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Pastel homes on Isle of Skye

Southampton to Tromsø

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Silver Wind
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Breeze through the British Isles to Norway on this 14-day cruise aboard Silver Wind. Wend your way from Southampton – center of Britain’s maritime heritage, to Tromsø, where you'll find long summer days and nights of midnight sun. Leave the blooming loveliness of the Scilly Isles, sailing north via Scotland’s spectacular sights that include countless puffins and miles of rolling moorland. Discover the impressive Viking heritage of Norway, explore the spectacular scenery, and enjoy some exceptional Zodiac expeditions. 
Rocky shores of the AtlanticGolden hour on the coastDiscover the restored Iona Abbey, ScotlandMidnight sun over LofotenScattered houses of TromsoPastel homes on Isle of Skye
Highlights
  • Explore one of Scotland’s most architecturally significant monasteries
  • Tour the UNESCO Heritage site of St. Kilda
  • Discover Norway’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffins in Reine
  • Visit the spectacular Tresco Abbey Gardens
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Southampton, England | Embark

Home of the ill-fated Titanic departure, Southampton has a long maritime history. Henry V’s fleet bound for the battle of Agincourt left from here, as did the Mayflower (not from Plymouth as many believe) and the great British ocean liners, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary both departed on their maiden voyages from the port. So suffice to say, that Southampton is a seafaring place. Today Southampton is the cruise capital of Northern Europe, so expect a city that understands how to have fun. This comes in a variety of ways: a castellated old city that has lots of charm, some excellent museums (the most notable of which is the Sea City Museum) and extensive green spaces. Authentic Tudor remains to provide a fascinating insight to 15th-century living while other landmarks date back even further. A stroll around the city is generous in its attractions, so there is no better way to see Southampton than on foot.

Day 2: Tresco | Bryer, Isles of Scilly

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
For many visitors Tresco is the most attractive of the Isles of Scilly. This is especially due to its Abbey Garden, which is home to thousands of exotic plant species from around 80 different countries. Plant collector Augustus Smith began the gardens in the 1830s on the site of an old Benedictine Abbey by channelling the weather up and over a network of walled enclosures built around the Priory ruins. He had three terraces carved from the rocky south slope and maximised Tresco’s mild Gulf Stream climate. Even in mid-winter there still are hundreds of plants flowering here. Another surprising attraction at the Abbey Garden is the collection of figureheads from ships that wrecked among the Isles of Scilly.

The Atlantic swells hit and shape the western side of Bryher (bre-her), the smallest of the inhabited islands of the Scilly Isles. Bryher means ‘land of hills’ and the island has five hills of granite, linked by sandy necks. The flatter land is more fertile and habitable and is where the 80 or so inhabitants of the island live. A progression of people have sought to make a home on the Scilly Isles from the Bronze Age onwards. Many were religious figures seeking isolation from the mainstream of society. Bryher visitors often have that same idea today, even if only temporarily. Walking provides ready access around the island which is only 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) long, with a maximum width of 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) and an area of 134 hectares (330 acres). Hells Bay, to the north east, is a rugged coast where waves have shaped the granite coastline. Beaches of fine sand are found in the south. Shipman Head on the northern-most point supports seven types of breeding seabirds including three gull species. Bryher is washed by the Gulf Stream, a warm current that travels all the way from the Caribbean. This keeps the coastal waters and climate of the Scilly Islands mild and able to support plants not often seen in Britain. Many garden flowering species from sub-tropical climates around the world have been planted in gardens or near pathways. A local plant on Bryher to look for is the pretty Sea Thrift or Sea Pink which favours coastal conditions and can form carpets of pink flowers in summer.

Day 3: Port St. Mary, Isle of Man

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Isle of Man sits in the middle, but a world apart, from the UK. It is in the Irish sea almost equidistant from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. But it is not part of any of them. It is a self-governing British crown dependency. The island’s cultural heritage is Gaelic with influences from the Norse and surrounding lands. This background has produced an island with its own traditions. Everything associated with the Isle of Man is Manx. The people are Manx and the language is Manx.

