Irish Sea Expedition – Cruising the Northern British Isles

Irish Sea Expedition – Cruising the Northern British Isles

Irish Sea Expedition – Cruising the Northern British Isles

Irish Sea Expedition – Cruising the Northern British Isles

Travel information 13 days MS Spitsbergen
2 April 2023
Price from
4993 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Discover the natural wonders and culture of the northern British Isles 

History and heritage 

Discover the highlights of the northern British Isles, from beautiful Scottish landscapes and historic Irish cities, to ancient castles and exceptional whiskies. Witness the awesome Giant’s Causeway near Portrush, uncover Celtic and Viking history on the Isle of Man, and see Northern Ireland’s shipbuilding heritage in Belfast. 

Irish cheers and Scottish whisky 

Spend time in cosy pubs that are the bedrock of British Isles society. Visit some of Scotland’s oldest whisky distilleries on the Isles of Arran, Mull and Islay. Naturally, you may want to sample some of those famed distilled malts as you hop from port to port. 

Irish Sea Expedition – Cruising the Northern British Isles Irish Sea Expedition – Cruising the Northern British Isles
  • Day 1
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Embark in Glasgow

    Set sail from Scotland’s stylish city of culture  

    Your expedition cruise in the Irish Sea begins in Glasgow. If you have any time prior to embarkation, it’s worth getting to know this chic, modern city. Set against a backdrop of splendid Victorian architecture, Glasgow has reinvented itself as a stylish and exciting place, full of museums, galleries, and lively spots to eat, drink and shop.    

    When you’re done, your comfortable expedition ship MS Spitsbergen will be waiting for you. You’ll be greeted by your friendly Expedition Team and after attending a safety briefing and settling in, you’ll sit down to a welcome dinner to mark the start of the cruise.  


    Want to really explore Glasgow and Edinburgh? Then we recommend extending your stay by booking our optional Pre-Programme that includes an overnight in Edinburgh. You’ll be able to see the main sights of Glasgow as well as the beautiful Edinburgh Castle.  

    Day 1
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Embark in Glasgow

  • Day 2
    Portrush (Northern Ireland)

    Portrush’s big draw

    Step out into little Portrush and see a giant natural wonder  

    Portrush is a small resort town that’s been popular since Victorian times. From here there are several walks you can go on, and this section of coast features long sandy beaches. Birders should trek up to Ramore Head, just north of the town.  

    A big drawcard is the UNESCO-listed Giant’s Causeway, around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns rising mysteriously from the coast. Meanwhile the Dunluce Castle ruins, set dramatically atop cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, provide a stunning backdrop to the wild beauty of this region.  

    • Included Portrush Sheepdog Demonstration
    • Included Dunluce Castle & The Giant’s Causeway
    Day 2
    Portrush (Northern Ireland)

    Portrush’s big draw

  • Day 3
    Belfast, Ireland

    Elegant Belfast

    Roam Northern Ireland’s capital and discover its proud heritage  

    Famed as the birthplace of the Titanic, Northern Ireland’s capital is a city of industry and elegance. Wander the Titanic Quarter and walk the Maritime Mile, a waterfront trail showcasing Belfast’s proud seafaring history.   

    Elegant Victorian architecture abounds here. Admire the detailed mosaics of St Anne’s Cathedral, and the majestic façade of the Grand Opera House. Climb Cave Hill, near Belfast Castle, for great city views.  

    There are tasty treats and great handicrafts for sale at St George’s Market, and the Ulster Museum will delight history buffs.  

    Day 3
    Belfast, Ireland

    Elegant Belfast

  • Day 4
    Douglas, Isle of Man

    Enigmatic Isle of Man

    Explore Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man 

    The scenic approach to Douglas is not to be missed! We head ashore to explore the capital of the Isle of Man; learn about the island’s Celtic and Viking heritage, trace its development as a Victorian tourist magnet, and see its surrounding rugged coastline.   

    There’s so much to pack into your day in Douglas. Visit the Manx Museum, check out the murals in St Thomas’s Church and discover the impressively spooky Peel Castle, originally a Viking stronghold and now said to be haunted.  

