Travel-writer and cruise-aficionado Anthony Nicholas takes a look at some of the options available to those looking to take in some of D-Day’s historic sites an a cruise this June.
June 6th this year marks the seventieth anniversary of the greatest amphibious assault of all time; the huge English, American and Canadian assault along the coast of Hitler’s so-called ‘Fortress Europe’. The events of that day changed the course of world history forever.
There are some interesting cruises on offer to the various sites associated with the Normandy campaign; a series of battles that, in the first instance, involved securing a safe bridgehead and then capturing local harbours from the Germans. It follows that a cruise ship Is a safe, modern and logical way to see these infamous sites and as such there is a fine array of D-Day anniversary cruises this spring.
Swan Hellenic offers a fantastic, twelve night itinerary on the stylish, intimate Minerva. Sailing from Portsmouth on June 4th, she sails over to Caen, literally the crucible of the early, savage fighting. The ship also visits Cherbourg, and the site of the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation, and also makes an overnight call in Le Havre, ideal for those wanting to also visit Paris.
Minerva also overnights in L’Orient, with its still intact, gigantic U-Boat pens, and also visits both the Isles of Scilly and Dartmouth. This is possibly the most comprehensive cruise on offer over the anniversary.
Fred. Olsen Cruises offers a really good, seven night itinerary aboard the small, highly styled Braemar to the main sights. Sailing on June 1st, Braemar takes in Cherbourg, and also offers an overnight stay in Le Havre. This allows ample time to see the five original invasion beaches, plus the museums and still intact German fortifications in the area. As with the Swan Hellenic cruise, Dunkirk is also on the roster.
Lastly, Cruise And Maritime Voyages is showcasing an itinerary, beginning in Bristol and ending in Liverpool, aboard the small, classically styled Discovery. Departing on June 1st, the seven night adventure allows you to see the still intact German emplacements on Guernsey- the only part of the UK to be occupied by the enemy- as well as making a call at pretty Honfleur, ideal for a visit to the site of the famous, fiercely contested Pegasus Bridge.
Discovery also calls at Cherbourg, and spends the actual anniversary of the invasion on June 6th, cruising off the invasion beaches themselves; a poignant and timely interlude for what is sure to be an emotional voyage.
Taken collectively, these cruises showcase some of the most momentous events and memories in human history. Individually, any of them is an evocative, compelling adventure.
For more information regarding these voyages please call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677. Alternatively, please use the Contact Us page on our website to request further details or quotes.