Country-Hopping Cruise with Expert Speakers
The Institute for Shipboard Education was born from an idea to create a floating campus that reflected the ideals of the United Nations and the realities of globalization. As Chinese shipping magnate C. Y. Tung put it, “Ships can transport more than cargo—they can carry ideas.” Over the years, the institute has attracted world-famous guest speakers including Mikhail Gorbachev, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. The Institute for Shipboard Education also administers the study-abroad program Semester at Sea. Today, the cruising university offers two-week Enrichment Voyages for adventurers of all ages, with educational programming that digs deep into each port of call's culture and history.
With this Groupon, you can set out on a full 28-day voyage exploring continental Europe, North Africa, and the United Kingdom, or an abbreviated 14-day cruise that follows either the first or second half of the full four-week itinerary. Each cruise incorporates both lectures and hands-on exploration.
The ship retains vestiges of its former life as a commercial liner. There are barstools in the 9,000-volume library, a nod to the space's former role as the ship's tavern. Despite the emphasis on education, the ship provides several opportunities to relax. The Wellness Center spa, for example, offers massages, manicures, and other pampering services.
See the itinerary for a day-by-day schedule.
Days 1–6: After departing from Barcelona, the ship makes a stop at Monte Carlo in Monaco. The port city's massive Le Grand Casino might look familiar: it's been featured in several Hollywood movies, including the James Bond feature GoldenEye. Later, you'll continue on to Florence, Italy, home to some of the world's most renowned works of Renaissance art, including Michelangelo's David and works by Rembrandt, da Vinci, and Botticelli.
Day 7–14: Sail to Cadiz, Spain, an 18th-century city filled with traditional plazas and historical architecture, before journeying on to Casablanca, Morocco, site of the Hassan II Mosque, an elaborate example of Moorish architecture. This first segment of the tour wraps up in Lisbon, Portugal. Frommer's calls this hilly city "one of Europe's most visually striking capitals." The Alfama district is especially breathtaking at night, when hanging lanterns light medieval alleys and folk guitarists strum mournful "fado" songs.
For those on the 28-day tour, this marks the beginning of the second half of the trip. Fourteen-day tour-goers can start their journey at the beginning or here, as the second segment kicks off in Le Havre, France.
Days 15–21: From Le Havre, you'll cruise north up the English Channel to Antwerp, Belgium. Stroll the cobblestone streets between centuries-old Gothic buildings, or drop in on one of the many designer boutiques and chocolatiers downtown. The next two days are spent in Amsterdam, where a network of scenic canals weaves past cafés and historic sites, including the Anne Frank House.
Days 21–28: The ship travels north to Edinburgh, allowing passengers a glimpse of Scotland's seaside bluffs, verdant meadows, and legendary castles. The United Kingdom leg of the tour includes stops in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as well as Dublin. Dublin Castle's stone ramparts have been a lasting symbol of Ireland's rich history since the 13th century. On Grafton Street, pubs hum with traditional folk music as friendly tavern keepers pour frothy pints of Guinness. After Dublin, the trip continues on to your final destination, Southampton, England.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.