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Uncover the historical sites and diverse beauty of the British Isles on this engaging small ship cruise with .
Beginning in Northern Ireland, you’ll step back in time with a visit to the Titanic Belfast museum and explore Derry during a guided walking tour of its 17th-century gated walls. In the United Kingdom, enjoy a sightseeing bus tour of the historic English borough of Barrow-in-Furness, situated at the doorstep of Lake District National Park, and follow in the footsteps of The Beatles during a Magical Mystery bus tour in Liverpool. And in Wales, you’ll venture to St. David’s, the religious capital of Wales and the smallest city in the country. Bookending your exceptional small ship cruise are included stays in Belfast and London. In all, you’ll enjoy 18 included features and Cultural Discoveries, including curated lectures, which will enhance your understanding of contemporary and historic life throughout the British Isles.
The well-appointed Ocean Odyssey will serve as your luxurious homebase throughout this small ship cruise. Its stature is perfect for accessing scenic and intimate harbors, and its breadth of amenities include an onboard spa, gym facilities, multiple dining venues, and elegantly designed lounges. The small passenger-to-crew ratio ensures top-of-the-line, personalized service, and sumptuous accommodations beckon you to relax and rejuvenate after a day of shoreside exploration.
Beyond the photogenic castles and cathedrals, Ireland’s capital city brims with character. Explore Dublin’s history and past glories on an included city tour with visits to Dublin Castle, Phoenix Park, and Teeling Distillery. With the city’s top attractions right by your centrally located hotel, you’ll have an easy time getting to know this cosmopolitan city.
Fly overnight to Belfast
Today, you’ll board an overnight flight to Belfast, arriving on Day 2. Or, arrive earlier for your optional pre-trip extension in Dublin.
Arrive in Belfast today
You’ll arrive in Belfast today. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you at the airport to assist with transfers to your hotel. You’ll have time to settle in and relax before joining your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel tonight.
Take in the sights of Belfast today
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of Belfast. The city that launched the Titanic is often remembered for the Troubles, Northern Ireland’s late 20th century ethno-religious conflict. However, as you’ll discover on this engaging guided tour, those days well behind it, and modern Belfast bubbles with activity, centered on its revitalized Victoria Square. Your tour will conclude at the Titanic Belfast museum, where you can mull over the stories behind this ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Get a firsthand look at the natural phenomenon that is Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visit Belfast’s Botanic Gardens. Learn more
This optional tour begins with a visit to Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Featuring thousands of hexagonal basalt columns, locals will tell you that Giant’s Causeway was formed when the giant Finn McCool tossed massive boulders in the water in order to battle another giant across the way in Scotland. However, scientists will tell you that this amazing natural phenomenon was created when basaltic lava from an ancient volcanic eruption solidified into thousands of hexagonal columns.
Next, you’ll visit Belfast’s Botanic Gardens. Originally established in 1828 as the private Royal Belfast Botanic Garden, it was converted to a public park in 1895. The gardens' most notable feature is the Palm House conservatory, one of the world’s earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouse. Today, the gardens contain exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, and is an important venue for concerts, festivals, and other events.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Enjoy a morning at leisure and embark the Ocean Odyssey
You’ll enjoy breakfast at your hotel and a morning at leisure. Later, embark the Ocean Odyssey to begin the cruise portion of your journey. Settle into your sumptuous stateroom, before taking time to explore the ship’s world-class amenities, including the onboard boutique, indulgent spa, and hot-rock cooking restaurant. Later, you’ll join fellow travelers for the first of your daily port talks to learn about the exciting destinations that await you on this small ship journey.
Explore Derry on a walking tour
Today, you’ll explore Derry (officially Londonderry), Northern Ireland’s second largest city. Known for its 17th-century gated walls, Derry was revitalized in 2013 when it was named a U.K. City of Culture by the U.K. Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. The city is recognized as a hub for artists and writers, and has been most recently immortalized in the Netflix comedy series Derry Girls. You’ll learn about the city’s history and culture during a walking tour of the Derry city walls. These Renaissance-era walls form a walkway around the inner city and offer a unique promenade to view the layout of the original town. The rest of your afternoon here is at leisure, with dinner on board.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Delve into the history of the Free Derry movement and the city’s 1972 Bloody Sunday event at the Free Derry Museum. Learn more
The Museum of Free Derry tells the people’s story of government oppression, the struggle for civil rights, and the descent into conflict in Northern Ireland. Focusing primarily on the ethno-nationalist conflict of the late 20th century known as The Troubles and Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1972, the Museum of Free Derry explores how a largely working-class community rose up against decades of oppression. The museum and its archive have become an integral part of Ireland’s radical and civil rights heritage.
