castle, britain, united kingdom, wales, holyhead
Caernarfon Castle in Wales Photo: Britainview/David Angel

Celtic LandsA luxury voyage of the British Isles and France

May 28 - Jun 7, 2014 (Call to Inquire)
Cruise from Scotland to England with top experts aboard the deluxe
M.S. Le Boréal
Call 855-330-1542 or Ask Us a Question

Trace the strands of Celtic, Viking, and Norman civilizations as you cruise from Scotland to Portsmouth, while literary expert Rebecca Bushnell and preservationist Dwight Young provide insight into the evocative legends and lore, historic sites, and breathtaking beauty. We’ll also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings through visits in Normandy and Portsmouth and interesting discussions aboard ship by special guest speakers and historians Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Admire the austere beauty of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides—the Isles of Iona, Mull, and Skye—and 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 you walk the hallowed beaches of the D-Day landings, and in Portsmouth, to visit the D-Day Museum and Southwick House, then concludes in London. Optional extensions in Edinburgh and London are also offered.

Cruise aboard the exclusively chartered, Five‑Star, small ship m.s. Le Boréal to explore cities, villages, and islands that abound with living Celtic heritage, calling at ports accessible only to a small ship.

Check out our slide show for a photo journey of this tour!
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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. After free time, ferry across 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. Visit the 13th-century Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean and have lunch in the castle's tea room. This evening, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

May 31 — Dunvegan, Isle of Skye
Skye, dubbed “the Winged Island” after its birdlike shape, is the largest and one of the 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 had the power to save the clan from defeat on three occasions. View the castle’s lush gardens, ablaze with azaleas and rhododendrons. This afternoon, back on board, Celia Sandys will present a lecture about her legendary grandfather, Sir Winston Churchill. (B,L,D)

June 1 — Belfast, Northern Ireland
Béal Feirsde (“the mouth of the crossing”) was first noted in history as the site of a 666 A.D. battle between Ireland’s ancient peoples. But it is the city’s main shipbuilding company, Harland and Wolff, which built the well‑known RMS Titanic, that propelled Belfast onto the global stage in the early 20th century. Today, this capital city is the economic engine of Northern Ireland and a center for the arts, higher education and business.

The city tour of Belfast features Donegall Square, the central home of the Baroque Revival‑style City Hall; the 19th‑century Albert Memorial Clock in Queen’s Square; the Scottish baronial Belfast Castle; and Stormont, the Edwardian Parliament Buildings that are home to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

This afternoon, visit the RMS Titanic museum, located on the slipway where the ship 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. Tour 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 St. Patrick purportedly 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. Enjoy traditional Irish music and dance aboard the ship this evening. (B,L,D)

June 4 — Cruising the Celtic Sea, English Channel
During a day at sea, special guest speaker Professor David Eisenhower shares captivating details about his grandfather, whose leadership reshaped the world. (B,L,D)

June 5 — Caen, Normandy Beaches, France
Visit 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, Professor Eisenhower 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. Finally, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception. (B,L,R,D)

June 6 — Portsmouth, London, England
Disembark in Portsmouth, the principal harbor of Britain’s Royal Navy. Enjoy time at leisure in Portsmouth or a guided tour of the Portsmouth D-Day Museum, founded in 1984 on the 40th anniversary of the invasion. The museum’s awe‑inspiring centerpiece is the 272-foot-long Overlord Embroidery, which commemorates the Allied invasion of Normandy and is the largest artwork of its kind in the world.

Listen to an exclusive guest speaker during lunch in the neoclassical Portsmouth Guildhall. Tour Southwick House and its historic map room, the top-secret headquarters of the Allied Command’s invasion strategists during World War II. Southwick House is where General Eisenhower met with his senior commanders on the morning of June 5, 1944, to set into motion more than three million soldiers, 7000 ships and 11,000 fighter planes for the surprise invasion of Normandy.

Enjoy a scenic transfer to Hotel Runnymede outside London, England, and join your travel companions for dinner this evening. (B)

June 7 — London, U.S.
After breakfast, depart for the airport and flights home to the U.S. or remain in London for the optional extension in London. (B)