Celtic Lands

From the coast of France to the British Isles, take a voyage to the Celtic Lands with the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from May 24 - June 2,  2018. 


From the coast of France to the British Isles, take a voyage to the Celtic Lands with the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) from May 24 - June 2, 2018. This special itinerary explores the lands and seas traversed by the Iron Age tribes known as the Celts, along with their enduring influence and the captivating historical legacies of more recent times. Their immeasurable contributions to the culture of Europe’s civilizations are surrounded in mystery, legend, and folklore, and are rooted in a wealth of art, science, and mythology.

Experience the rich traditions and astonishing beauty of Normandy’s storied coastline and the British Isles during this once-in-a-lifetime Celtic Lands voyage. By exclusive arrangement, walk the hallowed D-Day beaches of Normandy, France, with Dwight David Eisenhower II, grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and meet Allen Packwood, an expert on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, England. Both Professor Eisenhower and Mr. Packwood will join us for a portion of the cruise to lecture and share their insights regarding two of the most influential figures of the 20th century.
Cruise across the English Channel and into the waters of the Celtic and Irish Seas aboard the specially chartered Five-Star, Small Ship m.s. Le Boréal, featuring only 110 suites and staterooms. Explore cities, villages, and islands that abound with living Celtic heritage, calling at ports inaccessible to larger vessels.
View the treasures of Celtic history in Dublin, Ireland, and follow in the footsteps of medieval and modern princes in North Wales. Discover Scotland’s misty, legend-haunted, and seldom-visited Inner Hebridean Islands, and call on the majestic Isle of Skye, where the traditional Gaelic language is still spoken today. Admire the austere beauty of the Scottish Highlands aboard The Jacobite steam train, better recognized as Harry Potter’s Hogwartstm Express, “one of the great railway journeys of the world.”

Share this extraordinary visit to the historic D-Day beaches of Normandy, where Allied forces turned the tides of World War II, and the Celtic Lands of Scotland and Ireland with alumni, friends, and participants from cosponsoring associations. You are encouraged to contact the Alumni Travel Study Program now for early booking savings and choice accommodations.

Dates and Prices:

Trip Dates: May 24 - June 2, 2018

Prices: from $6,395 to $16,195 per person based upon double occupancy

Program Itinerary:

U.S./Glasgow, Scotland - Thursday and  Friday, May 24 & 25, 2018
Depart the U.S.  for Glasgow. On arrival, embark the Five-Star M.S.  LE BOREAL. Enjoy dinner on board the ship Wednesday evening.

Oban/Fort William/Scottish Highlands/The Jacobite steam train/Mallaig -  Saturday, May 26, 2018
Enjoy a full day's journey through the lush, resplendent beauty of the legendary Scottish Highlands. From Oban, travel through the heart of the Highlands and see the picturesque Pass of Brander, Loch Awe, with views of the striking Kilchurn Castle, and Rannoch Moor, one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. Enjoy the splendor of majestic Glencoe-Scotland's most scenic glen, most of which is owned and preserved by the National Trust for Scotland and continue along the verdant shores of Loch Linnhe.

After lunch in Fort William, board The Jacobite steam train-immortalized as the Hogwarts'· Express in the Harry Potter film series-for "one of the great railway journeys of the world" through awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Begin your train journey in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, and travel past Loch and River Morar to Mallaig near Loch Nevis the deepest seawater loch in Europe. Along the way, visit the bucolic village of Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied Jacobite Highlanders against King George II in 1745. This evening, attend the Captain's Welcome Reception and dinner.

Kyle of Lochalsh/Armadale, Isle of Skye - Sunday, May 27, 2018
In Kyle of Lochalsh, visit the 13th -century Eilean Donan Castle, named for a sixth-century Irish saint and one of the most iconic castles in the world. Skye, dubbed "the Winged Island" after its birdlike shape, is the largest and one of the most scenic of the Inner Hebrides. Visit Armadale Castle's spectacular 17th -century gardens and learn more about the powerful reign of Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles until 1493. On board the ship this evening, Allen Packwood discusses the complexity of the D-Day operations and Sir Winston Churchill's role in its undertaking.

Tobermory, Isle of Mull/Isle of Iona -  Monday, May 28, 2018
Go ashore at the sheltered port of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, where brightly painted houses are nestled between the hills and the harbor. After time at leisure, visit 13th -century Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean, and enjoy lunch in the castle's tea room.

Ferry across the Sound of Iona to the neighboring Hebridean Isle of Iona, birthplace of Scottish Christianity. In A.D. 563, the Irish monk Columba founded a monastery here, where scribes would spend their entire lives painstakingly copying and illuminating religious tracts and transcribing ancient Celtic sagas into written form, preserving a record of oral bardic tradition. In later years, Iona became the burial place of Scotland's kings, including Duncan and Macbeth. At Iona Abbey, stroll through the serene, restored monastery and see the churchyard's intricate Celtic crosses. Later, join Allen Packwood as he presents the lecture "Churchill and the Two Republics: France and the U.S." on board the ship.

Holyhead, Wales/Caernarfon Castle - Tuesday, May 29, 2018
From Holyhead, transfer across the diminutive Isle of Anglesey and over the Menai Strait to North Wales, one of the cradles of Celtic culture. Here, the people hold fast to the old ways and Welsh remains their mother tongue. Visit beautiful Bodnant Garden, one of the finest examples of 19th-century Victorian landscape artistry. Stop in the charming seaside resort town of Llandudno for lunch, followed by a stirring private choir performance of Welsh hymns. Tour the imposing UNESCO World Heritage-designated Caernarfon Castle, an impenetrable 13th-century fortress built by Edward I of England as a defense against the marauding Welsh. Following the tradition of seven centuries of monarchs, Queen Elizabeth II invested the future heir to the British throne, her son Charles, as "Prince of Wales" at Caernarfon in 1969. Enjoy views of the beautiful, glacier-sculpted peaks and valleys of the Snowdonia Mountains on your return to the ship.

