MS Spitsbergen
13 days

The Scottish Isles - The Many Charms of its History and Heritage

Price from
3349 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
MS Spitsbergen
13 days

The Scottish Isles - The Many Charms of its History and Heritage

Price from
3349 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
  • Visit the Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, and Inner and Outer Hebrides
  • Learn the history of the Scottish clans as we explore ancient abbeys and castles
  • Enjoy a private visit of Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull hosted by the Clan Chief
  • Engage in bird and wildlife spotting throughout, especially in St. Kilda and Fair Isle

This spring cruise will introduce you to the rugged landscapes and ancient sites which have shaped the people and cultures of these much fought over northern islands, from Neolithic man to the Vikings and Scots. Between craggy, ruined castles, still-lived-in castles and gentle sub-tropical gardens, you’ll discover Scotland’s rich and vibrant history.

Highlights include the remote, dramatic, UNESCO-listed archipelago of St Kilda, evacuated in 1930 and a private reception at the stronghold of Clan MacLean at Duart Castle, with the Clan Chief himself, Sir Lachlan MacLean. We call at the bird-spotters’ mecca of Fair Isle and historic Iona with its soaring abbey. Marvel at the Edwardian magnate’s castle on Rum and even enjoy a round of golf on the world-famous links course on Islay.

We will be able to dock in some of the numerous small ports we call on. In other places, we will need to anchor and use our Explorer boats to go ashore.

The Scottish Isles - The Many Charms of its History and Heritage
  • Day 1
    Bergen, Norway

    City of Seven Mountains

    Estimated time of departure is 8:00 PM

    Visit the fish market and stroll through Bergen´s historic harbour area, fronted by wooden houses dating back as far as the 1300s. You can also take a trip up to nearby Mount Fløyen via funicular tram. Enjoy views over the city and the surrounding mountains, and even spot your expediton ship, MS Spitsbergen, docked below.

    Day 1
    Bergen, Norway

    City of Seven Mountains

  • Day 2
    Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland

    At the Centre of Scotland’s Shetland Islands

    Lerwick is the main port of the Shetland Islands and by far the northernmost town of Scotland. Founded in the 17th century as a fishing port, today Lerwick is a bustling, cosmopolitan town. The old waterfront is still active with visiting yachts and working fishing boats. The area boasts some of Shetland's most attractive scenery and an extraordinary concentration of archaeological sites, including two remarkable Iron Age villages.

    Day 2
    Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland

    At the Centre of Scotland’s Shetland Islands

  • Day 3
    Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland

    A Scenic Stop for Birds

    Lonely Fair Isle with its high red-sandstone cliffs and gentle rolling fields is a vital stop for migrating birds and has had a permanent Bird Observatory since 1948.  Synonymous with unique geometric knitwear possibly of Spanish or Scandinavian origin, the island also boasts a mini ‘Lighthouse Keepers’ golf course and a friendly, self-sufficient population.

    Day 3
    Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland

    A Scenic Stop for Birds

  • Day 4
    Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland

    In Memory of Magnus

    Kirkwall is the largest town and the capital of the Orkney archipelago. The first mention of a settlement here is in a saga from 1046, and the name Kirkwall derives from the Norse `Kirkjuvagr´ (Church Bay). Today, Kirkwall has a population of 8,500, and is one of the most attractive and well-preserved small towns in Scotland The town is dominated by the famous St. Magnus Cathedral. A local saga tells the story of how Magnus, kidnaped from the islands, refused to fight with the Vikings or condone their violence. Magnus eventually returned home, only to be put to death for his pacifism, and the church was named in his memory.

    Day 4
    Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland

    In Memory of Magnus

  • Day 5
    Stornoway, Lewis & Harris, Scotland

    Capital of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides

    Originally a Viking settlement, Stornoway is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of the Isle of Lewis & Harris, which is the largest and most northerly of the Outer Hebrides. A bustling harbour and waterfront with museums and art galleries are overlooked by the handsome Lews Castle which we invite you to explore with us. Further afield are mills and cottages where hard-wearing Harris Tweed is woven. There are tiny folk museums, the world-famous Callanish Standing Stones, and the mysterious Carloway Broch - the best preserved fort in Scotland dating back more than 2,000 years.

    Day 5
    Stornoway, Lewis & Harris, Scotland

    Capital of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides

  • Day 6
    St. Kilda, Hirta Island, Scotland

    Reclaimed by Nature

    Any visit to this distant and wild archipelago, with its breathtaking sea cliffs, is totally weather-dependent. As a UNESCO double World Heritage Site and the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the National Trust for Scotland, it is an unforgettable experience. The outlying stacs and islands, which are the remains of a volcanic crater, provide ledges for thousands of nesting seabirds. Minke whales are frequently seen around the swirling waters of the archipelago.

    Once home to Britain’s most remote island community, it was evacuated in 1930 at their own request after 5,000 years of continuous habitation. The tiny museum that remains is a record of how hard life was on this exposed island.

