Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
Join Vantage Deluxe World Travel on a luxurious small ship cruise of the Iberian Peninsula’s most magical destinations.
Step aboard the elegant Ocean Odyssey and delve history, culture, and traditions, and experience the real Spain and Portugal up close. Visit Mallorca’s stunning island capital of Palma, overlooked by most other cruise lines. Share an intimate dinner at a family-owned bull farm in Seville and learn about the history of bull-fighting in Spain. Explore the lively and Moorish-flavored cultural center of Granada. In Barcelona, see the surreal masterpieces of visionary architect Antoni Gaudí. Admire famed monuments in Lisbon, visit medieval towns in Portimão, discover Tangier's labyrinthine medina, and treat your tastebuds to traditional Portuguese pastéis de Belém. In all, you’ll enjoy 20 included features and Cultural Discoveries throughout this enchanting small ship cruise.
When not exploring shoreside, you'll luxuriate in the Ocean Odyssey’s world-class amenities and 5-star service. Treat yourself to a pampering spa treatment, take a soak in the top-deck hot tubs, work up a sweat at the fitness center, find a favorite book or movie at the well-stocked library, or simply relax with a cocktail while taking in the views from the panoramic Observation Lounge. At the end of the day, retreat to your sumptuous stateroom, a true oasis at sea. Our small passenger-to-crew ratio and top-of-the-line personalized service ensures an incomparable, unsurpassed journey for all our guests.
Board an overnight flight to Lisbon, Portugal
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Lisbon. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension in Madeira.
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.
Lisbon: Monumental city with an epic past
Today, enjoy 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 the Jerónimos Monastery. 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 to 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, a traditional Portuguese custard pastry.
Embark the Ocean Odyssey today
Today, you’ll proceed to the pier and step aboard the Ocean Odyssey to begin your small ship cruise. Get settled into your cabin and take time to explore the onboard amenities, including the boutique, spa, and fitness center. Stop by the Destination Manager’s desk to make a spa appointment or organize a group dinner with your travel companions. Later, join the first of your daily port talks to learn about tomorrow’s exciting destination. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Dinner on board.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Enjoy a full-day tour of UNESCO-listed Sintra and the resort town of Cascais. Learn more
Embark on a coastal trek that begins at Lisbon’s ornate Queluz National Palace before exploring the town of Sintra, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its wealth of 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments. Your tour continues with a scenic drive along the coastline to the quiet fishing village of Cascais. Following a short walk, you can enjoy lunch on your own at one of the town’s many restaurants, all offering fresh regional specialties. Enjoy the picture-perfect scenery on your drive back to Lisbon.
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!
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. From here, you’ll head northeast to the medieval town of Silves, where you will enjoy a guided walking tour of this historic destination.
Situated along the banks of the Rio Arade, Silves is a charming destination full of winding streets, whitewashed buildings with red terracotta roofs, and groves of orange and lemon trees. Your first stop will be the Castelo de Silves, an impressive red-brick castle, believed to have been occupied by a Lithuanian castro until 201 BC, when the Romans conquered Silves, where they ruled over the next five centuries. The city was later conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate, who reinforced and expanded the structure, resulting in the castle seen today, and making it one of the most well-preserved Moorish fortifications in Portugal.
Next, you’ll visit the 13th-century Silves Cathedral, classified as a Portuguese national monument in 1922. Originally built as a mosque during Portugal’s Moorish occupation, it was converted into a Catholic cathedral during the Reconquista period of the Iberian Peninsula under the reign of King Afonso III. Although the style of the cathedral is mostly Gothic, it does contain some Baroque elements. You’ll also have time to peruse the fascinating exhibits of the Silves Municipal Archaeological Museum before continuing to the market town of Monchique. Set among the pine and eucalyptus forests of the Serra de Monchique mountain range, this delightful mountain enclave of cobbled streets and artisan workshops is a charming contrast to Algarve’s beach resorts.
