Baltic Waves of Pleasure. NORTHERN HIGHLIGHTS: Soaking Up the Sun on a Cruise. Left: A Liner Sails Up the Fjords in Norway

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IT'S not surprising that the Baltic has become one of the most populardestinations for cruise companies. On a relatively short voyage you candiscover an array of fascinating cities and view some wonderful scenery.

An added bonus is that it can all be reached in an easy cruise from a UK portwith no need to suffer the stress of air travel.

The key ports on most itineraries include St Petersburg in Russia, with itsfabulous palaces and stunning art treasures. Stockholm is also delightful withits charming painted houses and cobbled streets.

You won't want to miss Tallinn in Estonia, a handsome medieval town; and don'tforget Copenhagen, Oslo or Helsinki.

Voyages of Discovery (01444 462150; www.voyagesofdiscovery.

co.uk) offers a selection of ex-UK Baltic cruises. A unique feature is thethree-day stay in St Petersburg on two of its Baltic itineraries, allowing moretime to explore.

There is also a tour to Moscow.

Departing Harwich on June 21, 2008, the 13-night Baltic Treasures voyage, withstops at Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Gdynia, Warnemunde anda transit of the Kiel Canal before returning to Harwich, costs from [pounds sterling]1,479 perperson. The price includes accommodation, lectures and entertainment on board,parking at the port or selected transfers, taxes and tips.

1st4Cruising www.1st4cruising.com; 0870 010 6241) features a 12-night cruisefrom Harwich on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas, departing June 4, 2008.Prices start at [pounds sterling]1,034 per person for fullboard accommodation in an insidecabin with an itinerary that features Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, StPetersburg and Tallinn, before returning to Harwich. …