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Maritime History of Britain and Ireland on the Queen Elizabeth

Program Number: 20333RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/28/2013 - 8/11/2013;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: England/Scotland/Ireland
Price starting at: $3,948.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 38; 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Discover the maritime history of the British Isles on this voyage aboard the opulent Queen Elizabeth. Sail to Scotland’s vibrant cities and Highland landscapes, explore historic ports like Liverpool and take part in presentations by John Harris, a maritime historian with a special interest in the sailing Navy.

Activity Particulars

Walking and standing for up to two hours per day.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Portsmouth (England), 2 nights; aboard Queen Elizabeth, 10 nights; London, 1 night.

Day 1:
Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-4:
Arrival London (England) / coach to Portsmouth / embark Queen Elizabeth:

Learn about the planning and execution of Operation Overlord at the D-Day Museum.
Lodging: Centrally located Portsmouth hotel.

Days 5-6:
At Sea / Edinburgh (Scotland):

Discover Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia and imposing Edinburgh Castle.

Day 7:

Venture to Culloden Battlefield where the Jacobite Rising was thwarted in the last pitched battle on British soil.

Day 8:

Enjoy a field trip to Scara Brae, Scapa Flow and the Italian Chapel, followed by an optional visit to St. Magnus Cathedral.

Days 9-10:
At Sea / Liverpool:

Explore the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 11:
Dublin (Ireland):

View the Book of Kells inside Trinity College Library and visit the Guinness Brewery.

Days 12-13:
At Sea/Guernsey (England):

Learn about this English Channel island’s occupation by the Germans during World War II.

Days 14-15:
Southampton / disembark / coach to London for departure:

Visit the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the largest of its kind in the world.
Lodging: comfortable hotel near London Heathrow Airport.

Queen Elizabeth

The second-largest Cunard ocean liner ever built, Queen Elizabeth recalls in modern glamour the high society events of the 1930s and 1940s. At 964.5 feet long and 106 feet wide, it can carry 2,068 passengers. Public areas linked by elevators include restaurants, bars, library, lounges, theater, casino, spa club, gym, sun decks and pool.

Meals and Lodgings
   Hilton Portsmouth
  Portsmouth, UK:England 2 nights
   Queen Elizabeth
  At Sea, USA 10 nights
   Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
  London Heathrow Airport, UK:England 1 night
 Hilton Portsmouth
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Modern hotel close to Portsmouth harbour.
  Ship Information: N/A.
  Contact info: Eastern Road
Portmouth,  PO6 1UN UK:England
phone: +44 23 92 219111
  Room amenities: Plasma television, clock radio, tea and coffee making facilities. High-speed internet access surcharge). Wake up calls.
  Facility amenities: Tradewinds Restaurant and Bar. Gym, Health Club, tennis courts. Hiar salon. 24 room service. Safe deposit box at Front Desk.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Queen Elizabeth
Type: Cruise Ship
  Ship Information: xxx
  Contact info: USA
New York, NY 10011 USA
phone: 800-728-6273
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Close to Heathrow Airport.
  Contact info: 140 Bath Road.
Hayes, Middlesex.,  UB3 5AW UK:England
phone: +44 20 8759 6311
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Direct dial telephone with personal number and voicemail, satllite TV and pay movies, in room safe. In room bar, iron and ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar. Complimentary wireless internet access, business centre, newsagents, health spa and fitness centre.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
A light lunch will be served in the Portsmouth hotel at 12:30pm on arrival day. 5:00pm welcome meeting and introduction to the programme. You will be staying at Hilton Portsmouth that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast in the London Heathrow area hotel. Breakfast ends at 10:00am and check out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. **PLEASE NOTE: Cunard requires that you register online in order to receive your E-ticket(s) and cruise documents. You should do this when you receive your final program materials about 5 weeks prior to departure, your booking number and cabin assignment will be included with these materials. Please go to to register. Click on Already Booked, then click on Voyage Personaliser on the left-hand side, scroll down a little and click on Visit Voyage Personaliser (in red font). That will open a new window where you can enter your first and last name and booking reference number to sign in. Once you have completed your online registration, you will be able to view and print all of your cruise documents. **You must print your own Queen Mary II Luggage Tags, they are required by the ship porters so your bags can make their way safely to your ship cabin.**
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains/buses available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Portsmouth
  Nearest city or town:  Portsmouth.
  Transportation to site: Trains/coaches available. Trains leave London Waterlooo for Portsmouth every 30 minutes and take 1 hour 30 minutes. a single journey costs approx. GBP30.
  From End of Program
  Location:  London Heathrow Airport
  Transportation from site: Airport "Hoppa" shuttle buses available.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Sunday, July 28)
 In Transit: Overnight flight from North America.

