Circumnavigate the world
Journey to far-flung destinations on an enriching voyage, visiting some of the world’s most iconic cities. From Los Angeles, sail to Hawaii and French Polynesia, then cross the Pacific Ocean to explore lands “Down Under.” Learn about the rich heritage of Southeast Asia and India, and enjoy Arabian hospitality. Immerse yourself in local cultures with overnight stays in Istanbul, Singapore, London and more, as you embark on a journey of a lifetime.
Los Angeles, California, United States / New York City, United States
2025 Sailings on January
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Cruise fare from $97,495.0 per person
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. Los Angeles is renowned as the world’s leading center of film and television, and is home to an endless array of museums, concert venues and other cultural institutions. The city also offers some of the best dining in the world. Along the palm-lined streets of Beverly Hills, grand celebrity mansions hide behind iron gates. The chic shops of Rodeo Drive invite endless browsing. The Roosevelt Hotel, an icon built in the 1920s that once served as the residence of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, oversees the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Santa Barbara is known as “the American Riviera” for its splendid setting between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. When it comes to its historic architecture, Spanish Colonial Revival and Mission Revival dominate, sharing the cityscape with Victorian gems from the late 1800s and California bungalows from the early 20th century. The hilltop Old Mission Santa Barbara, founded in 1786 by Franciscan friars, offers a glimpse of California’s early days. Nearby, more than 100 vineyards provide ample opportunities for sampling the region’s famed wines.
Sail Mar Pacífico, meaning “peaceful sea,” dubbed by Ferdinand Magellan when he crossed these waters almost 500 years ago. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film in our state-of-the-art theater. A range of insightful TED Talks and destination-inspired seminars are offered daily.
Oahu hosts a rich variety of Eastern and Western traditions and cuisine. The rising crater of Diamond Head overlooking Waikiki Beach in Honolulu embodies the profusion of natural beauty on the island, Hawaii’s third largest. Its 125 stunning beaches are a mere prelude to the crystalline lagoons, cascading waterfalls and dense rainforests that grace this stunning natural paradise known as “The Gathering Place.” Kamehameha I founded the Kingdom of Hawaii on these shores. Famously, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 pulled the United States into World War II.
Nawiliwili is the gateway to the oldest and greenest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai. The lush vegetation and wildflowers of this tropical paradise have earned it the nickname “The Garden Island.” This is the unspoiled Hawaii of which travelers dream: green valleys glimmering under a Pacific sun and waterfalls plunging into the sea over soaring cliffs. To many, this is the most authentic of the islands; town ordinances forbid buildings taller than coconut trees and the culture of ancient Hawaiians lives on in respect for the mana, or spiritual essence, of their land.
Traverse the world’s largest ocean, which covers almost 64 million square miles. At twice the size of the Atlantic, the Pacific is an ocean of extremes. Renew your body, mind and spirit in our Scandinavian-inspired spa, a Nordic sanctuary of holistic wellness, today while at sea. Whether you unwind in the Sauna, refresh in the Snow Grotto or take a dip in the Thermal Pool, you will feel recharged and revitalized.
Considered the world’s most beautiful island, the Society Island of Bora Bora is only 15 square miles. This stunning land is made up of a barrier reef of islets, each one connected to the next depending on the tides. Surrounded by a deep lagoon that glows countless shades of turquoise and emerald, its palm-lined shores and forested slopes rise up dramatically to the pillar-like peak of Mt. Otemanu at 2,379 feet. American novelist James Michener put the island on many travelers’ itineraries in the 1950s when he called it “the South Pacific at its unforgettable best.”
The soaring massif of Mt. Roa and Mt. Rotui watch over the narrow Opunohu Bay like sentinels, providing a stunning preview of Moorea’s scenic splendor. Part of the Windward Islands, it is one of the most magnificent and pristine of the Society Islands. Some 1,000 years ago, Polynesians settled here. During the 18th century, British explorers Samuel Wallis and James Cook sailed into Opunohu Bay; the adjacent Cook’s Bay was named for the latter. Today, Moorea greets visitors with white-sand beaches, jagged peaks and lush, primeval landscapes by its turquoise lagoon.
Tahiti is an island paradise that lays claim to the invention of surfing. Its mile upon mile of sandy beaches, soothing waters and warm sun are ideal for leisure-seeking visitors. The island’s volcanic origins deposited black sands on much of its coast creating a dramatic coastal canvas, while white-sand beaches stretch along the southern shores. Point Venus on the east coast boasts dark sands and moderate waves. The waters of Maui Beach, lined with palms, offer shallow, quiet surf for wading and snorkeling among stunning coral reefs.
Follow in the wake of the ships of European powers such as Spain and France, that traveled along these waters, claiming islands for their Crowns, delivering supplies and settlers, and bolstering trade in spice and crops. As you sail today, relax in the Explorers’ Lounge, inspired by epic journeys of discovery. Marvel at the views through the two-story panoramic windows as you share a cocktail with friends, or settle down to read a book.
Cross the International Date Line today, a time-honored travel milestone long marked by ceremony. Heading west across this imaginary line between the poles sets the clock back 24 hours, effectively gaining a day. While traversing this meridian, it is tradition to celebrate the occasion by raising a glass to the event.
Traverse the waters of the South Pacific for the legendary “Southern Continent”—modern-day Australia—and follow in the footsteps of Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, the first European to discover Tasmania and New Zealand. Admire the views as you sail today and enjoy an al fresco dining experience. The Aquavit Terrace serves a range of International fare and casual dining favorites, as well as a range of superb cocktails inspired by our destinations.
Gateway to the 150-some islands that comprise the Bay of Islands, Waitangi holds a central role in the history of New Zealand. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed here by British officers and Māori chiefs. The Treaty House in which the document was signed and a Māori meeting house stand side by side to commemorate this historic event. Today, the city offers a fascinating blend of Māori and colonial culture in a picturesque setting amid azure waters and emerald islands, with opportunities for hiking, kayaking and fishing in abundance.
Cultural capital of New Zealand’s North Island, Auckland is known as the “City of Sails” for its residents’ love of boating. This seafaring city has hosted three America’s Cup challenges, and its marinas are brimming with world-class yachts. In tree-lined Albert Park, flower beds and towering palms point the way to a cast-iron central fountain. The neoclassical Auckland War Memorial Museum chronicles the nation’s history within its edifice-like walls. The observation deck of the Sky Tower offers breathtaking bird’s-eye views of Auckland’s cityscape.
Auckland is world-renowned for its award-winning wines. The region’s wineries date back to the early 1900s, when Croatian, Lebanese and English immigrants began planting the first vineyards. Today, there are more than 30 wineries spread out across the geographically diverse region outside of the city. From clifftop wineries that offer sweeping views of the Hauraki Gulf, to small artisanal produces offering cellar door tastings, the region produces many sought-after varietals, including sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, chardonnay, Riesling and more.
Straddling a narrow isthmus on New Zealand’s North Island, Auckland enjoys a picturesque setting between two harbors: Waitematā and Manukau. This cosmopolitan city of outdoor enthusiasts is a vibrant marine hub. One of the great pleasures of exploring the city by foot is witnessing countless masts bobbing with the tide at the city’s marinas and jet-setting yacht clubs, and marveling at the many full-blown sails as they traverse glittering waters in the distance.
Tauranga, nestled on the Bay of Plenty, is watched over by the dramatic Mt. Maunganui, an extinct volcano that helped shape this spectacular region of white-sand beaches and azure waters. The Māori arrived here in the 13th century, followed by the British 600 years later. Today, the city is home to a thriving cultural scene and stunning vistas of mountains rising from the surrounding waters. Tauranga is best known as the gateway to the bubbling mud pools and thermal fields of Rotorua. The local Māori believe this cauldron-like region to be a gift of fire from the gods.