Uncover the treasures of Seville
Today, you’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of Seville, the storied capital of Andalusia. Stop at the 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. Founded in 1551, the university is one of Spain’s leading institutions of higher learning.
Next, you’ll see the Plaza de España, inarguably the most well-known public square in Seville. Constructed for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, this is where you’ll find the famed Spanish Steps, as well as elegant fountains and tiled mosaics. Continuing on, you’ll view the exterior façade of the Plaza de Toros, Seville’s famed 18th-century bullring. You may also have an opportunity to step inside the Seville Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site most notable as the final resting place of King Ferdinand III of Castile and Christopher Columbus. This evening, you'll set out into the countryside to visit a local family's bull farm for a tour, followed by a delicious home-hosted dinner of traditional Spanish fare.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Set out on an optional full-day exploration of Alhambra. Learn more
Strategically located on a viewpoint at the top of al-Sabika hill, the historical palace and fortress complex of Alhambra boasts far-reaching vistas of the city of Granada below. On this optional full-day excursion, you’ll set out on a guided tour of this historic Andalusian site built by Muhammad I Ibn al-Ahmar, the first Nasrid emir and founder of the Emirate of Granada. In addition to containing notable examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture, this is one of the world’s most famous examples of Islamic architecture and one of the most well-preserved palaces of the historic Islamic world.
Get to know Tangier, Morocco’s “City of Strangers”
Situated at the entrance of the Strait of Gibraltar on the northernmost tip of Morocco, Tangier has been settled by the Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Portuguese, British, French, and Spanish over thousands of years. It’s no wonder its nickname is the “City of Strangers”!
Today, you’ll set off on a walking tour of the medina, a maze of alleyways containing both businesses and private residences. Contained within the walls of Tangier’s 15th-century Portuguese fortress, the medina offers a glimpse into traditional daily life in this region.
Get a taste of Britain at the tip of Spain
Gibraltar, also known as The Rock of Gibraltar, is steeped in history dating back approximately 100,000 years when the earliest humans inhabited its limestone caves. However, it remained mostly unsettled until AD 711 when the first Moors of Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād arrived. In fact, “Gibraltar” is a Spanish derivation of the Arabic Jabal Ṭāriq, which translates to “mountain of Ṭāriq.” Gibraltar’s position at the entrance to the Mediterranean made it a prized sight, and its people were subjected to many sieges from France, Spain, and Britain throughout the centuries that followed. It was finally captured by the British in the early 18th century and ceded to them under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Today, Gibraltar’s multicultural society makes it one of the most unique and interesting places to visit in the Mediterranean. During today’s walking tour not only will you be able to visit some of Gibraltar’s most interesting highlights, you’ll also enjoy sweeping views of both the Strait of Gibraltar over Africa and the Bay of Algeciras. Keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready in case you catch a glimpse of the famed Barbary apes that live on the rock.
Experience the storied city of Granada
Today, you’ll 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 before returning to the ship in Motril. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure on board or continue your explorations in Motril on your own.
Explore untamed Almería today
Situated in southeastern Spain is the city of Almería, founded in AD 955 by Caliph Abd al-Rahman III, the Umayyad Emir of Córdoba in the early 10th century. With over 60 miles of untamed coastline and beautiful landscapes, Almería offers its visitors many natural pleasures. Thanks to its strategic situation on the Mediterranean, Almería has been home to many different civilizations throughout its history, and significant traces of their presence can be seen in the province’s archaeological remains. You’ll head out on a walking tour this morning to explore the city’s incredible sites.
Another day of Spanish explorations in Alicante
Located in the middle of the Costa Blanca, Alicante is one of the most popular Spanish destinations for visitors. Alicante’s many golf courses, along with the Mediterranean Sea’s tranquil azure waters, are a big part of this beautiful harbor city’s appeal. Situated at the foot of Santa Bárbara Castle, the city’s historic quarter conceals an interesting religious and architectural legacy, including the emblematic Esplanada de España (Spain Boulevard). Following breakfast on board, you’ll set off on a walking tour to explore this incredible city.
