Lisbon to London: A Coastal Odyssey - 2021

Lisbon • 10-night expedition cruise with Porto, Vigo / La Coruña, Gijón, San Sebastián, Bordeaux, Belle-Île, Brest, Saint-Malo, Poole • London
  • $493
  • 15
  • 22
16 DAYS FROM $8,148
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Madeira, Portugal

4 DAYS FROM $899

London, England

3 DAYS FROM $1,199

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Join the inaugural sailing season of the Ocean Explorer and embark on your own Age of Discovery on an expedition from Lisbon to London that includes explorations into the hidden gems and overlooked ports of France and Spain. From Belle-Île’s laid-back shores and Saint-Malo’s medieval walls to the ports of northwest Spain and the Basque resort town of San Sebastián, this cruise will illuminate the historical, cultural, and culinary wonders of both ancient and contemporary life.

You’ll cruise on the brand-new Ocean Explorer, an agile and state-of-the-art expedition vessel that can navigate to places larger ships can’t, including Bordeaux, France, where you’ll spend two days on what’s sure to be a centerpiece of this expedition. Arguably the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux will quench your curiosity for renowned French vintages, Michelin-starred dining, and introduce you to the fabulous La Cité du Vin wine museum for a tour and tasting.

With 22 included sightseeing tours and Cultural Discoveries, including a full-day exploration of Santiago de Compostela and an overnight stay in Bordeaux, you’ll enjoy the most intimate and immersive experiences. Discover more during your free time with onboard bicycles, or personalize your journey with the expertise of an onboard worldwide Concierge — make restaurant reservations in Bordeaux, visit a neighboring town or nearby wine estate, or plan your own itinerary according to your interests! Optional pre- and post-trip extensions to Madeira and London round out this historical — and delicious — expedition of Europe’s western coastline.

Lisbon to London

Pre-Trip Extension

Madeira, Portugal

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DAY 1:

Board an overnight flight to Portugal

Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Portugal. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Madeira.

DAY 2:

Lisbon arrivals

Welcome to Lisbon! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to acclimate and Welcome Briefing later today. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Dinner alongside your fellow expeditioners at the hotel.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Lisbon landmarks, tasting renowned Pastéis de Belém

The Age of Discovery launched in Lisbon, so it’s fitting that you begin the morning with a spate of them. On an included panoramic and walking tour of the Portuguese capital, you’ll explore the city’s famed monuments, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Belém Tower and Monastery of Jerónimos, which you’ll peruse and walk through. The latter is inextricably tied to the country’s history of exploration, and it’s said that Vasco da Gama spent his last night here before sailing for the Far East (his tomb is in the monastery). Your tour culminates in a stop at the towering Monument to the Discoveries: a massive white-stone tribute to some of the world’s most intrepid sailors and explorers. Cultural Discovery: While on your tour, sample Pastéis de Belém custard pastries, Portugal’s favorite treat.

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, with dinner on your own. Lisbon is renowned for its culinary scene, and your Cruise Director can point you in the right direction, depending on what you’re hungry for!

Included Meals:


DAY 4:

Further explore historical Lisbon on your own, embark the Ocean Explorer

Enjoy a day at leisure in Lisbon today, or consider our optional full-day tour that introduces southwest Portugal’s most iconic destinations, including Queluz Palace, Sintra, and the sunny resort town of  Cascais. 

If you remain in Lisbon, perhaps you’ll further your explorations with a taste of the city’s dynamic culinary scene at a gourmet market or by sampling local seafood in one of Lisbon’s celebrated restaurants. Portugal is renowned for bacalhau — dried, salted codfish — as well as its tinned seafood, much of which is sardines, and you’ll find these delicacies almost everywhere. 

Active travelers can embark on a hike through Lisbon’s trademark seven hills for must-see views of the city or head over to the Castelo neighborhood for a trek up to São Jorge Castle. This Moorish fortress offers a stunning overlook of the entire city and shopping opportunities for everything from local pottery to Portugal’s famous azulejo tiles.

