On a springtime escape to savour, revel in glorious sunshine, sand and stunning scenery with wonders of horticulture and an unforgettable seasonal celebration mixed in for good measure as you hop between beautiful Macaronesian islands. With city explorations to enjoy too, and ample time to relax on board Balmoral, youre in for a holiday packed with rewards. Your extended visit to the gorgeous Portuguese garden island of Madeira includes a memorable overnight stay in Funchal, timed to coincide with the islands fabulous annual Flower Festival. Once ashore your senses will tingle, awoken by an infusion of vibrant colours and delicate, sweet scents as a parade of florally-decorated flotillas and locals dress in elaborate traditional costumes make their way through the capitals pretty streets. Beyond the celebrations in Funchal, therell be time explore Madeiras lush-green landscapes via the unique levada walking trails; take a cable car to the enchanting Monte Palace Tropical Garden; or, from something a little more exhilarating, visit the famous Cabo Girão one of the worlds highest sea cliffs. The awe-inspiring sights and experiences dont stop there; after Madeira youll also take in the delights of two sun-soaked islands in the Canaries. There are horticultural highlights aplenty to uncover at these Atlantic Ocean gems, such as the mysterious Pyramids and Poison Garden of Güímar in Tenerife and Lanzarotes world-famous Manrique Cactus Garden. From Santa Cruz de Tenerife you could opt to tour to Mount Teide, and experience its magnificent up-close; while Arrecife is also your gateway to exploring Lanzarotes lunar-like volcanic landscapes. Elsewhere, youve chances to delight in the maritime history and landmarks of La Coruña in Spain, and the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, where Jerónimos Monastery, Tower de Belem, Padrão dos Descobrimentos are particular highlights; and visit Claude Monets iconic house famed for its astonishing gardens on a tour from Honfleur, France.
Comfortable, stylish cabins and suites equipped with a Smart TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and individually controlled air conditioning
A tempting choice of cuisine every day throughout your cruise with five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets, late-night snacks and much more Unlimited, self-service tea and coffee available 24hrs at selected venues, complimentary afternoon tea* with sandwiches and cakes, and in-room sandwiches and snacks
A full programme of evening entertainment, including cabaret shows, comedy, dancing and live music
Full use of on board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and gym
A wide choice of engaging on board activities and lectures throughout the day All UK port taxes (where collectable in advance)
Luggage porterage between your cabin and the drop-off/pick-up point
Formal welcome and/or Captains Drinks Party and Gala Buffet
All inclusive drinks package to include a discount from the premium selection of drinks
Door to Door port transfer from our large Lincolnshire pick up area
Cruise descriptions include optional, chargeable experiences that may be enjoyed independently and/or with optional Fred. Olsen Shore Tours. *Premium Traditional Afternoon Tea not included.
F Hunt (Coach Hire) Ltds are agents for Greatdays and Fred Olsen Cruises
Monday 2nd May
Not only is Newcastle one of Britain’s greatest and most vibrant cities, it is also a fantastic starting point for a Fred. Olsen cruise. With its excellent road and rail connections to the rest of northern England, Scotland and beyond, and its large, comfortable passenger lounge, the Port of Tyne is the perfect place to set sail on your relaxing holiday.
Thursday 5th May
La Coruña, Spain
The city of La Coruña is the capital of the province and a busy seaport situated in the Galicia region of northwest Spain. Most famous for its Roman lighthouse, the diverse architectural styles of La Coruña make the city an absolute delight for sightseeing.
La Coruña boasts an impressive seafront promenade, beautiful beaches and a host of attractions such as the Domus Museum, the Casa del Hombre and Torre De Hercules – said to be the only Roman lighthouse in existence – which offers sweeping coastal views from the top of its 60 metre high tower. The Paseo Marítimo, a lovely 13km walkway and bike path, runs from the port, around the peninsula, and along the ocean beaches.
The compact Ciudad Vieja – La Coruña’s old quarter – is a must-visit area. Often referred to as “the city” by the locals, the medieval centre contains remains of the centuries-old Roman wall that once protected it. The arcaded Plaza de María Pita, surrounded by narrow pedestrianized lanes, is a popular spot, and features the Estatua de María Pita, a statue of a 16th century woman who warned the town of an invasion by Sir Francis Drake. The medieval Church of Santiago, the Museum of Sacred Art and the Military Museum are all fine places of interest.
