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Iberian & Northern Africa Escape

Let us bring you some of Europe and North Africa’s most remarkable architecture, plus wall-to-wall sunshine, on this unforgettable sojourn to the south. We’ll take you to stunning Seville, with its superb cathedral and Alhambra Palace, and exotic Marrakesh, home to ornate mosques, lush gardens and endless souks filled with fascinating handicrafts.

Cruise Only
13 nights

Mid size Ship Holiday
Hassan II Mosque, Cassablanca
La Coruna
Cadiz
Marrakesh

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!

AB

Supposedly the burial site of St. James, the walled medieval town of Santiago de Compostela is a treasure house of history, with its magnificent carved stone façades, grand plazas and fascinating winding streets.

Home to mosques, palaces and gardens, the medieval city of Marrakesh is a maze of bustling alleys filled with souks selling textiles, pottery and jewellery. It’s a cultural experience like no other.

When in Porto, it’s a must to sample the magnificent port wine that has made the city world famous. But there’s plenty more to savour, from the stunning Francisco Church to the magnificent 19th century Palácio de Bolsa.

AB207 Operated by Ambassador Cruise Line

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Iberian & Northern Africa Escape Itinerary

Day 1 - Belfast

Before English and Scottish settlers arrived in the 1600s, Belfast was a tiny village called Béal Feirste ("sandbank ford") belonging to Ulster's ancient O'Neill clan. With the advent of the Plantation period (when settlers arrived in the 1600s), Sir Arthur Chichester, from Devon in southwestern England, received the city from the English Crown, and his son was made Earl of Donegall. Huguenots fleeing persecution from France settled near here, bringing their valuable linen-work skills. In the 18th century, Belfast underwent a phenomenal expansion—its population doubled every 10 years, despite an ever-present sectarian divide. Although the Anglican gentry despised the Presbyterian artisans—who, in turn, distrusted the native Catholics—Belfast's growth continued at a dizzying speed. The city was a great Victorian success story, an industrial boomtown whose prosperity was built on trade, especially linen and shipbuilding. Famously (or infamously), the Titanic was built here, giving Belfast, for a time, the nickname "Titanic Town." Having laid the foundation stone of the city's university in 1845, Queen Victoria returned to Belfast in 1849 (she is recalled in the names of buildings, streets, bars, monuments, and other places around the city), and in the same year, the university opened under the name Queen's College. Nearly 40 years later, in 1888, Victoria granted Belfast its city charter. Today its population is nearly 300,000, tourist numbers have increased, and this dramatically transformed city is enjoying an unparalleled renaissance.This is all a welcome change from the period when news about Belfast meant reports about "the Troubles." Since the 1994 ceasefire, Northern Ireland's capital city has benefited from major hotel investment, gentrified quaysides (or strands), a sophisticated new performing arts center, and major initiatives to boost tourism. Although the 1996 bombing of offices at Canary Wharf in London disrupted the 1994 peace agreement, the ceasefire was officially reestablished on July 20, 1997, and this embattled city began its quest for a newfound identity.Since 2008, the city has restored all its major public buildings such as museums, churches, theaters, City Hall, Ulster Hall—and even the glorious Crown Bar—spending millions of pounds on its built heritage. A gaol that at the height of the Troubles held some of the most notorious murderers involved in paramilitary violence is now a major visitor attraction.Belfast's city center is made up of three roughly contiguous areas that are easy to navigate on foot. From the south end to the north, it's about an hour's leisurely walk.

Day 2 - Liverpool

From world-class attractions and sports to legendary music, Liverpool offers old-world charm with modern sophistication, underpinned by a rich cultural history.

Days 3-4 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities on board at your leisure.

Day 5 - La Coruña

La Coruña, the largest city in Spain's Galicia region, is among the country's busiest ports. The remote Galicia area is tucked into the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, surprising visitors with its green and misty countryside that is so much unlike other parts of Spain. The name "Galicia" is Celtic in origin, for it was the Celts who occupied the region around the 6th-century BC and erected fortifications. La Coruña was already considered an important port under the Romans. They were followed by an invasion of Suevians, Visigoths and, much later in 730, the Moors. It was after Galicia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Asturias that the epic saga of the Pilgrimage to Santiago (St. James) began. From the 15th century, overseas trade developed rapidly; in 1720, La Coruña was granted the privilege of trading with America - a right previously only held by Cadiz and Seville. This was the great era when adventurous men voyaged to the colonies and returned with vast riches. Today, the city's significant expansion is evident in three distinct quarters: the town centre located along the isthmus; the business and commercial centre with wide avenues and shopping streets; and the "Ensanche" to the south, occupied by warehouses and factories. Many of the buildings in the old section feature the characteristic glazed façades that have earned La Coruña the name "City of Crystal." Plaza Maria Pita, the beautiful main square, is named after the local heroine who saved the town in 1589 when she seized the English standard from the beacon and gave the alarm, warning her fellow townsmen of the English attack.

Day 6 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities on board at your leisure.

