Cultural Contrasts - Through the North Atlantic to Africa

Bergen, Norway - Casablanca, Morocco

Explore the rich history and fascinating culture of Europe as you sail from the fjords of Norway to the African desert. Let our expedition ship MS Midnatsol take you across historical oceans and bays to charming ports and lively cities, and discover the great contrasts of the magnificent European continent for yourself.

  • Experience the incredible contrasts of this continent as you visit explore the highlights of the European coastline
  • Stay active and enjoy excursions to cities and cultural and historic sites
  • Engage in on board lectures by our Expedition Team on destinations and wildlife along the route
  • Extend your holiday and explore coastal Casablanca after the sailing


Experience European coast gems from north to south. The journey starts in Bergen, on the west coast of Norway in the city coined “The Gateway to the Fjords”. The old Hanseatic vibe of the city, with its UNESCO site of Bryggen and the fish market Fisketorget, makes for quite a unique experience. It offers a taste of the urbanity to come in Amsterdam, our first port-of-call after crossing the North Sea.

From shopping to eyes dropping

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, invites you to explore its history and contemporary urban flair by foot, by bike or by canal boat. The journey then continues through the English Channel to shopping and sightseeing in Guernsey. In the Gulf of Biscay, you might want to go up on deck to look out for dolphins, whales and sea birds.

As we continue south you can really feel we are catching up with summer. The Hercules Tower, the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today, welcomes you to La Coruña in Spain with its Celtic and Roman heritage.

Portuguese past and present

The journey continues to the two biggest cities in Portugal, Porto and Lisbon. Porto is known for its many monuments by leading world architects from the past and the present. Europe’s second-oldest capital Lisbon (after Athens) welcomes you to UNESCO World Heritage sites and the acclaimed Fado nights, where you can experience live folksong performances at cafés and bars all over town.

After Lisbon we stop by Cadiz before the journey ends in iconic Casablanca, Morocco.

On sale

Single without supplement

Travelling alone? Pay no single supplement on selected departures in 2017. Book before 31 August 2017.

Price includes: 

  • Cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Wind and water resistant jacket
  • Activities onboard and ashore
  • Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanying landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities


  • Prices are in GBP per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather – and ice conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change
  • Medical questionnaire mandatory
  • Free rubber boot rental service on board

The itinerary

Learn more about the ports and cities you will explore on this southbound expedition along the European coastline, home to lively cities, historical landmarks and stunning scenery.

13 September 2017

Departure port Bergen, Norway
Day 1
Photo: Peer Greussing / Guest Image Photo

The gateway to the fjords

Location: Bergen

This 11-day expedition starts on the west coast of Norway as we depart Bergen in the afternoon. Known as 'The Gateway to the Fjords', we recommend you acquaint yourself with this international city with its small-town charm, surrounded by seven mountains. Stroll through the picturesque streets of Bergen and enjoy the well-known and famous sites like Håkon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower, St. Mary’s Church, Bergen Harbour and the famous fish market. Bergen was founded in 1070, and we recommend a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage famous houses of “Bryggen” (the wharf) - the perfect start to this adventure down the European coast.

Day 2
Photo: Madis Särglepp Photo

Cruising the seas

Location: The North Sea

A day at sea is a perfect way to start this adventure. The lecture team has prepared interesting lectures for you. You can also have a cocktail or coffee in the bar or observation lounge, enjoy the tasty meals in the restaurant or simply relax on deck.  

An important site for shipping and fishery, you'll notice that the North Sea's relative shallow waters also allow for an abundance of oil rigs - many of which have contributed to the wealth of Norway.

Day 3
Photo: S.Borisov / Shutterstock Photo

The pulse of Europe

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam developed from a small fishing village in the 13th century to one of the most charming and culturally important cities of the world. Few cities mix history with an urban flair like Netherland’s capital. Take a walk into history, get amazed by the museums, explore by foot, by bike or canal boat. We will spend almost two days here, giving you time to join our excursions and getting to know a lot of the city.

Day 4
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Photo: Shutterstock Photo

Where the city meets the sea

Location: Amsterdam and the English Channel

We leave Amsterdam in the morning hours. The rest of the day we will sail through the English Channel which connects the North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. This is the world's busiest seaway with more than 500 ships passing every day. The observation lounge is a good place to watch ocean liners from all over the world on their way through the Channel.

