From the golden coast of Guernsey to the beautifully verdant winelands of Bordeaux and the allure of Spain’s Basque Country to the colourful harbourside cities of Portugal, wake up to new scenery each day on this diverse cruise of Atlantic Europe.
Setting sail from British soil, it isn’t long before Guernsey’s splendid coastline comes into view, with its welcoming marinas, cobbled streets and charming spires. Next, we cruise south to France, stopping at chic Saint-Malo, picture-perfect Belle Île and Port Médoc, world-renowned by wine fanatics for the ‘Route des Châteaux’. Our elegant small ship then heads further south to San Sebastián and Santander, for a true taste of the history, culture and landscapes that make the Basque Country a popular year-round destination. The best of Atlantic Europe is rounded off with stops in some of Portugal’s most picturesque ports, Porto, Cascais and Lisbon, where local experts will shine a light on what makes this part of the world so special.
Arrive in Portsmouth, where you will embark your well-appointed small ship. The friendly crew are there to welcome you on board, ensuring you settle in and familiarise yourself with your modern surroundings.
With a morning of cruising, after breakfast is the perfect time to settle in on board and make use of the excellent of facilities. Perhaps unwind in the spa or simply enjoy the warm sunshine on deck, taking in stunning coastal views of nearby France.
After a delicious lunch on board, complete with panoramic views, we dock in St Peter Port in Guernsey before heading to Suasmarez Manor house in Saint Martin for a guided visit of the historical house and gardens.
Parts of the house date back to the early 13th and 12th centuries, though influences throughout the years have seen the house change. For example, the Tudor period, Queen Anne’s colonial period and the Victorian era. Owning the property twice through history, the Suasmarez family were wealthy and distinguished, some of whom were part of Nelson's Band of Brothers. Here we take a guided tour of the house to admire the beautiful artwork and interior design and enjoy a guided visit of the garden, home to subtropical and unusual plants.
Later this afternoon, we return to St Peter Port where you can enjoy some free time before re-joining the ship for dinner as we sail to France.
Founded by the Welsh monk Mac Low, the old walled town of Saint-Malo is protected by its charming ramparts, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. Today is your chance to walk in the footsteps of fascinating characters such as Chateaubriand, Surcouf, Jacques Cartier and Anne of Brittany on this morning’s tour.
After a fascinating visit to this historic town, we will take a boat to sail to nearby Dinard, a quaint coastal settlement often dubbed the 'Cannes of the North'. Visiting Dinard is a little like stepping into one of the canvases Picasso painted here in the 1920s. Belle époque mansions built into the cliffs form a timeless backdrop to the beach dotted with blue-and-white-striped bathing tents and the beachside carnival. Whilst it’s no wonder the breathtaking views across to Saint-Malo inspired artists, it’s no surprise the likes of Churchill loved to visit too.
After a morning of relaxed cruising, we arrive in Belle Île, an island off the coast of Brittany in northwest France. As the name suggests, it’s a beautifully compact island, boasting an impressive 60 beaches, a glorious coastline and rows of pastel houses that seemingly encompass both British and French coastal charm.
Our first visit today is Kervilahouen, an impressionist village watched over by the Grand Phare lighthouse. When you first think of Monet, you might think of his famous house and gardens in Giverny. Though, the Aiguilles de Port Coton rocks were immortalized by Claude Monet in his piece ‘Rocks at Port-Coton, the Lion Rock, Belle-Île, 1886’ – one of 39 paintings he created during his stay. Following this we walk along the cove of Goulphar and its magnificent hotels, before greeting the 'Jean and Jeanne' standing stones.
We then continue to Pointe des Poulains, a site dedicated to Sarah Bernhardt, before discovering the charming little port of Sauzon. This part of the world really makes you marvel at the wonders of the wild coast, as you witness the face of the island cut and shaped by the erosion of the majestic winter storms.
This morning, after docking at Port Médoc, we will head inland to the world-renowned 'City of Art and History' – it can only be UNESCO-listed, effortlessly beautiful Bordeaux. We’ll dive straight into its history and culture with a panoramic tour, taking in the WWII German submarine base, the opera house 'Grand Theatre' built by Victor Louis in 1773, and of course the picturesque waterfront. After a guided walking tour embracing the essence of France in Bordeaux’s Old Town, you will enjoy some free time for lunch and exploring at your own pace.
Alternatively, you can choose to take an optional afternoon trip along the famous ‘Route des Châteaux’. Few things whet a wine lover’s enthusiasm more than making this pilgrimage, just north of Bordeaux on the Médoc peninsula, between the Gironde estuary and the Landes Forest. As we drive through the lush, rolling hills, spy views of Château Lafite Rothschil and Château Pichon Longueville dotted along the winding roads. Please note that lunch is not included today if you join the excursion.
On this tour, we will visit the cellars of a prestigious Château. During the visit, you will learn about winemaking processes, followed by a tasting of two wines from the estate. After a wonderful afternoon learning about the region’s wine, we return to the ship in time for dinner this evening.
San Sebastián is one of the most magical coastal resorts in Spain, nestled on a shell-shaped stretch of the Bay of Biscay and fringed with shimmering white sand beaches. Belle-époque architecture and immaculate green spaces that are elegant reminders that this was, and remains, the place to be and be seen, particularly for the Spanish aristocracy. Since 1953 the city has played host to an annual film festival too, which attracted legends including Alfred Hitchcock.
San Sebastián is bordered by two hills – Monte Urgull in the east and Monte Igueldo in the west – and this morning we explore the bay between the hills. Admire the opulent buildings at every turn, including the Miramar Palace and the luxurious Hotel María Cristina. As we walk through the old town we’ll see its highlights, such as Constitución Square, which was once a bullring where spectators came to place their bets.
