Spain and Portugal
Day 1 - Southampton The city center is a charming mix of old city walls and a large modern shopping centre. With multiple restaurants, museums, cinemas and theatres there is plenty to be explored. Time spent at embarkation and disembarkation ports may be limited which may restrict availability of shore excursions.
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - At Sea
Day 4 - Vigo Spains busiest fishing port, Vigo sits on the rugged west coast of the province of Galicia. Over the centuries, this charming town and its resilient residents have been the target for many naval attacks including a couple from Sir Francis Drake. In these more peaceful days, you will still find the best view of Vigo is from the fort (Castillo del Castro) built to defend it from the hill overlooking the harbour. From here, your Vigo cruise tour will lead you through the steep, narrow streets of the atmospheric old town (Barrio del Berbes) to see (and smell...) the daily fish market. Try one of the oysters which are fresh from beds in Vigos 'ria' - one of the sunken sea-filled valleys for which Galicias coastline is renowned. And our Vigo cruises are also a chance to visit nearby Santiago de Compostela, the subject of pilgrimages since the Middle Ages.
Day 5 - Lisbon Some of the best views of the Portuguese capital come as your ship cruises along the Tagus River. You pass the Belem Tower and the impressive Monument to the Discoveries with its statue of Henry the Navigator before arriving at the Lisbon cruise terminal. Although small for a European capital, this city does sprawl a little so you would do best to concentrate on three districts - Baixa, Bairro Alto and Alfama, each with its own distinctive style, making Lisbon cruises a must see. Baixa has busy streets of inviting shops, cafes and restaurants while Alfama is the atmospheric old town with narrow cobblestone streets, medieval and Moorish-style buildings, wrought-iron balconies with trailing flowers and a mix of small shops and bars. Bairro Alto is another historic district with narrow streets and is a steep climb from Baixa so look out for the 100-year-old lift (Elevador do Carmo) near Rossio Square. With such a variety of destinations to explore, cruises to Lisbon bring to your holiday a balance of both modern and historical grounds.
Day 6 - At Sea
Day 7 - Cartagena, Spain An ancient city with a name to match - it was founded more than 2,200 years ago by Carthaginian leader Hasdrubal - Cartagena is now one of Spains busiest commercial centres. Step ashore here, though, and you are immediately aware of its rich history. In fact, you see it even as you cruise towards the harbour as this is flanked by towering fortresses. Then, in the centre of the old town, you will find the original Carthaginian castle and sections of the old city walls. But Cartagena is also a city which moves with the times hence the new harbourfront development which includes the unique National Museum of Underwater Archaeology. As part of Murcia province, Cartagena cruise port is also an excellent base for visiting the city of Murcia itself and its distinctive Baroque cathedral; the 17th century religious sanctuary of Fuensanta; the Fortress at Lorca Taller del Tiempo; the spa resort of Balneario de Archena; and for touring into the mountainous interior or along the Costa Blanca to Alicante.
Day 8 - Malaga A gateway to so many Andalucian attractions and Costa del Sol resorts, Spanish cruise port Malaga stands out in its own right as a vibrant destination with its own unique character. This second city of Andalucia has many Moorish influences, seen at their best in the stunning Alcazaba. Built on the site of a Roman fortress between the 8th and 11th Centuries, the castle's huge walls and fortified gates ensure a grand entrance. Inside, a restored Roman amphitheatre now acts as an outdoor entertainment centre. Immediately behind the Alcazaba and rising high above the city with spectacular views, are the ruins of the 14th century Moorish castle, Gibralfaro. Malaga-born Picasso is recognised with a history of the artist's life at the city's fascinating Picasso Foundation.
Day 9 - Gibraltar Britons love cruising to 'home from home' Mediterranean cruise port Gibraltar - and not just because it has some excellent pubs and tax free shops (good buys include glassware, china, leather goods, alcohol, perfume, silk and cashmere garments). Gibraltar also offers wonderful views of the Bay of Gibraltar and the Moroccan mountains from the Rock Restaurant, served by cable car from the Grand Parade. Birdwatchers can spot more than 230 species and there are clearly marked nature trails you can follow to discover the country's flora and fauna. The most famous 'fauna' of course, are Gibraltar's Barbary apes - get off the cable car at the halfway station to see these, then proceed to the top and hire an audio tape charting the Rock's fascinating history. Alternatively spend a day at the beach - Catalan Bay is the prettiest, with its colourful fishing boats and excellent seafood restaurants.
Day 10 - Cadiz You cruise right into the heart of historic Cadiz as immediately across the busy Avenida del Puerto from the Spanish port is the main square and shopping area. From there, it is easy to find your own way around this compact city. Behind is the 18th century cathedral (El Nueva) and the view from the top is worth the long climb up its internal stairs. The narrow streets of the old town below are lined by tall Moorish-style houses with flower-decked balconies mixed in amongst some small shops and tapas bars. Cadiz dates back to the 12th century BC so is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western world but sultry Seville has long since outgrown its neighbour. La Giralda (the bell-tower next to its Gothic cathedral), is in Sevilles historic Jewish quarter which also has the whitewashed houses and exquisitely coloured bougainvillea that everyone associates with this lovely city.
Day 11 - At Sea
Day 12 - At Sea
Day 13 - Southampton The city center is a charming mix of old city walls and a large modern shopping centre. With multiple restaurants, museums, cinemas and theatres there is plenty to be explored. Time spent at embarkation and disembarkation ports may be limited which may restrict availability of shore excursions.
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