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Wander the green ancient landscape of Ireland

Celtic Coasts & Moorish Marvels

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Silver Explorer
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Visit ancient castles on the green cliffs of England and Ireland Visit sites of impressive Moorish architectureShop in traditional souk markets in MoroccoExplore the exotic Canary IslandsWander the green ancient landscape of Ireland
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Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Dublin, Ireland

Embark the Prince Albert II this evening and depart on your exciting 15 day expedition – “Celtic Coasts & Moorish Marvels”. You will be introduced to your Expedition Team and receive a Zodiac briefing. Tonight you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party.

Day 2: Waterford, Ireland

As you sail up river, pass Waterford Castle and the ancient city of Waterford, founded by the Vikings some 1,100 years ago. Learn the history of this fascinating city as your guide leads you through the narrow winding streets on a walking tour that concludes at The Granary. Housed in this historical building is the Waterford Treasures Museum with its treasures of gold, bronze, silver and crystal including the Penrose Decanter. Dating back to 1790, it is one of the oldest surviving pieces of Waterford Crystal.

In the afternoon, drive to Mount Congreve – a spectacular woodland garden on the banks of the River Suir. This privately owned 70-acre garden with a four-acre walled garden is particularly stunning in May when the gardens are awash with magnificent sweeps of flowering azaleas, camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons.

Day 3: Glengarriff, Ireland

After a Zodiac ride ashore to the pretty, picturesque village of Glengarriff, join a local guide for a tour of the world renowned Ring of Kerry. Travel the winding roads of West Cork, through the Caha Mountains to Kenmare, a heritage town nestled on the shore of Kenmare Bay. From Kenmare to Moll’s Gap and on to Killarney. A stop will be made at “Ladies View” to admire and photograph the beautiful Lakes of Killarney. Next, a stop will be made to visit Muckross House for a guided tour of this magnificent Victorian mansion. The elegantly furnished rooms portray the lifestyles of the landed gentry, while in the basement see the working conditions of the servants.

Onward through charming Killarney, where monarchs, poets, artists, writers and composers have been inspired by the region’s unsurpassed beauty. Follow a winding road around the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula, better known as The Ring of Kerry, where bogs, mountains, valleys, lakes and sea blend into a magical landscape that is breathtaking beyond words. Lunch will be served in one of the many fine restaurants located on The Ring.

Day 4: Tresco, Isles of Scilly, UK

To many, Tresco is the most attractive of the Isles of Scilly, especially with its Abbey Gardens – home to 20,000 exotic plant species from 80 countries, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa. Botanist and plant collector Augustus Smith began the gardens in the 1830s on the site of an old Benedictine Abbey by channeling the weather up and over a network of walled enclosures built around the Priory ruins. He carved three terraces from the rocky, south slope and, in this way, maximized Tresco’s mild gulf stream climate. Here, there are generally more hours of sunshine and less rainfall than the UK average, yet many of these plants would stand no chance on the Cornish mainland, less than 30 miles away. Today tender ashore for a guided tour of this world-renowned attraction.

Day 5: Dartmouth, England

The idyllic town of Dartmouth has been home to the Royal Navy from its very earliest days, and a visit to the Britannia Royal Naval College has been specially arranged for you today. This magnificent building, set in 126 acres of landscaped gardens, overlooks the River Dart and the sea. The college has a small museum with a collection of historical pictures and artifacts from the college’s beginnings in 1863. At the conclusion of your visit, sip champagne and enjoy some canapés at a private reception with views over Dartmouth before returning to the pier. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore Dartmouth on your own or participate in the variety of activities offered on board.

Day 6: At Sea

Gather in The Theatre to hear fascinating tales by our expert guest speakers. Other onboard diversions may also include photographic workshops, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Center, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.

Day 7: La Coruna, Spain

Today, visit Santiago de Compostela. It has attracted Christian pilgrims from all parts of Europe since the Middle Ages and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, the Old Town of Santiago exudes an air that is at once ancient, mystical and lively. The oldest monuments are grouped around the tomb of St James and the magnificent 12th-century cathedral, which contains the medieval Pórtico de la Gloria erected in 1188.