Napier is an impressive cityscape of art deco architecture often compared to Miami Beach for its splendor. Built after much of the city was destroyed during a 1931 earthquake, the stunning “main street” design and art deco flair combine to create a city unlike any other in the world. The National Aquarium, one of the finest in New Zealand, can be found in Napier. Nearby, Hawke’s Bay boasts more than 70 vineyards. The first ones were introduced by French missionaries during the mid-19th century. The city also holds claim as the largest wool center in the Southern Hemisphere.
Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, enjoys a splendid setting and is hailed by many as the “coolest little capital in the world.” Its history is embodied in a rich collection of architecture, from classic weatherboard wooden cottages and the clean lines of art deco to Edwardian and postmodern wonders. The city’s neoclassical Parliament House stands out and is listed as a Heritage New Zealand building for its history and cultural significance. The city hosts an array of arts and cultural institutions, including museums, symphonies, ballet and film.
Sail the South Pacific Ocean, home to much of the geographic region known as Oceania. It includes the countries of Australia and New Zealand, as well as the thousands of islands that comprise Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. Spend a relaxing day at sea to unwind and admire the vistas from your stateroom veranda.
The most breathtaking waterway of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound stretches for miles from the Tasman Sea into a pristine wonderland. Rudyard Kipling called it the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Alpine peaks point to the heavens and monolithic granite walls soar to as high as 4,000 feet, while waterfalls as tall as skyscrapers plunge into fjord waters. The centerpiece of the park is Mitre Peak, one of the world’s most recognizable summits; on a clear day, its distinctively shaped pinnacle is visible, rising some 5,500 feet straight from the water.
“Cross the ditch” as you sail today, a term coined to refer to a voyage on the Tasman Sea, just as many Americans and Europeans refer to a trans-Atlantic journey as “hopping the pond.” Linger on the deck of your veranda for vistas of azure and turquoise as you sail through some of the world’s most beautiful waters. Perhaps you will take a dip in the Infinity Pool or stroll the Promenade Deck.
Tasmania, Australia’s smallest state, was named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. Its capital, Hobart, was founded as a penal colony for some 300 inmates. Today, the charming city boasts the world’s second-deepest natural harbor, a mild climate and a picturesque setting on the banks of the Derwent River. Its remarkably preserved architecture dates to Georgian and Victorian times, and traditional pubs transport visitors back to Old England. Nearby, Port Arthur is an open air museum chronicling the relocation of convicts here by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Phillip Island, located at the mouth of Western Port Bay, is renowned for its abundance of wildlife. Its nature reserves are abound with free-roaming wallabies and kangaroos, while its wetlands support a diverse array of birdlife. Its coastal waters are home to an endemic population of Burrunan dolphins, as well as migratory whales. No visit to Phillip Island would be complete, however, without a stop to watch its famous Penguin Parade. Each evening, thousands of little penguins come ashore at Summerland Beach, making their way to the safety of their nests in the sand dunes.
Melbourne has been called the world’s most livable city. It enjoys a scenic setting on the large bay of Port Phillip. Soon after Queen Victoria declared it a city of the Crown in 1847, the rush to find gold in its rivers made it one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities. Today, it is celebrated as the country’s cultural capital of the arts and exudes a rich and lively British flair, from its narrow shopping lanes to the fanciful Victorian buildings along Collins Street. A literal slice of England can be found within 64 acres of beautiful blooms at Fitzroy Gardens.
Cross the Tasman Sea, created more than 55 million years ago when Australia and Zealandia separated during the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. Enjoy the amenities of your ship as you sail. Perhaps take a breath of fresh air on a brisk walk around the Promenade Deck or begin your day with a workout in the well-equipped Fitness Center.
Eden was an important port for Australia’s powerful whaling industry for more than a century. The whalers who operated out of Eden had an advantage over their competitors. In a unique example of mutualism, a local pod of orcas, apocryphally led by Old Tom, would assist in the hunt by herding the whales into nearby bays for easy dispatching by the whalers, in exchange for an easy meal. Today, the town’s focus is on whale conservation, but its intriguing whaling history is on display at the Eden Killer Whale Museum, including the skeleton of Old Tom.
Sydney was founded as a penal colony in 1788 and is celebrated for its magnificent natural harbor. It has grown into the major cultural center of Australia, beloved for its all-embracing, free-spirited nature. The cultural jewel in its crown is the iconic Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled harborside like a gleaming white bird taking wing. Adjacent, the Royal Botanic Garden displays one of the world’s most important horticultural collections across its 70 acres of flora-lined pathways.
In the heart of Sydney, The Rocks is the city’s district of restaurants, galleries and shops. But its streets were not always so welcoming; during the 19th century, they were the haunt of ex-convicts and sailors who wandered among buildings made of clay and wood, thatched roofs or locally quarried sandstone—the district was named for the latter—looking for trouble. Many original structures have been razed and replaced, however one of the few to have survived in this is the Lord Nelson, Sydney’s oldest pub brewery that has been serving pints and other libations since 1841.
English-born New Zealander Colin Quincey was the first person to row solo across the Tasman Sea. He left Hokianga Harbour in New Zealand on February 6, 1977 and landed on the shores of Australia’s Sunshine Coast 63 days later. As you sail, take advantage of the array of delicious cuisine offered on board. You may visit Mamsen’s, our casual gourmet deli, any time from early morning to late at night for a taste of traditional Norwegian fare. Or, dine at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant for authentic fare with options ranging from Milanese risotto to Tuscan-inspired classics.
The capital of Queensland, Brisbane is situated on its namesake river and spreads over picturesque hills rising from Moreton Bay. One of the oldest cities in Australia, its first European settlers were the secondary offenders from the Sydney penal colony. In addition to its riverside skyscrapers, the city is host to some decidedly less dramatic architecture: the quaint Queenslander homes characterized by their terraces and raised living spaces. Art galleries, museums and beloved musical venues also make the city one of Australia’s most vibrant and active cultural centers.
Traverse the mineral-rich waters of the Coral Sea, where the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef welcomes divers to explore its spectacular marine life. As you sail today, savor a range of international cuisine on board. Choose from a variety of international flavors at the World Café, enjoy al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace, or regional specialties in The Restaurant.
The Whitsunday archipelago emerges from the Coral Sea amid the Great Barrier Reef. The seafaring Ngaro people called this paradise home until 1870 and hunted these waters in bark canoes. Nature’s brushstrokes are astonishing here: pure-white sands meet cerulean waters, swirling together at sandbars to merge into a palette of turquoise, cream and emerald-green hills. Glassy, invigorating and impossibly blue, the waters provide the ideal oasis for relaxing and idling away a few hours on the beach.
Queensland’s seaside resort town, Cairns is the gateway to a rich array of natural beauty onshore and off. Catamarans take marine lovers to the Great Barrier Reef; stretching for 1,400 miles, it is the largest continuous coral reef system on Earth. Inland, the wet tropics have given rise to Daintree and Kuranda National Parks, vast rainforest systems of extraordinary biodiversity and a profusion of birdlife. For all its appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, Cairns’ thriving culture is a pleasure to absorb from the outdoor cafés or along the scenic waterfront promenade.
Sail the Coral Sea, a maritime highway since the 17th century. It is home to a number of shipwrecks, including those from a pivotal World War II battle, and they now host an astonishing variety of marine life. As you sail, explore our well-curated library, tucked in a private alcove of The Living Room, and select from a broad range of titles. Read a book by the Main Pool, a calming oasis in any weather with its retractable roof, allowing for year-round swimming.
