St Lucia’s skyline is high rise. But it’s not the hotels that make this island look serrated against the sky, it’s the mountains. The Pitons are 2 of the biggest. Both…Time in port: 08:00 - 17:00
Beaches. Mountains. Rainforests. Volcanoes. Springs. When it comes to natural beauties, St Lucia’s in a league of its own. This trip takes you on a tour of some of the island’s best bits and, because they can all be seen from the sea, you’ll get to enjoy them from the comfort of a catamaran. Setting off from Castries, you’ll glide along the island’s west coast, passing mangrove-lined beaches and lush forests. And then it’s time for the star of the show. As you enter Soufriere bay, the twin mountains of Petit and Gros Piton will rise out of the sea before you. Topping over 2,000 feet each, their summits have only been tackled by the most daring of climbers. We’ll circle the bay for some great photo opportunities, before heading to one of the scenic bays along the coast. We’ll make a quick stop, and you’ll be served snacks, drinks and get the chance to dive into the Caribbean Sea for a quick swim. Last up is Marigot, the most famous cove on the island. This was a favourite battleground of the English and French back in the 18th century and, more recently, was the setting of Dr Doolittle.
This short tour packs a lot in, so it’s a good way of ticking off St Lucia’s top attractions. It begins with a scenic drive up the Morne Fortune hillside. Translated as ‘hill of good luck’, it was a key battleground during colonial times. You’ll look out over thick, green vegetation as you get higher and higher, making your first stop at the colonial-style St Mark’s House high in the hills. From here, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of Castries’ harbour and the Caribbean Sea. Next on the agenda is St Lucia’s one-and-only rum distillery. Here, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how the spirit is made, before enjoying a tasting session. Sip premium, spicy and crème liquor varieties, then head to the gift shop to pick up a bottle of your favourite. Your next stop is a viewpoint at the picturesque Marigot Bay, with its turquoise waters and velvety green hills. Last but not least, there’ll be time for a bit of retail therapy, as you call in at Caribelle Batik. This place is famous throughout the Caribbean for its batik prints, and you can see the artisans at work on the clothes and wall hangings.
Think Caribbean, think soft sands and turquoise seas. Throw in a palm tree or two and you could be in paradise. It’s true - beach-wise, you just don’t get better than this. That’s why you’ll probably want to make the most of the shoreline while you’re here. And our trip to Reduit Beach, in Rodney Bay, is a great chance to do just that. The choice of restaurants, shops and bars on offer has cemented Rodney Bay’s reputation as a top tourist spot, but Reduit Beach itself has remained pretty unspoilt. Cue clean waters, soft sands and plenty of space to pull up a sunlounger and relax, Caribbean-style. Of course, if you don’t fancy staying horizontal the whole time, there’s a good selection of watersports on offer. Or there’s a scattering of beach bars where you can chill out if that sounds just a little too much like hard work.
One of the British Leeward Islands, St Kitts is one of the Caribbean’s pearls. Once an illustrious sugar colony, it now focuses its efforts on being a tropical paradise.…Time in port: 09:00 - 18:00
Get to know St Kitts on this train and bus extravaganza. First up is a ride on the island’s Scenic Railway. The railroad was built almost a century ago to carry sugar canes from the fields to the sugar mill in Basseterre. These days, the double-decker trains are just a nice way of seeing the island. Take a seat for some great views as you chug past the sprawling fields, volcanic peaks and leafy forests of the north coast. On the lower level deck there will be music from the Scenic Railway Choir. The second part of your tour sees you board a tour bus for a drive along the south coast. Important landmarks lie around every corner here. Look out for the Brimstone Hill Fortress, Middle Island – once home to Thomas Jefferson’s great-grandfather – and neighbouring Nevis, birthplace of the first Secretary of the US Treasury.