Dublin, Ireland - Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Built astride the River Liffey, Ireland's historic capital has retained its rich heritage of Georgian architecture. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, including the landmark St. Patrick's and Christ Church Cathedrals and grand O'Connell Street, lined with bronze and marble statues of Irish statesmen; stroll through the stately quadrangles of Trinity College; and view the incandescent illuminations of the ninth-century Book of Kells. The afternoon is at leisure to walk along colorful Grafton Street, savor a pint of Guinness in a neighborhood pub or visit the National Gallery of Ireland, one of the best repositories of Celtic treasures in the world. On board the ship this evening, enjoy a specially arranged traditional Irish music and dance performance.

English Channel Crossing - Thursday, May 31, 2018
 Enjoy enriching educational lectures today while cruising to France's Normandy beaches. Professor Dwight David Eisenhower II will share captivating personal insights about General Dwight D. Eisenhower and on Operation Overlord, the Allies' code name for the World War II  military campaign his grandfather launched for the D-Day airborne and amphibious invasion at Normandy.

Caen, France,  for Normandy Beaches - Friday, June 1, 2018
 Dock in Caen and travel through the scenic countryside to the historic Normandy beaches. In the company of Dwight David Eisenhower II, walk where Allied forces landed on June 6,1944, under the direction of his grandfather, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. Contemplate the solemn commemorative crosses and Stars of David in the American Military Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach. Envision the heroic soldiers of the U.S. Army Second Ranger Battalion, who scaled the 100-foot sheer cliffs to capture German gun emplacements at Pointe du Hoc.

Following lunch, continue to Arromanches to see the remnants of Mulberry Harbor, constructed by the British to support Allied The traditional way of life in the Scottish Isles remains unchanged in the colorful fishing port of Tobermory, where brightly painted houses overlook the Sound of Mull.  landings on the Normandy beaches. View an absorbing wraparound short film  documenting the D-Day campaign at the Arromanches 360 Circular Cinema; or choose to see the famous 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry, a stunning visual chronicle of the Norman Conquest of 1066.

This evening, attend the Captain's Farewell Reception and dinner.

Honfleur/Paris/U.S. - Saturday, June 2, 2018
 Disembark and continue on the Paris and the Gardens of Giverny Post-Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.

Acclaimed Guest Speakers

Dwight David Eisenhower II

Grandson of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Professor Eisenhower is an acclaimed historian and Director of  the Institute for Public Service at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania. Professor Eisenhower has written two seminal works about his grandfather: Eisenhower:At War 1943-1945 and Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961 - 1969 (co-author).

Allen Packwood

Allen Packwood, an expert on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, England will deliver two lectures on Churchill.


On board the specially chartered, Five-Star M.S. LE BOREAL

  • Eight-night cruise from Glasgow, Scotland, to Honfleur, France, featuring port calls at Oban, Scotland, for Fort Wiliam and The Jacobite steam train journey through the Scottish Highlands to Mallaig; Kyle of Lochalsh; Scotland's Hebridean Islands including Skye, Mull and Iona; Holyhead, Wales; Dublin, Ireland; and Caen, France, for the D-Day beaches of Normandy.
  • Elegantly appointed, Five-Star Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are available throughout the cruise.
  • All meals-early continental breakfast, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea and dinner-throughout the cruise, featuring fine international and regional cuisine, served at single, unassigned seatings.
  • Complementary wine is served with lunch and dinner.
  • Excursion through the Scottish Highlands featuring a specially arranged trip aboard The Jacobite steam train, including lunch.
  • Scenic excursion to visit Clan Donald's Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye and to Kyle of Lochalsh for iconic Euean Donan Castle.
  • Panoramic tour of the Isle of Mull, featuring an excursion to Duart Castle, with lunch and time at leisure in Tobermory.
  • Visit to the Isle of Iona, Scotland's "cradle of Christianity," featuring tile historic Iona Abbey.
  • Private performance by the renowned Welsh Maelgwyn Choir and lunch in Llandudno.
  • Visit to Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and 19th-century Bodnant Garden, with picturesque views of the magnificent Snowdonia Mountains in Wales.
  • City tour of Dublin, featuring a visit to Trinity College to see the iconic Book Kells, and free time to explore the city at your own pace.
  • Traditional Irish music and dance entertainment aboard ship while in Dublin.
  • Full-day excursion to the historic D-Day beaches of Normandy with a visit to the American Military Cemetery and lunch; and an opportunity to watch a short film documenting the D-Day campaign at the Arromanches 360 Circular Cinema overlooking Gold Beach and the Mulberry Harbor site, or to see tile legendary Bayeux Tapestry, chronicling tile Norman Conquest of 1066.

Additional Inclusions

  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide ,with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined above,with experienced local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Complimentary bottled water in your Suite or Stateroom and on excursions.
  • Hospitality desk aboard ship.
  • The services of experienced Travel Directors throughout tile program.
  • Complimentary use of a state-of-the-art audio headset for each participant during guided excursions.
  • Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure information.

Not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport fees; visas and fees for obtaining visas; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air taxes; airfare and associated local taxes*, airport facility taxes and federal inspection fees not listed int he "included features" section of the program brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from airport/hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later and/or departing earlier or later that scheduled group transfer(s); meals and and alcoholic beverages not listed in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure; and all other services not specifically mentioned in the "Included Features" section of the program brochure.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.