Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Depart USAApril 18
Board your independent flight to Barcelona.
Barcelona, SpainApril 19
Arrive in the morning and transfer to our centrally located hotel. Spend the afternoon independently exploring this cosmopolitan city, perhaps visiting the Picasso Museum or famous “Discord Block” of Modernist architecture. Return to our hotel for a welcome dinner and overnight.
Barcelona / Embark Ocean AdventurerApril 20
Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, is the heart of the city, and a morning sightseeing tour reveals its most important monuments and main boulevard, La Rambla. View La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s influential, unfinished masterpiece, and enjoy lunch before embarking the newly-renovated Ocean Adventurer.
At SeaApril 21
Enjoy the passing coastal scenery and attend informative lectures from our staff during a relaxing day at sea.
With its superb natural harbor, Cartagena emerged as a major trading center as early as 300 BC. Discover the city’s Roman heritage at the 2,000-year-old amphitheater and excavated acropolis showcased within the Municipal Archaeology Museum. Today’s guided tour also reveals the blue marble-lined Plaza de San Sebastián, stately Palacio Consistorial, and Castillo de la Concepción, a medieval fortress with sweeping views and peacocks strolling its inner gardens.
Motril / GranadaApril 23
Set out from Motril for the medieval city of Granada and one of the most breathtaking structures in all of Europe, the Alhambra. This palace-fortress, built during the 14th century, stands amongst the world’s finest examples of Moorish architecture. Admire the lace-like detailing of its stuccowork, stunning mosaics, and impressive bas-reliefs on a private tour of the central complex and fountain-filled courtyard. Check in to the centrally-located Barcelo Carmen Granada for overnight.
Granada / Málaga / CórdobaApril 24
After breakfast, depart overland for Córdoba. Explore the exquisite Mezquita (the Great Mosque), a splendid example of Islamic architecture that dates back to the 8th century. Then, discover the famed patios of the San Basilios neighborhood, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return to the ship in Malaga for dinner and overnight.
Enjoy a full day of exploration in legendary Seville, whose Old Quarter boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The world’s largest Gothic cathedral claims Christopher Columbus’ tomb and the 328-foot Giralda Tower; next door lies Alcazar Real or Royal Palace, recognized for its mix of Moorish and Christian architecture (and from season five of Game of Thrones). The Archivo General de Indias houses an amazing 80 million documents pertaining to Spain’s New World empire. Return to the ship for dinner and overnight. The ship will be docked near the city center, so those who are interested may take the opportunity to sample some of Seville’s vibrant nightlife.
Seville / RondaApril 26
After breakfast, depart overland for Ronda, a lovely mountain town with a photogenic 18th-century stone bridge spanning the dramatic El Tajo Gorge. Visit the bullring (Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting), Casa Don Bosco, and Santa Maria la Mayor Church. After lunch at a restaurant in the city center, return to Seville and board the Ocean Adventurer for a lovely evening cruise down the Guadalquivir River.
At SeaApril 27
Attend lectures on the region’s culture and history during an informative day at sea.
Porto, PortugalApril 28
Gateway to the Douro River Valley, Portugal’s second-largest city is famed for its many wine lodges serving the region’s revered fortified sweet wine, Port. Enjoy a tasting during a day of exploration, visiting Porto’s landmark twin-towered cathedral, medieval Ribeira quay, and delightful Miragaia district with its colorful houses clinging to the hillside.
Vilagarcia, Spain / Santiago de CompostelaApril 29
Today make a pilgrimage to UNESCO-designated Santiago de Compostela, which once rivaled Rome and Jerusalem as a holy site. Visit the 11th-century cathedral, where Christian pilgrims payed homage at the tomb of the apostle James, Spain’s patron saint; its exquisitely carved Portico of Glory alone is worth the journey. Return to Vilagarcia this evening where there will be free time to explore on your own.
La Coruna / LugoApril 30
La Coruna allows access to yet another important Galician city—Lugo. Capital of its namesake province, the UNESCO-designated old town is the only one in the world encircled by totally intact Roman walls. Begun in the 12th century, Saint Mary’s Cathedral blends Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, and Neoclassic styles; just outside lies the ruins of a Roman temple and a house with ancient mosaics and murals.
Gijon / OviedoMay 1
Travel from coastal Gijon to Oviedo, capital of the Asturias province and an oft overlooked gem. The city exudes a lively, sophisticated vibe thanks to its university and pedestrian-only old quarter. The city was never invaded by the Moors, and its three 9th-century churches have retained their pre-Romanesque style. The magnificent Museo de Bellas Artes offers a window into 18th-century palace life.
Bilbao / DisembarkMay 2
Disembark in the port of Bilbao for a full-day tour of this 2018 winner of European City of the Year. Stroll the narrow streets of the old quarter, a charming jumble of shops, pintxos bars (the Basque version of tapas), and restaurants. Enjoy a lunch of Basque specialties in a converted 16th-century farmhouse, before a guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum, famed for its stunning contemporary architecture and large-scale, site-specific works. Check in to the Melia Bilbao for dinner and overnight.
Bilbao / USAMay 3
Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.