Cruise along the Guadalquivir River in the wake of adventurers to the New World
At the end of March when the last vestiges of winter may be blowing around northern Europe, spring has already come to Spain and Portugal. Our cruise visits five ports with strong associations with the sea. Our forays ashore mainly concentrate on seeing the sights with local guides, but we are also able to stroll along the coast, taking in the bracing sea air, and walk inland close to historic cities.
Sailing from Southampton we have a day at sea before arriving in La Coruña in northern Spain. It was from here that the Spanish Armada set sail in May 1588. It is known as one of Galicia’s most attractive cities. Its ‘Cidade Vella’ (old town) contains medieval Romanesque churches, narrow streets overlooked by balconied windows and squares lined with splendid public buildings. Braemar now heads south along the entire length of the Iberian peninsula to the city of Cádiz.
From here we pass through the Straits of Hercules, past Gibraltar into the Mediterranean to Malaga from where we travel inland to the romantically situated city of Ronda, deep in the heart of Andalusia. The following afternoon finds us following in the wake of galleons which in days of old sailed out to the New World, returning laden with gold to Seville, as we follow the bends of the Guadalquivir River. Seville is a magical city. Orange trees line the cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings around quiet squares. It is the epitome of the exotic south of Spain. Heading west and then north Braemar brings us to the Portuguese capital Lisbon. The city is renowned for its clear Atlantic light, and we wander the steep cobbled streets full of history and charm. From Lisbon, we cruise back to Southampton, enjoying the comforts on board.
At the end of each day ashore we return to Braemar to enjoy an excellent evening meal and all the comforts on board. We arrive in both Seville and Lisbon late afternoon, giving us the opportunity to experience these cities in the evening as well as during the day.
Please note, ports of call may change between different departure dates. It is important to check the individual tour date proposed itinerary for details of your cruise.
Breakfast and dinner throughout your tour, plus lunch on sea days
Complimentary tea and coffee at select locations throughout the ship
All entertainment, sports & leisure facilities on board
A programme of walks and excursions from our ports of call including any necessary transportation costs
Tips to the ship’s restaurant staff
What's not included?
All drinks on board
Any local excursions not included in the Ramblers Cruise & Walk Holidays programme including entrances to museums, sites or Fred Olsen on shore activities
Access to Wi-Fi on board the ship. At the time of writing Fred Olsen offer various packages from £16 for 30 minutes to £84 for unlimited access on a 14-day cruise. Please ask for more details at the Reception Desk on the ship
Personal laundry and dry cleaning, hairdressing, health, beauty treatments and selected fitness classes
Occasionally a local guide or your Ramblers Cruise & Walk leader might suggest entering a site or monument in a city for which there is an entrance fee to pay. Please allow approximately £30 for this
Discretionary gratuities to the crew, drivers, guides etc both on board and ashore
This is a Grade 3 leisurely holiday which includes countryside walking with plenty of breaks, normally taking up the whole day, and is likely to include an element of sightseeing. You are unlikely to walk more than 8 miles and the cumulative ascents and descents will be gradual and range from minimal to up to about 300m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Day 2 to 13
Day 2 to 13
Braemar (Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines)
Walks & Excursions
The described walks assume that the weather will be good and that the ship will keep to the planned schedule. We may have to change the walks if the ship’s schedule changes or there is poor weather.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator.
We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by
us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
Fred Olsen Paying On Board
The currency on board ship is sterling. A credit account system is operated onboard allowing bar drinks, wine in restaurants, laundry charges, purchases from the shop and any other incidental expenses to be automatically charged to your account. You will be required to register a debit or credit card at check-in against which to charge your onboard account. At the time of writing there is no charge for payment by credit or debit card. Onboard accounts can be settled in cash, however, a debit or credit card must still be registered at check-in to secure the on-board account balance.
The following credit cards are accepted: Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Fred. Olsen also accepts Visa debit cards but is unable to accept American Express, Solo, and Electron, travel agent debit cards or traveller’s cheque cards.
The ship operates a Bureau de Change onboard, where currency can be purchased or sold subject to local currency restrictions. All major currencies are stocked based on the cruise destinations with no commission charge and competitive rates.
Whilst sightseeing plays a part in our itinerary, no entrances to museums or monuments are planned, and therefore no entrance fees are included in the price of the holiday.
Currency in Spain
The currency in Spain is the euro.
Currency in Portugal
The currency in Portugal is the euro. You may wish to take some euro cash with you until you reach an ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted in smaller towns and rural areas.
