Cruise along the Iberian Peninsula to behold the wonders of Spain and Portugal, formerly believed by the Romans to be the end of the world.
Your journey begins in the Kingdom of Spain, renowned for its picturesque Mediterranean beaches, breathtakingly beautiful architecture, and laid-back attitude. Behold spectacular examples of intricately designed Moorish architecture, such as the palaces of Alhambra and Alcazar. Visit the historic town of Ronda, birthplace of modern bullfighting, and the capital city of Seville, origin of flamenco dancing. Glimpse towering Gothic cathedrals lining cobblestone streets and ancient Roman ruins scattered throughout the landscape. Comprised of a mélange of cultural influences, Spain is sure to captivate even the most veteran traveler.
Following the splendors of Spain, we venture into the historically maritime country of Portugal. Travelers will encounter a magnificent coastline, fantastical medieval castles, and unforgettable sunsets. Observe the nautical ornamentation of the Belém Tower and the St. Jerome Monastery in Lisbon, constructed in the Manueline style. Visit the colorful Pena Palace in Sintra, set amongst the hills, for a stunning view of the surrounding national park. Walk along intricately designed mosaic streets and sample local delicacies. End your day atop a sheer coastal cliff to watch the sun disappear into the sea.
Included in package:
· 7 nights aboard the M/S Panorama II
· 2 nights post cruise accommodations
· Airport Meet and Greet
· Transfers airport-ship-hotel
· Baggage handling ship & hotel
· All meals on ship and some meals on post cruise
· Excursions as per itinerary
· Services of a Professional English Speaking Guide
Day by Day Itinerary
DAY 1: MALAGA
After arriving at Malaga airport, transfer to embark and board the M/S Panorama II in the afternoon. Dinner tonight will be on board. Overnight in port. (D)
DAY 2: MOTRIL / GRANADA
Morning arrival in Motril, followed by a drive inland to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alhambra and the Genralife Gardens. Alhambra's construction began in the 11th century on the red hill known as Assabika, which overlooks Granada. We will visit the most significant halls and courtyards of the Alhambra, including the Alcazaba Fortress, the Serrallo, the Patio de los Arrayanes (Myrtle Courtyard), the royal baths and the palace of Charles V and more. We will move on to the opulent Generalife Gardens, the luxurious summer retreat of the Moorish kings of Granada. After lunch, we'll visit the cathedral built by Queen Isabella immediately after the conquest of Granada. Visit the Royal Chapel (built as a burial site in 1504 by order of Catholic monarchs), between Granada Cathedral, the old fish market, and the Church of Sagrario. Return to the ship for an overnight sail to Puerto Banus. (B,L,D)
DAY 3: PORTO BANUS / RONDA
Disembark in Puerto Banus and head to the Reservatauro bull-breeding farm to learn about the history of bull fighting. Afterward, we continue to Ronda, three sides of which fall perpendicularly to the gorge three hundred feet below. After lunch, we'll take a walking tour through the Moorish city with its narrow, cobbled streets, white houses, imposing porticos, and grillwork windows. We'll stop at the second-oldest bullring in the country. Enjoy leisure time to explore or shop. We drive back to the coast by the same spectacular route, heading south to San Pedro de Alcantara, passing the Serranía de Ronda: craggy mountains where eagles soar, goats graze and few humans make their homes. Our last stop is Marbella, one of the most cosmopolitan European ports, where we'll have time to stroll around the Plaza de Naranjos before returning to Puerto Banus. Overnight in port. (B,L,D)
DAY 4: GIBRALTAR
The Original Rock Tour commences at the port and takes you along Winston Churchill Avenue to the Spanish border and the east side of the rock, through the Dudley Ward Tunnel to Europa Point. Look ut at magnificent views over the Straits of Gibraltar. We continue to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve and the spectacular St. Michael's Cave, where you'll see remarkable examples of stalactites and stalagmites. Next, we'll travel to the Apes' Den, where you can observe the famous Barbary apes, Europe's only wild ape population, in their natural habitat. We continue, passing by the WWII evacuation monument and the 18th- and 19th- century British Defense Wall of white Portland limestone. Our first stop here is the 100-Ton Gun, the enormous ‘supergun' of the Victoria era. The tour leads up the winding roads to Gibraltar's summit, 1398 feet high, to O'Hara's Battery, which affords a 360-degree view of Gibraltar, Spain and, on a clear day, the coast of Africa. Finally, we'll continue past the Tower of Homage, part of the Moorish Castle, Gibraltar's oldest freestanding building, built in 1333. We'll finish the tour on Main Street, where you can enjoy shopping or return to port. Overnight at sea to Cadiz. (B,L,D)
DAY 5: SEVILLE
Our drive into the center of the culture-rich Andalusian capital will showcase some of the city's highlights, including Maria Luisa Park and the 13th-century Torre del Oro (Gold Tower). Join a short walk through the city streets to the Cathedral of St. Mary, the world's largest Gothic cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you're feeling energetic, you can climb the 343-foot tower for a breathtaking view over the city. Then it's on to the Alcazar of Seville, built by the Moors in the 14th century. The King of Spain resides there when in Seville, making it the oldest palace still in use. Enter through the Lion's Gate and discover the palatial buildings, patios and gardens that represent every cultural style from Renaissance to neoclassical. We'll also go through Barrio Santa Cruz, a network of intricate, shaded cobblestone lanes that once made up Seville's Jewish Quarter. Spend time soaking up the atmosphere and breathing in the fragrant orange blossoms and flowers that adorn the terraces. Overnight in port. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA
