Seafarers Passage to Mediterranean Jewels
24th September 2023 FOR 28 NIGHTS | Seabourn Ovation
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This fly cruise holiday is financially protected by SEABOURN under ATOL 6294
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WHY WE RECOMMEND Europe CRUISES
On a European cruise, you could discover the Gallic charm of the Channel Islands, experience Ireland's ancient sights and welcoming towns, or see the misty highlands and rich clan heritage along Scotland's rugged coast. Cross the North Sea to Iceland on your cruise and you'll find one of the world’s most unique and secluded landscapes – a land of volcanoes, thermal springs, geysers and boiling lakes.
Alternatively, you could tour beautiful cities and rolling countryside on cruises to France, Belgium and Holland, or see Portugal's striking city ports and Spain's milder northern coast. Further afield you could visit the beautiful Canary Islands too, where clear seas wash against bright white beaches – the perfect place to relax in style on a luxury trip ashore.
Europe is one of the world's most popular continents for cruise holidays and is home to an incredible collection of iconic cities, each brimming with a fascinating heritage, vibrant cultures and plenty of intriguing sightseeing opportunities. Every destination on a European cruise itinerary will boast a long and interesting past, with plenty of cultural experiences and ancient landmarks on offer to showcase this rich history.
On a luxury European voyage, travellers will have the opportunity to head ashore and explore on their own, or enjoy one of many exciting shore excursions offered by their cruise line, providing the perfect chance to delve into the sights and sounds of each destination they visit and discover even more in port.
Take a look at the fantastic range of luxury European itineraries available to book now at SixStarCruises™, with the world's finest luxury cruise lines. Once you've found your ideal voyage, call our expert Cruise Concierge team to secure your place on-board and start looking forward to an unforgettable escape across this diverse and captivating continent.
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Crossing the English Channel from continental Europe to Great Britain, the first view of England is the milky-white strip of land called the White Cliffs of Dover. As you get closer, the coastline unfolds before you in all its striking beauty. White chalk cliffs with streaks of black flint rise straight from the sea to a height of 350’ (110 m). Numerous archaeological finds reveal people were present in the area during the Stone Age. Yet the first record of Dover is from Romans, who valued its close proximity to the mainland. A mere 21 miles (33 km) separate Dover from the closest point in France. A Roman-built lighthouse in the area is the tallest Roman structure still standing in Britain. The remains of a Roman villa with the only preserved Roman wall mural outside of Italy are another unique survivor from ancient times which make Dover one of a kind.
24 Sep 2023
Portsmouth is a town in Dominica, a mountainous Caribbean island nation. Its palm-dotted shore edges onto Prince Rupert Bay. North of town, Cabrits National Park is home to Fort Shirley, once manned by 18th-century British colonialists. The park marks one end of the Waitukubuli National Trail, which spans the length of Dominica. On nearby reefs, the coral formations of the Toucari Caves shelter turtles and lobsters.
25 Sep 2023
26 Sep 2023
Milford Haven, Wales
The town of Milford Haven lies along the northern bank of the Milford Haven waterway in the region of Pembrokeshire in Wales. This area offers a wealth of Celtic and pre-Celtic historical sites, formidable castles and fascinating islands. Although it has been an active port since the Middle Ages, the town was founded in 1790 and was originally intended as whaling center. Milford Haven, with its 13,000 inhabitants, makes a great starting point for exploring nearby Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the only coastline national park in the United Kingdom. This wild and incredibly beautiful landscape is one of Wales’s greatest natural assets, and in summer people flock here from all over the UK to enjoy the spectacular walking, surfing, coastal hiking and sea kayaking. Popular local attractions include the Fort Hubberstone fortification, completed in 1863, the Milford Haven Museum, expansive beaches, abundant marine life and pleasant towns. The name is from the Norse word melrfjordr, with melr meaning ‘sandbank,’ and fjordr meaning ‘inlet.’
27 Sep 2023
Historic Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is rich in tradition and heritage. Founded in 841 as a Viking settlement, Dublin remained under Viking rule until the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. Divided by the Liffey and Tolka rivers, Dublin is a truly quaint and picturesque city. Bridges, waterways, narrow alleyways, and beautiful Georgian architecture await discovery. Dublin’s 751 pubs support a traditional folk music scene second to none. Wandering along its streets, you cannot avoid noticing the city’s different faces -- its cobblestone streets next to modern and mid-century buildings, massive stone churches heavy with the weight of ages, and colorful storefronts with ornate woodcarvings. The history of Dublin and Ireland itself can be seen through the changes in Dublin Castle. This impressive architectural landmark is one of Ireland’s most iconic symbols. Of traditional Norman design, it was erected in the 13th century to serve as the headquarters for Norman power.
