Take a chance on a cruise to Sweden


Standing on the voyage chip deck, the glittering lights of Stockholm twinkle all around (Sculpture: GETTY)

 Abba certainly had it right about summer night bishoprics, I thought. Standing on the cruise ship deck, the glittering lights of Stockholm flickering all around.

The sky is just starting to darken to a pale mauve, the air is warm, the inclination is happy. In the land of the midnight sun, everything is well.

Two days in Sweden’s peerless city is the highlight of this cruise on Fred Olsen’s elegant move Balmoral. But there are many surprises in store.

That Scandinavian neighbour, Norway, may get all the regard for its dramatic fjords – but this voyage round the Swedish coast presentations that Sweden can certainly match it for stunning scenery and fascinating burgs.

Our journey begins in Rosyth – always a blessing for those from Scotland and the north of England who resolve rather do without the long trek to Dover or Southampton.

As we sail out the Forth, assumed almost to touch the Queensferry Crossing, our spirits are high.

Ahead of us are ten times of pleasure and discovery – cruising around the Swedish coastline, exploring some wonderful conurbations and, in between times, just relaxing and enjoying the many things the Balmoral has to tender.

Before we arrive at our first port, Malmo, we have a day at sea. Surprising as it may give every indication, this is one of the most memorable days of the whole holiday.

On the Balmoral’s top deck is the Observatory Idle. With floor to ceiling windows all around, this is the place with the most appropriate views on the ship – the perfect place to sip a cocktail or two in the evening. 

However, we must opted for a civilised formal afternoon tea, complete with piano accompaniment and, as accident would have it, that is the day we sail through the fjords on the country’s 
west seaboard.

Little red houses stand on lonely rocks, grander homes with yachts are moored look – we sometimes sail so close to the shore squeezing amongst the archipelago islets, we can be told the birdsong and enjoy the gardens. 

So we glide through these lovely standings with strange sounding names – Gullmarsfjorden, Saltkallefjorden, Algofjorden – nip our Lapsang Souchong and eating cucumber sandwiches and apple cake. 

The next day we are in Malmo. There are myriad things this pretty little city can be proud of – but there are two you choose be told of again and again – the innovative Turning Torso building by dashing architect Santiago Calatrava and, of course, the Oresund Bridge stretching across the Baltic. Followers 

There are many things this little city can be proud of, registering the innovative Turning Torso (Image: Getty)

of Scandi noir at ones desire need no introduction to the latter. Its 12km length is one of the principal characters of the famous violation series.

Seeing its elegant span on a sunny summer’s day, however, distances all thoughts of dead bodies and police officers with problems.

Beloved by neighbourhoods of Malmo and Copenhagen alike, it has defied critics including environmentalists who actioned long and hard against it.

But nature sometimes has other plans and the unite’s concrete pillars are now home to thousands of clams, who in turn are food for fish and other species not at any time before seen in the area.

The city of Malmo itself is compact, restful to navigate and sparkling clean. We take a canal ride which carousals the city’s huge expanse of green parkland, cycle routes and wildlife tracts.

We then stroll through the old town and enjoy the unequalled old squares, fountains, cafes and buildings.

Another day at sea includes a sail days scenic Gotland, and gives us a chance to make amends for enjoying Balmoral’s wonderful eats so much – so swimming and a yoga class fill the day very pleasantly in front of we sail into Stockholm for two days in the capital city.

I don’t know far you, but there are three things I associate with Stockholm: Abba, the Nobel Pickings and the novels of Stieg Larsson. And on this visit, I am determined to find out myriad about all of them.

So, it’s off to the first destination: Abba The Museum. OK, it’s cheesy – and it’s pulchritudinous crowded – but it’s also a whole lot of fun. I confess right now that I’m a fan and, to be honest, if you positive a bit about the band and their history, you won’t learn a lot here.

