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Setting sail from Bordeaux
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. What's more, the city has been transformed over the last few years: the grandiose 18th century facades have been scrubbed clean, a shiny new public transport system has been installed, and a wonderful new promenade has been created alongside the river Garonne. We think Bordeaux is 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.
Bordeaux is ringed by vineyards and châteaux, and a wine tasting tour is an absolute must. Saint-Emilion, Pauillac, Médoc, Sauternes, Pomerol… You really are spoilt for choice!
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.
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.
Spain: La Coruña
La Coruña is the largest city in Galicia, a beautiful region of lush green countryside and wild, windswept beaches. Historical sights of note include the Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO-listed Roman lighthouse, and the city is also home to some great seafood restaurants.
Vigo is the biggest city in Galicia, Spain’s verdant northwest corner. The city itself is a busy fishing port with limited tourist appeal, but it’s a great base for striking out into the countryside, visiting the lovely Cíes Islands just offshore or joining the pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela, 60 miles to the north.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon’s colourful cityscape includes Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums. But for many the best times will be had wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets, with their great local food, wine and music.
Seville is a wonderful destination, a sophisticated and sun-kissed city on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. It’s a treat for all the senses, from the smell of orange blossom to the heart-tugging sounds of flamenco, and the highlight of the calendar is undoubtedly Semana Santa, when a spectacular Easter parade fills the streets.
The crumbling, sun-baked seafront city of Cádiz is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the western world, founded by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC. Although the city lacks any obvious landmarks, it’s rich in atmosphere, and plays host to one of Spain’s most colourful carnivals.
Spain: Motril (Granada)
The bustling port of Motril is less than an hour’s drive from Granada, last stronghold of the Moors in Spain and home to the famous Alhambra palace. The narrow streets of the Albayzín quarter are particularly evocative of the days of Al Andalus, and you can explore Granada’s Jewish heritage in the atmospheric Realejo district.
Cartagena was founded by the Carthaginians around 227 BC, who named it after their home city in North Africa. These days the city is best known for its well-preserved Roman theatre, which was remarkably only discovered in 1987, in spite of its location in the centre of town.
Spain’s third city is a dazzling destination that combines historic architecture, cutting edge design and an inviting stretch of beach. Don’t miss the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava, or the old riverbed, now a delightful park.
Arriving in Barcelona
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia, is one of our favourite ports of call. From the warren-like medieval streets of the Barri Gòtic to the fantastical modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudí, from the dizzy heights of Mount Tibidabo to the golden sands of Barceloneta, there's never a dull moment in this most beguiling of cities. Take a stroll along the Ramblas, soak up the wonderful art of Picasso and Miró, or watch Lionel Messi work his mesmerising magic at the Camp Nou. Barcelona is truly a city with something for everyone.
Gaudí’s crowning masterpiece, the church of La Sagrada Familia, is an utterly unique building, a soaring structure that’s rich in bizarre little details. It’s also still not finished; despite the fact that construction began in 1882, the current completion date is scheduled for 2026!
Your home from home
The Azamara Journey, Quest & Pursuit are excellent small ships that offer a welcoming and relaxed club-like atmosphere.
What we love
This trio of sister ships are focused on providing destination immersion by spending as much time in port as possible with itineraries designed to include overnight stays and late evening departures. Enjoy more time to discover the local culture and when back on board relax and enjoy a vibrant array of inclusions.
|Crew:||408 International staff|
|Style:||Relaxed club-like atmosphere|
|Year built:||Journey & Quest 2000, Pursuit 2001|
|Last refurbished:||Journey & Quest 2016, Pursuit 2018|
|Cruising speed:||18.5 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Bordeaux
At the heart of the historic centre, the quirky Yndo Hotel is a great choice.
Take a day trip from Bordeaux
The nearby coastal town of Arcachon is renowned for its oysters, and is home to the towering Dune du Pyla, Europe’s largest sand dune.
Where to stay in Barcelona
The lovely Hotel Arts on the sea front is perfectly located for a pre- or post-cruise stay, and has great restaurants too.
Take a day trip to the attractive city of Girona, with its fascinating mix of Gothic, Moorish and Modernist architecture, as well as an exceptionally well preserved Jewish Quarter.