Explore the historical legacies and dynamic cultures of coastal England, France, Spain and Portugal. Cruise for eight nights aboard the newly launched, exclusively chartered, Five-Star LE LAPÉROUSE, featuring private balconies for all accommodations. Enjoy a memorable cruise down the River Thames from London’s Tower Bridge. The exclusive, expert-led C’EST BON! CULINARY TRADITIONS™ program celebrates regional cuisines and wines. Special guest speaker Dwight D. Eisenhower II accompanies you to the hallowed beaches of Normandy. Explore Oporto in Portugal’s renowned wine country, walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela and visit the Guggenheim Museum and Mont-St-Michel. London Pre-Cruise and Lisbon Post-Cruise Options.
Day 1 Depart the U.S.
Day 2 London, England/ Embark LE LAPÉROUSE
Arrive in London and embark the Five-Star LE LAPÉROUSE. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner this evening.
Dock overnight on the River Thames across from the Tower of London and alongside the historic naval vessel H.M.S. Belfast. (R,D)
Day 3 The River Thames (Tower Bridge)/Cruising the English Channel
Experience a once-in-a-lifetime cruise down the River Thames from the heart of London, a memorable passage possible only by small ship. Pass 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. Be on deck as the ship cruises the Strait of Dover, known for the dramatic White Cliffs of Dover. (B,L,R,D)
Day 4 Caen for Normandy Beaches
Dock in Caen and travel through the bucolic countryside to the historic Normandy Beaches. In the company of Dwight David Eisenhower II, walk where Allied forces landed over 70 years ago under the direction of his world-renowned grandfather, Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 6, 1944. Contemplate the solemn commemorative crosses and Stars of David in the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach. And, envision the brave American rangers 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 beaches. View an absorbing wraparound short film 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)
Day 5 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)
Day 6 Cruising the French Coast (Day at Sea)
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)
Day 7 Bilbao, Spain/Santander
Bilbao is a dynamic and sophisticated city surrounded by the verdant Basque Mountains. Stop in its historic casco viejo (old quarter) and the promenade of El Arenal, a popular route for Bilbainos’ evening paseos (leisurely strolls). Enjoy a guided architectural tour of the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum with time to stroll through 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 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.
Reembark the ship in Santander. (B,L,D)
Day 8 A Coruña 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 heritage infused with an unexpected Celtic atmosphere. Golden-hued granite buildings grace its well-preserved capital, Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where almost completely pedestrianized 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)
Day 9 Leixões, Portugal 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 alongside Jewish and Christian life 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.Attend the Captain’s farewell Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Day 10 Lisbon/Disembark ship/Return to the U.S.
Following breakfast this morning, disembark and continue on the London Post-Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)