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Broch of Mousa, Scotland

British Isles: Legendary History & Wild Nature

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Sea Spirit
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Take this opportunity to join Sea Spirit on its 13-day cruise to explore and discover the wonderful beaches, ruins and wildlife as you visit different islands. Discover the sand-fringed island of Tresco, Bronze Age burial site and see the 20,000 exotic plants in Tresco Abbey Garden. Enjoy bird-watching all throughout the trip but you will enjoy most as you visit Rathlin Island where tens of thousands of nesting seabirds live. Step inside the preserved 13th-century fortress in Llanduno and be taken back in history with its stunning architecture. 
Colorful sunset over the Scottish HighlandsEdinburgh city in winter from Calton hill, Scotland, UKRing Of Brodgar, OrkneyRocky shores of the AtlanticBroch of Mousa, Scotland
Highlights
  • See the sand-fringed island of Tresco, Bronze Age burial site
  • Discover Tresco Abbey Garden with its spectacular collection of more than 20,000 exotic plants
  • Enjoy bird-watching in Rathlin Island with its tens of thousands seabirds
  • Step inside the preserved 13th century fortress in Llanduno
  • Visit the island of Staffa and see the famous Fingal's cave
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrival in Heathrow Airport, London

Welcome to England and the start of your cruise around the British Isles! Our included pre-cruise hotel night at the Hilton Garden Inn, near Terminal 2, is designed to allow for a relaxing motorcoach transfer to Portsmouth the next morning. You’ll receive information about the time and place to meet the motorcoach at the hotel.

Day 2: Portsmouth , England | Embark

In the hotel lobby, look for a Poseidon representative who will direct you to our chartered motorcoach that will take you to Portsmouth. The rich maritime tradition of the Royal Navy's home port sets the tone for the start of our fascinating journey. We will welcome you aboard the luxurious excursion ship Sea Spirit in the afternoon.

Day 3: Tresco, Scilly Isles

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Isles of Scilly are a set of small islands off the coast of Cornwall with moderate weather, isolated beaches, fascinating wildlife, and a laid-back attitude. Bronze Age burial sites and magnificent 17th-century castle ruins on the gorgeous, sand-fringed island of Tresco reflect a long and dramatic past. The magnificent Tresco Abbey Garden, with its spectacular collection of more than 20,000 exotic plants from all over the world, is located on the hallowed grounds of a Benedictine abbey. The Valhalla Museum, a collection of colorful figureheads salvaged from the islands' shipwrecks, is also located here. Delightful cafés and small stores round out your visit.

Day 4: Dunmore East, Republic of Ireland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dunmore East is a prominent tourist and fishing resort on Ireland's southeastern coast in County Waterford. It's a short drive from here to the House of Waterford Crystal, which is set in beautiful countryside. Take a guided tour of the factory to witness the master artisans in action and the world's greatest collection of their creations. Lismore Castle Gardens are also close, and they are considered to be Ireland's oldest continuously cultivated gardens, with beautiful views of both Lismore Castle and the surrounding scenery of the Blackwater valley. The lower garden was primarily built in the 19th century, while the upper garden was built around 1605, with the majority of the walls and terraces remaining the same.

Day 5: Saltee Islands, Republic of Ireland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Saltee Islands are on our itinerary. The larger island, Great Saltee, is Ireland's most well-known bird refuge. These private islands are one of the world's most important bird sanctuaries. The Saltees are a haven for sea birds, with a diverse population of Gannets, Gulls, Puffins, and Manx Shearwaters. They are also located on a major migratory route and are a popular rest station for spring and autumn migrants.

Day 6: Llandudno, Wales

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today's port is the vibrant seaside town of Llandudno in the north of Wales. Embark on a scenic overland tour of Snowdonia National Park. Afterward, you will drive through some of the wildest and most dramatic landscapes in Britain as you discover craggy mountains, stunning waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, dense woodlands and flowering meadows. Snowdonia is also renowned for wildlife including otters, water voles, wild ponies and rare birds such as dotterel and peregrine falcon. Enjoy a delightful stop at the charming and distinctively Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed in the Gwydyr Forest.