Currency in Malta
The official currency in Malta is the euro. The nearest bank with an ATM machine to our accommodation in Malta can be found in the centre of Mellieha a short walk from the hotel. On Gozo there is an ATM machine on the seafront adjacent to our hotel, however the nearest bank is located in Victoria, a 10 minute bus ride away. Generally banks and ATM machines can be found in most towns and villages.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
On arrival at the port you will need to produce both your ticket and a valid passport, so please ensure you have both ready to hand. When checking in you will be issued with your ship’s pass and boarding card. Your ship’s pass acts as your security pass and onboard account card for the full duration of the cruise. Each time you embark or disembark the ship your card will be swiped to record whether you are on board or ashore. In addition, your hand luggage may be subject to either x-ray scanning or a manual search each time you re-join the ship.
At least 24 hours before the end of your cruise the full disembarkation instructions will be placed inside your cabin. Please ensure you have settled all onboard accounts before leaving the ship.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
Your luggage allowance is 200lbs or 90kg. For safety reasons, each piece of luggage should weigh less than 44lbs or 20kg.
Approximately 10 days prior to departure, we will send you your cruise tickets and luggage labels.
Please be advised that there are a number of items that are prohibited to be taken on board. To avoid any items being confiscated at check-in, please familiarise yourself with our prohibited items policy at www.fredolsencruises.com and search for ‘prohibited items’.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport.
Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents
and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to
ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply
with, such requirements.
Please ensure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from the date you return from the cruise and have enough spare pages to accept immigration stamps/visas. Ramblers Walking Holidays will not be held responsible for any guest refused entry to a country/countries for non-compliance with the above, and passage will be refused to any guest at point of embarkation with insufficient passport validity. We would suggest a minimum of four clear pages excluding pages required for any visas you are required to apply for in advance of sailing. It is also a requirement of all immigration authorities that your passport is not damaged in any way or has no missing pages - we strongly recommend you check the condition of your passport prior to travel.
Where are we going to stay?
Braemar (Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines)
Capable of comfortably accommodating up to 929 passengers, Braemar has a un-crowded, intimate feel, with friendly staff. Large windows bathe the ship's public areas in natural light and provide spectacular views. One of the focal points on Braemar is the beautifully painted, five-deck-high Atrium area, while the cascading outside decks at the stern really enhance the ship's elegant profile and offer stunning vistas no matter which outside deck you're on.
Refreshed with new fixtures, décor and furnishings during her extensive refit in late 2017, there are updated restaurants, bars and lounges offering sumptuous cuisine, and fantastic daily entertainment. From the grand Neptune Lounge, which hosts lectures and live shows, and the Coral Club, with its resident bands and large dance floor, to the welcoming Morning Light Pub and the intimate Observatory Lounge, there's a venue to suit every occasion on board Braemar. Spend time at the fully-equipped Fitness Centre, indulge yourself at the Atlantis Spa, relax in the pools or Jacuzzi or feel the sea breeze on a walk around the ship's open promenade.
On board facilities also include two swimming pools, a fitness centre including a sauna, steam room and beauty salon, two sun decks, Jacuzzis, several lounges and bars, a card room, small casino, library, coffee shop, internet room and restaurants. The ship has a medical centre, a boutique, a shop where you can buy essentials such as sun cream or toiletries, and there is also a self service laundrette and ironing room on board.
All guest cabins are equipped with climate control, an interactive smart TV, hairdryer, desk, phone, fridge (which can be stocked as a mini-bar) and tea and coffee making facilities as standard. Allocated cabins will be an inside cabin unless you have paid a supplement to upgrade.
Your cabin steward will keep your cabin in immaculate condition, replacing any linen or towels as or when required. Separate towels are provided for poolside use. Braemar operates a satellite telephone system, with telephones in each cabin, and personal mobile phones enabled for international roaming should work on board. The voltage on board the Braemar is supplied at 220 volts (requiring a continental style 2-pin plug).
Payment on board is in Sterling, and a credit account system is operated on board allowing purchases to be charged to your account which must be settled at the end of your cruise.
So, what’s on the menu? One certainty is that no one on board the ship will ever go hungry. All meals are included, and you start the day with breakfast, a buffet arrangement where you can choose from fresh fruits, cereals, yoghurts, a full English breakfast, cheeses, cold cuts, breads, pastries, fresh juices and unlimited tea or coffee.
We’ll take our lunches on board on cruising days and the choice is yours: sample the ample buffet in the restaurant, see what’s on offer in the informal café or choose an alfresco poolside affair. When we’re out for the day we’ll be provided with a packed lunch.
Dinner is a sumptuous five course feast. The choices are many, and the food is excellent. The menus are varied and mouth-watering, freshly cooked by award-winning chefs. Special diets such as fat-free, vegetarian and gluten-free meals can be catered for. Dinner is taken in a stylish restaurant with smiling courteous waiting staff creating a wonderful atmosphere for your evening meal. We are booked for dinner at 6.15pm to allow you plenty of time to also enjoy the evening entertainment if you wish. Wine can be pre-ordered from the Maître’d, over the interactive intranet in your cabin, or at the table.
