Spain, with its geographical location at the crossroads of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Europe and Africa has a fascinating history with a culture made up of diverse influences. Once the centre of a global empire, this exploration will uncover the country’s intriguing history visiting some of the numerous World Heritage Cities including Tarragona, Cordoba, Merida and Toledo where, accompanied by our excellent local guides and guest speakers you can experience the cultural wealth of this captivating nation. In addition to the included guided excursions, there will of course be ample time to experience the unique atmosphere of the towns and cities and explore at your own pace.

Highlights


• Discover the archaeological site of Empuries. Founded by Greek merchants in the 6th century B.C. as Emporion, meaning marketplace, it was a commercial hub and, being located on several trading routes across the Mediterranean, it became a major port.

• Take the beautifully maintained vintage train that connects Palma with the pretty town of Soller on the island’s west coast and enjoy splendid mountain views of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

• Visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Alhambra and Generalife gardens.

• Arrive in Cadiz which is amongst the oldest surviving cities in Spain which was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 B.C. and was later occupied by the Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors.

• Enjoy a full day tour of Cordoba, a beautiful city that demonstrates a past in which Jews, Christians and Muslims peacefully coexisted and left a beautiful legacy of architecture to be appreciated for centuries to come.

• Enjoy an excursion to one of Seville’s greatest monuments, the Alcazar with its exotic terraced garden.