Thursday Island was once home to a thriving pearl fishing industry. From the late 19th century, divers came from Japan, Malaysia and India to harvest these precious stones. The diving has declined, but traces of Asia’s diverse influences remain. The island’s Green Hill Fort was built during the 1890s with growing concerns of a potential Russian invasion. The fort was shut down just 30 years later and reactivated during World War II as a wireless station. Many islanders, still to this day, abide by a no-footwear policy out of respect for the spirits of their ancestors.
Trace the route of early civilizations as you sail the Arafura Sea. During the Ice Age, entire populations were once able to walk between continents, exchanging languages and customs. Meet fellow guests and listen to the soothing sounds of classical music in The Living Room, an ideal setting for relaxation. Enjoy a cup of coffee or sip on a refreshing cocktail.
Follow in the footsteps of Indonesia’s indigenous people and sail the Timor Sea. This stretch of water shares its name with the independent state of East Timor, which lies to its north. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film in our state-of-the-art theater. A range of insightful TED Talks and destination-inspired seminars are offered daily.
Komodo is one of the world’s most unique and prehistoric-feeling national parks with a magnificent menagerie of wildlife. Its most famous denizen is the legendary Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world. These breathtaking creatures can grow up to ten feet long and typically weigh about 150 pounds. Gentler-looking animals also roam, including the island’s graceful Timor deer, beautiful wild horses and stout little boars. Resident giant fruit bats, also known as flying foxes, are a sight to behold with their jet-black capes.
With a thriving arts scene, lush beauty and magnificent seaside vistas, Bali has long beckoned travelers in search of ultimate beauty. The island’s rich Hindu culture has forever held that gods live in all things natural—from mountains to streams to pebbles on the beach—lending the island a peaceful air. Denpasar is the island’s thriving capital. Founded as a market town, it still bustles with colorful stalls and vast emporiums selling bright sarongs and intricately patterned batik.
With its distinct flavors and traditions, Bali’s food culture stands apart from that of the rest of Indonesia. Indigenous ingredients, recipes and techniques blend with influences from the island’s Chinese and Indian heritages to create dishes found nowhere else. For many, a daily ritual may involve shopping for ginger, turmeric and kaffir lime in spice markets or for fruits, vegetables and meats in a pasar pagi. Traditional warungs, tiny family-owned food stands, often specialize in a particular dish, such as babi guling (suckling pig) or bebek betutu (crispy duck).
Bali is famed for its spiritual culture. Known as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali’s main religion is Balinese Hinduism and it is celebrated with pride throughout the country; with more than 10,000 temples across the island, processions of joyful locals can be seen daily as they attend temple ceremonies leaving a scattering of flower-petals in their wake. Participants are required to cover their shoulders with a selandang, and a sarong around their waist. Local market stalls display an array of colorful batik designs, as well as skillfully carved ornaments and handicrafts.
Sail one of the world’s most successful commercial trade routes in history. The countless crates of spices carried over the Java Sea reportedly contributed to the famed Dutch Golden Age. As you sail today, savor a range of international cuisine on board. Choose from a variety of international flavors at the World Café, enjoy al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace, or regional specialties in The Restaurant.
Java is Indonesia’s repository of history and island culture. The bustling port of Semarang was founded by the Dutch and hints of the island’s colonial past dot the cityscape. Outside the city, Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world, strikes a dramatic pose against a backdrop of four volcanoes. A popular place of pilgrimage and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the massive pyramidal temple towers to a great height. The devout walk up a clockwise path to the pinnacle, passing 2,672 reliefs and 504 Buddha statues along the way.
Sail the Java Sea and navigate a vast archipelago of lush beauty. Today’s nation of Indonesia encompasses more than 13,000 islands. As you sail, explore our well-curated library, tucked in a private alcove of The Living Room, and select from a broad range of titles. Read a book by the Main Pool, a calming oasis in any weather with its retractable roof, allowing for year-round swimming.
Sail one of the world’s most important waterways; one third of all commercial shipping passes through these waters. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film in our state-of-the-art theater. A range of insightful TED Talks and destination-inspired seminars are offered daily.
Founded as a small fishing village, Ho Chi Minh City is now Vietnam’s largest city. Though still commonly called Saigon, locals are as likely to simplify the name of their hometown to HCMC. No matter what you call it, it is a seamless blend of history and modern youthful energy, where pagodas and French colonial grandeur mingle with bustling old-world marketplaces and modern skyscrapers, all against a constant buzz of motor scooters and trill of bicycle bells. From enduring, narrow alleyways to wide, Parisian-style boulevards, Ho Chi Minh City has an identity all its own.
Ho Chi Minh City is a heady mix of French and Vietnamese cultures, where baguettes and croissants are sold alongside pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and motor scooters buzz past colonial-era architecture. The city’s wide boulevards are reminiscent of Paris, lined with jewels such as the Opera House, fashioned after the Petit Palais, and the grand Central Post Office, designed by Gustave Eiffel. Aromatic food stalls and colorful shops purvey local specialties and all manner of Vietnamese wares, from conical hats to ao dai, the traditional silk tunic worn by women.
Despite Ho Chi Minh City’s densely packed urban districts, there are several green spaces that can be enjoyed. In Tao Dan Park, locals can be spotted engaging in their daily morning exercise with a round of badminton, tai chi or the outdoor gym equipment. Afternoons welcome a number of classes, from aerobics to dance, attracting good-sized crowds. In addition to the wide open spaces, there are a variety of walking trails shaded by towering trees as well as water features and ponds to be admired.
Sail the South China Sea; after the five oceans of the world, it is the world’s largest body of water covering more than one million square miles. Admire the views as you sail today and enjoy an al fresco dining experience. The Aquavit Terrace serves a range of International fare and casual dining favorites, as well as a range of superb cocktails inspired by our destinations.
Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island after Phuket and a paradise of swaying palms and scenic beaches. Sun-loving beachcombers from Thailand and beyond come to the island to wade, swim and lounge in the lapping tides. Until the early 1970s, this self-sufficient community had no roadways; crossing the island required a full-day trek across nine miles of mountainous jungle. Today, Koh Samui retains the slower pace of simpler times. The cherished traditions of old Siamese fishing villages, too, are preserved as tiny boats gently bob on turquoise waters.
The Gulf of Thailand, the massive sea basin bordered by Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, is still known as the Gulf of Siam to the Malay and Khmer people. Long stretches of sandy beach, low-lying emerald hills and soaring mountains surround this oval-shaped gulf. The lush hills of Botum Sakor National Park unfold north of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Along Thailand’s shores, several beach-ringed islands point the way to Laem Chabang port.
Singapore is the world’s only island city-state. Established in 1819 for the East India Company by Sir Stamford Raffles, after whom the famed hotel is named, it grew from a secluded backwater into a shabby port city before transforming itself into a sophisticated metropolis. The technology and economy are highly advanced here, yet the islands host plentiful green parks with tree-lined footpaths and the stunning National Orchid Garden. For a panoramic view of it all, the observation deck of the Marina Bay Sands towers offers the perfect solution.
Singapore transformed from a sparse island to the economic giant of Southeast Asia. Malays, Indonesians, Indians, Sri Lankans and Chinese have all contributed to the city’s rise as one of the world’s most technologically advanced cities. Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist temples rub elbows with Muslim mosques and Christian churches, alongside street signs in English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay. Singaporean cuisine, too, has been shaped by the many cultures that have converged here; there is no better place to sample local fares than at one of the city’s many open air food courts.
