The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands (Northbound)

The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands (Northbound)

The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands (Northbound)

The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands (Northbound)

Travel information 13 days MS Spitsbergen
Departures
14 May 2023
20 May 2024
Price from
4988 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

13-day expedition cruise from Scotland to Norway 

Island adventures 

Join MS Spitsbergen on a glorious expedition cruise as we sail first from Scotland to Belfast and the Isle of Man. Follow the whisky trail in Islay, which is just as intoxicating as its peaty drams. From here, you'll explore the beautiful Outer Hebrides, Viking-influenced Orkneys and remote Shetland Islands before sailing to Bergen. 

Wonderful wildlife 

You'll be transfixed by the rugged natural beauty of the Treshnish Isles, Iona, Skye, Fair Isle and UNESCO-listed St Kilda. Look  out for bird colonies, eagles, seals, and perhaps even whales along the way.  

The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands (Northbound) The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands (Northbound)
  • Day 1
    Glasgow

    Embarking in Glasgow

    Explore the city of Charles Rennie Mackintosh 

    A former industrial powerhouse, Glasgow has reinvented itself as a cultural hot spot, packed with museums, galleries and parks. Discover the splendid Art Nouveau architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh before your expedition cruise begins. 

    MS Spitsbergen, one of our smaller vessels and built for close up exploration, will be waiting for you.. Locate your cabin and explore the ship before meeting your Expedition Team, your guides on your adventure ahead. Enjoy your first dinner aboard as we sail towards the Irish Sea and Belfast. 

    Day 1
    Glasgow

    Embarking in Glasgow

  • Day 2
    Belfast

    Elegant Belfast

    Discover Northern Ireland's capital 

    We sail into Belfast, a city with a proud ship-building history and the birthplace of the Titanic. History buffs will enjoy the Ulster Museum and Belfast Castle, while nature lovers can visit the Botanic Gardens. 

    Stroll the cobbled streets of the chic Cathedral Quarter, with its elegant Victorian architecture, and pop inside St Anne’s Cathedral to see its beautiful mosaics. In Donegall Square, you'll find the historical landmarks of City Hall.   

    • Included Castle Espie Wetlands Centre
    Day 2
    Belfast

    Elegant Belfast

  • Day 3
    Peel

    Enigmatic Isle of Man

    Explore this independent island kingdom 

    As we approach the Isle of Man, you’ll be struck by the imposing ruins of Peel Castle above the pretty seaside town that bears its name.  

    You'll have plenty to see in Peel, the 14th century former Manx capital. Motoring buffs will enjoy its vintage car museums – a nod to the island's modern racing heritage. Or visit the House of Manannan to discover more about the island’s Celtic, Viking and maritime past. 

    The Isle of Man is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and home to a huge variety of birdlife, including Hen Harriers, Red-billed Choughs, peregrines, Black Guillemots, Manx Shearwaters, puffins, Arctic Terns and many more. 

    • Included Isle of Man Beach Cleaning
    Day 3
    Peel

    Enigmatic Isle of Man

  • Day 4
    Islay

    Islay's whisky and nature

    Fire up your spirit of discovery on 'whisky island' 

    Islay is the proud home of world-famous peaty single malts – but that's far from the only reason to visit. Here you'll discover fascinating ancient monoliths and the enigmatic settlement of Finlaggan.  

    Today, Islay is a wildlife paradise, home to over 200 species of birds – including oystercatchers, gannets and Golden Eagles. From its sandy beaches, you can sometimes spot dolphins and basking sharks. 

    Port Ellen is the gateway to three of the island’s nine distilleries. Of course, no trip to Islay is complete without a 'wee dram' from one of these famous and historic whisky producers, including Laphroaig and Ardbeg. 

    • Included Islay Coastal Walk 
    Day 4
    Islay

    Islay's whisky and nature

  • Day 5
    West coast exploration

    West coast exploration

    Experience charming Oban, Tobermory or Loch Sunart 

    Today, we'll make the most of local opportunities along the west coast of Scotland, where there are many beautiful places to explore. 

    We might visit Oban's busy fishing port, Dunollie Castle and Oban Distillery. Or sail to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull – a charming fishing village of brightly coloured Georgian houses. 

    Depending on conditions, we'll take out our small expedition boats to explore Loch Sunart – a Marine Protected Area known for otters, dolphins and porpoises. Your expert Expedition Team will make sure that today is a memorable day.   

    • Included Oban Walking Tour
    Day 5
    West coast exploration

    West coast exploration

  • Day 6
    Iona

    The spirit of Iona

    See Iona's sacred abbey and Fingal's Cave on Staffa 

    Your  adventure continues to Iona, off the coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. You can visit the restored 6th century abbey, one of Scotland's oldest and most sacred Christian pilgrimage sites. Or enjoy a hike with the Expedition Team up Dùn I for breathtaking views of St Columba's Bay - and take a sip from the 'Well of Eternal Youth'. 

    Next, we sail to the Treshnish Isles – home to Atlantic Puffins, razorbills and Atlantic grey seals. At nearby Fingal's Cave, you'll marvel at the hexagonal basalt columns, superb natural acoustics, and mesmerising coloured waters. 

    • Included Iona Abbey Free Flow
    Day 6
    Iona

    The spirit of Iona

  • Day 7
    Isles of Skye and Canna

    Isles of Skye and Canna

    Get set for beaches, bird colonies and wild scenery 

    Sail to Loch Scavaig on the Isle of Skye, where dramatic scenery surrounds you. “The wildest scene in the Highlands” – that's how the Victorian poet Lord Tennyson described Loch Coruisk and the surrounding craggy peaks of the Cuillin Mountains. We'll put on our hiking boots to explore the loch with the Expedition Team. 

