Woman sitting between the stone arches at Iona Abbey, Scotland
Stone abbey fronted by a stone cross stands among bright green grass under a cloudy sky on the Ancient Isles small ship cruise.
Four white, brown, and black haired Shetland ponies in a green field in the Shetland Isles of Scotland
Close up of an Atlantic puffin bird with a bright orange, red, and yellow beak
People laying on the grass to capture a close up shot of a puffin in scotland
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Europe Northern Europe Cruise

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland

Explore the British and Irish Isles during this 16-day Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland cruise. Meander through English gardens; steep in Irish maritime history and folklore; and visit sacred islands, ancient abbeys and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland. From London, cruise to Portsmouth, where King Henry VIII’s Tudor warship Mary Rose is on display, then to Fowey for a walk through the Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan. The Isles of Scilly are known for the Tresco Abbey Garden, filled with historic ruins and subtropical plants. In Ireland, explore the maritime history of Cobh; sail by Skellig Michael, a Celtic Christian hermitage where beehive huts and remains of a 7th-century monastery still stand (and the site of Luke Skywalker’s secret hideaway planet); purchase a woolly sweater on the Aran Islands; and visit Dun Aengus, a Celtic stone fort perched on the cliff’s edge.

Scotland offers the sacred island of Iona and its 12th-century abbey, the incredible seabird colonies on Outer Hebrides,the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Step into medieval St. Magnus Cathedral, possibly land on the uninhabited island of St. Kilda and Zodiac to the music-inspiring geometric basalt columns of Fingal’s Cave off Staffa Island. The Shetland Islands are the perfect finale to this 16-day British and Irish Isles cruise, with Shetland ponies, dramatic landscapes and 4,000 years of history and culture to discover. Disembark in Bergen, Norway, with two weeks of unforgettable experiences locked in your memory bank.

In addition to the main itinerary, which focuses on England, Ireland and Scotland, an alternative 11-day North Sea itinerary delves deep into the rich history of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. An alternative 10-day Atlantic Coast itinerary explores mostly France with various daily options for activities like sampling cognac, hiking along the coast and visiting oyster farms, a lighthouse, botanical gardens and various historical sites. And an alternative 10-day Scotland’s Wild Isles itinerary ventures along nearly the entire coastline and offshore islands, with a focus on Scotland’s flora, fauna (including incredible birdlife), history and tastes.

Departures are aboard either the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer or 126-guest National Geographic Resolution. Both ships offer a home base that is perfect for exploring the best of the region, including well-known visitor spots and rarely visited, hard-to-reach gems. Equipped with National Geographic guides, historians, photographers and expert leaders, and built as polar expedition vessels, the Nat Geo Explorer and Resolution slice through the North Sea waters with speed, stability and grace, navigating easily to small, ancient islands as well as larger city ports.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Northern Europe cruises and Northern Europe trips.



Itinerary

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland Itinerary

This 16-day British, Scottish and Irish Isles cruise embarks in London, England and disembarks in Bergen, Norway.

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland and Scotland cruise route map, operating from London, England to Bergen, Norway.
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Days 1 - 2
Arrive London, England & Embark

Fly overnight to London. Embark in the city center in time for lunch and set sail down the Thames.

Accommodations

n/a (day 1); National Geographic Explorer (day 2)

Meals

n/a (day 1); lunch and dinner (day 2)

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Day 3
Portsmouth, England

Visit the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and climb inside the HMS Victory. Visit the partially restored Tudor warship Mary Rose, deployed by King Henry VIII. Alternatively, join the naturalist guide for a drive to the lively estuary at Titchfield Haven to walk the trails and look for visiting birds.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Fowey, England

Stroll the medieval streets of Fowey (pronounced “Foy”) before visiting the Eden Project, a botanical garden with vast biomes. In the afternoon, visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, left derelict after WWI and recently restored, or choose to explore Fowey’s town center.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Isles of Scilly, England

Sail the isles of Scilly and see Tresco Abbey Garden’s flourishing garden, filled with historic ruins and subtropical plants.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Cobh, Ireland

