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Odyssey at Sea: World War II in France & the British Isles

Program No. 23806RJ
Sail back in time as we study the historic and cultural impact that World War II had on the British Isles and France on a special voyage aboard our premiere floating campus.
13 days
Rating (4.5)
Activity Level
Starts at

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At a Glance

Join us aboard our favorite ship for a voyage across the English Channel to discover the people, places and events behind the world’s largest seaborne invasion — D-Day. Starting with an exploration of Greenwich’s naval legacy in England, you’ll learn the history behind D-Day operations as you cross the Channel to France to explore Utah and Omaha Beaches, Pegasus Bridge and other key sites with an expert, followed by a visit to the first town liberated after American paratroopers landed in the early hours of the siege. Then, sail back to England, where a visit to the site of a rehearsal for the D-Day invasion will deepen your understanding of the strategies and challenges that shaped this event before rounding out your cultural discoveries with explorations of several colorful English and Irish towns. Relive this turning point in history and its lasting effects alongside experts and equally passionate learners on this insightful learning adventure in France and the British Isles.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Delve into the events of D-Day with experts at Utah and Omaha Beaches, including a visit to a cemetery memorializing the fallen.
  • Explore Sainte-Mère-Église, the first town liberated during Operation Overlord when American paratroopers landed in the early hours of D-Day, and learn about the significance of airborne operations with a local expert.
  • Visit Queenstown Story and Museum and retrace the steps of the adults & children who emigrated from Ireland
  • Sail exclusively with ship mates who are all Road Scholar participants, like-minded travelers who are as dedicated to learning as you are.

General Notes

We’ll have up to 350 Road Scholar participants on the ship, divided into groups of 35 for shore excursions.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A History of the British Isles: Prehistory to the Present
by Kenneth L Campbell
The D-Day Atlas: Anatomy of the Normandy Campaign
by Charles Messenger
The Making of the British Landscape: How We Have Transformed the Land, from Prehistory to Today
by Francis Pryor
Admirals: The Naval Commanders who Made Britain Great
by Andrew Lambert
The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History
by Boris Johnson
The point of the Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference. On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, and written in conjunction with the Churchill Estate, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the 'Churchill Factor' - the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century. Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays - with characteristic wit and passion - a man of multiple contradictions, contagious bravery, breath-taking eloquence, matchless strategizing, and deep humanity.
Churchill: A Biography
by Roy Jenkins
From the admiralty to the miner's strike, from the Battle of Britain to eventual victory over Nazi Germany, Churchill oversaw some of the most important events the world has ever seen. Winning the Nobel Prize in Literature for his personal writing and cautioning against a powerful Soviet Russia in his later years in office, his larger-than-life and complex personality has continued to fascinate writers and historians. In this comprehensive biography, Roy Jenkins faithfully presents these events, while also managing to convey the contradictions and quirks in Churchill's character. Weaving together in-depth analysis and brilliant historical research, Jenkins has succeeded in crafting this magnificent one-volume account packed with insights that only a fellow politician can convey. Bringing to life the statesman, writer, speaker and leader, Churchill is packed with insights into one of the most important figures of the twentieth century.
The D-Day Companion
by Jane Penrose
The Geology of Cornwall
by E.B. Selwood, Eric M. Durrance, C.M. Bristow
Ireland 1912-1985
by J.J. Lee
Decision in Normandy
by Carlo D'Este
Field Marshal Montgomery's battleplan for Normandy, following the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, resulted in one of the most controversial campaigns of the Second World War. Carlo D'Este's acclaimed book gives the fullest possible account of the conception and execution of Montgomery's plan, with all its problems and complexities. It brings to light information from diaries, papers and letters that were not available in Montgomery's lifetime and draws on interviews with senior officers who were involved in the campaign and have refrained from speaking out until now. Lt Col. Carlo D'Este retired from the US army in 1978 to write full time
The Isles: A History
by Norman Davies
Amphibious Assault: Manoeuvre from the Sea
by Tristram Lovering (editor)
From Beachhead to Brittany: The 29th Infantry Division at Brest, August-September 1944
by Joseph Balkoski
Bletchley Park and D-Day: The Untold Story of How the Battle for Normandy Was Won
by David Kenyon
Everything We Have; D-Day 6.6."44
by Gordon H Mueller
Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach and a World at War
by Ray Lambert & Jim DeFelice
Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944
by Joseph Balkoski
Ireland: The Emerald Isle and Its People
by Mark Morris and Anthony Cassidy
D-Day Through French Eyes: Normandy 1944
by Mary Louise Roberts
The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649-1815
by N.A.M. Rodger
Coast: The Journey Continues
by Christopher Somerville
Pegasus Bridge
by Stephen Ambrose
In the early hours of 6th June 1944, a small detachment of British airborne troops stormed the German defence forces and paved the way for the Allied invasion of Europe. Pegasus Bridge was the first engagement of D-Day, the turning point of World War II. This gripping account of it brings to life a daring mission so crucial that, had it been unsuccessful, the entire Normandy invasion might have failed. The author of this book traces each step of the preparations over many months to the minute-by-minute excitement of the hand-to-hand confrontations on the bridge, a story of heroism and cowardice, kindness and brutality. *Also available on audio cassette: (ISBN - 0736613358)
D-Day Through German Eyes: The Hidden Story
by Holger Eckhertz
Ireland in the 20th Century
by Tim Pat Coogan
9 Reviews
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4.5 Average
(5) Review left 10/22/2022

