Northern Europe and the British Isles aboard the Silver Cloud

Overview

Wild moors and rugged coasts, mighty mountains, and hauntingly beautiful landscapes are the breathtaking backdrop for this exciting cruise from Dublin to London. Delve deep into Scottish and English history and the world of nature as you head to Iona Abbey, one of Scotland’s most sacred and historical sites, then to the Isle of Lunga for birdwatching (mainly for the iconic Atlantic puffin). You will ride across the picturesque Scottish Highlands on the train that inspired Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express, and at St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll explore Neolithic ruins and see many bird species, including thousands of northern gannets. At the incredible Orkney archipelago, you’ll go ashore to see Neolithic, Mesolithic, Norse, and medieval architectural elements, evidence of civilization dating back 10,000 years, then visit Aberdeen, gateway to the Royal Deeside and five spectacular castles. In England, visit the majestic York Minster, one of the largest and most ornate examples of Gothic cathedrals in northern Europe. Throughout the voyage, learn about the history, geology, wildlife, and botany of these naturally beautiful locations from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable on-board Expedition Team.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Day 1, May 23, 2019
Dublin, Ireland / Embark

Arrive in Dublin and embark the Silver Cloud in the afternoon, with a departure set for 4:00 pm. Dublin remains one of Western Europe's most popular and delightful urban destinations. Whether or not you're out to enjoy the old or new Dublin, you'll find it a colossally entertaining city, all the more astonishing considering its intimate size. Overnight cruise to Iona, Scotland.

Day 2, May 24, 2019
Iona, Scotland / Lunga

With a population of 120 residents, Iona is located off the southwest of Mull. The island is 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide but draws in thousands of visitors each year due to its natural beauty and historical interest. Saint Columba and his fellow monks landed here in 563. This beautiful stretch of coastline brings out the true beauty of Iona facing onto the Gulf Stream that gives the island its mild climate. In the early afternoon, arrive at the stunning Isle of Lunga, 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 island's plateau. One can sit within just a few feet away without disturbing the avian ambassador’s peace.

Day 3, May 25, 2019
Oban / Mallaig

Oban, “little bay” in Gaelic, has a population of 8,500 and is the unofficial capital of the West Highlands—the “Gateway to the Isles.” The panoramic views of the mountains, lochs, and islands have captivated artists, authors, composers, and poets for centuries, and are as striking now as they were when Dunollie Castle, a ruined keep that has stood sentinel over the narrow entrance to the sheltered bay for around 600 years, was the northern outpost of the Dalriadic Scots. In the mid-afternoon, arrive at the thriving port of Mallaig, situated on the northwest coast of Scotland. A vibrant fishing port, its remote location makes it a perfect getaway to this quiet area. Walks around the town present magnificent views over the picturesque harbor and across Loch Nevis to Knoydart. The well-known Jacobite steam train that was featured in the Harry Potter movies follows the wonderful road to the isles that ends at Mallaig.

Day 4, May 26, 2019
Portree, Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye ranks near the top of most visitors’ priority lists. The romance of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, combined with the misty Cuillin Hills and their proximity to the mainland, all contribute to its popularity. Today Skye remains mysterious and mountainous, an island of beautiful, soft mists and sunsets that linger brilliantly until late at night. Much photographed are the old crofts, one or two of which are still inhabited, with their thick stone walls and thatch roofs.

Day 5, May 27, 2019
St. Kilda

St. Kilda is a remarkable uninhabited archipelago some 40 nautical miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. The stunning cliffs and sea stacks are home to the most important seabird breeding colony in northwest Europe. St. Kilda is one of the few places in the world to have received dual World Heritage status from UNESCO in recognition of its natural heritage and cultural significance. Village Bay on the island of Hirta once supported a population of over 200, but the last islanders left in the 1930s.

Day 6, May 28, 2019
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

In bustling Kirkwall, the main town on Orkney, there's plenty to see in the narrow, winding streets extending from the harbor. You'll spend the day here and the cathedral and some museums are highlights.

Day 7, May 29, 2019
Lerwick, Shetland Islands / Noss

Founded by Dutch fishermen in the 17th century, Lerwick today is a busy town and administrative center. Handsome stone buildings—known as lodberries—line the harbor; they provided loading bays for goods. The town's twisting flagstone lanes and harbor once heaved with activity, and Lerwick is still an active port today. This is also where most visitors to Shetland dock. In the afternoon, you'll head to Noss. 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 20 people lived on the island to manage the sheep farm. Along with the sheep, shaggy Shetland ponies graze the windblown slopes of Noss.

Day 8, May 30, 2019
Aberdeen

Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city. Locally quarried grey granite was used during the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries for many of Aberdeen's buildings, and hence the nicknames it has earned as the Granite City, or the Grey City. Aberdeen granite was also used to build the terraces of the Houses of Parliament and Waterloo Bridge in London. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, Aberdeen has also been called the Oil Capital of Europe or the Energy Capital of Europe.

Day 9, May 31, 2019
Eyemouth

Eyemouth is the largest town in Berwickshire and is located 5 miles north of the border with England. The small town has been a fishing port since the 13th century and today the harbor is still active with its colorful fleet—the sights, sounds, and smells around the bustling harbor a constant reminder of the importance of fishing to this picturesque town. On October 14, 1881, a devastating storm struck Eyemouth drowning 189 fishermen; the local museum now illustrates the town’s history including a 15-foot tapestry exemplifying the disastrous blow that occurred.

Day 10, Jun 1, 2019
Hull, England / York

Kingston upon Hull is the perfect starting point for an excursion to see York and York Minster. York was an important Roman city and part of the original city walls remain. After a short panoramic tour of York you will continue to the celebrated York Minster, Northern Europe’s largest cathedral. A guided tour will feature the highlights of the cathedral, including the famous 14th century stained glass.

Day 11, Jun 2, 2019
Ramsgate

The must-see historic port in Ramsgate has a bustling harbor that borders a yacht-packed marina giving great views and attracting visitors all year round. In the early ages, Ramsgate was just a small fishing port but developed at the end of the 17th century as the shipping trade started to show a great importance.

Day 12, Jun 3, 2019
London / Tower Bridge

Arrive in London, an ancient city whose history greets you at every turn. If the city contained only its famous landmarks—the Tower of London or Big Ben—it would still rank as one of the world's top cities. But London is so much more. The foundations of London's character and tradition endure. The British bobby is alive and well. The tall, red, double-decker buses (in an updated model) still lumber from stop to stop. Then there's that greatest living link with the past—the Royal Family with all its attendant pageantry.

Day 13, Jun 4, 2019
London / Depart

Transfer to the airport for departure on homeward-bound flight.

Highlights

Highlights

Observe one of the world’s largest homes of northern gannets at St. Kilda
Enjoy an evening ashore in the Orkney Islands and sample local food while storytellers and a local band entertain you
On the Isle of Skye, take in breathtaking natural scenery, as well as some of the most well-known Hebridean/Scottish castles
Visit beautiful, history-laden Aberdeen, including the magnificent valley of the River Dee, with the stunning Balmoral Castle
Walk the charming, cobblestone streets of York and step inside the incredible York Minster, a glorious Gothic cathedral and the largest of its kind in Europe
Take a panoramic tour of London and enjoy an evening reception at the Royal Geographical Society’s headquarters in Kensington

Details

Length: 13 days
Cost From: $9400  
Arrive: Dublin, Ireland
Depart: London, England
Lodging: 11 nights aboard a 254-guest luxury expedition vessel
Meals: All meals aboard ship, with beverages included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

11-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
Cruise collection 2019 brochure

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