- France, Spain, Portugal, the Breton Island of Belle Île, Guernsey, UK (England)
- Nice to London. 15 Days on an exclusive small ship cruise in the Mediterranean. Visit France, Spain, Portugal, the Breton Island of Belle Île and Guernsey to England. En route, visit some of the most beautiful places on the Mediterranean. This cruise will take you to some of the most exquisite gardens and stunning coastal vistas in Europe, where you will learn the history of each region.
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Day 1. Arrive Nice
On arrival into Nice, you will be met at the airport, transferred to the port to board the MS Island Sky. After settling in, enjoy a Welcome Dinner.
Fourteen Nights: aboard the luxurious small ship, the MS Island Sky (D)
Day 2. Sete Sightseeing
Arrive in the port town of Sete, the Languedoc region of France that has long been famous for its delightful gardens. None more so than La Bambouseraie de Prafrance. Visit this much loved garden, founded by keen collector Eugene Mazel. Whilst in the region we will visit the impressive Roman Arena in Nimes, and time permitting the Pont du Gard, the imposing Roman aqueduct built to bring water to Nimes and Uzes. (BLD)
Day 3. Barcelona
Arrive in Barcelona and enjoy an excursion to the Marimurtra Botanical Garden, considered by many as the best of its kind throughout the Mediterranean area. The garden covers almost 16 hectares, four of which consists of a collection of over 3,000 plant species from subtropical, temperate and Mediterranean climates from all around the world, along with a beautiful Mediterranean forest. Return to the ship for lunch and you will have a free afternoon to explore this vibrant city at leisure. (BLD)
Day 4. Valencia
This morning we have a short panoramic drive to Valencia, before visiting the Jardines Del Viejo Cauce Del Turia, within the old bed of the River Turia. Its gardens are divided into different sections by bridges. Each section has its own unique characteristic, the green sections, the leisure sections and the children’s park of Gulliver. Another visit included on this tour is the neo-classical gardens of Monforte, the only example of historic gardening conserved in Valencia. Afterwards, you will continue to the Royal Gardens, where the Royal Palace was once situated. Throughout the 20th century, the gardens have been repopulated and beautified. Return to the ship for lunch and a free afternoon in Valencia. (BLD)
Day 5. Cartagena
From our berth in Cartagena we drive to Elche, one of the most picturesque cities of the region. Due to the 200,000 palm trees that surround the city, it was declared a World Heritage-listed site in 2000. The palm trees are still the town’s main industry. The first part of the tour will take you to the old part of Elche where you will visit the St Maria Church. Visit also the Municipal Park, covering an area of six hectares, and see the magnificent palm trees. Then, make your way to the artistic garden of Huerto Del Cura (Priest’s Garden). The plant that draws visitors to this site year after year is the famous imperial palm, made of seven palm tree branches, which grow from the same trunk. The area has over 700 palm trees and 500 other species of plants. Return to the ship for lunch and a relaxing afternoon on board. (BLD)
Day 6. Motril
After breakfast, we drive from Motril to Granada with panoramic views of the emblematic Sierra Nevada, Alpujarra Mountains and Lecrin Valley. We visit Alhambra, the world famous fortified complex built of red stone and often referred to as the “Red Palace”. The Alhambra was a palace, a fortress and home of the Nasrid Sultans. The tour continues at the Generalife Palace and its gardens, built as the summer paradise for the Sultans of Granada. Its beautiful terraces, grottos, flower beds and fabulous fountains create an air of glamour once enjoyed by the Moorish inhabitants. Here, there is a splendid view of the Sierra Nevada, down to the Darro Valley, across the Old Quarter of Albaicin and finally the Palace of the Alhambra. We return to the ship for lunch and sail this afternoon. (BLD)
Day 7. Cadiz for Seville
Today you’ll enjoy a full day tour to Seville. Begin your tour with a visit to the Royal Palace Alcazar and its gardens. We will spend enchanting moments in the half-light of its reception rooms and to breathe in the fragrant coolness of its gardens. Visit the impressive Barrio de Santa Cruz, the Jewish quarter in the Arab epoch, with very intricate alleys and squares adorned with flowers and many patios. You will also admire, from outside, the impressive cathedral and the special architecture of Giralda Tower. After lunch, enjoy a panoramic tour to see the historic Tobacco Factory, forever associated with the fictional gypsy heroine, Carmen. Before returning to the pier, discover 19th-century Maria Luisa Park, a paradisiacal half mile of palms and orange trees, elms and Mediterranean pines, covered with flower beds and dotted with hidden bowers, ponds and pavilions. (BLD)
Day 8. Faro
Today we will visit the Gardens of the Estoi Palace, now converted into a Pousada. Its rooms have balconies overlooking Versailles-style gardens. The palace includes many original elements, such as wall paintings and antique furnishings. You will visit the gardens before returning to the ship.(BLD)
Day 9. Lisbon.
