Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. Elegant Stockholm is nestled where Lake Mälaren's cobalt waters meet the Baltic. This stunning cultural capital extends over 14 islands linked by 57 graceful bridges. Hailed as one of the world's cleanest cities, it boasts numerous green parks.
The preserved 13th-century Gamla Stan, or Old Town, boasts gabled merchant houses and an array of architectural styles, from the enormous baroque Stockholm Palace to the Art Nouveau Royal Dramatic Theater. Strandvägen is one of Europe's loveliest waterfront esplanades and the ideal place to sample some traditional smoked salmon.
Enjoy scenic sailing as we head toward our next destination. Oslo is one of Scandinavia's most vibrant cities, set on a splendid bay amid stunning fjords and hills. It was founded by a Norseman, King Harald III, and has grown over the centuries around the cherished Akershus Fortress. The city not only has a rich Viking past with its close ties to the sea, it also boasts an impressive artistic heritage.
Perhaps its most famous painter is Edvard Munch, whose work The Scream is known the world over. But Gustav Vigeland's 200 or so sculptures are the most prominent works in the city, on full display throughout Vigeland Park.
Oslo is Norway's largest and most populous city. The city is nestled between the waters of Oslofjord and the sloping forestlands that stretch into the hinterlands, so a nature walk is never far away. Even in the heart, vast open spaces invite residents to commune with the great outdoors. Norway's most famous is Frogner Park.
While a short ferry ride leads to Bygdøy, the green 'Museum Peninsula' jutting into the fjord. The grassy expanse of Tøyen Park, with its inviting Botanical Garden, unfolds behind the Munch Museum, while St. Hanshaugen Park affords sweeping city views. Enjoy scenic sailing as we head toward our next destination.
Edinburgh has been Scotland's capital since the 15th century, despite the fact that the Union of the Crowns moved it to London in 1603. There is no capital quite like Edinburgh, with its gorgeous setting on green rocky hillocks and splendid views of the sea. Edinburgh Castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels and countless medieval treasures, overlooks the city from Castle Rock; and the Royal Mile unfurls Edinburgh's architectural gems in all their finery, from the Canongate to St. Giles's Cathedral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish residence of British royalty.
Greenwich, a borough of London, is home to the Royal Observatory. From here, the world's longitude is measured from the prime meridian, and Greenwich Mean Time sets the global time standard. At the port, the clipper ship Cutty Sark, one of Greenwich's renowned historic landmarks, is preserved as a fascinating museum.
Upriver, London is home to Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. In addition, this major economic and cultural hub boasts a long tradition of arts and architectural innovation—from Shakespeare's Globe Theater to West End musicals.
Greenwich is home to several iconic maritime institutions. Royal Naval College is a major symbol of Britain's seafaring heritage and the architectural centerpiece of Greenwich. It opened as a hospital for sailors in 1712 and served as the Royal Navy's educational institution from 1873 to 1998.
Today, its hallowed halls whisper of the days when Britannia ruled the waves. The National Maritime Museum is the world's largest, chronicling England's seafaring endeavors in its compelling collection of art, maps and countless memorabilia, including the first marine chronometer. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.