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London is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and historic cities, and this two-night stay gives you additional time to discover its charms and iconic locales for yourself. We’ve reserved your room at a fashionable hotel, mere steps away from world-class museums, shopping, and dining options. You’ll enjoy a half-day city tour that includes Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also tour the Imperial War Museum, with plenty of free time to visit museums, shop and people-watch in Piccadilly, and raise a pint at a pub, too.
Depart home for London, England
Board an overnight flight to London, England.
Land in the U.K.’s capital
Land this morning in London. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy a short orientation walk near your hotel, then enjoy a Welcome Dinner and briefing.
Stonehenge, a pub lunch, and jumping into Poole
From the bustling heart of London we’ll head southwest to the open Salisbury Plain and the great circle of standing stones known as Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient ritual site — part of vast complex of prehistoric burial mounds, earthworks, and avenues — attracts modern-day druids for summer and winter solstice celebrations. Embracing British history and culture, we’ll enjoy lunch at a pub in Salisbury, before continuing our journey to the port of Poole on the sweeping Dorset coast. Many of the troopships involved in the D-Day landings launched from Poole for their rendezvous with history. After embarking the my Variety Voyager, later this afternoon, join the Captain and crew for an onboard Welcome Briefing, followed by your first dinner aboard ship.
Discover the sights — and flavors — of coastal Honfleur, France
Wake up in France this morning! After breakfast, set off on a guided walking tour of picturesque Honfleur — birthplace of the early Impressionist painter Eugene Boudin and a favorite of Monet, Courbet, and other artists who maintained studios near the harbor. You’ll also be treated to a delightful oyster tasting session, immersing yourself in local culture and commerce. Lunch is back onboard before an afternoon at leisure in Honfleur.
Step back in time in Saint-Malo
You’ll be transported back to medieval times when you arrive in Saint-Malo, France. 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.
While you’re here, you’ll get a chance to see a true gem of France: Mont Saint-Michel. This Benedictine abbey, dramatically situated on a hulking granite island surrounded by granite walls, is so iconic that UNESCO deemed it a World Heritage Site. We’ll 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 lunch money we provide you in the local currency for the greatest of ease.
Experience 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 our explorations for the day. This morning, we’ll 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 this town, perhaps touring its 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.
Discover what’s in a name in Belle-Île
Sandy and secluded, today, you’ll see just for yourself why this French gem is called the “beautiful island” as you arrive and dock beneath the towering Citadelle Vauban. On an included morning walk, discover the stunning pastel-hued harbor, azure waters lapping the sun-drenched seaside, the star-shaped citadel in capital Le Palais, and villages where time seems to have stood still. The island commune of Sauzon was the muse for Monet, who spent several months here during the epoch of his career. You’ll admire the landscapes and legends here before stopping for lunch at your leisure, with provided local currency to taste just what you prefer. Then enjoy the rest of the afternoon in Le Palais, and stroll its postcard-perfect winding streets.
Wandering romantic La Rochelle
Continuing southward on the my Variety Voyager, we’ll begin our day in La Rochelle. This important coastal city is a hub for trade, but regional gastronomy also flourishes. Known as the “White City” for the gleaming facades of its buildings, this picturesque town has a fascinating history — from its time as a base for the Knights Templar to its place as a hub for German U-boats in World War II. You’ll set off on a walking tour, taking in all the impressive sights from Vieux Port (Old Harbor) and hearing what life was like during these separate eras in history.
Discover magical San Sebastián, Spain
Discover San Sebastián today, one of Spain’s most alluring resort towns renowned for its beaches and its food. You'll enjoy a morning of scenic sailing, then enjoy historical gems during an afternoon city tour. You'll visit Parte Vieja (Old Town), stop by the entrance of the Good Shepherd Cathedral, and enter the twin-towered Santa Maria Church, and but merely strolling the streets of this coastal gem — or watching the waves break over La Concha beach — is a pleasure all its own. Enhance your walking tour discoveries when you give biking a try and cover more ground. Your Cruise Director can help you reserve two wheels and suggest a few enlightening paths.
After dinner this evening, we’ll enjoy some local onboard entertainment before overnighting in San Sebastián, giving you the opportunity to further explore the offerings of this seaside haven — why not head out to a tapas bar after dinner to try another glass of delicious regional wine?