Arrive in colorful Cobh, a place steeped in maritime history. Visit the fascinating Heritage Centre and walk in the footsteps of the many Irish who fled the hardships of 19th century Ireland and immigrated to America.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Skellig Michael & Dingle, Ireland

Sail by Skellig Michael, a Celtic Christian hermitage where beehive huts and remains of a 7th-century monastery still stand. Spend the afternoon discovering the picturesque seaside town of Dingle.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Inishmore & Aran Islands, Ireland

Visit Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Known for its religious and cultural heritage, Dun Aengus is a Celtic stone fort perched on a cliff’s edge.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Exploring Northwestern Ireland

Discover northwestern Ireland: a wild and windswept region where Gaelic is still spoken. Steeped in history and folklore, the dramatic landscape of counties Sligo and Donegal inspired the works of W.B. Yeats.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Iona, Staffa & Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Visit the sacred island of Iona and its 12th-century abbey, believed to be the origin of the Book of Kells. Explore Staffa Island, famed for its geometric basalt columns and Zodiac into dramatic Fingal’s Cave.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
St. Kilda, Scotland

Visit the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, boasting incredible seabird colonies. Conditions permitting, make a landing at the uninhabited St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 12
Orkney, Scotland

This morning, set out on a birdwatching tour. From puffins to white-tailed eagles, Orkney’s birdlife is remarkably varied. Or take a walking tour of Kirkwall, Orkney’s largest town. In the afternoon, discover the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stoneslab village of Skara Brae. Step into medieval St. Magnus Cathedral, crafted from local red and yellow sandstone.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 13 - 14
Exploring the Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Shetland Islands archipelago is characterized by incredible cultural traditions and dramatic landscapes. Experience this for yourself while stepping ashore at one of the many remote islands in the region.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 15
Shetlands & At Sea

Drive through a rolling landscape with Shetland ponies. Explore the ruins at Jarlshof, which reveal 4,000 years of near-continuous settlement. Sail from Shetland Island to Bergen, Norway.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 16
Disembark Bergen, Norway

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland cruise begins in London, England (LHR) and ends in Bergen, Norway (BGO). Group flights are recommended for this cruise, and your AdventureSmith Specialist can assist with details for your specific departure. General recommendations are to arrive to London by mid-morning on embarkation day (day 2 of itinerary). A hospitality room at a central hotel will be available from 9:00am on day of embarkation for luggage storage and refreshments, before a transfer to the ship at noon. Disembarkation is after breakfast on day 16 of the itinerary. Plan to depart Bergen on the final day of the cruise no earlier than 10:30am. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include walking, hiking, kayaking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, wildlife observation and morning yoga and stretching.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

North Sea Voyage: Northern Europe & The Normandy Beaches Itinerary

This 11-day North Sea voyage embarks in Copenhagen, Denmark and disembarks in London, England.

Route map of North Sea Voyage: Northern Europe & The Normandy Beaches cruise from Copenhagen, Denmark, to London, England, with visits to France, Belgium, the Netherlands & Germany.
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Days 1 - 2
Fly to Copenhagen, Denmark & Embark

Depart on an overnight flight to Copenhagen, where you’ll explore Nyhavn, the city’s 17th-century waterfront neighborhood, on a private canal boat tour before embarking the ship.

Accommodations

n/a (day 1); National Geographic Explorer (day 2)

Meals

n/a (day 1); lunch and dinner (day 2)

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Day 3
Lubeck, Germany

Cruise up the river Trave to the beautiful medieval city of Lübeck. Once the Queen City of the Hanseatic League, Lübeck boasts beautiful brick architecture, much of which was rebuilt after WWII. Taste locally produced marzipan, and visit the incredible Holsten Gate and Hospital of the Holy Spirit—two of the many fascinating buildings to grace this lovely, picturesque town.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
At Sea

