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Greenock, Scotland

Vintage Scotland

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Silver Explorer
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Rarely do travelers get such a thorough look at the isles of the United Kingdom. On this 11-day journey, explore Balfour Castle in the Orkney Islands, which once offered safe harbor to Vikings. Stroll along the picturesque coast of the Isle of Skye—where it is said Bonnie Prince Charlie spent his last days in Scotland—and tour Iona Abbey, where Christendom in the country was born.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Leith, Scotland
Day 2 : Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Day 3 : Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland Isle of Noss, Shetland, Scotland
Day 4 : Stornoway, Isles of Lewis, Scotland
Day 5 : St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Day 6 : Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Day 7 : Armadale Bay, Isle of Skye, and Kinloch, Isle of Rum, Scotland
Day 8 : Duart Castle and Oban, Isle of Mull
Day 9 : Iona Island and Isle of Lunga, Scotland
Day 10 : Rathlin Island and Portrush, Northern Ireland
Day 11 : Greenock, Scotland


  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Visit ancient and historic religious sites and churches
  • Photograph the medieval Dunluce Castle ruins
  • Visit Iona Abbey, birthplace of Christendom in Scotland


Silver Explorer

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Greenock, Scotland Iona Abbey on the Isle of Iona

Day 1 Leith, Scotland

Embark Silver Explorer this afternoon and depart on your exciting Silversea Expedition — Vintage Scotland. After settling in, attend a mandatory safety briefing. Later during the afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team. Tonight you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party.

Day 2 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The name Kirkwall comes from the Norse name Kirkjuvagr (Church Bay). The town was first mentioned in the year 1046 when it was recorded as the residence of the Earl of Orkney. Situated on the northern coast of Mainland Orkney and with a population of about 8,500, Kirkwall is the biggest town and capital of the Orkney Islands and the principal port for the north islands in the group. The lengthy history makes the Orkney Islands very special. The main island hosts one of Scotland’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. This includes the breathtaking Standing Stones of Stenness, some up to six metres high. The nearby Ring of Brodgar — particularly magical in the evening light and the remarkably intact 5,000 year old houses at Skara Brae offer a real insight into pre-historic village life. Your tour will cover this area, including atmospheric Maeshowe with its Viking runes as well as the less well-known Watch Stone, a massive monolith that stands sentinel by the Brig o’ Brodgar. But just as important, in an area that is particularly rich in archaeology, the World Heritage Site designation protects the multitude of unexcavated sites that are dotted across the area. The more recent Norse influence and history can easily be seen through St. Magnus Cathedral, founded in memory of Saint Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney 1108-1117. Next to the Cathedral are the ruins of the former Bishop’s Palace and Earl’s Palace. The Tankerness House Museum contains items of local historical interest within one of Scotland’s best-preserved sixteenth century town-houses. The prehistoric, Pictish and Norse collections are of international importance. In more recent times, evocative Scapa Flow contains the melancholy relics of two World Wars, and on its banks the beautifully ornate Italian Chapel, constructed by Italian Prisoners of War over 50 years ago, is a moving place to visit.

Day 3 Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland Isle of Noss, Shetland, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Charming sandstone buildings line the waterfront of this historic seaport. Lerwick, the northernmost town in Scotland and the capital of Shetland, reflects its proximity to Norway with a delightful blend of Scottish and Scandinavian cultures. Your morning excursion travels through the rural townships of Fladdabister, and, conditions permitting, pause to admire the magnificent Mousa Broch, the tallest and best-preserved broch in the world. Take in the vistas of St. Ninian’s Isle where the famous Pictish horde of silver dating from the 9th century was found in 1958 before arriving at the extraordinary archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1896/7, revealing a settlement site embracing at least 5,000 years of human history. The site contains a remarkable sequence of stone structures — late Neolithic houses, a Bronze-Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouses, a medieval farmstead, and a 16th-century laird’s house. Keep a look out for Shetland’s famous ponies during our return journey back to Lerwick. At noon, Silver Explorer will depart Lerwick to head for the nearby Isle of Noss. Exploring via Zodiacs, your Expedition staff will point out gannets, puffins, guillemots, shags, kittiwakes, Razorbills, fulmars and great skuas. Recognized as a National Nature Reserve since 1955, the Isle of Noss has one of Europe’s largest and most diverse seabird colonies. Perhaps you will even catch sight of the elusive otters that frolic in the surrounding waters.

