The Signature Collection – Exclusive Amenities
The Signature Collection Sailings offer Exceptional Value and Exclusive Amenities.
Today Nantes is the most important commercial and industrial center in west-central France and appears as a well-managed city with fine museums and carefully tended parks and gardens. One museum is dedicated to Jules Verne, born here in 1828. The Loire, foundation of Nantes’ riches, has dwindled from the city center. The area’s 18th century mansions - which were once the trademark of rich merchants - are still in tact. French influence was brought to Nantes by the Loire and its trade from the end of the 18th century when the city became known as “Little Paris.” The Place Royale and the Place Graslin were first laid out during that time. One of the most impressive landmarks is Chateau des Ducs, most of which is preserved. Today the castle complex contains several museums. Another important monument is Gothic Cathedral, built over a period of more than four centuries. Its soaring height and lightness are emphasized by clean white stone.
La Rochelle has an interesting history. Today La Rochelle is centered around the old port and appears as a laidback but lively city that is very popular with tourists during the months of July and August. Although itself without beaches, stretches of fine sand can be found at the nearby Ile de Ré.
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The famous aristocratic beach resort of great reputation during last century still conserves its exclusive and cosmopolitan ambience. Its beautiful buildings and excellent beaches still today make it a privileged holiday destination.
Bilbao, the capital of Vizcaya Province, lies seven miles from the sea and has a coastline featuring rocks and steep cliffs, creeks and small estuaries; small fishing villages nestle in the inlets below green hills. The port of Bilbao is the largest in Spain and is built against the mountains. The city's fine museums include Fine Arts Museum and Guggenheim Museum. The Guggenheim Bilbao Museum is devoted to American and European art of the 20th century. The Fine Arts Museum specializes in paintings by Spanish masters. Our Lady of Begona Church is a 16th-century church on a hill with a good view of the city and valley. Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art is located in an old convent of Dominican nuns, a 16th-century, L-shaped cloister housing this fine museum with an outstanding exhibit of silversmiths' crafts that is one of the best collections in Spain. The Bullfighting Museum shows interesting bullfighting paraphernalia, such as costumes, photographs of famous toreros and a collection of posters. Visitors can try their gambling luck at Gran Casino Nervion.
Santander is located at a beautiful bay. It is an economically extremely active city with an important port. There is an ample cultural offer, specially remarkable are the Menendez y Pelayo International Summer University, and the International Festival. Santander's great sports facilities make it an ideal place for leisure.
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Vigo is Galicia's most populated city, with the most important port. The historic quarter is very charming and well preserved.
Santiago de Compostela is now considered by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site and attracts visitors from all over the world thanks to its fantastic monuments. The town is named after the Apostle Saint James ("Santiago"), who is buried here. In 2000 Santiago de Compostela was given the title of European Cultural Capital. Santiago is certainly one of Spain's most monumental towns, with a particular architectonical style all of its own. But it is as well a town plenty of life, with one of the most famous Universities and a large number of students who guarantee youthful ambience inbetween the historical walls. The region's cuisine is of great reputation, and it is said that nowhere has better seafood than Santiago.
The seaport of the city of Oporto (Porto), Leixoes provides easy access into the city, which is famous for its port wine. Other attractions in Oporto include Torre dos Clérigos, a baroque tower; the two-storied Dom Luis bridge across the Douro River; the Crystal Palace; and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.
Porto (Oporto), Portugal's second largest city, is full of interest, and the district it heads offers the visitor plenty to see. Along the coast, there are resorts like the cosmopolitan beach of Espinho, busy ports like Matosinhos, with splendid seafood, or traditional fishing towns like Póvoa de Varzim, and there is also an animated casino. Charming Amarante has 17th century mansions overlooking the river and is famous for a sweet egg pastries called "papos de anjo" (angel bellies). In Vila Nova de Gaia, there are lodges where Port wine is blended and aged and where tasting are offered, or visitors may take a river cruise along the Douro. The whole district is filled with prosperous towns, but there are also many calm roads with wonderful views over the river and a rugged and still unspoilt coastline.
Portugal’s capital is an 18th-century city - elegant, open to the sea and carefully planned. Most places of interest are within easy walking distance. Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon since medieval times, is an ideal place to start exploring. Many rebuilt houses with original façades provide stores and restaurants with modern interiors. High above Baixa is Bairro Alto - with its teeming nightlife. There are many monuments and museums, such as San Jeronimos Monastery, Royal Coach Museum and Gulbenkian Museum. Two well-known landmarks are the Monument to the Discoveries and the Tower of Belem. A statue of Christ looms above Europe’s longest suspension bridge. Madragoa, Bica and Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s older sections, offer a variety of sights: the Church of Sao Roque, with its beautiful tiles; St. George Castle, which offers a splendid view from its location above the Alfama quarter; the botanical gardens, featuring an unusual, cold greenhouse; and the cathedral, stunning with its Moorish design. Renowned Gulbenkian Museum is the cultural center of Portugal.
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