Barrow-in-Furness: more than meets the eye
The historic borough of Barrow-in-Furness is steeped in rich heritage and brimming with interesting sites. At one time this was a sleepy farming village, but in recent times it has become one of the most advanced engineering towns in Europe, renowned for building some of the world’s most advanced nuclear submarines. Surrounded by ocean on three sides, Barrow-in-Furness’ coastal location at the doorstep of the Lake District National Park provides visitors with easy access to fascinating nature reserves, beautiful sandy beaches, and historical landmarks. You’ll head ashore today and enjoy a guided bus tour of the English Lake District, with free time after to explore on your own.
Take in the sights of lovely Liverpool
Founded in the early 13th century by King John of England, Liverpool has grown in size and population over the past several hundred years to become the United Kingdom’s fifth largest metropolitan area. In the 1960s, Liverpool became internationally recognized as the birthplace of the “Merseybeat” sound popularized by bands such as The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, and The Dave Clark Five. Today, you’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour aboard a private bus, followed by a leisurely cruise along the River Mersey. You’ll have time at leisure after your tour to do some more exploration on your own.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Make the most of your evening in Liverpool with a Beatles Pub Crawl visiting several of the spots where the legendary band got their start. Learn more
Before sparking the 1960s phenomenon known as “Beatlemania,” and long before they became regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, The Beatles were just four lads from Liverpool trying to make their mark on the English music scene. On this lively and entertaining evening excursion, you’ll set out to visit a few of the pubs and clubs that hosted the legendary rock band during their early days as part of the “Merseybeat” movement.
Be taken away on a Magical Mystery Tour in Liverpool
Today, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Liverpool’s most famous entertainers on a Magical Mystery Tour. On this fun, guided excursion you’ll step aboard a colorful bus and make your way through Liverpool, stopping at many Beatles-related locations, including Penny Lane, Strawberry Field, and the childhood homes of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Following your tour, you’ll enjoy free time in Liverpool to continue exploring.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Fans of the hit Netflix show Peaky Blinders won’t want to miss out on this immersive tour of several on-screen locations. Learn more
Fans of Netflix’s hit series Peaky Blinders will not want to miss out on this engaging and entertaining half-day tour. Led by a local expert, guests will get behind-the-scenes tidbits as they enjoy a guided tour of Liverpool and its surrounding areas while visiting several locations used throughout the show. Learn the fascinating story of the real-life Peaky Blinders street gang; and get a little bit closer to the world of Tommy, Arthur, and Polly, and the dark underworld in which they inhabit.
Make the pilgrimage to St. David’s, the spiritual heart of Wales
You’ll arrive in Fishguard this morning and venture to St. David’s, the religious capital of Wales and the smallest city in the country. Enjoy a guided tour of the Cathedral of St. David, a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years. Founded in the 6th century by St. David, the patron saint of Wales, this is the final resting place of Edmund Tudor, the 1st Earl of Richmond and father of King Henry VII. Back on board this afternoon, sit in on an enlightening lecture about Welsh history. Following dinner, you’ll be enchanted by the sounds of an onboard classical Welsh harp performance.
Medieval Milford Haven awaits you today
Originally settled by Vikings in the mid-9th century and developed as a whaling town in the 17th century, Milford Haven’s history is firmly linked to the sea. Today, cafés, boutiques, and other fun establishments line what was once a commercial quayside. Enjoy a walking tour of this quaint historic village, then enjoy some free time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Enjoy a guided tour of Bristol
The English city of Bristol has a long history, with archaeological finds indicating the presence of early humans in the area as far back as 300,000 years. Today this populous city, situated along the River Avon, is a bustling urban area with an eclectic mix of cultural experiences and attractions. Step ashore and head out on a guided tour of the city’s most interesting landmarks, including the Hotwells hot springs. Return to the ship after your tour, and enjoy an afternoon at leisure and dinner on board.
Visit the Abbey Gardens of Tresco
Following breakfast on board today, you’ll board a tender and head ashore to explore the town of Tresco. This port in the Scilly Islands is a paradise of shell-strewn beaches, flower-filled heaths, and dense forests. Your first stop will be Tresco Abbey Gardens. You’ll hardly believe you are in England when you step foot inside these lush subtropical gardens, surrounded by exotic flora from the Mediterranean, Brazil, and South Africa. Complementing the gardens’ arboreal beauty are the maritime collections at the onsite Valhalla Museum. Here, you’ll view artifacts retrieved from shipwrecks dating back to the 17th century. Back on board, enjoy a leisurely lunch followed by an engaging onboard lecture.
