Wild Scotland« All Polar Pioneer cruise options
|Dates||Deck + Cabin Type|
|Triple Shared||Twin Shared||Twin Private||Mini Suite||Suite|
|Jun 23 '13
|Optional kayaking: $995|
- Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate
Day 1 Oban, West Scotland
Board the Polar Pioneer around mid-afternoon in Oban, after settling in will set sail in the evening.
Days 2-3 Western Isles & Highlands
From golden beaches to jagged peaks, bleak moors and heather clad hills, and from abandoned settlements to picturesque villages, your days in the Hebrides will be packed with variety.
Explore remote lochs beneath some of Britain’s most untamed mountains, wander between bizarre rock formations of Skye’s Quiraing, watch for whales, dolphins, otters and seals, or land at an island reserve that is home to red deer and white-tailed sea eagles. Kayakers will be introduced to their craft and will be briefed for their adventures, before picking up paddles to circumnavigate tiny islets or paddle deep into narrow waterways that intersect this rugged terrain, while hikers may opt for panoramic views from summits and ridges.
You may have the chance to sample single malt whisky at a distillery, or marvel at Fingal’s Cave, where the melodious sound of waves crashing against towering basalt pillars inspired Mendelssohnn’s Hebridean Overture.
The rugged island of Skye, named after the Norse word for cloud, is a hikers’ paradise. It is a centre of Gaelic culture, and some islanders still speak the language.
Hope to explore the plethora of options on other smaller islands to the west of Scotland, such as Barra, the Isle of Rum, Iona, and also visit some fascinating spots along the coast of the Scottish mainland.
Days 4-6 Northwest Islands
Island hopping north and east, aim to visit tiny specks of land that bear the brunt of ferocious Atlantic storms. If weather and seas permit, hope to land at St Kilda, a World Heritage Site, where derelict crofts bear testament to the fortitude of hardy islanders that once dried seabirds for winter food. On Lewis, visit Carloway Broch, and stroll among a mini stone henge at Callanais. Home to breeding seals and vast seabird colonies, Flannan, North Rona and Foula boast spectacular cliffs, fantastic rock stacks, hidden beaches and luxuriant heaths where sheep once grazed.
Exposed to the full ferocity of Atlantic gales, the inhospitable volcanic stacks of St Kilda boast Britain’s highest sea cliff (430 metres tall), and were once home to one of Britain’s most remote communities. The settlement’s last 36 residents were evacuated to the Scottish mainland in 1930, when the Scottish Office ceased to subsidise the community. The islanders had eaten seabird eggs, dried gannets and fulmars for winter food, and used their feathers, oil, bones and skins for fuel, tools and shoes. In favourable sea conditions it’s possible to land on Hirta, the largest island (2 miles by 1 mile), to visit derelict crofts and the ancient chape. One of Europe’s most significant seabird breeding colonies, with over 200,000 breeding pairs of all species, St Kilda is home to Britain’s largest colonies of gannets, fulmars and puffins. It remains home to Soay sheep, perhaps brought here by Stone Age man over 5000 years ago.
Days 7-8 Shetland Islands
Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 100 miles north of the Scottish mainland, at a similar latitude to the southern tip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. Kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. They abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites, and offer a taste of traditional island life.
Plan to visit some of Shetland's best preserved and most complex archaeological sites of brochs, or fortified Iron Age towers, as well as some of the world’s largest colonies of sea birds.
Days 9-10 Orkney Islands
Mid way between Orkney and Shetland, Fair Isle houses a major European ornithological research station, and is also famous for knitwear and historic shipwrecks. About 3 miles by 2 miles, it is surrounded by impressive cliffs. The 70 or so islanders mostly live in traditional crofts on the more fertile low-lying southern part of the island.
Puffins, ScotlandA bird watchers’ paradise, Fair Isle lies on the intersection of major flight-paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe. It attracts common species and also eastern rarities such as the lanceolated warbler. In summer, the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins, and it is an excellent place to view seabirds at close range, especially puffins. The island also has over 250 species of flowering plants, including wetland flowers, rare orchids, alpine species and common wildflowers. You’ll be welcomed by the hospitable villagers and may take a hike or visit the museum.
Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, lying 6 miles north of the Scottish mainland, a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. Follow the passage of time – from 5000 year old World Heritage neolithic sites, past relics from wandering Vikings and reminders of World War 2 occupation, to present day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds and cliff top paths and bleak moors beckon the keen hikers aboard, while kayakers use paddle-power to explore sections of Orkney’s fascinating coastline.
Day 11 Aberdeen, Northeast Scotland
On arrival in Aberdeen, disembark and bid farewell to new found friends.
Itinerary NotesCruise fare includes:
- All entry fees to historic landings and historic sites.
- Ship's accommodation. All public areas are open to all passengers.
- All meals on board ship.
- Use of gumboots during the voyage.
- Daily cabin service.
- All shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs.
- Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services.
- Medical services. There is a resident doctor and well-equipped clinic on board.
- Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities.
- Pre-departure information and briefing.
Not included in cruise fare:
- Air transport to and from the ship.
- Visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes.
- Hotels and meals not included in voyage itinerary.
- Optional excursions not included in the voyage itinerary.
- Laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges and phone calls.
- Emergency evacuation charges.
- Kayaking surcharge, which covers use of kayaks and related equipment, and the services of an experienced kayak guide.
Deposit & Payment
Initial deposit is $1450, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover. Alternatively, you can send a check to our Missoula, Montana, office or register online at: https://www.adventure-life.com/forms/fourways.php
Final payment is due 100 days prior to departure.
Final payment by bank transfer, check or Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Amex. Credit Card payments subject to 3% convenience fee and maximum $15,000 charge.
Booking last minute? No problem! Please contact one of our trip planners, and we can get you on your way if booking less than 100 days prior to departure.
Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions.
|Days Prior to departure||Fee|
|90 days or more||Deposit|
|89 days or less||100% trip cost|
- Ship Highlights
- Passengers : 54
Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1985 as an ice-strengthened research ship, and for many years she plied the treacherous waters of the USSR's northern coast. In 2000 she was refurbished in St Petersburg to provide comfortable accommodation for 54 passengers. A combined bar/lounge/library area (stocked with a good collection of polar books) was also created by simple internal restructuring - inviting surroundings for your Antarctica travel.
This class of vessel has a fine reputation for polar expedition cruising, due to its strength, maneuverability and small number of cabins. All cabins have outside portholes plus ample storage space. The Russian captain and crew are among the most experienced ice navigators in the world and their enthusiasm is legendary.
The spacious bridge is always open to us and the decks are ideal for viewing. The chefs are European, and the dining room is attended by Russian stewardesses.
Polar Pioneer is not a luxury vessel as such, but this is a most popular ship for travel to the Polar regions. The accommodation is simple yet comfortable, and the meals are wholesome and uncomplicated. A small fleet of inflatable Zodiacs with outboard motors enable us to travel from ship to shore.
Triple Cabins have two lower and one upper berth, a desk, a small washbasin, storage and hanging space and portholes. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Twin Shared Cabins have two lower bunks, a desk, small washbasin, ample storage and hanging space and portholes. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Twin Private Cabins have two lower bunks, a desk, windows, and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Two cabins have upper and lower bunks (cabins 402 and 403).
Mini Suites have a separate small bedroom with double bed, a sofa bed in the main room, a desk, video player and TV, windows and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.
The Suite features a large lounge area, a separate small bedroom with double bed, a sofabed in the main room, a video player and TV, refrigerator, large forward and side facing windows, and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.