European Coastal Civilizations
Join this unique itinerary, which captures the historical legacies and dynamic cultures of coastal Portugal, Spain, France and England and commemorates the historic D-Day landings. Cruise for eight nights from Lisbon aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star, small ship LE BORÉAL, with access to ports unavailable to larger vessels. Visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites and conclude with a memorable cruise up the storied River Thames to London’s illustrious Tower Bridge. Special guest speaker Dwight D. Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, accompanies you to the hallowed beaches of Normandy. Explore Oporto in Portugal’s renowned port wine country. Walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims on the Way of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. Observe the intriguing juxtaposition of old and new in Bilbao and visit the iconic Guggenheim Museum. Tour Mont-St-Michel’s impressive abbey. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available aboard ship. Lisbon Pre-Cruise and London Post-Cruise Options.
Shared departure: this departure is shared with other universities.
Depart the U.S. or Canada
Lisbon, Portugal/Embark Le Boréal
Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal’s enigmatic capital city, replete with pastel-flushed buildings and world-class architecture, and embark the Five-Star LeBoreal. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner this evening.
Leixões for Oporto
Dock In Leixões and transfer to Oporto, a former Celtic hamlet (Cale) then Roman outpost and center of the port wine trade since the 13th century. The cultural legacy of El Andaluz — the huge swathe of Spain and Portugal occupied by the Moors from A.D. 711 to 1249 — finds expression in Oporto’s rich architectural details, including famed azulejo tiles with Moorish geometric and floral motifs. The city is indelibly influenced by Greek and Roman heritages, the Moorish period and a coalescence of faiths, creating a culture of tolerance in which the disciplines of mathematics, medicine, optics, horticulture, art and architecture flourished.
Fall under the spell of Ribeira, Oporto’s historic center, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for its extraordinary architectural timeline and living history status; for 2000 years the cultural and commercial growth of Portus Cale (so named by the Romans) has been inextricably linked to the sea. Experience daily rituals unfolding along a tangle of medieval alleyways where splendid spires, Baroque domes and neoclassical mansions form a timeless silhouette. Visit the Gothic Igreja de Sao Francisco, hailed for its lavish gold-plated Baroque interior, and the neoclassical Palacio de Bolso (Stock Exchange) where the swirling arabesques and ornate stained glass of the gilded Arabian Hall were inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada.
A Coruña, Spain, for Santiago de Compostela
Travel to the oak- and pine-forested hills of Galicia, one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities. Golden-hued granite buildings and magnificent arcaded squares grade Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage site and arguably Spain’s most beautiful city. Stroll along medieval pedestrian stone streets to the expansive Plaza del Obradoiro flanked by the glorious Romanesque cathedral. A pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages and the final stop on the Camino de Santiago trail, the cathedral enshrines the tomb of St. James and is recognized for its intricately carved Baroque facade, original medieval portico and glittering Churrigueresque altar.
From Santander, transfer to dynamic and exhuberant Bilbao, encircled by the versant Basque Mountains. The construction of Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum in 1997 hailed the city’s cultural renaissance as modernist marvels from Santiago Calatrava and Philipe Starck redefined the post-industrial skyline.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Guggenheim’s renowned modern and contemporary art collection, explore the art nouveau and Baroque jewels of Bilbao’s historic Casco Viejo and walk along the Paseo del Arenal, a promenade for Bilbainos’ leisurely evening strolls.
Cruising the French Coast
While cruising the west coast of France, attend an exclusive lecture on board by David Eisenhower.
St. Malo, France, for Mont-St-Michel
Rising from a tidal plain seemingly suspended above the sea, UNESCO World Heritage-designated Mont-St-Michel is a sight of soaring spires isolated beyond a stretch of saltwater marsh. The seat of its namesake Benedictine monastery since the early eighth century, this fortified village began as a humble oratory and become a renowned medieval center of learning. Narrow cobblestone streets weave through the village, culminating in the Abbaye du Mont-St-Michel, a three-story Gothic masterpiece. Admire the serene cloisters, barrel-roofed refectoire (dining hall) and Gothic Salle des Hotes (guest hall) of the 13th-century La Merveille and the magnificent Eglise Abbatiale (abbey church) with a transept that rests on solid rock.
Caen for Normandy Beaches
Dock in Caen and make the solemn pilgrimage to the historic Normandy beaches, site of the largest seaborn invasion in history. In the company of Professor Eisenhower, walk where Allied forces landed on D-Day.
At Pointe du Hoc, envision the heroic U.S. Army Second Ranger Battalion scaling this cliff promontory and view the craters that remain from D-Day bombardments. Survey the serene English Channel and reflect on the commemorative crosses and Stars of David in the American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.
Following lunch, continue to Arromanches to see the remnants of Mulberry Harbor, an artificial harbor taken across the English Channel to support Allied landings on the Normandy beaches. View a short documentary on the D-Day campaign or see the 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry, which chronicles the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Cruising the English Channel/River Thames/ London, England (Tower Bridge)
Cruise the English Channel across the Strait of Dover and continue up the River Thames, a memorable passage possible only by small ship. Britain’s history is revealed as you pass the towering skyline of Canary Wharf and take in monumental views of Greenwich’s Observation Tower, the Tower of London, Norman Foster’s emerald-hued Guerkin and Renzo Piano’s sky-piercing Shard. Dock alongside HMS Belfast — whose guns fired some of the first shots on D-Day — in view of Tower Bridge. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening.
London/Disembark ship/Return to the U.S. or Canada
Following breakfast, disembark and continue to the London’s Enduring History Post Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Meet Your Trip Host
Richard K. Norton is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning. He also holds a joint appointment as Professor with the University of Michigan’s Program in the Environment, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. He earned his Ph.D. in city and regional planning and his J.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with master degrees in public policy studies and environmental management from Duke University. Dr. Norton teaches and conducts research in the areas of planning law, sustainable development, land use and environmental planning, and coastal area management. His most recent research has focused on the challenges of managing shorelands along the Laurentian Great Lakes. He contributes actively to public service through community-engaged research and teaching, and by serving on the planning law committee of the the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). In that role he has taken the lead in preparing draft legislation for the Michigan Legislature to reform the state’s planning and zoning enabling laws. He has also written friend-of-the-court appellate briefs to the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of the American Planning Association and MAP regarding planning and zoning disputes in the state. Prior to completing his graduate studies, Dr. Norton worked in professional practice as a consulting environmental policy analyst and planner in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California.
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