This narrow passage between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra was a major route for early traders shipping glassware, precious stones, camphor, ivory and sandalwood. Today, it is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Along this historic waterway, the lush shores of Sumatra grace the horizon to the south, stretching out to lowlands, mangroves and swamps. The more urban skylines of Malaysia—George Town and Kuala Lumpur among them—shimmer in the distance to the north.
The Thai island of Phuket offers more than picturesque beaches and sweeping vistas of sparkling azure waters. The island was long a major stop on trade routes between India and China, often mentioned in ship logs of European sailors. Around 1545, one Portuguese explorer called the island Junk Ceylon, and the name stuck for decades. Later, the French, Dutch and English competed for the island’s tin trade; the French East India Company won and played a role in local politics until 1688. Today, old Sino-Portuguese shop-houses and monuments to Buddha dot the island.
Sail the Andaman Sea, a highway for the transport of trade from the coasts of Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia to the Andaman Islands, an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film in our state-of-the-art theater. A range of insightful TED Talks and destination-inspired seminars are offered daily.
Yangon was founded in the 11th century and centers around the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda. The city was seized by the British in 1852 and transformed into a major hub during the ensuing colonial era. Many buildings from that period were demolished to make way for modern development, but some precious gems remain. The Yangon City Heritage List preserves the most significant, including some fine fin-de-siècle architecture. After World War I, Yangon became the center of the Burmese independence movement; it has been the nation’s capital since gaining independence in 1948.
Myanmar is fast becoming one of Asia’s must-see destinations. Its cities have been made famous by British author George Orwell, who was inspired to pen his first novel, Burmese Days, after spending time here as a young man. Visitors are drawn to the country’s magnificent temples, the floating villages of Inle Lake and the royal city of Mandalay, where Burmese kings once lived in ornate palaces. The city is said to contain the grandest collection of colonial architecture in Asia, including the Secretariat, a classical Victorian red-brick structure, and the elegant High Court.
Since Myanmar reopened to the world following years under oppressive military control, Yangon has bounced back with a bustling, exciting vibe at the core of its Downtown district. The city’s focus is on Shwedagon Paya, a golden monument and one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites. Yangon’s surrounding architecture is also a delight to explore. The Strand remains one of Yangon’s premier hotels, while the Governor’s Residence is considered of one Asia’s colonial-era masterpieces.
The history-rich waters of the Bay of Bengal are considered sacred by many Hindus. In ancient Hindu lore, the bay is called Mahodadhi, meaning “great water receptacle.” Still today, the devout perform a daily aarti, a religious ritual in which they place fire offerings into the surf and let the tides carry them away. During the early 1600s, Britain’s East India Company sailed along the coast, settled throughout India and established a trading body; soon after, half of the world’s maritime commerce of goods such as cotton, silk and tea were traded exclusively through them.
Brimming with old-world charm, Colombo is Sri Lanka’s cultural epicenter. With its large harbor and strategic seaside location, Colombo quickly earned favor among ancient traders. The island was first colonized by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, then the English, who ruled until the country gained independence in 1948. Still today, evidence of all three nations is clear in the cuisine, language and architecture. Within the city’s 19th-century fortress stands the neobaroque Old Parliament Building, and the city’s streets carry the names of former British governors.
Sri Lanka’s rich culture, colonial history and stunning setting merge along the mile-long Galle Face Green, nestled between the ocean and the business district. On this welcoming lawn kissed by sea breezes, young men play cricket, couples stroll and children fly kites. Food vendors may tempt passersby with isso wade—deep-fried shrimp cakes—or other treats. The prestigious Galle Face Hotel, built by the British in 1864, serves refreshing gin and tonics and offers a complete tea service. Its veranda is the perfect spot to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.
Sail the azure waters between the island nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives at the tip of India’s southern point. The Laccadive Sea has been a thriving region for pearl fishing for thousands of years. Enjoy the amenities of your ship as you sail. Perhaps take a breath of fresh air on a brisk walk around the Promenade Deck or begin your day with a workout in the well-equipped Fitness Center.
Known as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea,” Cochin has been a vibrant port for more than 1,000 years. In late medieval days, this city of cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and countless other spices put India on the maps of European traders. Since then, Cochin has continued to export these plants for culinary and medicinal uses. Modern-day Cochin reflects the varied people who have settled here seeking their own spice fortune. The Portuguese, Dutch, British and Chinese have all influenced Cochin’s cityscape and culture, as well as the region’s cuisine.
Cross the Arabian Sea, originally called the Erythraean Sea, after King Erythras of Greek mythology. Its modern-day moniker derives from the Arab sailors who dominated trade on its waters from the 9th century onward. As you sail, take advantage of the array of delicious cuisine offered on board. You may visit Mamsen’s, our casual gourmet deli, any time from early morning to late at night for a taste of traditional Norwegian fare. Or, dine at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant for authentic fare with options ranging from Milanese risotto to Tuscan-inspired classics.
Goa was the cultural center of Portuguese India for 450 years. This was the first region in India colonized, and the last to get its freedom. Nowhere in India is the colonial influence so prominent. About a third of Goans are Catholic and the colonial styles of the Old Town have earned it a place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among its magnificent cathedrals and monasteries, the Sé Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Asia. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, a fine example of baroque architecture, holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier, the city’s patron saint.
Mumbai is spread over seven islands and is a major cultural capital of India. Bombay, as it was known until 1995, still enjoys its magnificent seaside setting and is home to some of India’s most beloved landmarks. Perhaps none is as glamorous as the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, it has hosted celebrities and presidents. Adjacent, the impressive Gateway of India was built to salute the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Mumbai also hosted the headquarters of Mahatma Gandhi.
Mumbai encompasses every element of humanity and is a striking blend of cultures and traditions. Millionaires and laborers rub shoulders on bustling streets. Bollywood film directors create big-budget films among a culture of fashionistas and financiers. The city’s streets reflect every subculture, religion and cuisine of India, as people migrated here from all over the country. And the city’s festivals honor both Western and Indian traditions, from Good Friday to the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, a celebration of local music, dance, theater and film.
The skyline of Mumbai is an eclectic combination of architectural styles, from Gothic to Victorian and from art deco to contemporary expressions. Several of these structures are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, a 19th-century Victorian neo-Gothic train station built to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign. The city is also home to a collection of 94 UNESCO-protected Victorian-era and art deco buildings set around the spacious greenspace of Oval Maidan.
Sail the Arabian Sea, an important marine trade route since Antiquity. During the Age of Sail, all manner of spices, metals and precious stones were carried back and forth across these waters by industrious traders. As you sail today, savor a range of international cuisine on board. Choose from a variety of international flavors at the World Café, enjoy al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace, or regional specialties in The Restaurant.
Follow in the footsteps of early explorers who sailed the waters of the Red Sea as long ago as 2500 BC. History and legend are rich in this narrow stretch of sea between Asia and Africa. As you sail today, savor a range of international cuisine on board. Choose from a variety of international flavors at the World Café, enjoy al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace, or regional specialties in The Restaurant.
Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, Jeddah has played a dual role throughout its history. Located on the eastern shores of the Red Sea, it was a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes starting in the seventh century. It also became a historically important gateway for Muslim pilgrims arriving by sea on their journey to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina—a role that continues to this day. A modern multicultural city, Jeddah’s heritage can still be experienced in the distinctive architecture and bustling souks of its historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trace the coastlines of Africa and Saudi Arabia as you sail the Red Sea, one of the world’s most legendary seaways. Moses is said to have parted its waters and Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut led trade missions here on ancient vessels. Meet fellow guests and listen to the soothing sounds of classical music in The Living Room, an ideal setting for relaxation. Enjoy a cup of coffee or sip on a refreshing cocktail.