Uncover history and religion in Valencia
Following breakfast on board, you’ll head into Valencia to uncover this fascinating city of contrasts for yourself. From its golden beaches and flamboyant Rococo architecture to its cobblestone streets and thriving culture, Valencia is one of Spain’s most interesting and welcoming cities. Founded as a Roman colony in the 2nd century BC, today Valencia is renowned for its arts and sciences. Sitting alongside its beautiful Old-World buildings and ancient cathedrals you’ll find futuristic structures and Europe’s largest aquarium. During your time here, you’ll have an opportunity to visit the Valencia Cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral. Consecrated in AD 1238 by Pere d'Albalat, first bishop of Valencia, this Roman Catholic church was dedicated to Saint Mary by the order of James I the Conqueror, the 13th-century King of Aragon.
Visit Palma de Mallorca, the jewel of Spain’s Balearic Islands
The ship arrives in Palma de Mallorca this morning. Ringed by pristine crescent beaches and cloaked in lush green forest, Mallorca is an island paradise for both residents 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 La Seu Cathedral. This honey-colored, Gothic 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.
Discover the lovely Menorcan city of Mahón
Menorca, the easternmost of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is a delightfully laidback destination. Surrounded by sun-dappled cities, golden-sanded beaches, and whitewashed rural villages. Following breakfast on board this morning, you’ll head ashore to explore the highlights of Mahón, the island’s capital city, on an included tour. Officially known as Maó, Mahón is home to one of the world’s longest natural harbors. Measuring three miles in length and 3,000-feet-wide, its deep waters remain crystal clear due to the port's enclosed nature. One fun fact about Mahón is that mayonnaise is believed to have originated here!
Tour Tarragona’s Roman ruins
Enjoy breakfast on board, then head ashore to explore the Spanish port town of Tarragona. Founded in the 5th century, this historic city once served as a fortification for the Roman empire. It was later captured by the Vandals, and then the Visigoths, before eventually being taken over by the Spanish empire. Today, Tarragona shines with its golden beaches, fascinating culinary scene, and ancient Roman architecture. In fact, the Roman ruins of Tarragona have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Your walking tour will include a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre, once used for races, public executions, and gladiatorial combat.
Visit charming Palamós
Situated at the north end of a large bay in the Mediterranean’s Costa Brava region, you’ll find the beachy port town of Palamós. Just past the beach, you’ll find the old city center. Lined with narrow streets, brightly painted buildings, and two centuries-old churches — the Santa Eugenia Villarroma and the Santa Maria del Mar. As you stroll along the streets of this charming town, you’ll enjoy lovely views of the beach and the adjoining marina.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and explore Catalonia’s vibrant cultural heart
This morning you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey and 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. First, ascend Montjuïc, which means Jewish Mountain and behold its ornate castle as well as panoramic views of the city. Then, head to Plaza de España, one of Barcelona's most important historic squares. Finally, continue to La Barceloneta Beach, where you'll enjoy lunch. Afterward, we'll have an outside visit to La Sagrada Família cathedral, Antoni Gaudí’s famous masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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 before checking into your hotel.
Later, enjoy an evening at leisure with dinner on your own. And after that, prepare yourself for a passionate flamenco performance at a local tablao. This is an experience you won't forget!
Follow your own whims and desires in Barcelona
During this free day in Barcelona, you may set your sights on the city’s atmospheric Gothic Quarter, the Barrio Gótico adjacent to Las Ramblas. It is pure delight to follow its labyrinthine streets into intimate squares, or plaças, stopping along the way for a café crema or a lunch of traditional tapas and rioja wine. Browse the colorful food stalls of the Mercat de la Boqueria, a food-lover’s paradise for its artisanal cheeses, smoked meats, chocolate truffles, and so much more. Tonight, reunite with your fellow travelers for a special Farewell Dinner.
Fly home or transfer to Madrid
Following breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer to the Barcelona airport for your flight home. Or, board a high-speed train to Madrid for your 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. 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.