Day 1: Tuesday 24 November 2020 - Southampton
Depart Southampton late pm
Days 2 - 4: Wednesday 25 to Friday 27 November 2020 - At sea
Enjoy all the onboard facilities, including:
Restaurants, Bars & Lounges, Show Lounges, Swimming Pools, Jacuzzis, Fitness Centre, Atlantis Spa, Boutique Shops, Golf Nets, Gaming Tables,
Library, Card Room, Laundry Room, Room Service, Wi-Fi
Day 5: Saturday 28 November 2020 - Ponta Delgada, Portugal
Ponta Delgada, the main town on the island of São Miguel, is the capital of the Azores archipelago of Portugal. The town’s cosmopolitan atmosphere belies its 500 year history, and the surrounding island boasts beautiful lakes, mountains, sandy beaches and the stunning crater lakes of the extinct Sete Cidades volcano.
A fine collection of buildings, narrow cobbled streets and squares, are a firm reminder that this was once a key staging post between Europe and the Americas. Intermingled are cool parks, enchanting squares, a modern marina, restaurants and waterside cafés. Its lakeside, whitewashed houses with terracotta roofs look out to enchanting mountain plains.
The striking, three-arched city gates, Portas da Cidade – which once stood in the harbour and now reside in Gonçalo Velho Cabral Square, were dedicated to the Portuguese navigator who discovered the Azores. The Gothic Church of St. Sebastian and The Convent and Chapel of Our Lady of Hope, which is home to a revered image of Christ, are both worth uncovering. The Carlos Machado Museum offers diverse artefacts of Azorean culture, while Igreja Matriz Church, with its splendid clock tower, is one of many beautifully ornate towers to be found.
The ‘Green Island’ also offers canoeing and other sports activities on lakes located in the craters of its dormant volcanoes. The island’s beauty can also be enjoyed by horse riding or cycling.
Days 6-10: Sunday 29 November to Friday 4 December 2020 - At sea
Enjoy all the onboard facilities
Day 11: Saturday 5 December 2020 - Philipsburg, St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch half of St. Maarten, a Caribbean island amicably shared between Holland and France for centuries. The town is known as a shopper’s paradise, while its charming sandy beach, studded with colourful clapboard restaurants and outdoor cafés, is accessible via water taxi.
Front Street, Philipsburg’s long main street, is festooned with shops, but the alleys and courtyards down to Back Street are also worth exploring. There are some stylish restaurants, but the Lo-Lo huts, which sell grilled chicken, fish and cakes from home-made barbecues, are great for a cheap snack of authentic Caribbean food.
This tiny island was divided between the Dutch and French in the 1600s, as a bastion against the Spanish. This melting pot of rich cultures and old-world charm was supposedly divided up by someone from each country walking round the coastline in opposite directions until they met up again.
Two historic forts reflect the island’s colonial past: Fort Amsterdam, built in 1631 and soon after captured by the Spanish, offers fine views over Philipsburg from the original walls, and Fort Willem, built by the British during the Napoleonic War.
Day 12: Sunday 6 December 2020 - St John's, Antigua and Barbuda
A sunbather’s haven, St John’s is the capital city of Antigua and Barbuda, an island often referred to as the crown jewels of the Caribbean. With its large selection of beaches, typically hot climate and an array of cool seaside bars, the city of St John’s is a sun worshipper’s paradise.
In the city itself, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda has exhibits on island history and St. John’s Cathedral, a 19th-century Anglican Church, sits sweetly on a hill near the 17th century Government House. The city’s vibrant red and yellow colonial buildings reflect the personality and warm welcome from locals, while a monument to the nation’s founder, V.C. Bird, is next to the colourful street market which sells flowers, fruit and handicrafts.
St. George’s fascinating history is brought to life on the stunning English Harbour and celebrated Nelson's Dockyard. Also known as Britain's West Indies naval base, it has now been restored to its 18th century glory.
There is shopping and speciality restaurants to be found in Heritage Quay and, of course, no visit would be complete without a spell on one of the island’s 365 stunning beaches – one for each day of the year say the Antiguans.
