Day 1 - London Tilbury
At London Tilbury Port, board Columbus (3T) and settle in to your cabin in time for a late afternoon departure. Enjoy dinner on board this evening.
Day 2 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Today, set out to explore the charmingly quirky Dutch capital of Amsterdam. Did you know the city has more bicycles than permanent residents? Perhaps do as the locals do and explore by bike. Stop for a hot chocolate in Dam Square, where the 20-metre-high Christmas tree will set the tone for our festive trip.
Days 3-4 - At sea
Day 5 - Christmas Day - At sea
Merry Christmas! Your day on board promises to be special, with a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and a sparkling gala show. Time to soak up the festivities.
Day 6 - Boxong Day - Gibraltar, UK
You’ll spot Gibraltar’s towering limestone outcrop long before we dock at the British outpost. Perhaps climb up through the nature reserve, pausing to meet the Barbary macaques, for great views over to Spain and Africa from the top.
Day 7 - Casablanca, Morocco
Located on the western coast of Africa, cosmopolitan Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city and where the modern world blends with traditional Moroccan style. Visit the Hassan II Mosque, the old medina and Casablanca Cathedral for a taste of the ancient world. Christmas is not traditionally celebrated in Morocco, but you’ll notice some notion of Christmas as you wander the city, thanks to the French influence. Goodies such as buche de Noel (a French Christmas cake) are usually available in the bakeries and you’ll notice sporadic festive decorations. You might decide to join an optional excursion to Marrakech, where you’ll wander wide-eyed at the city’s tangle of colourful souks or peaceful Majorelle Garden.
Day 8 - At sea
Day 9 - Arrecife, Lanzarote
Once a small-time fishing village, Arrecife is now a bustling and vibrant city - but still more laid back than neighbouring Las Palmas or Santa Cruz. Take a stroll along the promenade and past the inviting beach. Visit the two impressive castles or the inland saltwater lagoon. Explore the mishmash of boutiques, restaurants and bars in its white-washed backstreets. Or simply stop for tapas and watch the local life of this working town whiz by.
Day 10 - Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
This distinctly Spanish city is the largest of the Canary Islands and home to a jumble of historic buildings and magnificent monuments. Vegueta is the oldest part, where the Renaissance, Gothic and neo-classical influences are rife. Soaked in year-round sunshine, this is the perfect place to sit back and relax among the palm trees, and try not to feel guilty about your friends shivering back home.
Day 11 - New Year’s Eve - Funchal, Madeira
Celebrate New Year’s Eve on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Blessed with craggy inland scenery, blossoming floral displays and rich cultural traditions all of its own, Madeira is a small island with a big difference. Perhaps spend your day wandering the pretty squares in the capital of Funchal, drinking in the views as you ride the cable car to Monte; or stop for a spot of famously good afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace. This evening, clink glasses of poncho (the national drink) as you ring in the New Year with the island’s record-breaking firework display. Ship to shore tender service.
Day 12 - New Year’s Day - At sea
Day 13 - Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal’s capital city offers a superb mix of attractions, including palaces, churches, art-nouveau cafés, gardens, ancient castles and an array of impressive bridges. Museums are in abundance and the Centro Comercial Colombo - the biggest shopping centre on the Iberian Peninsula - is a shopper’s paradise.
Day 14 - Vigo, Spain
Our final destination before heading home is Vigo, a city surrounded by a lush mountain landscape. Famous for its seafood, you can work up an appetite exploring the Castro Fortress or Parque del Monte Castro. Alternatively, join an excursion to Santiago de Compostela, the famed final destination on the epic Christian pilgrimage. It’s easy to be charmed by this stone city with its baroque squares, Renaissance courtyards and buzzing local life. The granite cathedral is quite the sight and contains the tomb of the Apostle St James.
Days 15-16 - At sea
Day 17 London Tilbury
We arrive back at London Tilbury Port this morning after breakfast.