Enjoy a full day to explore Portugal’s capital. Begin with a panoramic drive through the main streets of Lisbon, then proceed along the riverfront towards the Belém area and see the Monument to the Discoveries, erected in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. Continue to the famous Belém Tower, an elegant Manueline structure guarding the mouth of the Tagus River and past the Jerónimos Monastery. We continue to Fronteira Palace, one of the most beautiful residences in Lisbon, famous for its stunning formal gardens and fountains. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. (BLD)
Day 10. Oporto
After a morning sailing, we arrive in Oporto. Visit Casa do Campo with origins back to the 12th century. Specialists say that the oldest camellia in Portugal, approximately 250 years old, blooms in the Casa do Campo gardens, and that this is one of the only places in the world where these trees form arches and alleyways. This Baroque style garden was built around the 18th century, and one of its most peculiar aspects is its unusual location: it is placed at a higher level above the grounds of the house, isolated on the front side and reachable through the first floor of the house. The garden is crossed by a unique and graceful set of pathways of box-trees and trimmed camellias that carry you to different atmospheres. (BLD)
Day 11. La Coruna
We arrive in La Coruna for our tour to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia. The city’s cathedral is the destination of the important medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St James (in Spanish the ‘Camino de Santiago’), which is still walked today. Start the tour by visiting the Conventual de San Francisco, the Faculty of Medicine and the world-famous known Plaza del Obradoiro. See the four different building constructions of different styles, the romantic Pazo de San Xerome; the Hospital Real; the Baroque façade of the Cathedral; and the neo-classical Palacio de Raxoi. Inside the Cathedral, visit the Romanic crypt and see the façade of Platerias; the Quintana Plaza; House of Parra; façade of Azabachería; and the façade of San Martin Pinario. (BLD)
Day 12. At Sea
Enjoy a relaxing day to enjoy the amenities aboard your ship. (BLD)
Day 13. Belle Île
This morning after breakfast, we will visit Belle Île, the largest island of Brittany. It is distinguished by small valleys cutting through tall rocks to reach little harbours, fields interspersed by expanses of gorse, and whitewashed houses. In spring, the heaths and coves are bright with wildflowers and a few hours will allow us to stretch our legs and explore this little Breton paradise with its own unique culture. (BLD)
Day 14. Guernsey
After breakfast and a relaxing morning, we arrive in Guernsey, the ‘Island of Flowers’. Located in the English Channel close to Normandy, the island enjoys more sunshine than Britain each year. As a result, there is a vast difference in the variety of flowers and plants that flourish here. An island drive to the beautiful west coast of the island will include a visit to the “Little Chapel” at Vauxbelets – a miniature model of the grotto at Lourdes, built from seashells and pottery pieces. You will also visit Mille Fleurs, a two-and-a-half acre garden with a large selection of plants, ranging from the traditional and indigenous to the subtropical, which thrive in the mild climate. (BLD)
Day 15. Portsmouth and Depart London
Arrive into the British port of Portsmouth, disembark the ship and transfer to London. (B)
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Trip Code: BTMED15
Departure: 10 May 2015
Twin Share: $11,795 per person
Solo Traveller: $13,945
Prices shown are based on a standard suite (Magellan Deck). See deck plans for more information.
To upgrade, add per person:
Category Deck Twin Share Solo Trav.
Superior Colombus $1,645 $2,495
Premium Marco Polo $2,495 $3,745
Corner Marco Polo $3,595 $5,395
Deluxe Balc. Erikson $4,395 $8,790
Owner’s Balc. Explorer $4,995 $9,990
Services of a Cruise Manager, and Botanical Guide
Transfers on the first and last day, tipping, port taxes and porterage
14 nights on the MS Island Sky, which holds a maximum of 100 passengers
Wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner on board
Onboard guest lecturers
41 Meals – 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches and 14 Dinners