Your biggest difficulty planning a European cruise is narrowing down where you want to go. A Western Mediterranean itinerary usually includes stops in Barcelona and Monaco, as well as ports in Italy. Eastern Mediterranean cruises encompass eastern Italy, Croatia and Greece, and sometimes even Turkey and Israel. A Baltic Sea voyage brings you to Scandinavia and Russia; the Norwegian Fjords carry their own beauty. Don't forget about British Isles cruises, which allow you to visit castles in England, Scotland and London. For sun lovers, it's hard to beat the Canary Islands.
The Baltic -- with its marquee ports of St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Copenhagen -- is a popular bucket-list cruise destination, but that means your first once-in-a-lifetime cruise there is possibly also your last. You definitely want to get everything right on the first go if there's not going to be a repeat visit to learn from your mistakes. To help you out with some Baltic Sea cruise tips, here's a recap of what we learned on our first cruise to the Baltic and Northern Europe.