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SH Vega - 152 Guests

Old World Gateways To The Atlantic

11 Day Lisbon to Portsmouth

Experience Europe’s maritime history as we travel to lesser-known ports and cities along the Portuguese, Spanish, and French Atlantic coasts before exploring the rugged beauty of Brittany and finally landing in the historic Naval town of Portsmouth. Take in all the sights, sounds, and flavors during our 10-night Western Europe cruise as you savor local specialties from port to cider to Rioja wine and be tempted by Portuguese cakes, Breton butter biscuits, and crepes. This maritime odyssey takes you from Lisbon, one of Europe’s oldest cities, to Portsmouth, one of the world's best-known ports whose history can be traced to Roman times. Along the way, discover old towns and medieval walled cities with steep, narrow streets and ramparts, fisherman’s quarters, long stretches of sand, and exotic gardens. Journey with us on our boutique expedition ship and enjoy everything this little slice of Western Europe offers.




  • Explore the old streets of Gijon’s fisherman’s quarter, Cimadevilla
  • Admire the striking ship-shaped Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  • Wander the steep cobbled streets of the medieval hamlet and holy island of Mont St Michel
  • Explore one of Brittany’s most beautiful port cities: Concarneau
  • Vist the town of Santiago de Compostela, an important pilgrimage centre


Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
May 14, 2024May 24, 20242,811 2,990
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
May 14, 2024May 24, 20242,811 2,990


One of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon’s technicoloured past is evident just about everywhere. The medina-like streets of Alfama still bear Moorish influences. Baroque architecture surrounds you in Baixa and scars of the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 can still be found throughout the city. It’s estimated that over 100,000 people died in what became one of history’s deadliest earthquakes. Today Lisbon is a delightful mix of colourful neighbourhoods, all brimming with history, culture and tradition. Baixa is where you’ll find the hustle and bustle, set below São Jorge Castle. Nearby Chiado is one of Lisbon’s trendiest neighbourhoods with its historic cafes and designer shops.

Portugal’s second city, Oporto is a city of two halves, known for stately bridges over the river Douro. On the left bank is Gaia, best-known for its port houses such as Graham’s and Taylor’s where you can enjoy a cellar tour or port tasting. Ribeira, on the right bank, has rows of colourful old houses that line the riverfront and narrow streets. Head to the top of the hill to admire blue azulejo tile murals in Igreja de Carmo church or take a ride on a vintage tram to the Foz district.

Gateway to the Atlantic, the Spanish Atlantic city of Vigo is one of Europe’s major fishing ports, known for its freezing and canning industry. Wander around the steep narrow streets and picturesque squares of Casco Vello, the old town towards the fish market. Hike to the top of Monte O Castro hill encompassing an old fortress and the 3rd-century BC archaeological site of Castro. Outlying Cies Islands are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park, renowned for its birdlife. Inland Santiago de Compostela, an important pilgrimage centre, is a short bus ride away.

Ferrol is a city in the province of A Coruña in Galicia, Spain. It is on the Atlantic coast and has a rich history and culture. You can enjoy exploring the city’s many historic sites and museums, including the Ferrol Naval Museum, the San Felipe Castle, and the Jofre Theater. The city is also known for its beautiful beaches and natural scenery. Some popular attractions include the Playa de Doniños, the Playa de San Xurxo, and the Parque Reina Sofía.

The Asturian port city of Gijon with colourful old houses is surrounded by rolling green hills, and is home to the Atlantic Botanical Gardens, packed with over 2,000 plants. Wander around the fisherman’s old quarter of Cimedevilla to see the monumental Eulogy to the Horizon sculpture, crafted from cement blocks by Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida in 1990, and the Campo Valdés Roman Baths dating from around 100 AD. Local ciders are a speciality, best enjoyed in a traditional sideria.

Santander is renowned for its beautiful beaches, historic sites, and cultural attractions. Visitors can explore the city’s many museums and galleries, including the Centro Botín, the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria, and the Museum of Fine Arts. The city also has many beautiful parks and gardens, including the Jardines de Piquío and the Parque de la Magdalena.

Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.

The enchanting coastal city of Saint-Malo is a labyrinth of medieval streets filled with history and culture. Dating back to the 12th century, Saint-Malo was once a haven for pirates and a stopping point for merchant ships. Today you’ll find colourful shops and outdoor alongside aromatic markets, cafes and restaurants. Oysters and crêpes are the local delicacies - definitely sample some whilst here. The ancient walled town of Intra-Muros forms the heart of Saint-Malo. Here the striking Gothic and Romanesque Cathédrale de St Malo dominates the skyline.