Also on the itinerary for today is the magnificent Conwy Castle. Step inside this impressively preserved 13th-century fortress for a genuine look at castle-life in medieval Britain. Pass through the fortified gateways, climb the huge towers, and walk along the battlements for breathtaking views of the estuary and town below. The castle and the walls surrounding the town of Conwy are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 7: Portrush and Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark at the small seaside resort town of Portrush in Northern Ireland. You will then travel overland to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. Discover a geological masterpiece which is a 40,000 closely packed hexagonal basalt columns of varying heights descending like a staircase into the sea. According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. In this area you are also able to spot various seabirds such as fulmar, petrel, cormorant, shag, redshank, guillemot and razorbill.

Afterward, you will visit the Rathlin Island off the coast of Northern Ireland. This small island of outstanding natural beauty is home to about 150 people and hosts tens of thousands of nesting seabirds—one of the largest seabird colonies in Europe. At the West Light Seabird Centre—housed in a fully operational lighthouse built atop an impressive sea cliff—you can enjoy great viewing of countless puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills and fulmars. The island also boasts a resident seal population and enough history to fill its charming museum to the rafters.

Day 8: Inner Hebrides, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If the weather permits, you are going to visit the uninhabited island of Staffa. This island of volcanic origin is easily recognized by its striking colonnade of hexagonal basalt pillars. Explore the island’s most famous feature, Fingal’s Cave. Reaching deep into the island, the undulating sea plays upon the stunning matrix of columnar basalt to create an eerie melody which was the inspiration for Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. The rugged island also provides nesting sites for seabirds including guillemots, razorbills and puffins.

You can also explore beautiful and serene Iona, a small island in the Inner Hebrides just off the Isle of Mull in western Scotland. At the gorgeous Iona Abbey, founded in 563 AD, we are spellbound by one of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites and indeed one of the oldest Christian religious centers in Western Europe. The adjacent graveyard is said to be the final resting place of numerous medieval kings, including Macbeth. In addition to its historical and religious significance, Iona is well known for its soul-soothing tranquility, white sand beaches and excellent birdwatching.

Day 9: Outer Hebrides, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Outer Hebrides are a group of stunning and mountainous islands off Scotland's west coast. St Kilda is the most remote of these. For at least two millennia, people of exceptional toughness have lived on this lonely and storm-ravaged island. However, as the modern world closed in around them after World War I, the remaining residents chose to flee. Only their rough stone dwellings and characteristic cleitean storehouses remain, all located amidst some of the British Isles' most stunning island landscapes. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds, two early forms of sheep, and over 130 species of flowering plants call the island home, making it a paradise for nature lovers.

Day 10: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, you will arrive in Kirkwall then embark on an overland tour of Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Attractions such as the well-preserved 5000-year-old village site at Skara Brae and the ancient Ring of Brodgar within the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” showcase the world-class cultural heritage of the island. Back in the charming village of Kirkwall, you can also find the impressive Saint Magnus Cathedral, built in the Romanesque style by Vikings in the 12th century.

Leave Orkney’s biggest island and follow the coast of Scapa Flow to the smaller South Isles. Drive over the first of the Churchill Barriers, built during the Second World War to protect Scapa Flow. You will visit the beautiful, hand-painted Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war who were interned on this small island during World War Two, the chapel stands as a lasting memorial to peace but also to the ingenuity and skill of the prisoners.

You will then continue your journey to Highland Park Distillery. Following a short film about Orkney, Highland Park and our Viking roots, you'll enjoy a tour of a working distillery before sampling three selected whiskies from the Highland Park range including 12-Year-Old, 18-Year-Old plus a mystery special edition.

Day 11: Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Shetlands are a group of subarctic islands located about 110 miles north of mainland Scotland. One of the jewels of the archipelago is the Isle of Noss, a National Nature Reserve and Special Protection Area. Here, enjoy a splendid ship cruise along the coastline where towering sandstone cliffs have been weathered into horizontal ledges, making perfect nesting sites for thousands of seabirds including gannets, puffins, guillemots, shags, black-legged kittiwakes, razorbills and fulmars. This is also a great place to spot seals and otters in the water.

On the uninhabited island of Mousa, find the famous Broch of Mousa, the finest preserved Iron Age fortification in the British Isles. At over 40 feet tall, this 2,000-year-old round tower is the tallest broch still standing and is among the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe. The island itself supports a rich diversity of plant life and is also known for grey and common seals, Arctic terns, and a significant colony of storm-petrels.

