Cruising the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish inland sea bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands.
The following countries have outlets on the Baltic Sea (moving clockwise)
Much of the Baltic sea ices over in the winter so cruises are limited to the summer season.
On Shipboard, the air temperature is dominated by the sea temperature which, in turn, depends on the melting of the Winter accumulation of ice each spring. However, by July air temperatures will reach 16 or 17 deg C (61-63 F) rising to 22 deg (72 F) near mainland coasts. The day time temperatures over land can be as high as 30 deg C (86 F) on occasion but will normally be in the mid 20's.
As soon as the ice melts the sea temperature rises rapidly in late Spring and early Summer. For example the Danish islands and in the Southern Baltic near Kaliningrad will only reach 10 or 11 deg C (50-52 F) in May but will rise to 17 to 18 (63-64 F) by August. To the south of Gotland the May temperatures of 5 or 6 (41-43) will become about 16 degrees (61 F) in August. Even in the Gulf of Finland were the May temperature averages of just 1 deg C (34 F) rises to 16 (61 F) or higher approaching St Petersburg in August.
Thunderstorms can strike the area at any time of the year but the late Spring and Summer months (from May to August) will typically from 2 or 3 thunderstorms at Copenhagen and Stockholm rising to 4 or 5 towards the east near Riga, St Petersburg and Helsinki.
Cruise Ships frequent these waters with tours that last 10 to 14 days depending on what countries you want to visit. Often one ship will travel the Baltic Sea alternating between a clockwise and counterclockwise traversal of the sea. Somewhat longer cruises may venture out into the North Sea.
Cruises may also feature the North Sea and only sample a few spots in the Baltic. Most cruises will only stop are part of the ports that are available so be sure and study the itinerary to determine which sites are featured. However, most of the distinct Baltic Cruises feature an extended stay in St. Petersburg. This means you can visit the historic city for a couple of full days while returning and sleeping about the ship at night.