France, Spain and Portugal 2021

France, Spain and Portugal – Sept 4 – 16, 2021

Sept 4 - Amsterdam

Embarkation.

Amsterdam, the beautiful capital of the Netherlands, has the wonderful atmosphere of a 17th-century city combined with the contemporary character of a modern metropolis. It is a treasure chest of superb architecture and is famous for its canals and extraordinary museums. Once you arrive on your cruise to Amsterdam, be sure to catch the city’s highlights, especially the iconic houses that straddle the snaking canal system of which the city is known for. When in Amsterdam, do as the Dutch and discover this first-class city on two wheels as this is one of the most bike-friendly places on the planet. When it comes to viewing the world’s great artistic masterpieces, you could hardly pick a better city. Pay a visit to the famous Van Gogh Museum and ponder the works of Holland’s favorite son. Afterwards, pop into a cozy cafe or tavern and let the charms of this city wash over you.

Sept 5 - Bruges, Belgium

Gracefully combining past and present, as well as Flemish and French, Bruges offers a little something for everyone. Linked by the Baudouin Canal, this medieval town is the stuff of fairytale and storybooks. Cobblestone streets, old, historic churches and a dreamy landscape make this a very sought after destination — especially during the summer months.  Stroll through the Market, a bustling plaza where the rhythmic beat of horse-drawn carriages echoes off a soaring belfry tower. Immerse yourself in a rich art history, best reflected in the paintings of Bruges’ own Jan Van Eyck, one of the most significant Renaissance artists of the 15th century. Spend a delightful day on the medieval streets of this city with a seemingly endless supply of charm, culture, and beauty.  Foodies will revel in the eclectic dining options at local bistros. Dig into sweet Belgian waffles and stop by the renowned chocolate boutiques on your cruise to Bruges. If sampling the fresh fish of this country is on your agenda, the fish market located here is one of the biggest in Europe. Or, take a scenic cruise through the medieval city of Ghent, Belgium and discover important landmarks, including Chinese Teahouses, 13th-century monasteries and castles of the Counts. 

Sept 6 - Le Havre, France

Spend the day in Paris or touring the beaches of Normandy.  The allure and romance of Paris are legendary. This capital city of France is home to innumerable museums, such as the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Musée Picasso and Musée Rodin, parks and gardens, including the Tuileries Garden on the banks of the Seine and the Left Bank Luxembourg Garden, as well as monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.  

 The beaches of Normandy were a hellish inferno of noise, smoke and slaughter seventy years ago. Here along an approximately five mile stretch of shoreline the great crusade to liberate Western Europe from Nazi domination began.

Sept 7 - At Sea

While at sea, take the time to recharge before the next adventure. Lounge by the pool, be spoiled at the spa, taste the delicacies or explore the venues on-board, until we arrive at the next amazing destination. 

 

Sept 8&9 - Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao, located in Spain’s Basque region, is the ideal gateway to Vitoria and the famous Rioja wine region. Today, the city is famed for the Museo Guggenheim, which opened in 1997, firmly placing Bilbao on the art and tourism map which, subsequently, led to a major urban regeneration. Since then, more museums and galleries have opened, and has in turn prompted a parallel resurgence of fabulous restaurants, cafes and bars. There are so many amazing sights to explore on your Bilbao cruise. Not sure where to begin? You can start with a bus tour of the city for an overview. Or, simply take a stroll through the Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) to find yourself immersed in 14th century architecture, a whirlwind of boisterous bars, eclectic shops, gothic cathedrals, historic plazas and lively street performers. In addition to the architecture, this Basque gem is not short on places to eat and drink. Gastronomy joins the other arts flourishing in Bilbao. From traditional Spanish favorites to avant-garde culinary adventures, you’ll find them all in this city. Dine like a local and head out for “pintxos”, an assortment of appetizers to share and savor. 

