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Colorful sunset over the Scottish Highlands

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. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Plymouth, England | Embark
Day 2 : Tresco, Scilly Isles
Days 3-4 : Republic of Ireland
Day 5 : Llandudno, Wales
Day 6 : Northern Ireland
Day 7 : Inner Hebrides, Scotland
Day 8 : Outer Hebrides, Scotland
Day 9 : Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Days 10-11 : Shetland Islands
Day 12 : Bass Rock, Scotland
Day 13 : Leith | Disembark

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

Ship

Sea Spirit

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Colorful sunset over the Scottish Highlands Edinburgh city in winter from Calton hill, Scotland, UK Ring Of Brodgar, Orkney Broch of Mousa, Scotland Rocky shores of the Atlantic

Day 1 Plymouth, England | Embark

Arrive in the port city of Plymouth in Southwest England where a rich maritime heritage sets the mood for the beginning of your exciting voyage. In the afternoon you are welcomed aboard the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get settled in your comfortable and spacious suite. Join everyone on deck and feel the sense of adventure build as you slip our moorings and sail out of the historic harbor.

Day 2 Tresco, Scilly Isles

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Isles of Scilly is a group of small islands off the coast of Cornwall boasting mild weather, secluded beaches, enchanting wildlife and a relaxed lifestyle. On the lovely, sand-fringed island of Tresco, Bronze Age burial sites and romantic 17th-century castle ruins reveal a long and dramatic history. On the hallowed grounds of a Benedictine abbey you'll discover the exquisite Tresco Abbey Garden with its spectacular collection of more than 20,000 exotic plants from all corners of the world. Here you'll also find the Valhalla Museum, a collection of colorful figureheads salvaged from the islands’ shipwrecks. Delightful cafés and local shops enrich your experience even further.

Day 3-4 Republic of Ireland

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
With good weather and the permission of authorities, you are going to visit the Skellig Islands. These remote, uninhabited rocky islets off the southwestern coast of Ireland are a favorite breeding site for seabirds, including thousands of Atlantic puffins and a large colony of northern gannets. Other bird species breeding here include the European storm petrel, northern fulmar, Manx shearwater, black-legged kittiwake, common guillemot, and razorbill. The rich waters around the islands are home to whales, dolphins and seals. The island of Skellig Michael is also known for its well-preserved early Christian monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dunmore East is a popular tourist and fishing village in County Waterford on Ireland’s southeastern coast. From here it is a short journey through the scenic countryside to the House of Waterford Crystal. Here you can take a guided tour of the factory to see the master craftsmen at work as well as the world’s largest collection of their wares. Also nearby is Mount Congreve, a magnificent 18th-century Georgian estate and botanical gardens containing thousands of plant species on 70 acres of intensively planted woodland and a four-acre walled garden.

Day 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 Outer Hebrides, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Outer Hebrides, are a chain of dramatically rugged islands off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The most isolated of these is St Kilda. This remote and storm-ravaged island was continuously inhabited for at least two millennia by peoples of extraordinary hardiness. But as the modern world closed in after World War I, the remaining inhabitants chose to evacuate. Now you'll find only their rough stone buildings and distinctive storehouses called cleitean, all set amidst some of the most dramatic island scenery in the British Isles. Nature-lovers will be delighted, as the island is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, two early types of sheep, and over 130 species of flowering plants.

Later, as you sail through the remote and uninhabited Flannan Islands, keep a lookout for seabirds including Leach’s petrel near their colony on the slopes of Eilean Mòr. Commonly seen in the surrounding waters are minke and pilot whales, as well as several species of dolphin.

Day 9 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 10-11 Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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.

On Fair Isle—an isolated island of rolling moorlands and rugged coastlines—one is easily enchanted by historic crofts, picturesque lighthouses, and friendly locals. Here you will find the internationally renowned Fair Isle Bird Observatory. The island is famous among birders for its abundance of British birds and for its numerous records of eastern rarities and migrants. Fair Isle is also one of Europe’s best places to watch seabirds, especially puffins, at close range. Additionally, the island is notable for the abundance and diversity of its wildflowers. Seals are also commonly seen in its bays. Finally, during your visit, it will be possible to see and purchase articles hand-knitted in the intricate and distinctive style for which Fair Isle has been celebrated for hundreds of years.

Day 12 Bass Rock, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bass Rock is an uninhabited island in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. This bastion of volcanic rock, also known as “the Bass”, plays host to over 150,000 northern gannets in the breeding season, making it the world’s largest colony of these magnificent birds. The island’s steep walls are white with guano and the sky all around is darkened by the vast multitude of seabirds in flight. Your voyage is perfectly timed to coincide with this amazing spectacle—truly one of the wildlife wonders of the world.

 

Day 13 Leith | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast on board Sea Spirit, say farewell in Leith, Edinburgh’s vibrant port district. Transfers to the airport or to Edinburgh city center if you wish to spend more time in the wonderful capital of Scotland are provided.

Sea Spirit

Deals

Save 15%
Early Booking Discount - Book by October 31, 2019 and save 15% per person in a Superior Suite, Deluxe Suite, Premium Suite, or Owner's Suite. Select departures only. Contact us for details.
Applies to May 8, 2020 departure

Save 10%
Early Booking Discount - Book by October 31, 2019 and save 10% per person in a Triple Classic, Main Deck Suite, or Classic Suite. Select departures only. Contact us for details.
Applies to May 8, 2020 departure

Save $800
Book before October 31, 2019 and save an additional $800 per person. Select departures only. Contact us for details.
Applies to May 8, 2020 departure

Per person starting at
$5,995
Sea Spirit
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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.

Notes

Travel Insurance:
All passengers must have comprehensive travel insurance coverage with a minimum $200,000 (Antarctica) and $150,000 (Arctic) emergency medical coverage. Additional insurance is strongly recommended.

Solo Travelers:
All rates posted are per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement: 1.7 for Main Deck and Classic, Superior Suite; twice the posted price for Deluxe, Premium and Owner's Suite.

This rate includes: 
  • Group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation;
  • Shipboard accommodation;
  • All meals on board throughout the voyage;
  • Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily;
  • All scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather);
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team;
  • Rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise;
  • Welcome and Farewell cocktails;
  • All port fees;
  • Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation;
  • Pre-departure materials;
  • Digital Voyage Log
This rate does not include: 
  • Airfare
  • Visa and passport fees (if applicable);
  • Luggage and trip cancellation insurance;
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges;
  • Staff Gratuities.
  • Emergency medical evacuation insurance with minimum coverage of $150,000

 
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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