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Setting sail from Barcelona
Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia, is one of our favourite ports of call. From the warren-like medieval streets of the Barri Gòtic to the fantastical modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudí, from the dizzy heights of Mount Tibidabo to the golden sands of Barceloneta, there's never a dull moment in this most beguiling of cities. Take a stroll along the Ramblas, soak up the wonderful art of Picasso and Miró, or experience the electrifying atmosphere of a match at the Camp Nou. Barcelona is truly a city with something for everyone.
Gaudí’s crowning masterpiece, the church of La Sagrada Familia, is an utterly unique building, a soaring structure that’s rich in bizarre little details. It’s also still not finished; despite the fact that construction began in 1882, the current completion date is scheduled for 2026!
Spain’s third city is a dazzling destination that combines historic architecture, cutting edge design and an inviting stretch of beach. Don’t miss the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences, designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava, or the old riverbed, now a delightful park.
Cartagena was founded by the Carthaginians around 227 BC, who named it after their home city in North Africa. These days the city is best known for its well-preserved Roman theatre, which was remarkably only discovered in 1987, in spite of its location in the centre of town.
Melilla is a post-colonial oddity, a Spanish enclave on the north coast of Morocco. The city is a fascinating blend of Spanish, Moorish and Berber influences, with an impressive collection of modernist buildings, plenty of bustling tapas bars and an atmospheric walled old town, the Medina Sidonia.
After years of neglect, Tangier is finally being restored to its former glory as a cosmopolitan crossroads between Europe and Africa. The Moroccan government has invested heavily in modern infrastructure, while the spruced up medina shines with a new-found cultural dynamism.
Bustling and modern, fizzing with industry and commerce, Casablanca is often overlooked in favour of Morocco’s better known tourist draws. But then this is part of its appeal: it’s an authentic and unvarnished city, and it’s also home to the spectacular modernist architecture of the Hassan II Mosque.
Spread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon’s colourful cityscape includes Gothic cathedrals, majestic monasteries and quaint museums. But for many the best times will be had wandering the narrow lanes of Lisbon’s lovely backstreets, with their great local food, wine and music.
Gijón is the largest city in the Asturias region of northern Spain, an important industrial port but also a lively and youthful place, ideally positioned for exploring the Costa Verde. The most interesting area is the historic fishing village of Cimadevilla, which sits on a peninsula that divides the bay in two.
It’s not so long ago that Bilbao was a grim and unappealing place, scarred by heavy industry, but the Basque Country’s biggest city has reinvented itself as a cultural hub since the opening of the shimmering Guggenheim Museum in 1997.
Saint-Malo grew rich off the back of maritime trade and its plundering corsairs, a seafaring heritage that is still proudly on display today. It’s great fun getting lost in the streets of the walled old town, and the famous medieval abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is an easy day-trip.
United Kingdom: Plymouth
Plymouth has a fine seafaring heritage, and it was here that the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World on board the Mayflower. The city was badly damaged during the Second World War, but an ongoing regeneration project is breathing new life into the waterfront, and nearby attractions include Buckfast Abbey and Dartmoor National Park.
United Kingdom: Cowes (Isle of Wight)
Every August sailors from all over the world descend on Cowes for Cowes Week, the world’s oldest sailing regatta, and the town has an unmistakable nautical vibe. Spend some time perusing the upmarket shops, tuck into some fish and chips or head out and explore the Isle of Wight's beautiful coastline.
Belgium: Zeebrugge (Bruges)
Zeebrugge’s main attraction is its proximity to Bruges. This beautifully preserved old town is a magical maze of winding cobbled lanes, narrow canals and gorgeous gabled houses, and it’s no wonder so many visitors throng the streets in summer.
Antwerp is a city bound up with the arts, once home to the likes of Rubens and Van Dyck, and more recently carving out a reputation as the fashion capital of Belgium. It’s also a magnet for shopaholics, with designer boutiques and jewellers galore.
Esbjerg is a relatively young city, founded in 1868, and owes much of its prosperity to the oil and fishing industries. Away from the port you’ll find some interesting 19th and 20th century architecture, an engaging art museum and the celebrated sculpture ‘Man Meets The Sea’ by Svend Wiig Hanson.
You might not expect to find a beach resort in Norway, but the sunny city of Kristiansand is where Norwegians go for a spot of fun by the seaside. There are plenty of family-friendly attractions, including a zoo, and it’s also a good base for exploring the pretty fishing villages of the south coast.
Gothenburg, Sweden’s laid back second city, is a delightful mix of cobbled streets, neoclassical architecture and picturesque canals. The old town is full of history, with some interesting museums, and the thriving arts scene has helped to revitalise the city’s previously run-down industrial districts.
Arriving in Copenhagen
With a history that dates back to 1043, this small city is full of historic landmarks, significant buildings and interesting sights and museums. It is of course also a history that sits alongside the height of modern Danish design. It is great to explore on foot, by bicycle or by water. Be sure to visit Amalienborg Palace and to walk down the famed shopping street (Strøget). The pretty harbour of Nyhavn is a great location to stop for coffee or lunch and watch the world go by. And of course highlights include the Tivoli Gardens, and the (surprisingly) tiny statue of The Little Mermaid.
Copenhagen boasts some of the world’s best restaurants, so plan your visit and book ahead to get a real taste of Denmark. Really – they book up fast!
Your home from home
Once again Seabourn leaps ahead, expanding the most modern luxury fleet with the innovative Seabourn Encore and Ovation.
What we love
When Seabourn introduced the three sisters, they changed the face of luxury cruising. Seabourn Encore and her sister Seabourn Ovation, with 604 guests on board, take things a step further, with lots of new thinking and special additions, continuing Seabourn's magical ability to surprise and delight.
|450 International Staff
The contemporary décor appeals to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd. With lots of outside space, you can enjoy an al fresco experience if you choose.
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Barcelona
The lovely Hotel Arts on the sea front is perfectly located for a pre- or post-cruise stay, and has great restaurants too.
Take a day trip to the attractive city of Girona, with its fascinating mix of Gothic, Moorish and Modernist architecture, as well as an exceptionally well preserved Jewish Quarter.
Two nights in Copenhagen
Excellent super modern hotels abound, but our favourite for comfort and value is 71 Nyhavn, overlooking the harbour front.
Travel out of the city to North Zealand to see the renaissance Frederiksborg Castle, and Hamlet’s Kronborg Castle at Elsinore.