Day 13: Monday 7 December 2020 - Basseterre, St Kitts
With some of the oldest colonial buildings in the Caribbean, the elegant St. Kitts & Nevis capital of Basseterre is a beautiful town bursting with history.
Established by the French in the 17th century, and claimed by the British following the Napoleonic War, much of Basseterre’s original Georgian architecture still stands and begs to be explored. The domed Old Treasury Building on the waterfront – now the National Museum – is worth a visit, as is the Victorian Berkeley Memorial Clock, a four-face, cast-iron tower that sits on the Circus, an original 19th century traffic roundabout. St George’s, an Anglican church originally built by the French, has been destroyed by fire several times, and was rebuilt to its present form in 1869.
Away from the town, visitors can take a tour to Brimstone Hill Fortress to admire magnificent views across the island, travel on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway – said to be one of the most attractive train journeys in the world
Day 14: Tuesday 8 December 2020 - Castries, St. Lucia
Castries, the capital of the island nation of St. Lucia, is known for its palm-lined, soft, white Vigie Beach. Like St. Lucia itself, the city combines heritage and culture with peace, relaxation and tranquillity, and Castries is a gateway to St. Lucia’s wealth of national parks with vast forests, native plants and wildlife.
The city’s streets are easy to navigate. Leafy Derek Walcott Square – named after a native noble laureate – is home to a 400-year-old Samaan tree and the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception built in 1897. The nearby market in Jeremie Street, sells a wide range of items including fresh local fruit.
Overlooking the town is Morne Fortune, which provides some splendid views alongside Royal Navy history. Here the original French colonists built La Toc Battery, but was taken by the British in 1796, replacing it with a new fort built in 1888 to protect the harbour.
Day 15: Wednesday 9 December 2020 - St George's, Grenada
The popular destination of St. George’s is the capital of Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island with a long history of British and French rule. The town is a gateway to a volcanic island, with a jaw-dropping landscape of crater lakes, rainforests, coral reefs and white-sand beaches.
Granted independence in 1974, it is famous for its cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and vanilla plantations, and Grenada is affectionately known as the ‘Spice Island’. The aromas literally fill the air and make for a most remarkable experience when visiting the island.
The town is located on a stunning horseshoe-shaped harbour. At its centre, the 18th century Fort George offers panoramic views of the island and nearby Fort Matthew, formerly a battleground and an asylum, boasts a network of underground tunnels. The Grenada National Museum hosts exhibits about the region’s history, including the plantation economy and the whaling industry.
Mount Qua Qua – one of Grenada’s central mountains – provides impressive views from its 2370ft peak. Its hiking trails pass Grand Etang Lake and the cooling temperatures at altitude provide a soothing respite from the island's heat.
Day 16: Thursday 10 December 2020 - Bridgetown, Barbados to UK
With its balmy climate, buzzing atmosphere, glorious azure waters and incredible beaches, Bridgetown is a tropical city that epitomises paradise. There is rarely a dull day in the capital and largest city of Barbados.
This very British Caribbean island is a favourite with tourists; the city’s streets are lined with shops, boutiques, street vendors, bars and places to eat – there is always something to do. Broad Street, the main street of Bridgetown is often packed with welcoming locals. It's easy to see why Barbados is known as Little England given Bridgetown’s Georgian houses, the horse-racing track, Parliament Square, and a statue of Nelson.
The entire downtown area of Bridgetown and the 17th century Garrison were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 in recognition of their historical significance. Near the central National Heroes Square, which fringes Constitution River, the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and museum explore Barbados' Jewish history.
For a change of pace, the shore and the glorious sands offer a haven from the bustling centre. Carlisle Bay is home to six shipwreck dive sites, while a catamaran ride on the Caribbean Sea may offer the chance to swim with the once endangered Hawksbill and Green Turtles. The wonder of the impressive stalactites and stalagmites in Harrison’s Cave is another experience that will linger in the memory.