Shore Excursion in Helsinki — With Poles

Cruise passengers up for an energetic Nordic Walk get locals’ perspective on Helsinki

I’ve always thought that cruise vacations and Nordic Walking coule have a symbiotic relationship: work off a bit of the caloric intake with a bit of a workout. Crystal Cruises’ Baltic itineries now include the option of a Nordic Walking shore excursion in Helsinki, capital of Finland where Euopean Nordic Walking was born.

A Nordic Walking Through Helsinki” is a seven-mile, 2 1/2-hour excurion. The guide meets participants right at the cruise ship pier, outfits them with poles, gives a bit of instruction and leads a bit of warmup and then, according to the description:

“Your approximately seven-mile walk will take you into the heart of
Helsinki, using mainly dedicated walking paths. Stride past a marina and
residential area before picking up the pace along the scenic traffic-free
waterfront that leads to Helsinki’s main city beach, Hietaranta.

“After taking a minute to rest, follow your guide through the recreational
area of Hesperia Park to the waterfront of Töölö Bay. Take in wonderful views of
the Helsinki skyline, enjoy a close-up look at the new Opera House and admire
the decorative wooden villas dating from the 19th century. Glimpse Finlandia
Hall, the National Museum, the Parliament and the Contemporary Art Museum in the distance as you enter the downtown area and wind down your Nordic walk.”

The caveats include: “The distance covered is dependent on the fitness and speed of the participants. There is no minimum age requirement. However, children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent. Guests must be a minimum of 4’9″ feet tall to participate. It is recommended that guests wear comfortable clothing and footwear intended for fitness activities. Nordic walking poles will be provided. This tour will operate in all weather conditions.”

It is possible to return to the pier by shuttle bus or spend a bit of time in town. The Nordic Walkling shore excursion costs $75.

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August 9 addendum: Two days ago, I posted information about this Helsinki shore excursion. Today, I read a post about exactly that excursion on a blog called Jigsaw Travel Journal written by a couple from Oregon. Part of what blogger Claudia, a piano teacher and grandmother of eight, wrote:

“…We are taught the technique for using the nordic walking poles.
They are very lightweight but strong because they are made of carbon fiber.
Their use definitely makes a big difference – the whole upper body, shoulders,
triceps, abs are all affected. Your breathing changes and your stride gets
longer but you don’t feel the change in stride.Seven miles is a long way, but we
stop several times during the walk to talk about the area of the city we are in,
the buildings, the history, future community plans, and even discuss the
economics of the country. We have a great guide….

“…I was worried that I might have trouble doing seven miles. I
was actually the one who was the most capable. I was up front most of the time
and only dropped back so someone could stay next to the instructor. They would
just as soon have me up front. I didn’t mind; it gave me more time to chat with
the guide about all sorts of topics – Finland, economics, power (wind in the
west, water in the north, coal in the south, and their movement toward nuclear),
urban renewal, nordic walking history and popularity. When we finished I wasn’t
even winded and felt I could have done another seven miles without needing to
stop. It was great exercise.”

2 thoughts on “Shore Excursion in Helsinki — With Poles”

  1. $75 seems a bit expensive for going on a walk . . . without even any snacks thrown in! Maybe it’s the cheap dollar we’re suffering from, tho’.

  2. It IS expensive for “going for a walk,” but as far as shore excursions go, it’s one of the cheaper ones. Shore excrusion prices of up to $200 per person are not uncommon, though they generally include more than the use of poles and the company of a guide. The pathetic dollar is undoubtedly another part of the cost. Cruise lines seduce passengers with “bargain” cruises, but by the time tips, fuel surcharges, perhaps port charges, shore excursions, alcoholic beverages and other extras are thrown in, cruises are quite expensive.

    I wrote this post because I found it interesting that a Nordic Walking option was offered by any cruise line at any port.

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