Dublin to Reykjavík

Scotland, British Isles, and Iceland aboard the Silver Cloud

Overview

Experience three exquisite countries—all striking and distinctly different—on this journey from Ireland to Scotland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Set sail from Ireland’s capital to Iceland’s capital aboard the Silver Cloud, the most spacious ice class vessel in expedition cruising. The voyage starts with Iona and Lunga in Scotland with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Kilda. By way of the Orkneys and Shetland Islands, you’ll head for the Faroe Islands and Iceland, with stops at historic cities and sheltered bays. Cruise by Zodiac and walk along volcanic landscapes, keep a lookout for marine mammals including Minke and Humpback whales, gray seals, and enjoy the skilled guidance of your knowledgeable 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 29, 2020
Dublin

Ask any Dubliner what's happening and you may hear echoes of one of W. B. Yeats's most-quoted lines: "All changed, changed utterly." No matter that the decade-long "Celtic Tiger" boom era has been quickly followed by the Great Recession—for visitors 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. Explore the city of Dublin—from the green Dublin and Wicklow mountains to the glass-wall top of the Guinness Storehouse in the heart of town. Don't miss Merrion Square, the Christ Church Cathedral, and the taste of a foamy pint at one of many local pubs.

Day 2, May 30, 2020
Iona / Laguna, United Kingdom

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. Located to the south of the road lies Sìthean Mòr (Large fairy hill) and alternatively known as the Hill of Angels, this is said to have been the setting for many rituals and traditions dating far back in history. This wonderful highlight, Iona Abbey was founded by Saint Columba in 563 and is said to have survived many Viking attacks. Although little remains of the monastic buildings of this period, the magnificent Abbey is the main attraction.

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 3, May 31, 2020
Oban (Argyll) / Mallaig, United Kingdom

Oban, "little bay" in Gaelic, today has a resident 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 which have captivated artists, authors, composers, and poets for centuries are as striking now as they were when Dunollie Castle, a ruined keep which has stood sentinel over the narrow entrance to the sheltered bay for around six hundred years, was the northern outpost of the Dalriadic Scots. It is no surprise to find Oban in the 21st-century remains a magnet for travellers from all over the world. The town's present day popularity owes much to the Victorians, and as early as 1812, when the Comet steamship linked Oban with Glasgow, the town played host to intrepid travellers touring Staffa - the inspiration for Mendelssohn's Hebridean Overture—and Iona—home of Scottish Christianity since St Columba stepped ashore in AD563. Indeed once Oban had the royal seal of approval from Queen Victoria, who called it "one of the finest spots we have seen," the town's destiny as an endearingly enchanting holiday destination was as firmly set as the lava columns of Fingal's Cave in Oban is justifiably known as the “gateway to the Isles.” The town's south pier is the embarkation point for car ferries to Mull, Coll, Tiree, Barra, South Uist, Colonsay, Lismore and Islay. From these islands you can travel further a field to Iona, Staffa and to many of the smaller less well known isles.

The thriving port of Mallaig is situated on the North West 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 harbour 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. Mallaig art Gallery offers a wide range of works by local artists; A fish merchant has set up a shop in the harbour offering freshly caught fish; local bars and cafes please all tastes; this vibrant town and port offers a broad portfolio of sights sounds and smells that will leave you with lasting memories.

Day 4, Jun 1, 2020
Portree (Isle of Skye), United Kingdom

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 sunsets that linger brilliantly until late at night and of beautiful, soft mists. Much photographed are the really old crofts, one or two of which are still inhabited, with their thick stone walls and thatch roofs. Orientation on Skye is easy: follow the only roads around the loops on the northern part of the island and enjoy the road running the length of the Sleat Peninsula in southern Skye, taking the loop roads that exit to the north and south as you please. There are some stretches of single-lane road, but none poses a problem.

Day 5, Jun 2, 2020
St. Kilda, United Kingdom

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. Recent restoration work on the village by the National Trust for Scotland offers a marvellous link with the past. One of the caretakers acts as shopkeeper and postmaster for any visitors who might like to send a postcard home from St. Kilda.

Day 6, Jun 3, 2020
Kirkwall (Orkney), United Kingdom

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

Day 7, Jun 4, 2020
Lerwick, Shetland Islands / Noss Island, United Kingdom

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, some of them illegal. 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, spilling out of cruise ships, allowing passengers to walk around the town.

