Trip Type : Large Ship Cruise
Beautiful Architecture - St Paul's Cathedral-London_ 2213812_P

Britain’s Brilliant Art and Architecture: A Queen Mary 2 Voyage

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4.6 . Excellent
89%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
13 days
From: $ 4,395 $ 338 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Amid the opulent surroundings of the Queen Mary 2, delve into topics like the Georgian and Victorian periods and the influence of art-loving British monarchs.
  • Discover the diverse architectural styles of Oxford, “The City of Dreaming Spires,” on expert-led walking excursions.
  • Take a field trip to the National Trust's Upton Park, the home of Lord and Lady Bearsted in the 1930s.

Short Description

Join Dr. Steven Parissien, director of the award-winning Compton Verney museum, visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, author and television contributor, for a voyage into the history and grandeur of England’s architecture and art. Delve into fascinating topics during your crossing on the magnificent Queen Mary 2 then spend four nights in Oxford to experience country manors, eccentric royal residences, outstanding museums and the architecture of the “City of Dreaming Spires.”

This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Trip Type Large Ship Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City New York
End City Oxford

Trip Includes

  • 12 nights of accommodations
  • 7 expert-led lectures
  • 8 expert-led field trips
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Day, New York City

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: New York Marriott Downtown

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. At 6pm we will have an Orientation in the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: A seated Welcome Dinner will be taken in the hotel dining room with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Free time to settle in, relax and get a good night’s sleep for the programme ahead.

Day 2: The Frick Collection & The Queen Mary 2

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Queen Mary II.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. A breakfast buffet with a range of hot and cold items, as well as coffee, tea, water and fruit juices.

Morning: We begin our explorations of British art and architecture by investigating the world-class collection of British works at one of the world’s most impressive private galleries – hosted in a sumptuous Fifth Avenue mansion – The Frick Collection. Built in 1913 by wealthy industrialist Henry Clay Frick, today the gallery hosts works by Turner, Constable and Gainsborough among others. We then depart by motor coach for the Queen Mary 2 at 1:00pm.

Lunch: You may take a late lunch aboard the Queen Mary 2.

Afternoon: Group transfer from the hotel to the Queen Mary 2 boarding dock and embarkation on to the ship. You will then be able to take some time to unpack and familiarise yourself with the ship.

Dinner: Taken in the Britannia Restaurant. Delicious menus designed by Cunard’s Global Culinary Ambassador, Jean-Marie Zimmermann await you in Britannia and Britannia Club Restaurants. Make a dramatic entrance down the grand staircase into the elegant Britannia dining room and revel in the sumptuous menus and perfectly attentive service.

Evening: Free time. See a show tonight in the ballroom, or relax and watch a movie in the theatre, or perhaps wander to one of the bars for a beverage and chat. Perhaps even wander through the library, one of the best shipboard libraries available, to find a book and that perfect reading chair.

Day 3: The Georgian Revolution

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Queen Mary II.

Breakfast: Breakfast on board in the venue of your choosing. Select one of the King’s Court dining options on Deck 7, go down to the Britannia Restaurant or relax with breakfast in your room as you watch the televised descriptions of the day’s on board activities.

Morning: Your Study Leader begins his insights into British art and architecture with an illustrated lecture on Baroque Britain and the Georgian Revolution. We’ll examine the astonishing architectural adventurousness of late-Stuart Britain, with sublime creations ranging from Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre to London’s famed St. Paul’s Cathedral, before revealing an early Georgian period that was a constantly shifting world of dynastic change, social unrest and excessive gin drinking. It was this backdrop that was heavily reflected in the art of Britain’s first great native painter, William Hogarth.

Lunch: Lunch on board in the venue of your choosing. Your options include the various King’s Court venues, the Britannia Restaurant, Todd English (at additional cost) or a light lunch in the Boardwalk Café if the weather permits.

Afternoon: Free time to enjoy a variety of shipboard-enrichment activities. Consider taking a class such as watercolour painting or ballroom dancing, enjoying one of the ship's swimming pools, and more.

Dinner: Taken in the Britannia Restaurant.

Evening: Free time. You may choose to enjoy a show in the ship’s theatre, practice your dance steps in the ballroom or simply return to your stateroom and enjoy one of the movies screened on the ship’s TV.

Day 4: The Golden Age of British Painting

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Queen Mary II.

Breakfast: Breakfast on board in the venue of your choosing.

Morning: Settle in with your Study Leader as we discuss Neoclassicism and the Golden Age of British Painting. Between the creation of the Royal Academy and the advent of Neoclassicism British artists developed an appropriately grand and aspirational palette with which to express their increasing wealth and self-confidence, allowing painters like Reynolds, Gainsborough and Ramsay to flourish.

Lunch: Lunch on board in the venue of your choosing.

Afternoon: Free time. Choose from among the incredible variety of onboard activities, before joining your Group Leader and Study Leader for a welcome cocktail party.

Dinner: Taken in the Britannia Restaurant.

Evening: Free time. Enjoy a variety of shipboard-enrichment activities, including many kinds of evening entertainment featuring dancing, music and more.

Day 5: King George IV: Patron of the Arts

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Queen Mary II.

Breakfast: Breakfast on board in the venue of your choosing.

Morning: This morning we look at the fascinating figure of George IV. George was often regarded as the finest patron of the arts ever to sit on the throne and the colour, fun and eclecticism of the Regency period was epitomised by his larger-than-life persona. British art and architecture reached triumphant new heights during his reign and innovation was rife, however George himself was to deteriorate into an object of vicious satire.

Lunch: Lunch on board in the venue of your choosing.