Day 5
Photo: Delpixel / Shutterstock Photo

Life on the island

Location: Guernsey

Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands, located next to the coast of Normandy in France. The islands have a very complicated political status. They are British crown dependencies, but they do not belong to the UK. St. Peter Port in Guernsey is considered to be one of Europe’s prettiest harbours, and it has been busy since Roman times. Enjoy a day of shopping, museums, hikes and bicycle trips or just unwind in a pub.

Day 6
1200x600_At sea_  ©Angela Siegel_Shutterstock_Day 7.png

Wildlife at sea

Location: The Bay of Biscay

Welcome to the Bay of Biscay, where Basque whalers perfected the craft of whaling almost a thousand years ago. In fact, the Basque whalers were so good that they played an important part in the whaling industry in the Arctic regions - and Svalbard in particular - joining local whaling crews as onboard experts.

A day at sea means looking for marine life like dolphins, whales and sea birds from deck. Enjoy the lectures given by the expedition team about history and biology in the lecture hall and on deck.

Day 7
Photo: Anibal-Trejo / Shutterstock Photo

Exploring the mystic Roman and Celtic heritage

Location: La Coruña, Spain

This morning we will make a short port call in Villa Garcia to disembark the guests attending our optional overland excursion to Santiago de Compostela, before we continue towards La Coruña where we are scheduled to arrive in the evening. Santiago de Compostela is the capital of Galicia, a beautiful, green land with strong Celtic ties. Historically the city is famous as the place where St James was buried after his remains were transferred here by sea from the Holy Land. On the site where he was buried stands the magnificent Cathedral of Santiago which attracts thousands of pilgrims who walk the ancient Way of St James (Camino de Santiago) every year.

La Coruña is great for history and culture buffs. The Celtic and Roman heritage still has a mystic and magic allure. The city had its heyday in the 14th and 15th centuries when it functioned as the port for English pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. On our way into the harbour we pass the Hercules Tower, the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today. Take a walk through the historic city and see the relics from the different peoples and cultures that gave the city its amazing appearance.


Day 8
Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock Photo

Portuguese charisma

Location: Leixões, Portugal

From Leixões it is a short and very interesting tour to Porto. Mix monuments by leading world architects from the past and the present with some fantastic baroque carvings. Add a world-famous sweet wine and a certain British flavour. Place it all by a grand river, and you have Porto. This is Portugal’s second largest metropolis, and one of Europe’s most charismatic cities. Its historic centre, Ribeira, at the northern bank of the Douro River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A boat tour in a replica of the old “Rabelo boats” offers a perfect view over the historic city from the riverside. We will spend a day exploring Porto and its wonderful surroundings.

Day 9
Photo: Rrrainbow / Shutterstock Photo

Exploring the capital

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal is Europe’s second-oldest capital (after Athens), and home to the Bélem Tower and the Jéronimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. The old city is situated close to the harbour so it's a short way if you want to explore and see the famous buildings like the 45m high Santa Justa Lift built in a Neo-Gothic style. Join our excursions or get a taste of Portugal in one of the many restaurants, cafes or bars. 

Day 10
Photo: Valda-Photo / Shutterstock Photo

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean

Location: Cadiz, Spain

After a relaxing morning we reach the harbour of Cadiz around lunchtime. Cadiz is almost totally surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and only connected with the mainland by a very small isthmus. Cadiz is viewed as the oldest city of the occident. The Phoenicians founded the town around 1100 B.C. Later on the Carthaginian, the Roman, Visigoths and Moors found their way into the city. The historic city is still surrounded by vestiges of the old city wall and is really worth a visit. In urban area of Cadiz lays Jerez, the home of the sherry. Visit the bodegas and distilleries to learn more about this incredible drink. Take some time to enjoy the seafood, surfing, churches, and museums and explore narrow streets where Atlantic waves crash against the sea walls.

Day 11
Photo: Corrado-Baratta / Shutterstock Photo

The White City

Location: Casablanca

Our expedition ends in Casablanca, Africa. We recommend that you stay out in deck when we sail into the harbour; The Hassan II Mosque is an amazing sight. The Mosque is the 7th large Mosque of the world, and 105.000 faithful can pray here at the same time. If you have time you should spend some time to explore the “White City” to get an impression of a lively African city, with a walk through the narrow streets and a visit to the souk (African market place).

23 September 2017

Location Casablanca, Morocco
Your ship Things to see and do


Challenge your inner explorer and experience everything that Europe has to offer with our diverse range of optional excursions.

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