Board an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Lisbon.
Arrive in Lisbon, center of the Age of Discovery and a living history of Portugal’s past. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer or transport to your hotel. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the hotel with your fellow travelers, including those on the pre-trip extension.
Lisbon: Monumental city with an epic past
On a panoramic and walking tour of Lisbon, you'll visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Belém Tower, the city’s iconic gateway at the mouth of the Tagus River. Nearby, marvel at the ornate Jerónimos Monastery, an exquisite example of Portugal’s superb Manueline architecture. While here you’ll also enjoy a taste of pastéis de Belém, a buttery custard confection based on an old recipe from the monks and still Portugal’s favorite pastry. After a panoramic tour of this remarkable city, you have the rest of the day free.
Full day tour to Sintra and Cascais, embark Ocean Odyssey
Today’s 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. Later, you'll be welcomed aboard the luxurious Ocean Odyssey. Your ocean cruise begins! Thanks to the small size of the ship, it’ll be docked right in the port, allowing you to stroll right onboard. This is almost exclusively the way you’ll embark and disembark throughout your cruise.
Get settled in your cabin, then explore the many amenities, including the sun deck and fitness center. See your Concierge to reserve an appointment at the onboard spa. After, gather for the first of your daily port talks to hear about tomorrow’s exciting destination.
In the dining room, savor a special Welcome Dinner. We get underway later in the evening.
Portimão, gateway to the vistas and villages of The Algarve
Cruise along Portugal’s scenic Algarve region this morning before mooring in Portimão, a former center of fishing and shipbuilding. Journey to the historic town of Silves, surrounded by orange and lemon groves, to visit its red sandstone Moorish Castle and 13th-century cathedral constructed by Alfonso X of Castile. There’ll be time to peruse the fascinating exhibits of the Archaeological Museum before continuing to the market town of Monchique, a delightful mountain enclave of cobbled streets where small decorative doorways lead into artisan workshops where folding wooden chairs are still handmade as they were in Roman times. You will see the 17th-century Franciscan monastery for splendid views of the Old Town and admire the traditional azulejo tiles adorning the 16th-century parish church.
You'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant during your tour and return to the Ocean Odyssey for an evening at leisure. Before dinner, don't miss another lecture that elucidates the history and culture of this captivating region.
Give in to the seductions of Seville and home-hosted dinner on a family-owned bull farm
After breakfast you’ll tour Andalusia’s storied capital, Seville, including the Real Alcázar, a monumental complex of fortifications, palaces, and gardens spanning the Arabic period through the 19th century. Stop at the old University of Seville, whose main building is housed in the former Royal Tobacco Factory where Bizet set the famous opening scene of his opera Carmen.
At the Plaza de España, constructed for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, admire an elegant canvas of tiled fountains, bridges, and arcades. Another UNESCO site featured today is the Archivo General de Indias, a Renaissance building housing priceless historic records of the Spanish Empire. You may also step inside the Seville Cathedral — where Ferdinand, Isabella, and Christopher Columbus are entombed — and have the opportunity to climb to the top of its soaring La Giralda Tower.
Return to the Ocean Odyssey for lunch. Then, in the evening, you'll set out into the countryside to a local family's bull farm for a tour, a delicious home-host dinner of Spanish fare, and a rich cultural exchange — including a passionate flamenco performance!
Uncover the treasures of Seville and Guadalquivir River sailing
Today is full of possibilities as you have the morning at leisure to explore the Andalusian capital on your own.
If you'd like to see more of Seville, our included shuttle service will whisk you into town. Take in city views from atop the Metropol Parasol, a remarkable wooden structure of 100-foot pillars topped by a wavy roof traversed by a winding walkway. Or visit the excellent Fine Arts Museum.
This afternoon, attend a lecture about the riches of Andalusia Then, enjoy some scenic sailing and cruise along the historic Guadalquivir River through Doñana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important habitat for waterfowl. Commentary from the bridge gives you insight into this pristine wilderness, and birders should take advantage of this opportunity to get a good look at some of the birds, including Thekla's lark and the western olivaceous warbler. If you've brought a telephoto lens for your camera, try to get some images from the deck. Relax and have dinner onboard in the evening.
A taste of Britain at the tip of Spain
Step ashore in Gibraltar, known as “The Rock” for its most famous and dominant geographic feature. Throughout the day, you will have expansive views of both Europe and Africa. Our tour includes a funicular ride to the Castle of Gibraltar. Keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready in case you catch a glimpse of the famed Barbary apes (macaques) that live on the rock. British-flavored Gibraltar is a great spot for pub-hopping and duty-free shopping before we return to ship for lunch. You have the afternoon free to wander Gibraltar’s streets, perhaps coming up on a red Victorian post box or a fish-and-chips shop. Our afternoon lecture sheds light on your discoveries and you have the evening to admire the imposing Rock of Gibraltar as you sip a cocktail on the sun deck.
