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The Ring of Brodgar on the Orkney Islands.

Wild Scotland

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Polar Pioneer
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From the Hebrides in the west, to inhospitable windswept specks of land like St Kilda and Foula, and to the Orkney and Shetland islands in the north, explore the intriguing diversity of these wild islands on this unique 11-day cruise aboard the Polar Pioneer. Plan to take in Neolithic sites scarcely changed in 5000 years, and ponder the mystery of huge monoliths that marked seasonal change. Visit remote crofting communities, picturesque villages, and castles that were once strongholds of Scottish clans. Hope to see some of the world’s largest seabird colonies - raucous places filled with gannets, fulmars, arctic terns, and delightful puffins. Or sit quietly in Zodiacs as seals play nearby in waters patrolled by whales and dolphins.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Oban, West Scotland
Days 2-3 : Inner & Outer Hebrides
Days 4-6 : Northwest Islands | St Kilda
Days 7-8 : Shetland Isles
Days 9-10 : Orkney Islands
Day 11 : Disembark in Aberdeen, Northeast Scotland


  • Explore the intriguing diversity of Scotland's islands, such as St Hilda
  • Uncover stories of heroes, villains, fallen monarchs, and bloody battles
  • Come across Neolithic settlements, Roman frontiers & more fascinating sites
  • Kayak through sea caves and mirror-like lochs
  • See some of the world’s largest seabird colonies, seals, whales & dolphins


Polar Pioneer

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Hiking through the hills of St. Kilda. Stone house on the shores of St. Kilda Scotland. Kayaking in Scotland. Sheep in the fields of Scotland. The Ring of Brodgar on the Orkney Islands.

Day 1 Embark in Oban, West Scotland

Board the Polar Pioneer around mid-afternoon in Oban. After settling in, set sail in the evening for your expedition cruise of the European Arctic.

Day 2-3 Inner & Outer Hebrides

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Overnight travel to Iona, the birthplace of Christianity in Britain and a burial ground of early Scottish kings. At Staffa, visit Fingal’s Cave, set amidst spectacular basalt columns, and learn why it inspired Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. In the Cuillin Hills, spiritual heart of Skye, follow a lonely track to Rubh’an Dunain, an ancient passage grave with a nearby Iron Age fort and stone-lined canal, possibly built by Vikings. If conditions allow, take longer walks into the hills. Canna offers golden and sea eagles, basking sharks, dolphins, gray seals, and puffins.

Day 4-6 Northwest Islands | St Kilda

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Conditions permitting, land on Hirta, in remote St Kilda, home to Europe’s most important seabird colony and Britain’s highest sea stacks. Learn of the incredible islanders, who survived here for nearly 5,000 years, and their heroic courtship rituals. On Lewis visit the Callanish Stones, somber slabs placed upright nearly 3,000 years ago to mark burial sites. A Zodiac cruise takes you to pure white beaches where the brave might swim and Bostadh’s reconstructed Iron Age house. Aim to visit Sula Sgeir and North Rona, tiny islands with dramatic coastlines, inhabited by breeding seals and seabirds.

Day 7-8 Shetland Isles

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Closer to Norway than Scotland, the Shetland Isles played a strategic role in Viking conquests. Visit the capital, Lerwick, and explore the complex Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Jarlshof. On Mousa, walk to the world’s best-preserved Iron Age structure known as a ‘broch’ and your historian recounts its importance. Foula’s five dramatic peaks dwarf its crofting hamlets and its cliffs are alive with kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars and skuas. Papa Stour’s coastline offers Zodiac exploration of dramatic caves.

Day 9-10 Orkney Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Blessed with red, fertile soil, the Orkney archipelago has welcomed people since ancient times. From Kirkwall, visit 5000- year old archaeological wonders like Skara Brae, excavated less than 100 years ago. View relics of Viking occupation and World War II curiosities, including the exquisite Italian Chapel, built from scrap by Italian POWs. Sail past the giant sea stack Old Man of Hoy. On Papa Westray see the Knap of Howar, the oldest standing dwelling in Europe and on to Fair Isle, a birdwatchers’ paradise, where the few inhabitants still live in traditional crofts and welcome you to admire and buy their exquisite knitwear.

Day 11 Disembark in Aberdeen, Northeast Scotland

  • 1 Breakfast
Upon arrival in Aberdeen, disembark and bid farewell to new-found friends.

Polar Pioneer

Per person starting at
Polar Pioneer's Triple Cabin.
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Triple Shared
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.
Polar Pioneer's Public Twin Cabin.
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Twin Shared
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.
Polar Pioneer's Private Twin Cabin.
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Twin Private
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).
Polar Pioneer's Mini Suite.
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Mini Suite
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.
Polar Pioneer's Captain Suite.
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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.


Please note that all of Polar Pioneer itineraries are at the mercy of weather conditions and not all landings are guaranteed. These itineraries are flexible and will change voyage to voyage, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.

- Rates represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.

- Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate

Please note: Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian dollars. Please contact us for current rates.

Included in cruise fare:
• Accommodation during the voyage
• All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during the voyage
• All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
• Educational lectures and guiding services from an expert team
• Access to an on board doctor and basic medical services
• Complimentary custom-designed Polar Expedition jacket
• Use of gumboots during the voyage
• Daily cabin service
• Comprehensive pre-departure information
• Professionally produced electronic voyage journal
• Port taxes and charges
• All entry fees to historic landings sites
• 12-month membership to National Trust of Australia (NSW), including entry into over 300 properties within the United Kingdom

Not included in cruise fare:
• International or domestic flights to or from Polar Pioneer
• Airport arrival or departure taxes
• Any airport transfers or transfers to or from Polar Pioneer
• Visa, passport, and vaccination charges
• Travel insurance or any emergency evacuation charges
• Hotels and meals not included in voyage itinerary
• Optional excursions not included in the voyage itinerary
• Optional activity surcharge. Please contact us if you wish to book any optional activities
• All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, and email or phone charges


  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
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