The coast of Western Europe makes for a sweeping journey—soak up the fine food and fantastic art, plus the myriad historical sites, from France’s Mont Saint-Michel, Spain’s Santiago de Compostela, and the French- and British-influenced Channel Islands.
• Explore two fascinating medieval UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Santiago de Compostela in Spain and France’s Mont Saint-Michel.
• Enjoy a wine tasting and vineyard tour in Bordeaux, the world’s wine industry capital.
• Visit three of the Channel Islands—Guernsey, Sark, and Jersey—to observe an interesting mix of French and British influences.
• Immerse yourself in World War II history with time in both Brest and Normandy.
• Search for resident and migrant birds in a variety of coastal habitats.
Arrive in Lisbon and transfer to our hotel. Spend the day at leisure, with dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Tour Lisbon’s architectural highlights, including the Sao Roque Church; the Gothic Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and St. George’s Castle. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking the Ocean Adventurer in the afternoon.
Porto’s historic center was awarded World Heritage status for its varied architecture—from Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance to Baroque, neoclassical, and modern. Stroll through the old town and visit the São Benito Train Station. Sample port in its birthplace at a special tasting. A cruise along the Douro River offers a unique view of the colorful houses of Porto stacked on the surrounding hills.
Disembark in Vilagarcia and depart overland to Santiago de Compostela, a World Heritage Site with a mélange of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque buildings. The splendid St. James Cathedral is the conclusion of the pilgrimage road that begins in Paris and winds its way through France and across Northern Spain. Enjoy a traditional Spanish lunch, then continue to La Coruña, Galicia’s commercial center, where you will make a stop at the Tower of Hercules, the world’s oldest working lighthouse.
Lecturers recap your experiences on the Iberian Peninsula and prepare you for what’s to come.
World famous for exquisite wines, Bordeaux also boasts more Monuments Historiques than any French city except Paris. Enjoy a tour of the 18th-century urban area, the largest square in all of Europe, and St. Andre Cathedral. Or, choose to visit the hilltop town for Saint-Emilion. Stroll ancient streets lined with limestone houses and take a tour of its mysterious subterranean church, the largest in Europe. Both tours include lunch at a local restaurant and an afternoon winery tour to sample some local vintages. A third option includes a full-day birding tour at La Teich Bird Reserve to search for white storks, black-winged stilts, nightingales, and Cetti’s warblers.
Known as La Ville Blanche (the White City), La Rochelle’s luminous limestone façades glow in the bright coastal sunlight. Stroll past three 14th-century stone towers and visit the neoclassical cathedral with a magnificent Baroque interior, the always colorful food market, and make a stop at the Cognac House for a tasting.
Or, visit the Poitevin Marsh, and board flat-bottomed punts for a cruise through a labyrinth of man-made channels to search for a variety of waterfowl.
Brest has a long history as a military harbor and is the port where thousands of American soldiers landed from 1917-1918. Take a stroll along the Crozon Peninsula, famous for its dramatic, craggy coastline, or choose to visit the fascinating Maritime Museum and explore a botanical garden. Famed for its crepes, learn about the region’s food culture and sample local delicacies.
Disembark in St. Malo, a lovely walled city fronted by broad beaches. A scenic drive through rolling countryside brings you to medieval Mont Saint-Michel, which inspired Henry Adams and influenced the Gothic revival. Ascend the Mont through twisting alleys and narrow stairways to reach the monastery, where you are rewarded with grand views over the bay and marshes far below.
Nature enthusiasts take a walk through wetlands to search for the ducks, geese, and waders that breed here, as well as warblers and buntings. Those with an interest in history take a tour of several WWII bunkers and the German Occupation Museum. In the afternoon, visit the wide-ranging Jersey Museum which explains the history, traditions, and culture of the island, and the award-winning Maritime Museum.
With no cars—only tractors, bikes, and horse-drawn carriages—Sark is leisurely and relaxed. Join a local for a guided tour of the stunning cliffs and peaceful fields. Continue to La Seigneurie Gardens for a tranquil contrast to the windswept wildness of the rugged coast.
After lunch on board, step ashore on Guernsey. An English outpost located off the coast of France, this island is a fascinating mosaic of fishing villages, greenhouses, and fields dotted with the island’s eponymous dairy cows. See remnants of the German occupation during World War II, visit the lovely Candie Gardens, and take a stroll through the photogenic harbor of St. Peter Port, where Victor Hugo lived in exile while he wrote Les Misérables.
Your tour of historic Normandy begins in the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first French city to be liberated by the Allies.Take a drive along the coast, making stops at Arromanches-les-Bains, the site of a temporary harbor established by the Allies immediately after D-Day, as well as Omaha Beach. View exhibits chronicling the campaign at the D-Day Museum, visit the British and American cemeteries, and view the amazing Bayeux Tapestry which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England.
Disembark this morning and travel overland to London for your independent homeward flight.
We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Ocean-view staterooms on the A-Deck are between 119 and 143 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and one porthole.
Ocean-view staterooms on the A-Deck are between 117 and 153 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and one porthole.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Main Deck are between 115 and 142 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and one porthole.
Ocean-view staterooms on the bow of the Main Deck are between 150 and 161 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and one porthole.
Ocean-view staterooms in the middle of the Main Deck are between 121 and 134 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and one window.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Promenade Deck are between 142 and 154 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and two windows.
Ocean-view staterooms on the Promenade or Boat Decks are between 160 and 165 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, en suite bathroom, and two windows.
Ocean-view suites on the Boat Deck are 221 square feet, and feature two fixed twin beds, a separate sitting area, en suite bathroom, and four windows.
Ocean Adventurer (Sea Adventurer)
Vessel Type: Comfortable Expedition
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 118
Built / refurbished: 1975 / 1998 / 2017 - re-named to the Ocean Adventurer in June 2017
As of June 2017, this polar expedition ship will be undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation and be officially renamed the “Ocean Adventurer”.
The new and improved Ocean Adventurer is designed to carry 132 travelers in comfort to the most remote corners of the world. Originally built in Yugoslavia in 1976, this nimble, ice-strengthened ship has become a passenger favourite over the years and underwent refurbishments in 1999 and 2002 with the most significant being in 2017.
With the latest rounds of refurbishments guests will enjoy:
• A refreshed, contemporary new look and feel throughout the ship.
• The addition of six new twin cabins and three new suites.
• All existing cabins will be furnished with all new soft furnishings and brand new bathrooms.
• Main common areas such as the Lounge and Dining Room will be remodeled as well as the Bar.
• Major technical enhancements – include two new Rolls Royce engines, which will significantly increase fuel efficiency and minimized carbon footprint.