Jordan’s only coastal city, Aqaba is set amid coffee-colored desert hills. With its central location between Africa and Asia, it has played a significant role in the region’s trade for thousands of years. Today, its prosperity rests in its position as the sole port of the nation and in its pristine dive sites. The city’s history, too, draws inquisitive travelers. In 1917, T. E. Lawrence (known as Lawrence of Arabia) led troops here in the Battle of Aqaba. The white-robed English ally helped the Arabs run the Turks from the city’s fortress during a camel charge.
Luxor is set on the east bank of the Nile River and once served as the capital of Egypt’s New Kingdom. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site lined with beautiful colonial hotels and some of the world’s most ancient and significant ruins. Many consider this city, watched over by graceful single-sailed feluccas plying the Nile, one of the world’s great open air museums. The sprawling Temples of Luxor and Karnak on the east bank are linked by the ancient Avenue of the Sphinxes. On the west bank, in the Valley of the Kings, lie the tombs of Egypt’s great pharaohs.
Navigate the narrow Gulf of Suez, the gateway to the important Suez Canal connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The gulf is rich in petroleum deposits and many offshore oil rigs dot its 195 mile stretch of water. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film in our state-of-the-art theater. A range of insightful TED Talks and destination-inspired seminars are offered daily.
An engineering marvel, the Suez Canal was completed in 1869. The sea-level, single-lane waterway has no locks, and only two lakes allow north- and southbound ships to pass each other: Ballah Bypass and Great Bitter Lake. Along this historic waterway, stark desert sands stretch into Egypt and an occasional giant mound of sand appears on its banks, dug from the canal. Small patches of swaying palms are fed by canal waters. Nearby lies the town of Ismailia, known as the “City of Beauty and Enchantment,” which was built to serve the canal’s construction and maintenance.
Haifa is one of Israel’s most important and beautiful cities, built on the slopes of Mount Carmel and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Pilgrims of the Bahá’í faith flock here to visit the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, a series of breathtaking terraces on the hillside. Mount Carmel also holds significance to Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. Most notably, this was the spot of Elijah’s sacrifice by fire by which he miraculously ended a drought. Nearby, the ancient city of Acre, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
High above Haifa, brilliant blooms spill down the side of Mount Carmel, a site significant in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This place is also meaningful to those of the Bahá’í faith, who travel here from afar to see the Hanging Gardens of Haifa. The beautifully landscaped swath of flowers and topiary, arranged around wide, elegant mountainside stairways and plazas, creates stunning geometric designs. From Mount Carmel’s tabletop summit, visitors take in the breathtaking terraced gardens against the expansive backdrop of the city below and the Mediterranean beyond.
Sail the ocean stage on which civilizations have risen and fallen, where empires ventured forth in their great armadas to control these strategic waters. Renew your body, mind and spirit in our Scandinavian-inspired spa, a Nordic sanctuary of holistic wellness, today while at sea. Whether you unwind in the Sauna, refresh in the Snow Grotto or take a dip in the Thermal Pool, you will feel recharged and revitalized.
Rhodes is home to the Palace of the Grand Masters, a remarkable and sprawling fortification. Its historic quarter is Europe’s largest active medieval town. Outside the city, forests of pine and cypress blanket mountain slopes; vineyards and groves of citrus and olive soak up the Aegean sun. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem conquered the island in the 14th century, bringing great wealth from the Holy Land. Under their rule, the city was reconstructed to mirror the medieval ideal. Many of the buildings from this era remain and make for rewarding strolls.
One of antiquity’s best-preserved cities, Ephesus offers an unparalleled look into the lives of the ancients. Many of its ruins have endured from the time Ephesus was one of the largest metropolises of the ancient world. Excavations reach back to the 10th century BC, when this city hosted one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—the Temple of Artemis. Today, Ephesus is still full of wonders: the towering facade of the Library of Celsus, the massive amphitheater that once sat 25,000 spectators and residences adorned with frescoes.
Istanbul exudes a fascinating mix of Western and Eastern cultures. Its strategic locale led to its role as a significant center of trade—eventually becoming a cultural crossroads along the world-famous Silk Road. One of the city’s stunning centerpieces is Hagia Sophia, founded as a basilica, converted to a mosque, then a museum; it is now a mosque again and features exquisite mosaics and frescoes. The city’s Grand Bazaar offers a rich taste of Turkish culture, from a vast selection of carpets and fabric to luscious dates and the local sweet favorite, Turkish Delight.
Straddling Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait, no other city in the world bridges two continents. Istanbul’s history is evident on every corner, from the cascading domes of the Blue Mosque to the courtyards of the Topkapi Palace. Visitors and locals alike flock to the European districts of Karaköy and Galata to browse shops and visit galleries, while across the strait lie the fashionable areas of Kadıköy and Moda. At night, the Old Town’s buildings illuminate the skies, and across the Sea of Marmara, twinkling lights of ships follow a trail to the Asian continent.
Sail along one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, known for its azure waters and picturesque islands. As you sail today, relax in the Explorers’ Lounge, inspired by epic journeys of discovery. Marvel at the views through the two-story panoramic windows as you share a cocktail with friends, or settle down to read a book.
Athens has been called the “birthplace of democracy.” Its legacy looms large from atop Acropolis Hill, the pinnacle of ancient Greece. This open air museum is an astonishing repository of once-mighty structures. From its colonnaded Parthenon—more than 2,600 years ago—revered Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle formulated new ideas of government and debated its role in civic life to captivated audiences. Remnants of spiritual life are also here in the several temples to Athena and Zeus.
Follow in the wake of great armadas that once sailed these waters. Historically, empires knew that to control this sea provided a strategic advantage in controlling the surrounding regions. Admire the views as you sail today and enjoy an al fresco dining experience. The Aquavit Terrace serves a range of International fare and casual dining favorites, as well as a range of superb cocktails inspired by our destinations.
Sicily has been shaped by countless civilizations, from Greek to Byzantine to Roman. When it fell under Spain’s purview in the 17th century, it was celebrated as one of Europe’s ten great cities. Surrounded by undulating mountains, orange and olive groves and vineyards are plentiful. During World War II, Messina was the destination of the unofficial “Race to Messina” between US General Patton and British Field Marshall Montgomery. In the end, Patton arrived just hours before his British comrade, receiving credit for securing Sicily.
Naples boasts a long history in a stunning seaside setting and is known mostly for its pizza. The city has long been a major center of Italian culture and was the seat of a powerful independent kingdom for 500 years. So great was its sway that it lured the region’s finest architects and artists. In the grand Piazza del Plebiscito, the grand and sweeping public square, the San Francesco di Paola Church flaunts a colonnaded facade reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, and the Royal Palace overlooks Neapolitans with statues of all the kings of Naples peering out from alcoves.
For centuries, Rome ruled much of Europe, building a vast empire from the power of emperors. More than 2,500 years of history live in the city’s streets. Ancient structures recall those heady days when the cheers of 80,000 spectators roared from the Colosseum, citizens mingled in the Forum and senators asked the gods for guidance at the Pantheon. Along with the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, this rich pocket of Italy is one of the world’s greatest repositories of history and civilization.
The chic city of Monte Carlo in the petite kingdom of Monaco boasts some of the world’s most exclusive shopping and a beautiful old port. A fairy-tale aura has settled on this glittering city of the Grimaldi family, perhaps nowhere more elegantly than at the Prince’s Palace, where the late American actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly presided with Prince Rainier III. Monte Carlo’s medieval quarter perches on “The Rock,” an escarpment at the foot of the Maritime Alps, and offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the harbor lined with mega-yachts.
