Visit the historic Normandy beaches as you trace the strands of Celtic, Viking, and Norman civilizations on this unique heritage-focused tour.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
I loved the way the lectures on board ship tied into the history of places we visited. It made everywhere we visited mean so much more. I feel I could hold my own now in any conversation involving ancient Celtic cultures!”
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Save $1,000 when you book by October 26, 2015!
Cruise for eight nights aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star small ship M.S. LE BORÉAL from Glasgow, Scotland, to Ireland, Wales and France, with guided excursions in each port. By special arrangement, walk the hallowed beaches of Normandy with Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and meet Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill, cousin of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Travel into the Scottish Highlands aboard The Jacobite steam train; visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Caernarfon Castle near Holyhead, Wales; experience the austere beauty of the Inner Hebridean isles; and view Celtic treasures in Dublin. Glasgow & Edinburgh Pre-Cruise and Paris Post-Cruise Options.
Day 1 — Depart the U.S.
Depart the U.S.
Day 2 — Glasgow, Scotland
On arrival in Glasgow, embark the Five-Star M.S. Le Boréal. Join your fellow passengers for dinner on board the ship. (D)
Day 3 — Oban, Fort William, Scottish Highlands, The Jacobite steam train
Travel through the heart of the Highlands and see the picturesque Pass of Brander, Loch Awe—with views of the striking Kilchurn Castle—and Rannoch Moor, one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. Enjoy the splendor of majestic Glencoe and ride along the shores of Loch Linnhe en route to Fort William. After lunch, board The Jacobite steam train—immortalized as Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter film series—for “one of the great railway journeys of the world” through awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Commencing in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Great Britain, travel past Loch and River Morar to Mallaig near Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch in Europe. Along the way, visit Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied Jacobite Highlanders against King George II in 1745.
Join the Captain for a Welcome Reception on board this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Day 4 — Kyle of Lochalsh/Isle of Skye for Armadale
Cruise the coastline of ethereal Isle of Skye, from where Bonnie Prince Charlie, against the odds and with the help of Flora MacDonald, was able to escape to France. Skye is home to some of Scotland’s most phenomenal geography, and the mist, shafts of sunlight and vivid rainbows congregate here in a dazzling array of colors that seem to make the glens greener and the sea bluer. Visit Armadale Castle’s spectacular 17th-century gardens and learn about the powerful reign of Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles until 1493. Then cross the Skye Bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh and visit the 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle, named for a sixth-century Irish saint; it now stands as one of the most recognizable castles in the world. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Isle of Iona, Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Go ashore at the Hebridean Isle of Iona, birthplace of Scottish Christianity. In 563 A.D., the Irish monk Columba founded a monastery here, where scribes would spend their entire lives painstakingly copying and illuminating religious tracts and transcribing ancient Celtic sagas into written form, preserving a record of oral bardic tradition. In later years, Iona became the burial place of Scotland’s kings, including Duncan and Macbeth. At Iona Abbey, stroll through the serene, restored monastery and see the churchyard’s intricate Celtic crosses.
Ferry across the Sound of Iona to the sheltered neighboring port of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, where vividly painted houses are nestled between the hills and the harbor. After free time, visit the 13th-century Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean, and have lunch in the castle’s tea room. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Holyhead, Wales, for Caernarfon
From Holyhead, travel across the Isle of Anglesey and over the Menai Strait to North Wales, one of the cradles of Celtic culture. Here, the people hold fast to the old ways and Welsh remains their mother tongue.
Visit beautiful Bodnant Garden, one of the finest examples of 19th-century Victorian landscape artistry. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and listen to a stirring private choir performance of Welsh hymns. Tour the imposing Caernarfon Castle, an impregnable 13th-century fortress built by Edward I of England as a defense against the marauding Welsh. Following tradition in place since 1301, Queen Elizabeth II invested the future heir to the British throne, her son Charles, as “Prince of Wales” at Caernarfon in 1969.
En route to the ship, view the beautiful, glacier-sculpted peaks and valleys of the Snowdonia Mountains in the distance. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Dublin, Ireland
Built astride the River Liffey, Ireland’s historic capital has retained its rich heritage of Georgian architecture while confidently playing a major role in the New Europe. Enjoy an overview tour of the city, stroll through the stately quadrangles of Trinity College and view the incandescent illuminations of the ninth-century Book of Kells. In the heart of the city’s oldest quarter, visit the Anglo-Norman Dublin Castle; its Record Tower and Bermingham Tower survive form the 13th century, while the elegant State Apartments, the ornate Throne Room and the neo-Gothic Royal Chapel date from the 1700s and 1800s.
The afternoon is at leisure. Walk along colorful Grafton Street, savor a pint of Guinness in a neighborhood pub or visit the National Gallery of Ireland, one of the best repositories of Celtic treasures in the world.
Enjoy traditional Irish music and dance aboard the ship this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Cruising the Celtic Sea/English Channel
Enjoy educational lectures today, including Professor David Eisenhower’s “Triumph and Tragedy,” while cruising the Celtic and Irish Seas and the English Channel. Eisenhower shares captivating details about his grandfather, whose leadership reshaped the world. He provides fascinating insight on the worldwide ramifications of Operation Overlord, the Allies’ code name for the World War II military campaign that launched the D-Day airborne and amphibious invasion on Normandy. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Caen, France, for Normandy Beaches
Travel through the scenic countryside to the historic Normandy beaches. In the company of David Eisenhower, walk where Allied forces landed on June 6, 1944, and visit the American Military Cemetery at St. Laurent, overlooking Omaha Beach. At Pointe du Hoc, envision the brave American rangers who scaled 200-foot heights to capture German gun emplacements.
See remnants of the floating artificial harbor code-named “Mulberry,” constructed to support Allied landings at Gold Beach, followed by an opportunity to see the D-Day Museum or visit the impressive 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry, a stunning visual chronicle of the Norman conquest of 1066.
Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Day 10 — Honfleur, Paris, U.S.
Disembark and continue on the Paris and Giverny Post-Cruise Option or transfer to Paris airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)
All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.