Day 2:
(Monday, July 29)
 Arrive To: London Heathrow. Transfers to Portsmouth.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in the Portsmouth hotel.
 Afternoon: Free time followed by a welcome meeting and introduction to the programme before dinner.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hilton Portsmouth
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard including HMS Victory.
(Tuesday, July 30)

Note: Walking and standing throughout the day.

 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: John Harris wil brief you on D-Day before your field trip. Field trip to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to explore Nelson's HMS Victory and the Trafalgar Experience; Mary Rose and HMS Warrior 1860 and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
 Lunch: Taken in the No 7 Boathouse at the Dockyard.
 Afternoon: The field trip continues with a harbour tour.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Hilton Portsmouth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: D-Day Museum Portsmouth.
(Wednesday, July 31)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the D-Day Museum and Overlord Tapestry in Portsmouth. Lunchtime embarkation.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Set sail from the historic Portsmouth Dockyard and prepare for Cunard's guest speakers Dr David Thackeray and Sian Evans as they look forward to the sites to come. Shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Lectures at sea.
(Thursday, August 1)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: John Harris lectures on Britain as a maritime nation followed by Authority and Discipline in the Sailing Navy.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities. Welcome cocktail party.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. 8:00 pm Briefing on Edinburgh and the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Edinburgh Old Town and the Royal Yacht Britannia.
(Friday, August 2)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: 8:00am the ship arrives at South Queensferry for Edinburgh. Tenders ashore. Take a field trip through Edinburgh's Georgian New Town to the medieval Old Town and on to the world famous iconic Edinburgh Castle. Sited on top of an extinct volcano, gaining stunning views across City of Edinburgh, the castle has witnessed many of the defining events of Scottish history. A key attraction within the castle is the Scottish Crown Jewels. The crown, sword and sceptre are amongst the oldest regalia in Europe and are displayed with the Stone of Destiny, the coronation seat of Scottish Kings. see also the Royal Apartments, Great Hall and tiny St Margaret's Chapel
 Lunch: On the Royal Yacht Britannia.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Royal Yacht Britannia. This magnificent ship has played host to some of the most famous people in the world. But, above all, she was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. No matter where Britannia was in the world, however exotic or remote a location, stepping on to the deck of the Royal Yacht was always a home-coming for The Queen. Furnished to her personal taste, each room was filled with photographs of her children, treasured family heirlooms, much-loved personal possessions and gifts from across the globe. This was the ship that, even with its full complement of around 300 Royal Yachtsmen and Royal Household staff, The Queen named as the one place where she could truly relax. The Royal Yacht Britannia has helped to make The Queen the most travelled monarch the world has ever known. Not only has The Queen and her family travelled the world on Britannia, but the world - its statesmen and leaders - has visited them on board. From Sydney to Samoa, The Queen's guests have been entertained just as they would be at a royal palace on British soil. For a state visit some five tonnes of luggage, including everything from The Queen's jewels to the famous bottles of Malvern water for Her Majesty's tea, would be brought on board. With The Queen came up to 45 members of the Royal Household, who together with Britannia's Officers and Yachtsmen ensured that each visit ran like clockwork and that no detail was overlooked
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. 6:00pm the ship departs Edinburgh. 8:00pm briefing on Culloden.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Culloden Battlefield.
(Saturday, August 3)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: 9:00am the ship diocks alongside at Invergordon. Field trip to Culloden Battlefield. Culloden is the site of a pivotal point in Scottish and British history, the last battle fought on British soil. In 1689, James II was deposed from the throne of England and sent into exile by forces intent on stopping a Roman Catholic from ruling the country. Though William of Orange became the king formally that year, many across England, Ireland and Scotland were unwilling to accept the legitimacy of his claim to the crown, and wanted James restored. This led to a series of wars known as the Jacobite Risings, which would continue for over 50 years as James’ and Williams’ supporters clashed all across Britain. On April 16, 1746, the Jacobite Risings would finally come to an end here at Culloden, as a Jacobite army of mostly Highland Scots, led by the legendary Bonnie Prince Charlie, was defeated by the government forces. Not only did the battle mark the end of the wars for the throne, but it also marked the beginning of a dark time in Highland history, as harsh laws were enacted to punish the Highland clans and bring them in line with the English monarchy. These included the outlawing of bagpipes and traditional tartan clothing as well as the arrest and death of many Highlanders loyal to Prince Charlie. In 2007, a new visitors center and museum was opened at Culloden to help educate visitors about the battle, its historical context and its effects on Scottish history. It has become recognized as one of the best museums in Scotland, combining relics from the battle with new technology like GPS walking tours and a “battlefield immersion movie” that literally surrounds you with the sights and sounds of 18th century war in the Highlands. Explore the battlefield and new visitor centre before a brief time in Inverness.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities or join John Harris on an optional trip to Invergordon's maritime and naval exhibits in the town museum.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. 6:00pm the ship departs Invergordon.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Orkney Islands, Kirkwall and St Magnus Cathedral.