My first Road Scholar trip and it was a great experience….I am so glad that I went - informative and fun. David our guide was extremely helpful - thank you. And thanks to ships crew etc. I will definitely book more trips.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 8/26/2022

Great Trip. Items worthy of note: Jill Rosenfield was our Group Leader and did an excellent job keeping us on time and on track. She was very knowledgable and I hope we see her on another RS trip. Dr. Spencer from Wolverhampton was an excellent, excellent addition to the trip. No one fell asleep in his lectures and his talks brought the history alive. We had a few changes to the itinerary but the crew handeled them well. Patrick Moore

(5) Review left 8/19/2022

D-Day Tour on Aegean Odyssey This was a wonderful trip on a great ship. I got to see many places I had only read about & discover some new ones I had never heard of. I stood where the passengers of the Titanic stood, and walked on the beaches where US & British troops landed. The ship was great. I can't wait for another cruise. The crew are helpful & friendly & spoil you. Of course the group leaders are top notch, as are the local experts.

(4) Review left 8/18/2022

The WW II sites cruise on the Aegean Odyssey was delightful, and I highly recommend it. The ship and crew provided wonderful lodging and meals. The sites we visited were interesting and thoroughly covered the subjects associated with WW II as well as other significant events in this part of the world. When possible (its not always possible to allow everybody to wander around) a participant should break away from the walking tour talks and explore on your own if you wish. We have enjoyed socializing with the other participants on every Road Scholar Tour we've taken. We ALWAYS connect with the other travelers, and have enjoyable long dinner time conversations. People who take Road Scholar trips are nice people.

(4) Review left 8/12/2022

Wonderful experience. The cost was reasonable, the cruise ship wonderful, program excellent and the experience memorable. Road Scholar staff and crew of the Aegean Odyssey went out of their way to make this a great trip.

(5) Review left 8/11/2022

Excellent, comprehensive learning experience. The ship is lovely, the staff attentive and helpful, the lecturers are first rate. The cities and towns visited, especially Normandy WW2 sites, are perfect for anyone interested in the history of the invasion. We were reminded of how young these soldiers were, who gave their lives in battle.

(5) Review left 8/09/2022

Highly recommend using Road Scholar for tour guided programs. They provide high quality accommodations, lectures, and experienced staff through out the guided program.

(4) Review left 8/09/2022

Road Scholar team did a wonderful job adjusting our program when logistical problems developed and I really appreciated that, we were not left without a well organized plan.

(4) Review left 8/09/2022

For those who have a visit to the D Day landing beaches on their bucket list, this is a wonderful way to achieve that goal. The ship and crew make it a luxury trip for a reasonable RS fee.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.