    Day 4
    Douglas, Isle of Man

    Enigmatic Isle of Man

  • Day 5
    Fishguard, Wales

    The ‘Land’s End’ of Wales

    Soak up the quaint villages and prehistoric forts of Fishguard 

    Nestled between the Preseli Hills and the Pembrokeshire coast is the charming Welsh coastal town of Fishguard. You’ll find the original hamlet and harbour in Lower Fishguard and spectacular sea views from the ‘Main Town’ above. 

    From Lower Town, you can explore the ancient woodlands of the Gwaun Valley that stretch towards the Preseli Hills. On the outskirts of Fishguard, you can walk up the hill to Castle Point, where you’ll find the ruins of Fishguard Fort. 

    A short drive away is the UK’s smallest city, St Davids. More a village than a city, it owes its city status to its 12th-century cathedral. With a charming high street lined with antique shops, eateries and boutiques, St Davids is a great place to wander

    Day 5
    Fishguard, Wales

    The ‘Land’s End’ of Wales

  • Day 6
    Dublin, Ireland

    Emerald Isle Capital

    Experience the many charms of Ireland’s capital 

    Founded by Vikings and later becoming the Kingdom of Dublin, Ireland’s capital has a remarkable history. But as one of Europe’s most youthful cities, Dublin is a lively cultural centre of live music, pubs and a modern tech hub.  

    Today, you’ll have the chance to explore this fascinating city, visiting such places as Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland. Here, you’ll see the medieval manuscript the Book of Kells. Dublin Castle is also worth a visit, and don’t forget to sample a pint of Guinness. 

    Day 6
    Dublin, Ireland

    Emerald Isle Capital

  • Day 7
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Explore Glasgow

    Delve deeper into the thriving city on the River Clyde 

    Returning to Glasgow, you’ll get a chance to see some the things you may have missed previously.  

    Walk up to the East End and visit Glasgow Cathedral, a shining example of Gothic architecture that has endured through the ages. Behind it stretches a 19th century necropolis of Victorian tombstones just waiting for the curious visitor to explore.  

    Head west from the centre to view the eclectic art and natural history collections of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Housed in a grand sandstone building that’s set in the lush grounds of Kelvingrove Park, it’s a must-see. 

    Day 7
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Explore Glasgow

  • Day 8
    Arran, Scotland

    Scotland in miniature

    See wildlife and dramatic landscapes on beautiful Arran  

    Warmed by the North Atlantic Drift, the sheltered isle of Arran is a haven for wildlife. As you travel around the island, see if you can spot Scotland’s ‘Big Five’ wildlife draws: the Golden Eagle, red deer, red squirrel, otter and seal.  

    Fancy some walking? Try the popular Goat Fell hiking trail, and visit Brodick Castle to get a sense of the aristocratic life of yesteryear. Discover Neolithic treasures across Machrie Moor, and sample the distinctive malt whisky of the local distillery.  

    Day 8
    Arran, Scotland

    Scotland in miniature

  • Day 9
    Toberymory, Isle of Mull

    Colourful Tobermory

    Lap up Tobermory’s eye-catching waterfront 

    Tobermory is the main town on the Isle of Mull. As you get close to the waterfront, you'll be greeted by a row of distinctive brightly-coloured Georgian houses. Explore this small town, packed with cafés, restaurants and craft stores – it even has its own whisky distillery.   

    If conditions allow, we’ll go to Loch Sunart, a beautiful seawater loch that few others visit. As a Marine Protected Area, the clear waters shelter a rich ecosystem and are a stronghold for otters. It’s also a great place for spotting dolphins and porpoises.    

    Day 9
    Toberymory, Isle of Mull

    Colourful Tobermory

  • Day 10
    Fort William, Scotland

    Britain's outdoor adventure hub

    Visit Scotland’s adventure hub surrounded by beauty  

    After sailing into Loch Linnhe we arrive at Fort William. The town is known as ‘Britain’s Outdoor Capital’ and is a magnet for hikers, bikers, climbers and skiers. As you’ll see, it’s set amidst some spectacular Highland scenery.  