(Sunday, August 4)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: 8:00am the ship arrives Kirkwall. Ashore by tenders. Guided field trip to Scara Brae, one of Orkeny's most exciting and oldest monuments. This stone age settlement was buried under sand for thousands of years, until revealed in a fierce storm in 1850. See tools, beads and pottery and other relics that transport you back in time. Continue on to Scapa Flow, one of the most renowned streches of water. End with a drop off at St Magnus Cathedral or return to the ship. At the heart of the town is the Cathedral, founded in memory of Saint Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney 1108-1117 by Earl (later Saint) Rögnvald Kali. Next to the Cathedral are the ruins of the former Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: At sea.
(Monday, August 5)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: John Harris lectures on Slavery, Shipping and Seafarers. Lecture 2 looks at British Shipbuilding and the great port of Liverpool.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Exclusive Road Scholar malt whisky talk and tasting.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Liverpool's Albert Docks and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
(Tuesday, August 6)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the city of Liverpool's Albert Docks. The city won the status in 2004 because of its impressive waterfront which, according to UNESCO, represents a ‘supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global significance’. The World Heritage Site officially stretches from Albert Dock, which alone has the largest collection of Grade I listed buildings in the UK, along The Pier Head and up to Stanley Dock. These icons of Liverpool heritage made Liverpool one of the centres of world trade in the 18th and 19th centuries and meant it played an important role in the growth of the British Empire and the industrial revolution beyond. Explore the city’s maritime heritage at the Liverpool Waterfront. The area is a key part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation that takes in the amazing mercantile architecture of the city and docks. The influence, at times the domination, of the river Mersey on the growth of the region is unique. From the days when monks used to row their boats across the river (forerunners of the World famous Mersey Ferries), to the construction of some of the amazing dock architecture that can be seen around the Abert Dock (the largest group of grade 1 listed buildings in the UK), transformed in the early 1980’s into a world class venue for culture and heritage including Tate Liverpool and the Merseyside Maritime Museum, to the growth of the Port of Liverpool into one of Europe’s busiest and most successful cargo handling ports. The galleries at the International Slavery Museum (housed within the Merseyside Maritime Museum) feature new dynamic and thought-provoking displays about the story of the transatlantic slave trade. Crucially, it includes new displays about the legacy of transatlantic slavery and addresses issues such as freedom, identity, human rights, reparations, racial discrimination and cultural change
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Take an excursion on the famous Mersey Ferry to Birkenhead and explore the German U534. Or take time for independent exploration of perhaps Liverpool's art galleries, the Tate and the Walker or the Anglican and Roman Catholic Cathedrals. Maybe take a walk in the footsteps of the "fab four", the Beatles and Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and the Cavern.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. The ship departs Liverpool at 7:00pm.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Ireland's capital city Dublin.
(Wednesday, August 7)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Tenders ashore to Dublin from 8:00am. Take a guided field trip and discover the city's Irish and American connections.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: A shuttle bus is available between the ship and the city centre. Continue in Dublin for independent exploration. Perhaps trace the city's Georgian architecture on Merrion and Fitzwilliam squares, the Old Parliament House, Trinity College and the Book of Kells or St Patrick's Cathedral.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. The ship departs Dublin at 11:00pm so you may want to explore the city's nightlife and Irish pubs and Irish folk singing and dancing.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: At sea. Lecture by John Harris.
(Thursday, August 8)
 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: Lecture by John Harris. The German Occupation of the Channel Islands followed by a briefing on Greenwich, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: St Peter Port, Guernsey, the Channel Islands.
(Friday, August 9)

Note: 30 steps to access Castle Cornet's exhibitions and optional 60 steps to reach the top of the Castle. 20 minute walk from the ship to the Castle.