 

Sept 10 - At Sea

While at sea, take the time to recharge before the next adventure. Lounge by the pool, be spoiled at the spa, enjoy great food or explore the many other opportunities on board until we arrive at the next amazing destination.

Sept 11 - Lisbon, Portugal

See why this city stands out above all others as you stroll along elaborate mosaic sidewalks and pass by the Monument to the Discoveries. A quick trolley ride transports you to the cobblestone district of Baixa. Or be lured away and pampered in the resort cities of Cascais and Estoril.

This storied capital with a history that extends back before the Roman Empire is only 1 of 2 cities in Portugal designated as a global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group. Once one of the world’s great naval and shipping powers, modern day Lisbon is an important hub of finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education, and tourism.

Take a wonderful tour through Lisbon and you’ll discover Graca, the beautifully restored old area of the city, filled with old tiled buildings and mansions and Chiado, Lisbon’s arts district, for a different air of sophistication with its many boutiques, galleries and theaters. And, of course, a cruise to Lisbon is not complete without sampling a nice bottle of Port wine; the fortified red wine that can be found throughout the country.

Sept 12 - Seville, Spain

From the port at Cádiz you can easily get to Seville, exploring the old town with its quaint Moorish feel as well as its impressive monuments, pretty parks and lovely architecture. Along the way, restore your energy at any of the mouth-watering tapas bars offering some of the country’s finest seafood and typical Andalusian cuisine.

Sept 13 - Malaga, Spain

Malaga is the gateway to the Andalusian countryside and the Costa del Sol, some of the region’s most impressive beaches. It also is home to a number of magnificent palaces, including the Moorish Alcabaza and Gibralfaro.

Sept 14 - Cartagena, Spain

During the 16th and 17th centuries, when Spain held sway over the rest of Europe and the New World, much of its naval power was concentrated in the port of Cartagena. Many of the coastal fortifications from that era still exist, although instead of guarding the city, they provide splendid views of the harbor. Cartagena is one of the world’s great natural harbors and over the ages has known its fair share of conflict, conquest, and riches. Brimming with a fascinating history, this is the wharf where Phoenician traders unloaded exotic treasures and where Roman citizens crowded into a grand theatre. Explore the archeological ruins, castle battlements, artillery, museums, historic churches, and architectural wonders on your Cartagena cruise. For a casual stroll complete with a little sightseeing and a coffee, put on those comfortable shoes and head on a guided tour through the heart of the city.  Or, visit a family-owned wine cellar that produces traditional wine. Cartagena is a cosmopolitan city filled with tapas bars, art galleries, fine restaurants and world-renowned shopping. It’s a charming coastal city that utterly captivates all visitors.

Sept 15 - At Sea

While at sea, take the time to recharge before the next adventure. Lounge by the pool, be spoiled at the spa, taste the delicacies or explore the venues on-board, until we arrive at the next amazing destination. 

Sept 16 - Rome, Italy

Disembarkation.

Civitavecchia was settled in 108 A.D. by the Emperor Trajan and has since served faithfully as a gateway to Rome, the capital of Italy. Once the center of the Ancient World from which emperors ruled over nearly all of western civilization, Rome is still a cultural mecca. Only a few cities in the world can boast such a well-preserved level of architecture, art, and religious iconography. There’s an enormous wealth of culture and history to discover on a cruise to Rome. Visit the ancient halls of the 50,000-seat Colosseum, gaze upon the ceilings of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, and stroll the Capitoline Museum. Roman culinary prowess is well respected and beloved the world over. Experience authentic pizza, hearty bowls of fresh pasta, excellent cheeses, wines, seafood, and delightful desserts like tiramisu and gelato at family-run trattorias that have been preparing these traditional dishes for centuries. Walk the cobblestoned piazzas making your way to narrow side streets where you’re sure to find craftsman shops and beautiful boutiques filled with gorgeous handmade accessories and homewares for keepsakes and souvenirs