Day 4 Stornoway, Isles of Lewis, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Stornoway is an important port and with some 9000 inhabitants the major town on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It is the administrative center of the Outer Hebrides and home to “Comhairle nan Eilean Siar” (the Western Isles Council). The town was founded by Vikings in the early 9th century, under the name Stjórnavágr, and grew around a sheltered natural harbor well placed at a central point on the island. Stornoway castle overlooks the bay of Stornoway. The island was sold several times and eventually Stornoway parish was given to the people of the town. The Stornoway Trust was formed and continues to administer the parish for the people. A lighthouse, seaweed processing plant and a renewable energy manufacturing yard are situated on Arnish Point at the mouth of the harbor and visually dominate the approaches. Stornaway holds the annual Hebridean Celtic Festival, a 4-day community-led festival attracting visitors during July of each year, but probably best known and most important are the Callanish Standing Stones, one of the most significant and important megalithic complexes in Europe. The most impressive set of stones is called Callanish 1 and the circle can be seen clearly consisting of rows of large pieces of Lewisian gneiss arranged in a cross shape. At the centre of the cross is a monolith and a small chambered cairn. Two other significant stone circles are in the same area (Callanish 2 and 3).

Day 5 St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Approach St. Kilda at first light. It is a remarkable uninhabited archipelago some 50 miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. The stunning cliffs and sea stacks are home to the most important seabird breeding colony in north-west Europe. St. Kilda is one of the few places in the world to have received dual World Heritage Status from UNESCO in recognition of its Natural Heritage and cultural significance. For some this will be a moving experience and almost a pilgrimage as you drop anchor off Village Bay on the island of Hirta. Weather conditions permitting, you will go ashore using Zodiacs to visit the westernmost landmass in the United Kingdom. St. Kilda once supported a population of over 200, but the last islanders left in the 1930s. Recent restoration work on the village by the National Trust for Scotland offers a marvellous link with the past. Later, cruise past two of the largest gannetries in the world.

Day 6 Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the morning you will be at sea — use the time on the outer decks, looking for seabirds or marine mammals or simply enjoying the passing islands and landscape. Isle of Skye is the largest and most northerly large island in the Inner Hebrides. At 1,656 square kilometres (639 sq. mi), Skye is Scotland’s second-largest island. The island’s peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillins, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. The island’s largest settlement is Portree, known for its picturesque harbor. The island has been occupied since the Mesolithic period and its history includes a time of Norse rule. The most powerful clans on Skye in the post–Norse period were Clan MacLeod, originally based in Trotternish, and Clan MacDonald of Sleat. The 18th-century Jacobite risings led to the breaking up of the clan system and subsequent ‘clearances’ replaced entire communities with sheep farms. Thirty thousand people were evicted between 1840 and 1880 alone, many of them forced to immigrate to the New World. Skye has a rich heritage of ancient monuments from this period. The 18th-century Armadale Castle now hosts the Clan Donald Centre. Crofting is still important, as is commercial fishing, especially fish farming of salmon and shellfish. Birders will be looking the Corncrake, Red-throated Diver, and kittiwakes, Black Guillemots, Atlantic Puffin, Goldeneye and Golden Eagle. White-tailed Sea Eagles have recently been re-introduced. The rich fresh water streams contain brown trout, Atlantic salmon and water shrew. The high Black Cuillins weather too slowly to produce a soil that sustains a rich plant life, but each of the main peninsulas has an individual flora. The basalt underpinnings of Trotternish produce a diversity of Arctic and alpine plants including alpine pearlwort and mossy cyphal. The low-lying fields of Waternish contain corn marigold and corn spurry. The sea cliffs of Duirinish boast mountain avens and fir clubmoss. Heather moor containing ling, bell heather, cross-leaved heath, bog myrtle.