The rest of the day is free for you to spend as you wish in this wonderful place. So why not pop into a local pinxto bar for a drink and a snack before exploring more? Perhaps visit the San Telmo Museum dedicated to Basque history, or ascend Monte Urgull to see the remains of the old city walls.
This morning we reach the verdant Cantabria region where we dock in the magnificent city of Santander, starting the day with a guided tour. Our local guide will walk us through the must-see highlights, including the main square, the Pereda Gardens and the Cathedral. We will pass by the impressive Botin Centre and Santander Bank before heading along the seaside through Puerto Chico, the former fishing port, and Reina Victoria promenade.
After lunch back on board the ship, you have the afternoon to explore Santander. A combination of green mountain landscapes with white sand beaches, elegant mansions and palatial architecture with avant-garde buildings and the unmistakeable echo of its seafaring past. There’s a sense of many cities within a city, making it perfect for a relaxed afternoon of discovering, whatever your favourite things to do on holiday.
Overnight we have elegantly cruised to the port of A Coruña, so enjoy views of Spain’s Galicia over your morning coffee. Today we explore the capital of the region, Santiago de Compostela, with a knowledgeable local guide.
It wouldn’t be a visit without seeing the imposing Cathedral of St. James, the reputed burial place of Saint James the Great, an apostle of Jesus Christ. It is also one of the only three remaining churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two being St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Chennai in India. The Romanesque basilica has historically been a place of pilgrimage on the Way of St. James since the Early Middle Ages and marks the traditional end of the momentous route. As you look up to the striking building, notice the Gothic and Baroque additions added through the years.
After lunch on board the ship, this afternoon you are free to spend in A Coruña. So, what’s it to be? Perhaps take a stroll down the long promenade or pay a visit to the Tower of Hercules, regarded as the oldest known lighthouse in the world.
This morning we moor in Leixões, an inviting port town where traditional Portuguese houses form a backdrop for friendly locals and their fishing boats. Of course, a cruise of this area wouldn’t be complete without calling by Porto, and so we uncover the best the city has to offer with a local expert.
The historical tour begins with a visit to two of the most beautiful churches in the city, the Carmo and Carmelitas. See the bell tower of Clérigos Church, Porto Cathedral, and Säo Bento Railway Station. As well as the main sights, this tour will take you to some breath taking monuments away from other tour groups. your guide will tell you about the politics, religion, local customs, traditions, gastronomy, wines, and everything else you need to know about Porto. Portugal is famous for its striking patterned tiles and delicious egg custard tarts, pasteis de nata, and so of course we experience these first-hand. After an introduction to the process of tile making, we will round it off with a tasting of Portugal's most famous traditional pastry. For lunch you might want to enjoy a local restaurant or take the included transfer back to the ship – the choice is yours.
Save some room this afternoon though, as our optional tour takes us to the Vila Nova de Gaia for a port tasting, accompanied by a selection of cheeses and smoked meats. Journey through the most famous Portuguese wines will include a sample three different port wines at this historic venue, found on the south bank of the Douro river.
As you get wine tasting tips, get a taste for one of Portugal's most famous products and learn more about the grapes, varieties and wine making process. Felicidades!
This morning your ship will moor in the charming harbour of Cascais. An old fishing village with a bustling marina, you can see where it got its reputation as the Portuguese riviera. There will be plenty of time to stroll along the promenade, take in the coastal breeze and soak up local life. Perhaps even pick up some more deliciously moreish pasteis de nata or souvenirs of your trip.
During lunch on board, our ship will take full advantage of her nimble size by sailing from Cascais, along the river Tagus. We will sail past the famed Belem Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries and under the impressive 25th April Bridge before docking in central Lisbon. This afternoon is an opportunity to fully experience Lisbon with a local. During this tour you will enjoy the beauty of the city, see some of its hidden gems as well as the most popular highlights.
Starting at the famous Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara viewpoint, enjoy the breath-taking sights while listening to unique local insights. Find out how the city has changed over time and learn about the great mysteries and insights of the notorious 1755 earthquake. Go past the beautiful Carmo church and be amazed by the San Roque golden chapel. Along the way you will stop at small family run businesses where you might choose to purchase some local bites. Enjoy an authentic snack of cheese and chorizo or try the famous sour cherry liquor, ginja.
Our guide will share their knowledge and stories about everything, from the Bairro Alto and Alfama neighbourhoods, important churches and so much more.
Today we enjoy a final breakfast on board before we disembark and transfer to the airport for the flight home.
Plus, of course:
Cruise gratuities are not included. The amount you give is entirely discretionary, the recommended amount is €13 - €17 per person, per day.
In the event of unsatisfactory weather or tidal conditions the Captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary.
Your cruise embarkation point is in Portsmouth on the afternoon of day 1, with the exact timings to be advised with your final documents. A return flight from Lisbon to a choice of UK airports is included in the price of your holiday. You may also choose to take our complimentary coach from Gatwick airport back to Portsmouth at the end of the cruise for those travelling by car.
Single occupancy: A limited number of Infinity & Veranda Cabins are available for sole occupancy with 50% supplement. All other cabins are available at a supplement of 85% for sole occupancy.
There is a lift on board operating between decks 3 and 7. We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
Why not upgrade your cruise experience to include either a Classic drinks package for £269 or Premium drinks package for £449 which must be purchased by all guests in the cabin.
The classic beverage package includes:
Price: £269 per person
The premium beverage package includes:
Price: £449 per person
To purchase either drinks package, please call our reservations team.
Please note: Beverage packages can only be booked for the entire duration of the cruise and for all persons sharing the cabin. They are not transferrable to other people. Our beverage packages are valid only during the cruise. You cannot book parts of a package and they are non-refundable. Our beverage packages may not be booked for persons under 18 years of age.