Day 7 - Cádiz

Believed to be the oldest town on the Iberian Peninsula, the Andalusian port of Cádiz enjoys a stunning location at the edge of a six-mile promontory. The town itself, with 3,000 years of history, is characterised by pretty white houses with balconies often adorned with colourful flowers. As you wander around be sure to take a stroll through the sizeable Plaza de Espãna, with its large monument dedicated to the first Spanish constitution, which was signed here in 1812. Cádiz has two pleasant seafront promenades which boast fine views of the Atlantic Ocean, and has a lovely park, the Parque Genoves, located close to the sea with an open-air theatre and attractive palm garden. Also notable is the neo-Classical cathedral, capped by a golden dome.

Day 8 - Casablanca

The original settlement formed on the site of Casablanca by the Berbers became the kingdom of Anfa, and during the 15th century harboured pirates who raided the Portuguese coast. In retaliation for the attacks, the Portuguese destroyed Anfa and founded the town they called Casa Branca (white house). They remained here until an earthquake in 1755 and the town was subsequently rebuilt by Mohammed ben Abdallah, whose legacy of mosques and houses can still be seen in the old Medina. Casablanca acquired its present-day name when the Spanish obtained special port privileges in 1781. The French landed here in 1907, later establishing a protectorate and modelling the town on the port of Marseilles. Today Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city, its most significant port and the centre of commerce and industry. The city is a vibrant fusion of European, African and Arabian influences and its French colonial architecture and art deco buildings seamlessly blend in with the busy, colourful markets. Please note that vendors in the souks can be very persistent and eager to make a sale.

Day 9 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities on board at your leisure.

Day 10 - Lisbon

Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It is a city famous for its majestic architecture, old wooden trams, Moorish features and more than twenty centuries of history. Following disastrous earthquakes in the 18th century, Lisbon was rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal who created an elegant city with wide boulevards and a great riverfront and square, Praça do Comércio. Today there are distinct modern and ancient sections, combining great shopping with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city's terraced hillsides. The distance between the ship and your tour vehicle may vary. This distance is not included in the excursion grades.

Day 11 - Leixões

Ever since the Romans constructed a fort here and began using it as a trading post, Oporto has been a prosperous commercial centre. In the 15th and 16th centuries the city benefited from the wealth generated by Portugal’s maritime discoveries, and later, the establishment of a lucrative wine trade with Britain compensated for the loss of the spice trade. Today, Portugal’s second-largest city is a thriving, cosmopolitan place and is famous for its production of the fortified, sweet 'port' wine. Its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city was also awarded the status of European Capital of Culture in 2001. A large sandbar prevents ships from sailing into Oporto itself, so for over a century they have used nearby Leixões instead, a man-made seaport constructed nine miles from the city. Leixões is one of Portugal's major sea ports and is also home to one of the country's oldest football clubs, winners of the Taça de Portugal cup in 1961.

Days 12-13 - At Sea

Enjoy the facilities on board at your leisure.

Day 14 - Belfast

Before English and Scottish settlers arrived in the 1600s, Belfast was a tiny village called Béal Feirste ("sandbank ford") belonging to Ulster's ancient O'Neill clan. With the advent of the Plantation period (when settlers arrived in the 1600s), Sir Arthur Chichester, from Devon in southwestern England, received the city from the English Crown, and his son was made Earl of Donegall. Huguenots fleeing persecution from France settled near here, bringing their valuable linen-work skills. In the 18th century, Belfast underwent a phenomenal expansion—its population doubled every 10 years, despite an ever-present sectarian divide. Although the Anglican gentry despised the Presbyterian artisans—who, in turn, distrusted the native Catholics—Belfast's growth continued at a dizzying speed. The city was a great Victorian success story, an industrial boomtown whose prosperity was built on trade, especially linen and shipbuilding. Famously (or infamously), the Titanic was built here, giving Belfast, for a time, the nickname "Titanic Town." Having laid the foundation stone of the city's university in 1845, Queen Victoria returned to Belfast in 1849 (she is recalled in the names of buildings, streets, bars, monuments, and other places around the city), and in the same year, the university opened under the name Queen's College. Nearly 40 years later, in 1888, Victoria granted Belfast its city charter. Today its population is nearly 300,000, tourist numbers have increased, and this dramatically transformed city is enjoying an unparalleled renaissance.This is all a welcome change from the period when news about Belfast meant reports about "the Troubles." Since the 1994 ceasefire, Northern Ireland's capital city has benefited from major hotel investment, gentrified quaysides (or strands), a sophisticated new performing arts center, and major initiatives to boost tourism. Although the 1996 bombing of offices at Canary Wharf in London disrupted the 1994 peace agreement, the ceasefire was officially reestablished on July 20, 1997, and this embattled city began its quest for a newfound identity.Since 2008, the city has restored all its major public buildings such as museums, churches, theaters, City Hall, Ulster Hall—and even the glorious Crown Bar—spending millions of pounds on its built heritage. A gaol that at the height of the Troubles held some of the most notorious murderers involved in paramilitary violence is now a major visitor attraction.Belfast's city center is made up of three roughly contiguous areas that are easy to navigate on foot. From the south end to the north, it's about an hour's leisurely walk.

Price Includes

  • Full-board cruise in chosen cabin
  • Coffee and tea making facilities in every cabin
  • Tea and water available 24 hours a day in the buffet area
  • Onboard entertainment
  • Onboard enrichment and lifestyle programmes

Please contact us for the latest dates and prices

Call us now on 01756 706500

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