Traverse the warm waters that envelop the Spanish isles of Mallorca, Minorca, Cabrera, Ibiza and Formentera. As you sail today, savor a range of international cuisine on board. Choose from a variety of international flavors at the World Café, enjoy al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace, or regional specialties in The Restaurant.
The vibrant city of Barcelona, with its lively culture and inviting outdoor spaces, preserves a rich history. Picturesque medieval lanes wind through the oldest part of the city, the Gothic Quarter, where remnants of the city’s Roman wall were uncovered. Its treasures include the neo-Gothic Barcelona Cathedral, the medieval Jewish district of El Call and the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria del Pi. In the evenings, diners relax in the Royal Plaza at restaurants along the elegant square’s perimeter.
The charms of Murcia lie in its embrace of its rural pleasures. Surrounded by farmland and fertile huertas, Murcianos are never at a loss for produce freshly plucked from “Europe’s orchard.” They, in turn, live by the patient cycle of the harvest, going about their days at a leisurely pace. The Moors founded the city in 825 and introduced a vast irrigation network for crops and for city use. They were expelled by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1243. Murcia province remained a vassal kingdom until 1812 and became an autonomous region of Spain in 1982.
Sail the gateway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Its defining landmark, the soaring Rock of Gibraltar, was one of the Pillars of Hercules of ancient myth. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film in our state-of-the-art theater. A range of insightful TED Talks and destination-inspired seminars are offered daily.
Lisbon has inspired explorers for centuries with its stunning setting at the Tagus River’s mouth. Its labyrinthine streets carry echoes of 16th-century navigators who sailed on the winds of the Age of Discovery. The city prospered greatly from its trade. And today’s streets are lined with the legacies of wealthy builders, including the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, stunning works that introduced Manueline architecture. Savoring local cuisine and port wine are favorite pastimes here. On any evening, the strains of fado spill from clubs in the historic Alfama District.
Sail the Atlantic Ocean, divided in half, north to south, by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Longer than the Rockies, the Himalayas and the Andes combined, this underwater mountain range is the longest on Earth. Enjoy the amenities of your ship as you sail. Perhaps take a breath of fresh air on a brisk walk around the Promenade Deck or begin your day with a workout in the well-equipped Fitness Center.
About 350 miles long, the English Channel separates southern England from northern France. William the Conqueror crossed these waters to become king of England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The most triumphant crossing unfolded on D-Day, when Allied troops landed on Normandy’s shores. The channel’s narrowest point stretches about 20 miles between Dover and Calais. Dover’s famed cliffs can be seen from a distance as a long white strip resting on the horizon.
Le Havre is France’s second-largest port. Its central city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its Museum of Modern Art holds one of France’s largest impressionist collections. The waters of the Seine River have flowed from Paris, one of the world’s most celebrated cities, whose cultural and historic significance is impossible to overstate. Priceless artwork adorns palatial museums here, from the Louvre to the Musée D’Orsay. The iconic Eiffel Tower watches over Parisians and visitors as they take romantic strolls along the Seine and linger in bistros over café au lait.
Most famously known for its dramatic white-chalk towering cliffs, Dover is the nearest city to France across the English Channel. Its strategic location as a doorway into England has earned it the moniker “Key to England.” As the port was under constant threat because of its location, the massive Dover Castle overlooking the channel grew over the centuries to become the nation’s largest edifice and remains so today. Dover also served as a bastion and command center during World War II.
Greenwich, a borough of London, is home to the Royal Observatory. From here, the world’s longitude is measured from the prime meridian, and Greenwich Mean Time sets the global time standard. At the port, the clipper ship Cutty Sark, one of Greenwich’s renowned historic landmarks, is preserved as a fascinating museum. Upriver, London is home to Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. In addition, this major economic and cultural hub boasts a long tradition of arts and architectural innovation—from Shakespeare’s Globe Theater to West End musicals.
Greenwich is home to several iconic maritime institutions. Royal Naval College is a major symbol of Britain’s seafaring heritage and the architectural centerpiece of Greenwich. It opened as a hospital for sailors in 1712 and served as the Royal Navy’s educational institution from 1873 to 1998. Today, its hallowed halls whisper of the days when Britannia ruled the waves. The National Maritime Museum is the world’s largest, chronicling England’s seafaring endeavors in its compelling collection of art, maps and countless memorabilia, including the first marine chronometer.
Steeped in royal tradition, Greenwich was the birthplace of King Henry VII, as well as his daughters, queens Mary I and Elizabeth I. The former royal palace—now the Old Royal Naval College—is one of several buildings in the city that were designed by the renowned 17th-century English architect Sir Christopher Wren. The city is also home to contemporary structural marvels, including the Millennium Dome, or “The O2.” Built to celebrate the beginning of the 21st century, it sits along the River Thames on the Greenwich Peninsula and is the world’s largest dome.
Dover is home to a rich seafaring heritage. It was a member of the Cinque Ports (“Five Ports”), a confederation of towns along the English Channel in southeastern England. Prior to the creation of a standing navy, these ports supplied ships and sailors for service to the English Crown. In return, they were granted important legal and fiscal privileges, as well as commercial benefits and special social status at court. The confederation reached the height of its power and influence during the 13th and 14th centuries. Today, only Dover remains an important working port.
The Irish Sea separates Ireland and Great Britain, which for centuries has been an important economic trade route between these island nations. The strong winds that whip across this shallow body of water provides an abundant source of power for the offshore wind farms; these turbines can be seen rotating above the water’s surface generating enough energy to power millions of UK homes. Various species of wildlife can also be seen in these waters, including migratory birds, whales, porpoises and dolphins among others.
Dún Laoghaire is a suburb of Dublin, Ireland’s UNESCO City of Literature. Famed as the birthplace of many of Ireland’s finest writers, from James Joyce and Oscar Wilde to Samuel Beckett, Dublin and its people have long celebrated the written word. The library of Trinity College is the hallowed home of the inspiring 9th-century illuminated Book of Kells, yet there is much more to explore. From the soaring St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the nation’s spiritual touchstone, to Dublin Castle, the city is a vibrant hub of cultural gems.
Holyhead is a cozy coastal enclave on the isle of Anglesey off the northwestern tip of Wales. This region boasts the greatest concentration of ancient burial chambers and standing stones in Britain. Holyhead is contained within one of the few three-walled Roman forts in Europe, protected on the fourth side by the sea. The historic St. Cybi’s Church lies at the fortress’s center and the excellent Maritime Museum chronicles local seafaring history. Locals are as likely to speak Welsh as English; almost two-thirds of the youth speak this fascinating tongue.
Liverpool is celebrated as the “World Capital of Pop;” 56 musicians born and bred here have had #1 singles. Most notably, the legendary Beatles—John, Paul, George and Ringo—hailed from this port city. But it is more than music that has put Liverpool on England’s cultural map. Long an important center for maritime commerce, its storied waterfront is home to many buildings of historic, architectural and cultural significance, including a spectacular trio of palatial, early 20th-century buildings known as the “Three Graces,” and the revitalized Royal Albert Dock.
A major port heralded for its shipbuilding heritage, Belfast has undergone a cultural and architectural renaissance unrivaled in the rest of Europe. The influence of Britain is everywhere in this polished capital of Northern Ireland. Some of its most striking buildings exude Victorian flair and cosmopolitan elegance amid its famous Irish charm. Along the Golden Mile, high-end boutiques are reminiscent of those found in Paris, and the opulent Grand Opera House stands as a hub of Belfast culture.
