Witness the historical legacies and dynamic cultures of coastal Portugal, Spain, France and the United Kingdom while celebrating their cuisines and wines through lectures, demonstrations and tastings. Call at Oporto on the Douro River in Portugal’s renowned wine country; walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims on the Way of St. James in Santiago de Compostela; visit the illustrious Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; see Normandy’s impressive Mont–St–Michel and its hallowed beaches with special guest speaker Dwight D. Eisenhower II; and cruise up the storied River Thames to London’s Tower Bridge.
Complementary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!
Gail Cornell is an architectural historian and graduate of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She has been a frequent speaker on international study tours for 20 years. Her research and lectures on the history of Western architecture have taken her to Italy, Turkey, Greece, France, Spain, Portugal and North Africa numerous times. She is an Adjunct Faculty member of New York University and Hunter College and a Lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Gail also volunteers her time as an architectural historian at New York City’s historic City Hall and Tweed Courthouse. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Society of Architectural Historians. April 30-May 9 dates
Sept. 4 departure operates in reverse aboard Le Laperouse
April 30 – Depart the U.S./May 1 – Lisbon, Portugal
Arrive in Lisbon and embark the Five-Star M.S. LE BORÉAL. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner this evening. (R,D)
May 2 – Leixões for Oporto
Dock in Leixões, northern Portugal’s principal port, and transfer to Oporto, a former Roman outpost and the center of the world-famous port wine trade since the 13th century. Oporto’s historic city center, Ribeira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a picturesque neighborhood of medieval streets lined with colorful houses where you will visit the Gothic Church of São Francisco and the neoclassical Stock Exchange, with its intricately gilded Arabian Hall inspired by the famous Moorish Alhambra palace. The city showcases great artistic and architectural treasures that remain from the Moorish period, when previous Greek and Roman influences, along with religious tolerance between the Jewish and Christian faiths, created a coexistence of cultures in which disciplines like mathematics, medicine, optics, horticulture, art and architecture flourished. A celebrated local chef introduces you to traditional Portuguese cuisine during the C’EST BON! CULINARY TRADITIONS™ “Robust Flavors of Oporto” option. Then, enjoy a specially prepared lunch in Oporto’s oldest district and a tasting of renowned regional port wines. (B,L,D)
May 3 La Coruña, Spain, for Santiago de Compostela
Travel into the oak and pine-forested hills of Galicia, one of Spain’s self-governed principalities, influenced by its Roman, Germanic, Moorish and Castilian heritages and infused with an unexpected Celtic atmosphere. Golden-hued granite buildings grace its well-preserved capital, Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where medieval pedestrian stone streets lead to the expansive Plaza del Obradoiro and the city’s grand Romanesque cathedral. A national monument and pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages, the cathedral was built to enshrine the tomb of St. James, who preached on the Iberian Peninsula, and is recognized for its distinctive Baroque façade, original medieval portico and incomparable Churrigueresque altar. (B,L,D)
May 4 Santander for Bilbao
From Santander transfer to Bilbao, surrounded by the verdant Basque Mountains. Discover this dynamic and sophisticated city with a stop in the historic casco Viejo (old quarter) and the promenade of El Arenal, a popular route for Bilbaínos’ evening paseos (leisurely strolls). Enjoy a guided architectural tour of the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum with time to explore its galleries of modern and contemporary art. Basque cuisine is a ritual of love passed down through the generations. During the C’EST BON! CULINARY TRADITIONS™ “A Taste of Basque Tradition” option, sample traditional Basque cuisine, including pintxos (tapas), in a 16th-century caserio (country house) located in an idyllic setting just outside of Bilbao. (B,L,D)
May 5 Cruising the French Coast
While cruising the dramatic west coast of France, attend an exclusive onboard lecture by special guest lecturer and historian Dwight David Eisenhower II. Also enjoy a C’EST BON! CULINARY TRADITIONS™ demonstration by the ship’s master chef. (B,L,D)
May 6 St. Malo, France, for Mont-St-Michel
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont-St-Michel is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in all of France—its spectacular, soaring spires rise majestically from a tidal plain seemingly suspended above the sea. A pilgrimage site since the early eighth century, this fortified village began as a humble oratory and grew into an influential Benedictine monastery between the 12th and 13th centuries, becoming a renowned medieval center of learning. Experience the extraordinary beauty of its cloisters, refectory, stained-glass windows and the Abbaye du Mont-St-Michel, a three-story Gothic masterpiece known as La Merveille (The Miracle) since the 12th century. (B,L,D)
May 7 Caen, for Normandy Beaches
Dock in Caen and travel through the scenic countryside to the historic Normandy beaches. In the company of Dwight David Eisenhower II, walk where Allied forces landed on June 6, 1944, under the direction of his distinguished grandfather, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. Contemplate the solemn commemorative crosses and Stars of David in the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach. Envision the heroic soldiers of the United States 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 absorbing wraparound short fi lm documenting the D-Day campaign at the Arromanches 360 Circular Cinema; alternatively, you may choose to see the famous 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry, a stunning visual chronicle of the Norman Conquest of 1066. (B,L,D)
May 8 Cruising the English Channel/Cliffs of Dover/River Thames/London, Great Britain
Be on deck this morning as the ship cruises past the famous, spectacular White Cliffs of Dover, just 21 miles north of the shores of France. These limestone bluffs served as vital strategic defense sites for Allied Forces during both World Wars. Then, experience a once-in-a-lifetime cruise up the River Thames into the heart of London, a memorable passage possible only by small ship. Enjoy a cup of afternoon tea while passing the Thames Barrier; historic maritime Greenwich, where the Cutty Sark ship is moored and the prime meridian lies; and the soaring skyline of Canary Wharf. Culminate your voyage in a dramatic approach to London’s iconic Tower Bridge. Dock overnight on the River Thames across from the Tower of London and alongside the historic naval vessel H.M.S. Belfast. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
May 9 London/U.S.
Following breakfast this morning, disembark and continue on the London’s Royal History Post-Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)