Day 8: Leixoes (Oporto), Portugal

Oporto is located near the mouth of the Douro River and the second largest city in Portugal. During an afternoon visit to the city center (a World Heritage site), see the Castelo Queijo and the impressive 14th-century St Francis Church with its magnificent 18th-century gold-encrusted interior. We then proceed to Ribeira, its picturesque riverfront quarter made up of narrow, twisting streets lined with brightly tiled or pastel-painted façades. Our day in Oporto would not be complete without a visit to a well-known wine cellar for a taste of some world-famous port wine. The history of port wine dates from the 17th century when British merchants doctored the wine with brandy to prevent it from turning sour while in transit. It was found that the stronger and sweeter the wine, the better flavour it acquired. Learn how over the years, methods of maturing and blending were refined and continue today in the port wine lodges.

Day 9: Lisbon, Portugal

After a relaxing morning at sea arrive in Lisbon, the Capital of Portugal since the 13th century, is an old city with a history that mingles legend and fact with fantasy. Travel through the main streets and squares of Lisbon to the Belém district, where you can view the Tower of Belém, the Monument of the Discoveries and the 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery, a fine example of the medieval Manueline architecture.

Drive to Ajuda Palace, which was the last Royal residence before the proclamation of the Republic in 1910. Ajuda is one of the richest Portuguese palaces, rich in decorative style and rich in Portuguese history. The palace was almost entirely decorated during the second half of the 19th century by King Louis I and his wife the Italian Princess Maria Pia according to their own personal taste. It is a palace of the Victorian age, decorated by King Louis I and his wife, the Italian Princess Maria Pia with tapestries, fine wood parquetry, screens, walls hung with damask, portraits of the family and more than 40,000 objects of the Royal couple personal collections. It is a romantic residence with a warm atmosphere and still seems as if everything has been left in preparation to welcome the queen and her guests.

We next make your way to Alfama by driving through ‘Baixa’ (lower town), an area entirely rebuilt after the very violent earthquake that destroyed Lisbon in 1755. In spite of all the modern construction and the normal evolution of any city, Lisbon is still tied to its medieval and Moorish heritage. Alfama is like a village in the middle of the town. Wander its maze of narrow alleys and steps, photographing the iconic images of washing hung out to dry at the windows and vendors selling all kinds of produce. Visit the old Romanesque Cathedral, built on the site of a former mosque and a symbol of Christianity in the middle of the Moorish medina.

Your final destination is an old family palace that has been transformed into a typical Fado restaurant. Here enjoy a taste of Portuguese tapas and wine while watching a performance of Portuguese folklore and Fado. Afterward travel back to the pier.

Day 10: Portimao, Portugal

This afternoon drive to Lagos, the departure port of the first Portuguese Caravels where you will see the storied slave arcades. Today, Lagos maintains its atmosphere of cosmopolitan heritage in its wealth of architecture and monuments. Visit the Chapel of Santo Antonio (Golden Chapel), whose interior is a superb example of 18th-century Baroque with gilded wood carvings. At the Municipal Museum see local handicrafts, religious statuary, fossils, travel logs, and assorted weaponry. From the Ponta da Piedade, admire the wide expanse of Lagos Bay and its spectacular rock formation before traveling to Cape St. Vincent and to the small port of Sagres where you can see the 17th-century Hermitage and the Rosa dos Ventos – a giant compass laid out in stones.

Alternatively, join your Expedition Team on an inland excursion through cultivated and picturesque countryside, into the foothills of the Serra de Monchique – a wooded mountain range of cork, chestnut and eucalyptus. Stop at the center of Monchique village and view the ruined 17th-century Monastery of Nossa Senhora do Desterro. Walking along narrow cobblestone streets, visit the impressive Parish Church. This monument features a Manueline portal inside a small chapel with a façade of azulejos (blue tiles). Admire the restored 17th-century buildings in the small village of Caldas de Monchique, one of the oldest spas in Portugal. The city of Silves was recaptured from the Moors and your first stop will be at Fabrica do Ingles – a 19th-century cork-processing factory where you can see all cork making processes. In the old city, we will see the impressive Moorish Castle, the partly Gothic Cathedral, the Misericordia Church known for its fine Manueline doorway, and the 16th-century Cross of Portugal monument.

