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Discover ancient cultures of the Orkney islands

Jewels of the North Atlantic

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic
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Cruise from Scotland to the lush green islands of Orkney, Shetland, The Faroe Islands, and Iceland on this 8-day cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic. Enjoy fair-lighted days and matchless landscapes and seascapes, and watch for migrating birds, dolphins, and whales along the way. Explore Orkney, an archipelago known for its sandstone cliffs and Neolithic cities, then cruise to the Shetland islands to see their many varied bird species. Sail further north to the Faroe Islands, where Tórshavn, the capital and largest town, awaits. After these days full of culture, history, whiskies and bird life, head out on the North Atlantic and scout for whales and wildlife. Visit the youngest island in the world and spend an exciting day in Heimaey before concluding your adventure in Reykjavík.
 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Aberdeen | Embark
Day 2 : Orkney Islands
Day 3 : Shetland Islands
Day 4 : Faroe Islands | Tórshavn
Day 5 : Faroe Islands | Klaksvik
Day 6 : At Sea
Day 7 : Westman Islands | Heimaey
Day 8 : Reykjavik | Disembark

Highlights

  • Learn about prehistoric civilizations and admire ancient stone ruins
  • Explore charming villages and great castles
  • Watch for whales and seabirds, including puffins and gannets
  • Visit the youngest island in the world

Ship

Ocean Atlantic

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Discover ancient cultures of the Orkney islands Boats in the harbor of Torshavn Ring Of Brodgar, Orkney Grass-roofed houses of the Faroe Islands Lighthouse near Torshavn Explore volcanic Heimaey Island
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Day 1 Aberdeen | Embark

Your journey begins in Aberdeen in North East Scotland, where MV Ocean Atlantic is moored in the Dee River. Boarding is in the afternoon, where the cabins are designated. After the mandatory security review and drill, sail out through the mouth of the Dee River toward the North Sea.
 

Day 2 Orkney Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night the ship will have sailed out into the waters between Outer and Inner Hebrides, and in the early morning will reach the town of Kirkwall on the windy Orkney off the mainland of Scotland. Orkney is old Norse for the "seal islands", and, like the other North Atlantic islands, Orkney has a rich Viking story.
Depart Kirkwall and head into the west of Mainland, Orkney’s largest island. Along the way, pass through rolling landscapes into the Neolithic Heartland of Orkney, an area designated as a World Heritage Site due to its wealth of pre-historic archaeology. Passing the Standing Stones of Stenness, stop at the 5000-year-old ceremonial circle: the Ring of Brodgar. From here, continue on as history goes even further back to one of the oldest European civilizations: Skara Brae, Northern Europe's Pompeii, was hidden for almost 5000 years before a massive storm (150 years ago) revealed the ancient settlement. The ten small homes are almost "move-in ready," fully furnished and with sanitation - all made in stone.
 
Back in Kirkwall, visit one of the local distilleries for a tasting of some of the northernmost drops in Scotland. A fitting end to an excursion with such an amazing historical backdrop. (Please note that this excursion is optional and is not included in the price of the trip).
 
For guests wishing to stay in Kirkwall, at short walking city tour will be arranged, passing by St. Magnus cathedral as well as the picturesque ruins from Bishop's and Earl's Palace.

Day 3 Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Approach Lerwick in the morning. The Shetland Islands consist of more than 100 islands and shores, of which only 15 are inhabited year-round. The islands form the northernmost part of the United Kingdom, located approximately 300 km north of the mainland of Scotland. This "central" location in the North Atlantic has through the ages led many to the islands, and the Scandinavian heritage still shines through dialects, folklore and place names.
 
Once securely docked at the port, depart through Lerwick towards Scalloway for a short scenic drive. From the elevated position, enjoy the view of the charming village and the imposing Scalloway Castle. After a short photo stop, continue eastward through the area that is locally known as the “Black Gates” – an area where peat is still cut to use as fuel.

Following the road northward, the main destination of Clickimin Broch is only a short drive. There will be free time to discover this well-preserved and restored Broch and learn more about life in the Iron Age. (Please note that this excursion is optional and is not included in the price of the trip).
 
Afterward, return to Lerwick and the ship in the middle of the day. The rest of the day is for enjoying at leisure before departing in the afternoon.

Day 4 Faroe Islands | Tórshavn

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive at Tórshavn, possibly the smallest capital in the world, ruling the scattered 18 islands that make up the Faroe Islands. Centered around the charming grass-roofed Parliament on Tinganes, Tórshavn is now an (almost) bustling modern city with shops, cafés and even three traffic lights!

