fbpx

Islands of the Azores: Fado Music to Fin Whales

Islands of the Azores: Fado Music to Fin Whales

From AUD $12,500

Description

Towering basalt peaks, bubbling hot springs, nutrient-rich waters, emerald green farmlands, and the fascinating history of the explorers, whalers, and farmers that called these remote islands home—this is just a sample of the beauty and vitality you’ll discover as we explore the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. All born from volcanoes, each island has a unique landscape and piece of history that we’ll uncover as we explore these remote gems. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the locals as they share a glimpse into their island life with traditional dishes, world-class wine and cheese tastings, fado music, and the beauty of each destination.

Trip Name
Islands of the Azores: Fado Music to Fin Whales
Days
9
Overview
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Passenger Capacity: 126 Built: 2020 A next-generation expedition ship, purpose-built for polar navigation. National Geographic Endurance is a next-generation expedition ship, purpose-built for polar navigation. A fully stabilized, highly strengthened, ice-class Polar Code PC5 (Category A) vessel, it is designed to navigate polar passages year-round, and safely explore unchartered waters, while providing exceptional comfort. Its patented X-BOW® is key to its design; its powerful wave-slicing action provides an extremely smooth ride in even adverse conditions, and even reduces spray on deck, for superior observation. She carries a full suite of expedition tools and offers a variety of experience-enhancing amenities. The luxury of comfort on expedition National Geographic Endurance comfortably accommodates 126 guests in 69 outside-facing cabins. Cabins are efficiently designed, with sizes range from the 140-square-foot solo cabin to the 430-square-foot category 7 suite. Fifty-three of the 69 cabins, including all 12 of the solo cabins, will feature small balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that bring in the spectacular views and ample natural light.  Comfort & convenience in every room Every cabin has two portholes, a large window or balcony, and temperature controls. Bathrooms are modern and stocked with botanically inspired hair products, soap, and shower gel, plus a hairdryer. Cabins are equipped with expedition command centers with tablets and USB/mobile device docking, TVs, Wi-Fi connections, and hair dryers. Dining: Food served aboard is fresh, local, and delicious, and sourced from suppliers who share our values of sustainable use whenever possible. Meals aboard are almost always served in the dining room, located aft of the lounge deck. When weather conditions allow, lighter fare may be served on the observation deck. There is no assigned seating and our dining room accommodates the entire expedition community in a single seating. During meals your expedition leader, naturalists, and any guest speakers aboard will join you. Public Areas: Two restaurants, a Chef’s Table for small group dining, Observation Lounge with bar, gym, Wellness area, infinity-style outdoor hot tubs, library, main lounge with full service bar, 24-hour beverage, state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations, and a photo workshop area; plus, an expedition base with lockers for expedition gear, and an “open bridge” for access to our captain, officers and the art of navigation. Meals: Two restaurants, featuring local, sustainable choices and unassigned seating for flexible, inclusive dining; plus a Chef’s table for intimate, small group dining. Main restaurant has 270º views, and the Observation deck restaurant features lighter, made-to-order fare.  Cabins: All cabins face outside with large windows, private facilities and climate controls. 53 cabins have balconies. Cabins are equipped with expedition command centers with tablets and USB/mobile device docking, TVs, Wi-Fi connections, and hair dryers. Expedition Tools: Zodiac landing craft, kayaks, snowshoes, cross-country skis, undersea specialist operating a remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and underwater video camera for unique access to polar marine world, hydrophone, aerial remote-controlled camera and video microscope. Special Features: A full-time doctor, undersea specialist, National Geographic photographer, Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor and video chronicler, an internet cafe and laundry. Wellness: The vessel is staffed by our wellness specialists and features a glass-enclosed yoga studio, gym, treatment rooms and spa relax area, and high- and low-heat saunas with ocean views. Expedition Landing Craft: Key to our operation is our fleet of expedition landing craft, which we use to land in places that would otherwise be inaccessible. With 8 of these boats and two loading stations used every time we disembark, we’re able to transfer guests off the ship quickly, so you can be out on adventures, not idly waiting. The expedition landing craft we use are 19 feet long, powered by four-stroke outboard engines, and are capable of comfortably carrying 10-12 people. They are widely recognized as the safest and most versatile small boats afloat. Remotely Operated Vehicle: Capable of reaching 1,000 feet, far beyond the range of any Scuba diver, the ROV allows you to literally view parts of the undersea that are as unexplored as the moon. Chances are you, like many of our guests, will be struck by how surprisingly colorful undersea life is in these unlikely places. And this glimpse may fundamentally change how you view the ocean. Kayaks: National Geographic Endurance will be equipped with a fleet of kayaks large enough to ensure everyone who wants to can paddle at every opportunity. Consequently, prior kayaking experience isn’t necessary—many of our guests have their first kayaking experience in extraordinary locations. Our custom-designed floating platform lets us deploy kayaks from the ship, or any location we want—including far from shore. Kayakers are usually free to explore where they want within boundaries set by the undersea specialist and officer of the watch. Underwater camera: Our undersea specialist will dive often during your expedition, even in Alaska, with cold-water gear, to shoot high-definition, Cousteau-like footage of the deep. Colorful nudibranchs, swimming, plant-like crinoids, and mysterious fish with antifreeze blood that thrive in the frigid sea will give you an entirely new appreciation of the marine environment. Video microscope: Naturalists will use the video microscope to help explain all elements of the environment, including tiny organisms that are the building block of the marine ecosystem. Spellbinding live views of krill at 80x magnification fills the high-definition screens in the lounge with vivid detail, and fills every onlooker with a sense of wonder at the importance of otherwise unobservable creatures. Hydrophone: This underwater microphone is deployed to listen to the vocalizations of marine mammals. Real time transmissions of their eerie, haunting sounds can be broadcast through the ship or recorded for later playback. Few experiences in nature are as captivating as watching humpback whales feed close to the ship as their vocalizations play through the ship’s PA system. Electronic charts: An electronic chart showing the ship’s location, course, and speed is almost always on display in the lounge. Open bridge: You’ll find our captains are engaged, knowledgeable members of your expedition who are eager to share their passion with you. Venture’s open bridge features comfortable spaces to sit, enjoy the view, drink your morning coffee, or simply chat with the officers. Snorkeling gear & wetsuits: On warm weather itineraries where there will be snorkeling, you’ll select a mask, snorkel, fins, and wetsuit that remain yours for the duration of the expedition. There’s no need to pack and tote your own gear, although guests who prefer to are welcome to bring their own.