Newlyn’s maritime history is yours to uncover today
Today, you’ll explore the Cornish seaside town of Newlyn on a guided walking tour. Situated a stone's throw from the larger town of Penzance, Newlyn is home to one of the largest fishing ports in the United Kingdom. From long liners and crabbers to beam trawlers and open-air boats, you’ll see every type of fishing vessel at the towns scenic harbor. Aside from its bustling fish market, the town is also home to several art galleries, public gardens, and eateries.
Step ashore in historic Plymouth today
The fortunes of sea, trade, and war shaped the Bronze Age port town of Plymouth. Its original harbor, Sutton Harbor, is known as The Barbican, owing to the fortified, medieval structure of its waterfront. This is the port from where Sir Francis Drake sailed, from where the Mayflower departed for the Americas, and where Britons danced in defiance of Hitler's Luftwaffe. Today, you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of this historic port full of narrow cobbled streets, Elizabethan-era warehouses, specialty shops, art galleries, and cafés. Your tour will also include a stop at Plymouth Gin Distillery. Opened in 1793, this is the oldest working distillery in England. You’ll enjoy a tour of the production facilities, as well as a tasting of the gin produced onsite. You’ll have the afternoon at leisure following your tour, with dinner on board tonight.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Visit the massive indoor rainforest of the Eden Project biodomes and tour Knightor Winery. Learn more
This eye-opening optional tour will give guests a first-hand look at two of Cornwall’s most interesting sites.
Located in a reclaimed china clay pit in Cornwall, the Eden Project is a complex of biodomes housing thousands of plant species. The clay pit was in use for over 160 years and served as the set of the planet Magrathea on the 1981 BBC series Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In May 2000, the site was opened to the public as the Eden Project, a living theatre of plants and people. This cultural venue and global garden showcases humankind’s dependence on plants and demonstrates technological ingenuity and the regeneration of landscapes.
Next, visit Knightor Winery, situated above the shores of St Austell Bay on the South Coast of Cornwall. This working winery sits among four acres of vineyards, orchards, and fields of wildflowers. Their no nonsense approach has seen the winery grow into a renowned producer of a fine variety of still and sparkling Cornish wine, vermouth, and an intensely flavorful canned rose wine. Guests will enjoy a tour of the grounds and wine-making facilities, and a sampling of the varietals produced here.
Discover the seaside charms of Torquay
Set at the very heart of the English Riviera on the South Devon Coast, you’ll find lovely Torquay. This traditional seaside town is known for its iconic palm trees, busy harbor, international marina, sandy beach, and wonderful variety of dining establishments. With all of this to look forward to, the scene is set for a perfect day discovering the highlights of this waterfront port.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and make your way to London
The cruise portion of your itinerary will conclude in Portsmouth today. You’ll disembark the Ocean Odyssey and transfer to your hotel in London, enjoying a scenic drive and a visit to Windsor Castle along the way. Built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor is the world’s oldest continuously occupied castle, serving as a royal residence since then. In fact, the current royal family, the House of Windsor, took their dynastic name from this beloved site. After your tour, you’ll proceed to London and check in to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure, with lunch and dinner on your own.
London’s landmarks and UNESCO Sites
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll set off on a half-day panoramic city tour of several notable London landmarks. Notable sites include Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. You’ll also stop at the British Museum and enjoy an interesting visit there. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon to spend at your leisure with lunch on your own. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner at your hotel.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Enhance your time in London with a visit to Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey, and St. Margaret’s Church. Learn more
On this optional tour, guests will visit two of London’s most iconic sites: the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey. The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament, has changed dramatically since the Middle Ages. Transformed from royal residence to the home of a modern democracy over the span of 1,000 years, the palace’s architecture and cultural collections have evolved continually. At Westminster Abbey, discover over ten centuries of British history. As well as being a place of worship, Westminster Abbey has been the coronation church for the British monarchy since AD 1066. This has become a treasure trove of artifacts, and is the final resting place of some of the most notable figures in Britain's history. The church seen today was begun by Henry III in 1245, and is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country. You’ll also visit St. Margaret’s Church, a 12th-century next door to Westminster Abbey known as “the Church on Parliament Square.”
Return home today
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel this morning, then transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, continue your discoveries with an optional post-trip extension in Edinburgh.
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.