Inhabited since Palaeolithic times, Jerez De La Frontera is located in the part of Andalucia where Tartessian culture reached its peak. The 15th century marked the start of prosperity for Andalucia. Cattle farming and exports of agricultural produce, particularly wine, to the rest of Europe, and later to America, were vital factors in Jerez's development. Whether fino, amontillado, or oloroso, you'll want to sample this fine fortified wine in its hometown. One of the famous ‘bodegas' of Jerez opens its doors and invites us to see the blending process. We round out your visit with a tasting of three varieties within the unique atmosphere of the cellar itself. We return to the ship in the late afternoon for an overnight at sea to Portimao, Portugal. (B,L,D)
DAY 7: PORTUGAL: SILVES / MONCHIQUE / PORTIMAO
Our excursion starts in the ancient city of Silves, which was largely destroyed by a 17th-century earthquake. Marvel at the centuries-old Moorish castle complex with an underground water reservoir, a 13th-century cathedral built by Alfonso X of Castile on the site of a former mosque, and a strong 15th-century bridge over the Rio Arade. We'll browse the historic exhibits at the Museu Arqueológico. We leave Silves and travel into the Serra de Monchique to the picturesque city of Monchique, nestled between two hills. The city retains its 16th-century charm, as you'll see when you walk its cobbled streets and peek through small doorways housing various artisan shops. A 17th-century Franciscan monastery overlooks the town and a 16th-century parish church decorated with handcrafted blue ceramic tiles. We return to Portimao for an overnight sail to Lisbon. (B,L,D)
DAY 8: LISBON
Disembark to discover Lisbon. Our first stop will be the Belém quarter, where we will find the most beautiful and historical monuments of the 15th and 16th centuries. We'll stop at the Belém Tower (Torre de Belém), a UNESCO World Heritage site and point of departure for some Portuguese maritime explorations; and the Monument to Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos), built to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. Visit the church of St. Jerome Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) a UNESCO World Heritage site and masterpiece of the “Manueline” style, and the National Coach Museum (Museu Nacional dos Coches), housing one of the world's most significant collections of old carriages. We'll walk the narrow streets of Alfama, and visit a handicraft shop to sample an aperitif of port wine. Then, we'll pass by downtown Baixa to admire the most important squares of Lisbon: the monumental Trade Square (Praça do Comércio), Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon, and the symbolic Restauradores Square. Next, we drive along the Liberdade Avenue, the “boulevard” of Lisbon, and finish at Marquês de Pombal Square. Then check in to your hotel and spend the evening at your leisure. (B)
DAY 9: SINTRA
We set off from Lisbon for the impressive and romantic Pena Palace, on one of the highest peaks in Serra de Sintra Natural Park, and characterized by a blend of styles. Later, you'll enjoy free time to wander the streets of the town that charmed kings and inspired poets. Explore the range of handicraft stores and teahouses, and savor the famous local sweets: queijadas and travesseiros. Lunch with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. We move on to Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of continental Europe. We'll visit Guincho beach, a favorite among windsurfers, and Boca do Inferno, a cliff formation boasting magnificent views over the coast. From here, we travel to the cosmopolitan town of Cascais, and a glorious view over the bay, before making our return to Lisbon along the Estoril coastline. This evening is yours to enjoy as you choose. (B,L)
DAY 10: LISBON, PORTUGAL
Disembark for your return flight home. (B)
*Note: Sailing direction and activities in this itinerary should be considered a sample only. Final itineraries are sent to guests one to two weeks prior to departure.
Ports of Call
Jerez de La Frontera
Discover a two-masted state of the art Motorsailer accomodating up to 49 passengers in 25 cabins. Panorama II was launched in 2004 and fully renovated in 2012, offering the highest standard of accommodation and comfort safety. In 2015,the main lounge and bar area have been completely refitted followed by a redecoration. The aft area at the Upper deck provides generous semi covered or sun exposed areas and some magnificent views. The restaurant area at the Lower deck is the perfect setting for any of your meals, with generous buffet space and seating, while the Upper Deck restaurant seats all passengers in a single seating, offering meals al fresco weather permitting. The swimming platform enables you to swim when weather and anchorage conditions permit. The Panorama II cabins located at the upper and main decks are equipped with windows, while those at the lower deck come with portholes. All cabins are handsomely designed, finished with lustrous wood trims and warm fabrics. The fully equipped bathrooms are finished with marble. All cabins are air-conditioned and fitted with TV, telephone (for internal use), hairdryers, mini-fridge, central music, public address system and safe boxes.
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