European Coastal Civilizations

Program Overview

Explore the storied legacies and dynamic cultures of coastal Portugal, Spain, France, and England and commemorate the historic D-Day landings on this one-of-a-kind itinerary. Discover Portugal’s renowned wine country, walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela, visit Bilbao’s iconic Guggenheim Museum, see UNESCO-inscribed Mont Saint Michel’s impressive abbey, and walk the hallowed D-Day beaches of Normandy. Special guest Dwight D. Eisenhower II, historian and grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, accompanies you to the hallowed D-Day beaches of Normandy. Extend your journey with the Lisbon Pre-Program and London Post-Program Options.

D-Day beaches of Normandy

Mont Saint- Michel

Program Details

April 24 to May 3, 2023 (Le Bellot) May 20 to 29, 2023 (Le Champlain)
From $5,995 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Uniquely designed, eight-night cruise itinerary available only through Gohagan & Company.
  • Exclusively chartered cruise aboard one of two five-star small ships, Le Bellot or Le Champlain, with private balconies in all suites and staterooms.
  • Visit four countries—Portugal, Spain, France, and England—with access to ports and waterways unavailable to larger vessels and all shore excursions included.
  • Visit the historic beaches of Normandy alongs side featured guest speaker Professor Dwight D. Eisenhower II, historian and grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • Explore three UNESCO World Heritage Sites—Oporto, Santiago de Compostela, and Mont-Saint-Michel.
  • Visit the wonderful Guggenheim Museum in beautiful Bilbao, Spain, iconic both as an architectural marvel and for its astounding collection of modern and contemporary art.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime cruise from the English Channel up the River Thames to London’s storied Tower Bridge, only possible on a  small ship.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages available throughout the cruise.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access (conditions permitting).
  • Lisbon Pre-Program and London Post-Program Options.

Day 1 - Depart home city

Day 2 - Lisbon, Portugal / Embark Le Bellot or Le Champlain

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, Five-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 Bellot and Le Champlain

Le Bellot, launched in 2020, and Le Champlain, launched 2018, 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, where authentic cultural experiences and majestic scenery await you.

Learn more about Le Bellot and Le Champlain >

Old World Lisbon Pre-Program Option

Experience the cinematic streetscapes, medieval passageways, and timeless rituals of Lisbon—one of Europe’s most visually appealing capitals. Savor stunning Portuguese art on a walking tour of the Bairro Alto District; visit the fascinating National Coach Museum and Jerónimos Monastery; and stop by the captivating five-story fortress of Belém Tower. Enjoy 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 deluxe Dom Pedro Lisboa.

London’s Enduring History 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. Visit the legendary Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 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 five-star InterContinental London Park Lane, ideally located near Buckingham Palace.

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

Professor David Eisenhower

Grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Professor David Eisenhower 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.”

Program Rates

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Program Itinerary

Day 1 and Day 2 Depart home city / Lisbon, Portugal

Your trip will begin by departing the U.S. or Canada.

Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal’s enigmatic capital city—replete with pastel-flushed buildings and world class architecture. Embark the ship this afternoon.

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. 

Explore Ribeira, Oporto’s historical center, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its extraordinary architectural timeline and living history status. Visit the Gothic Igreja de São Francisco, hailed for its lavish gold-plated Baroque interior, and the Neoclassical Palácio da Bolsa, home to the swirling arabesques and ornate stained glass of the gilded Arabian Hall, inspired by the Alhambra in Granada.

Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception

Visit Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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 intricately carved Baroque façade, original medieval portico, and glittering Churrigueresque altar.

and Dinner this evening.

Day 4 A Coruña, Spain, for Santiago de Compostela

Visit Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, 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 intricately carved Baroque façade, original medieval portico, and glittering Churrigueresque altar.

Day 5 Santander for Bilbao

The construction of Frank Gehry’s titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum hailed the city’s cultural renaissance as modernist marvels from Santiago Calatrava and Philippe Starck redefined the post-industrial skyline. 

Enjoy a guided tour of the Guggenheim’s renowned art collection, and explore the Art Nouveau and Baroque jewels of Bilbao’s historical Casco Viejo with a walk along the Paseo del Arenal.

Day 6 Cruising the Bay Biscay

Enjoy a day at sea, where you can choose to attend various educational lectures.

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 Gothic Salle des Hôtes of the 13th-century La Merveille and the magnificent Église Abbatiale.

Day 8 Caen for Normandy Beaches

Dock in Caen and make the solemn pilgrimage to the historic Normandy beaches, site of the largest seaborne invasion in history. Following lunch, 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. Opt 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 to London’s Tower Bridge, England

This morning, attend an insightful 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 alongside HMS Belfast—whose guns fired some of the first shots on D-Day—in view of Tower Bridge. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening.

Day 10 London / Home city

Following breakfast, disembark and continue on to the London Post-Program Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. or Canada.