Although cruising has become my passion, during my time at school it was history lessons that stimulated my mind with intense interest.
I can remember spending hours studying World War II and being particulary intrigued by D-Day and the iconic importance it plays in the world today. It never crossed my mind that you would be able to combine a cruise with a significant part of history so when I found out you could take a cruise to celebrate the anniversary of D-Day I wanted to find out more…
What Is D-Day?
D-Day represents the day that saw the largest invasion in history and marks a key date in the story of the Second World War.
The Battle of Normandy saw the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control and on June 6th 1944 the battle began with British, American and Canadian forces landing on the coast of France’s Normandy beaches.
These Normandy landings are known as the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.
Today these beaches are an iconic place for people to stroll, relax or enjoy a family picnic. Lined with museums and memorials it is a place to remember those who fought and died for the freedom we now enjoy.
Re-living history…cruise style
2014 sees the 70th anniversary of this life-changing event that forever stays in the hearts of the world.
With such a significant event to remember and thousands of people wanting to take part in these celebrations, cruise lines have decided to take guests on a trip of a lifetime to pay their respects during this momentous time.
Cruise & Maritime
Cruise & Maritime will set sail for two special D-Day sailings in June and plan to be an important part of the celebrations. A moving ceremony of remembrance will be held onboard whilst cruising past the coast of Normandy before arriving in Honfleur where you can visit the original Pegasus Bridge. The opportunity to cross the Caen Canal is an experience in itself and guests on Discovery and Marco Polo will have the opportunity to do this before visiting Cherboug where they can visit Allied landing areas and the D-Day Museum.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line
Fred. Olsen have prepared a cruise on Braemar to truly treasure this special time. From an overnight in Le Harve, a private tour of the landing beaches and an exclusive Help For Heroes speaker onboard, this cruise will take guests on a real-life history lesson.
The overnight in Le Havre gives guests the opportunity to tour the iconic landing beaches, before sailing to Dunkirk to visit the War Museum. This museum commemorates the history behind the 1940 evacuation. Guests will also have the opportunity to see the Town Cemetery where the graves of Commonwealth soldiers died in both World Wars lie.
The New Squadrobaires Orchestra will be onboard to perform 1940s swing music as well as other commemorative events.
Braemar will depart from Harwich on June 1st.
Smaller ship, Minerva from Swan Hellenic is set to take a cruise from the popular British port of Portsmouth to visit the Normandy Beaches. A special ceremony will be held onboard whilst cruising past the coastline.
Calling at Dunkirk, guests can visit the place where thousands of stranded British and French troops were rescued by Royal Navy ships. Upon leaving the coasts of Normandy she will sail up the canal into Caen where guests can take a tour of Gold and Sword beaches.
Minerva will depart for her 70th Anniversary cruise on June 4th from Portsmouth.
Although not advertised as a special D-Day cruise, ms Eurodam recently called at Cherbourg offering two excursions to give guests a glimpse of the D-Day history. The first to Sainte-Mere-I’Eglise where a life-size mannequin hangs from the church spire to represent where a US para-troop misjudged D-Day landing. The other excursion to Bayeux, gave guests the opportunity to see a strip of embroidered linen that illustrates the invasion from Normandy to England.
Ms Eurodam departed Civitavecchia on April 29th.