Ullapool enjoys one of the most remote settings in the United Kingdom on the pristine shores of Loch Broom. This tiny town, dotted with distinctive New Zealand cabbage trees, is the largest community for miles surrounded by the stunningly scenic Western Isles, dramatic mountain peaks piercing the sky and unspoiled wilderness. Ullapool’s beauty lies in its tranquility. A launchpad for ferries to the stunning Western Isles, this former herring port village is also a popular gateway for walkers, adventurers and nature lovers.
The history of the Scottish Orkney Islands dates back millennia. Neolithic remains, including the ancient site of Brodgar, predate Stonehenge and the Pyramids. The 13th-century Norse Orkneyinga Saga told of Vikings who ruled here. Later, the earls took over, and the French Renaissance palace that remains is a legacy to their grandeur. Another castle, Balfour, stands regally in a stark landscape. While the northern Europeans greatly influenced this hauntingly beautiful archipelago, consider the Italian Chapel, built by the hands of Italian prisoners during wartime.
Edinburgh has been Scotland’s capital since the 15th century, despite the fact that the Union of the Crowns moved it to London in 1603. There is no capital quite like Edinburgh, with its gorgeous setting on green rocky hillocks and splendid views of the sea. Edinburgh Castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels and countless medieval treasures, overlooks the city from Castle Rock. The Royal Mile unfurls Edinburgh’s architectural gems in all their finery, from the Canongate to St. Giles’s Cathedral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish residence of British royalty.
Invergordon lies in the mountainous, heather-covered Scottish Highlands amid a patchwork of farmland. The small community celebrates itself with a series of stunning murals painted by local artists; a walking trail leads visitors to them all, passing colorful window flowerboxes along the way. Whisky is another mainstay here, produced in a local grain distillery. This charming port is the gateway to a breathtaking region that provides a fascinating glimpse into the days of warring clans, and into the legend of “Nessie,” the fabled monster of Loch Ness.
The Shetland Islands may be remote, but history did not overlook them. At the excavation site of Jarlshof, tall, stone roundhouses date to the Iron Age and an ancient Norse longhouse tells of a Viking community. More recent history echoes through the streets of Lerwick, the islands’ sleepy capital founded by Dutch fishermen. The main island, Mainland, gets much of its beauty from its diversity. Farmlands and dreamy meadows unfold toward seal-dotted beaches, rocky cliffs take a beating from the surf, and medieval castles overlook valleys and lakes.
Bergen is home to the Hanseatic League’s only kontor (trading enclave) still in existence. Bryggen wharf, a row of timbered Hanseatic warehouses along a quaint quay, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Narrow wooden walkways are flanked by parallel rows of small, vibrantly painted buildings overlooking the picturesque Vågen Harbor. This is perhaps the most charming district of Bergen and a delight to explore, from its tight-knit community of workshops where artisans sell their wares to its cafés where freshly prepared smørbrød, or open-faced sandwiches, are on the menu.
Bergen, an ancient city with deep Viking roots, is nestled between gargantuan snowcapped mountains, magnificent fjords and one of Europe’s largest glaciers. Founded in 1070 on what was a Viking settlement, Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway. Not to be missed is a stroll through the Fisketorget, where the fresh catch of the sea awaits—from cod and prawns to local caviar and icy oysters.
Bergen’s Bryggen has come to serve as an important window into both Norway’s maritime legacy and architectural traditions. Totaling more than 60 buildings, with the earliest dating to the 18th century, these distinct structures are all that remain after the numerous fires that have ravaged Bergen. They were largely reconstructed within their original property lines, with their restoration and continual preservation staying true to medieval Norwegian building techniques, materials and tools. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a delight to explore.
Geiranger is the gateway to some of coastal Norway’s most magnificent natural treasures. Nearby, the Seven Sisters Waterfall tumbles 1,000 feet into the fjord’s water, while directly across the fjord, the Suitor Waterfall also plunges down a steep face. The overlook known as Eagle’s Bend towers 2,000 feet above the village, accessed via a winding mountain road with 11 hairpin turns. The Norwegian Fjord Center puts all this natural splendor into perspective with fascinating exhibits.
The Norwegian Inside Passage is a protected shipping lane that runs from Norway’s capital of Oslo, down the Skagerrak coast and around the country’s southern tip. It continues north along the coastline of the Norwegian Sea, before eventually terminating in the Russian waters of Siberia. It has been used by mariners for centuries, its channels protected from the dangers of the open water by countless skerries and the rugged coastline presenting opportunities for shelter in its many natural bays and inlets.
Narvik is situated on the innermost shores of the Ofotfjorden, within the Arctic Circle. The small town enjoys a dramatic backdrop, encircled by mountains and a glacier that spills right to the water’s edge. The town served as a port city for the early Viking settlers. Much later, the discovery of iron ore in the nearby Swedish town of Kiruna forever shaped Narvik. Kiruna needed a year-round ice-free port from which to ship its new discovery, and so a rail link was built directly to the water. Still today, Narvik is a major exporter.
The Lofoten Islands stretch 118 miles into the Norwegian Sea from Norway’s coast. Ships in the archipelago’s cozy fishing harbors are dwarfed by the hulking massifs rising from the waters. The setting was ideal for Norse settlements in the early Viking Age. Cod has long been harvested from these waters as they come here to spawn. More recently, the fish have been caught from traditional rorbus, charming cottages that hover above the waters on stilts. The Lofoten Islands are beautiful any time of year, but the summertime midnight sun illuminates their magnificent glory.
Tromsø is Norway’s most northerly city and has long been considered the gateway to the Arctic. During the summer months, pretty wooden houses exude an air of sophistication as they bask beneath the glow of the Midnight Sun. Winter brings pristine landscapes surrounded by snowcapped peaks and the aurora borealis, whose magical lights dance across the nighttime skies. World-renowned explorers have set sail from Tromsø’s shores; Roald Amundsen, Norway’s first son and the first explorer to reach both poles, is commemorated with a bronze statue in the city.
Honningsvåg overlooks a pristine bay of the Barents Sea on Magerøya Island. This unassuming enclave grew mainly on the fishing industry, like so many in this remote region. Honningsvåg has ample charms, including a rich Sami culture and a deep love of the birdlife that lives here. But it is the surrounding beauty that draws visitors: starkly beautiful tundra dotted with mountain birch trees, distant rocky islands and rolling slopes that ascend into mountains. One of Europe’s most stunning natural sights, Nordkapp, or North Cape, rises on the island’s rugged northern coast.
Named for 16th-century Dutch navigator and polar explorer Willem Barentsz, the Barents Sea is the gateway to the Arctic from the northernmost shores of Europe and home to an astonishing diversity of marine life. As you sail, take advantage of the array of delicious cuisine offered on board. You may visit Mamsen’s, our casual gourmet deli, any time from early morning to late at night for a taste of traditional Norwegian fare. Or, dine at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant for authentic fare with options ranging from Milanese risotto to Tuscan-inspired classics.
Capital of the Svalbard archipelago, tiny Longyearbyen is surrounded by the permanent snowfields that blanket the island of Spitsbergen. The world’s northernmost city was founded in 1906 by American businessman John Longyear when he started a mining operation here. The city was almost completely destroyed during World War II by the German navy, but was subsequently rebuilt after the war. Today, the town is beloved for its art galleries and museums, as well as the local gourmet restaurant boasting one of Europe’s largest wine cellars with more than 20,000 bottles.
