During port calls along the Atlantic coasts of Spain and France, see historic artifacts such as the Bayeux Tapestry; visit some of the landmark buildings of Europe, including Mont Saint-Michel and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and explore significant World War II sites, including U-boat pens at the Keroman Submarine Base in Lorient and the Normandy invasion beaches. Enjoy the picturesque charm of Brittany’s Finistere, the westernmost point of continental France, and the poignancy of World War II museums, dedicated to battles, and lives, won and lost. Throughout the voyage, sample the great food and wine for which Spain and France are celebrated: Basque tapas (pintxos), crepes in Brittany, and seafood and Calvados in Normandy. An optional post-trip extension commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy is also offered.
EMILY BAKEMEIER has served as assistant provost, associate provost, deputy provost for the arts and humanities, deputy provost, and dean of faculty affairs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) in her nearly two decades at Yale. Currently she is deputy provost, with a broad-gauged portfolio that includes working closely with the School of Art, the Institute of Sacred Music, the Norfolk Summer Programs, the Yale Alumni Magazine, and the arts at Yale more generally. She is also responsible for specific aspects of faculty recruitment, retention, and retirement across the university. Currently a member of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees, Emily graduated with an AB in English literature and art history from Dartmouth College and earned an MFA and PhD in art and archaeology from Princeton University. Her area of academic expertise is 16th- and 17th-century northern European art. After having concentrated her early work on seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painting and northern European architectural history, including landscape and garden architecture, Emily turned her attention and writing to French royal portraiture and iconography from the reign of Francois I (1515-1547) to that of Louis XIV (1661-1715).
Sunday & Monday, May 26 & 27
DEPART U.S. / BILBAO, SPAIN
Depart home on an overnight flight to Bilbao, Spain. This afternoon, take a panoramic coach tour of Bilbao, with a guided walk through Casco Viejo, the colorful medieval quarter of the city, noted for its
elegant architecture and tiny pintxos (Basque tapas) bars. Gather for a special private welcome reception and dinner this evening at a historic country estate. GRAN HOTEL DOMINE (R,D)
Tuesday, May 28
In the last several decades, Bilbao, the hub of Spain’s Greater Basque region, has undertaken a vigorous social, economic, and aesthetic revitalization process, launched by the opening of the Guggenheim
Museum Bilbao in 1997. Designed by award-winning architect Frank Gehry, this icon of 20th-century architecture contains some of the most intriguing artworks of our age. After time to explore the museum and its collections, enjoy a gastronomic lunch, then transfer to Bilbao port to embark the Sea Cloud II
late this afternoon.
SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Wednesday, May 29
This morning call at the port of Paisajes for a morning walking tour of the Basque town of San Sebastian (Donostia in the Basque language), known for its sophisticated culinary scene and named a European Capital of Culture in 2016. Explore the city’s historic center and learn about Basque culinary traditions during tastings at a local pintxos (tapas) bar. This afternoon, enjoy a specially arranged visit to the
pioneering Albaola Factory and Museum, where experts on maritime heritage and boatbuilding are constructing a replica of the 16th-century Basque whaling ship San Juan. Return to the ship and relax as
the Sea Cloud II cruises to France. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner hosted by the captain.
SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Thursday, May 30
Enjoy a full day at sea and the continuation of the educational program as the Sea Cloud II cruises along the coast of France. Weather permitting, marvel at the finely coordinated activities of the crew as they unfurl the sails. SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Friday, May 31
LA PALLICE, FRANCE
From the port of La Pallice, choose between two morning excursion options.
Take a guided walking tour through the center of La Rochelle, a major seaport & the historic base of the Knights Templar and later the Huguenots. Stroll past the 14th-century stone defensive towers and stop
for a guided tour of The Bunker, a museum focused on the wartime history of La Rochelle, housed in an original bunker built as a bomb shelter & living quarters for German military officers during World War
OPTION 2: Visit charming Île de Ré, with its small fishing ports, historic lighthouses, and idyllic views of windmills, sand beaches, and salt pans.
ALL: Return to the ship for lunch on board, and an afternoon of cruising.
SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Saturday, June 1
Arrive mid-morning in Lorient, on the northwestern coast of France in the department of Brittany. The port grew to prominence in the 17th century, during the heyday of France’s trade with Africa and Asia under the French East India Company, or “Compagnie des Indes.” Learn about this period of French maritime history during a guided tour of the Museum of the East Indies Company, housed in the Citadel of
Port-Louis, then enjoy a private lunch at a historic chateau. Visit the nearby Keroman Submarine Base, where Grand Admiral Karl Donitz had enormous concrete bunkers built to shelter part of the German submarine fleet during World War II. The bunkers were so effective at protecting the U-boat fleet that Allied forces resorted to bombing Lorient itself to cut off supply lines to the base; nearly 90% of the city was flattened by Allied bombs. Today, the K3 bunker is one of the few former U-boat structures open to the public. SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Sunday, June 2
Call this morning at Brest and explore the scenic coast of Brittany’s Finistère, the westernmost point of continental France, with its charming rural villages and elaborate parish churches of Saint-Thégonnec and
Lampaul-Guimiliau, each boasting quaint and intricate carvings and stained glass designed to outdo neighboring parishes. Return to the ship for lunch on board and an afternoon of cruising. SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Monday, June 3
Disembark in the walled port city of Saint-Malo for a morning walking tour of this one-time haven for pirates. Return to the ship for lunch on board, then set out on an afternoon visit to the Abbey of Mont
Saint-Michel, a beautiful tidal island in Normandy that, along with its 8th-century monastery and bay, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Access to the island from the mainland has changed
over the centuries; its most recent connection is a bridge opened in 2014 and only available to pedestrians, horsedrawn carriages, and local shuttle buses. SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Tuesday, June 4
After a final morning of cruising, arrive in Normandy for a choice of two afternoon excursion options. OPTION 1: Explore the lovely historic center of Bayeux, including a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, home of one of the most famous historical chronicles in the world, the Bayeux Tapestry. Listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, the tapestry is a 230-foot embroidered account of William, Duke of Normandy’s conquest of England and provides a unique and rare insight into the medieval world. OPTION 2: Learn about the air and sea fronts of the Allied invasion of Normandy in June
1944, with visits to the Airborne Museum in Sainte-Mère-Église, the first town to be liberated by American paratrooper divisions, and the Landing Museum at Utah Beach, where vivid displays immerse visitors in the story of D-Day. Gather this evening for a farewell reception and dinner on board.
The ship remains in Caen port overnight.
SEA CLOUD II (B,L,D)
Wednesday, June 5
CAEN (DISEMBARK) / HOME
Disembark the Sea Cloud II this morning in Caen and transfer to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for flights home. (B)
OPTIONAL POST-TRIP EXTENSION
75TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY IN NORMANDY
June 5–7, 2019
Commemorate the 75th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day landings with visits to Pointe du Hoc, a strategic promontory overlooking the English Channel, where American troops scaled cliffs with rope ladders to capture German defenses; the German Cemetery at La Cambe; the Atlantic Wall sites of Arromanches, where the remains of a Mulberry harbor, an engineering marvel that assisted in landing forces and supplies, lie slightly offshore; and Longues-sur-Mer, which has one of the few remaining artillery batteries still housing its wartime military equipment. On the 75th anniversary itself, June 6, spend quiet time among the fallen at the Normandy-American Cemetery and Memorial, where the graves of 9,387 troops commemorate lives lost during the D-Day landings, and walk on the crucial Allied landing site of Omaha Beach. Hôtel Barrière Le Normandy (Meals)
Additional details and pricing will be sent to confirmed participants.