From the Celtic heritage of Brittany and the timeless, stately elegance of London to the old-world sophistication of Portugal and the artistic riches of Spain’s Basque country, a riveting canvas of influential European seaports awaits you along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. We are delighted to present this exclusive, Five-Star, small ship itinerary featuring the captivating historical legacies and the enduring yet dynamic cultures of these European Coastal Civilizations. Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the magnificent Mont-St-Michel and its impressive abbey that appears to rise out of the sea; Santiago de Compostela, where you will walk in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims to visit the tomb of St. James; and Oporto, the center of world-famous port wine production. A highlight is sure to be your experience at the hallowed beaches of Normandy with special guest speaker Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II, where the course of world history was altered in 1944 with the historic D-Day landings.
Complementary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!
Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship!
Tuesday, September 4
Depart the U.S.
Wednesday, September 5
Arrive in London, an international center of culture and commerce, and embark the newly launched Five-Star Le Lapérouse. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner this evening and dock overnight on the River Thames across from the Tower of London. (r,d)
Cruising the River Thames/English Channel
Thursday, September 6
Cruise down the River Thames this morning, a memorable passage possible only by small ship. Pass the soaring skyline of the Canary Wharf and historic maritime Greenwich en route to the Thames Barrier. Cruise the Strait of Dover and the English Channel, where the naval forces of Queen Elizabeth I delivered a fatal blow to the Spanish Armada in 1588. (b,l,d)
Caen for Normandy Beaches, France
Friday, September 7
Dock in Caen and travel to the historic Normandy beaches. In the company of Dwight David Eisenhower II, walk where Allied forces landed on D-Day. Then, contemplate the solemn commemorative crosses and Stars of David in the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach. Following lunch, continue to Arromanches to see the remnants of Mulberry Harbor, constructed to support Allied landings on the Normandy beaches. View a wraparound short film documenting the D-Day campaign or choose to see the famous 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry, a visual chronicle of the Norman Conquest of 1066. (b,l,d)
St. Malo for Mont-St-Michel
Saturday, September 8
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont-St-Michel is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in all of France—its 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, 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. (b,l,d)
Cruising the French Coast
Sunday, September 9
While cruising the dramatic west coast of France, attend an exclusive onboard lecture by Dwight David Eisenhower II. (b,l,d)
Santander for Bilbao, Spain
Monday, September 10
From Santander transfer to dynamic and sophisticated Bilbao, surrounded by the verdant Basque Mountains. Stop in the historic old quarter and the promenade of El Arenal, a popular route for Bilbaínos’ evening leisurely strolls. Enjoy a guided tour of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, renowned for its collection of modern and contemporary art. (b,l,d)
A Coruña for Santiago de Compostela
Tuesday, September 11
Travel into the oak- and pine-forested hills of Galicia, one of Spain’s self-governed principalities. 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 grand Romanesque cathedral. A pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages, the cathedral was built to enshrine the tomb of St. James and is recognized for its Baroque façade, original medieval portico and Churrigueresque altar. (b,l,d)
Leixões for Oporto, Portugal
Wednesday, September 12
Dock in Leixões and transfer to Oporto, a former Roman outpost and the center of the port wine trade since the 13th century. The city showcases great artistic and architectural treasures from the Moorish period, when Greek and Roman influences, along with tolerance between the Jewish and Christian faiths, created a coexistence of cultures in which disciplines like mathematics, medicine, optics, horticulture, art and architecture flourished. Oporto’s historic city center, Ribeira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a picturesque neighborhood of medieval streets lined with colorful houses. 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. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. (b,l,r,d)
Thursday, September 13
Following breakfast this morning, disembark and continue on the Grande Lisbon Post-Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your flight home. (b)