I came across this information recently and thought I would share it, just on the off-chance any of you happen to be obscenely wealthy (in which case I congratulate you).
The Annemarie Victory Organization specializes in luxury cruises and tours, often organized around a specific theme. One of their upcoming cruises takes place on a gorgeous sailing vessel and focuses on Patrick O’Brian and our beloved series. According to the website:
June 18 to 27, 2011: A Celebration of Patrick O’Brian on SEA CLOUD. Take a voyage from Barcelona to Nice and experience a retrospective on the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar with our guest of honor Count Nikolai Tolstoy, who has just completed the biography of his stepfather Patrick O’Brian. Our lecturers will be Brian Lavery, the author of Jack Aubrey Commands. This book explores the historic framework of O’Brian’s novels and naval life in the era of Nelson and Napoleon. Geoff Hunt, painter of the Naval World of Nelson and Patrick O’Brian, will also be in attendance.
How cool is that?! They seem to have done similar tours in the past, because I found an itinerary for one that took place at least a year ago. I’m not sure if the itinerary for this upcoming cruise is the same, but if it’s even slightly similar it will be amazing!
Tuesday, April 20
Depart the US for Barcelona, Spain.
Wednesday, April 21: Barcelona
Arrival in Barcelona and transfer to the Hotel Arts, the finest in Barcelona. Welcome cocktail and dinner at the hotel.
Thursday, April 22: Barcelona
Morning sightseeing tour of beautiful Barcelona. This exciting city, the capital of Catalonia, is Spain’s second largest, and was founded by the Phoenicians in the 3rd century BC. We will visit the Gothic Quarters, the Picasso Museum, the Olympic Stadium, the Miro Foundation, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Church and his Guell Park (these are “art nouveau” masterpieces).
After lunch “All Aboard” SEA CLOUD. The world’s most beautiful sailing vessel will be our home for the next seven nights.
Friday, April 23: At sea.
While under full sail, we will enjoy a talk by Brian Lavery on the epic Battle of Trafalgar, about which he is an acknowledged expert.
Afternoon arrival in Mahon/Menorca. The entrance into Mahon’s remarkable fjord-like harbor is an unforgettable experience. The port is the location of the first scene in Patrick O’Brian’s first book, Master and Commander, and is also visited by H.M.S. Surprise in The Hundred Days. Brian Lavery will take us on a Jack Aubrey walking tour of the town of Mahon including the Governor’s Palace, the Crown Inn and down the Pigtail Stairs.
This evening the captain will host a welcoming champagne and caviar party followed by a gourmet dinner.
Saturday, April 24: Mahon/Menorca
A British possession through most of the 18th century, the harbor features a majestic flight of stairs once known as the “Pigtail Stairs”. Legend has it that drunken sailors from men-of-war were hauled down them by their pigtails on their way back to their ships.
We will spend the day on this island to visit the various sights that were important during Nelson’s time, including Fort San Felipe, Fort Marlborough and the Governor’s House.
As we sail out of Mahon we will pass first the Islas del Lazareto and Cuarentena, formerly the quarantine wing of the Royal Naval Hospital. Later, we will pass a fine rose-colored Palladian style mansion, the Finca de San Antonio, where Horatio Nelson briefly lived in 1799.
Sunday, April 25: Port Vendres
After a beautiful morning of sailing we will arrive in Port Vendres, a sleepy Catalan-French fishing village on the far western French Mediterranean coast. Our brief walk will take us to Coullioure, one of France’s most charming seaside villages, that was Patrick O’Brian’s home for 50 years. Count Nikolai Tolstoy will give us a private tour of O’Brian’s home and gardens. All the rooms are exactly the way he left them (the writing desk still has open books and his pens and pencils lay about). We will also enjoy a reception with local wines and specialties in the courtyard of the house. The area is highly regarded for its fine wines and our wine train will take us through these scenic vineyards.
Monday, April 26: Bandol/Aix-en-Provence
While under full sail this morning, we will enjoy a fascinating talk by Eleanor Sharpston about the Napoleonic wars from the “French side”, particularly the Battle of Trafalgar.
Early afternoon arrival in Bandol, a charming fishing village from where we will take an excursion to Aix-en-Provence. We will visit Old Aix with its beautiful mansions, statues, pleasant squares and fountains, Town Hall and St. Savior’s Cathedral.
Tuesday, April 27: St. Tropez
After a beautiful morning of sailing along the spectacular French Riviera, we will arrive in St. Tropez, located on the foothills of the Maures Massif. A small town with a harbor filled with luxury yachts, St. Tropez has become a very fashionable resort frequented by writers, artists and celebrities from all over the world. St. Tropez also offers great shopping!
Wednesday, April 28: St. Florent/Corsica
We will continue our sail along the French Riviera from where we will be able to observe the medieval village of Eze perched on the top of a mountain, as well as Villefranche and Monte Carlo. Count Tolstoy will give us a fascinating talk about his fifty years with his stepfather, Patrick O’Brian, and his intimate and revealing new biography of him.
After lunch we will arrive at Corsica and St. Florent, a charming ancient town.
During your free time here, you might enjoy a hike up to the citadel, go for a swim or simply enjoy the various shops and small restaurants.
Tonight is our farewell celebration, an elegant affair with our captain, topped by a gourmet dinner and great wines. Later, there will be dancing under the Mediterranean skies.
Thursday, April 29: Nice
Early morning arrival in Nice.
Transfer to Nice airport for our departure to the US. (or you may participate in the Nice extension).
Itinerary is subject to change.
Thursday, April 29
Upon arrival in Nice, we will go on an excursion to the medieval town of St. Paul de Vence (your luggage will go separately to the Hotel Negresco).
Many of Europe’s greatest artists, such as Picasso and Matisse, have at one time or another called St. Paul their home. Its Maeght Foundation, which we will visit, has one of the most outstanding modern art collections in France. Lunch will be at the charming Colombe D’Or restaurant, followed by a stroll through the village.
Our dinner this evening will be in a rustic brasserie in Nice.
Friday, April 30
Our excursion today will take us to Villefranche to visit the villa and gardens of Ephrussi de Rothschild, then continue to the medieval town of Eze where we will enjoy a delicious lunch at Chateau Eza.
Afternoon free in Nice.
Our farewell dinner will be at the Chantecler restaurant in the hotel.
Saturday, May 1
Transfer to Nice airport.
They also have an upcoming tour with Brian Lavery called Sailors and Society in Georgian England.
September 12 to 22, 2011: Sailors and Society in Georgian England, the home of Lord Nelson, Jane Austen and Jack Aubrey. We will visit London, Greenwich, Portsmouth and Bath. The highlight of this trip will be a private visit aboard the H.M.S. VICTORY. [More Information.]
Dr. Maturin suggests further reading: