Stay and Explore
essential cruise - Spain, Portugal & France
A no-fly cruise sailing from London Tilbury
Discover ports of call in four nations on this great value cruise, beginning with the charming Dutch capital, Amsterdam. In France you’ll have time in attractive Atlantic port city of La Rochelle before continuing to Spain, visiting the Basque Country city of Bilbao, home to the striking metallic curves of the Guggenheim Museum. Lisbon, the elegant capital city of Portugal, is your next destination and entering the Mediterranean, you will enjoy some familiar sights in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. On your return voyage there will be a stop in La Coruña, with its picturesque old town and nearby sandy beaches, and there will be plenty of onboard entertainment along the way, too.
- 12 nights cruise on the Columbus
- 35 meals: 12 breakfasts (days 2-13) 11 lunches (days 2-12) 12 dinners (days 1-12)
- Afternoon teas and late night snacks
- Self-service coffee & tea (6am-10pm)
- Captain’s Cocktail Party
- Big show entertainment, cabarets and classical interludes
- Wide selection of leisure facilities & daytime activities
- Porterage on the cruise ship
- Services of the experienced Cruise & Maritime Voyages staff on board
- Port taxes
Day 1 - London Tilbury
At London Tilbury Port, embark Columbus (3T) in preparation for an afternoon sailing.
Day 2 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
We arrive in the characterful Dutch capital this morning, famous for its extensive canals and many fine museums. View the vast collection of works on show at the Van Gogh Museum and the priceless treasures of the Rijksmuseum and take in sights such as the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), the Ann Frank House and the Royal Palace.
Day 3 - At sea
Relax and enjoy the facilities aboard your ship today. Maybe take a dip in the pool or unwind with a massage in the Wellness Centre.
Day 4 - La Pallice (La Rochelle), France
Early this afternoon Columbus reaches La Pallice, the cruise port of the city of La Rochelle. Founded in the 10th century, La Rochelle has retained much of its historic core, and the Vieux Port, with its many seafood restaurants, is an especially attractive area. Sights of interest include the Aquarium La Rochelle, and the 15th century Tour de la Lanterne, one of the world’s oldest lighthouses.
Day 5 - Getxo (Bilbao), Spain
Today we are in Spain’s Basque Country, arriving in the port of Getxo, some 14km north of Bilbao this morning. Take a walk around the old town, known as the Casco Viejo, and visit the 14th century cathedral, the neoclassical main square, the Plaza Nueva, and the baroque opera house. Don’t miss the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry and regarded as one of the world’s most important and influential examples of contemporary architecture. It is one of the biggest museums in Spain, hosting exhibitions of modern art. You might also enjoy the Museum of Fine Arts, which displays works by Goya, El Greco and Velasquez.
Day 6 - At sea
A full day to simply relax on board Columbus.
Day 7 - Lisbon, Portugal
Columbus arrives in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, this morning. One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Lisbon entrances visitors with its wealth of grand buildings, from Baroque churches and palaces to art nouveau façades and striking contemporary architecture. Visit Jeronimos Monastery, last resting place of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the UNESCO-listed Belem Tower, built in 1515 to protect the city’s harbour and the superb collection of modern art at the Barardo Museum. In between sightseeing, take time out in one of Lisbon’s many cafes and try a pastel de nata - a traditional egg-custard tart. We leave this afternoon.
Day 8 - Gibraltar, UK
This afternoon we sail into the Mediterranean, and find ourselves back on British territory as we dock in Gibraltar. Just three miles long and one mile wide, Gibraltar is a natural fortress guarding the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea and is home to Europe’s only population of wild monkeys - the famous Barbary macaques. To get the best views of Gibraltar, take the cable car to the Top of the Rock, while below the Rock you’ll find the atmospheric St Michael’s Cave, which was once thought to extend across the Straits to Africa. Other points of interest include the pretty Botanic Gardens and the remains of the 11th century Moorish Castle.
Day 9 - At sea
Enjoy the onboard entertainment or just relax with a good book as we cruise around the Iberian Peninsula.
Day 10 - La Coruña, Spain
This afternoon we reach La Coruña, a busy port city in the Spanish region of Galicia. The old town, Ciudad Vieja, is a pleasant place to wander, with a number of bars and restaurants around the central Plaza de Maria Pita, while also worth seeing is the UNESCO-listed Tower of Hercules, a Roman lighthouse. We depart late tonight.
Days 11-12 - At sea
Relax on deck with a cocktail, enjoy a film at the outdoor cinema or catch up with friends in one of the lounges as we sail homeward.
Day 13 London Tilbury
Arrive at London Tilbury Port.