Overnight and into the morning, transit the Kiel Canal, a 61-mile waterway connecting the North Sea with the Baltic. During and after breakfast, take in the beautiful views of the Schleswig-Holstein region from the ship until she reaches the Brunsbüttel Lock and exits out into the North Sea to sail along the coast of mainland Europe. Unwind, head to the spa, browse the library and hear talks from the onboard staff.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Cluttered with bicycles, bursting with flowers and carved by canals, Amsterdam is a vibrant city with an arts scene that has flourished since the Middle Ages. Take in the unique character of the canal-lined streets by boat or on foot and experience the spectacular Rijksmuseum. On a guided tour, get an insider’s view of the world’s largest collection of Dutch masters with works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and more.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 6 - 7
Antwerp & Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with Gothic architecture and serene waterways. Walk through the bustling and colorful Markt Square, and listen as the bells of the medieval bell tower toll the hour. After a walking excursion, board small boats and glide down swan-dotted canals to experience the gemlike old town from another perspective. The port city of Antwerp dates from the Middle Ages. Stroll the centuries-old diamond district, visit the Rubens House to view works by Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens and admire the Renaissance architecture in Grote Markt.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 8 - 9
Beaches & Historical Battlefields of Operation Overlord

Turn your focus toward one of the most important historical events of the 20th century while retracing the events of D-Day with a historian. Walk in the footsteps of the Allied troops at Omaha Beach and pay respects at the American Cemetery. Visit the famous Pegasus Bridge across the Caen Canal, where the British 6th Airborne Division glided in to land at the very start of the Allied invasion. See the remains of Mulberry Harbor, created from partially sunken blockships to provide a safe point of entry for supplies and equipment after the initial invasion began.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Dover, England

Sail past the Cliffs of Dover, a beacon to many WWII pilots returning home from battle on the continent. Walk the wartime tunnels deep beneath Dover Castle and immerse in the drama of the Dunkirk evacuation—“Operation Dynamo.” Visit Ramsgate, once the embarkation point for the 1940 evacuation, where 4,200 ships left the harbor to rescue men stranded on Dunkirk’s beaches. Overnight, navigate up the River Thames toward London.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
Disembark London, England

Disembark in London and transfer to Heathrow Airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $1,000 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The North Sea Voyage: Northern Europe & The Normandy Beaches cruise begins in Copenhagen, Denmark (CPH), and ends in London, England (LHR). Group flights are recommended for this cruise and your AdventureSmith Specialist can assist with group flight details. General recommendations are to arrive to Copenhagen anytime on Day 2 of the itinerary. Disembarkation is after breakfast on the final day of the itinerary. Plan to depart London on the final day of the cruise no earlier than 2:00pm. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include walking, hiking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and morning yoga and stretching.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Navigating The Atlantic Coast: Brittany, Wales & England's Channel Islands Itinerary

This 10-day Atlantic Coast cruise embarks in Bordeaux, France and disembarks in Dublin, Ireland.

Route map of Navigating The Atlantic Coast: Brittany, Wales & England's Channel Islands cruise, from Bordeaux, France, to Dublin, Ireland, plus visits to The United Kingdom.
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Days 1 - 2
Fly to Bordeaux, France & Embark

Arrive in Bordeaux on an overnight flight. From the stunning symmetrical architecture of Place de la Bourse to charming side streets brimming with cafés, Bordeaux has no shortage of nooks and crannies to discover. After a morning exploring this riverside city and lunch in town, embark the ship. Settle into life on board as the cruise gets underway on the River Garonne en route to Royan.

Accommodations

n/a (day 1); National Geographic Resolution (day 2)

Meals

n/a (day 1); lunch and dinner (day 2)

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Day 3
Royan, Cognac & La Rochelle

Today, there’s an option to taste the famous food and drink produced along the banks of two rivers. Along the Charente River in Cognac, sample the region’s best eau de vie, known the world over, and walk cobblestone streets that pre-date the Hundred Years’ War. Alternatively, stay on the coast and visit a tidal oyster farm on the Seudre River. Learn how these delicate mollusks are cultivated, and then after a tutorial, shuck and eat your own oysters. Sail out of the ramparts in La Rochelle as the ship makes her way towards the Brittany coast.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Brest