Day 11: At Sea

Binoculars in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Attend a lecture in The Theatre or in the comfort of your own accommodation with our interactive television system. Peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library, or indulge in the variety of special amenities offered aboard the Prince Albert II.

Day 12: Safi, Morocco

The destination today is exotic Marrakech. Driving from Safi, first make a photo stop at the Koutoubia Mosque. Completed in 1199, it is the tallest mosque in Marrakech and built in a traditional Almohad style. Next visit the tranquil Majorelle Gardens, designed by the French artist Louis Majorelle with lush greenery, palm trees, cacti, still pools and shady nooks. The 19-century residence of Dar el Bahia Palace is the next stop and is a fascinating place with its seemingly random arrangement of close, intimate rooms including the apartments of the Sultan’s favourite concubine; the magnificent Council Chamber and elaborately decorated reception rooms, all with mosaics and ceiling decorations. In the central courtyard admire the marble paving, fountains, flowers and intricate zelliges tile work. The inner courtyards were reserved for the sultan’s four wives and twenty-four concubines, and this is where you will enjoy a lunch of traditional Moroccan cuisine served with wine.

This afternoon, take a stroll through the labyrinth of alleyways in the ancient, 12th-century Medina. Your guided tour ends with a visit to the famous Djmâa el Fna Square, where you will find a permanent theatre of musicians, acrobats, snake charmers, food stalls and storytellers. The many colorful and varied souqs will entice you to shop for local and Berber handicrafts in leather, brass, copper, silver or gold; beautiful carpets; polished wood; a myriad of perfumes and an amazing selection of spices.

Day 13: At Sea

Participate in discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team, relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read, and meet up with new friends for cocktails. Tonight, before turning in, take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendor of the vast sea and sky.

Day 14: Arrecife, Lanzarote, Spain

Today discover the Lanzarote’s most unusual inhabitant – the dromedaries – and witness the spectacularly beautiful Montana de Fuego (Fire Mountains) in the Timanfaya National Park. This mountain range emerged in 1730 as a result of massive volcanic eruptions. The whole area is covered with cinder and slag, and reminiscent of a lunar landscape. Earth temperatures here can reach 750 degrees Fahrenheit close to the surface. See how twigs thrown into crevices ignite in seconds, while water poured into the lava ground evaporates immediately into steam. From here start your trek up and into the famous Cuervo Volcano; the dramatic terrain and magnificent crater views are not to be missed.

In the afternoon, discover the surprising world of Cesar Manrique, a celebrated artist, landscape conservationist, and one of Lanzarote's best-known citizens. At Jardin del Cactus, find an unusual botanical garden where many species of cacti have been carefully arranged by Manrique himself. Then visit Manrique’s former home, now a museum. The house was designed by the artist, and combines his interest in traditional local architecture with his concerns about environmental protection. The museum contains Manrique's own private collection of contemporary art. Next explore Los Jameos del Agua – a cave containing an underground lagoon and one of the best examples of Manrique’s extraordinary vision.

Day 15: Santa Cruz Tenerife, Spain

Following breakfast onboard, disembark the Prince Albert II.

Ship/Hotel

Silver Explorer

Dates & Prices

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Expedition Suite
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Adventurer Class
6 cabins on Deck 3, 180 sq. feet, Twin or Queen beds, 2 portholes.
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Explorer Class
4 cabins on Deck 4, Twin or Queen beds, 180 sq. feet with view window.
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Vista Suite
16 suites on Deck 4, 194 - 230 sq. feet with large window, Twin or Queen beds.
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View Suite
12 suites on Deck 3, 230 sq. feet with view window, Twin or Queen beds.
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Veranda Suite
8 suites on Deck 5, 215 sq. feet with French balcony, Twin or Queen beds.
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Medallion Suite
2 suites on Deck 7, 358 sq. feet with private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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Silver Suite
6 suites on Deck 5, 430 sq. feet with 2 French balconies, Twin or Queen beds.
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Grand Suite
2 suites on Deck 7, 650 sq. feet with large private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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Owner
2 suites on Deck 7, 540 sq. feet with large private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.

Notes

Please note: Port fees are not included in the cost of this cruise. Please inquire for details.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.

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