28 Sep 2023
The port town of Cobh is located just 15 miles from Cork, the capital of Ireland's southern region. Some of Ireland's more famous landmarks are located in this part of the country, including Blarney Castle, famous for many legends, most notably the magical Blarney Stone. Some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in Europe is found west of Cork, with lyrical names to match the picturesque valleys, mountains and coasts.Cork, a city with a heritage reaching into antiquity, is nevertheless modern, well-organized, and well aware of its role as the second city of the Irish Republic. Built on a marsh, and interlaced with winding canals and rivers, the city is divided into two parts, with well-patterned architectural development incorporating the best of the old with the new.
29 Sep 2023
30 Sep 2023
La Rochelle is a coastal city in southwestern France and capital of the Charente-Maritime department. It's been a center for fishing and trade since the 12th century, a maritime tradition that's reflected in its Vieux Port (old harbor) and huge, modern Les Minimes marina. The old town has half-timbered medieval houses and Renaissance architecture, including passageways covered by 17th-century arches.
01 Oct 2023
Bordeaux is the starting point for many exciting excursions into the surrounding wine country. The patricians of Bordeaux have always been merchants and shipbuilders. Under the Romans the city had a flourishing trade with Spain and Britain. In 1154, as a part of the dowry of Eleanor of Aquitaine, it became English and remained so until 1453. In the 18th century, Bordeaux prospered from the slave trade, and later in commerce with French colonies in Africa. Since Roman times the quality of the region's vines and wines has been zealously maintained.
02 Oct 2023 - 03 Oct 2023
Straddling the banks of an estuary opening into the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao is the largest city in Spain’s northeastern Basque Country. Its earliest beginnings are preserved in the Casco Viejo, seven medieval streets that used to be guarded by walls. There visitors will find the city’s old churches, a large market, a public theater and the Academy of the Basque Language. Nearby sources of iron ore made Bilbao an important industrial and shipping center from the 14th century onward. The Spanish Civil War also started here. Today the city is being transformed by a growing service economy, and its prominence on the global traveler’s radar may be dated from the 1997 inauguration of the striking Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. In fact, the estuary town has become a veritable magnet for architects, boasting notable masterworks including Santiago Calatrava’s beautiful Zubizuri (“White Bridge” in Basque) and airport complex, the 541-foot Iberdrola Tower by the Argentine Cesar Pelli, a subway system by Norman Foster, the 1909 wine warehouse called Alhóndiga, converted a century later by designer Philippe Starck and the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall by Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios. The Zorrozuarre area is also being redeveloped, following a 2007 master plan by the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. For views of all of this, take the funicular from the city center to the top of Mt. Artxanda, where a sports complex, restaurants and a balcony await you.
04 Oct 2023
This ancient port city on the green Atlantic coast of Spain has a history of some 3,000 years. From its humble beginnings the city has grown to become an important port city in Spain. Its old historic fishing village Cimadevilla with its picturesque cobble stoned streets and old-world architecture remains today its main tourist attraction.
05 Oct 2023
06 Oct 2023
The commercial center of northern Portugal and hub of the port wine trade, Porto is a gracious, cosmopolitan city noted for its 12th century cathedral and medieval churches, picturesque narrow streets and wine lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia. It is clustered on hills overlooking a river, and is a northern European style city with granite church towers, narrow streets and hidden Baroque treasures.
07 Oct 2023
The great period of "the Discoveries" accounted for phenomenal wealth brought back from India, Africa and Brazil by the great Portuguese navigators. Gold, jewels, ivory, porcelain and spices helped finance grand new buildings and impressive monuments in Lisbon, the country's capital city. As you sail up the Tagus River, be on deck to admire Lisbon's panorama and see some of the great monuments lining the river. Lisbon is one of Europe's smallest capital cities but considered by many visitors to be one of the most likeable. Spread over a string of seven hills, the city offers a variety of faces, including a refreshing no-frills simplicity reflected in the people as they go unhurriedly through their day enjoying a hearty and delicious cuisine accompanied by the country's excellent wines.
