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Atlantic Discoveries Aboard Minerva: The Canaries, Madeira, Morocco and Iberia

Program Number: 21463RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/13/2014 - 4/28/2014;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Canary Islands/Madeira Islands/Morocco/Spain/Portugal/England
Price starting at: $2,299.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 41; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Board the elegant Minerva for an eye-opening voyage from the Canary Islands to the ship’s home port in England. Begin by exploring the dramatically beautiful, volcanically formed Canaries. Continue to Madeira, known for its wine and its towering sea cliffs. Step ashore in Morocco to experience the atmospheric Kasbah of Rabat. Then sail up the coast of Iberia to discover the Andalusian culture of Jerez, the grandeur of Lisbon and the pilgrim history of Santiago de Compostela.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile per day; some uneven, hilly terrain and stairs without railings.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Aboard Minerva, 14 nights.



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


Days 2-3: Arrival Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands) / embark Minerva:

Discover stunning Teide National Park, where you can examine hardened lava flows produced by the 12,198-foot volcano Mount Teide.



Day 4: Arrecife:

Sail to Lanzarote, the easternmost island of the Canaries. This protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to a wide array of plant life plus many birds and reptiles.



Day 5: Santa Cruz de La Palma:

La Palma is the most volcanically active island in the archipelago. See the Caldera de Taburiente, a crater-shaped geological feature whose walls tower 6,500 feet above its floor.



Days 6-7: Funchal (Madeira):

A northward course brings you to the Portuguese island of Madeira. Stand atop the highest sea cliff in Europe at Cabo Girão and stroll through lovely botanical gardens to see spring flowers in bloom.



Days 8-9: At Sea / Casablanca (Morocco):

Take a field trip to Rabat, the Moroccan capital, to walk the narrow streets of the city’s spectacular old Kasbah and visit some of its bustling souks.



Day 10: Cadiz (Spain):

Set out on a shore excursion to Jerez, an Andalusian city famous for its Sherry wine (“Sherry” is an anglicization of Jerez). Taste some along with delicious tapas in one of the city’s beloved bodegas.



Days 11-12: At Sea / Lisbon (Portugal):

In the Portuguese capital, take a field trip to the Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The intricate process of its construction took a century and was completed in 1601.



Day 13: Vilagarcía de Arousa (Spain):

Journey to Santiago de Compostela, capital of the autonomous community of Galicia in northwest Spain. Named for Saint James, who is buried here, Santiago has been a Christian pilgrimage site for more than a millennium.



Days 14-16: At Sea / Portsmouth (England) / disembark / coach to London for departure


MV Minerva

This stylish, newly upgraded vessel is operated by a long-established British company and boasts a loyal following of British travelers. It offers its 350 passengers two restaurants plus al fresco dining, a cinema, two bars, a library/card room, a swimming pool, a gym and a sauna. The spectacular Orpheus Lounge provides panoramic views of your surroundings.