Port St Mary is a quiet former trading and fishing port at the southern end of the Isle which provides access to the rural countryside and nearby towns. One route leads past historic thatched cottages in the crofters hamlet of Gregneash, and on to The Sound. Walking routes cross the narrow Mull Peninsula through scenery and history to Port Erin, a quaint old coastal settlement and shoreline set amongst a rugged coastline. In tune with the yesteryear feel of the island, a steam train still operates on the island, taking visitors to destinations like the Castle Rushen, built in 1200 and once the home of a Norse king.

Day 4: Iona | Lunga, Scotland

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If tiny islands that resonate with peace and tranquillity are your idea of travel heaven, then welcome to Iona. Almost 200 miles east of Edinburgh, set in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, this magical island has a spiritual reputation that precedes it. And luckily, more than lives up to. The island is miniscule. Just three miles long and only one and a half miles wide, this is not a place that hums with urban attractions. 120 people call Iona home (this number rises significantly if the gull, tern and Kittiwake population is added), although residential numbers do go up (to a whopping 175) in summer. The beautiful coastline is lapped by the gulf stream and gives the island a warm climate with sandy beaches that look more Mediterranean than Scottish! Add to that a green field landscape that is just beautiful, and you’ll find that Iona is a place that stays with you long after you leave. Iona’s main attraction is of course its abbey. Built in 563 by Saint Columbia and his monks, the abbey is the reason why Iona is called the cradle of Christianity. 

The stunning Isle of Lunga is the largest island in the Treshnish archipelago. With volcanic origin the isle was populated until the 19th Century, and remains of black houses can be seen around this magnificent coastal jewel. Abundant plant life and exotic birdlife are now the main inhabitants of the area. Fortunate visitors view the magnificent array of birds, especially the great puffins that breed on the islands plateau. One can sit within just a few feet away without disturbing the avian ambassador’s peace. The 81 hectare island is home to many rare and endangered plants such as, primroses and orchids. Views over the landscape and across the ocean can be seen from the 300 foot high cliffs.

 

Day 5: Lock Scavaig, Island of Skye | Isle of Canna, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Near the southern end of the Isle of Skye lies Loch Skarvaig. Open to the sea, the sheltered Loch penetrates the rounded granite hills of Skye. Heather moorlands grow on the hill slopes, with purple flowering heathers providing colour, starting in Spring and climaxing later in summer. Common Seals, otherwise known as Harbour Seals, are frequently seen swimming in the coastal water at high tides. Only their heads are visible as they take breaths between diving for a meal of fish, crustaceans or molluscs. At low tides the seals are easier to see, resting on the foreshore rocks. When ashore, Common Seals often lie on one side with their hind flippers and heads raised in a shallow U shape like oversized spotted grey bananas. There are about 300 Common Seals living in and around Loch Coriusk. Skye also has a population of larger Grey Seals with long straight noses. Although all seals are protected now, they were once hunted for their skins, which were used to make clothes and for sporrans to accompany kilts. Considered the shortest river in Britain, Scavaig River or River Coruisk empties into Loch Scavaig.

Many different groups of people have lived on the small Canna Isle. Neolithic people settled thousands of years ago. Later, Christian Celtic monks, Norse settlers and various Scottish groups lived on Canna. Evidence of most are still present, notably stone churches. One unusual relic is a standing stone with a hole above people’s heads in which the thumb of a lawbreaker was jammed. The accused was left for a time to reflect on his or her deeds. Canna is one of the Little Isles group of the Inner Hebrides. A bridge connects it to the adjacent Sanday Island. Both islands are small, with a tiny resident population. Today, the island is managed by the National Trust of Scotland. Compass Hill, 139 metres (456 feet) high, is a prominent landmark. It is named after the high iron content of the tuff—consolidated volcanic ash—makes up the hill. This attracted the needles of compasses on nearby ships causing confusion to pre-satellite navigators.