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 8, Jun 5, 2020
Torshavn, Faroe Islands

More than 600 miles (nearly 1,000 kilometres) from Denmark’s west coast lie the Faroes, a triangle of eighteen windswept islands, seventeen of which are inhabited. Only 48,500 people plus some 70,000 sheep roam these remote lands. Much of the islands’ heritage reflects a medieval past, beginning with the arrival of farmers from western Norway who settled here in the 9th century. Evidence of this Scandinavian heritage is preserved through centuries of isolation; ancient structures can still be seen in villages clustered around old churches. Sheer cliffs and waterfalls carve Streymoy, the largest of the islands, where Torshavn is one of the world’s smallest capitals with about 12,400 inhabitants, plus another 5,000 living in the suburbs of Argir and Hoyvik. Visitors find interesting museums, churches, monuments and all the amenities of a modern town and thriving harbour here. The world’s oldest, still active parliament was founded in the Viking age. Today, it houses the main offices of the local government. Many of the attractions are found outside of Torshavn in the rugged beauty of Streymoy. There are fields with grazing ponies and sheep, tiny hamlets where residents live in half-timbered houses topped by green grass roofs, and dramatic rock formations. Birds by the thousands populate the craggy seaside cliffs, which make an ideal stopover for migratory gannets, guillemots and puffins. The Faroes' climate is generally wet and windy. Because of the Gulf Stream, the temperature is a good deal more moderate than the latitude might imply; it also helps to keep Faroe harbours ice-free year-round.

Day 9, Jun 6, 2020
Vestmanna, Faroe Islands

The Vestmanna bird cliffs are near vertical, volcanic cliffs that rise steeply out of the ocean to a height of over 600 meters. They are impressively covered with innumerable bird nesting sites as well rare and hardy vegetation. Literally tens of thousands of seabirds can be seen soaring along the cliffs, sitting on nests as well as swimming across the water. Species include numerous kittiwakes, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots and the endearing Atlantic Puffin. In addition, several waterfalls cascade down in graceful mists from hundreds of meters in the air and explorations reveal a series of sea caves ranging from modest in size to enormous.

Day 10, Jun 7, 2020
Day at Sea

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with photo edits or reading. Whether you are whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, birding from one of the observation decks, or taking a dip in one of the steaming whirlpools, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

Day 11, Jun 8, 2020
Akureyri, Iceland

Akureyri, called the Capital of the North is the second largest urban area in Iceland, and a lively one at that. Hemmed by the 60-km (37-mile) long Eyjafjörður, Akureyri is sheltered from the ocean winds and embraced by mountains on three sides. Late 19th-century wooden houses impart a sense of history, and the twin spires of a modern Lutheran church rising on a green hill near the waterfront, provide a focal point. To the south of Akureyri is the pyramid-shape rhyolite mountain Súlur. Beyond it is Kerling, the highest peak in Eyjafjörður District.

Day 12, Jun 9, 2020
Vigur Island, Iceland

Vigur Island is a little more than a mile (1.6 km) in length and about 450 yards (412 m) wide. This green oasis punctuates the waters of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord east of the town of Isafjordur. The island is home to a single farming family and has some meticulously preserved historical landmarks including Iceland’s only windmill, built in 1840 and used until 1917 for grinding imported wheat from Denmark; and a 200-year-old rowing boat, which is still in use to ferry sheep to the mainland. Summer is the best time to see large numbers of Atlantic Puffins, Arctic Terns and Black Guillemots. One of the export articles from this small island was eider down and one can see where the eider ducks nest and how the down is collected and cleaned.

Day 13, Jun 10, 2020
Reykjavik, Iceland / Depart

Disembark today in sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, and home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces. Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík. In AD 874, Norseman Ingólfur Arnarson saw Iceland rising out of the misty sea and came ashore at a bay eerily shrouded with plumes of steam from nearby hot springs.

Highlights

Highlights

Visit Iona Abbey, one of Scotland's most significant monasteries with architecture from the 12th century and history daing back to 563 AD
Explore the capital city of the Faroe Islands, Torshavn, with its quaint Nordic streets and subpolar landscapes
Walk the shores of Lake Myvatn (Midges Lake) to see pseudo-craters and unusual lava formations
Look for puffins, gannets, and guillemots; watch for humpback whales, Minke whales, and other marine mammals

Details

Length: 13 days
Cost From: $9900  
Arrive: Dublin, Ireland
Depart: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lodging: 11 nights aboard a 254-passenger expedition vessel
Meals: All meals aboard ship included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History, Photography, Whale Watching, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

12-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
Cruise collection 2020 brochure

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