    Our next stop is the Isle of Canna. Here, you'll find historic settlements and beautiful beaches. The spectacular sea stacks of Dùn Mòr and Dún Beag are home to a colony of breeding puffins, while fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and shags nest on the cliffs 

    • Included Canna Nature Landing
    • Included Loch Scavaig Landing and Hike
    Day 7
    Isles of Skye and Canna

    Isles of Skye and Canna

  • Day 8
    St Kilda

    Wild St Kilda

    Discover the untamed beauty of St Kilda 

    A visit to this UNESCO double World Heritage Site is an unforgettable experience. If conditions allow, we'll spend the day here. 

    One of Europe's most important seabird colonies, St Kilda's volcanic outcrops are home to thousands of nesting seabirds, including Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and over 60,000 pairs of Northern Gannets.  

    In 1930, St Kilda’s last residents asked to be evacuated due to the island's wild and exposed conditions. Explore the abandoned village and see the distinctive cleits – circular stone buildings used to store peat, eggs and smoked puffins – before returning to the comfort of your ship. 

    • Included St Kilda Nature Landing - Included for all!
    Day 8
    St Kilda

    Wild St Kilda

  • Day 9
    Stornoway

    Stalwart Stornoway

    Experience the Gaelic culture of the Hebrides 

    Our expedition cruise arrives at Stornoway, the Isle of Lewis and Harris capital. As you explore the area around the harbour, keep an eye out for seals, red deer, eagles and otters. You'll enjoy a visit to the Gothic-style Lews Castle with its spacious grounds full of trails and fantastic views. 

    Further afield, take in the 5,000-year-old Callanish Standing Stones and Dun Carloway, the best-preserved Iron Age broch in Scotland. Enjoy coastal walks along the stunning Dalmore, Dalbeg or Garry beaches, and pick up a memento made from the famed Harris Tweed that's woven here. 

    • Included Lews Castle Walk
    Day 9
    Stornoway

    Stalwart Stornoway

  • Day 10
    Kirkwall

    Highlights of Orkney

    Learn about Kirkwall's Norse heritage 

    Today we cruise to the Orkney Islands' largest town. You'll explore Kirkwall, the vibrant, Viking-influenced capital of the Orkneys that's still compact enough to cover on foot. 

    Visit the regal St Magnus Cathedral, made from distinctive local red sandstone, and the adjacent Earl’s Palace to see the stone ruins of this once-grand Renaissance building. The Neolithic settlement of Scara Brae is also only a bus ride away.  

    Whisky aficionados will enjoy Kirkwall's Highland Park and Scapa distilleries for their sublime single malts. If you fancy something different, Orkney Distillery produces gin made from local Orcadian botanicals.  

    • Included Kirkwall on Foot
    Day 10
    Kirkwall

    Highlights of Orkney

  • Day 11
    Fair Isle

    Far-flung Fair Isle

    A scenic stop for bird lovers 

    Your cruise continues to the Shetland Islands as we venture to remote Fair Isle, known for its birds and knitwear. 

    A magnet for birders and wildlife photographers, the island is home to 27 bird species. It's a vital stop for migrating seabirds, drawn to the red sandstone cliffs, green fields and moors. 

    We’ll attempt to land so you can join a clifftop hike to a spectacularly sited lighthouse with the Expedition Team. Gain fascinating insights into the life and history of the 65-strong island community at the local museum. You can support Fair Islanders by buying genuine Fair Isle knitwear direct from local makers. 

    If landing isn’t possible, the scenic cruising is just as spectacular. 

    • Included Fair Isle Island Visit
    Day 11
    Fair Isle

    Far-flung Fair Isle

  • Day 12
    Lerwick

    Lerwick’s past and present

    Discover Scotland's most northerly inhabited isles 

    On our final day exploring Scotland, we'll dock alongside Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, and explore this friendly, Victorian-influenced fishing town that’s set in stunning scenery. 

    Navigate the narrow lanes on foot to discover little shops selling local whiskies, woollen sweaters and fudge. By the old waterfront, you’ll find the Shetland Museum, charting the area's rich history. Nearby you can see Fort Charlotte and the regal Town Hall. 

    The wider island is home to remarkable Iron Age villages and the Shetland Crofthouse Museum, where you'll learn about the hard life of the local crofters.  

    • Included Lerwick Walking Tour with Fort Charlotte
    Day 12
    Lerwick

    Lerwick’s past and present

  • Day 13
    Bergen

    Arrival in Bergen, Norway

    Visit Bergen's UNESCO-listed Bryggen district 

    Our Scottish Isles expedition cruise reaches its finale in Bergen, one of Norway's most beautiful cities. After you disembark MS Spitsbergen in the morning, we recommend spending some time exploring before returning home. 

    Visit the UNESCO-listed Bryggen district and its colourful wooden wharves and artisanal boutiques. Across from here, you'll find the city's famous fish market. 

    If you have time, round off your trip by taking the funicular up Mount Fløyen for spectacular views of the acclaimed seven mountains, the port and the sea beyond during a hike to the top, included in our optional Post-Programme.  

    Day 13
    Bergen

    Arrival in Bergen, Norway

Departures

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
May:
14.

2024

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
May:
20.

What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise  

  • At stay in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including in restaurant Aune*  
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board†  
  • 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 activities 

*House beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water 

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

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 ongoing scientific research 
  • Photography tips and techniques for capturing landscape and wildlife from our onboard professional photographer 
  • Use of ship's hot tubspanoramic sauna and gym 
  • 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 

Notes 

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change 
  • Please make sure you meet all 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 
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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