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According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is “where the boys are.” The city’s reputation as America’s Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the “Yachting Capital of the World,” with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the “Venice of America” with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.
Rising from the depths of the Atlantic, the rugged, volcanic Azores lie 800 miles off the coast of Portugal. Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the nine islands have provided a haven to Atlantic mariners for over five centuries. The Azores offer travelers spectacular landscapes that range from lush meadows fringed with brightly colored hydrangea to ancient caldera filled with lakes. And the many small villages and shops retain an otherworldly air and 18th-century charm.
Ponta Delgada is located on São Miguel, the largest of the nine Azores. The island’s rich volcanic soil sustains fields of tobacco and tea, vineyards, and pineapple greenhouses. The Azores are also noted for fine crafts, particularly basketry and pottery.
A fortified city since the days of the Roman Empire, Brest sits in a sheltered bay on the Crozon peninsula. Developed as a military base and arsenal by Cardinal Richelieu in 1631, today, it is home to one of France’s three naval bases. Though much of Brest was destroyed during World War II, the city’s
oldest structure was spared, including the 13th century Brest Castle, which today houses the National Marine Museum. And just outside of Brest you’ll find unspoiled beauty, storybook villages, ragged cliffs, and some of Brittany’s sweet and savory offerings.
The largest port in Europe, Rotterdam is an intriguing mix of the old and the new. The city’s lineage is ancient – Count Willem III granted city rights to the sleepy fishing village on the Rotte in 1328, yet much of the city dates from the six decades following the end of World War II. An important industrial center and a major European port, Rotterdam was among the first targets of the Nazi blitzkrieg against the West. On May 14, 1940, the German Luftwaffe firebombed the city, Rotterdam was gutted. The post-war years saw a slow rebuilding but by the early 1960s the maze of port facilities extended all the way to the North Sea. Today, this city of over half a million is the economic powerhouse, not just of the Netherlands but of Northern Europe.
The Nazi bombardment of 1940 gutted most of the old city. As a result, Rotterdam’s architecture is an intriguing mix of old and new: modern glass skyscrapers often stand adjacent to 19th- and 18th-century buildings.
Zeebrugge is your gateway to Brussels. The capital of Belgium, Brussels is really two cities in one. Old Brussels is a city of superb Baroque architecture with ornate guildhalls, cobbled lanes and one of the finest squares in Europe. New Brussels is the modern city, the capital of the European Union, the home of NATO and the seat of the European Atomic Energy Community. It is a city of fascinating contrasts.
The south of England boasts a dramatic coastline that encloses some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain. The landscape of hills and heaths, downs and forests, valleys and dales, is without rival. Southampton serves as your gateway to the countryside – and to a wide variety of historic sites, national landmarks and charming. And of course, London is a two-hour drive by modern highway.
The United Kingdom’s premier passenger ship port, Southampton was home for many years to the great transatlantic liners of yesteryear.