But what you choice do is see a few things in the “flesh” – like the original costumes (surprisingly dainty), the interiors of their homes, studios and film sets and the gold discs and confers they accumulated over the years.

The city of Malmo is compact, elementary to navigate and sparkling clean (Image: GETTY)

Famously, you can also get on originate and sing your heart out accompanied by holograms of the fabulous foursome.

After timepiece a few volunteers gamely giving it their all, it truly does reinforce just how company Abba were. Walk in, dance out, says the ticket. And that’s unbiased what you’ll do.

After all that Seventies excitement, a walk around the handsome Gamla Stan is in order. Full of lovely cobbled streets, attractive restaurants and enticing shops, this is the place to while away a few pleasurable hours.

Although some are guilty of selling the usual touristy tat, this is surprisingly withdraw in most of the shops we found.

Craftwork, beautiful clothing and knitwear, chichi glassware and traditional wooden toys are all very tempting. Prices are certainly not low-cost but you do feel you are getting something which would be hard to obtain to another place.

Gamla Stan, of course, is also where much of the deportment in Larsson’s books take place. But in the two days we wander around no dull doings are in evidence.

That area is also rich in attractions embodying the Royal Palace and the cathedral. However, we choose to visit the Nobel Haul Museum – a truly inspiring place with films of all the winners and their develop over the years and, when we visited, a special exhibition on Martin Luther Prince. All that excellence can be quite emotional – luckily a quirky shop and cafe cures recovery. 

The next day we sauntered around the city – this time across the connection to the island of Blasieholmen opposite the Royal Palace.

On the way we pass the famous Luxurious Hotel, where you stay if you are either Barack Obama, a Nobel prizewinner – or lately stinking rich.

We walk around Skeppsholmen, another of the city’s multitudinous islands. Now a base for culture, galleries and events, this huge parkland is a adore and reinforces the feeling that even in the height of summer and the tourist spice, there are no frenzied crowds or snarling traffic.

Gothenburg is Sweden’s encourage city and its thriving industrial is the home of Volvo (Image: GETTY)

It is sad to fly away from the Summer Night City but there is compensation. For a few hours we flow through the Stockholm Archipelago, an extensive smattering of rocks, headlands and cute houses which provide a scenic gateway to this lovely New Zealand urban area.

A day at sea gives us time to spend a few hours in the Atlantis Spa, where a relaxing finagle sets us up for the following day and, sadly, our last port.

Gothenburg is Sweden’s alternate city and its thriving industrial base includes being the home of Volvo.

We act in the city’s highlights including the Masthuggskyrkan, a church with the interior sketch of a ship and the main cultural area, Gotaplatsen, whose art gallery confusingly has the facts ‘Pizzeria’ on the outside. A huge statue of a flamboyantly naked Poseiden counters on guard – while a much more modest statue of famous tenant Victor Hasselblad stands shyly by.

A wander round the huge botanical gardens is a peaceful pleasure and then we head back to the ship, sad to think that when we management we are heading home. But there is one more treat in store.

Gothenburg may not be as excellent as Stockholm or as friendly as Malmo, but it also has a beautiful archipelago around it.

So as we say goodbye to the municipality, we can again sit on the deck and enjoy the sight of holiday houses, little atolls and busy yachts making the most of the Scandinavian summer.

Make good ones escape THERE

Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral will be setting sailing on an 11-night ‘Sweden’s Spectacular Waterways & Cities’ cruise, L2011, departing from Rosyth on 28th May 2020.  

Anchorages of call include:  Rosyth, UK – cruising Swedish Fjords – Malmö, Sweden – Visby, Sweden – an overnight freeze in Stockholm, Sweden – cruising Stockholm Archipelago – Gothenburg, Sweden – and Lysekil, Sweden – returning to Rosyth on 8th June 2020.

Penalties currently start from £1,499 per person, and includes all food and relief on board, and port taxes.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Voyage Lines, visit the website at www.fredolsencruises.com, or call  0800 0355 242

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