Itinerary



Day 1 - DAY 1: São Miguel, Azores, Portugal / Embark
Arrive in Ponta Delgada on the island of SãoMiguel in the Azores, where we embark NationalGeographic Endurance. (L,D)
Day 2 - DAY 2: Pico
Named after long dormant volcano, Ponta do Pico,Pico is known as the “mountain island.” Toweringover the center of the island, the peak is the talleston the Atlantic Ridge. This morning we set off toexplore this beautiful island with a notorioushistory of whaling and wine. Explore Lajes doPico, once believed to be the most importantwhaling village in the islands. Visit the Whalers’Museum, Museu do Baleeiros, to learn about theimportance the industry had to the island. Thentravel on to the wine region, where the moonscapeterrain left by the lava flows has beenpainstakingly converted to vineyards. The lavastone corrals housing the precious vines are nowconsidered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Theday would not be complete without a tasting ofthese very special wines. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - DAY 3: Faial
The Azores are a whale-watching mecca, wheremore than 20 different types of cetaceans can bespotted. We go in search of these gentle giants inthe channel north of Pico and Horta islands. Aresearcher from the Biology Department of AzoresUniversity will join us and share details of theuniversity’s ongoing studies as we scan the sea.Once ashore on the island of Faial, we head toCapelinhos, where we can see how dramaticallythe landscape changed when the volcano at thewestern end of the island erupted in 1957. Farmsand villages were covered with ash, adding anextra two square kilometers of land to the island.Later, stroll along the marina, visit the excellentscrimshaw museum, and raise a glass at PeterCafé Sport, a legendary pub where seaadventurers historically dropped off their mail. Thisevening enjoy a very special musical performanceof the achingly beautiful Fado. The genre maytrace its roots to Portugal, but the islands havemade it their own. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - DAY 4: São Jorge
This morning visit São Jorge, the third corner ofthe “triangulo” or triangle of islands—Pico, Faial,and São Jorge. Formed by volcanic fissures, theisland is an impressive mix of imposing sea cliffsand fajãs—coastal plateaus formed from the lavaflows. The fertile soil has created one of thegreenest and naturally beautiful islands in thearchipelago. With trails that crisscross the ridgeand beaches, hike to Caldeira de Santo CristoLake, known for its clams; visit the small villagesperched on the fajãs; explore the coffee and teaplantations, one of only two places in Europe withcommercial production; and take part in a tastingof the world-renowned São Jorge cheese.This afternoon we sail around the tip of the islandon our way to Fajã dos Cubres and Fajã de SantoCristo. Be on deck with your binoculars as wepass cliffs with nesting sea birds and there isalways the chance to spot Risso’s dolphin orpassing whales. Designated as “Wetland ofInternational Importance”, we’ll go ashore byZodiac to explore these secluded bays. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - DAY 5: Graciosa
Aptly named, this “gracious” island has beendesignated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for thebalance they have achieved between thepreservation of the geography and sustainablehuman development. The colors of the farmlandand vineyards create a beautiful patchwork that isdotted with windmills. We will travel to the ancientvillage of Santa Cruz and the natural monument ofCaldeira da Graciosa, where we’ll glimpse Furnado Enxofre, a lava cave and underground lake.Later you’ll have time to stroll through the villageof Praia, enjoy the sweet pastry - Queijadas daGraciosa, and soak up the tranquility of this quietharbor. This afternoon enjoy Zodiac cruises, andweather permitting, kayaking in the secluded baysof Ilhéu da Praia, a small islet off the coast. Thisevening enjoy a presentation by a local historianthat will help set the stage for our visit to Terceiraand its rich past. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - DAY 6: Terceira