Join an optional bus excursion where to look back in history. Drive out of the capital and over the mountains to the south. As the climate on the Faroe Islands is "stably unstable," it is not unlikely to drive through the cloud base and experience some fog on the way - but give it a moment, and it is also likely to clear up. Arrive in Kirkjubøur, the most important historical site on the islands. Kirkjubøur was in medieval times the Episcopal center of the Faroe Islands, and its undisputed cultural center. Visit the ruins of the impressive Magnus Cathedral and the St. Olav church – the only remaining medieval church on the Faroe Islands. Upon return to ‘Havn’ – as Tórshavn is often nicknamed – enjoy a leisurely stroll through the old citadel near the harbor. A visit to the art museum and the Nordic House is also recommended.
(Please note that this excursion is optional and is not included in the price of the trip).

Day 5 Faroe Islands | Klaksvik

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive to the little port of Klaksvik on the island of Bordoy, located in the eastern side of the island nation. The town is the second largest (4800 inhabitants) in the Faroe Islands, with history dating back to Viking times. The port supports the fishing industry which still sets its mark on the town. Witness the atmosphere of the port and the small open-deck boats as the ship docks.
 
Join an optional bus excursion where to explore the nearby Eysturoy with its wonderful nature, high peaks and wildlife. Depart by coach through a tunnel that connects Bordoy and Eysturoy, and afterward pass along the long Skalafjord. This leads to the small harbor village Gjogv, where you can explore the area and maybe even walk the gorge that has given the village its name. Take some time to take some photos where some of the famous rock formations and cliffs are visible along the way. All in all, this roundtrip gives you some insights of the Faroese lifestyle and the truly spectacular natural beauty that the islands hold. (Please note that this excursion is optional and is not included in the price of the trip).

Day 6 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Listen to a lecture from experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.

Day 7 Westman Islands | Heimaey

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Westman Islands were on the headlines of the world press in January 1973, when a volcano erupted on Heimaey island. All 5,000 inhabitants evacuated, but most have now returned, and today the population is about 4,000. The Westman Islands are only 14 kilometers off the southwest coast of Iceland and consist of 15 green small islands and about 30 moorings.

When you go sailing, you can see the islands' steep and grateful profiles in clear weather from a long distance. They are beautifully raised by the sea, and looking at them, one understands why an Icelandic poet would compare them with the sapphires in a silver ring. The birdlife on these edges is unique and includes, among other natural beauties, puffins and not least the "Queen of the Sea," the gannet.

Start the day by passing close to one of the world's newest islands, Surtsey. The island rose from the sea in 1963 and arrived in 2008 on UNESCO's list of world natural heritage sites. The island is closed to the public and only researchers are allowed.

In the morning head to Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, where you can see the recently excavated houses from the 1973 eruption. 
 

Day 8 Reykjavik | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
In the morning Ocean Atlantic arrives in the port of Reykjavik. After breakfast, it’s time to say farewell to the crew and begin disembarkation.
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Ocean Atlantic

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Per person starting at
$2,390
Category G
Select a Date
Category G - Single
Size 9-10 m². Cabins feature a single bed, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
Category F
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Category F
Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Triple Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, and a fold-out single bed, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub, and a porthole. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category E
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Category E
Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category D
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Category D
Size 11-12 m². Featuring two single beds, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on the Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
Category C
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Category C
Size 12-13 m². This Standard Cabin has two single beds, private bathroom, and a window. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category B
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Category B
Size 20-23 m² Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a sofa bed that enables triple accommodation, a relaxing sitting area, private bathroom and windows. Partly obstructed view. Located on the Magellan and Hudson Deck (Deck 7 & 8).
Category A
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Category A
Size 19-24 m². Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, a private bathroom, and windows. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Premium Suite
Select a Date
Premium Suite
Size 35 m². These 2-room suites are designed with a large double bed or two twin beds, an elegant living room, a large private bathroom, and windows. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).

Notes

INCLUSIONS
  • 8-day/7-night cruise in a shared outside double cabin with private bathroom/toilet
  • English-speaking guides
  • Zodiac landings
  • Near-port town walks with the expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Full board on the ship
  • Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Special photo workshop
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails   
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
  • Taxes and tariffs
EXCLUSIONS
  • International flights to/from Aberdeen/Reykjavik.
  • Hotel accommodation in Abderdeen/Reykjavik.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Cancellation insurance.
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary (see optional excursions below)
  • Single room supplement.
  • Meals not on board the ship.
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea).
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day).
  • Personal expenses.
  • Anything not mentioned under 'Price includes'.
 
Optional Excursions - Additional Cost, contact a Trip Planner for details:
  • Orkney Islands - Kirkwall; Excursion to Skara Brae
  • Faroe Islands - Torshavn: Excursion to Kirkjubøu
  • Faroe Islands – Klaksvik: Excursion to the island Eysturoy and Gjógv
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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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