A confederation of merchant guilds and market towns from the 12th to the 15th centuries, the Hanseatic League fueled unprecedented wealth along Europe’s northern coasts and laid the groundwork for the Renaissance. Set sail on this North Sea voyage from the south of England to Denmark, and explore the extravagant legacy of those riches in the great public buildings, private houses, and above all, the museums that these fortunes built and furnished. Transfer from London to Portsmouth, where you will embark the recently christened Ocean Albatros and sail to French Normandy. Call in Belgium for an excursion to charming medieval Bruges, or visit Ghent, where you will admire the sublime Van Eyck altarpiece. In Holland, choose between special museum openings exclusively for us at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum or The Hague’s Mauritshuis. Arrive in Germany for a day in Hamburg, with its massive UNESCO-listed district of brick warehouses, or delve into Hanseatic history at the European Hansemuseum in elegant Lübeck. Then navigate the picturesque, 61-mile-long Kiel Canal connecting the North Sea to the Baltic. Call in sparkling Rostock, the “Gateway to Scandinavia,” and spend a day in Copenhagen where the ship is overnight in port.
Day 1. Depart U.S./Canada
Day 2. Arrive London, UK/Portsmouth/Embark Ocean Albatros
Day 3. Ouistreham, France/Caen
Day 4. Ostend, Belgium/Bruges/Ghent
Day 5. Scheveningen, Holland/Amsterdam or Keukenhof & The Hague
Day 6. Delfzijl/ Groningen
Day 7. Hamburg, Germany or Lübeck
Day 8. Brünsbuttel/ Kiel Canal Transit
Day 9. Warnemünd/Rostock
Day 10. Copenhagen, Denmark
Day 11. Copenhagen/Disembark/Return to U.S./Canada
- Sail past Les Falaises d’Étretat and the Manneporte on the Normandy coast at sunset, and marvel at these rock formations that painter Claude Monet captured in several of his works.
- Join an art expert for an up-close look at the Van Eycks’ revered, recently restored Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (Ghent Altarpiece), now returned to its original home, Saint Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent.
- While in Belgium, enjoy an onboard chamber music concert by one of Europe’s renowned quartets.
- At special museum openings exclusively for us, take in historic art achievements away from the usual crowds at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum or The Hague’s Mauritshuis, home to a cherished collection including Vermeer and Rembrandt masterpieces.
- Delight in a private rooftop lunch and attend a musical performance (pending confirmatio) at Hamburg’s glittering Elbphilharmonie concert hall, Herzog & de Meuron-designed architectural masterpiece with a distinctive wave-like glass exterior.
- Transit the 61-mile Kiel Canal, which connects the North Sea to the Baltic, and learn about the engineering involved to build Europe’s answer to the Panama Canal.