Tick off the top sights of St Kitts on this ‘Best of’ tour. First up is a drive through the island’s capital, Basseterre. Home to the National Museum and Independence Square, it’s jam-packed with history. Your guide will point out what’s what, and fill you in on St Kitts’ chaotic past. You’ll head up the coast to the Brimstone Hill Fortress, the Caribbean’s answer to the Tower of London, it’s all old-world turrets and cannons. But the best thing about this place is the views. The fortress sits on top of 38 acres of limestone, so you can see as far as neighbouring Saba, St Eustatius and St Barts. Leaving Brimstone Hill, you’ll make your way to Romney Manor for the last stop of the day. This 18th-century estate is spread over eight acres, and is home to the famous Caribelle Batik. Watch artists create works of art from wax and fabric. Then wander through peaceful botanical gardens before heading back to the ship.
You’ll get a real flavour for the history of St Kitts on this half-day tour. On the drive to your first stop, Romney Manor, you’ll pass by the Bloody River. It earned this name because it was the site of a major battle in the 16th century. When you get to Romney Manor, your guide will show you around. The 12-acre property features beautiful gardens as well as local artworks. Next, you’ll briefly stop at the tomb of Sir Thomas Warner – an English explorer who settled in St Kitts during the 16th century. You’ll then get to visit the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. Because it’s perched on top of a hill, and 750 feet above sea level, you’ll have great views of the coastline, countryside and five neighbouring islands. Your trip will end at Fairview Great House. Here, you’ll get to learn about life on the island during colonial times, and wander through the dining room, with its 16-seat, mahogany dinner table and antique silverware.
If you’re a big fan of the beach, prepare to lose your heart to this place. Antiguans like to boast they have a different one for every day of the year. Without doubt,…Time in port: 08:00 - 18:00
Peek into Antigua’s colonial past on this whistle-stop history tour. This fully guided trip takes you from the quaint capital of St John’s, through the countryside to your first stop - The Blockhouse Fort ruins. Perched a whopping 500 feet above sea level, they’re a great viewing platform for the rest of the island. Look in one direction and you’ll spot Indian Creek, once home to Antigua’s first native tribe. Turn around, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the newer and much more glamorous home of Eric Clapton. Later, make your way to the island’s most southerly point, Shirley Heights. Back in the 18th century, soldiers used this as a lookout podium to spy on enemies and signal to nearby forts. The last, and arguably best, port of call is Nelson’s Dockyard, the world’s only working Georgian dockyard which are still in use today. Here, you can stroll through the old-fashioned Georgian buildings and even visit the original Naval Officer’s house.
Cast adrift in the Caribbean, Antigua is ringed with a halo of white sandy beaches. Lapped by warm and clear waters, its soft sandy beaches are a perfect corner of paradise. And this taxi transfer from ship to shore – and back again – whisks you down to the beach so you can make the most of the warm waters, water-sports or bars. Or just take a stroll along the half-mile or so of soft sand. Just don’t forget to try some of the unlimited rum or fruit punch. Plus to make life easier, we’ll reserve you a sunbed on the sand, just don't forget your towel.
Nothing says luxury like lobster and ‘bubbly’ – especially when you’re tucking in onboard a catamaran. You’ll set off on the cruise first thing in the morning, and sail along the island’s west coast to the picture-perfect Deep Bay Beach. Here, there’ll be some free time to take a dip or sprawl out on the ice-white sands. Then it’s back onboard and on to Morris Bay where you’ll drop anchor for another round of swimming and sunbathing. There’ll be a lobster buffet lunch served up, washed down with a glass of ‘bubbly’. Add an open bar to the mix for the return leg of the journey, and you’re all set for a relaxing day on the waves.
Faial’s nickname – the Blue Island – sounds straightforward enough. But when you get there it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the blue refers to. It could nod to thesapphire…Time in port: 08:00 - 18:00 | Tender to shore
It’s all about drinking in the views on this trip, which covers Faial’s best coasts and craters. Your first stop is at Ponta de Espalamaca. From here, you can snap postcard-worthy photos of Horta’s bay and, on a clear day, spot three of the other Azorean islands– Graciosa, Sao Jorge and Pico. You’ll then continue along the nicknamed ‘Windmill Route’ – which passes by a trio of the island’s remaining Flemish-style, red-topped windmills – to the Caldeira do Faial. This two-kilometre-wide extinct volcano crater is packed with laurel forest, and there’s a pretty lake in the centre. Afterwards, it’s onto a second volcano – Capelinhos – which lies dormant on the west coast. The last eruption – 60 years ago – left behind a dusty, moon-like surface.