08 Oct 2023
09 Oct 2023
Situated just across the narrow Strait of Gibraltar from Europe, Tangier has long comprised a hybrid culture that is nearly as European as it is African. Standing atop Cap Spartel, one can gaze down on the place where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. The “Hollywood” district where the foreign embassies have traditionally been located reflects the European influence. But ascending the hill above the waterfront, one enters the narrow, winding alleys of the Kasbah, the city’s oldest, most Moroccan section. Down the coast, nearby Tetouan retains a nearly untouched walled medina, with sections originally occupied by Andalusian, Berber and Jewish populations. It is small enough that visitors can explore it without risking becoming lost, making it a perfect choice as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10 Oct 2023
With Spain to the north and Morocco to the south, Gibraltar is the famous promontory dominating the narrow entrance to the Mediterranean. Its position led to its seizure by the Moors in 711 as a prelude to the conquest of Spain. The Moorish influence includes the name Gibraltar, a corruption of "Jebel Tariq" (Tariq's Mountain), named after the Moorish commander Tariq who built the first fortification. In ancient times Gibraltar was regarded as one of the two Pillars of Hercules, which marked the western limits of the known world. Known commonly as "The Rock," Gibraltar is full of natural caves and manmade tunnels. The Rock itself, composed of limestone and gray marble, is geographically part of the Iberian Peninsula. Politically, the British have controlled Gibraltar for over two centuries. This tiny self-governing British Colony welcomes you to enjoy its historical sites, magnificent views, beautiful beaches and duty free shops.
11 Oct 2023
Melilla,Spanish Morocco, Spain
12 Oct 2023
This gracious provincial capital lies at the heart of the popular Costa Blanca resort region. Alicante has been a fashionable winter retreat for many years, thanks to its mild climate, swaying palms and beautiful beaches. Sun-seekers from throughout Europe, along with Algerian and Senegalese immigrants, combine to create a truly cosmopolitan air. The Castillo Santa Barbara looms above, adding to the romantic ambience. Take a stroll on the broad Explanada de Espana, the inviting promenade along the harbor, or browse through the many shops on Calle Mayor.
13 Oct 2023
Valencia is located in the middle of Europe's most densely developed agricultural region. Originally a Greek settlement, the town was taken over by Romans in 138 BC and turned into a retirement town for old soldiers. The Moors controlled the land for 500 years, and this fertile plain, which today yields three to four crops, was considered to be heaven on earth. El Cid conquered Valencia for Spain in 1094, but it fell back into Moorish hands after his death. Incorporated into Spain in the 15th century, Valencia remains the nation's breadbasket.
14 Oct 2023
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is said to have been founded by the Phoenicians, and was once the rival of the powerful states of Venice and Genoa for control of the Mediterranean trade. Today, it is Spain's second largest city and has long rivaled, even surpassed Madrid in industry and commerce. The medieval atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter and the elegant boulevards combine to make the city one of Europe's most beautiful. Barcelona's active cultural life and heritage brought forth such greats as the architect Antonio Gaudi, the painter Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso, who spent his formative years here. Other famous native Catalan artists include cellist Pau Casals, surrealist Salvador Dali, and opera singers Montserrat Caballe and Josep Carreras. Barcelona accomplished a long-cherished goal with the opportunity to host the Olympics in 1992. This big event prompted a massive building program and created a focal point of the world's attention.
15 Oct 2023
Mahon is the capital of Menorca, second largest of the Balearic Islands. It stands out from the others because of the abundance of prehistoric structures, and because its culture was influenced by British occupation in the 18th century. The people who built the prehistoric constructions are believed to have been responsible for similar works in Sardinia, and for Stonehenge in England. Believed to have been founded by the Carthaginian General Mago, Mahon was held by the Moors from the 8th to the 13th century and in turn occupied by the English, the French and the Spanish. Mahon was finally ceded to Spain by the Treaty of Amiens in 1802.
16 Oct 2023
The port town of Sete hugs the tiny Mont St. Clair, and is caught between the Mediterranean and the Bassin de Thau, a salt lake directly behind it. It is crisscrossed by numerous canals which link the lake to the sea, and connected by 12 bridges. Along the quay, renovated buildings provide a multitude of architectural details from the 18th and 19th centuries. The life of the town is found in its squares: Place Leon Blum, with its fountain and Wednesday morning flower market; Place Aristide, with its old fashioned bandstand; and Place de la Republique, with its huge retaining walls and vaulted loggias. Sete retains its historic purpose as a fishing boat haven for North African trade; the old harbor dates from the time of Louis XIV.