Arrive today and make your way to MS Island Sky for embarkation and sail this evening.
From our berth in Palamos we will drive the short distance to the archaeological site of Empuries. Founded by Greek merchants in the 6th century B.C. as Emporion, meaning marketplace, it was a commercial hub and, being located on several trading routes across the Mediterranean, it became a major port. In 218 B.C. the town was taken by the Romans who built an even greater city above the Greek town. Today we can explore the network of columns, streets, villas with mosaic floors and the Roman amphitheatre. We return to the ship for lunch and the afternoon is free to explore the pleasant old quarter of Palamos and the local beaches. Alternatively, join an excursion to Medieval Girona, known as the immortal city. The city was settled in turn by the Romans and the Moors and had a vibrant Jewish community located in the El Call district. We will see the elegant 11th century cathedral, which has the widest nave of any Medieval cathedral, the Romanesque Benedictine Monastery of St Pere de Galligants and the Arab Baths inspired by Roman public baths.
During the second Punic War in 218 A.D. the city of Tarraco was established as a garrison which developed into the main military base for the Roman army in Spain. Today we can still see remnants of the Roman period as we explore the city by foot. See the impressive walls that once surrounded the city, the 2nd century amphitheatre and the Roman Circus where chariot races were held. Meanwhile on the outskirts of the city we will see the Pont de les Ferreres, a Roman bridge that formed part of the aqueduct that brought water to the city from the Francoli River. After lunch on board we have time to explore Tarragona at leisure or, alternatively, drive to the Moestir de Poblet, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the road to Lleida. We will enjoy a guided tour of this fortified Medieval monastery and also have time in the museum featuring artefacts from the region’s past.
Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, has a rich history dating back to the Phoenicians when it was under control of Carthage, the principal North African city at that time, before flourishing under Roman rule. From our berth in Palma we have a choice of excursions this morning. One option is to take the beautifully maintained vintage train that connects Palma with the pretty town of Soller on the island’s west coast and enjoy splendid mountain views of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the course of just seven kilometres the railway rises 199 metres and runs through thirteen tunnels and crosses several bridges. We will enjoy some time to explore Soller before returning to our ship in Palma. Alternatively, enjoy a scenic drive to the Roman city of Pollentia in Alcudia. Located on Mallorca’s north coast the city of Pollentia is a key site for understanding the Romanisation of the Balearics. The city was the former capital of the Balearic Islands in the days of the Roman Empire and excavations continue to this day. We will explore the streets, houses, forum and the theatre originally built with a capacity for 2000 people. We return to the ship via the estate of Son Real, one of the most important sites for archaeological heritage in the Balearic Islands, including the well-known prehistoric cemeteries or necropolis located at S’Illot des Porros and the Punta des Fenicis. Son Real is also closely linked to rural Majorca and we find a “possessió” made up of different buildings from different eras. Enjoy lunch on board and spend the afternoon at sea.
Return to mainland Spain this morning and the Murcian port of Cartagena. We will enter the deep natural harbour through two fortified rocky headlands for a day of exploration in this historic city that dates back to the Phoenicians. Hannibal used it as his capital city on the Iberian peninsula and named it after Carthage in North Africa whilst the Romans used it as a strategic port and administrative centre. The city walls remained intact until the 20th century, creating a dense historic centre which we will explore before taking the lift or walking up to Concepcion Castle where we will learn of the city’s past and enjoy amazing views of the city and harbour below. We will also see the Roman amphitheatre which was able to hold up to 7000 people. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore further. Perhaps visit the archaeological site of Molinete, where work continues to uncover the Roman city, or the naval museum or simply enjoy a stroll along the tree lined harbour promenade before we sail this evening.
From Motril, we will drive inland to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Alhambra and Generalife gardens. The Alhambra’s construction began in the 11th century on the red hill known as Alsabika which overlooks Granada. The palace fortress was mainly built by the Nasrid sultans, rulers of the last Spanish Moorish kingdom who made Granada their capital. We will visit the most important halls and courtyards of the Alhambra and the nearby sumptuous Generalife Palace with beautiful gardens.
Departing from Gibraltar, we will cross the border into Spain for the short transfer to the Estacion de San Roque, where we board the scenic railway to the spectacular city of Ronda. Perched on the top of a rocky outcrop and divided by El Tajo gorge, Ronda is home to the Puente Nuevo, an 18th century viaduct-like bridge which connects the old and new parts of the city. We will start our visit at the city museum located at the Palace of the Marquis of Villasierra where you can learn about the history of the city, the region’s natural parks and the local industries of cork and cheese production and saddlemaking. Next visit the church of Santa Maria la Mayor. Built on the foundations of an earlier mosque, this landmark church was started in 1485 and not finished until the end of the 17th century. Admire the Gothic and Baroque decoration and magnificent altar before visiting Ronda’s bullring. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Gibraltar arriving in the late afternoon.
Arrive this morning in Cadiz. Situated on a peninsula jutting out into a bay and almost entirely surrounded by water, it is amongst the oldest surviving cities in Spain which was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 B.C. and was later occupied by the Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors. During our guided tour we will discover the most beautiful monuments and landmarks of the city including the Mudejar-style tobacco factory, Santo Domingo Church, the Santa Catalina Fortress and finally the cathedral of Cadiz and Diocesan Museum in the old city. After lunch on board we will visit the nearby seaside town of Puerto de Santa Maria. Founded by the Phoenicians as the base for the salt industry, which is still active today, it was in the 19th century that the wine industry flourished here as the town became part of the sherry triangle with Jerez and Sanlucar de Barrameda. This afternoon we will learn about the history and production of the local wines at one of the town’s bodegas before enjoying a tasting. We will end with a private flamenco show accompanied by some of the local food specialties.
Overnight we will have sailed up the Guadalquivir River to Seville. We will leave the vessel this morning for our full day tour of Cordoba, a beautiful city that demonstrates a past in which Jews, Christians and Muslims peacefully coexisted and left a beautiful legacy of architecture to be appreciated for centuries to come. It was the Romans who founded Cordoba, thanks to its strategic importance as the highest navigable point on the river, but Cordoba’s heyday was when it became the capital of the Moorish kingdom of Al Andalus. They began the construction of the Great Mosque, or Mezquita which is still one of the largest in the world. When the city was reconquered by the Christians they were so impressed by the beauty of the mosque that, rather than demolish it they simply built a cathedral inside it. We will also visit the Jewish Quarter and will spend time at the Mudejar Synagogue before having lunch at a local restaurant. Before returning to the MS Island Sky we will visit the Royal Stables, created in 1570 by King Philip II and where they breed Andalusian horses.
Disembark this morning and enjoy a morning excursion to one of Seville’s greatest monuments, the Alcazar with its exotic terraced garden. Built by Pedro the Cruel in the 14th century with the help of Moorish craftsmen, it is still used as a residence by the King of Spain. Also see the Christian cathedral, reputed to be the largest Gothic style church in the world. We will visit a local restaurant for lunch before driving to Merida this afternoon. On arrival we will check into our hotel and have some free time to explore before meeting for dinner this evening.
Located at the end of the Via de la Plata, the Roman road that began in Astorga, Merida was the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania. Its theatre, amphitheatre and temple, dedicated to the goddess Diana, make this one of the best conserved archaeological sites in Spain, and has earned it the title of a World Heritage site. After our visit we will enjoy lunch before driving to Toledo, the former capital of Spain. Check into our central hotel this afternoon and relax before meeting for dinner tonight.
Toledo, declared National Monument by the Spanish State, seems to be one large museum and is one of the most important centres of European Medieval history. Hardly another town is so well conserved in its historical style. During a morning walking tour we will see the cathedral, with its exquisite choir stalls and museums with paintings by El Greco, Caravaggio and Bellini among others and the Church of Santo Tome, with El Greco’s famous and beautiful “Burial of the Count of Orgaz” and the “Sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca”. Return to the hotel this afternoon for some free time before we enjoy a farewell dinner.
Disembark after breakfast and continue with your onward plans.