 Breakfast: On board ship.
 Morning: 8:00am the ship arrives St Peter Port. Tenders ashore. Optional excursion led by John Harris to Castle Cornet. Half a mile walk from the ship on flat ground. The Castle is Guernesy's ancient harbour fortress overlooking the sea out to Herm.
 Lunch: On board ship.
 Afternoon: Take an afternoon field trip by coach to the German Occupation Museum. The occupation o Guernsey during the World War II left visible reminders of their control. Fortifications and observation towers are scattered around the island. This traumatic stry of this period is seen in the thematic rooms of the German Occupation Museum. These ibclude the equipment room, prison, kitchen and fortress room. Th field trip continues to the Underground Hospital. Some may find the maze of damp and chilly tunnels claustrophobic.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities. 6:00pm the ship departs St Peter Port.
Accommodations: Queen Elizabeth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Disembarkation. UNESCO World Heritage Site, Greenwich.
(Saturday, August 10)
 Breakfast: On board shop.
 Morning: Disembark after breakfast and travel to London Heathrow Airport hotel via Greenwich and the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory and the Cutty Sark.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: The transfer continues. Check in and farewell meeting before dinner.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15:
(Sunday, August 11)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: "Hoppa" shuttle bus from the hotel to Heathrow terminals. The group leader will give you the fare.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  London Heathrow Airport Central London
There are endless possibilities for an evening in London: The theater, a walk along the South Bank, guided walks, historic pubs, trend-setting restaurants, a stroll through SoHo. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Admiral Collingwood: Nelson's Own Hero

Author: Max Adams

Crime and Punishment in the Royal Navy: Discipline and Punishment in the Royal Navy 1784-1812

Author: John D. Bryn

The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery

Author: Paul Kennedy

Pursuit of Victory: the Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson

Author: Roger Knight

Admirals: The Naval Commanders who Made Britain Great

Author: Andrew Lambert

War at Sea in the Age of Sail 1650-1850

Author: Andrew Lambert

The Challenge: Britain against America in the War of 1812

Author: Andrew Lambert

A Social History of the Navy

Author: Michael Lewis

Amphibious Assault: Manoeuvre from the Sea

Author: Tristram Lovering (editor)

Old Friends New Enemies: The Royal Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy

Author: Arthur Marder

Life in Nelson's Navy

Author: Dudley Pope

Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649-1815

Author: N.A.M. Rodger

The Wooden World

Author: N.A.M. Rodger

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Author: Marcus Rediker

The British Navy and the American Revolution

Author: John A. Tilley

A Brief History of Mutiny

Author: Richard Woodman

The Manning of the British Navy during the Seven Years’ War

Author: Stephen Gradish

The Floating Republic

Author: Bonamy Dobree and G.E. Manwaring

. The Scottish Nation: 1700-2000

Author: T.M.Devine

Description: The Scottish Nation examines the social, political, religious and economic factors that have shaped modern Scotland. Drawing on the latest research, Devine places Scotland firmly within an international context and provides a key focus for the ongoing debate regarding Scotland's future. This new edition brings the reader up-to-date with Scotland's recent history, from the high politics of the devolved parliament to the everyday effects of huge and growing levels of social inequality.

A Traveller's History of Ireland

Author: Peter Neville

Description: From the Celts to the Norman invasions and modern-day Ireland, this short history is highly recommended for those who would like a brief overview of the Emerald Isle through the centuries

Concise History of Scotland

Author: Sir Fitzroy Maclean


Author: Stephen Ambrose

Ireland, A Concise History

Author: Conor Cruise O'Brien

Description: With its lively even-handed tone and hundreds of well-integrated photographs and illustrations, this book conveys the essence of Irish history and the Irish experience.

Scotland: A New History

Author: Michael Lynch

Description: This full length history of Scotland is made up of 25 chapters spanning 18 centuries, from the Picts to the 1980s and is designed for the general reader. A particular feature of the book is the attention it gives to social and cultural history, including life in towns, the changing role of the nobles, and the shifting images of Scottish identity through the ages. The landmarks of Scottish history - the Wars of Independence, the Reformation, the Union of Crowns and the Union of Parliaments, the Jacobite rebellions, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, are all covered. The author is the editor of "The Innes Review", literary editor of the Scottish History Society and has written books on Edinburgh and the Reformation, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Scottish Burghs.

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