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Setting sail from Lisbon
The roots of historic Lisbon's fame lie in its strategic position on the edge of the Atlantic and the fact it offers one of the world's greatest natural harbours. No surprise therefore that it became the home of the world's most famous explorers such as Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Built on seven hills, we always find Lisbon to be soulful, captivating and picturesque, with architecture which reflects its status as a great port.
Belem Tower, dating from the 1500s, was both a fortress and the explorers’ departure point. On the façade you will find a stone rhinoceros sculpted into the tower – Europe’s first sight of this extraordinary beast!
Gijón is the largest city in the Asturias region of northern Spain, an important industrial port but also a lively and youthful place, ideally positioned for exploring the Costa Verde. The most interesting area is the historic fishing village of Cimadevilla, which sits on a peninsula that divides the bay in two.
It’s not so long ago that Bilbao was a grim and unappealing place, scarred by heavy industry, but the Basque Country’s biggest city has reinvented itself as a cultural hub since the opening of the shimmering Guggenheim Museum in 1997.
31 May - 1 June
Bordeaux sits at the centre of the world's most famous wine region, and is home to a beguiling blend of beautiful buildings, sophisticated gastronomy and high culture. It's a marvellous place to spend some time, whether it's a day sampling wines, an evening at the opera or a night on the tiles.
France: La Rochelle
La Rochelle is an attractive seaside town of elegant limestone facades and agreeable weather, known as La Ville Blanche (the ‘White City’). The heart of the city is the atmospheric Vieux Port, guarded by three imposing towers which offer excellent views of the harbour and nearby islands.
United Kingdom: St. Mary's (Isles of Scilly)
United Kingdom: Dartmouth
The picturesque and historic town of Dartmouth is situated at the mouth of the river Dart, on the south coast of Devon. The town has a proud maritime heritage, home to the Royal Naval College, and the streets are lined with attractive 17th and 18th century buildings leaning at rakish angles.
Belgium: Zeebrugge (Bruges)
Zeebrugge’s main attraction is its proximity to Bruges. This beautifully preserved old town is a magical maze of winding cobbled lanes, narrow canals and gorgeous gabled houses, and it’s no wonder so many visitors throng the streets in summer.
Amsterdam is one of our very favourite cities to visit, as well as also being a perfect base to explore the nearby landscape of windmills and dikes. There is a wealth of famous museums and galleries to choose from, such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House.
Known locally as ‘the gateway to the world’, the port of Hamburg has a rich maritime history. Of course the city has its seedy side, as characterised by the old red light district around the Reeperbahn, but it’s also a vibrant, progressive city with some excellent museums, galleries and theatres.
The former Hanseatic port of Wismar is one of the Baltic’s lesser known gems. The town was under Swedish control for most of the 16th and 17th centuries, and there are still many reminders of this period as you stroll around the pretty UNESCO-listed old town, with its cobbled streets and gabled facades.
The buzzing city of Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Many sights will delight; the busy waterfront, the cobbled streets in the Old Town, and the museums, palaces, gardens and galleries. And of course, just 20 minutes away, its archipelago of 30,000 islands offers a totally different experience.
Situated on the west coast surrounded by thousands of islands, Turku is Finland’s oldest city and was once the nation’s capital. This history is still visible in the medieval castle and impressive cathedral, and the city’s large student population means that there is a vibrant cultural scene.
Estonia: Saaremaa Island
The charming UNESCO-listed town of Visby is the capital of Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic. The photogenic cobbled streets and ruined Gothic churches are a reminder of the island’s fascinating history, invaded by both Germans and Danes and decimated by the Black Death in the 14th century.
Klaipeda is Lithuania’s only major seaport, and served for a time as the capital of Prussia, when it was known as Memel. There is still a noticeable Germanic flavour to the architecture of the old town, and it’s only a short distance from both the spectacular dunes of the Curonian Spit and the lovely seaside town of Palanga.
Arriving in Copenhagen
With a history that dates back to 1043, this small city is full of historic landmarks, significant buildings and interesting sights and museums. It is of course also a history that sits alongside the height of modern Danish design. It is great to explore on foot, by bicycle or by water. Be sure to visit Amalienborg Palace and to walk down the famed shopping street (Strøget). The pretty harbour of Nyhavn is a great location to stop for coffee or lunch and watch the world go by. And of course highlights include the Tivoli Gardens, and the (surprisingly) tiny statue of The Little Mermaid.
Copenhagen boasts some of the world’s best restaurants, so plan your visit and book ahead to get a real taste of Denmark. Really – they book up fast!
Your home from home
Once again Seabourn leaps ahead, expanding the most modern luxury fleet with the innovative Seabourn Encore and Ovation.
What we love
When Seabourn introduced the three sisters, they changed the face of luxury cruising. Seabourn Encore (and her sister Seabourn Ovation, due to be completed in 2018), with 604 guests on board, will take things a step further, with lots of new thinking and special additions, continuing Seabourn's magical ability to surprise and delight.
The contemporary décor appeals to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd. With lots of outside space, you can enjoy an al fresco experience if you choose.
|Year launched||2016 (Seabourn Encore) / 2018 (Seabourn Ovation)|
Tailor-make your trip
Our recommended hotel
The Pousada de Lisboa, newly opened in May 2015, has a great location in the heart of the city and an interior to wow you.
Take a day trip from Lisbon
Visit Sintra – Roman and Moorish influences make this magical city with its fairytale palaces and extravagant villas a must.
Two nights in Copenhagen
Excellent super modern hotels abound, but our favourite for comfort and value is 71 Nyhavn, overlooking the harbour front.
Travel out of the city to North Zealand to see the renaissance Frederiksborg Castle, and Hamlet’s Kronborg Castle at Elsinore.