Seas’ Explorer from £3,799pp (all-inclusive) departing from Stockholm on 25 June 2019. The cruise includes return UK flights, a luxury all-inclusive F&B package, free wifi, complimentary shore excursions and stop-offs in Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Berlin and Copenhagen.
Grand Baltic Cities
A 14-night cruise-only on board Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Columbus from £820pp (full-board) departing from Tilbury on 15 May 2019. The cruise ship features two swimming pools and a wellbeing centre and makes stop-offs in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki Stockholm and Aarhus.
Itineraries courtesy of www.planetcruise.com; 0808 278 8504
Mundy Cruising MD Edwina Lonsdale says: “If your customers see only one thing in Stockholm, make sure they visit Gamla Stan, the mediaeval centre, for cobbled streets, tiny alleys and some irresistible shops.
“With more time this is a very walkable city, so visitors should don comfortable shoes and set forth to explore. Don’t miss Djurgarden – depending on personal taste and the amount of time available, this tranquil island can be reached by ferry, tram, bike, or even on foot. Once arrived, there is plenty to see and do, including open air museums, amusement parks and more.”
Chief operating officer at cruisingexcursions.com Simonne Fairbanks says: “Stockholm enjoys a magnificent location and is served by two major cruise ports, with a third, Nynashamn, just outside the city. A very busy cruising season operates from April to October.
“Our most popular tour is the Essential Collection three-hour Stockholm highlights with Vasa Museum, priced from £49pp. This tour takes in the medieval Old Town, The Royal Palace, Parliament Building, National Museum, the modern city centre and more. A visit to the Vasa Museum is included, where a famous warship from the 1620s can be seen, decorated with more than 700 sculptures, which were once brightly coloured and gilded.”