Scandinavian Cruise

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Scandinavian cruise - must-see places

February 2006

We are planning on going on a Scandinavian cruise this June with our 5 1/2 year-old. The ports are Stockholm, Gdansk, Tallin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Oslo, and Copenhagen. I have a friend in Denmark, so the question relates to the other ports, mostly. Keeping in mind the child age and laziness factor, what are one or two things you must see. Generally, we stay in port for one full day in each city. Any other pearls of wisdom for a cruise with a child? Anon

Hi i lived in Stockholm for 13years and i can recommend to go with your child to a place called ''Junibacken'' it,s on Djurgarden right next to the ''Vasamuseum''which you should visit as well if you have the time and patience with a child....Junibacken is a kind of interactive museum of Astrid Lindgrens most popular childrensbook characters...i have never been to the museum part itself ,,,i,ve only vicited their wonderful bookstore a couple of times but that is definetely a place to see with a might dock with the cruiseship at old town which is amazing in itself and from there you can take a ferry right across to djurgarden where it is.... i love Stockholm is for me the most beautiful city... enjoy your trip...Scandinavien as always worth to visit...i wish more people would Astrid

I went on a similar cruise this past summer. We mostly booked tours that the cruise line offered, so I didn't really roam the cities much on my own. For copenhagen and st. petersburg, there are good harbour cruises. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is a museum built physically around a sailing ship that sank on its maiden voyage. If you like boats, its pretty neat. Lots of palaces and beautiful churches in St Petersburg. A shopping excursion to get some russian nesting dolls, may also be of interest. fellow traveler

Hi! I am a Norwegian living in Berkeley. If I had one day in Oslo with a five-year-old, I would probably go and see the Kings Castle, on the top of the main street, Karl Johan, or to Vigelands Park, a park with lots of statues of people. Both has lots of space to run around for kids, and things to see for adults. Synnove

Sounds like a great cruise. In general the Scandinavians have given a great deal of thought to the needs and perspectives of children, so it is unusually easy to travel with children in the Nordic region. Stockholm is the city I know best of the ones on your itinerary -- it's a beautiful place and fun for kids. You can get what is called The Stockholm Card, which gives you use of public transportation (inc. ferries) and free entry to attractions for a day (or more than one day). It costs about $35 per adult per 24 hours and $15 per child. Probably your best bet is to head out by brief ferry from Stromkajen or Nybrohamn (subway stop Kungstradgarden) to the large island called Djurgarden (yoor-gorden, approx. meaning Animal Park). It was once the royal hunting preserve and is now mostly a park area with a number of attractions. The best of these for adults is probably the Vasa Museum, which is actually a battle-ship that sank in the 1600s on its maiden voyage and remained in Stockholm's harbor until the 1970s, when it was raised and restored. The entire ship, repainted and refurbished with cannons, etc. is now under a roof and you can walk through it. It is a fascinating museum and not bad for kids, as they can run around in the huge space. My son liked it when he was five. Also on Djurgarden is Skansen, an outdoor museum to which Swedish houses and farm structures were brought in from the country and rebuilt. There are re-creations of old Swedish farming life (cheesemaking and the like) as well as native animals (reindeer, etc.) The amusement park, Grona Lund, would also be worth a visit; all of these attractions are within walking distance of one another on the island.

Kungstradgarden (The Royal Park) often has activities set up for kids (my son loved a giant slide there), and Sweden House (Sverigehuset) is located at the corner of the park, with lots of tourist info, souvenirs, books on Sweden, handicrafts, etc. etc. Certainly you should take the subway to Gamla Stan (Old City) and stroll around the medieval part of Stockholm -- it's very small and very charming, and the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) is there, with the changing of the guard at times posted. (It's a pretty modest changing of the guard, not like Buckingham Palace, but therefore much more personal.) If you have more time, a trip out to Lidingo (a fancy part of Stockholm) to the Milles Gard sculpture park is beautiful. A sculpture garden is easier for a kid than a traditional museum, and the soaring stone sculptures and tranquil park are well worth a visit. The subway ride out there is also quite interesting (Stockholm's stations are hewn out of the rock and left rough, though painted.)

If you have more time a trip out to Drottingsholm is also fun -- there is a park and an 18th-century theater with fun tours. And if it rains... well, the Swedes have a saying ''There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.'' But if you are not of that conviction, you can retreat to the Stockholm City Museum, which is an historical museum of the City of Stockholm, but it is designed to entertain kids as well as adults and is quite fun. The Vasa ship would still be great under rainy circumstances.

Trevlig resa! Linda