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Spirit of Discovery

Gourmet Spain with Jools Holland

15-day cruise


Short description

Be one of the first aboard the Spirit of Discovery, sailing the glittering Mediterranean


  • Celebrate an inaugural season with performances from Jools Holland and cooking classes from a celebrity chef
  • Take in the city greats of Barcelona and Lisbon
  • Pause at Roman ruins and charming, lesser-visited ports
  • Wash down full-board fine dining with included wines
  • Enjoy afternoon teas, along with included room service on your balcony

In Brief

  • 1 Night Dover
  • 3 Nights At Sea
  • 1 Night Gibraltar
  • 1 Night Cartagena
  • 1 Night At Sea
  • 1 Night Sète
  • 1 Night Barcelona
  • 1 Night Alicante
  • 1 Night At Sea
  • 1 Night Lisbon
  • 2 Nights At Sea


Recommended for:
Ocean cruise

As one of the first sailings of the Spirit of Discovery, this unique departure includes wildlife spotting with the experts at ORCA, cooking classes from celebrity chef Kevin Woodford and, yes, performances by Jools Holland himself. That’s on top of a curated route. Along with the city icons of Barcelona and Lisbon, you’ll take in everything from Gibraltar’s unique beauty to Cartagena’s Roman heritage and the Moorish castles of Alicante. You’ll even kiss France in the charming port town of Sète. Then, each day, you’ll return to classical entertainment, spa treatments and full-board, wine-paired dining that spans from afternoon teas to the private balcony of your elegant accommodation. This is a true, gourmet experience.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Dover, UK

Begin in style with a complimentary chauffeur transfer to Dover. Then, embarking the Spirit of Discovery, you’ll settle into your full-board dining with a welcome cocktail party and captain’s dinner. You can expect everything from supper-club fineries and grand, multi-course dinners to a sun-deck grill, pan-Asian classics and just-caught seafood. Think lobster thermidor and sushi rolls. Whatever you choose, it’s all washed down with a complimentary selection of fine wines. What’s more, on this special sailing you’ll be accompanied by Kevin Woodford, of Ready Steady Cook fame, who’ll be on hand to deliver live cooking demonstrations.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: D

Days 2-4
At Sea

With three days at sea, you’ll have plenty of time to acquaint yourself with your ship’s luxurious facilities. Brand new for 2019, it’s truly impressive – not least in your boutique cabin, dressed in the best in British design. Each also comes with its own private balcony, which is perfect for enjoying the 24-hour complimentary room service. However, you’ll also want to indulge with the daily afternoon tea, and you certainly won’t want to miss out on performances from the man himself – Jools Holland, backed by his legendary band. You’ll also be accompanied by experts from ORCA, on hand to point out any passing whales or dolphins.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Gibraltar, UK

Your first point of call is Gibraltar, its 5km-long limestone ridge dominating the horizon. From red post-boxes to historic seaside hotels, it’s a slice of Britain flung out into the Mediterranean. The Palladian architecture is especially pretty, all white colonnades and stern gables. Of course, you might also want to enjoy a walk up the Rock, where you’ll have the option of enjoying a buck’s fizz and brunch, backdropped by Mediterranean views and a magical performance by concert pianist Aaron Monteverde.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Cartagena, Spain

Hopping over into Spain, you’ll arrive into Cartagena, where you’ll be greeted by a life-sized sculpture of a whale tail in the port. Indeed, you’ll be able to learn about the city’s ancient seafaring past at the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology, or with a walk among the cannons of the Naval Museum. Alternatively, dust off the city’s Roman roots on a trip to the well-preserved hilltop theatre and take in the city views from the Moorish castle’s battlements. Then, descend to take in Cartagena’s pretty plazas and Modernista, Gaudí-style buildings; it’s all perfectly walkable. There’s even the chance for a tasting of the local liquor.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 7
At Sea

With a day at sea, you’ll have further opportunity to sample your ship’s gourmet experiences, bringing the ship’s route to life with wine tastings, a pop-up tapas bar and Spanish cookery lessons from Kevin Woodford.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Sète, France

You’ll arrive into France with Sète, a charming port town. Known as the “Venice of Languedoc”, its gorgeous harbour is fed by a series of canals and backed by typical Occitanie architecture. However, this is a workingman’s town at its heart, best taken in with the seafood restaurants and market bustle of the old fishermen’s quarter. You might also want to explore the hillside villas and ateliers of the high town, or perhaps venture out to that hulking medieval fortress town – Carcassonne.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Barcelona, Spain

It’s time for a true trip highlight today – Barcelona. From the severity of the Gothic Quarter to the great cathedral whimsies of Gaudí, the Catalan capital is a tour-de-force of architectural magnificence. It’s all the inspiration to such artist greats as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, whose works are showcased in the city’s famous galleries. While you might also want to relax on its golden beaches, be sure to also find time to sample some of the city’s finest tapas, perhaps on a guided tour.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Alicante, Spain

Today, you’ll arrive into Alicante – gateway to Spain’s Costa Blanca, so called for its white-sand beaches. And, the city offers some of the region’s finest, set around a wide, curving bay that’s backed by rugged mountains. Take it all in with a stroll along the palm-shaded promenade, best paired with a refreshing glass of sangria. However, Alicante is also home to a unique history. The Greeks, Romans, Moors and Baroque artists have all left their mark, something evidenced in everything from the 18th-century town hall to the thousand-year-old Santa Bárbara Castle. Alternatively, you can visit Elche to see its UNESCO-listed palm oasis, first laid out in the 10th century.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 11
At Sea

With a day at sea, you’ll be able to settle in to enjoy the entertainment. Expect singers, musicians and lecturers to all be inspired by your route, while the Playhouse offers everything from cinema screenings to performances from the ship’s very own theatre company. Just be sure to enjoy a pre-show cocktail, or cap off your night with a gelato ice cream or something bubbly from the champagne bar.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 12
Lisbon, Portugal

Cruising under the spectacular 25 de Abril Bridge, you’ll arrive into the Portuguese capital. Spread across seven hills plied by famous tramways, you’ll be treated to a fresh view of its terracotta tumble at every turn, as well as a new part of its rich history. Take in the cobblestone charm of the Alfama old town, the medieval grandeur of the São Jorge Castle and the Palace of the Marquises’ 17th-century Baroque opulence. Of course, the UNESCO-listed Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery are particular highlights – as are the city’s famous custard tarts.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Days 13-14
At Sea

Your last two days onboard are the chance to unwind. Perhaps make use of the superb spa, booking on to a massage treatment or taking part in a yoga and tai-chi class in the cutting-edge gym. Alternatively, grab a complimentary coffee and slice of homemade cake before retreating to the library with a good book. It even features free classes and workshops in the adjoining craft area.

Stay: Spirit of Discovery (Superior)

Meals: B L D

Day 15
Dover, UK

After breakfast, your private chauffeur will be waiting to see you home.

Meals: B


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