Diving into Basque country and Bilbao
This morning, you'll wake up after overnighting in San Sebastian, then cruise along the Basque coastline. This afternoon, we arrive in the region’s buzzing hub: Bilbao. A city tour will introduce you to Bilbao’s historic Casco Viejo neighborhood, the Plaza Nueva, and the UNESCO-listed Vizcaya Bridge. You’ll feel the electric energy of this city’s artistic goings-on — and later in the afternoon, you’ll experience them up-close with a visit to the world-famous Guggenheim Museum. The crowning achievement of architect Frank Gehry’s illustrious career, the Guggenheim is a work of art in and of itself. Outside, you’ll marvel at the building’s improbably fluid lines, and inside you’ll get a guided tour of its wonderful collection of art. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon at leisure.
Gifts of Gijón and Oviedo
This morning, you'll visit Oviedo, the cosmopolitan capital of the region and home to some impressive churches including Cathedral de San Salvador, which is where the original Way of St. James began. In the ninth century, the saying went: “Who goes to Santiago but not to Salvador, visits the servant but not the Lord.” Soak in the Old World beauty of this town and its collectively listed UNESCO monuments before returning to the ship for lunch.
Later this afternoon, you'll experience Gijón, a city of beautiful beaches and a rich history situated on the shimmering Bay of Biscay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy free time here before heading back to the Voyager for dinner.
All routes lead to Santiago de Compostela
We’ll wake up in Ferrol before traveling inland to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most sacred places in the world for Christian pilgrims: Santiago de Compostela. It’s believed that Saint James was buried here in the first century, but the location was forgotten over the years. Then, a ninth-century hermit saw a shining light over a spot in a wooded field, and an investigation of the spot 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). You’ll get a chance to see both the church and the route that millions have taken to get there.
On our way back to Ferrol, we’ll stop in nearby A Coruña to explore the Tower of Hercules — the world’s oldest working lighthouse and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Absorbing breathtaking vistas of the sea and the tower from a cliff-top overlook, we’ll get a feel for the local character of this port town from where many ships in the Spanish Armada once set sail.
Inside Porto, the Unvanquished City
Today, you’ll transfer 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.
On a panoramic drive through Portugal’s second largest city, which includes its UNESCO-listed city center and a visit to a local market, you’ll get a feel for local culture and enjoy lunch at a venue of your choice, with lunch money provided. One can’t visit Porto without enjoying its eponymous wine, of course, so you’ll also stop by a picturesque port wine cellar for a taste of the city’s signature beverage. You’ll also visit 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. Your afternoon is at leisure to delve deeper into Porto’s charms.
Tour Lisbon’s famed monuments
Enjoy breakfast as your ship arrives in Lisbon. You’ll disembark the Variety Voyager before a morning panoramic and walking tour introduces you to Lisbon’s famed monuments, including the including UNESCO-listed Belém Tower, the Monument of the Discoveries, and the Monastery of Jerónimos, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your city tour, you’ll sample a classic Portuguese pastry: Pastéis de Belém. One taste of this creamy egg custard wrapped in buttery, flaky crust, and you’ll see why this is Portugal’s favorite treat!
After lunch at a local restaurant, check into your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. This evening, join your travelers for a special Farewell Dinner.
Today, fly home from Lisbon’s airport, or head to nearby Madeira on an optional post-trip extension.
Featuring year-round balmy weather and a trademark fortified wine, the Portuguese island of Madeira also boasts a lushness that earned its label as the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic.” During your four-day stay in the lovely island capital of Funchal, you’ll enjoy a half-day city tour and immersion into local island life. You’ll peruse the covered market at the edge of the Old Town and visit a traditional wine cellar, where you’ll savor the island’s titular Madeira wine. You’ll also have the option of an espetada evening complete with dinner and a folklore show, and a chance to explore Madeira’s natural wonders on an island and botanical garden tour. Raise a glass to this oceanic outpost — the perfect complement to your cruise through the mainland!
Important Notice: 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.
Please Note: Port-of-call orientation walking tours are subject to change based on port time and weather conditions