Board an overnight flight to England
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to England. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Dublin, Ireland.
Arrive in London
Welcome to London! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. Relax with an afternoon at leisure to acclimate and a Welcome Briefing later today. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Dinner alongside your fellow travelers at the hotel.
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 (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and much more. You’ll also enjoy an included visit to the British Museum, famed for its extensive permanent collection of 8 million works dedicated to human history and culture. Lunch and dinner are on your own — perhaps you'll do as the locals do and head to the nearby pub!
Exploring Windsor Castle
Today, en route to Poole, you’ll set off on a tour of Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. The British royal family spend most of their 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 Poole for embarkation.
This afternoon, you’ll proceed to the pier and embark the Ocean Odyssey to begin your own journey of discovery. During your 10 nights onboard this small ship ocean cruise, you’ll enjoy 5-star luxury amenities, informative onboard lectures, immersive Cultural Discoveries, and more.
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 will board an offshore tender and head inland to begin your tour. 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.
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. We will return to the ship for lunch, after which you may head back into town for an afternoon at leisure, 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. Another enlightening lecture takes place before dinner on board.
Belle-Île, a sandy and secluded isle off France’s Brittany coastline, is yours to explore today. Most people arrive to this oft-overlooked island outpost via ferry from the mainland or not at all, but the Ocean Odyssey’s small size is versatile enough to let us berth directly in port, allowing you to easily step ashore.
On a full-day 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. You'll receive some cash to enjoy lunch on your own. Perhaps you'll seek out fresh seafood, an island staple.
Bordeaux, the Port of the Moon
Enjoy scenic sailing this morning as the Ocean Odyssey as we make our way through the Gironde Estuary to 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 or sightseeing from the deck.
This afternoon, 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. 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 Odyssey. 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. Tonight, enjoy onboard entertainment.
Pick your choice of tours in Bordeaux
You'll revel in the scenic sailing aboard the Ocean Odyssey as it takes you through the Gironde Estuary to 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 or sightseeing from the deck. Join your guest lecturer for another talk that prepares you for the exciting explorations we've planned: your choice of tours and leisure time to discover UNESCO-listed Bordeaux, known as the “Port of the Moon” because of its crescent-shaped docks along the river.
Enjoy your afternoon at leisure in Bordeaux. Tonight, enjoy an informative lecture before dinner. Your ship sails overnight to San Sebastian.
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. We’ll berth in port today, so you’ll be able to step right off the ship and head out for 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.
The Ocean Odyssey will cruise to Gijón overnight.
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. Because the ship will be berthed here, you’ll be able to easily step on and off while in port.
Then, spend an afternoon at leisure in Gijón, a city of beautiful beaches and a rich history situated on the shimmering Bay of Biscay. Return to the ship this evening for dinner on board and another scintillating lecture.
Exploring UNESCO-listed Santiago de Compostela
Your expedition brings you to La Coruna, Spain, and the country's westernmost corners today, where you’ll step off the ship and get ready to 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. Lunch is included at a local restaurant today, complete with local entertainment.
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. Your ship will berth in port so you’ll be able to disembark with ease—no waiting and no tendering. 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. Then, enjoy a tasting of one of this region's sweetest delights — Port Wine. 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.
Later this afternoon, hear an onboard lecture about local history. Dinner is on board, with overnight sailing to Lisbon.
Further explore historical Lisbon on your own, disembark the Ocean Odyssey
The Age of Discovery launched in Lisbon, so it’s fitting that you begin the morning with a spate of them. Today you'll say goodbye to the Ocean Odyssey, Vantage's second small ship ocean vessel. We’ll berth in Lisbon and you’ll disembark with ease. You'll take a 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. While on your tour, sample pastéis de Belém custard pastries, Portugal’s favorite treat.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, with dinner on your own.
Explore the historic Queluz Palace and Cascais
This morning, hop on a motorcoach to discover another UNESCO-listed feature: the historic landscape of Sintra. First, you'll visit Queluz Palace, the ornate 18th-century Baroque residence that was once home to Portuguese royalty. You'll enjoy a guided tour of the palace before setting off for Cascais, a beautiful resort town known for its white-sand beaches. Go on an orientation walk before breaking for lunch on your own and an evening at leisure. Tonight, toast to your discoveries during a Farewell Dinner at your hotel.
Tonight, convene with your travelers once more for a festive Farewell Dinner.
Transfer to Lisbon’s airport this morning for your return flight home, or head to Madeira with a 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 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. Port times & itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.
Complimentary Vantage Deluxe Concierge Service prior to your journey, to plan celebrations, activities, or provide regional expertise.