Shore Excursion(See Optional Activities)

Cherbourg is a port town in the Manche department of Normandy, France. You can explore the city’s many museums and galleries, including the Cité de la Mer, the Musée Thomas Henry, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts. The city has many beautiful parks and gardens, including the Jardin Public de Cherbourg-Octeville and the Parc Emmanuel Liais. Some popular attractions include the Fort du Roule, the Basilique Sainte-Trinité, and the La Glacerie Golf Course.

DAY 10
Your port of call today is Honfleur, Normandy’s most charming port town. If it looks familiar, that’s because Honfleur was a favourite subject of Monet and many other artists too, including Boudin, Corot, Courbet, Dubourg, Sisley, Bazille and Daubigny. Thanks to landscapes by these masters, the town’s timber-framed houses and the appealing Vieux Bassin (Old Harbour) are part of our collective consciousness. Before the city became a refuge for 19th-century artists escaping Paris, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Honfleur was one of France’s most important ports. It was from here that, in 1608, Samuel de Champlain set sail to found Québec. Some of the city’s unmissable attractions include Les Maisons Satie Musée d’Ethnographie et d’Art Populaire Normand, Musée de la Marine and Musée Eugène Boudin. The Eglise Ste-Catherine is an extraordinary wooden church. Constructed in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, it contains maritime motifs.

Shore Excursion(See Optional Activities)

DAY 11
Your cruise end in the UK’s only island city and the world’s oldest dry dock. With easy access by rail and road from airports in London and Southampton, Portsmouth has a long and proud naval heritage. Boarding your boutique ship, you’ll be following in the footsteps of the likes of Admiral Nelson and Henry VIII as you settle in for your voyage. If time permits, the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is definitely worth a visit. The attraction is home to a wonderful collection of famous historical ships including Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory, Queen Victoria’s HMS Warrior and the only surviving ship from the First World War’s Gallipoli campaign, the HMS M.33. A very fitting way to begin your sea faring adventure.

SH Vega (Luxury Expedition, 152-guests)

Making her maiden voyage in April 2022, our 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage.

Our brand new ship has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort. The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible.

(Click image to view Ship details)


  • Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
  • One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
  • All meals onboard
  • Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
  • 24-hour room service
  • Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
  • Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
  • One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call (Kayak not included, bookable for a fee on board)
  • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
  • Standard WiFi
  • Onboard gratuities & port taxes

SAINT-MALO Shore Excursion

Emerald Coast & Oyster Tasting
Duration: 04 h 00 m
Drive to the quaint fishing village of Cancale along the breathtaking coastal road
Experience a hands-on workshop to learn the ins and outs of being an oyster farmer
Expand your knowledge of all things oysters with a visit to the museum

Saint Malo Walking Tour
Duration: 02 h 30 m
Learn why they call this historic French port “The Privateers’ City”
Tour the ramparts while you hear the story of how they protected the town
Stand outside the house of Duchess Anne as your guide takes you through the story of her life

Mystical Mont Saint Michel a UNESCO Site
Duration: 07 h 30 m
Witness the architectural beauty of the abbey while learning the stories of the passionate builders behind it
Analyze the delicate balance of the local flora and fauna
Victor Hugo said it best. “The Mont-Saint-Michel, which to the ocean is what the Pyramid of Cheops is to the desert"

Dinan & Dinard
Duration: 04 h 00 m
Explore ramparts, towers, and timbered houses before visiting the Basilica Saint Saveur
Encounter diverse Mediterranean vegetation on a drive along the Rance River
Walk around with your guide for an illuminating look at the Place des Merciers and the old clock tower

DAY 10
HONFLEUR  Shore Excursion

Walking Honfleur
Duration: 03 h 15 m
Follow your guide along the cobblestone streets lined with timber-framed houses as you learn the significance of this fascinating fishing village
Stop by the vast salt warehouses for a glimpse into one of the most historically important sites in the city
Enjoy time to walk the city centre at your leisure

Charming Etretat
Duration: 04 h 30 m
Discover the natural wonders of Etretat
Get familiar with the extraordinary rock formations such as the Aval cliff and arch, Amont cliff, Courtine
Take a walk to the top of the cliff

The Landing Beaches of Normandy
Duration: 08 h 00 m
Discover the landing sites of Normandy
Pay a tribute to the fallen soldiers at the American cemetery and at Omaha Beach
Lunch in Castle La Chenevière


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DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person, subject to availability and can change at any time