Day 7 Armadale Bay, Isle of Skye, and Kinloch, Isle of Rum, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the morning continue your exploration of the Isle of Skye and visit the southern tip of the island at Armadale bay. On arrival you will be given a map and assisted to ensure that you make the most of your time here. Clan Donald Skye has something for everyone: During your visit you may go round the award-winning museum which tells the dramatic story of the Clan Donald (or MacDonalds), in the context of 1500 years of the history of the Highlands and Islands. You may walk round the grounds, visiting some of the 40 acres of impressive gardens and taking in some of the woodland walks. You will also be able to see the stunning ruins of Armadale Castle, the seat of the MacDonalds. The Stables Café has some of the best home-baking in the area. Clan Donald Skye is also home to three different gift shops, making sure you should find the right kind of souvenir. During lunch Silver Explorer will reposition west towards the Isle of Rum. Anchor in Loch Scresort on the northeast of Rum in the Inner Hebrides, just south-west of Skye. The wildlife research center is a mountainous island, with the highest peak reaching over 600m (1,970 feet). The area is steeped in history and here, Scotland’s earliest Mesolithic settlement site was excavated. Held by the Clanranalds until the 15th century, Rum was then captured and ruled by the MacLean’s of Coll until the 19th century when it was leased out and became greatly depopulated. Between 1888 and 1957, the Bullough family owned the island and built a mansion of red Arran sandstone, known as Kinloch Castle, which was famed for its luxurious furnishings, lavish parties and eccentric innovations. Today, concern is rising for the future of the castle, which has fallen into a state of disrepair.

Day 8 Duart Castle and Oban, Isle of Mull

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today land in Duart Bay withy our Zodiacs to visit one of the most spectacular and unique sites on the West Coast of Scotland — Duart Castle. Standing on a crag at the end of the peninsula jutting out into the Sound of Mull at the intersection of the Sound of Mull, Loch Linne and the Firth of Lorne it is within view of the neighbouring castles of Dunstaffnage, Dunollie, Aros and Ardtornish. In 1911 the castle was repurchased and restored by Sir Fitzroy Maclean, and is now inhabited by Sir Lachlan Maclean, 28th chief of the clan Maclean. If available, Sir Lachlan Maclean himself will be pleased to welcome you to his fabulous 400 year old castle and home, which is the clan seat. You can walk through the ancient keep, visit the dungeon where the officers of Tobermory’s Spanish Galleon were imprisoned, and take a journey back through the ages in the exhibition of clan history. Oban, your afternoon’s destination, occupies a beautiful setting just across the Firth of Lorn. Just outside the town stands Dunollie Castle, on a site that overlooks the main entrance to the bay and has been fortified since the Bronze Age. The modern town of Oban grew up around a distillery founded in 1794. During World War II, Oban was used by Merchant and Royal Navy ships and was an important base in the Battle of the Atlantic. The area around Oban is rich with attractions, from the dramatic scenery of the coast and mountains to the fascinating histories of the local castles and ancient religious sites.

Day 9 Iona Island and Isle of Lunga, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning you arrive at Iona Island. St. Columba came here from Ireland in 563 AD and early Christianity spread through northern Britain from this remote island community. Forty-eight Kings of Scotland are buried here, including Duncan, Macbeth’s victim. Once ashore you will visit Iona Abbey, one of Scotland’s most sacred and historical sites. The abbey was restored during the early 20th century, and today the Iona Community continues the tradition of worship first established by St. Columba. The Tresnish Isles, protecting the western approaches to Mull, will be your afternoon’s destination. Lunga, the largest of them, has 2000-plus pairs of puffins that breed on the island’s plateau of short turf. Other birds include Storm Petrels, Manx Shearwaters and Black-legged Kittiwakes. Guillemots, puffins, Corncrakes and Razorbills breed on Lunga and nearby Harp Rock, but the island is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its abundant plant life! Many rare and endangered plants are native to Lunga. These include Primroses, Birdsfoot Trefoil, and orchids, Sea Campion, Thrift and Tormentil.

