The Mediterranean Campaign

April 10 – 21, 2022

Tour Overview

Join The National WWII Museum for a cruise of the picturesque Mediterranean region to learn more about its importance in World War II. Throughout history, many empires sought control of the Mediterranean as a trade route and power center. World War II was no different. As the first major battleground for the Allies in their efforts to liberate Europe, the Mediterranean proved to be a hotbed of espionage, a trial by fire for American forces, and a center of political discussion.

A Letter from Our Historian 

Dear Friend of the Museum and Fellow Explorer, 

This journey through the Mediterranean instantly brings to mind the incomparable 1942 film Casablanca, and not just because that is our first port after departing Lisbon. Throughout the cruise, there will be many moments that will recall elements of the film, and indeed, I found myself rewatching it in preparation for our trip.

We will embark in Lisbon, a city that we could call the “sequel to Casablanca.” In the closing act of the film, Rick’s former lover Ilsa boards that plane to Lisbon with her husband Victor Laszlo. Lisbon, as the capital of neutral Portugal, was a hotbed of  wartime espionage and intrigue. On the pre-tour program, historian Dr. Neill Lochery will open up the city to us in a way that most tourists never experience. From the Portuguese World Exhibition of 1940, taking place just as France fell to the Nazis, to the stories of infamous double agent Juan Pujol Garcia, better known as “Garbo,” you will encounter something new on every corner.

Next, we visit Casablanca with its blend of the modern and the traditional. It turns out there actually is a Rick’s Café, created to take advantage of the movie’s fame, and I’m sure we’ll hear “As Time Goes By” more than once on approach to the city. The film’s release on November 26, 1942, was just under three weeks after the Allied landings in North Africa. We will take you to the landing beaches in the city of Mohammedia (formerly Fdala) to understand those landings and the uncertainty of how the Vichy French forces would respond.

The Vichy French play a major role in Casablanca. The overtly corrupt Vichy police captain Louis Renault is redeemed at the end of the film, escaping with Rick as the start of a “beautiful friendship.” Once our ship, Le Bougainville, reaches Marseilles, we will witness Vichy’s cruelty. At Camp des Milles, a factory-turned-detention center, the Vichy government sent Jews from southern France to await transport to the death camps as part of Hitler’s Final Solution. More than 2,000 Jews departed from Camp des Milles bound for Drancy and then Auschwitz.

Other ports will augment the touring to give a rounded view to the Mediterranean campaign. We will enter the siege tunnels inside the Rock of Gibralatar, visit the landing beaches of Operation Dragoon, and explore the Gothic Line fortifications in Tuscany.

I look forward to joining you on this exclusive cruise program as we sail through of one of most vital waterways of World War II.


Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, PhD
President and CEO Emeritus
The National WWII Museum


Book Your Trip With Us!

Book by December 31, 2021 and save $2,000 per couple! Extremely Limited Availability. Call 1-877-813-3329 x 257 to book.

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  • Travel with featured authors and historians Robert M. Citino, PhD, Donald L. Miller, PhD, and Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD
  • Full-time, logistical tour manager
  • Shore excursions with expert local battlefield guides at each port
  • 11 nights aboard Le Bougainville
  • Roundtrip airport transfers (when arriving and departing on scheduled group tour dates)
  • Private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
  • VIP access to sites not offered on other tours
  • Video oral history presentations from the Museum collection
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, servers, and ship board staff
  • Personal listening devices on all included touring
  • All meals and unlimited beverages while on board Le Bougainville including house wines, spirits, beer, coffee, water, teas, soft drinks, and juices
  • Informative map book including useful battlefield maps and archival images to be used throughout your journey
  • Personalized name badge and luggage tags
  • Exclusive keepsake gift to use on your journey

Additional Services

  • Additional pre and/or post-hotel nights
  • Private transfers

We’re pleased to assist you with additional services you may require, ensuring you a worry-free journey with The National WWII Museum.

Download The Brochure

Download the official Mediterranean Campaign brochure for a full listing of inclusions, accommodations, and other useful information, including historical context for the voyage.

