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Ring Of Brodgar, Orkney

The Celtic Seaways

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic
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Enjoy a spring cruise along the coasts of Scotland and the Orkney and Shetland Islands aboard the expedition vessel Ocean Atlantic. Explore the Scottish west coast, with its isolated islands, deep fjords, rugged hillside, and dramatic castle ruins. This stunning landscape is the embodiment of Scotland, and is also home to some of the most distinctive and famous whiskey distilleries. North of the mainland lie the rugged and scenic islands of Orkney and Shetland, with active fishing communities and some of Europe's oldest cultural and historical sites. This adventure is the ultimate journey for lovers of Scottish history and culture.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Dublin, Ireland | Embark
Day 2 : Campbeltown, Scotland
Day 3 : Bunnahabhain, Isle of Skye
Day 4 : Iona and Oban
Day 5 : Isle of Skye | Portree
Day 6 : Orkney Archipelago | Kirkwall
Day 7 : Shetland Islands: Lerwick
Day 8 : Aberdeen, Scotland | Disembark

Highlights

  • Cruise by Zodiacs to land in the small port city of Port Ellen
  • Discover the rich history in Kirkwall including a visit to Skara Brae
  • Visit the Shetland Islands, home to thousands of seabirds
  • Explore the island of Mull, one of the prettiest of the Inner Hebrides

Ship

Ocean Atlantic

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Ring Of Brodgar, Orkney Natural beauty of Ireland Explore Dublin Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin Pastel homes on Isle of Skye Colorful sunset over the Scottish Highlands
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Day 1 Dublin, Ireland | Embark

The journey begins in Dublin, where MV Ocean Atlantic is located by a dock in the Liffey River. Board the ship in the afternoon, settle in, then set sail through the mouth of the Liffey River towards the Irish Sea.

Day 2 Campbeltown, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Campbeltown, on the peninsula "Mull of Kintyre", housed over 30 distilleries in the 1920s, and the city called itself "the world's whisky capital". Today there are only three distilleries left. During your visit the annual Campbeltown Malts Festival will take place with local craft stalls, live music, special bottlings and much more in various venues around Campbeltown. Visiting during the three-day celebration of the local distilleries is sure to be memorable.

Day 3 Bunnahabhain, Isle of Skye

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The smell of peat and smoke fills your nostrils as we approach Islay. For decades, the peat has been the primary source of fuel on this small Inner Hebride island. This, the most southernmost of the island group is known as the Queen of the Hebrides. The island has around 3200 inhabitants and an impressive 130 miles of beautiful coastline. Use the ship's Zodiacs to land at the Bunnahabhain distillery where you will take a short tour of the distillery, learning about the process of whisky making from start to finish. Afterwards a tasting is well deserved.
 
Islay is probably best known for its malt whiskies and has a total of eight working distilleries. Whisky is one of the most important sources of income for the island.
The whisky they produce is soft, dry, smoked and dusty at the same time. For this reason, Islay is the most visited of all the inner Hebrides in proportion to its size.
Be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife while we navigate around Islay and the Hebrides, where seals, otters, geese, waders and golden eagles amongst others, have their home.

Day 4 Iona and Oban

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today’s early visit will be steeped in Christian history as you visit the small pilgrimage island of Iona. It is considered the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland with the arrival of St. Columba in AD 563 and the founding of the Abbey. The Abbey’s long history is rich with Viking attacks, foreign monks and even abandonment at one time, before being reconstructed to its present state. Today, Iona remains a place of pilgrimage and spirituality. Your visit entails a walk around the small town and free time around the Abbey. After a morning visit, continue along the Isle of Mull towards Oban.

The capital on the Scottish west coast is Oban. A picturesque Scottish harbor town called "The Gate of the Hebrides", Oban offers typical Scottish city life. If you want more exercise, it is highly recommended to walk up to McCaig’s Tower, built in the 19th century. A monument that resembles the Colosseum of Rome. Whisky is of course present here: In Oban, clearly, they have ‘Oban’, a small town distillery with a big whisky production (open every day, including Sundays). A more historical visit could be the Oban War and Peace museum that has excellent displays depicting Oban over the years (not only during the war).

