Experience the rich traditions and astonishing beauty of Normandy’s storied coastline and the British Isles during this once-in-a-lifetime Celtic Lands voyage. By exclusive arrangement, walk the hallowed D-Day beaches of Normandy, France, with Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Meet Allen Packwood, an expert on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, England.
Complementary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!
Frequent study leader and historian, John Meffert is a long-time proponent of preservation. As former director of the National Trust’s Southern Office, John now serves as a consultant on heritage conservation services in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, where he has also served as the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston preserving the historic resources of the city.
U.S./Glasgow, Scotland – Thursday and Friday, May 24 and 25
Depart the U.S. for Glasgow. On arrival, embark the Five-Star LE BORÉAL. Enjoy dinner on board the ship Friday evening.
Scottish Highlands/Oban/Fort William/The Jacobite steam train/Mallaig
Saturday, May 26
Enjoy a full day’s journey experiencing the rich, resplendent beauty of the legendary Scottish Highlands. From Oban, travel along the picturesque, castle-dotted shores of Loch Linnhe to majestic Glencoe—Scotland’s most scenic glen, much of which is owned and preserved by the National Trust for Scotland. After lunch, board The Jacobite steam train for one of the great railway journeys in the world through awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Immortalized as the Hogwarts™ Express in the Harry Potter fi lm series, this vintage locomotive with its classic British Railway cars travels from the traditional port town of Fort William past Loch and River Morar to Mallaig near Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch in Europe. Along the way, stop near bucolic Glenfi nnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied Jacobite Highlanders against King George II in 1745. This evening, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner on board the ship.
Kyle of Lochalsh/Armadale, Isle of Skye
Sunday, May 27
From the port village of Kyle of Lochalsh travel across a starkly beautiful landscape of rolling green moors to visit the 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle, named for a sixth-century Irish saint and one of the most iconic castles in the world. Skye, dubbed “the Winged Island” after its birdlike shape, is the largest and one of the most scenic of the Inner Hebrides. Visit Armadale Castle’s spectacular 17th-century gardens and learn more about the powerful reign of Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles until 1493. On board the ship this evening, Allen Packwood discusses the complexity of the D-Day operations and Sir Winston Churchill’s role in its undertaking.
Tobermory, Isle of Mull/Isle of Iona
Monday, May 28
Go ashore at the sheltered port of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, where brightly painted houses are nestled between the hills and the harbor. Visit 13th-century Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean, and enjoy lunch in the castle’s tea room. Ferry across the Sound of Iona to the neighboring Hebridean Isle of Iona, the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. In A.D. 563, the Irish monk Columba founded a monastery here, where scribes would spend their entire lives painstakingly copying and illuminating religious tracts and transcribing ancient Celtic sagas into written form, preserving a record of oral bardic tradition. In later years, Iona became the burial place of Scotland’s kings, including Duncan and Macbeth. At Iona Abbey, stroll through the serene, restored monastery and see the churchyard’s intricate Celtic crosses. Later, join Allen Packwood as he presents the lecture “Churchill and the two Republics: France and the U.S.” on board the ship.
Holyhead, Wales/Caernarfon Castle
Tuesday, May 29
From Holyhead, transfer across the diminutive Isle of Anglesey and over the Menai Strait to North Wales, one of the cradles of Celtic culture. Here, the people hold fast to the old ways, and Welsh remains their mother tongue. Visit beautiful Bodnant Garden, one of the finest examples of 19th-century Victorian landscape artistry. Stop in the charming seaside resort town of Llandudno for lunch, followed by a stirring private choir performance of Welsh hymns. Tour the imposing UNESCO World Heritage-designated Caernarfon Castle, an impenetrable 13th-century fortress built by Edward I of England as a defense against the marauding Welsh. Following the tradition of seven centuries of monarchs, Queen Elizabeth II invested the future heir to the British throne, her son Charles, as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon in 1969. Enjoy views of the beautiful, glacier-sculpted peaks and valleys of the Snowdonia Mountains on your return to the ship.
Wednesday, May 30
Built astride the River Liffey, Ireland’s historic capital has retained its rich heritage of Georgian architecture. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, including the landmark St. Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedrals and grand O’Connell Street, lined with bronze and marble statues of Irish statesmen; stroll through the stately quadrangles of Trinity College; and view the incandescent illuminations of the ninth-century Book of Kells. The afternoon is at leisure to walk along colorful Grafton Street, savor a pint of Guinness in a neighborhood pub or visit the National Gallery of Ireland, one of the best repositories of Celtic treasures in the world. On board the ship this evening, enjoy a specially arranged traditional Irish music and dance performance.
Celtic Sea/English Channel Crossing
Thursday, May 31
Enjoy enriching educational lectures today while cruising to France’s Normandy beaches. Professor Dwight David Eisenhower II will share captivating personal insights about General Dwight D. Eisenhower and on Operation Overlord, the Allies’ code name for the World War II military campaign his grandfather launched for the D-Day airborne and amphibious invasion at Normandy.
Caen, France, for Normandy Beaches
Friday, June 1
Dock in Caen and travel through the scenic countryside to the historic Normandy beaches. In the company of Professor Eisenhower, walk where Allied forces landed on June 6, 1944, under the direction of his grandfather, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. Contemplate the solemn commemorative crosses and Stars of David in the American Military Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach. Envision the heroic soldiers of the U.S. Army Second Ranger Battalion, who scaled the 100-foot sheer cliffs to capture German gun emplacements at Pointe du Hoc. Following lunch, continue to Arromanches to see the remnants of Mulberry Harbor, constructed by the British to support Allied landings on the Normandy beaches. View an engaging wraparound short film documenting the D-Day campaign at the Arromanches 360 Circular Cinema; or choose to see the famous 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry, a stunning visual chronicle of the Norman Conquest of 1066. This evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception and dinner on board the ship.
Saturday, June 2
Disembark in Honfleur and continue on the Paris and the Gardens of Giverny Post-Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.
Scotland’s Cultural Capitals – Edinburgh ◆ Glasgow
Explore Glasgow and Edinburgh, two of Scotland’s great cities intertwined with Celtic history for almost a millennium. In Edinburgh, discover the medieval Old Town and Neoclassical New Town, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and explore the renowned Museum of Scotland. During your tour of Glasgow, visit the 12th-century cathedral, and the captivating St. Mungo Museum. Accommodations for two nights are in the ideally located, Five-Star WALDORF ASTORIA EDINBURGH – THE CALEDONIAN.
Paris and the Gardens of Giverny
Paris, the “City of Light,” has been a thriving center of intellectual and artistic achievement for centuries, with Celtic infl uences woven into its heritage. Stop in Giverny to visit Claude Monet’s gardens and house, where he painted many of his masterpieces. Then, see Paris’ famous landmarks along the UNESCO World Heritage Site banks of the River Seine, and admire the unrivaled collection of art in the Louvre. Spend two nights in Paris’ Five-Star INTERCONTINENTAL PARIS LE GRAND, ideally located adjacent to the Opéra Garnier and a short walk to t he Louvre.