Special OfferSAVE $1,000 per person if you book before October 23, 2013.Overview
Trace the strands of Celtic, Viking, and Norman civilizations that create a unique tapestry reflecting the heritage of the British Isles. As you cruise from Scotland to Normandy, Study Leader Rebecca Bushnell provides insight into the legend and lore of the British Isles as you view breathtaking landscapes and tour important historic sites. We’ll also commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day through visits in Normandy and Portsmouth and interesting discussions aboard ship by guest speaker Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Admire the austere beauty of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides—the Isles of Iona, Mull, and Skye—and Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage site. Stop in historically rich Belfast to view its new Titanic Museum, then step back in history as you witness imposing Caernarfon Castle in Wales and the rich Celtic heritage found in the Book of Kells
in Dublin. Your cruise then calls in Normandy where your visits focus on 20th-century history and concludes in London. Optional extensions in Edinburgh and London are also offered.Check out our slide show for a photo journey of this tour!
View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at the top of the page!May 28-29 — U.S., Glasgow, Scotland
Depart the U.S. and fly to Glasgow, Scotland. Upon arrival, embark your ship, the M.S. Le Boréal
. Sail this evening. (D)May 30 — Isle of Iona, Isle of Mull, Tobermory
Go ashore on the Hebridean Isle of Iona, birthplace of Scottish Christianity. Here, in A.D. 563, the Irish monk Columba founded a monastery, 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
, see the churchyard’s intricate Celtic crosses and stroll through the serene restored monastery. Cross the Sound of Iona to the neighboring sheltered port of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. Here, vividly painted houses are nestled between the hills and the harbor. Enjoy some free time, and then visit the 13th-century Duart Castle
, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean. This evening, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)May 31 — Dunvegan, Isle of Skye
This morning, cruise the Sound of Raasay viewing the Trotternish Peninsula’s craggy rock formations and rolling green moorland. Skye, dubbed “the Winged Island” after its birdlike shape, is the largest and most scenic of the Inner Hebrides. Visit Dunvegan Castle
, built atop a rocky promontory overlooking the sea. Tour Dunvegan’s richly appointed public rooms and view the Fairy Flag, a silken banner that legend claims to have had the power to save the clan from defeat on three occasions. View the castle’s lush gardens, ablaze with azaleas and rhododendrons. Return to Portree by way of the island’s western shore and across its starkly beautiful interior land of rolling green moors laced with clear, rushing streams, set against the rugged profile of the Cuillin Hills. (B,L,D)June 1 — Giant’s Causeway, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Along the coast of Northern Ireland, thousands of tightly packed basalt columns form a peninsula of hexagonal stepping stones stretching from the foot of steep cliffs out into the sea. This World Heritage site known as Giant’s Causeway
is steeped in myth and legend and has drawn visitors for centuries. Board Zodiac excursion boats for an up-close exploration of the extraordinary natural rock formations, weather permitting. Continue to Belfast, refined and polished since its days of infamy in the late 20th century. Tour the city center, dominated by the elaborate City Hall and Albert Clock, and see the poignant history-inspired murals at Shankill and Falls roads. Visit Belfast Castle
for sweeping views of the city and lough. In the newly opened Titanic Museum
, comprehensive galleries, special effects, and full-scale reconstructions bring the early 1900s to life on the very slipway from where RMS Titanic
was launched. (B,L,D)June 2 — Holyhead, Caernarfon Castle, Wales
Here, in North Wales, one of the cradles of Celtic culture, 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. Visit the imposing World Heritage site of Caernarfon Castle
, an impregnable 13th-century fortress built by Edward I of England as a defense against the Welsh. Heirs to the British throne have been invested with the title of “Prince of Wales” at Caernarfon since 1301, including the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, 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)June 3 — 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 ninth-century Book of Kells
; and visit the 13th-century St. Patrick’s Cathedral of Ireland
, where it is said that St. Patrick baptized converts to Christianity. The afternoon is at leisure. Walk along colorful Grafton Street, savor a pint of Guinness in a typical neighborhood pub or visit the treasures of Celtic heritage in the National Museum of Ireland. Depart this evening. (B,L,D)June 4 — Cruising the Irish and Celtic Seas, English Channel
During a day at sea, special guest speaker Professor David Eisenhower
shares captivating details about his grandfather, whose leadership reshaped the world. Professor Eisenhower also 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 assault on Normandy 70 years ago. (B,L,D)June 5 — Caen, Normandy Beaches, FranceVisit the historic Normandy beaches during the 70th anniversary year.
In the company of David Eisenhower, walk where Allied forces landed at the direction of his prominent grandfather, on June 6, 1944, and visit the American Military Cemetery at St. Laurent, overlooking Omaha Beach
. Envision the brave American rangers who scaled 200-foot heights to capture German gun emplacements at Pointe du Hoc
. See remnants of Mulberry Harbor
, constructed to support Allied landings at Gold Beach. You may choose to see the D-Day Museum
or the famous 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry
, a stunning visual chronicle of the Norman conquest of 1066. This evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception. (B,L,R,D)June 6 — Portsmouth, London, England
Disembark the ship and visit the D-Day Museum and Southwick House
, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters, located near Portsmouth. Then continue to London and check in to your deluxe hotel for the night. (B)June 7 — London, U.S.
Depart for the airport and flights home to the U.S. or remain in London for the optional extension in London.