Magellan Deck (Forward)

£ 5115 GBP pp
Magellan Deck (Forward)
Suites measure approximately 21m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Magellan Suite

£ 5215 GBP pp
Magellan Suite
Suites measure approximately 21.35m2. The beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Columbus Deck Superior

£ 5515 GBP pp
Columbus Deck Superior
Suites measure approximately 22 m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Marco Polo Deck Premium

£ 5615 GBP pp
Marco Polo Deck Premium
Suites measure approximately 20.9m2. The beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite

£ 5715 GBP pp
Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite
Suites measure approximately 22m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. These suites have two windows, one at the front and one at the side. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony

£ 6215 GBP pp
Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony
Suites measure approximately 20.9m2 with an extra 4 m2 for the balcony. Beds can be configured as twin or double. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Explorer Owners Balcony

£ 6715 GBP pp
Explorer Owners Balcony
Suites measure approximately 22m2 with an extra 8m2 for the balcony. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a large wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full-length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator

Magellan Suite Sole

£ 7315 GBP pp
Magellan Suite Sole
Suites measure approximately 21.35m2. The beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Columbus Deck Superior Sole

£ 7515 GBP pp
Columbus Deck Superior Sole
Suites measure approximately 22 m2. Beds can be configured as twin or double and there is a divider between the seating and bed area. Suites feature a walk-in wardrobe, sofa, coffee table, arm-chair, vanity table with large mirror and stool, bedside lamps, full length dressing mirror, hairdryer, television, electronic safe, air-conditioning and refrigerator.

Island Sky

Vessel Type:  Luxury Small Ship

Length:  90 metres

Passenger Capacity:  116 

Built / refurbished:  1992 / 2010 / 2017

Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck.

Services:

World-Class Cuisine

Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner

Live Entertainment

Complimentary Coffee/Tea station

Voyage Photographer

On-board MD and Facilities

Dedicated Passenger Service Manager

Pre-voyage hotel night

Complimentary Expedition Jacket

Facilities:

Elevator serving all passenger decks

Upgraded WIFI Internet

Library with computers

Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform

Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment

Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities

DVD Movie Library

Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck

World-Class Cuisine:

Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage.

Accommodations:

All Suites Feature:

Exterior views

Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds

Sitting area with sofa and side chair

Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player

Telephone

Independent temperature controls

Mini-Bar

Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries

Hair dryer

220 square feet or more

Sofa can be converted to bed for third person

Owner's, Penthouse & Veranda Suites:

INCLUDE ALL STANDARD FEATURES PLUS:

En suite Champagne & Chocolates on Arrival

Complimentary mini-bar (beer, wine & soft drinks)

En suite Nespresso machine

Promenade & Deluxe Suites:

INCLUDE ALL STANDARD FEATURES PLUS:

Tinted sliding glass doors, bringing Antarctica into your suite and giving easy access to the outer deck

En suite Champagne & Chocolates on Arrival

Complimentary mini-bar (beer, wine & soft drinks)

En suite Nespresso machine available on request

 

Cabin layout for Island Sky

Madrid Post-Tour Extension. From (875.00 GBP)

9th to 12th October 2017. If you would like to spend some time exploring Madrid and the surrounding area before returning to London we are offering a three night extension.

Island Sky

Island Sky in Portugal and SpainIsland Sky

Portugal and Spain Luxury Small Ship Cruise Luxury Small Ship Cruise

13 Days from
£ 5115 GBP pp

or call us on

NZ Freephone
0800 945 3327

AUS Freephone
1800 107 715

to help you make your reservation

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