Download Brochure

Full Cruise Itinerary

Destination Map


Cruise Itinerary

Extension - Optional Two-night Pre-Tour Extension Program

Lisbon: Neutrality & Espionage

April 8-10, 2022

Featuring guest historian Dr. Neill Lochery, author of international bestseller Lisbon: War in the Shadows in the City of Light, 1939–1945

About the pre-tour:

Courted by both sides during World War II, Portugal maintained its neutrality under the authoritarian ruler António de Oliveira Salazar. This policy of neutrality led to Lisbon being a final embarkation point for those seeking to flee the continent, a quest shared by Ilsa and Rick in the film Casablanca. As France fell in June 1940, Lisbon swelled with people hoping to procure documents that would allow them to travel to the United States or elsewhere. Those arriving in Lisbon entered a city in the midst of the Portuguese World Exhibition of 1940. Held to promote Portugal’s strength under Salazar, the optimistic World Exhibition contrasted with a continent falling under Nazi control. In the years between 1940 and 1945, Lisbon served as the entry point, sharing location, and meeting point for spies on all sides. The most famous of these was Juan Pujol Garcîa, known as Agent GARBO, who earned an Iron Cross Second Class from the Germans and a “Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.” On tour, visit Belém, the site of the Portuguese World Exhibition. Continue to Lisbon itself to see the neighborhoods frequented by spies, and enjoy a talk by Dr. Neill Lochery at the Palacio Hotel, Ian Fleming’s residence during World War II.

Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa

April 10 - Day 1

Embarkation in Lisbon

Upon arrival at Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), guests are warmly welcomed and transferred to Ponant’s Le Bougainville. The “City of Seven Hills” was a hotspot for espionage in World War II due to the neutral status of Portugal. This evening, settle into life at sea and sail south toward the coast of Morocco.

Le Bougainville (D)

April 11 - Day 2

Day at Sea: Sailing the Atlantic Ocean 

Enjoy the amenities aboard Ponant’s Explorer Series expedition ship, Le Bougainville, get to know fellow travelers, and mingle with the featured historians. An exclusive lecture series sets the stage for the destinations visited during the tour. The sequence of events that saw the rise of dictators throughout Europe in the 1930s, the failed negotiations designed to keep Nazi Germany in check, and the early stages of World War II will be discussed onboard.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)


April 12 - Day 3

Casablanca, Morocco

On November 8, 1942, soldiers of the Western Task Force set foot on Moroccan soil in three locations. This event marked the first American-led ground operation of the war in Europe. Fdala, a coastal town north of Casablanca, saw the largest number of forces, with 19,000 Allied soldiers landing on the beachhead. Overcoming initial resistance by Vichy French forces, the Americans captured Fdala  and moved into Casablanca. Today’s touring will begin in Fdala, now known as Mohammedia. A visit to Rick’s Café, modeled on the famous Rick’s from the film Casablanca, leads into a tour of the neighborhood of the Casablanca Conference. During this January 1943 conference, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle adopted the doctrine of unconditional surrender.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 13 - Day 4


This morning, Le Bougainville passes through the Straits of Gibraltar before docking near “The Rock.” As the gateway to the Mediterranean, the defense of Gibraltar was of paramount importance to the British. After taking possession of Gibraltar in 1713, the British controlled the flow of traffic into and out of the Mediterranean. During World War II, an attack by the Germans seemed imminent, and most of the civilian population was evacuated. Beginning in 1940, the Royal Engineers began constructing a series of tunnels into the Rock of Gibraltar. An underground city grew to accommodate 30,000 men in the rock, and today there are more tunnels in Gibraltar than roads.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 14 - Day 5

Day at Sea: Cruising the Mediterranean

Upon entering the Mediterranean, historian panels will give insight into the operations on the sea. From the heroic convoys that kept the island of Malta supplied during continuous bombing raids by Italians and Germans to the U-boat patrols and shore bombardments, you will hear of the efforts to keep the Mediterranean under Allied control.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 15 - Day 6

Day at Sea: Sailing in the Balearic Sea

As the ship nears the southern coast of France, the topic will turn to the battles following Operation Torch. The drive across North Africa was nearly stalled at Kasserine Pass in February 1943 when Germans under the command of Erwin Rommel took advantage of the inexperienced American soldiers and the gaps in communication among the Americans, British, and Free French. Reorganizing the command structure, the Allies regrouped and forced the Axis to surrender in Tunisia by May 1943. From this point, North Africa would become the staging ground for the invasions of Italy and southern France.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 16 - Day 7

