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Isle of Iona, Scotland

Wild Scotland

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer (ZE)
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Visit picturesque villages, haunted castles that once were a stronghold of the Scottish clans; birders will delight in Europe’s largest sea bird colonies and the Orkney Islands will please whiskey amateurs with a wee dram of Scotland’s finest! 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, you’ll explore the intriguing diversity of Scotland’s wild islands during this magical 8-day cruise aboard the Greg Mortimer. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Belfast, Northern Ireland
Day 2 : Portrush, Giant’s Causeway | Embark | Isle of Islay
Day 3 : Staffa, Inner Hebrides | Iona
Day 4 : St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides | Flannan Islands
Day 5 : Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Day 6 : Lerwick, Shetland Islands | Isle of Noss | Mousa
Day 7 : Fair Isle
Day 8 :  Aberdeen | Disembark

Highlights

  • Search for a variety of seabirds—puffins, gannets, guillemots & kittiwakes
  • Visit Skara Brae, a well-preserved Stone Age village
  • Discover the Standing Stones of Stenness an important Neolithic monument
  • Explore the Iona Abbey and the magnificent St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall

Ship

Greg Mortimer (ZE)

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Ring Of Brodgar, Orkney Isle of Iona, Scotland Seabirds flying over dramatic ocean island cliffs St Kilda Iona Abbey on the Isle of Iona Discover the restored Iona Abbey, Scotland

Day 1 Belfast, Northern Ireland

Check in to the Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast, with the rest of the day at leisure to explore the city on your own. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner.     

Day 2 Portrush, Giant’s Causeway | Embark | Isle of Islay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depart overland for Portrush for a visit to the World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway. This three-mile section of coastline is a geological masterpiece—some 40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns of varying heights line the coast and descend like a staircase into the sea. Embark the Greg Mortimer and, after lunch, go ashore on the Isle of Islay for a tour of the Ardbeg Distillery. 

Day 3 Staffa, Inner Hebrides | Iona

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Weather permitting, spend the morning exploring the uninhabited island of Staffa by Zodiac and its most famous feature, Fingal’s Cave. The cave’s peculiar rock formations and unusual coloring are a delight to behold, and the wonderful echo of the sea from within served as the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture.
In 563 AD the Christian missionary, St. Columba, built a monastery on Iona and spread Christianity throughout Scotland. Though the monastery suffered repeated attacks by Vikings over the centuries and the original was destroyed, it was rebuilt each time and some of these later buildings still stand. Visit the monastery site; the nearby cemetery of St. Oran, where numerous Scottish kings are buried; and the 12th-century Iona Abbey.

Day 4 St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides | Flannan Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the morning at St. Kilda, once home to a small community, evidenced by abandoned houses and cleits, beehive-shaped cells where goods were stored. Spend the afternoon cruising among the Flannan Islands—puffins, fulmars, murres, and kittiwakes should be plentiful. 

Day 5 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in the capital city of Kirkwall on Mainland Island in the Orkneys today for visits to the magnificent St. Magnus Cathedral and some of the island’s major archaeological sites. Visit the enigmatic Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, and Skara Brae, a remarkably well-preserved Stone Age village buried in sand some 4,500 years ago. Return to Kirkwall for an afternoon walking tour of this charming city.

Day 6 Lerwick, Shetland Islands | Isle of Noss | Mousa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands, which are steeped in Norse heritage. After the tour, there will be free time to stroll the narrow streets and browse the many shops or raise a pint at the local pub. After lunch on board, cruise to the Isle of Noss, where spectacular cliffs support a large and diverse seabird colony, home to 80,000 seabirds—guillemots, razorbills, gannets, shags, and more. This evening goes ashore at Mousa to view one of Britain’s finest Iron Age ruins, an unusually well-preserved 40-foot broch, a dry stone structure, dating from about 200 AD.

Day 7 Fair Isle

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of the most isolated settlements in the British Isles, Fair Isle is renowned for the quality and intricacy of its handmade sweaters, using local wool. It is also famous as a haven for seabirds, including gannets, murres, black-legged kittiwakes, numerous gull species, and a large colony of puffins. After a short walk, join some of the 70 islanders at their community center for tea and cakes, and a visit to the local museum.
 

Day 8  Aberdeen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark in Aberdeen this morning, and enjoy a scenic drive to Edinburgh. Board your independent homeward flight

Greg Mortimer (ZE)

Belfast

Per person starting at
$6,990
Greg Mortimer
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Category 1
Category 1 suites average 170 - 245 square feet and have a porthole.
Greg Mortimer
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Category 2
Category 2 suites average 225 - 336 square feet including a private balcony.
Greg Mortimer
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Category 3
Category 3 suites average 225 - 336 square feet including a private balcony.
Greg Mortimer
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Category 4
Category 4 suites average 225 - 336 square feet including a private balcony.
Greg Mortimer
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Category 5
Category 5 suites average 328 - 435 square feet including a private balcony.
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Suite
Suites are 418 square feet including a lounge, bedroom, and private balcony.
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Owner's Suite
The owner’s suite is 478 square feet including a lounge, bedroom, and private balcony.

Notes

Inclusions
Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises; all gratuities; all accommodations; world-class lecture and expedition team; all onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; all entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; gift certificates for recommended expedition gear; medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance.

Exclusions
Airfare from your home city/Belfast and Edinburgh/home city; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), and other incidentals; email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
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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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