Afternoon: Free time to take advantage of the many educational, social and physical activities available on board, or simple to relax in one of the deck chairs with a view of the glistening Atlantic.

Dinner: Taken in the Britannia Restaurant.

Evening: Free time.

Day 6: The Gothic Revival & The Pre-Raphaelites

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Queen Mary II.

Breakfast: Breakfast on board in the venue of your choosing.

Morning: Today we’ll examine a period of innovation, reflection and turbulence in early Victorian Britain as the Gothic Revival of the 1830s and the rise of the Pre-Raphaelites changed the way in which Victorians looked at the world. However, artists began to struggle with reconciling the benefits of mass-production in the process of artistic creation, leading to influential critics such as John Ruskin and William Morris beginning to question the benefits of the Industrial Revolution and yearning for a simpler time.

Lunch: Lunch on board in the venue of your choosing.

Afternoon: Free time. You can grab a ticket for this afternoon’s planetarium show, polish your bridge skills during a tournament, or perhaps retreat to the spa for a massage.

Dinner: Taken in the Britannia Restaurant.

Evening: Free time.

Day 7: Victoria & Albert

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Queen Mary II.

Breakfast: Breakfast on board in the venue of your choosing.

Morning: Discover just how important Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were in shaping the cultural heritage of Britain, from grand building programs to patronage of the arts. We’ll examine Victorian architecture such as the Houses of Parliament and the “Cathedrals of the Steam Age” – Britain’s beautiful Victorian railway stations. We’ll also look at how the monarchy influenced the Victorian art world, and how some artists deliberately looked in the other direction and became increasingly fascinated with the everyday life and experiences of the common man.

Lunch: Lunch on board in the venue of your choosing.

Afternoon: Free for shipboard activities.

Dinner: Taken in the Britannia Restaurant.

Evening: Free time.

Day 8: The Country House in Modern Times

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Queen Mary II.

Breakfast: Breakfast on board in the venue of your choosing.

Morning: Your Study Leader will lead a final session as you prepare to disembark and begin learning about the art and architecture of Britain first hand. Today we look at Georgian & Victorian Oxford. We’ll discuss the innate aesthetic conservatism of this University City and explore the history of the great country houses that England is justifiably famous for.

Lunch: Lunch on board in the venue of your choosing.

Afternoon: Free time to prepare for disembarkation, and perhaps enjoy a final few activities on board.

Dinner: Taken in the Britannia Restaurant.

Evening: Free time to enjoy your last evening on board ship.

Day 9: Disembarkation & Transfer to Oxford: Basildon Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel

Breakfast: Early breakfast on board in the venue of your choosing.

Morning: We depart the Queen Mary 2 and make our way to the motor coach for our transfer to Oxford. En route we will visit the National Trust’s Basildon Park, a Georgian mansion set in landscaped parkland and a major location for the filming of Downton Abbey. The house has been painstakingly restored by its current tenants and today appears much as it would have during the 18th Century.

Lunch: Lunch will be taken in an historic English pub.

Afternoon: The transfer continues, before we check in and have time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions should you wish to further explore Oxford.

Day 10: Georgian Oxford & The Ashmolean Museum

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to three hours on paved streets. Rest stops available.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we explore Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires”. We’ll begin at the Ashmolean, Oxford University’s repository of the arts and Britain’s oldest museum, before exploring how the city’s architecture developed throughout its history – from the colleges of the University to the terraces of the poor.

Lunch: Taken in a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We continue our exploration with a walk around the architectural sites of this magnificent city. Expect to see the Clarendon Building, the Radcliffe Camera and a selection of the colleges that made Oxford a famous seat of learning.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time, or enjoy an optional walk with your Study Leader to some of Oxford’s historic pubs. The pub is a very British institution and treated as much more than just a place to drink; it was in public houses that free thinkers, radicals and intellectuals met to let innovation flow as freely as the beer.

Day 11: Compton Verney & Upton House

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we board the motor coach and make our way to Compton Verney, a former Georgian mansion turned national art gallery. The building is a Grade I listed house built in the early 18th Century and its current interiors were originally designed by influential neo-classicist architect Robert Adam.

Lunch: Taken at Compton Verney.

Afternoon: We continue on to the National Trust’s Upton House. Home to one of the finest private art collections in Britain, Upton House itself has had a long and storied history – as well as expansive and beguiling gardens.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: Free time.

Day 12: Victorian Oxford

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to three hours.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Free time.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: For our last afternoon in Oxford we’ll enjoy a walking exploration of the stone and brick delights of the city. From Butterfield’s Keble College to Park Town and North Parade we’ll examine an era when, briefly, Oxford led the world in architectural innovation.

Dinner: Farewell dinner in the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 13: Program Concludes, Oxford

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: In the hotel. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast.

Morning: Transfer to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) for onward flights. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future.

Availability

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Price From $ 4,395
Price Per Day: $ 338 per day
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38 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

89%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 31
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

Britain’s Brilliant Art and Architecture: A Queen Mary 2 Voyage

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Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
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Lodging5.0
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Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
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Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

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Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

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Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
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Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.

Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Queen Mary II: 7 nights  New York

 

New York Marriott Downtown: 1 night  New York

The only Marriott hotel centrally located in Lower Manhattan, New York City's Financial District, and within walking distance to Wall Street and NYSE.

 

Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel: 4 nights  Oxford.

Nestling in 40 acres of magnificent Thames-side parkland, which is home to a horse sanctuary, the hotel has a truly idyllic setting.The historic heart of Oxford is less than half a mile away with a short riverside walk to Oxford’s colleges, museums, shops and theatres.

Trip ID#:

BriBriRoa

Meals Included:

12 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners

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