Meals and Lodgings
   MV Minerva
  Aboard the MV Minerva, UK:England 14 nights
 MV Minerva
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: No matter which corner of the globe you choose to discover, after exploring ashore, you will always appreciate Minerva’s stately comforts: a relaxed lounge with entertainment, well-stocked library, restaurants, gym, Wheeler bar and Shackleton's bar. An elegant environment in which polished wood and gleaming brass are complemented by works of art and fresh flowers. With over 50 years experience in discovery cruising, Swan Hellenic knows all the ingredients for the perfect cruise. From the on board environment to inspiring itineraries, and from our knowledgeable reservations team to our European ship's officers and attentive crew, we are committed to providing you with the ultimate discovery cruise experience. You will travel with like-minded people and as you share the experiences of your voyage, you may find acquaintances turn into lasting friendships. Your cruise will be further enriched by the presence of distinguished speakers drawn from the academic, diplomatic and media worlds. Their presentations and the more informal conversations you can enjoy in the Darwin Lounge will really bring our destinations to life.
  Ship Information: Gross Tonnage - 12,449 Length - 437 ft Beam - 66 ft Draft - 19 ft Cruising Speed - 14 knots Passenger Decks - 6 Stabilisers - retractable fin Registration - Bahamas Passengers - 350 Crew - 160; mainly Filipino and Ukrainian Officers - British and European Entered Service - 29th April 1996
  Contact info: Swan Hellenic - North America
1800 S.E. 10th Avenue, Suite 205
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 866-923-9182
web: us.swanhellenic.com/homeus.html
  Room amenities: TV, Hairdryer and Personal Safe in Every Cabin
  Facility amenities: Facilities include: 44 Balcony cabins 100 Outside cabins (74% outside cabins including 23% balcony cabins) 2 Restaurants Orpheus Lounge Internet Lounge Livingstone Lounge Darwin Lounge Shackleton & Wheeler Bars Cinema Library/Card Room Boutique and Gift Shop Swimming Pool Gymnasium, Sauna and Spa Services Complimentary Launderette with Washers and Dryers Beauty Salon Medical Centre Telephone, Fax and E-mail Facilities
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins on Day 2 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on board the ship. You will be staying at MV Minerva that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast on board the MV Minerva. You will be staying at MV Minerva the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. **IMPORTANT: REGISTERING FOR YOUR CRUISE ONLINE** Swan Hellenic requires all guests to register online prior to sailing. They will ask you to provide full passport details, including address and telephone number. They also require next of kin contact information in case of an emergency. This information must be received no later than 60 days prior to departure. Passengers must visit the website at www.swanhellenic.com - click on "Already Booked" then "Required Passenger Information" to enter your details. The embarkation date is the date you board the ship. Furnished data will be provided to foreign government immigration officials and is required for on-board administration. PLEASE NOTE: Your cruise documents will not be issued prior to your online registration, and embarkation onto the ship may be denied. If you did not receive a booking number or if you need assistance registering online, please contact our program department at 1.866.359.5966 and someone will assist you.
  Parking availability:
We do not recommend driving to the site
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train/Bus not recommended.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Aboard the MV Minerva
  Transportation to site: All participants who purchase their air travel through Road Scholar Travel Services will be provided with a transfer from Tenerife North Airport (TFN) to the MV Minerva. If you did not purchase your air travel through Road Scholar, you may join the desginated group transfer as long as your flight arrives at the same time or before the group flight. The designated group transfer time will be sent with your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of your program. Please try to arrive by 4:00pm, so you join the Program Orientation and Welcome Dinner.
  From End of Program
  Location: Aboard the MV Minerva
  Transportation from site: All participants who arranged their air travel through Road Scholar will be transfer from the ship to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) airport at the end of the program. Please note that it is approximately a 2 hour transfer from the ship's docking location in Portsmouth. If you did not purchase your air through Road Scholar, you may join the designated group transfer as long as your flight departs at the same time or after the group flight. The designated group transfer time will be sent with your final program materials, approximately 5 weeks prior to the start of your program. We do not recommend booking flights that depart London before 2:00 pm.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
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: Departures from the US
(Sunday, April 13)
   
 Arrive To: Flights depart the U.S. for the Canary Islands

Day 2: Arrivals / Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
(Monday, April 14)
   