Marseille, France

A midday docking in Marseille, the second-largest city in France, leads to an excursion to Camp des Milles, a former deportation center on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence. After the French declaration of war on Germany, German citizens in Provence were detained in this camp. Many of the detainees were artists who had fled the repressive Nazi regime. After the fall of France and the establishment of the collaborationist Vichy French government, Camp des Milles held individuals the French considered undesirable before they could be deported. In 1942, Camp des Milles was a part of Hitler’s “Final Solution.” Jews from Provence were detained here, before being sent to extermination camps in the east.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 17 - Day 8

Toulon, France

Originally designed to coincide with the D-Day landings in Normandy, an invasion of southern France was seen as a way to open another front and keep the German forces spread out. Delayed by a lack of supplies, the invasion, code-named Dragoon, took place on August 15, 1944. With a force nearing that of the invasion of Normandy, the Allies stormed ashore along the coast of Provence between Cannes in the east and Toulon in the west. The story of this battle is told at the Memorial Museum of the Landing in Provence, a recently renovated museum on top of Mont Faron. Charles de Gaulle personally opened the museum in 1964 as a testament to the French participation in the battle. The touring continues to the east of Toulon at Batterie de Mauvanne, a German installation that housed four 150mm coastal artillery guns.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 18 - Day 9

Cannes, France

Today’s touring focuses on the fighting in the areas to the west of Cannes. Visit the landing beaches of the 45th Division at St. Maxime, and the 36th Division at St. Raphael and visualize the conditions at the initial landings. The 36th Division met the heaviest resistance abandoning one sector of the beach due to German strength in the area. Continue to Le Muy, to learn about the paratroop operation. The 1st Airborne Task Force was a short-lived airborne unit made up of American and British regiments. Landing in the vicinity of Le Muy, the paratroopers succeeded in keeping the Germans from advancing toward the landing beaches. The day ends in the Rhone American Cemetery, the final resting place of 858 Americans killed in the battles in southern France.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 19 - Day 10

Corsica, France

Docking in Corsica, the tour focuses on the military history of the island. Most famous for being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, the port city of Ajaccio is also renowned as the first French town liberated during World War II. In September 1943, the citizens of Ajaccio successfully revolted against the Germans as Italy surrendered to the Allies. To mark the occasion, Charles de Gaulle visited the city in

October 1943. On tour, you will hear of the highlights of Corsica while immersing yourself in the history of the Bonaparte family in Ajaccio. Alternatively, you may choose to explore Ajaccio at your own pace.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 20 - Day 11

Tuscany, Italy

From the docking location in Livorno, depart for the fortifications of the Gothic Line. After the capture of Rome on June 4, 1944, the Allies quickly moved north toward Florence. Upon reaching the rugged, well-defended mountain passes, the operation stalled. Well-disguised German positions dug into the mountains themselves kept the Allies pinned. The weather and terrain led to the coining of term “Mud, Mountains, and Mules” for the campaign. The fighting in northern Italy would continue until May 1945, with the major cities of Bologna, Venice, Turin, and Milan all liberated by the end of April.

Le Bougainville (B, L, D)

April 21 - Day 12

Disembarkation in Rome

This morning, bid farewell to Le Bougainville and transfer to Rome–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) for individual journeys home, or continue on to Anzio and Rome for the optional two-night post-tour extension program.


Extension - Optional Two-night Post-Tour Extension Program

Anzio, Italy

April 21 – 23, 2022

About the post-tour:

Continue your journey into the amphibious invasion that provided critical lessons for D-Day and then into the first capital city to fall to the Allies. The initial success of the Anzio invasion did not foretell of the struggles to come. The Germans were caught off-guard by this January 1944 invasion designed to circumvent the defenses of the Gustav

Line and advance to Rome. The initial success turned into a bloody stalemate after the Allies struggled to advance from the beachhead. German reinforcements poured into the area, and the weather combined with the terrain led to a battle that resembled trench warfare. Movement from the beachhead was not achieved until May 1944, leading to the fall of Rome on June 4. As you depart the cruise, visit the Anzio beachhead before continuing to Rome with an exploration of Mussolini’s new city, known as EUR. While in Rome, hear of the Italian resistance efforts against the German occupation and of the horrific massacre at the Ardeatine Caves.

