VENTFLASH #239: Our Next Sea Cloud Departure - Spain & Portugal 2019! August 08, 2018

Posted by Victor Emanuel


Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 70 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have taken him to all the continents, with his areas of concentration being Texas, Ari...

Dear friends:

For more than a decade, our cruises to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean aboard the famous Sea Cloud have been an important part of our international tour program. I am proud that VENT is able to charter this one-of-a-kind ship almost annually and that our programs attract participants with a diversity of interests. Typically, our Caribbean programs operate in even-numbered years while our Mediterranean programs operate in odd-numbered years. At this time, I am thrilled to announce our next Sea Cloud departure: Spain and Portugal: Birds, Nature & Culture aboard the Sea Cloud, April 14-24, 2019.

Sea Cloud

Sea Cloud— Photo: Courtesy Sea Cloud Cruises

Register by November 1, 2018 and receive free roundtrip airfare in Economy class!*

For this voyage—VENT’s first-ever cruise to the western Mediterranean—we have chartered the peerless Sea Cloud for a trip that combines the rich history, landscapes, birds, and nature of two of Europe’s most romantic and evocative countries: Portugal and Spain.

An exciting itinerary begins in charming Lisbon, where we’ll enjoy a highlights-style walking and driving tour of the marvelous Portuguese capital, visiting sites such as the Rua da Augusta, Cathedral of Lisbon, and Tower of Belém. From Lisbon, we’ll cruise a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean before tracing a route along the south coast of the Iberian Peninsula through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea en route to Valencia on the Spanish Riviera. We’ll call at Huelva and Motril, gateway ports to the famous cities of Seville and Granada in the heart of Andalusía. Here, we’ll visit an array of important landmarks, some of which are among the most visually appealing in Spain including the Real Alcázar, Royal Chapel of Granada, and, above all, the monumental Alhambra. Rounding out the cultural offerings will be opportunities to visit charming coastal villages, partake in a wine-tasting excursion, enjoy an authentic Flamenco show in the heart of the country where that style of music and dance originated, and, if the timing is right, view an elaborate Holy Week procession (Semana Santa) in Seville. Meanwhile, those more interested in birding and natural history may join excursions to Doñana and Sierra Nevada national parks. These places, coupled with time at sea, promise a marvelous array of waterbirds and landbirds.

Spain and Portugal Sea Cloud Route Map


April is a splendid month to travel in Iberia, with spring flowers in bloom, mild temperatures, and birds on the move. Among the species we’ll seek are a range of regional specialties and passage migrants including White-headed Duck, Balearic Shearwater, Greater Flamingo, Spanish Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Purple Heron, Audouin’s Gull, European Bee-Eater, Pallid Swift, Iberian Magpie, Dartford Warbler, “Iberian” Southern Gray Shrike, and many others.

With her all-wood construction and spectacular appearance under sail, many people consider the Sea Cloud the most beautiful sailing vessel in existence. These qualities, in combination with Sea Cloud’s remarkable history, set a standard by which all other ships are measured. In fact, it is not unusual for our travelers to tell us that their reason first and foremost for joining one of our Sea Cloud programs is to experience the ship. This is understandable, however, it is the opportunity to experience the ship in tandem with an outstanding itinerary that makes this opportunity so great.

Joining me and VENT colleague Barry Lyon in leading this special departure are Larry Wolff, the Silver Professor of European History at New York University and Director of the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies; and Peter Zika, a superb field biologist and botanist at the herbarium of the University of Washington. Throughout the voyage, Larry and Peter will deliver in-the-field interpretation and onboard presentations on a variety of topics designed to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of this dynamic part of the world.

The Alhambra, Granada

The Alhambra, Granada — Photo: Shutterstock

























For those who want to see more of Portugal, a land-based Southern Portugal Birds & History tour will be offered as an optional pre-trip on which we’ll travel from Lisbon to the varied interior of the Alentejo region, home to Great and Little bustards, Bonelli’s Eagle, granite hills, rolling plains, historic towns, and much more.

European Bee-eater

European Bee-eaters — Photo: Javier E. Pozo

I hope you will consider joining our inaugural cruise to Spain and Portugal. For an added enticement, VENT will provide free roundtrip airfare in Economy class for all registrations received prior to November 1, 2018.*

For more information or to register, please contact Greg Lopez at the VENT office by email ( or phone (800-328-8368/512-328-5221).

*The air itinerary provided by VENT will be based on the most direct flights from your home to Lisbon, Portugal, returning from Valencia, Spain. The cost for upgrades or additional charges due to deviations from the routing provided by VENT will be the responsibility of the passenger. 

Spain & Portugal Aboard the Sea Cloud: Birds, Nature & Culture, April 14–24, 2019 with Victor Emanuel, Barry Lyon, Larry Wolff, and Peter Zika; Cabins start at $9,995 in double occupancy from Lisbon (ends in Valencia). Limit 54. Register by November 1 and receive free roundtrip Economy-class airfare! 

Southern Portugal Pre-trip, April 8–15 2019 with João Jara and a local leader; $3,395 in double occupancy from Lisbon. Limit 14.

Best wishes,

Victor Emanuel