Surrounded by water, the Finistère region of Brittany is known for its naval history and natural attractions as well as picturesque ports, lighthouses and sheltered beaches. In the Iroise Marine Park, which covers half of Finistère, pelagic birds and seals thrive in protected waters. Other habitats ranging from dunes to cliffs offer an abundance of biodiversity, trails and cultural heritage. Known as the “force of France” for its military port that has been fortified since the 3rd century, Brest has played a role in many conflicts over the centuries. The imposing castle and Tanguy Tower protect the entrance to the Penfeld River and have many stories to tell.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Saint-Malo, Dinan & Mont-Saint-Michel

Wake up in charming Saint-Malo and take a walking tour of this fortified city, known for its 12th-century ramparts and 15th-century privateer history. In the afternoon, visit an oyster farm or venture into the heart of Brittany to practice photography in Dinan, known for its half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets. An excursion to the iconic abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage site poised dramatically on a rocky tidal island, is a third option.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Jersey & Guernsey, Channel Island, England

The Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey may be Crown Dependencies of the United Kingdom, but they have their own unique history, culture and laws. Experience life on the Channel Islands, both past and present with a walk through the Jersey War Tunnels Complex used in World War II; or see a more serene side of the islands, admiring lush botanical gardens and breathing fresh salt air on a cliffside path.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Penzance

Awake to a view of Land’s End, England’s most westerly point, renowned for its breathtaking panoramic vistas. Part of Cornwall and steeped in legend, this is a region of dramatic cliffs, rocky coves, heather-carpeted moors and ocean as far as the eye can see. Associated with King Arthur and smugglers who inspired Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, its real-life historic sites include remnants of early Christian and Bronze Age settlements and St. Michael’s Mount, a centuries-old island castle still inhabited today. Cornwall shares cultural, natural and industrial heritage with Brittany and is enjoying a cultural renaissance, drawing artists inspired by its coastlines, harbors and quiet garden retreats.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Tresco, Isles of Scilly

According to Arthurian legend, the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of Lyonnesse, a lost land said to have vanished into the Atlantic. Join a naturalist to explore the flora and fauna of these mythical islands and discover the surprising variety of tropical plants that flourish at the world-class Tresco Abbey Gardens.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Holyhead, Wales

Arrive in Wales, which has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world, and choose to tour some that are part of the Iron Ring of Castles, built by King Edward. Alternatively, stay on the Isle of Anglesey and walk the Coast Path, designated An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, alongside a member of the local mountain rescue team. Spot falcons, seals and springtime wildflowers along the way. Finally, the Welsh were known for slate mining and the remnants of that era can still be experienced today. Tour the manor house of a slate baron and descend into a former mine to learn about the technical achievements and grueling work of this important contribution to the Industrial Revolution.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Disembark Dublin, Ireland

After breakfast, disembark and depart to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $1,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Navigating The Atlantic Coast: Brittany, Wales & England’s Channel Islands cruise begins in Bordeaux, France (BOD), and ends in Dublin, Ireland (DUB). Group flights are recommended for this cruise and your AdventureSmith Specialist can assist with group flight details. General recommendations are to arrive to Bordeaux anytime on Day 2 of the itinerary. Disembarkation is after breakfast on the final day of the itinerary. Plan to depart Dublin on the final day of the cruise no earlier than 2:00pm. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include walking, hiking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and morning yoga and stretching.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Exploring Scotland's Wild Isles: Shetlands, Orkneys & Inner Hebrides Itinerary

This 10-day Scotland cruise embarks in Dublin, Ireland and disembarks in Leith/Edinburgh, Scotland.

Route map of Scotland's Wild Isles cruise from Dublin, Ireland, to Edinburgh, Scotland, with visits along the coasts of both countries.
Read More
Days 1 - 2
Fly to Dublin, Ireland & Embark

Arrive in Dublin on an overnight flight. More living museum than city, traces of Dublin’s past are on display at every turn. Discover the city’s medieval castles and cathedrals, one of the oldest universities in Europe, Trinity College, and perhaps enjoy a sip of Ireland’s famous brew, Guinness. Tour the city before embarking the ship in the late afternoon. Settle into life on board while setting sail for Rathlin Island.

