European Coastal Civilizations
Normandy Beaches - France - Guernsey - Spain - Portugal
April 27 – May 5, 2014
With Guest Speaker Dwight David Eisenhower II
Join fellow alumni and friends aboard the deluxe small ship M.S. L’AUSTRAL on this unique seven-night cruise, which captures the historical legacies and the enduring yet dynamic cultures of the western coasts of Portugal, Spain, France and Guernsey, one of the United Kingdom’s charming Channel Islands. Acclaimed historian Professor David Eisenhower, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower will share his personal insights during an onboard lecture and accompany you to the hallowed beaches of Normandy 70 years after Allied Forces made their historic D-Day landings. Visit Oporto on the Duoro River in Portugal’s renowned port wine country; walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims on St. James Way in Santiago de Compostela; cruise along Spain’s breathtaking Costa Verde; observe the intriguing balance of age-old traditions and modern touches in Bilbao, with a visit to the illustrious Guggenheim Museum; and survey the sheer cliffs and rolling moorlands of France’s “Beautiful Island,” Belle-Île-en-Mer. Extend your stay with the Pre-Cruise Option in romantic Lisbon and/or the Post-Cruise Option in cosmopolitan Paris.
Back to the top »
(please click on location to reveal details)
Day 1 Depart
Day 2 Arrive in Lisbon
Arrive in Lisbon and embark the Five‑Star m.s. L’Austral .
Day 3 Leixões for Oporto
Dock in Leixoes, northern Portugal’s principal port, and transfer to Oporto, a former Roman outpost and the hub of the country’s world-famous port wine trade since the 13th century. Its historic city center, Ribeira, a neighborhood of medieval streets lined with colorful Portuguese houses, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Gothic Church of Sao Francisco and the neoclassical Stock Exchange, with its intricately gilded Arabian Hall inspired by the famous Moorish Alhambra. The city showcases great artistic and architectural treasures that remain from the Moorish period, when previous Greek and Roman influences along with Jewish and Christian life created a coexistence of cultures in which disciplines like algebra, medicine, optics, horticulture, art and architecture flourished. During the first of two exclusive C’est Bon! Culinary Traditions™ options enjoy a specially prepared lunch in Oporto’s oldest historical district, where a celebrity chef introduces you to traditional Portuguese specialties. Then, tour the cellars of a renowned port wine producer and enjoy a tasting among the seasoned oak casks. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and dinner this evening.
Day 3 La Coruña for Santiago de Compostela
Today’s excursion travels into the oak and pine-forested hills of Galicia, one of Spain’s self-governed principalities influenced by its Roman, Germanic, Moorish and Castilian heritage and infused with an unexpected Celtic atmosphere. Golden‑hued granite buildings grace its well-preserved capital,
Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where almost completely pedestrianized streets lead to the expansive Plaza del Obradoiro and the city’s grand Romanesque cathedral, a national monument, built to enshrine the tomb of St. James, who preached on the Iberian Peninsula. A pilgrimage destination since the Middle Ages, the church is recognized for its distinctive Baroque facade, original medieval portico and incomparable Churrigueresque altar.
Day 4 Santander for Bilbao
From Santander, transfer to Bilbao, surrounded by the verdant Basque Mountains. Discover this dynamic and sophisticated city with a stop in the historic casco viejo (old quarter) and the promenade of El Arenal, a popular route for Bilbainos’ evening paseos (leisurely strolls). Enjoy a guided architectural tour of the iconic Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum of Contemporary Art with time to stroll through the galleries of modern and contemporary art. Basque cuisine is a ritual of love passed down through the generations. During the second C’est Bon! Culinary Traditions™ optional excursion, sample a variety of traditional Basque pintxos, or tapas, in a 16th‑century caserio (country house) located in an idyllic setting just outside of Bilbao.
Day 5 Belle-Île-en-Mer, France
This afternoon, anchor at Belle‑Ile‑en‑Mer, France’s “Beautiful Island,” off the coast of Brittany. Much of the island’s current population is descended from repatriated Acadian colonists who returned to France from Acadia (Nova Scotia) in the mid 18th century. See the charming island community of Le Palais and visit the 18th-century Vauban Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the unique beauty of the island’s stunning Cote Sauvage on a panoramic tour, highlighting the “wild coast” that has inspired artists from the time of Romans and medieval monks to the more modern French Impressionist Claude Monet as well as author Alexandre Dumas in his adventures of The Three Musketeers.
Day 6 Guernsey, Channel Islands, U.K.