Beauty and history in seaside Málaga
Wake up in Málaga, the provincial capital and birthplace of Pablo Picasso that recently remade itself into a popular cultural hub with a restored historic center. Your city tour reveals Málaga's wide boulevards lined with turn-of-the-century apartments; the Gothic Cathedral and Gibralfaro Castle (an 11th-century Moorish fortification), the adjacent Alcazaba, (the old Moorish palace). You will also visit the Picasso Museum, home to almost 300 of the artist’s works.
After lunch on board, you’ll have the afternoon to relax on the spacious sundeck or explore Málaga on your own.
Discover the stunning Ronda gorge
After breakfast we’ll head inland to the heights of the sierras and Ronda, first settled by the Celts. A procession of Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans, Moors, Berbers, Visigoths, and other Europeans have since left their cultural mark in the town’s distinctive white stucco neighborhoods. You’ll see the old Roman Bridge spanning the deep El Tajo Gorge below, the stately Casa de Don Bosco, and Mondragon Palace. Then visit the Plaza de Toros — the oldest bullring in Spain. Here, a docent will provide an informative talk on the history of Spanish bullfighting.
You’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, accompanied by rousing guitar and vocal entertainment! After some free time to explore Ronda, you’ll return to your ship in Málaga for dinner.
Explore the storied city of Granada
From our berth in Motril you set out on a full-day excursion to fabled Granada, the last stronghold of the Spanish Moors. Set in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada boasts one of the world’s most spectacular fortified palace complexes, the legendary Alhambra. On a guided tour, you'll see its most famous attractions, including the renowned fountains and gardens of the adjacent Generalife.
Enjoy lunch in a typical Spanish restaurant and then return to the ship in Almeria this afternoon. You'll learn more about Andalusia during today’s onboard lecture as you set sail for Málaga late this evening.
Exploring Cartagena's Roman flourishes
After breakfast on board the ship arrives in the natural harbor of Cartagena, in use since the city was established as a major naval center by the Carthaginians in 227 BC. You’ll get acquainted with its history at La Concepción Castle, which overlooks the old Roman Theatre, the second largest in Iberia. Walking down the Calle Mayor, you’ll also see some of the Cartagena’s noteworthy art nouveau buildings, including the gleaming white façade of the Cervantes House and the elegant Grand Hotel, where you have time to explore on your own.
After returning to ship for lunch, your afternoon is free. Perhaps you’ll relax and take in some Spanish sunshine on deck. Before another gourmet dinner on the Ocean Odyssey, yet another lecture illuminates more about this historic region.
Mallorca: Jewel of Spain’s Balearic Islands
The ship arrives in in Palma de Mallorca this morning. Perhaps you'll catch the sunrise this morning from the Ocean Odyssey's observation deck, or get in a morning workout at the gym before a delicious breakfast.
Ringed by pristine crescent beaches and cloaked in lush green forest, Mallorca is an island paradise for the Spanish and visitors alike. On a panoramic city tour, you'll explore the stunning circular Bellver Castle, built in the 14th century for the Kings of Mallorca. Later, step inside the massive, Gothic La Seu Cathedral. This honey-colored masterpiece boasts a cavernous interior designed by Antoni Gaudí and a 144-foot-high nave. Return to the ship for lunch before an afternoon at leisure in Palma de Mallorca.
Exploring Catalonia’s vibrant cultural heart and disembark the Ocean Odyssey
This morning you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey — we hope you enjoyed your journey on Vantage's newest small ship ocean vessel!
Afterwards, you'll get to know the sophisticated capital of Catalonia on a panoramic tour that includes the hugely successful revitalization project of Port Vell, the Olympic Village that hosted the 1992 Games. Then, ascend Montjuic for spectacular city views. Continue to the Plaza de España, adorned with Venetian towers and a towering fountain, and to La Sagrada Família cathedral, Antoni Gaudí’s famous masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which you'll be able to visit on your own. After seeing the architectural treasures along the tree-lined Passieg de Gràcia — including surreal buildings by Gaudí — there’ll be plenty of time to shop the city’s famous pedestrian-only Las Ramblas. The tour concludes at La Barceloneta Beach, where an included lunch awaits.
The rest of the day is at leisure, with dinner on your own.
A rewarding day on your own in Barcelona
You have the entire day at your leisure to immerse in the history and culture of the vibrant capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. This evening, raise a glass to your expedition during a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers.
After breakfast, transfer to the Barcelona airport for your return flight home, or transfer by train to Madrid with our optional post-trip extension.
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert. Port-of-call orientation walking tours are subject to change based on port time and weather conditions