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Shores of Iberia – Spain & Portugal Aboard Sea Cloud II

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Departure Dates

  • May 16, 2019 - May 29, 2019




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Shores of Iberia – Spain & Portugal Aboard Sea Cloud II

Follow in the wake of the ancient Spanish and Portuguese mariners on this 9-night cruise around the Iberian Peninsula aboard the beautiful Sea Cloud II. After an introduction to the region’s Moorish heritage at the incomparable Alhambra Palace in Granada, embark the Sea Cloud II in Málaga for a transit of the Strait of Gibraltar, including a stop at the iconic Rock of Gibraltar. Visit Seville, capital of the Spanish province of Andalucia; Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and the departure point for most of the Portuguese expeditions of the Age of Discovery; and Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the center of port wine production. Spend an afternoon in beautiful, unspoiled Islas Cies National Park en route to the great pilgrimage destination of Santiago de Compostela. Conclude in Bilbao at the exceptional Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum.


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Ship Information

Sea Cloud II Christened in 2001, is perhaps the most luxurious three masted sailing yacht on the seas today. Like Marjorie Merriweather Post’s legendary Sea Cloud, the Sea Cloud II combines the seafaring elegance of a bygone era with the highest modern standards of luxury. In the grand tradition of the world’s finest sailing vessels, guests experience this marvelous ship under sail (weather permitting), as the skilled crew hand-sets more than 30,000 square feet of canvas. The Sea Cloud II offers an intimate setting of just 47 beautifully appointed cabins, gracious common areas, world-class service, and five-star dining.

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Thursday–Friday, May 16–17
Home / Granada, Spain

Depart home on an overnight flight to Granada. Upon arrival, transfer to the Hotel Alhambra Palace, with spectacular views of the Alhambra fortress and the historic center of Granada. Enjoy a festive welcome reception and meet your fellow travelers. Hotel Alhambra Palace (r)

Saturday, May 18 
This morning enjoy a walking tour of Old Granada, visiting the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel), a lavish mausoleum built by Ferdinand and Isabel to commemorate their victory over the Moors, and the impressive Cathedral, one of only two Renaissance churches in Spain. After dinner, enjoy a private visit to the Alhambra, one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built. Built by the Nasrid kings in the 14th-century, the Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Spain’s most visited attraction. Explore the refined, elegant Nasrid Palaces surrounding the Courtyard of the Lions, and the splendid Generalife Gardens, one of the oldest surviving Moorish gardens. Its Court of the Water Channel, framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades, and pavilions, is considered a superior example of a medieval Persian garden. Hotel Alhambra Palace (B,L,D)

Sunday, May 19
Granada / Málaga (Embark)
This morning travel to Málaga, birthplace of Pablo Picasso. Visit the Picasso Museum, where 285 of the artist’s works, donated by members of his family, are on display. Embark the ship and settle into your cabin before dinner. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Monday, May 20
The iconic Rock of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, is named after Umayyad general Tariq ibn-Ziyad (“Gibraltar” is the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name “Jebel Tariq”). In the Gibraltar Nature Reserve atop the rock, enjoy views of the European and African coastlines, and the antics of the resident Barbary macaques, the only wild primate species in Europe. Also within the reserve, explore St. Michael’s Cave, a network of limestone caves at a height of more than 980 feet above sea level. Visit the 18th-century Great Siege Tunnels, dug by the British soldiers during an attempt by France and Spain to capture Gibraltar during the American Revolution. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Tuesday, May 21 
The Sea Cloud II docks this morning in Cádiz for a full-day excursion to Seville, capital of Andalucia and Spain’s fourth largest city. First established as a Roman provincial capital, Seville flourished under the Moors during the Middle Ages and reached new heights of prosperity during the Age of Discovery. Visit the lovely Reales Alcazares, a Mudejar palace and gardens built on the site of a former Moorish fortress. Walk through the charming Santa Cruz Quarter (the Jewish Quarter in the Middle Ages) and visit the Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the burial site of Christopher Columbus. Enjoy a traditional tapas lunch and a private flamenco performance at a local tablao. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Wednesday, May 22
At Sea
En route to Lisbon, enjoy a full day at sea, a continuation of the lecture program, and, weather permitting, an opportunity to experience the ship under sail. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Thursday, May 23
Lisbon, Portugal
Built on seven low hills, Lisbon commands a view of its superb natural harbor at the mouth of the Tagus River. Our visit to this grand Old World city includes two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Belem Tower, an elegant 15th century structure built to defend the city from attacks; and the Jeronimos Monastery, the jewel of Manueline architecture, where the renowned Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama is buried. Enjoy a private performance of fado, Portugal’s poignant traditional music, and visit the superb Gulbenkian Museum, whose collections span every major epoch of Western art. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Friday, May 24
After a morning of cruising, arrive in Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city and a thriving economic center with considerable charm. Enjoy a walking tour of Porto’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes the Palacio da Bolsa, a magnificent 19th-century palace that is now home to Porto’s stock exchange. As most of the world’s port wines are blended and aged in Vila Nova de Gaia, a suburb across the Douro River, a private port wine tasting is the perfect way to cap off a visit to Porto. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Saturday, May 25
Isla Cies, Spain
Take tenders ashore at Isla Cies National Park, an archipelago off the coast of Galicia in northwestern Spain. Once a pirates’ haunt, Cies today is uninhabited and pristine, with beautiful beaches, clear unpolluted water, and redolent pine forests. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Sunday, May 26
Santiago de Compostela
From the port of La Coruña, drive to the pilgrimage town of Santiago de Compostela, which for centuries has drawn pilgrims from all over the world. Here, according to legend, a 9th-century peasant led by the light of a shining star discovered the tomb of Saint James (Santiago) in a field. In the beautiful medieval heart of the city, visit the enormous cathedral, begun in 1075 and expanded in the 16th and 18th centuries. Observe a specially arranged swinging of the famous botafumeiro (censer), and enjoy lunch in a Gothic-arched dining room in one of Spain’s most celebrated paradores. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Monday, May 27
At Sea
During a final day at sea, partially under sail (weather permitting), enjoy the conclusion of the lecture program and a festive farewell reception and dinner. Sea Cloud II (B,L,D)

Tuesday, May 28
Bilbao (Disembark)
Disembark and visit Bilbao’s crown jewel and award-winning architect Frank Gehry’s masterpiece, the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. This icon of 20th-century architecture contains a collection of some of the most intriguing artworks of our age. Enjoy a typical Basque lunch and an afternoon and evening free for independent exploration. Gran Hotel Domine (B,L)

Wednesday, May 29
Bilbao / Home
Transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)