The sailing trip from Oban is something truly extraordinary. We head out through the Sound of Mull with mainland Scotland starboards and Isle of Mull on the portside.

Day 5 Isle of Skye | Portree

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The captain’s analysis of weather and climate determines which route to take for Portree on Skye. The nightly sailing can either go through Sound of Sleat and Loch Alsh east of Skye or sail west into an Irish sea and north of Skye. In any case, in the morning be in Portree, the island's largest city. It is beautifully situated, with colorful houses that surround the small natural harbor. The ship goes closer to the harbor, sheltered from western winds on the east coast of the island. But the water is shallow, so you need to board the ship's  Zodiacs for an easy and quick landing. 

More beautiful islands are hardly found in Scotland, and it has Britain's largest concentration of mountain peaks.

Today's optional excursion allows you to experience the dramatic landscape dominated by sharp peaks in the Cuillins mountain range. You just have to walk a short distance from the road before you have an uninterrupted view of the horizon around. Drive northwards to the MacLeod clan headquarters at Dunvegan Castle and, of course, also visit the only distillery on the Isle of Skye, Talisker, whose 18th whiskey in 2007 was named Best Single Malt In The World.

Day 6 Orkney Archipelago | Kirkwall

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night we’ll have sailed out into the waters between Outer and the Inner Hebrides, and in the early morning, we’ll 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 history. But 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 revealed the ancient settlement. The 10 small homes are almost ready for moving into, fully furnished and with sanitation - all made in stone. After arriving at Kirkwall there is an optional excursion, taking a bus ride to visit Skara Brae on a short excursion. Back in Kirkwall, visit the Highland Park, considered by many to be the world's best distillers. On four occasions the golden drops from Highland have been voted the world's best. It is also Scotland's northernmost whiskey.

The afternoon is free in Kirkwall before the evening departure north to the Shetland Islands and Lerwick.

Day 7 Shetland Islands: Lerwick

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ocean Atlantic approaches Lerwich near the "Main Land" of Shetlands in the morning. The island of Shetland consists of more than 100 islands and shores, of which only 15 are inhabited year-round. The islands form the northernmost part of the British 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.

In the morning it is possible to take a short bus ride out on the main island (not included in the travel price). You have to include a visit to Clickimin Broch, a unique example of the architecture of the Bronze and Iron Age. We’ll also look at Fort Charlotte more closely, built in 1665 - enjoy the great view of the old city from its fortress.
Afterward, you have return to Lerwich and the ship in the middle of the day. The rest of the day is for enjoying leisure before departing in the afternoon.

Day 8 Aberdeen, Scotland | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The captain has led the ship southwards along the east coast of Scotland, and arrive in Aberdeen, Scotland's third-largest city. Today, say your farewell to the ship and its crew before departing for the airport and beginning the return journey.
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Ocean Atlantic

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Deals

Flexible New Booking Policy
For new bookings made from April 7, 2020, forward pay a reduced deposit amount of 15% of the cruise fare. Some restrictions may apply. Contact us for more details.
Applies to May 21, 2021 departure

Per person starting at
$2,390
Category G
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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
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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:
  • 7-night cruise and accommodations
  • English-speaking guides.
  • Zodiac landings.
  • Near-port town walks with the expedition team.
  • Whiskey tasting visits in Campbeltown, Islay, and Lerwich. A tasting typically takes 1 hour.
  • Bus transport on Islay from Port Ellen harbor to Kildalton Cross and a visit to one of The Three Bandits with a whiskey tasting. Return to Port Ellen.
  • Bus excursion on Shetland from Lerwich.
  • Information briefings and lectures by the expedition team.
  • Full board on the ship.
  • Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship.
  • Taxes and tariffs.
EXCLUSIONS:
  • International flights to Dublin/from Aberdeen.
  • Hotel accommodation in Ireland and/or Scotland.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Cancellation insurance.
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • 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 'Inclusions'.
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