If this is not enough, there is also morning coffee, afternoon tea and extensive late-night suppers to indulge in! We’ll also have an exclusive drinks party for our group one evening in addition to the Captain’s welcome and farewell parties and a traditional afternoon tea with waiter service on one of our sea days.
Complimentary tea and coffee can be found aboard the ship throughout the day, usually in the informal café. Other drinks must be purchased but the prices are very reasonable. No alcoholic drinks purchased ashore may be taken aboard the ship for consumption during the cruise.
If you have any special dietary requirements such as diabetic, gluten/wheat-free, dairy-free/soya, vegetarian, vegan, or low fat please advise us at the time of booking or no later than 14 weeks prior to departure.
Footwear & Kit List
Good quality waterproof walking shoes or trail shoes with a thick, moulded sole with a good tread and a low heel are likely to be all that is required for these holidays. If you are a frequent walker and are comfortable in good quality hiking sandals, these may be adequate for some walks. You can wear lightweight walking boots if you prefer.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
Fleece or jumper
Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun screen
Swimwear (if appropriate)
Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the days activity)
Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity
Basic first aid kit
Walking poles (should you find them useful)
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Daytime wear is casual with comfortable shoes for walking around deck. A lightweight jacket or coat is recommended for the early evening when the sun sets. You may also like to take a towel and swimwear as the Fred Olsen ships have small swimming pools and Jacuzzis. Towels are provided at the poolside should you forget your own. During the day casual wear is allowed in the restaurant but not swimwear.
During your cruise, there will be formal and smart casual evenings. On formal evenings, gentlemen are encouraged to wear ‘black tie’, although a dark suit and tie will suffice, with ladies elegantly dressed in cocktail or evening dress. On smart casual evenings, men can wear open-necked shirts, chinos and dark coloured jeans, and women dress or trousers and a top.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
Your travel insurance details
Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Electricity on Board
All of the cruise ships feature 2-pin (round pin) Continental style plug (220 volt-60 Hz) and Bolette will also feature UK plug sockets.
Bolette and Borealis also feature the American-style 110 volt plug.
We recommend you bring adaptors on board, but if you forget, these can be borrowed from the Guest Services desk when on board, or purchased from the ship's Port Shop.
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is
filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter
such as a Water-to-go bottle available from
Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go
for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website
at www.watertogo.eu and
enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the
discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us
to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop 5 High Street Upton upon Severn, Worcs WR8 0HJ England
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility
to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on,
and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure.
Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Staying Healthy Onboard
Although most cruises experience calm seas, there is always the possibility of heavy weather. It is possible in these circumstances that some clients may be susceptible to sea-sickness. You may wish to consider packing some travel motion sickness medication which can greatly reduce any symptoms. Please liaise with your local pharmacist or doctor for advice regarding particular medication.
Whilst none of the walks is difficult you need to be comfortable walking over uneven and occasionally steep ground to enjoy them to the full.
Network and Centre website at www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, the NHS Fit for Travel website at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and the Foreign Office Travel Advice website at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice or a local travel health clinic.
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
We cannot stress enough the importance of good quality, comprehensive cruise insurance. Insurance is a mandatory requirement for all customers travelling on board.
We require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance. Your Ramblers Cruise & Walk leader will ask for this information locally and you will not be able to join our walking and activity programme without this information.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday. It is vital that you have disclosed all pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
EHIC & GHIC Cards
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
Naturally, the safety and comfort of our guests and crew is always our highest priority. We would therefore like to reassure you that when in certain ‘hot spots’ around the world, additional and robust security measures are put in place. Whereas you will appreciate that we cannot divulge these plans we would like to pre-advise that additional safety drills will take place prior to reaching these waters and it may be necessary to close the portholes of lower deck cabins whilst in areas considered to be at a higher threat level. We thank you in advance for your co-operation and understanding.
Fred Olsen Plastic Policy
The use of single-use plastics on board Fred Olsen ships has been stopped wherever possible, including the banning of plastic straws, cocktail sticks, stirrers, cutlery and take away coffee cups. In addition, their officers and crew always consider how they can reduce the use of plastic further. All waste is collected, sorted and discharged by the ship’s staff following strict environmental regulatory requirements. This waste is subsequently landed ashore to approved recycling and receiving operators. The only waste that is discharged at sea is commuted food waste and wastewater.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations.
Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence
of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups
not only gives you an up close and personal experience of
your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate
environment. We feel that the most important starting point
to protect the environment is to be out in it.
For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able
to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives.
Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose
aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries
we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long
term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less
developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
See our website for more information and details of some of the
projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature
of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change
to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and
your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your
attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Easy countryside walking with plenty of breaks, normally taking up the whole day. You are unlikely to walk more than 6 miles and the cumulative ascents and descents will be gradual and range from minimal to 300m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.