This afternoon, embark the Ocean Explorer and begin your own journey of discovery. Among the highlights? The curated dining you'll experience tonight during your first dinner on board, and throughout your expedition. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Queluz Palace, Sintra & Cascais

Queluz Palace, Sintra & Cascais

  • Approximate Cost: $75 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 8 hours
  • Location: Lisbon, Portugal
  • When: Full-day tour

This full-day tour introduces southwest Portugal’s most iconic destinations, including Queluz Palace, the extravagant estate of Pedro and Maria I. You’ll peruse its gilded rooms and gorgeous gardens before continuing to Sintra for a walking tour of the city’s stunning architectural styles. Conclude your day in Cascais, the sunny beach resort beloved by locals and vacationers from across Europe, where you’ll have time for independent exploration and lunch on your own. You’ll return to Lisbon via motorcoach along a scenic coastal route.

DAY 5:

Inside Porto, the “Unvanquished City”

Enjoy breakfast as the ship arrives to Porto, known as the “Unvanquished City” because the Romans or Moors never overtook it. According to 15th-century legend, the people of Porto donated all their meat to a military fleet departing for battle — leaving themselves with nothing but offal (tripas). Considering the sacrifice an ancestral badge of honor, Porto residents still proudly call themselves Tripeiros.

Embark on a panoramic drive through Portugal’s second largest city, which includes its UNESCO-listed city center and a visit to a local market. Return to the ship for lunch, with an afternoon at leisure to explore Porto on your own. Don’t miss a visit to one of the top bookstores in the world, Livraria Lello (which inspired J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter library), where you can peruse the shelves and admire the décor of this one-of-a-kind gem. You can also join an optional tour to a local port-wine cellar with an included tasting.

Cultural Discovery: Later this afternoon, hear an onboard lecture about local history. Dinner is on board, with overnight sailing to Spain.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Port Wine Tasting

Port Wine Tasting

  • Approximate Cost: $60 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Graham’s Port, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
  • When: Afternoon tour
No visit to Porto is complete without enjoying its signature wine, of course, so on this optional excursion you’ll cross the Douro for a visit to one of the city’s best-known port wine cellars. Learn about and sample the varieties of this digestif while enjoying the ambience of the surrounding gardens and river views below.

DAY 6:

Exploring UNESCO-listed Santiago de Compostela

Your expedition brings you to Vigo, Spain, and the country's westernmost corners today, where you’ll experience a full-day exploration of the UNESCO-listed Santiago de Compostela, one of the most sacred places in the world for Christian pilgrims. It’s believed that Saint James was buried here in the first century, but the location was forgotten over the years until a ninth-century hermit saw a shining light over a spot in a wooded field, sparking an ensuing investigation that revealed what was believed to be the lost tomb of Saint James. A church was constructed, and it quickly became one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations of medieval times. It remains so today, with more than 200,000 people walking the nearly 500-mile path (called the Way of Saint James) annually. You’ll get a chance to see both the church and the route that millions have taken to get there. Vantage will provide you money in the local currency to explore on your own and get some lunch, including tapas in numerous local restaurants.

Afterward, transfer to La Coruña, stopping for photos at the Tower of Hercules — the world’s oldest working lighthouse and a UNESCO World Heritage Site — along the way. Re-embark ship in La Coruña and enjoy a special Cultural Discovery tonight — we've curated your first onboard performance with fado, a traditional Portuguese music that’s typically melancholic and features two 12-string guitars.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Oviedo, Spain’s cosmopolitan northern capital

Discover Oviedo, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s northern coast and home to some impressive churches including Cathedral of San Salvador, which is where the original Way of St. James began. Soak in the old-world beauty of this town and its collectively listed UNESCO monuments before returning to the ship for lunch.

Then, spend an afternoon at leisure in Gijón, a city of beautiful beaches and a rich history situated on the shimmering Bay of Biscay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return to the ship this evening for dinner on board and another Cultural Discovery — we've invited a guest lecturer on board to present another scintillating talk.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Seaside splendor in the resort town of San Sebastián

Wake up in San Sebastián today, one of Spain’s most alluring resort towns renowned for its beaches and its food. A morning tour of the city’s historical gems includes the Parte Vieja (Old Town), the twin-towered Santa Maria Church, and Good Shepherd Cathedral, but merely strolling the streets of this coastal treasure — or watching the waves break over La Concha beach — is a pleasure all its own. 

This afternoon, you'll have two optional tour choices: Visit Bilbao, the buzzing hub of Basque country, including a visit to the world-famous Guggenheim Museum and the UNESCO-listed Vizcaya Bridge; or head to Pamplona, the historic Spanish town famous for hosting the annual running of the bulls, with included tapas and wine tasting.

