Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
Step aboard the elegant Ocean Odyssey and uncover the beauty of the British Isles on an unparalleled small ship cruise from Portsmouth to Belfast. This comprehensive cruise combines the comfort of a small ship luxury voyage with the joy of discovery as you explore the best of Ireland and Wales.
Explore Cardiff, the capital of Wales, and tour its namesake 2,000-year-old castle. Tour the quaint historic village of Milford Haven and visit nearby St. David’s Cathedral, founded in the 6th century by the patron saint of Wales. Enjoy an enticing whiskey tour in Dublin and sample a variety of locally distilled Irish whiskeys. Delve into the 800-year-old maritime history of Cork and hear the incredible story of the RMS Titanic. In Dublin, set out for a special day discovering the city's main sights, including prestigious Trinity College, home of Ireland’s most precious medieval artifact: the Book of Kells. In all, you’ll enjoy 10 included features and Cultural Discoveries throughout your journey.
All throughout your small ship cruise, you’ll enjoy the personalized service and world-class amenities found aboard a Vantage Deluxe World Travel voyage. Treat yourself to a pampering massage at the onboard spa, visit the onboard gym for a heart-pumping workout, and savor delicious gourmet dining at several shipboard restaurants. Best of all, with just 77 spacious cabins — including a landmark 15 solo cabins — you’ll enjoy a truly intimate cruising experience and more meaningful interactions, both on board and ashore.
Fly overnight to Portsmouth
Today, you’ll board an overnight flight to Portsmouth, England, arriving on Day 2. Or, depart earlier for your optional pre-trip extension in Edinburgh.
Arrive in London and transfer to your hotel
Welcome to London! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport to assist with transfers to your hotel. You’ll have the afternoon at leisure to relax at your hotel or get acquainted with your surroundings. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
London at your leisure
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll have a full day to explore London at your leisure. Lunch and dinner today are on your own.
Arrive in Portsmouth and board the Ocean Odyssey
Welcome to the United Kingdom! Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by a Vantage representative who will assist you with transfers to the pier. There, you will board the Ocean Odyssey to begin your small ship cruise.
Enjoy a day of scenic sailing on board
You’ll have a full day of scenic sailing to indulge in your ship’s 5-star amenities. Relax on the sundeck, visit the spa for a soothing treatment, and shop for souvenirs at the onboard gift shop. At mealtimes, savor culinary creations prepared by your skilled onboard chefs. In the evening, head up to the Observation Deck for magnificent stargazing.
Onboard Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional onboard experience. Enhance your time on board with one of our Vantage-exclusive activities, including wine and whiskey tastings, a multicourse Chef’s Table Dinner, or an exclusive wine-pairing dinner. Learn more
Step back in time at Cardiff Castle
Today, you’ll explore Cardiff, the capital of Wales and its largest city. This bustling city hosts many events and attractions throughout the year. You’ll enjoy a short walking tour of this enchanting city before heading to its main attraction — Cardiff Castle. This Victorian-Gothic castle is a fantasy come to life. Located on beautiful parklands at the heart of the city, this magical 2,000-year-old castle was once a Roman fort and a Norman stronghold. In the 19th century the castle was redesigned by artist and architect William Burges at the direction of John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. The results are simply breathtaking, with opulent gilded interiors, elaborate wood carvings, intricate murals, and richly detailed stained glass throughout. You’ll have time to explore this medieval dream for yourself before returning to the ship for lunch. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to further explore Cardiff on your own.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Embark on a full-day excursion to Bath, England, including a visit to the 1st-century Roman baths and natural springs. Learn more
Named after the public baths constructed during Britannia’s time as a Roman province, the UNESCO-designated English city of Bath has a long history dating back to the 1st century. Today, these same baths remain one of Great Britain’s best-preserved Roman ruins. This optional excursion includes a tour of the grand temple complex, originally called Aquae Sulis (Waters of Sulis), that houses these historic ruins. You’ll also have time to browse the interactive exhibits included in the onsite museum before heading over to the nearby natural hot spring, the only one of its kind remaining in England today. This spring was used by the Celtic Britons as a shrine to their goddess, Sulis Minerva, who was venerated as a healer and giver of life. Round out your tour with lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Cardiff.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Medieval Milford Haven awaits you today
Originally settled by Vikings in the mid-9th century and developed as a whaling town in the 17th century, Milford Haven’s history is firmly linked to the sea. Today, cafés, boutiques, and other fun establishments line what was once a commercial quayside. You’ll enjoy a walking tour of this quaint historic village before heading to nearby St. David’s Cathedral, situated in the tiny cathedral town of the same name. Founded in the 6th century by St. David, the patron saint of Wales, this is the final resting place of Edmund Tudor, the 1st Earl of Richmond and father of King Henry VII. Following your tour, you’ll have some free time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Delve into Ireland’s maritime history in Cork
Today’s included tour will reveal the many charms and landmarks of the compact, 800-year-old city of Cork. Known as Ireland’s maritime haven, Cork’s seafaring history spans thousands of years. Serving as the main departure point for the millions of Irish citizen who emigrated to America in the 1800s, this was also the last port-of-call for the RMS Titanic. Throughout the tour, your knowledgeable guide will provide insightful commentary about Cobh’s historic harbor, including interesting tidbits about the Titanic. At the end of your tour, you’ll return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a leisurely afternoon to continue exploring on your own.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Head to Blarney Castle and see the famous Blarney Stone, where lore holds that kissing this 600-year-old landmark will bestow you with the “gift of gab.” Learn more
Head to Blarney Castle and see the famous Blarney Stone, where lore holds that kissing this 600-year-old landmark will bestow you with the “gift of gab” and the characteristic Irish wit. Next you’ll visit nearby Kinsale and Charles Fort, which overlooks the town’s handsome natural harbor. You’ll definitely want to capture these spectacular views, so remember to bring your camera. This fort also played a part in some of Ireland’s most momentous events, including the Civil War of the early 1920s. Its massive star-shaped structure is still well-preserved, despite its long history.