Svalbard’s setting is marked by stunning fjords, mountain peaks and thick glaciers that have formed over millennia, while Alkhornet mountain and its looming cliffs date back more than one billion years. Wildlife flock to this stark landscape during the summer—puffins, polar guillemot and kittiwake descend en masse each year. The Svalbard Museum showcases the vast array of special plant and animal life that reside here, as well as everyday life for its human residents, from the arrival of the whalers during the 17th century to present-day miners.
Journey to what was once believed to be the “end of the world,” where sea monsters lurked and ships were lost on treacherous waters. As you sail today, savor a range of international cuisine on board. Choose from a variety of international flavors at the World Café, enjoy al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace, or regional specialties in The Restaurant.
ĺsafjördur was founded in the 9th century by the Viking Helgi Magri Hrólfsson. Foreign merchants arrived in the 16th century and set up trading posts here. Today, ĺsafjördur is home to one of the largest fisheries in Iceland and, despite its remote locale, boasts a cultural scene rich in music and drama. The oldest house in Iceland is here, built in 1734, as is the country’s largest concentration of old timber-frame homes. Many visitors explore farther afield, delving into the surrounding wilderness of Hornstrandir or discover the fishing heritage of charming coastal towns.
Reykjavík is the world’s northernmost capital city yet captures the distinctive feel of a fishing village. The Kentucky-sized island is Europe’s westernmost nation and one of the wildest places on earth. It is also lauded as one of the cleanest and most civilized countries, committed to finding the perfect balance between day-to-day living and harnessing its natural resources with eco-friendly practices. Vikings landed on this pristine land during the 9th century; their arrival is well chronicled in the medieval Sagas preserved at the Culture House.
Heimaey is the only populated island in the Westman Islands. The scenery is stunning with its volcanic landscapes, moss-covered clifftops and picturesque homes with brightly colored rooftops. A number of breathtaking natural sights are a result of the volcanic eruption that took place here in 1973, which saw the evacuation of all 5,000 residents to the mainland. Each summer, millions of puffins pay a visit and countless other species migrate here to feed and breed. Several efforts are underway to protect the wealth of wildlife, from puffins to the gentle giants of the sea.
Djúpivogur lies on Iceland’s east coast and has been a trading center since the 16th century. The town is presided over by the towering Búlandstindur; a mountain famed in local folklore for its ability to grant wishes during the summer solstice. Dotted around the town, several cultural sights can be explored, including The Tank and the Eggs of Merry Bay. Residents here favor embracing a slower pace of life. The town has adopted the cultural trend known as “Cittaslow” which is dedicated to the promotion of sustainable living, improving the quality of life for its residents.
Seydisfjördur enjoys a mountainous setting at the end of a fjord. It traces its origins to the early days of Viking settlements. Though the town is tiny, it boasts an impressive history. It hosted the world’s first modern whaling station and pioneered international communications when it welcomed the first telegraph cable, linking Iceland to Europe. Colorful wooden homes line the streets, overseen by starkly picturesque slopes and the soaring summits of Mounts Bjólfur and Strandartindur.
Nicknamed the “Capital of the North,” Akureyri is set at the end of the Eyjafjördur and enjoys a mild climate, unusual for a northern city just 62 miles from the Arctic Circle. Folk culture is robust in Akureyri; the Vefarinn dance was invented here to celebrate the harvest. Other points of pride include the Public Park and Botanic Garden, where some 2,000 plant species grow, and the hilltop Akureyrarkirkja, the local church that is home to a stained glass window from Coventry Cathedral in England.
Ísafjördur, nestled at the foot of dramatic mountain slopes, is the capital and largest settlement on the Westfjords, a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland that is connected to the mainland by a wide isthmus. This rugged, unspoiled region is home to landscapes of breathtaking natural beauty, from jagged mountain peaks, to red- and gold-sand beaches, cascading waterfalls and Drangajökull, Iceland’s only expanding glacier. The Westfjords teem with birdlife; Látrabjarg, located on the peninsula’s western shores, is the site of one of Europe’s largest bird cliffs.
The Norwegian Sea is known for the bounty of seafood it has provided since medieval times. Norwegians still catch cod here and serve it fresh and flaky—far more delicious than the dried and preserved fish made by their ancestors. As you sail, explore our well-curated library, tucked in a private alcove of The Living Room, and select from a broad range of titles. Read a book by the Main Pool, a calming oasis in any weather with its retractable roof, allowing for year-round swimming.
Nanortalik is nestled on an island near the mouth of a fjord on the southwestern shores of Greenland. It was established in 1770, though a small group of Vikings led by Erik the Red first arrived in the 10th century and called it “Grœnland,” or Greenland, in hopes of attracting more settlers. Today, the Inuit people dominate this austere and picturesque landscape and hold fast to their long Inuit traditions by fishing for crab, hunting hooded seals and welcoming visitors with a festive kaffe-mik, a coffee party with plenty of their famed Greenlandic cake.
Qaqortoq is a repository of Viking, Inuit and Danish history. Greenland’s largest and best-preserved Viking settlement lies 12 miles out of town at Hvalsey, established by Erik the Red’s uncle in the 10th century. The Inuit soon followed, and left behind many artifacts from their early days. The Danish colonial era, too, is finely reflected in historic buildings, including an 1804 blacksmith’s shop and the harborside 1797 black tar log building. Qaqortoq lends itself to leisurely strolls and its spectacular setting attracts outdoor enthusiasts.
Follow in the footsteps of intrepid Viking Leif Eriksson who famously crossed this stretch of water to become the first European to land on North American shores. Meet fellow guests and listen to the soothing sounds of classical music in The Living Room, an ideal setting for relaxation. Enjoy a cup of coffee or sip on a refreshing cocktail.
L’Anse aux Meadows is the site of the first Norse settlement in the Americas. Leif Eriksson’s voyage from Greenland in the late 10th century predated Columbus by 500 years. Proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, the ancient village Eriksson founded provides fascinating insight into the day-to-day lives of Vikings. Each of its dwellings was constructed of a wood frame covered in sod. The site was uncovered in 1960, when a village local pointed out a series of mounds in the earth that he and his neighbors had always believed to be an ancient Native American camp.
Follow in the footsteps of 10th-century Vikings and sail the vast Gulf of St. Lawrence, an outlet for the North American Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway. As you sail today, attend an informative lecture or watch a film in our state-of-the-art theater. A range of insightful TED Talks and destination-inspired seminars are offered daily.
Halifax exudes a fine European air and lies along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors by sea are greeted by the 1758 Sambro Island Lighthouse, the oldest surviving beacon in North America. In the harborside Historic Properties district, grand and charming stone buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries grace the cobblestone streets. The city grew up around Citadel Hill, where Fort George protected the harbor. The fortress, along with the adjacent stately Halifax Town Clock, has been gloriously restored and preserved.
Sail legendary waters, where medieval Europeans believed “there be dragons” beyond the ocean’s horizon. Renew your body, mind and spirit in our Scandinavian-inspired spa, a Nordic sanctuary of holistic wellness, today while at sea. Whether you unwind in the Sauna, refresh in the Snow Grotto or take a dip in the Thermal Pool, you will feel recharged and revitalized.
New York City is at once romantic and exhilarating. From the robust streets of Lower Manhattan’s financial district to the intimate warrens of Greenwich Village, the city overflows with culture, cuisine and architectural beauty. New York is for everyone. Music lovers marvel at Carnegie Hall or catch a 1920s-style jazz and blues show in Harlem. Romantics board a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park. Art lovers browse the Museum of Modern Art or the Guggenheim. And theatergoers attend the greatest shows in the world on Broadway, amid the glitter of Times Square. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.
Please note, due to an itinerary change, the voyage ending on August 31, 2024 will debark in Boston, MA.
* One shore excursion included per port; all others available at an extra charge.