Day 6: St. Kilda | Boreray Island cruising

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Gloriously remote, St. Kilda is an archipelago 50 miles off the Isle of Harris. Although the four islands are uninhabited by humans, thousands of seas birds call these craggy cliffs home, clinging to the sheer faces as if by magic. Not only is St. Kilda home to the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffin (almost 1 million), but also the world largest colony Gannets nests on Boreray island and its sea stacks. The islands also home decedents of the world’s original Soay sheep as well as having a breed of eponymously named mice. The extremely rare St. Kilda wren unsurprisingly hails from St. Kilda, so birders should visit with notebook, binoculars and camera to hand. While endemic animal species is rife on the island, St. Kilda has not been peopled since 1930 after the last inhabitants voted that human life was unsustainable.

As an isolated island of the remote St Kilda Group, Boreray island is one of the most far flung and weather impacted islands of the North East Atlantic. Imagine trying to live here during stormy weather. Landing requires jumping or swimming ashore; and yet the island has been lived on or visited from Neolithic times. Collecting seabirds and their eggs, and storing them for winter, may have been even more important than raising sheep. Boreray Sheep are the rarest breed of sheep in Britain. They evolved from short-tailed sheep brought from the Scottish mainland but have been isolated long enough to have evolved into a distinctive small and horned breed. Only found on Boreray Island, they remained as a wild flock when the last people left the St Kilda Islands in 1930. The Souy are a separate and different breed of sheep found on the other St Kilda Islands. Look out for the Boreray Sheep grazing on the slopes of hilly Boreray Island. Seabirds thrive on Boreray and its two attendant rocks stacks, raising new chicks each summer.

Day 7: Papa Stour | Foula, Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A spectacular coastline greets visitors to Papa Stour. The island has layers of ancient volcanic lava and ash; and the softer volcanic rocks have been carved by waves into arches, sea caves, cliffy inlets and rock stacks. These dominate the landscape from both sea and land. The Maiden Stack guards the island’s harbour and is so named because the Viking Lord Thorvald Thoresson marooned his daughter in a small house on the stack to protect her virtue. One story says she escaped by eloping with a fisherman, whilst another tale states she left the stack pregnant! A handful of resilient people still live on Papa Stour Island. In its heyday in the 19th century, the small island of 828 hectares (2046 acres) supported a thriving fishing industry based on six-oared row boats. Fishing is only a small operation today. Crofting, or small-scale farming has been a traditional activity and is still conducted with sheep as hardy as the crofters who tend them. Marine wildlife thrives around Papa Stour.

Described as the most remote inhabited island of the United Kingdom, Foula does seem a world away—32 kilometres (20 miles) west of the main Shetland Islands. The land slopes from a low eastern coast up to dramatic sheer cliffs on the west. At 365 metres (1200 feet), the sea cliffs are the second tallest in Britain. The sandstone of the island has been eroded into dramatic coastal shapes. Earlier islanders lived by catching fish and lobsters. Today’s residents earn an income from sheep crofting (farming) and birdwatching tourism. Foula attracts nesting seabirds during spring with many birds remaining over summer. Britain’s largest population of Great Skuas nest here. They catch fish, scavenge and hunt for the eggs, chicks and even adults of other birds. On flatter parts of the island Red-throated Divers and Arctic Terns nest, while vertical sea cliffs are favoured by Northern Fulmars, Shags and members of the auk family. Foula is Norse for bird island, so when the Norsemen settled 1200 years ago, they were either birdwatchers, or recognised the special nature of the island.

Day 8: Lerwick, Shetland Islands | Noss, Scotland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Adrift between the Scottish and Norwegian coasts, the craggy Shetland Islands form the most northerly point of the British Isles. Sprawling across 100 islands, connected by sandy bridges and crisscrossing ferries, explore the highlights of this scenic archipelago outpost. With incredible Neolithic history, spanning 5,000 years of human heritage, these islands, which sit just shy of the Arctic Circle, are an isolated and immense treasure trove of history and thrilling scenery. Look out over dramatic coastline from atmospheric Iron Age towers. Sweeping, windswept beaches and wisps of sand connect islands and rugged cliffs - stand back as the sounds of the waves smashing against the shore and calling gulls fills the air. The islands are also home to some of the most adorable four-legged creatures you’ll ever meet, the diminutive and wavy-fringed, Shetland Ponies who roam the hills and reach a maximum size of 42 inches. Don't be fooled, though, they are amongst the strongest and toughest of all breeds. Their existence here points to Viking history, as local horses bred with ponies brought ashore by Norse settlers, creating the lovable crossbreed that is an icon of these islands today. 