 Arrive To: Flights arrive in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Transfer to the MV Minerva and check in for 14 nights.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
(Tuesday, April 15)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Drive through La Laguna and Tacoronte, some of the best wine growing areas of the island, arriving at the evergreen Orotava Valley. The first stop will be at "Mirador Humboldt" for a panoramic view over the Valley and Puerto de La Cruz. Continue to La Orotava, one of the lovliest towns on the island where the streets and buildings are monuments to its past and where you visit the House of Balconies, a handicraft center located inside a 17th century old house. Continue to Puerto de la Cruz, an old fishing port full of narrow cobbled streets lined with traditional colonial-style cafes and bars. Finally call at the famous Botanical Garden, founded in 1788 by King Carlos III as a stopover for hundreds of species of plants brought from America, Asia and Africa.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to depart Santa Cruz de Tenerife at 3:30 pm.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
(Wednesday, April 16)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Arrecife at 8:00 am. Discover the volcanic landscape that was formed during a series of devastating eruptions in the early 18th century. In the Timanfaya National Park, where the Fire Mountains now lie dormant, you can see the stark and haunting landscape of craters and lava fields on a scenic drive through the 'route of the volcanoes'. At the Islote de Hilario, local rangers will demonstrate that only 6m below the ground temperatures reach 400 degrees Celsius. Then drive through La Geria, where islanders adapted to their new environment and in the 18th century introduced the malvasia grape, which now thrives in the volcanic soil. Here you will have time to taste some local Lanzarote wine.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to depart Arrecife at 2:30 pm. Afternoon at leisure as you sail towards Santa Cruz, La Palma.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Santa Cruz, La Palma, Canary Islands
(Thursday, April 17)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Morning at leisure as you sail towards Santa Cruz, La Palma. Minerva is scheduled to arrive at 12:00 noon.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to depart at 6:00 pm. Enjoy a scenic drive to the village of El Paso for views of the mountain peaks which form the "Caldera de Taburiente". The crater, whose walls reach up to 2000 meters, dominates the center of the island and it was declared a National Park in 1954. Before leaving El Paso visit the Silk Museum and stop at La Glorietta Square, modelled on teh Pac Guell in Barcelona. Afterwards continue to the village of Los Canarios (Fuencaliente - "hot spring"), located on the southern tip of La palma to admire the landscapes and enjoy some refreshements.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Funchal, Madeira
(Friday, April 18)

Note: Please note that the drive is along steep, narrow, winding mountain roads. There is a walk of approximately 10 minutes to the wine lodge involving a short, steep path, where toilets are available. You might like to bring a sweater or light jacket as the temperature in the mountains is likely to be lower than in Funchal.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Morning at leisure as you sail towards the island of Madeira.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Madeira at 2:30 pm. Admire some of Madeira's superb scenery on a drive to Cabo Girao - the highest sea cliff in Europe - via the picturesque fishing village of Camara de Lobos, once painted by Sir Winston Churchill. A photo stop will be made a Pico da Torre, which offers excellent views over the village and pretty harbor. Continue into the mountains through pinewood and eucalyptus forests, with scenic vistas on the island's vineyards and cultivated terraces en route. A stop will also be made at Cabo Girao for breathtaking views along the coast and over Funchal. You'll then return to Funchal via Pico dos Barcelos to enjoy further panoramic views over town and a tasting at a wine lodge.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
 Evening: Minerva will remain in port overnight
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Funchal, Madeira
(Saturday, April 19)

Note: Limited toilet facilities are available at teh market and Fort Sao Tiago. The walking tour will last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Discover the island's charming capital on a guided walking tour. You commence at the market, where an infinite variety of tropical fruits, vegetables, flowers as well as regional articles can be seen. A visit to the market is always interesting and varied, and you will catch a glimpse of the day to day life of the Madeiran people. Continue on foot through the old part of town to Fort Sao Tiago. Built in 1614 and named after St. James the Less, the patron saint of Funchal, it is considered one of the top art museums in Portugal. Revisit the village of Camara de Lobos (the Sea Wolves Lair), before arriving at the private property Quinta de Sao Joao; a seventeenth century manor where you will be taken on a guided tour. In the wine cellar you can sample some Madeira wine.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to depart Funchal at 5:00 pm.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: At Sea
(Sunday, April 20)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board the ship. On board presentations from the shipboard lecturers will offer an in-depth look at the locations you will be visiting.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue cruising Minerva. Enjoy on board presentations and other shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Casablanca, Morocco - Casablanca Highlights
(Monday, April 21)