An English outpost located off the coast of France, Guernsey is a fascinating mosaic of fishing villages, greenhouses and fields dotted with its well-known chestnut‑brown-and-white dairy cows. The island’s distinct culture is a delightful amalgam of English tradition and French lifestyle. Its capital, St. Peter Port, is an old Regency town distinguished by granite buildings and wrought‑iron garden railings. It was here that Victor Hugo lived in exile from 1855 until 1870 and wrote Les Misérables. See the remnants of Germany’s occupation (1940 to 1945) of the Channel Islands, a launching point for invading Great Britain during World War II. Visit a historic site exhibiting the vestiges of the German Occupation and see Fort Hommet, the permanent fortifications constructed to keep a German foothold on Europe, on the drive along the coastal road to Vazon Bay. Join the Captain on board the ship for a Farewell Reception this evening.
Day 7 Caen, France, for Normandy Beaches
Dock in Caen and enjoy historian David Eisenhower’s exclusive onboard lecture. Travel through the scenic countryside to the historic Normandy Beaches. In the company of David Eisenhower, walk where Allied forces landed almost 70 years ago under the direction of his famous grandfather, Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, on June 6, 1944. Step respectfully among the solemn crosses and Stars of David in 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, and then view exhibits chronicling the campaign at the D-Day Museum. Alternatively, you may choose to see the famous 230‑foot‑long Bayeux Tapestry, a stunning visual chronicle of the Norman conquest of 1066.
Day 8 Honfleur, France/U.S.
Disembark the ship in Honfleur and continue on the Post-Cruise Option or to Paris for your return flight to the U.S.
OPTIONAL PRE & POST-TOUR EXTENSION
Back to the top »
Lisbon’s charm exudes from its renovated palaces, magnificent churches and an impressive castle that link the city to its rich cultural heritage. A historic gateway for world exploration and Portugal’s intimate, welcoming capital, Lisbon is the ideal prelude to your cruise. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Jeronimos Monastery, a magnificent 16th-century monument, and the nearby sleepy village of Sintra, where the former Moorish fort is the last remaining medieval royal palace in Portugal. Accommodations are for two nights in the deluxe Dom Pedro Pala ce Hotel, located near the Estrela Gardens and the 18th‑century Basilica da Estrela.
Enjoy a walking tour of Honfleur’s medieval old town before continuing to Giverny for a visit to Claude Monet’s garden and house, where he painted many of his iconic masterpieces. Transfer to Paris, the “City of Light,” for two nights, including
breakfast, in the Five‑Star InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, ideally located adjacent to the Opera Garnier and a short walk to the Louvre.
Pre- and Post-Cruise Options and Optional Excursions are
available at additional cost.
Cost and program Inclusions
Prices start at $3,995 per person (Cruise only)
On board the Five-Star, small ship m.s. L’Austral
Seven-night cruise from Lisbon, Portugal, to Honfleur, France, with port calls at
Leixoes for Oporto, Portugal; La Coruna for Santiago de Compostela, Santander
for Bilbao, Spain; Belle‑Ile‑en‑Mer, France; Guernsey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom; and Caen, France for Normandy.
- Spacious, Five-Star, 100% ocean-view stateroom or suite accommodations,
each with a private bathroom.
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
- All meals—continental breakfast, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and
dinner—throughout the cruise, featuring fine international and regional cuisine, served at single, unassigned seatings.
- Complimentary wine and beer served with dinner.
- Excursion to Oporto, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Excursion to Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Visit to Bilbao’s iconic Guggenheim Museum.
- Panoramic tour of Belle-Île-en-Mer with its citadel, one of Vauban’s UNESCO World Heritage site fortifications.
- Tour of Guernsey including a visit to one of the World War II sites.
- Full-day excursion to the Normandy Beaches during the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, including visits to the American Cemetery and the D-Day Museum or the historic Bayeux Tapestry. Lunch is included.
Enhanced Travel Services
Back to the top »
Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
- All excursions and visits, as outlined above, with experienced local guides.
- Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions.
- Two exclusive C’est Bon! Culinary Traditions™ optional excursions are available at additional cost.
- Hospitality desk aboard the m.s. L’Austral.
- The services of an experienced team of Gohagan & Company Travel Directors throughout the program.
- Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.
- Automatic $250,000 flight insurance policy for each participant ticketed on flights by Gohagan & Company.
Featured Guest Speaker
There can be no more fitting way to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied Forces D-Day invasion than to walk on the Normandy Beaches liberated by American and Allied forces. Attend a dynamic lecture and be accompanied to the beaches by our expert historian, intimately familiar with one of the most powerful world leaders of the 20th century and World War II.
Back to the top »
Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is a noted historian of World War II and the Cold War. His 1986, 900-page best seller, Eisenhower: At War 1943‑1945, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. David is Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a Public Policy Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches "Communication and the Presidency."
Pivotal in the history and to the culture of Europe’s Atlantic coastal regions, on June 6, 1944, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower gave the order for 133,000 Allied troops to land along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified
French coastline. The invasion, known as Operation Overlord, was supported by 7,000 ships and 11,000 aircraft, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foothold on the continent to begin their march to free Europe. A portal to the region that altered the new world order, Normandy brings history to life.