Day 10 Rathlin Island and Portrush, Northern Ireland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tiny Rathlin Island has been settled for more than 6,000 years and has a storied past including a number of infamous massacres. Today it has a population of just over 100 persons and is a popular bird watching destination. After going ashore by Zodiac in the early morning, you will be greeted by your local guide and proceed to explore on foot. Rathlin has been designated as a special conservation area and its bird colony is home to tens of thousands of seabirds, including Common Guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins and Razorbills — about thirty bird families in total. Boarding a local mini bus, you can explore the island further. Shaped like a boot, the island is eight miles long and less than one mile wide and surrounded by impressive limestone and basalt sea cliffs reaching 470 feet in places. Three lighthouses stand as testament to Rathlin’s wild coast. Silver Explorer will reposition during an early lunch. For this afternoon your drive along the spectacular and unspoilt Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland takes you first to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Upon arrival, you will hike uphill following a winding and bumpy pathway with wonderful vantage points. The path is over half a mile long with wonderful vantage points to stop and take in the natural beauty, ultimately arriving at the 30 meter deep and 20 meter wide chasm to Carrick-a-Rede Island. A rope suspension bridge has been erected by salmon fishermen and those not fearful of heights can step out onto the bridge as it sways high above the steep cliffs and crashing waves. Epic struggles between warring Gaelic families caused many castles to be built in defensive positions along the North Antrim coast, and your next visit will be to Dunluce Castle. The rambling ruins of the 17th-century castle with its towers and gables cling precariously to a black basalt crag, and are dramatically surrounded by terrifyingly steep drops. Enjoy a guided tour of the castle. Experience the Giant’s Causeway — one of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks. Legend has it that the Irish giant, Finn McCool, constructed the causeway so he could cross the sea to Scotland and thus be with his lady love. In reality, the Causeway’s 40,000 stone columns, mostly hexagonal, formed millions of years ago with the cooling of molten lava. For centuries, visitors have marvelled at the rugged symmetry of the columns and their ability to withstand the unbridled ferocity of Atlantic storms. Formed over 50 million years ago, UNESCO has recognized this unique site with World Heritage status.

Day 11 Greenock, Scotland

  • 1 Breakfast
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.

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6 cabins on Deck 3, 180 sq. feet, Twin or Queen beds, 2 portholes.
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4 cabins on Deck 4, Twin or Queen beds, 180 sq. feet with view window.
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4 suites on Deck 3, 430 sq. feet with 2 view windows, Twin or Queen beds.
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2 suites on Deck 7, 358 sq. feet with private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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6 suites on Deck 5, 430 sq. feet with 2 French balconies, Twin or Queen beds.
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2 suites on Deck 7, 650 sq. feet with large private veranda, Twin or Queen beds.
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This Add-on is available only for our travelers extending or customizing their itinerary.

Please note: Fares are capacity controlled, and subject to change at any time without notice. All prices are in US dollars, cruise-only per person based on double occupancy.

- The supplement for single occupancy in a Vista, Veranda or Midship Veranda Suite ranges from 25% – 100% above the double occupancy fare, depending upon the sailing and suite selected. Single supplement for a Silver or Medallion Suite (Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper), Owner’s, Grand or Royal Suites are 100% above of the double occupancy fare. Suites for single and third guests are capacity controlled.

Included in cruise fare:
Suite accommodations, onboard meals and entertainment, gratuities aboard ship (except spa), complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soft drinks, water, tea and coffee. All fares are quoted in US dollars, are per guest and based on double occupancy.
Not included in cruise fare:
Airfare, hotel accommodations, transfers and luggage handling, optional shore excursions, meals ashore, fuel surcharges, accommodations whilst ashore, casino gaming, laundry or valet services, purchases from the ship boutiques or any item or service of a personal nature such as medical care, massages, spa treatments, private fitness instruction, hair styling and manicures. Some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars are not included in your fare and may not be available at all times.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.


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