Note: There is a 200m flat walk to the Hassan II Mosque. Please note that anyone wearing shorts or having bare shoulders (either sex) will not be permitted to enter the mosque. As you will also be required to remove your shoes you might like to bring a pair of socks. There are basic, local-style toilets at the Hassan II Mosque.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Casablanca at 8:00 am. Visit the spectacular Hassan II Mosque, the third largest mosque in the Islamic world built in the 1980s by the late King Hassan II, and then enjoy a scenic drive along the Corniche. Walk through the Habous Quarter, the "Nouvelle Medina" built by French architects in the 1930s which defines the style of modern Casablanca. View the exterior of the Royal Palace and the traditional Court Palace. Later you'll stop at Notre Dame de Louvres, before passing the Places des Nations Unis on the way back to the ship.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to depart Casablanca at 6:00 pm.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cadiz, Spain - Cadiz Walk
(Tuesday, April 22)

Note: This excursion involves approximately 2 hours walking and is not suitable for those in wheelchairs or with walking difficulties. Limited toilet facilities are available in cafes. Please note that many shops are closed in the afternoon for siesta.



   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board the ship. On board presentations from the shipboard lecturers will offer an in-depth look at the locations you will be visiting.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Cadiz at 1:00 pm. Cadiz is the oldest city in Andalucia - perhaps in Europe - with a colorful history. After a panoramic drive viewing the city walls and promenade, enjoy a walking tour through its plazas and narrow alleyways, passing the Roman theater, the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri, the cathedral and the impressive facade of the Town Hall, decorated with garlands and reliefs of Phoenician coins. You can also enjoy some free time in the lovely Plaza de Flores (if time allows).
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: At Sea
(Wednesday, April 23)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board the ship. On board presentations from the shipboard lecturers will offer an in-depth look at the locations you will be visiting.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue cruising Minerva. Enjoy on board presentations and other shipboard activities
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Lisbon, Portugal - Lisbon and Jeronimos Monastery
(Thursday, April 24)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Lisbon at 8:00 am. Once at the forefront of the golden age of discovery and world trade, Lisbon has played an important role in shaping the modern world. Enjoy a panoramic drive through the city viewing many of its attractions, including the Monument to the Discoveries and the 16th century Belem Tower - starting point for many voyages of discovery, as well as taking the view from Parque Eduard VII. Discovery Santa Maria Church followed by a visit to the remarkable cloisters of St. Jeronimos, a jewel of Manueline architecture, noted for its richly sculpted stonework.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to depart Lisbon at 2:00 pm. Afternoon at leisure as you sail towards Villagarcia de Arosa.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Villagarcia de Arosa, Spain
(Friday, April 25)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Morning at leisure as you sail towards Villagarcia de Arosa
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Minerva is scheduled to arrive in Villagarcia de Arosa at 1:30 pm. Visit the pilgrimage city and UNESCO World Heritage site of Santiago de Compostela where the relics of the Apostle St. James are supposed to have been discovered in the 9th century. Enjoy a guided visit to the magnificent Cathedral and Treasury, the cloister and the Museum of Tapestries. After a walking tour through the cobbled streets of the city, viewing the four majestic squares which surrounded the Cathedral, enjoy refreshments at the exclusive Parador Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos - a former 15th century Royal Hospital that was built to attend to the numerous pilgrims arriving at Santiago de Compostela.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: At Sea
(Saturday, April 26)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board the ship as you sail towards the UK. On board presentations from the shipboard lecturers will offer an in-depth look at the locations you will be visiting.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue cruising Minerva. Enjoy on board presentations and other shipboard activities
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: At Sea
(Sunday, April 27)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Relax on board the ship as you sail towards the UK. On board presentations from the shipboard lecturers will offer an in-depth look at the locations you will be visiting.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue cruising Minerva. Enjoy on board presentations and other shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
   
Accommodations: MV Minerva
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Portsmouth, United Kingdom / Disembark
(Monday, April 28)
   
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Disembark Minerva and transfer to London Heathrow Airport for flights returning to North America. Disembarkation will begin at approximately 9:00 am (subject to change). The transfer to the airport is approximately 2 hours. If you are making your own flight arrangements, we do not recommend booking flights that depart before 2:00 pm.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
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.


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