Accommodations

n/a (day 1); National Geographic Resolution (day 2)

Meals

n/a (day 1); lunch and dinner (day 2)

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Day 3
Rathlin Island

Kick off the expedition on Rathlin Island, home to Northern Ireland’s largest puffin colony, as well as thousands of seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. Visit the Rathlin West Light, the “upside down lighthouse” built between 1912-1917, and learn about the 40+ shipwrecks in the island’s surrounding waters. It is in a cave on Rathlin Island that Robert the Bruce, the famous Scottish King, is said to have taken refuge during a fight against the English in 1306, where he was inspired to keep up the struggle for Scottish independence.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Iona & Staffa, Scotland

Sail through the Sea of the Hebrides to the isle of Iona, the site of Scotland’s first Christian settlement. Venture into an ancient nunnery and a 13th-century abbey and explore St. Oran’s Chapel with its royal burial grounds, where Celtic high crosses mark the graves of generations of Scottish kings. In the afternoon, continue to Staffa, famed for its geometric basalt columns and deep-sea caves. Conditions permitting, take a Zodiac into the awe-inspiring Fingal’s Cave, where Felix Mendelssohn was inspired to write his “Hebrides Overture.” Atop the island, look for puffins coming to and from their burrows as they search for fish in the surrounding waters.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Inverewe

Anchor in Loch Ewe and bring a camera along to stroll the winding paths of Inverewe Garden, created in 1862. Tempered by the warm Gulf Stream, these splendid gardens are home to hundreds of exotic sub-tropical plant species. Spot some Scottish wildlife while meandering through the gardens—red squirrels, otters, red deer and golden eagles. Choose to kayak in the waters alongside the gardens for an alternative view.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Noss & Lerwick, Shetland Islands

Far from the hustle and bustle of the mainland, the Shetland Islands exude a languid remoteness that begs to be discovered. Sail past the Isle of Noss, known for its nearly-600-foot-tall sea cliffs teaming with tens of thousands of seabirds. Join the naturalist on deck to watch for gannets, guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes. Explore Lerwick, a town where Norse and Gaelic cultures intermingle, and see the countryside dotted with Shetland ponies. Then examine Bronze Age ruins at the extraordinary prehistoric settlement of Jarlshof, a UNESCO candidate which is part of “The Crucible of Iron Age Shetland.” Later, take in a cacophony of birds while walking to the lighthouse at Sumburgh Head.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Papa Westray & Rousay, Orkney Islands

The Vikings held a strategic foothold in the Orkney Islands for hundreds of years, and their Norse heritage is apparent in local legends and traditions that endure today. Start today on the island of Papa Westray, the cradle of Christianity in Orkney. Visit Boniface Kirk, a church founded in the 8th century and surrounded by a picturesque graveyard, and Knap of Howar, a Neolithic farmstead that was occupied from 3,700 BC to 2,800 BC—earlier than similar houses found at Skara Brae. Then, discover the island of Rousay with an iron-age Midhowe Broch and explore the woodland and water gardens of Trumland House. Sail to Kirkwall later this afternoon and arrive at the Ring of Brodgar’s megaliths in time for sunset —when crowds have dispersed and the light is perfect to capture the best photos. Enjoy a whisky tasting this evening.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Kirkwall

Explore a treasure trove of Stone Age sites, including the 5,000-year-old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Step inside the medieval St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, which took nearly 300 years to complete. Choose to join the naturalist on a birdwatching excursion with the opportunity to spot over 30 species of birds, including black-headed gulls, gannets and guillemots.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Stonehaven, Scotland

From the Orkney Islands, the ship makes her way to the eastern shore of Scotland to Stonehaven. Choose a coastal cliff walk to explore the storied ruins of Dunnottar Castle, perched on a rocky promontory headland high above the North Sea. Steeped in history, this dramatic and evocative fortress dates to the 13th century with various parts being added over a period of 500 years. Alternatively, venture farther down the coast to the cliffs at Fowlsheugh, where over 130,000 breeding seabirds spend the spring and summer months.

