European Coastal Cruise: D-Day & the Battle of Normandy

Program Overview

Explore the storied legacies and dynamic cultures of coastal Portugal, Spain, France, and England and commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day on this 8-night cruise itinerary. Discover Portugal’s renowned wine country, walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela, visit Bilbao’s iconic Guggenheim Museum, and see UNESCO-inscribed Mont-Saint-Michel’s impressive abbey. Meet guest speaker Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as he joins us on a special anniversary tour of the hallowed Normandy beaches. Extend your journey with the Lisbon Pre-Program and London Post-Program options.

D-Day beaches of Normandy

Mont Saint-Michel

London Tower Bridge

Program Details

May 2 to 11, 2024 (Le Champlain) May 12 to 21, 2024 (Le Dumont d'Urville)
From $6,295 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Uniquely designed, 10-day, 8-night voyage from Lisbon to London, with a cruise up the River Thames to London’s Tower Bridge—featuring guest speaker Dwight David Eisenhower.
  • Exclusively chartered cruise aboard one of two 5-star small ships, Le Champlain or Le Dumont d'Urville, with private balconies in all suites and staterooms.
  • Meet special guest speaker Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as he joins us on a tour of the hallowed Normandy beaches during the 80th anniversary year of D-Day.
  • Excursion to visit Omaha Beach and the American Military Cemetery.
  • Tour historical Oporto, the remarkable Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao’s avant-garde Guggenheim Museum, and the UNESCO World Heritage-inscribed Mont-Saint-Michel.
  • Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime cruise up the River Thames, where you will spend the night on board within sight of the iconic Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
  • Lisbon Pre-Program and London Post-Program Options.

Day 1 - Depart Home City

Day 2 - Lisbon, Portugal / Embark the ship

Day 3 - Leixões for Oporto

Day 4 - A Coruña, Spain / Santiago de Compostela

Day 5 - Santander for Bilbao

Day 6 - Cruising the Bay of Biscay

Day 7 - Saint-Malo, France / Mont-Saint-Michel

Day 8 - Caen / Normandy Beaches

Day 9 - Cruising the English Channel / River Thames to London’s Tower Bridge, England

Day 10 - London / Disembark ship / Return to home city

View detailed program itinerary >

These elegant, exclusively chartered, 5-Star Luxury Small Ships feature private balconies on all staterooms and suites, complementary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and warm and inviting public areas.

 Le Champlain and Le Dumont d'Urville

Le Champlain and Le Dumont d'Urville, usher in a new generation of five-star small ships, combining revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury for unparalleled cruising. Dock in smaller ports inaccessible to larger ships, were authentic cultural experiences and majestic scenery await you.

View Le Champlain Deckplan >

View Le Dumont d'Urville Deckplan >

Learn more about The PONANT Fleet >

Lisbon Pre-Program Option

Experience the cinematic streetscapes, medieval passageways, and timeless rituals of Lisbon—one of Europe’s most visually appealing capitals that was famously known as the “city of spies” during World War II. Discover the best of the city on a walking tour, followed by an afternoon at leisure and an authentic Fado dinner experience. Savor breathtaking views on a scenic drive to Sintra, immortalized in English poetry by Lord Byron and noted for its natural beauty and resplendent palaces. Accommodations are for two nights in the elegant Dom Pedro Lisboa.

London Post-Program Option

Explore the storied history and vibrant modernity of London, a compelling city that continues to rewrite its narrative and make each visit more enjoyable than the last. See the legendary Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, on a city tour. Step into Churchill’s Cabinet War Room—a secret World War II bunker where the Prime Minister and his staff charted a course to victory. Spend two nights in the 5-star InterContinental London Park Lane, ideally located near Buckingham Palace.

The Pre-Program and Post-Program Options are available at an additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Professor Dwight David Eisenhower II

Grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Dwight David Eisenhower II is a noted historian of World War II and the Cold War. His 1986 bestseller, Eisenhower: At War 1943–1945, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. Eisenhower received a B.A. in history cum laude from Amherst College. Following graduation, he served in the United States Naval Reserve for three years as an officer on the USS Albany; shortly afterward, he earned his J.D. cum laude from The George Washington University Law School. Today, Eisenhower is Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a Public Policy Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches “Communication and the Presidency.”

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 Depart home city

Depart your home city on an overnight flight to Portugal.

Day 2 Lisbon, Portugal/Embark

Arrive in Lisbon and embark the 5‑star Le Champlain or Le Dumont d'Urville.

Day 3 Leixões for Oporto

Dock in Leixões and transfer to Oporto, a former Roman outpost and center of port wine trade since the 13th century. The cultural legacy of the Moors finds expression in Oporto’s rich architectural details.

Choose from two included activities this morning. Either choose to experience a port and cheese tasting at a local lodge or take a “Medieval Monuments of Oporto” tour. 

After lunch, the group will embark on a walking tour of Ribeira, Oporto’s historical center, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its living history status. Enjoy the afternoon at lesiure before embarking the ship to attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening. 

Day 4 A Coruña, Spain, for Santiago de Compostela

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Santiago de Compostela, and stroll along medieval stone streets to the Praza do Obradoiro—flanked by the glorious Romanesque cathedral. As a pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages, the cathedral enshrines the tomb of Saint James and is recognized for its carved Baroque façade, original medieval portico, and Churrigueresque altar. 

Day 5 Bilbao

Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum hailed Bilbao’s cultural renaissance as modernist marvels from Santiago Calatrava and Philippe Starck redefined the post‑industrial skyline. An afternoon excursion in the city will give you two options for included activities. Choose between touring the Guggenheim’s renowned art collection or enjoy a basque cooking demonstration and a panoramic tour of Bilbao. Conclude the day with a guided visit to the old quarter, followed by time at leisure.

Day 6 Cruising the Bay of Biscay

Enjoy a lecture by Professor Eisenhower on the ship this evening while cruising.

Day 7 Saint-Malo, France, for Mont-Saint-Michel

Rising from a tidal plain that appears to be suspended above the sea, the UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Mont‑Saint‑Michel is a sight of soaring spires isolated beyond a stretch of saltwater marsh. This fortified village began as a humble oratory and became a renowned medieval center of learning. Cobblestone streets
weave through the village, culminating in the Abbaye du Mont‑Saint‑Michel, a three‑story Gothic masterpiece. Admire the serene cloisters, barrel-roofed réfectoire, and Salle des Hôtes of the 13th‑century La Merveille and the magnificent Église Abbatiale.

Day 8 Ouistreham for Caen and the Normandy Beaches

Make the solemn pilgrimage with David Eisenhower to the historic Normandy beaches, site of the largest seaborne invasion in history. Following lunch, opt to continue to Arromanches to see the remnants of the Mulberry “A” harbor that was taken across the English Channel to support Allied landings on the Normandy beaches or choose to see the 230-foot‑long Bayeux Tapestry, which chronicles the Norman Conquest of 1066, or continue to explore the region at leisure. 

Day 9 Cruising the English Channel/River Thames, London, England

This morning, attend a lecture from Professor Eisenhower on board the ship. Cruise the English Channel across the Strait of Dover and continue up the River Thames, a memorable passage possible only by small ship. See Britain’s history revealed as you pass the towering skyline and take in monumental views of Greenwich’s Observation Tower, the Tower of London, Norman Foster’s emerald‑hued Gherkin, and Renzo Piano’s sky‑piercing Shard. Dock overnight alongside a famous D-Day-era warship in view of the Tower Bridge. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening.

Day 10 London/Return to home city

Following breakfast, disembark and continue to the London Post‑Program or transfer to the airport for your return flight home.