Beyond the historic city is a proud, modern metropolis, which boasts a superb food scene and a buzzing nightlife. The world’s best picnic food, empanadas, and the locally produced beer, Estrella, both demand trying.
8th and 9th May
Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Funchal, the capital of Portugal's Madeiran archipelago, has a timeless old-world charm. Enhanced by a subtropical climate that fills this 'floating garden' with the year-round colours and perfumes of flowers and fruit, Funchal was a favourite of Sir Winston Churchill. His praise of the city has ensured British visitors always receive a warm welcome from locals.
Backed by rolling hills, the town is famous for its harbour, the 17th century São Tiago Fortress (now the Contemporary Art Museum) and world renowned Madeiran wine cellars. Funchal’s parks and gardens are a delight, and a hike through the Laurel Forest nearby is highly recommended. The ancient Funchal Cathedral mixes Gothic and Romanesque architecture, and is noted for its impressive carved wooden ceiling.
Tuesday 10th May
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Sophisticated Santa Cruz - Tenerife's capital - is built around boulevards and wide avenues that link elegant squares and parks.
Well-preserved buildings feature in the old town, including the colonial Church of the Immaculate Conception and the 18th century Palacio de Carta, which has impressive Baroque and neoclassical features. Recently redesigned by the architects Herzog & de Meuron, the city’s largest square, Plaza de España, is a pleasant spot to lose a few hours. Lively beaches such as Playa de Las Americas are within easy reach of Santa Cruz too.
Away from the capital, many of Tenerife's highlights await on tours, including the exotic Botanical Gardens or the mystical lava stone Pyramids of Guimar. Exploring the volcanic El Teide National Park to marvel at majestic Mount Teide, or even climb Spain's highest peak, is an unmissable experience.
Weds 11th May
The bustling port of Arrecife on Lanzarote’s east coast is home to the biggest fishing fleet in the Canaries. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries the city was regularly attacked by pirates. To defend against these raiders, the court of Spain ordered two castles to be built. The first built in 1590, Castillo San Gabriel, now houses the island’s Ethnographic Museum, which tells the fascinating story of the islands' original inhabitants: the Guanche.
Castillo San Jose followed later, providing employment and alleviating poverty on the island following volcanic eruptions in the 1730s - it became known as the Fortress of Hunger. Today, it is home to the Museum of International and Contemporary Art, with a small but impressive collection of modern paintings and sculpture. The excellent restaurant in its basement offers diners panoramic views over the harbour. Today, Arrecife is a quirky hotchpotch of sun-bleached buildings and has a pleasant Mediterranean-style promenade.
Friday 13th May
Stretched across its seven trademark hills overlooking the River Tagus estuary, Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city of Lisbon, is a cinematic collection of cobbled alleyways, pastel-coloured buildings, ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals. The city was decimated by an earthquake in 1755, and modern Lisbon has been shaped by that eventful day. The Pombaline architecture that now defines the city represents some of the first seismically-protected buildings in Europe.
The city’s bridges include the Ponte 25 de Abril – similar to the Golden Gate in San Francisco – and the Ponte Vasco da Gama, which includes over 11km of viaducts. Lisbon’s many fascinating museums, include the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Coach Museum and the Carmo Archaeological
Monday 16th May
Historic Honfleur in northern France's Lower Normandy region is a quaint little port with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. One of France’s most visited towns, Honfleur – with its beautiful 15th and 16th century architecture and distinctive harbour – was the inspiration for Impressionist painters and poets.
Vieux-Bassin, Honfleur’s colourful old harbour, is lined with 16th to 18th-century lofty slate-and-timber fronted houses. Its sloping cobbled streets have long been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son, Eugène Boudin.
A visit to the 15th century St. Catherine's Church, a vaulted timber structure erected by shipbuilders, is a must, as is the maritime museum and Notre Dame de Grâce – a 17th century chapel containing various paintings and models. The chapel also offers fabulous views of the town, the Seine estuary and the impressively-engineered Normandy Bridge that crosses it.
Wednesday 18th May
We return to Newcastle early in the morning to be greeted by your coach and friendly driver who will whisk you back to Lincolnshire with comfort stops on the way.
Balmoral, carrying up to 1,350 guests is small enough to navigate narrow waterways such as Kiel Canal and bring inspirational sights and experiences closer to you. Like the rest of the fleet, Balmoral retains a warm, welcoming atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation and lounges, stylish restaurants and plenty of open-deck space.
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Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.
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