    Day 6
    St. Kilda, Hirta Island, Scotland

    Reclaimed by Nature

  • Day 7
    Barra Island and Isle of Rum, Scotland

    Kisimul and Kinlock Castles

    Once a prosperous herring port, Castlebay is dominated by the romantic medieval fortress of Kisimul Castle, acquired by Clan MacNeil as a reward for fighting with Robert the Bruce at Banockburn. The rugged interior of Castlebay is ringed by scenic beaches and is the inspiration for many artists and writers, as well as providing delightful walking and kayaking.  We spend the morning exploring Castlebay before heading to the Isle of Rum later in the day.

    The wildlife haven of Rum is a Nature Reserve and research centre. The island was once the sporting estate for Lancashire cotton magnate, Sir George Bullough. He built Kinlock, a folly of an Edwardian castle which remains a time-capsule of Edwardian grandeur, complete with French silk wallpaper, antiques and atmospheric rooms. Otters are regularly seen around the island’s shores, and there is a large population of red deer.

    Day 7
    Barra Island and Isle of Rum, Scotland

    Kisimul and Kinlock Castles

  • Day 8
    Oban and Craignure, Isle of Mull, Scotland

    Meeting a Clan Chief in his Castle

    Known as 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. Now a popular holiday spot, Victorian buildings cluster round the port, ferries come and go, heading out to the distant Hebrides. Many cafés have seafood-focused menus, and the distillery provides tours to sample a local dram of whisky.

    This evening, we visit Craignure where we are fortunate to have a private guided visit to the dramatic 800-year-old Duart Castle, one of very few remaining in the ownership of the family. We will be hosted by Sir Lachlan MacLean, the Clan Chief himself. The Castle houses much MacLean memorabilia and our visit will include the kitchen, Sea Room and Edwardian bedrooms as well as a private reception in the Banqueting Hall. The Castle is very much the type of building you would expect a Highland Chief to live in; it is simply furnished, austere and has an air of no-nonsense solidity and age.

    Day 8
    Oban and Craignure, Isle of Mull, Scotland

    Meeting a Clan Chief in his Castle

  • Day 9
    Isle of Colonsay, Scotland

    Flowers and Feathers

    Home to over 200 bird species, including the rare and elusive corncrake, this is a gentle island of woods and pretty beaches, such as Kiloran Bay, and with Scalasaig being the main settlement. Colonsay House is home to exotic gardens and the surrounding woods, moors and fields have over 400 species of flora. The island offers easy walking and kayaking in the surrounding waters.

    Day 9
    Isle of Colonsay, Scotland

    Flowers and Feathers

  • Day 10
    Islay, Scotland

    Land of Scottish Whisky

    Once the seat of the MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles, this is ‘whisky island’, world renowned for its peaty single malt whiskies and many distilleries. As a stop-off for wintering geese and migrating birds, there is good bird spotting. In the charming little town of Bowmore, there are a handful of small shops, an interesting round church with no corners, plus superb cliff-top walks and a well known golf course.

    Day 10
    Islay, Scotland

    Land of Scottish Whisky

  • Day 11
    Peel, Isle of Man

    From Royalty to Races

    A seaside town, the pretty port of Peel was the 14th century capital of the island and seat to the King of Mann. Winding lanes of merchants’ houses bear witness to the 19th century fishing schooners built here which traded from Ireland to Shetland. Peel Castle, connected by causeway and reputedly built by Magnus Barelegs, King of Norway, dates from the 11th century. Museums in town display vintage bikes and cars; a connection to the more modern high-speed racing that occurs on the island.

    Day 11
    Peel, Isle of Man

    From Royalty to Races

  • Day 12
    Belfast, Northern Ireland

    Charming Industrial Capital

    A city of industry and elegance, Belfast is the birthplace of the Titanic, as well as being the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. It is a gateway to a glorious countryside of pretty villages and a beautiful rugged coast with pristine beaches and breathtaking clifftop walks. Experience Giants Causeway, hike through spectacular scenery or explore what this impressive city has to offer.

    Day 12
    Belfast, Northern Ireland

    Charming Industrial Capital

  • Day 13
    Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland

    ‘Dear Green Place’

    Estimated time of arrival is 8:00 AM

    Our voyage ends in Glasgow (Greenock). Meaning ‘Dear Green Place’ in Gaelic, Glasgow boasts over 90 parks and gardens. Famous for its Victorian as well as art nouveau architecture, it is home to such institutions as the Scottish Ballet, Opera and National Theatre. This is definitely a city you’ll want to explore more before you head home.

    Day 13
    Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland

    ‘Dear Green Place’

Departures

  • 2021
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
    20 Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
20 April 2021

Current offers on this cruise:

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Cancel your cruise for any reason and we’ll pay you back - no questions asked.

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Receive your refund, including the previously non-refundable deposit.

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Possibilities

What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with very limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included excursions

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna and indoor gym
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

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 help with your camera settings before landings

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 

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please ensure you meet all visa entry requirements
  • No gratuities expected
MS spitsbergen
A group of people posing for the camera
Photo: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten
A room filled with furniture and a large window
Photo: © Tor Farstad

Your ship

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 335
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.

Read more about MS Spitsbergen

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