Exploring the sandstone cliff faces of the Isle of Noss will reveal ledges loaded with gannets, puffins, guillemots, shags, kittiwakes, Razorbills, fulmars and Great Skuas. The island was recognized as a National Nature Reserve in 1955, and has one of Europe’s largest and most diverse seabird colonies. Sheep have grazed the inland hillsides of Noss since the late 1800s and early 1900s when around twenty people lived on the island to manage the sheep farm. Along with the sheep, shaggy Shetland ponies graze the windblown slopes of Noss.

Day 9: Island of Runde Heroy, Norway

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Runde is an island in southern Norway, some 25 kilometers to the west of Ålesund. Runde’s south and northeast shores have flat ground and a few houses for the roughly 150 regular inhabitants. On the west side of Runde, and facing the open ocean, are impressive cliffs with caves. Here one finds Norway’s southernmost accessible nesting sites of Atlantic Puffins, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Northern Gannets, and Common Guillemots. Several hundred thousand birds come here. Among the roughly 80 species nesting on Runde even White-tailed Eagles can be found. The different colonies can be seen from the sea, as well as hiking up the mountain. One of the largest seal colonies in the region is found on islets 4 kilometers northeast of Runde. These islets as well as a small portion of Runde’s east and entire west coast are part of Norway’s Ramsar site 2164. A scientific station does not only work in seabird monitoring, but also in marine biology, rocky shore monitoring, oceanography and meteorology.

Day 10: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

Day 11: Vaeroy Island | Reine | Leknes (Vestvågøy), Norway

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Værøy is warmer than any other location above the Arctic circle as it is bathed by the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean. The average temperature generally stays above freezing all year. This may be one reason for the island’s colourful wildflower displays. Several hundred people live on this isolated island, mostly in the town of Sørland. The chief focus of the community is fishing, especially in winter when the Arctic Cod spawn. Værøy, with nearby Røst, is the best seabird breeding area of mainland Europe. Northern Fulmar, Common and Black Guillemots, Razorbills, European Shag, Black-legged Kittiwakes and terns nest here. The seabirds have a range of preferences for nesting sites, from steep cliffs to rocky slopes to flat heathland. Watching soaring White-tailed Sea-eagles is a highlight for visitors, but in days past there was a bounty on them.

At the very southern end of the Lofoten Islands are bird cliffs that hold Norway’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffins, and also good numbers of kittiwakes, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, shags, Northern Fulmars and White-tailed Eagles. Storm Petrels and Leach Petrels can be seen from early July onwards. Characteristic shoreline species are Whimbrel, Red-necked Phalarope, Arctic Skua, Turnstone and Arctic Tern. Slightly further north is Værøy, an island with quite a few specialties. A special dog was bred to hunt puffins –the Norwegian Lundehund- while islanders caught the White-tailed Eagles with their hands! We will go ashore in Værøy and offer hikes and might do a Zodiac cruise along the rugged coast.

Blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery in Norway (and goodness only know that this is land blessed with rolling hills, soaring peaks, valleys, tranquil fjords and white sandy beaches, so the competition is high!), Leknes is what Norway is meant to be. Pretty red houses lay dotted on the green covered hills, and the midnight sun is rises above the horizon from 26th May to 17th July, (while in winter the sun does not rise from 9th December to 4th January). Part of the stunning Lofoten islands, this pretty port offers much in the way of recreation, although understandably most of this is outdoor based. Take a boat ride around the archipelago, try your hand at some deep sea fishing, or simply stroll thought the city centre, perhaps rent a bicycle and discover the hinterland at your own pace.