Come alongside at the port of Lerwick on Mainland, the largest of the Shetland Islands. On a walking tour of this historic town visit the award-winning Shetland Museum to learn all about Shetland’s fascinating heritage and culture. From here take a scenic overland coach ride through the fertile countryside of Dunrossness to discover Shetland’s best destinations. Birders will relish the opportunity to visit the historic lighthouse at Sumburgh Head, the southernmost point of Mainland Shetland. These rugged cliffs attract thousands of seabirds and the grassy slopes above are particularly great for enjoying close encounters with puffins amongst beautiful wildflowers. Also on the itinerary is Jarlshof, one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the British Isles. Here you will discover beautifully preserved stone structures spanning 5,000 years of human settlement, including Bronze Age oval houses, Pictish wheelhouses, an Iron Age broch, a Viking longhouse and a medieval farmhouse.

Historic crofts, scenic lighthouses, and friendly residents entice visitors to Fair Isle, an isolated island of rolling moorlands and craggy coastlines. Birders flock to the island because of the richness of British species and the numerous records of eastern rarities and migrants. Fair Isle is also one of Europe's best spots to see seabirds up close, particularly puffins. The island's wildflowers are also renowned for their richness and diversity. Its bays are frequently frequented by seals. Finally, during our journey, we will be able to see and buy hand-knitted items in the elaborate and distinctive style that has made Fair Isle famous for hundreds of years.

Day 12: Isle of May and Bass Rock, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Both of these uninhabited islands are located in the Firth of Forth in Scotland's east. Puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags, cormorants, and terns have large colonies on the Isle of May, which is a national nature reserve. Along the coastlines, harbor seals and grey seals can be seen. St. Ardin's Chapel, the lighthouse, and the Low and Light Cottages are among the historic architectural sites.

During the breeding season, the island known as "the Bass" is home to around 150,000 northern gannets, making it the world's largest colony of these spectacular birds. The guano-covered sheer walls of the island are white, and the sky is darkened all around by the large number of seabirds in flight. Our journey is ideally timed to coincide with this incredible sight—truly one of the world's natural wonders.
 

Day 13: Leith | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
We bid our goodbyes in Leith, Edinburgh's busy port neighborhood, after breakfast on board Sea Spirit. If you want to spend more time in Scotland's lovely capital, we can provide transports to the airport or to the city center of Edinburgh.

Ship/Hotel

Sea Spirit

Travelers board a Zodiac to get a closer look at the terrain and wildlife
Sea Spirit
Outdoor Bistro at the Jacuzzi area of the Sea Spirit

Dates & Prices

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Early Bird discount
Book your 2024 Arctic cruise by May 31st, 2023, and get up to 20% off. And for all bookings from June 1st until October 31st, 2023, there will be a regular Early Bird discount of up to 15%. Promo is subject to availability and applies to select departures only. ‚ÄčAdditional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.
Applies to May 8, 2024 departure

Per person starting at
$5,995
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Triple Classic
Averaging 226 sq ft. Two twin beds (convert to a King) and a sofa bed, picture window, two wardrobes and en suite facilities.
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Main Deck Suite
Averaging 248 sq ft. Two twin beds or a King Size bed, minimum two portholes, and en suite facilities.
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Classic Suite
Averaging 226 sq ft. Two twin beds or a King Size bed, picture window, two wardrobes, and en suite facilities.
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Superior Suite
Averaging 215 sq ft. Two twin beds or a King Size bed, picture window overlooking outside walkway, and en suite facilities.
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Deluxe Suite
Averaging 258 sq ft. Two twin beds or a King Size bed, private balcony, walk-in closet or wardrobe, and en suite facilities.
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Premium Suite
Averaging 323 sq ft. Two twin beds or a King Size bed, private balcony, lounge area, and en suite facilities.
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Owner's Suite
Averaging 463 sq ft. King size bed and sofa bed, separate living room with game and meeting area, private deck, and en suite facilities with jetted bathtub.
Included
  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Coffee, Tea and Cocoa Available Around the Clock
  • Port Fees
  • Complimentary Parka - available only for the duration of the voyage.
  • Loan of Waterproof Boots for Landings
  • Comprehensive Pre- and Post-voyage Information Materials
     
  • Wifi
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktails   
  • Group Transfer to the Ship on Embarkation Day 
  • Group Transfer to Airport or Central Location Upon Disembarkation
  • Digital Voyage Log
  • Lecture programs by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Kayaking
  • Passport or Visa fees
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
  • Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a minimum benefit of US$ 200,000 per person
  • The cost of any applicable medical tests (such as COVID-19) or vaccinations required either by a national government or Poseidon Expeditions before, during or after the cruise;

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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