Monday, 14 May 2012 1:14 PM
If you enjoy indulging your sweet tooth during time away from home on holiday, consider booking a Baltic cruise that will not only take you to some fascinating locations, but also give you the chance to learn more about the art of chocolate making.
A chocolate cruise can entail travelling around northern Europe to a variety of Baltic capitals, while your time at sea will be filled with chocolate-orientated activities led by an internationally-renowned chocolatier. Surely every chocoholic's dream come true, this sort of break will see you spend several days attending classes that will teach you all about the history of the sweet stuff and the various techniques used to craft different types of chocolates.
If this sounds like your kind of holiday, look into cruises departing from Southampton - this way, you can begin your break as soon as you board ship. Travelling directly from the UK means you can do away with busy airport and delayed flights, and concentrate on relaxing and enjoying yourself.
As you drift along, make the most of your time by attending classes run by your expert chocolatier, and discover the process of turning the bean into the bar. You'll be given the chance to sample sweet treats from across the globe, as well as being able to make your own Belgian truffles and paint a portrait in white, milk or dark chocolate. At another session you'll have the opportunity to learn about how moulded chocolates are made, as well as the 3D moulds themselves.
Classes usually take place over around four days and last for an hour or so, running twice a day, so if you've got plans in the morning you could always join an afternoon session. As well as the chocolate, there are, of course, numerous destinations that will tempt you just as much.
You can expect to call in at IJmuiden, Tallinn, St Petersburg and Copenhagen during your cruise departing from Southampton. Alight at Ijmuiden in Amsterdam and take a tour of the surrounding countryside, where you can visit windmill towns like Zaanse Schans, call in at a local cheese farm and stop off at a clog-making factory. Alternatively, you can take an Amsterdam city tour to find out more about the metropolis before spending some time looking around the Van Gogh Museum, which is home to the world's largest collection of the Dutch master's works.
In Tallinn, meanwhile, experience the Estonian city's medieval old town, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its excellent preservation. Admire the main sights on a guided tour, call in at the Open Air Museum or rent a bike to really stretch your legs while seeing the sights.
When you reach St Petersburg - often referred to as the Venice of the North - you'll find plenty to keep you busy here. Visit the beautiful Catherine's Palace with its blue and white facade, call in at Peterhof Palace and Gardens, visit the Hermitage art museum and spend some time gazing in awe at the beautiful domed church of St Saviour.
The last stop on your itinerary will be Copenhagen, Denmark's enchanting capital. Take in the beautiful castle of Frederiksborg, the sculpture of the Little Mermaid - a character invented by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson - the Amalienborg Palace and the perfectly-manicured Tivoli Gardens before concluding your Baltic cruise.