Thursday, June 23, 2016

Variety Cruises announces Glories of Spain & Portugal

Eight-day cruises aboard the Panorama II start in May 2017


Variety Cruises will launch Glories of Spain & Portugal, an eight day cruise aboard the 25-cabin sailing ship Panorama II, in May 2017, marking the line’s first-ever season in Spain and Portugal.

Sailing on Saturdays between May 13 and Oct. 21, 2017, the cruise will take passengers from Malaga, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal or the reverse.

En route, travelers will be able to see UNESCO-classified monuments and architectural jewels, take excursions in several notable and historic cities, taste fine sherry and experience the region's rich mix of Spanish, Moorish and Portuguese cultural heritage.

Alhambra fortress in Granada, Spain
In Motril, on the Mediterranean coast in the province of Granada, Spain, travelers will have the option to visit Granada, one of the most fascinating cities in Europe and the last Muslim city to fall to the Christians in 1492.

Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada has many important examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation of Spain. It is best known for the Alhambra, a grand, sprawling hilltop fortress complex encompassing royal palaces, serene patios and reflecting pools built under the Nasrid dynasty in the 14th century, as well as the fountains and orchards of the Generalife gardens.

Sailing to Porto Banus, a marina located in the area of Nueva Andalucía on the Costa del Sol, guests will be able to visit the city of Ronda, which retains much of its historic charm, particularly its old town and the nearby 18th century Puente Nuevo.

Ronda is also famous as the birthplace of modern bullfighting, today witnessed once a year at the occasion of the spectacular Feria Goyesca. Formally called the “Feria de Pedro Romero,” it is traditionally held during the first week in September. It begins with a parade on Wednesday evening and culminates four days later with the “Corrida Goyesca” bullfight on Saturday evening.

Continuing to Gibraltar, tourgoers have the option of visiting the Rock of Gibraltar for a breathtaking view of this British colony. First settled by Moors in the Middle Ages and later ruled by Spain, the outpost was joined to Britain in 1713.

Plaza de España, Seville
In Seville, the optional excursion takes travelers to the Cathedral, the Alcazar Palace and its Andalusian gardens, the Maria Luisa Park and the quaint and elegant district of Santa Cruz. Later in the tour, guests will visit Jerez de la Frontera, famous for its wines, horse breeding and flamenco music.

In Silves, which was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, travelers can visit the centuries-old Moorish castle complex with an underground water reservoir, a 13th Century Cathedral built by Alfonso X of Castile on the site of a former mosque and a 15th century bridge over the Rio Arade.

Later, travelers will be able to walk the cobbled streets of the picturesque city of Monchique, a municipality in Faro District of southern Portugal. Visitors will also see the ruins of the Nossa Senhora do Desterro (Our Lady of Exile) Monastery on a hill overlooking the town. Founded in 1631 by Pêro da Silva, the Franciscan monastery was severely damaged by the 1755 quake. Hearty tourists can tackle a steep climb to the monastery itself, then enjoy the a magnificent view over Monchique and the surrounding hills.

The final stop is the city of Lisbon. Portugal’s hilly capital, Lisbon is a coastal city known for its cafe culture and soulful Fado music. From imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, Tagus Estuary and the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Nearby, the National Azulejo Museum displays five centuries of decorative ceramic tiles. Just outside the city is a string of renowned Atlantic beaches.

Panorama II at anchor
Glories of Spain & Portugal will be available from US$2,290 - $3,390 per person, based on double occupancy and dependent on cabin class. Price includes buffet breakfast and two meals daily, including a welcome cocktail hour and Captain’s dinner, use of fishing and snorkeling equipment and the services of an English-speaking cruise escort. More information is available here.

Variety Cruises is the world's largest small ships cruise company with 12 vessels ranging in size from four to 36 cabins. Their yachts and staff provide a distinctive small-ship experience in an intimate and relaxed environment for discerning, upmarket guests. More information about the cruise line is available at www.varietycruises.com.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos courtesy Variety Cruises 
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