During 2014, several cruise lines are offering sailings for the recollection and understanding of two of the most significant events that took place in the 20th century. The waterways and seas of Europe are flowing to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The following cruise lines have added commemorative sailings.
Azamara Club Cruises
The ‘Memories of WWII Voyage’ will last for eleven days, will be held on the ship Azamara Journey and is due to start on June 3rd. Beginning out of Lisbon and finishing in Hamburg, the Azamara Journey will take passengers to see some of the most moving and historic parts of the war such as Cherbourg to see the D-Day Landing Beaches.
Amsterdam is also on the agenda and there is a ‘The North of France WWII’ experience tour offered, that takes visitors through graveyards and museums as well as the landing beaches. In the evening, there will be a D-Day Party complete with fine suits and big band music.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
UK based cruise line Fred. Olsen are honouring the 70th anniversary of D-Day as well. They plan on focusing on the sacrifices made during the war effort. The Braemar is the ship assigned for this once in a lifetime sailing and commences on June 1st. ‘The New Squadronaires’ with their ‘Big Band’ sound and considered the “RAF Number One Dance Band” are the headliners for this sailing. Tony Harris, Official Ambassador for the Help for Heroes charity will also be onboard.
Saling from Harwich, passengers will visit sights such as the Tyne Cot Cemetery and the D-Day Museum. While in Le Havre overnight, passengers get the opportunity to view the Allied Landing Areas the next day, June 6th which is designated as the ‘Day of Remembrance’.
The last port of call is Dunkirk where passengers will visit the Battle of Dunkirk Museum as well as the Town Cemetery which honours those Commonwealth soldiers fallen in both WWI and WWII. There is also a memorial set up to pay homage to the British Expeditionary Force. During the period of 1939 to 1940, there were 4500 casualties here who were left with unmarked graves.
The ten day cruise aboard the Silvercloud offered by Silversea in partnership with The National WWII Museum, who have arranged tours to Normandy for years. The ship cruises from Lisbon to Hamburg and begins on May 30th with some of the top historians on-board including Lord David Montgomery, Dr. Donald L. Miller and Rick Atkinson, amongst others.
They will be offering lectures and Q&As. The ship will spend five nights going through the Caen Canal where it will visit the landing bases as well as the Abbey de Caen, the Airborne Museum and Hill 314 where firsthand accounts of D-Day will be told by local citizens and veterans alike. A series of ceremonies honouring the anniversary will be held in the American Cemetery and late night receptions can be found in the Utah Beach Museum and the Memorial de Caen.
Swan Hellenic’s cruise ship, the ‘Minerva’, will mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings and the centennial of World War I with a 13-day expedition. Departing from Portsmouth, the Minerva will sail to Dunkirk and Ypres, France to Flanders Fields.
A special 70th Anniversary service of remembrance will be held on the sixth of June on board and in full view of the beaches of Normandy. The Swan Hellenic cruise line has always been known for its lecture series and this ‘Reflections of France’ sailing will have several historians sailing with the guests.
A cruise holiday will provide a tranquil way to reflect on the history during this period. Many passengers may have a personal tie to these events in which they have lost a family member and can now get a chance to pay respect to those lost in either war. For history buffs, they can gain a deeper understanding of what transpired during these volatile times.
Written by Veronica Shine