This Last-Minute Vacation Feels Anything but Rushed
Summer is pretty much here, leaving anyone without a vacation on the books highly susceptible to panic-planning. And the risk of throwing together a peak-season getaway at the eleventh hour, of course, is a trip that feels composed of everyone else’s leftovers. But there’s still time to achieve the opposite: a luxurious escape to someplace fabulous, where almost every detail is seen to by someone else.
Enter Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a line particularly skilled at curating epic experiences that you can reserve in one fell swoop. Mind you, these aren't low-budget vacations, but with business-class flights, unlimited shore excursions, spacious balcony suites, premium drinks and gourmet meals included, each trip is value-packed—and basically effortless to plan.
Here’s how that experience could play out in one of summer’s most sought-after destinations: Northern Europe.
1. Fly in style to the Happiest Place on Earth
According to the UN’s recently released 2018 World Happiness Report, Northern Europe is home to the happiest nations on earth (the region dominates the top 10 list). And you’ll get a head start on all that good cheer by virtue of how you arrive. The aforementioned business-class tickets will have you breezing through a dedicated check-in line, enjoying preflight cocktails in a luxe lounge, stretching out onboard with more gratis goodies, then catching some midair Z’s before meeting a VIP greeter on the other side of the pond.
Of course, arriving rested and happy means you’ll actually want to get out and explore, rather than forfeit vacation time to post-trip recovery. So if you land in, say, Copenhagen, you can head straight for the city’s famed canals, among other icons. Or if you’re touching down in Oslo, you’re right on time to bask on the municipal beaches, whatever your ETA (the sun doesn’t set until nearly 11 p.m. there for much of the summer). Point is, wherever and whenever you land for your cruise, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will take care of logistics so you can get straight to having fun.
2. Take in over-the-top views from your balcony
As you pull away from each port, prolong the gorgeous goodbye from your expansive private balcony. And you need not book the captain’s suite to get one: Verandas (not to mention marble bathrooms, walk-in closets and king-size beds) come standard with every ticket. From this privileged perch, depending on your cruise, you’ll see everything from the dazzling domes of St. Petersburg to the gothic spires of Tallinn. Being on a small ship gets you amazingly close to the region’s fabled assortment of cityscapes and landscapes—so every seat in the house is a good one.
3. Have a bucket-list adventure in every port
Nearly all excursions are included with Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and there’s a whole menu to choose from in every port. Cruise from Oslo to London, for example, and you can have the singular experience (as in, there’s precisely one place on earth you can do this) of walking through a 25-acre colony of nesting mute swans—the Abbotsbury Swannery, founded by Benedictine monks in southwest England nearly a millennium ago. Or take the Seal Safari around Sweden’s Bohuslän archipelago, where thousands of granite and gneiss islands harbor colorful fishing villages and teeming wildlife populations—massive seal colonies, for starters.
In fact, this cruise alone gives you 31 free shore excursions to choose from, so your biggest task is pinpointing the dreamiest of them to tick off your list.
4. Feast on local delicacies
Whether it's borscht in St. Petersburg or hot apple strudel in Berlin, at least a portion of the gourmet fare you’ll enjoy onboard is inspired by each port of call. But if, say, Latvian pickled herring doesn’t rank high on your list of must-try dishes this summer, know that you’ll always find tastes of home—from Maine lobster to New York strip steak—at the ship’s gourmet restaurants, where every menu item is included.
5. Learn to say “cheers” in up to 6 different languages
There’s no better season to hit the region’s legendary open-air cafes and beer gardens for local spirits, wines and stouts, and onboard destination experts can point you to the icons (think Berlin’s Prater, the oldest biergarten in town, or St. Petersburg’s Sideriya, with 10 local iterations of draft cider). In fact, over the course of one voyage, you could find yourself saying “skal” with a caraway-spiced akvavit in Stockholm; “terviseks” with a glass of local fruit wine in Tallinn; “nazdarovya” with a shot of Beluga vodka in St. Petersburg; “kippis” with a berry-infused Lakka in Helsinki; “sveikinimai” with a honey-laced krupnikas in Riga; and “prost” with a golden glass of Hefeweizen in Berlin. Of course, you never have to leave the ship to drink well: Unlimited top-shelf spirits, wines and beers flow freely at the restaurants, the elegant lounges and even from your own minibar.