Horta’s pretty town centre is your stomping ground for today. Your guided tour kicks off with a visit to the Horta Museum, which has a collection of artefacts from Faial’s history. But, what’s on the outside is just as intriguing as the inside. The museum’s housed in an imposing black-and-white building that was once a Jesuit college. It dates back to the 18th century, and was left unfinished after the Jesuits were run out of Portugal in 1760. You’ll also call in at Horta’s iconic marina, which comes decorated with dozens of paintings left behind by past visitors. To round things off, a gin and tonic at the famous Peter’s Café Sport – a favourite watering hole for thousands of sailors on their way across the Atlantic – is on the agenda.
Buckle up for a 4x4 ride across Faial. You’ll see all the island’s highlights, kicking off with the Caldeira do Faial Natural Reserve. We’ll head up to a viewpoint to get some photos of the park’s famous crater, which is now covered in laurrisilva forest. Next, we’ll jump back in our 4x4 and make tracks for the north of the island. After taking in the views of the Fajã da Praia do Norte – a beautiful coastal spot – we’ll head to the dark landscapes surrounding the Capelinhos volcano. Its last big eruption was back in the ‘50s, when it spewed lava for over a year. We’ll follow a route along the coast, passing Varadouro Bay, before turning inland and climbing up to the viewpoint at Espalamaca. Get your camera out for snaps of Horta, Faial’s upper regions, and – if it’s a clear day – the next-door islands of Pico, São Jorge and Graciosa.
Sao Miguel does a good impression of Eden. The largest of Portugal’s Azores is contoured with rolling hills, expansive lakes and beaches that have resisted tourism. That’s…Time in port: 08:00 - 18:00
It’s not every day you get your lunch cooked in a volcano, but it’s all part of the package on this tour. The day starts off in Ribeira Grande, where you’ll be able to admire the town’s Baroque architecture and sample a few local tipples in a liqueur shop. Next up, we’ll have photo stops at Santa Iria and Pico de Ferro viewpoints – the latter looks over the island’s biggest crater – before heading to a tea plantation for a quick tour. A visit to the ‘Caldeiras’ is next on the agenda, where you’ll get the chance to see thermal springs and fumaroles – steam-spraying gaps in the Earth’s crust. At Furnas Lake, lunch will be prepared – traditional Cozido das Caldeiras stew, made with pork, veal, sausages and veg, and cooked in super-hot volcanic solfratas. After sitting down at a local restaurant to tuck in, we’ll head back to the ship.
The town of Ribeira Grande is your starting point today. You’ll be able to see the Portuguese influence in the Baroque architecture, some of which dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. After a quick walk around the town, we’ll call in at a liqueur shop, where you might be able to sample a few local blends. Next up, we’ll ride up the winding mountain road to Caldeira Velha, a beautiful area packed with exotic plants and hot springs. The road continues up to Pico da Barrosa Mountain – once we get up here, keep your cameras handy for views of Fogo Lake. Our final stop for the day is a pineapple plantation back in Ponta Delgada, where you’ll get a sneak peek at the traditional production methods used here.
On this tour, you’ll tick off some of the most picturesque spots in Sao Miguel, and taste some local cheese and wine. It starts with a drive to the Escalvado viewpoint, which overlooks Mosteiros. This tiny traditional village is perched on the coast, where the island’s last volcanic eruptions took place. You’ll then take a scenic bus ride to Sete Cidades. This village shares the bottom of a volcanic crater with a postcard-pretty lake edged by cornflower-blue hydrangeas. You’ll have some time to look around the village and lake. Then, it’s on to a wine and cheese tasting at a local hotel, where you’ll be treated to samples of a couple of red and white wines and four types of cheese from the region. On the way back, there’s a stop at the Pico do Carvao lookout, which offers up panoramas over the north and south coasts of Sao Miguel.