Tour an iconic institution in Waterford
Located in the heart of Ireland’s eastern region, Waterford is the country’s oldest city and a treasure-trove of age-old artifacts, classic architecture, and delicious dining. Today’s included excursion will take you to the House of Waterford Crystal.
Overlooking the historic Viking Triangle district, the renowned House of Waterford Crystal serves as the production factory for one of Ireland’s most iconic brands. Your tour will showcase all stages in the creation of fine crystal — glass blowing, cutting, sculpting, and engraving. You’ll engage with the onsite artists and watch as they create exquisite crystal pieces right before your eyes, before viewing the world’s largest Waterford Crystal display.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Board a private train to Kilkenny’s Black Abbey and explore its namesake castle. Learn more
Set off for a tour of Kilkenny, one of Ireland’s most charming cities and home to several historic buildings. You’ll start your tour with a photo stop at the 13th-century Black Abbey before boarding a mini-train to Kilkenny Castle. This sprawling, 800-year-old manor once served as the residence of several royal families. Afterwards, you’ll explore modern Kilkenny with a visit to the Kilkenny Design Centre, home of the National Design & Craft Gallery. This is the perfect place to pick up gifts and specialty items before returning to the village for lunch on your own.
Discover the stunning county of Wicklow
Following breakfast on board, you’ll venture to the southeastern coast of Ireland to explore County Wicklow. Here you will visit the spectacular 47-acre gardens of Powerscourt, laid out over a period of 150 years. Set against the backdrop of Sugarloaf Mountain, there are many hidden treasures to discover from the ornate Italian Gardens to the formal walks of the Rose and Kitchen Gardens. Next you’ll visit Glendalough, one of Ireland’s oldest Monastic complexes, founded by St. Kevin in the early 7th century. Set in a glacial valley between two idyllic lakes, the monastery’s most prominent feature is the iconic High Tower where monks stored precious manuscripts and artifacts. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll head to a sheepdog demonstration. Get a firsthand look at the intensive training process and meet the adorable Border Collies, Ireland’s preferred sheepherding breed.
A day of discovery in Dublin
Today, you’ll set out for a special day discovering Dublin’s main sights, including prestigious Trinity College. This is where you’ll find Ireland’s most precious medieval artifact, the Book of Kells. This illuminated manuscript of the four gospels dates back to approximately AD 800. The college also houses the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, also known as the Easter Proclamation; and the Brian Boru harp, Ireland’s national symbol featured on the Guinness label. Next, you’ll marvel at the lush greenery of the city’s beloved Phoenix Park. These 1,750 acres of woodland, lakes, and historic buildings are home to Dublin’s own herd of wild fallow deer. Your tour will conclude at Dublin Castle, where you’ll have an opportunity to tour the inside. Constructed in the early 13th century on the site of a former Viking settlement, this castle served as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland for many centuries. Following Ireland’s independence in 1922, Dublin Castle was ceded to the new Irish government. Today it is a major government complex and a key attraction for visitors.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Head out of the city to the coastal town of Howth, where you’ll embark on a cliffside nature walk with incredible views of the sea. Learn more
Jutting out from north Dublin, the Howth Peninsula connects to the mainland via a tombola that is home to the neighboring town of Sutton. This imposing landmass boasts endless options for adventurers and day-trippers looking for a scenic way to spend the day. One of Ireland’s most unforgettable experiences is the Howth Cliff Walk, a perfect hike for nature lovers. Set off down one of several walking routes and be rewarded with breathtaking views of remote beaches, towering cliffs, and the Irish Sea.
Get a taste of Irish whiskey in Dublin
Today, you’ll enjoy a very enticing, and quintessentially Irish, experience — an Irish whiskey tour. While the specific origins of whiskey are widely debated, it is believed that 11th-century Irish monks brought the technique of distilling perfumes back to Ireland following their travels to southern Europe. Around the 12th century, the Irish then modified this technique to obtain a drinkable spirit, making Irish whiskey one of the earliest distilled drinks in Europe. Dublin itself has a centuries-old history of whiskey production. On today’s excursion, you’ll tour a local distillery and learn about the process before enjoying a tasting of several types of whiskey for yourself.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey in Belfast
Following breakfast on board, you’ll disembark in Belfast, Ireland, and head to the airport to board your return flight home. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of this historically significant city and pay a visit to the Titanic Belfast museum. If you've opted for a post-trip extension, you'll board your flight and transfer to Dublin today.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Get a firsthand look at the natural phenomenon that is Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit the Titanic Belfast museum. Learn more
This optional tour begins with visit to Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Featuring thousands of hexagonal basalt columns, locals will tell you that Giant’s Causeway was formed when the giant Finn McCool tossed massive boulders in the water in order to battle another giant across the way in Scotland. However, scientists will tell you that this amazing natural phenomenon was created when basaltic lava from an ancient volcanic eruption solidified into thousands of hexagonal columns. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Titanic Belfast museum, where you can learn the history of the RMS Titanic, from her conception and construction in the early 1900s to her ill-fated maiden voyage.
Belfast at your leisure
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll have a full day to explore Belfast at your leisure. Lunch and dinner today are on your own.
Return home today
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll check out and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, extend your discoveries with an optional post-trip extension in Edinburgh.
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. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.