Day 12: Trollfjorden | Narvik

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Trollsfjord or Trollfjorden has a worthy reputation for dramatic scenery. The mouth of the fjord is only 100 metres (330 ft) wide, so marvel at the captain’s skill as the ship enters. The mountains surrounding Trollfjord are up to 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) high. Fjords are carved by the massive forces of icy glaciers grinding the sides off mountains, leaving smooth vertical cliffs. The seabed is carved out too and fjords are deep, with Trollfjord reaching a depth of 72 metres (236 ft). Inside its narrow mouth, Trollfjord extends for two kilometres and widens to 800 metres allowing ships to turn. Fishing has been the most important enterprise of the Lofoton islands for centuries.

Slap bang in the middle of Norway’s fjords, islands and northern wonders, Narvik, is an ideal base from which to explore this magical region. A city since 1902, it sits on the coast of Ofotfjorden inside the Arctic circle. This northerly latitude means Narvik bathes in the midnight sun during summer's months and is witness to the dazzling displays of the northern lights, which enchant as they spill across the stars. Crisp, clear skies make Narvik a prime destination for northern lights viewing, and the natural setting of spiky mountains and soaring fjords generates a truly glorious spectacle amid incredible staging. Gondolas sway up to the slopes of Narvikfjellet ski resort, which can tempt with fantastic skiing, but also provides a prime spot for views of the lights flashing above. Look out over the vast panorama of the town curving along the fjord's banks, the Fagernesfjellet mountain, and - hopefully - the emerald spread of the natural light display. 

Day 13: Harstad | Sundsvollsundet

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Superbly located on Norway’s biggest island Hinnøya, Harstad is a perfect illustration of what makes Norway famous. Spectacular scenery, powerful, raw beauty, long summer days and endless white nights are par for the course here, not to mention clear fjordic waters teeming with marine life. The town is perhaps less well known than its big sister Tomso, but this only works in little Harstad’s favour. In fact, it is said the most romantic place in all of Noway to see the Midnight Sun dipping behind the horizon is from Harstad’s Nupen mountain. Harstard’s stunning shores and rugged landscape are certainly it biggest claim to fame, and those who want to imbibe in it to the fullest aboard an RIB or kayak will uncover Mother Nature at her very best. Mile after mile of soaring mountain peaks, hidden tranquil coves, and fine white beaches are just the beginning.

Sundsvollsundet Nature Reserve grabs attention for its heavily populated seabird cliffs. The Reserve is named after Sundsvollsundet which is the narrow strait of water that separates Helløya Island from Bjarkøya island. Helløya includes the uninhabited nature reserve while Bjarkøya is much larger and houses a town. The Nature Reserve was established in 2004 primarily to protect nesting seabirds but also other flora and fauna. The horizontal ledges of the cliffs in the Nature Reserve are suitable for the star of the island —the Crutch. This word has several meanings, but in Norway it refers to the Black-legged Kittiwake. These seabirds are related to gulls but have different habits. Unlike gulls they are pelagic, meaning they travel great distances out to sea.

Day 14: Tromsø, Norway | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Feel your heart flutter, as you catch your first glimpse of that famous emerald haze dancing across the stars, during your visit to this wonderful Arctic gateway. Located in the far north of Norway, a visit to Tromso beckons you to the extremes of this magical country, to explore a fairytale land of jagged mountains, glistening glaciers and husky-pulled sledges. Despite its remote location, you'll discover a perhaps surprisingly cosmopolitan city, with a healthy student population injecting plenty of energy. Sat 250 miles above the Arctic Circle - at 69° north - you can bathe in the midnight sun's glow during summer, before winter brings the thick blackness and starry skies of endless polar nights. The darkness doesn't stop the fun - with a polar night half-marathon taking place in January - but the return of the sun is always a reason for a celebration here. To get the best view over the city, take the cable car to Storsteinen's amazing viewpoint. Magnificent views down over the city, fjord and Tromso's arching bridge will unravel before you.

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Owner's Suite
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Notes

INCLUDED IN THE CRUISE FARE
  •  Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team
  •  Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team
  •  Spacious suites
  •  Butler service in every suite
  •  Unlimited Free Wifi
  •  Personalised service – nearly one crew member for every guest
  •  Choice of restaurants, diverse cuisine, open-seating dining
  •  Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship, including champagne, select wines and spirits
  •  In-suite dining and room service
  •  Onboard entertainment
  •  Onboard gratuities

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