Sweeter than wine, Madeira’s a fine excuse to binge on beautiful scenery to your heart’s content. Funchal is the island’s capital, a bewitching collection of cobbledstreets,…Time in port: 09:00 - 18:00
Start as you mean to go on - so the old saying goes. And that’s certainly the case on this trip. Your day begins with a cable car ride from Funchal to nearby Monte. Make sure you’ve got your camera ready because once you reach the top, on a clear day, the panoramic views are superb. When you get to Monte, head for the famous Church of Our Lady of Monte, known for its striking façade of dark basalt stone and whitewash. Then it’s decision time - do you slip and slide down the narrow streets in a toboggan, or rejoin the bus for a more sedate journey down the hill? Sitting in a wicker basket mounted on wooden runners, two drivers guide the sled down through narrow streets, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. Ernest Hemingway once described the experience as ‘exhilarating’. After your ride - whichever one you choose - relax in Funchal’s tranquil Botanical Gardens. Wander through the grounds, inhaling the sweet scent of exotic blooms. Your last stop is at a souvenir shop where you can admire delicate lace as you sip fine Madeiran wine.
Jump in, buckle up and get ready to see some of Madeira’s most impressive scenery. These vehicles can reach locations that are off limits to most so you can go off the beaten track and get to know the island inside out. Climbing high into the mountains, explore hidden valleys and dramatic volcanic landscapes. It’s a great day out for all the family as up to 8 people can fit in together.
This tour whisks you around Funchal in the back of a tuk tuk-like three-wheeler. You’ll buzz through the city’s streets, making pit-stops at places like the 17th-century São Tiago Fort, and the monochrome São Pedro Church. The route also takes you through the labyrinthine lanes of the Old Town, past the flower-sellers and greengrocers that line up in its marketplaces. Plus, there’s a stop at the Socorro Viewpoint, where you’ll be faced with a spectacular panoramic view of the coast. One of the last places on the day’s itinerary is another fortress – this time, São Lourenço. It’s the island’s earliest, and is now classified as a National Monument. Later on, you’ll take a scenic drive back to the port to rejoin the cruise.
Affectionately known as Gib or The Rock, Gibraltar is a little slice of Britain in the Mediterranean. And, just like the motherland, it’s a small stretch of land with…Time in port: 09:00 - 18:00
Discover the Rock, which rises nearly 1,400ft above sea level and is said to be one of the legendary pillars of Hercules. Gibraltar, well known as the gateway to the Mediterranean, is steeped in history. See Europa Point, the southernmost point of Gibraltar and the only Trinity Lighthouse outside Britain. You’ll also pass over the only runway in Europe that has to stop vehicles for aircraft! At the famous Gothic-style St. Michael’s Cave, marvel at the beautiful stalagtites and stalagmites sculpted through the centuries. Your leisurely tour ends with a trip to Gibraltar’s most respected residents, the ‘Barbary Apes’, a breed of tail-less and very naughty monkeys that roam free on rocky slopes. Be warned – they’ve got a penchant for cameras, handbags, hats and food!
This short trip gives you a great introduction to Gibraltar’s history, and you’ll have an exoert guide on hand to give you the lowdown on the sights. Leaving Gibraltar’s quayside behind, you’ll kick things off by heading to Europa Point, where the Trinity Lighthouse is. There’ll be a photo-stop here so you can soak up the vistas – the area looks out over the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the busy Straits of Gibraltar, the African Coastline and Spain’s Costa del Sol. From here, your coach will whisk you to the Rock of Gibraltar – the highlight of the tour. Inside, is a network of narrow tunnels that were used back in the Second World War. You’ll be given a safety briefing, before being led down into the dark, following in the soldiers’ footsteps in a conga-line. Look out for the ancient stalactites and stalagmites as you get deeper into the caves. After the tour, it’s up to you whether you want to head back to the ship, or explore Gibraltar’s town centre.
Hop aboard and cruise with us around the Bay of Gibraltar, one of the most famous bays in the world. There’s a really high concentration of dolphins in these parts and if you’re lucky you might see baby dolphins swimming close to their mothers. It’s a great opportunity to take pictures and see the Striped, Bottle-Nosed and Common dolphin, as well as seven species of whale, flying fish, turtles and sunfish in their natural habitat. Plus you get to admire the landmarks of Gibraltar all in the same morning. What more could you ask for?