17 Oct 2023
One of the Mediterranean’s best ports and largest harbors welcomes you to the home of the French Mediterranean Fleet. Located in the Var prefecture of the Provence, Toulon has a long history that is revealed in various districts of the city. The Old Town is along the harbor, with narrow streets and small squares, most boasting a nicely decorated fountain. The Upper Town is mostly 19th century grandeur. You can take a cable car to Mont Faron, bypassing the road that is a notorious stretch for bicycle racers. The waterfront neighborhood of Le Mourillon is a family-friendly beach area for Toulonais. There are wonderful museums of history, art from various periods and naval history to explore as well.
18 Oct 2023
Corsica, the "scented isle," was the birthplace of Napoleon, and as late as the last century bands of brigands controlled his mountainous and rugged homeland. The beaches of Ajaccio, ranging from narrow crescents to broad, golden expanses help to account for the city's rise as a popular resort. Such scenic attractions as the Calanches of Piana, those red granite mountains with their spectacular slopes and formations add an additional element of interest.
19 Oct 2023
Livorno (Florence), Italy
Livorno is the gateway to the region of Tuscany, which as Goethe once observed, looks like Italy should. Fortunately for today's visitor not much has changed in the two centuries since the German poet was himself a tourist in Toscana. The remarkable wealth of beauty here mellowed to a golden patina by history and tempered by the hand of man, awaits. Everywhere there is history, from the Etruscan stronghold of Fiesole, to the Roman colony of Volterra to the Renaissance splendor of Florence, Pisa, Sienna and San Gimignano. If the landscape evokes a sense of the familiar it is because the great masters have used it as a backdrop for their great works. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were archtypal Tuscans and Renaissance men who headed an extensive list of geniuses who lived, worked and created within a single period of time.
20 Oct 2023
Despite its small size, the island of Elba has been known since the beginning of recorded history. Called Ilva by the Ligurians and Aethalia by the Greeks, Elba passed to the Etruscans and later the Romans. It was ruled by Pisa in the Middle Ages, was a haven for Barbary pirates in the 16th century and then privately owned by the powerful Medici family. The island's most famous resident was Napoleon Bonaparte, whose first exile from France and short reign over Elba lasted from May 1814 to February 1815. During that time, Napoleon was able to improve the island by altering street plans, building new roads, modernizing agriculture and developing the iron mines. Iron ore is still mined above the Rio Marina and then shipped from Portoferraio (Port of Iron). With a population of just over 11,000, the town is the largest of the eight on the island and is considered its capital. Geologists and gem stone collectors find Elba a treasure trove with over 150 minerals and semiprecious stones found here due to the seismic turmoil that created the island. The rich soil also produces an astonishing range of foliage and flowers aided by sun that shines almost every day of the year. Despite summer tourism, the island is largely agricultural and the ambience is quiet and relaxed, allowing the visitor to enjoy Elba's natural charm, peaceful abundance and timeless beauty.
21 Oct 2023
Originally built by Emperor Trajan who had a villa here, Civitavecchia has flourished as a major port for Rome since the 13th century. Today it is an important ferry terminal and for many travelers the gateway to the Eternal City, Rome. The Renaissance fortifications that surround the harbor area were begun by Bramante and completed by Michelangelo in 1535.
22 Oct 2023
(This holiday is generally suitable for persons with reduced mobility. For customers with reduced mobility or any medical condition that may require special assistance or arrangements to be made, please notify your Cruise Concierge at the time of your enquiry, so that we can provide specific information as to the suitability of the holiday, as well as make suitable arrangements with the Holiday Provider on your behalf).
Last year, Seabourn introduced Seabourn Ovation, a sister-ship to the already prestigious Seabourn Encore. Seabourn Ovation represents another welcome stage in the evolution of small-ship cruising, which Seabourn pioneered and has consistently expanded and enriched. Both ships will deliver a wealth of new concepts, a fresh vision and a host of illuminating ideas to delight the world’s most discerning travellers.
Alternative sailing dates
Flexible with departure dates? Alternative sailing dates for this itinerary are available in the list below