Active Feature: Enhance your walking tour discoveries when you give biking a try and cover more ground. Your Concierge or Cruise Director can help you reserve two wheels and suggest a few paths.

Cultural Discovery: Before dinner this evening, enjoy a local tuna band. The Ocean Explorer will cruise to France overnight.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Bilbao, with Guggenheim and Vizcaya Bridge,

Bilbao, with Guggenheim and Vizcaya Bridge

  • Approximate Cost: $85 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4.5 hours
  • Location: Bilbao, Spain
  • When: Afternoon tour

Discover one of Basque country’s shiniest stars: Bilbao. You’ll transfer by motorcoach from San Sebastián, embarking on a panoramic sightseeing tour through the city, seeing the UNESCO-listed Vizcaya Bridge along the way. Then, prepare yourself for architect Frank Gehry’s Spanish masterpiece: the Guggenheim Museum.

Enjoying a million visits per year, the Guggenheim Bilbao has become one of the emblems that have made Bilbao one of the avant-garde cities of the 21st century. Bilbao is part of the select group of cities hosting a Guggenheim Museum. The inside collection focuses on art from the mid-20th century to the present, including work by modern and contemporary Basque and Spanish artists.



  • Approximate Cost: $145 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4.5 hours
  • Location: Pamplona, Spain
  • When: Afternoon tour
Discover the Spanish city of Pamplona, famous for its annual running of the bulls, which happens every year in July. You’ll get a look at this annual tradition on a visit to the Plaza de Toros bullring, the end point for the running of the bulls. You’ll also visit the 15th-century Gothic-style Pamplona Cathedral before a tapas and wine tasting, followed by coffee at El Rincón de Hemingway. The American writer had a love affair with Pamplona, which you’ll learn more about on this exciting optional excursion.

DAY 9:

Bordeaux, the Port of the Moon

Today the agile Ocean Explorer makes its way down the Garonne River and into Bordeaux, France — one of the smaller ports most vessels can’t reach! 

As you cruise there this morning, spend some time in the boutique, soaking up sun in the swimming pool, or sightseeing from the deck. Cultural Discovery: Join your guest lecturer for another talk that prepares you for the exciting explorations we've planned: two days exploring UNESCO-listed Bordeaux, known as the “Port of the Moon” because of its crescent-shaped docks along the river. 

Cultural Discovery: Often overlooked by the glamorous outposts of Paris and Marseille, Bordeaux is arguably the wine capital of the world, and home to La Cité du Vin wine museum, which you’ll visit on an afternoon city tour that includes a wine tasting, too.

Enjoy an evening at leisure in Bordeaux, with dinner on the Ocean Explorer. You'll overnight in Bordeaux, so take advantage of the extra time by heading into town for an after-dinner cocktail or glass of wine, or simply stroll around town.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Leisure time to experience Bordeaux as you please

Enjoy an entire day at leisure in Bordeaux. Alongside its wine, the city is also renowned for its food, including oysters, lamb, and duck — as well as porcini mushrooms, which celebrated French chef Joel Robuchon calls “the best in France.” Make a request to your Concierge ahead of time if you’d like to secure Michelin-starred restaurant reservations — these book well in advance!

You also have your choice of optional tours today, including a visit to the UNESCO-listed village of Saint-Émilion, home to a historical vineyard that looks much the same now as it did in medieval times; or, visit Arcachon, a seaside resort town renowned for its oysters.

Active Feature: Enhance your Bordeaux discoveries by bicycle — your Concierge or Cruise Director can help you reserve two wheels and suggest a few paths.

Cultural Discovery: Hear another talk from the guest lecturer before a delicious dinner as the ship sails overnight to Belle-Île.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Saint-Émilion & Wine Tasting,

Saint-Émilion & Wine Tasting

  • Approximate Cost: $169 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 7 hours
  • Location: Saint-Émilion, France
  • When: Morning tour
Head to medieval Saint-Émilion village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a scintillating optional full-day excursion that introduces the village’s Monolithic Church. But the true lure of Saint-Émilion is its wine, thanks to a microclimate perfectly suited for wine-making. Combined with the permanent care of professionals for their vines, the village’s network of “terroirs” provides ideal conditions for the nutrition and the maturity of the different blends of grape varieties (mostly Merlot, blended with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Malbec). These varietals allow Saint-Émilion wines to have a wide range of aromas and flavors that are particularly appreciated. Enjoy an included light lunch with wine tasting and free time to explore on your own.