Accommodations

National Geographic Resolution

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Disembark Edinburgh, Scotland

Disembark in Edinburgh after breakfast and transfer to the airport for the flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $1,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Exploring Scotland’s Wild Isles: Shetlands, Orkneys & Inner Hebrides cruise begins in Dublin, Ireland (DUB), and ends in Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI). Group flights are recommended for this cruise and your AdventureSmith Specialist can assist with group flight details. General recommendations are to arrive to Dublin anytime on Day 2 of the itinerary. Disembarkation is after breakfast on the final day of the itinerary. Plan to depart Edinburgh on the final day of the cruise no earlier than 2:00pm. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include walking, hiking, kayaking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and morning yoga and stretching.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

Apr 16 - Apr 25, 2023
National Geographic Resolution • 10 days
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From $11320USD
Per Person
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Apr 24 - May 03, 2023
National Geographic Resolution • 10 days
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From $12350USD
Per Person
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Jun 06 - Jun 16, 2023
National Geographic Explorer • 11 days
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From $10050USD
Per Person
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Jun 15 - Jun 30, 2023
National Geographic Explorer • 16 days
From $17770USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About the Small Ships on Your Itinerary 

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship accommodating 148 guests in 81 outside cabins. She is fully stabilized, enabling her to navigate polar passages while providing comfort.

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Resolution

The 126-guest National Geographic Resolution is one of the newest additions to the National Geographic fleet. This expedition ship is specifically designed for stability, efficiency, scholarship and long-range exploration in the polar regions.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Groups Save 5% On National Geographic Expeditions

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on National Geographic expeditions in this special deal.

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Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Save 10% On Two Consecutive National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

Expert Review

Reviews From Our Experts So You Know What To Expect

Todd Smith • June 17th, 2022
Expert Aboard: National Geographic Resolution & Endurance Ship Review

Firsthand review of the National Geographic Resolution & Endurance. Learn what makes these the best-in-class next generation expedition ships. From X-Bow design to on deck igloos, this in depth ship review covers what you need to know.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

In conjunction with this cruise, the following pre-cruise option is available for a seamless land-and-sea group travel experience with National Geographic guides and fellow passengers. Contact AdvntureSmith Explorations for pricing and further details.

Norway’s Fjords Extension is a 6-day post-cruise journey between Bergen and Oslo, Norway. Explore the legendary Norwegian coastline that connects Bergen and Oslo with thrilling rides via railway, boat, ferry and motor coach. The rich landscapes of southern Norway, including Sognefjord—the longest and deepest fjord in Norway are must-do on any exploration of the fjordlands. Along the way enjoy hotel stays set on the shores of magnificent fjords, offering relaxing activities like hiking, kayaking or canoeing in the fjord.

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7 Day Cruise
Classic England River Thames Cruise

On this 7-day barge cruise in England, explore London, castles, gardens, churches, rural villages and the charming English countryside aboard the intimate and stylish 8-guest Magna Carta, with biking and walking options along the way.

From $5190USD
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
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10 - 17 Day Cruise
Norway's Fjords & Arctic Svalbard

Join National Geographic expert leaders aboard a selection of Nat Geo expedition ships to see the Arctic's unparalleled beauty, exploring where polar bears prowl and walruses haul out on rocky shores, or focusing closer to the Arctic Circle along Iceland and south to Scotland.

Special Offer
From $12000USD
May Jun Jul
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This 9-day cruise highlights seldom-seen Scottish landscapes and top historical sights throughout the interior and along the coast. On the purpose-built Lord of the Glens ship, navigate through the canals that lead through the heart of the Scottish countryside.

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7 Day Cruise
Classic Ireland River Cruise

On this 7-day Ireland barge cruise aboard 10-guest Shannon Princess, enjoy Irish music, falconry, castles, pubs, the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery, artisan craft villages and the welcoming people of The Emerald Isle.

From $4850USD
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7 Day Cruise
Classic Scotland Barge Cruise

On this relaxed 7-day barge cruise, meander through the Scottish Highlands, taking in castles, bagpipes, whiskey and rich cultural heritage. The 8-guest Scottish Highlander or 12-guest Spirit of Scotland offer cozy respite, gourmet food and wine, and bikes on board.

From $4890USD
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
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Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland

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