First settled by Portuguese navigators around1450, Terceira grew to play a prominent role inhistory—a popular port of call for the shipscarrying the wealth of the Americas and thosetrading with India, the island became the economicand religious center of the Azores. Depart on anexploration of the island; wind along the coastlineand explore many of the historic villages—PortoJudeu, a small fishing village; Sao Sebastiao andits 15th century parish church; Altares with itsquaint whitewashed houses, capped with thetraditional chimneys and painted cones. Headupland to Algar do Carvao, a huge lava tubeadorned with stalactites and stalagmites; continueexploring as you stroll through the streets of Praiada Vitoria before returning to the ship.Alternatively embark on a walking tour ofUNESCO World Heritage site, Angra doHeroismo. Step back in time with our local guidesand see firsthand the indelible mark left by theancient explorers, conquerors and religiousleaders. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - DAY 7: Vila de Porta, Santa Maria
Tap into the century’s old expertise of our localwhale guides. These experts have centuries of tiesto their surroundings and an instinct for scoutingits wild inhabitants. They will guide us on ourmorning whale-watching. In the afternoon, we goashore at Santa Maria, historically significant asthe first landfall of Christopher Columbus on hisreturn from the Americas in 1493. We will travel tothe village of Anjos, known for its statue of theexplorer and the Chapel Nossa Senhora dosAnjos, thought to be where Columbus attended hisfirst mass upon his return from America. Continuealong the coast and take in the breathtakingvistas. For those interested in getting someexercise, we will hike the Pico Alto-Baíia dosAnjos trail that will allow us to experience thescenery and atmosphere of the island – making itsway from Pico Alto, the highest point on the island,to the sea where we will observe marine birds intheir azure surroundings. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - DAY 8: São Migue
a:0:{}
Day 9 - DAY 9: São Miguel / Disembark / Home
This morning we disembark and travel to SeteCidades, a lovely village set amongst green andblue lakes. Enjoy exploring the lakes and villagebefore we are treated to a traditional Azoreanlunch. Transfer to the airport and homeboundflights. (B,L)
Day 10 - Please note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $12,500Category 1
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $12,830Category 2
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $15,640Category 3
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $17,200Category 4
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $19,070Category 5
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $19,570Suite A Solo
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $21,500Suite B Solo
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $21,850Category 6
18-04-202326-04-2023AUD $24,240Category 7

Inclusions

    • Aboard National Geographic Endurance, take advantage of the ship’s state-of the-art amenities, from wellness programs and spa treatments to gourmet dining options as we travel to the more secluded and seldom-visited islands of the Azores Archipelago
    • April is one of the best months to see the many whales that pass through these waters on their annual migrations. With the help of some of the best whale spotters in the world, search for fin, blue, sei, and pilot whales, just to name a few
    • Discover the varied past and the stories of explorers, whalers, and conquerors who all had a part in weaving the tapestry of island history
    • Experience the commitment the locals have to sustainable growth and protecting the natural beauty and ecosystems of the archipelago

Map