Basin of Arcachon & Oyster Tasting Tour

Basin of Arcachon & Oyster Tasting Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $139 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 7 hours
  • Location: Arcachon, France
  • When: Morning tour
Visit France’s seaside resort town of Arcachon, which is known for oyster harvesting. Its four districts are named after the seasons, including the Ville d'Été (summer) quarter, which is home to the town’s main shopping areas, a sandy beach, and a casino in the 19th-century Château Deganne. You’ll visit the Dune of Pilat at Pyla-sur-Mer in Arcachon Bay and have the chance to climb the highest sand dune in Europe for a panoramic view (known locally as the “Bassin”) before an included oyster tasting with wine.

DAY 11:

Brittany’s Belle-Île

Belle-Île, a sandy and secluded isle off France’s Brittany coastline, is yours to explore today. Most people arrive to the island via ferry from the mainland, or not at all — this is another oft-overlooked outpost that the versatile Ocean Explorer can reach.

On a morning tour, discover the stunning pastel-hued harbor and its homes, the star-shaped citadel in capital Le Palais, and charming inland villages like the commune of Sauzon — once the muse for Monet, who spent several months here during the climax of his career. This island is a favorite among celebrities who love its laid-back charm and rich history of arts and crafts. Don’t miss the regional seafood when you enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before returning to the port of Le Palais.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

The best of Brest

Once destroyed by Allied air attacks in World War II, today’s rebuilt Brest is a major French hub, and the site of your explorations today. Depart on a city tour via coach and walking, including a visit to the Château de Brest, a strategic military outpost and the oldest functioning castle in the world. After a lunch aboard ship, enjoy an afternoon at leisure in town, perhaps touring the Musée des Beaux-Arts or the stunning Brest National Botanical Garden, which features one of the largest collections of endangered plant species in the world. Cultural Discovery: Another enlightening lecture takes place before dinner on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 13:

Saint-Malo and Mont Saint-Michel

You’ll be transported back to medieval times when you arrive in Saint-Malo, France, today. This walled city has a long seafaring history and is the birthplace of Jacques Cartier, the first European man to discover Canada. Inside its walls, Saint-Malo’s streets overflow with cafés and restaurants — the modern mixing with the medieval.

A full-day tour unveils a true gem of France: Mont Saint-Michel. You'll transfer to this Benedictine abbey, which is dramatically situated on a hulking granite island surrounded by granite walls. It is so iconic that UNESCO deemed it a World Heritage Site. On a guided tour, learn about the history of this legendary place while wandering the tangle of lanes within. Afterward, seek out a classic French meal at a nearby brasserie with provided lunch money. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to shop and explore Saint-Malo.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 14:

Exploring Windsor Castle

Today you'll say goodbye to the Ocean Explorer when you disembark in Poole — we hope you enjoyed your expedition on Vantage's first small ship oceangoing expedition vessel! Today, en route to London, you’ll set off on a tour of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Queen Elizabeth spends most of her private weekends at the castle, which has housed 39 monarchs since its founding by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.

Afterward, enjoy lunch on your own, then transfer to London where you’ll check into your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, with dinner on your own. Your hotel is very centrally located, and you'll have a bevy of dining options to choose from. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 15:

From Big Ben to Buckingham Palace: Exploring London’s landmarks

Today you’ll discover this great metropolis on a half-day guided city tour that introduces you to London’s landmarks, including Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (UNESCO), Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and much more. You’ll also enjoy a fascinating visit to the Imperial War Museum, which explores conflict from WWI to the present day. This afternoon, discover more of the English capital on your own, before a Farewell Dinner at the hotel reunites you with your fellow expeditioners, as you toast your adventure one last time.

Included Meals:


DAY 16:

Return home, or stay longer in London

Transfer to London’s airport this morning for your return flight home, or spend an optional extra few days in London with a post-trip extension.

Included Meals:


Post-Trip Extension

London, England

FROM: $1199 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $400 PER DAY

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.

Please Note: Port times & itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.

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Lisbon to London: A Coastal Odyssey - 2021

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