The voyage from Copenhagen to London along the inland waterways of the North Sea, exploring beautiful coastal cities as well as the crucial and storied role the region has played in history. Stroll through charming, canal-side towns that sprang up along Old-World trade routes. Marvel at the elaborate architecture of medieval ruling capitals. And reflect at the sites of battles that helped determine the outcome of World War II. National Geographic Explorer will be your warm and welcoming home base as you experience Europe from a unique vantage point.
Amaze with stunning architecture in Lübeck
Sail through England’s otherworldly Cliffs of Dover
Explore Amsterdam’s most famous of Rembrandt’s paintings
Experience River Thames and under Tower Bridge in London
Cruise up the river Trave to the beautiful medieval city of Lübeck. Once the Queen City of the Hanseatic League, Lübeck boasts beautiful brick architecture, much of which was rebuilt after WWII. Taste locally produced marzipan, and visit the incredible Holsten Gate and Hospital of the Holy Spirit—two of the many fascinating buildings to grace this lovely, picturesque town.
Overnight and into the morning, transit the Kiel Canal, a 61-mile waterway connecting the North Sea with the Baltic. During and after breakfast, take in the beautiful views of the Schleswig-Holstein region from the ship until we reach the Brunsbüttel Lock and exit out into the North Sea to sail along the coast of mainland Europe. Unwind, head to the spa, browse the library, and hear talks from our staff.
Cluttered with bicycles, bursting with flowers, and carved by canals, Amsterdam is a vibrant city with an arts scene that has flourished since the Middle Ages. Take in the unique character of the canal-lined streets by boat or on foot, and experience the spectacular Rijksmuseum, recently reopened after a mammoth, nine-year renovation. On a guided tour, get an insider’s view of the world’s largest collection of Dutch masters with works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and more.
Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with Gothic architecture and serene waterways. Walk through the bustling and colorful Markt Square, and listen as the bells of the medieval bell tower toll the hour. After a walking excursion, board small boats and glide down swan-dotted canals to experience the gem-like old town from another perspective. The port city of Antwerp dates from the Middle Ages. Stroll the centuries-old diamond district; visit the Rubens House to view works by Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens; and admire the Renaissance architecture in Grote Markt.
Day 7-8: Beaches and Historical Battlefields of Operation Overlord
Turn your focus toward one of the most important historical events of the 20th century as you retrace the events of D-Day with a historian. Walk in the footsteps of the Allied troops at Omaha Beach, and pay your respects at the American Cemetery. Visit the famous Pegasus Bridge across the Caen Canal, where the British 6th Airborne Division glided in to land at the very start of the Allied invasion. See the remains of Mulberry Harbor, created from partially sunken blockships to provide a safe point of entry for supplies and equipment after the initial invasion began.
Sail past the Cliffs of Dover, a beacon to many WWII pilots returning home from battle on the continent. Walk the wartime tunnels deep beneath Dover Castle and immerse yourself in the drama of the Dunkirk evacuation – “Operation Dynamo.” Visit Ramsgate, once the embarkation point for the 1940 evacuation, where 4,200 ships left the harbor to rescue men stranded on Dunkirk’s beaches. Overnight, navigate up the River Thames, toward London.
Day 10: London, England | Disembark
Disembark in London and transfer to Heathrow Airport for flights home.
The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.