Aleph Rome Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton

The Mediterranean Campaign

Featured Historians

Featured Historian

Michael S. Neiberg, PhD

Michael S. Neiberg, PhD, is the Professor of History and Chair of War Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College. His published work specializes on the First and Second World Wars in global context. The Wall Street Journal named his Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I one of the five best books ever written about that war. He is also the author ofThe Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944 and Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe. His latest work, When France Fell: The Vichy Crisis and the Fate of the Anglo-American Alliance investigates the relations between the United States and France’s short-lived Vichy regime.

Featured Historian


Donald L. Miller, PhD, is the John Henry MacCracken Emeritus Professor of History at Lafayette College and one of the outstanding historians of World War II, along with award-winning works on Chicago and New York. Three of his 10 books are about World War II: The Story of World War II, D-Days in the Pacific, and Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. Masters of the Air, named “outstanding book of the year” by World War II magazine, is the primary source for Apple TV’s upcoming miniseries, on which Miller is serving as chief historical consultant. He was also a historical consultant for HBO’s miniseries The Pacific, and served as writer and chief historical consultant for WWII in HD, and on over two dozen documentary films, including several Emmy winners and a MacArthur Award. Miller’s latest work, Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy, won the prestigious Fletcher Pratt Prize, awarded to the outstanding book on the Civil War published in 2020.

don miller
Featured Historian


Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, former historian and Vice Chancellor at the University of New Orleans, served as Founding President and CEO of The National WWII Museum. Mueller’s exceptional contributions to the preservation and interpretation of WWII history and his special contributions to public awareness of the D-Day landings in Normandy have resulted in numerous awards, including the French government’s Legion of Honor, which was bestowed on him in May 2016. Dr. Mueller’s role as President and CEO Emeritus affords him time for research and writing about the history of the Museum and other WWII topics. He continues to lead overseas WWII tours and speaks widely on the war experience, the American Spirit, and nonprofit leadership.

The Mediterranean Campaign

Tour Accommodations

After retracing remarkable battlefield stories on shore, enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and space for private contemplation aboard the sophisticated Le Bougainville.

Ponant’s new Explorer Series yachts distinguish themselves by their sophisticated styling, innovative “green” technology, and attentive service while offering a refined, intimate cruising experience.

The six passenger decks include a panoramic main dining room, a casual restaurant, a main lounge, a pool equipped with a counter-current swimming system, solarium, and outdoor bar and lounge.

A built-in hydraulic platform with adjustable heights that allows for easy access to the sea for swimming, water sports and embarkation/disembarkation for onshore excursions.

Staterooms (204 to 296 sq. ft.) and suites (296 to 484 sq. ft.) have ocean views, and most have private balconies. Decorated by French designers, staterooms offer individually controlled air-conditioning and two twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed and come equipped with video on demand, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, electronic safe, hair dryer, iPod dock and minibar.

Onboard Amenities

• Two onboard restaurants, a main panoramic restaurant on Deck 4, and the more casual outdoor grill on Deck 3, offer a variety of options with specialty menus available for those with specific dietary requirements

• All-inclusive bar and restaurant beverages available throughout the day aboard ship, including house wines and spirits

• A state-of-the-art, 188-person capacity theater equipped with the latest sound and lighting technology provides an intimate space for lectures and entertainment

• Spa and fitness center

• 24-hour room service

• Elevators servicing all passenger decks

View Deck Plan

 Learn More about Le Bougainville


Price per person based on double occupancy (Single Occupancy cabins are sold out).

Owner Suite (Deck 6)

Grand Deluxe Suite (Decks 5 – 6)

Privilege Suite (Decks 5 – 6)

Deluxe Suite (Decks 3 – 6)

Prestige Stateroom (Deck 6)

Prestige Stateroom (Deck 5)

Prestige Stateroom (Deck 4)

Deluxe Stateroom (Deck 3)

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Port fees and taxes $399 per person are additional. Airfare is not included in the prices listed above.