    The town’s whisky distillery offers its take on the national tipple, and a scenic short walk awaits at Glen Nevis. You can also visit Glen Coe, a valley formed from volcanic activity, sculpted by glaciers and designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  

    Day 10
    Fort William, Scotland

    Britain's outdoor adventure hub

  • Day 11
    Oban, Scotland

    Idyllic Oban

    Set foot on Scotland’s west coast in this tiny town  

    The ‘Gateway to the Isles’, the little town of Oban reached its heyday when the railway arrived, adding to its life as a busy fishing port. Victorian buildings cluster round the port while ferries come and go, heading out to the distant Hebrides.   

    A 20-minute walk from town goes past beaches and through woodland to the castle Dunollie, ancient seat of the Clan Chiefs. Fancy a wee dram? The tiny Oban Distillery is one of the smallest and one of the oldest in Scotland.   

    Day 11
    Oban, Scotland

    Idyllic Oban

  • Day 12
    Islay, Scotland

    Islay's nature and whiskey

    Fire up your spirit of discovery on 'whisky island' 

    Islay (pronounced eye-la) isn’t called ‘Whisky Island’ for nothing. There are nine working distilleries here, and you’ll find their peaty single malts sold around the world. One of the larger isles, there’s 130 miles of coastline, and numerous quiet sandy beaches.  

    Islay is also an island of wildlife, with over 200 species of birds including Golden Eagles, oystercatchers, gannets and Hen Harriers. What’s more, the mystical past is present here, with ancient monoliths, Celtic crosses and a stone circle all visible.    

    Day 12
    Islay, Scotland

    Islay's nature and whiskey

  • Day 13
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Return to Glasgow

    Finish off where you started – but why not stay a bit longer?  

    Our island-hopping expedition ends where we started out, in Glasgow. We know you’ll have had some wonderful experiences over the past 10 days, but why not linger a while and see some of the things you may have missed before you set sail.  

    In Glasgow Harbour, down by the River Clyde, you’ll be greeted by the striking, Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum. Berthed alongside this impressive transport museum is the tall ship Glenlee. Design fans will also enjoy spotting the mark of Charles Rennie Macintosh dotted across the city. 

    Whether you choose to linger, or are heading straight home, we hope to see you again before too long. 


    If you want to fully explore Glasgow and Edinburgh, we recommend extending your stay by booking our optional Post-Programme. With an overnight in Edinburgh, you’ll be able to see the main sights of Glasgow as well as the majestic Edinburgh Castle. 

    Day 13
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Return to Glasgow



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Current offers on this cruise:

  • Solo Traveller Offer

    Solo travellers who prefer their own space while still travelling with others, have the opportunity to save on select voyages departing in 2022. For a limited time, pay no single supplement if you book one of the below expedition cruises.
    This offer applies to a selection of departures that you can find on each voyage page.
    See Special Offer

What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise 

  • A stay in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages* in Restaurants Aune and Fredheim 
  • À la carte Restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests 
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board 
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore 
  • Range of included activities 

Please note there is very limited Wi-Fi and phone signal in the remote areas we travel to and streaming is not supported. 

*House beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water 

Onboard Activities 

  • In-depth lectures and discussions hosted by experts on the Expedition Team 
  • Full use of our Science Center, extensive library and advanced biological and geological equipment 
  • Citizen Science programme where you can assist with live scientific research 
  • Photography tips and techniques for capturing landscape and wildlife from our onboard professional photographer 
  • Use of ship's hot tubs, infinity pool, panoramic sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms, and running track 
  • Informal gatherings with the crew for daily briefings 

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats 
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles and all equipment for activities 
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket 
  • Expedition photographers on hand to assist you 


  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change 
  • Please make sure you meet your entry and boarding requirements  
  • No gratuities expected 

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage handling 
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners 
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team 
  • Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area 
MS Spitsbergen
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - MS Spitsbergen
Photo: Genna Roland
A group of people posing for the camera
Photo: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten
Your ship

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 180
Beds 243
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7,344
Length 100.54m
Beam 18m
Speed 14.5 knots
MS Spitsbergen

MS Spitsbergen will take you on a voyage beyond the ordinary. She cruises along the Norwegian coast from September to May, and becomes part of our global Expedition sailings during the rest of the year.

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