Man in red jacket walks grassy bluff high above the ocean, overlooking a Normandy, France medieval city on North Sea Cruises.
Various commuter bikes parked on bridge overlooking slim canal lined by green trees & colorful apartment buildings in Amsterdam.
Mint green statue & stone fountains encircled by multi-story, old-world, colorful stone & brick buildings in European city square.
Modern wood & steel foot bridge over a canal beside tall, modern brick building at first light, seen on North Sea cruises.
European church with green steeple surrounded by low brick buildings beside calm canal on a sunny day, seen on North Sea cruises.
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Europe Northern Europe Cruise

North Sea Cruises

Voyage along the North Sea, from Norway or Copenhagen, to London for fascinating history, culture, flora and fauna. On these North Sea cruises, enjoy a mix of coastal trails and charming cities, rich history, unique geology and diverse cultures.

On the main itinerary (2023), cruise from Copenhagen to London along canals and coastline, exploring beautiful coastal cities as well as the crucial and storied role the region has played in history. Stroll through charming, canal-side towns that sprang up along Old World trade routes. Marvel at the elaborate architecture of medieval ruling capitals and reflect at the sites of battles that helped determine the outcome of World War II. Take time to indulge personal interests, and consider exploring each site with the naturalist or historian whose background and personality matches your own.

On the alternative itinerary (2024), explore Norway’s stunning fjords and Amsterdam’s storied canals on a voyage tracing the maritime connections of six North Sea countries from the medieval Hanseatic League to today’s European Union. In UNESCO-designated Old Towns lined with quaint cobbled streets, visit renowned museums, and sample the region’s celebrated beer and chocolate. Explore less-visited gems like Lübeck, whose Hanseatic League capital status is still visible in gabled houses and converted warehouses; and Antwerp, where 16th-century guild halls line a picturesque square. Traveling from Northern European trading capitals to the Low Countries of the Netherlands and Belgium, the role of waterways—the sea and canals—take center stage. Conclude in London, one of Europe’s largest modern trading centers.

Meet the lively characters who make up the contemporary scene in towns along the way, with 148-guest National Geographic Explorer as your home base as you experience Europe from a unique vantage point—the sea. Equipped with National Geographic guides, historians, photographers and expert leaders, and built as a polar expedition vessel, the Nat Geo Explorer slices through the North Sea waters with speed, stability and grace.

Read on for details about these North Sea cruises, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Northern Europe cruises and Northern Europe trips.



Itinerary

North Sea Voyage: Northern Europe & The Normandy Beaches Itinerary

The main 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

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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. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens. Complimentary beer & wine on National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest, National Geographic Sea Lion, National Geographic Sea Bird, with a complimentary full bar on all other ships.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

For expeditions prior to April 1, 2024:
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.

Coastal Powers of The North Sea: Medieval Capitals & Vibrant Cultures Itinerary

The alternative North Sea voyage embarks in Bergen, Norway and disembarks in London, England.

Route map of Coastal Powers of The North Sea: Medieval Capitals & Vibrant Cultures cruise from Bergen, Norway to London, England with visits to Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium & France.
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Day 1
Embark Bergen, Norway

Arrive in Bergen and travel to the city’s historic wharf area, Bryggen. Walk alongside the colorful wooden waterfront buildings that are immediately recognizable images of the city and explore the narrow lanes separating the gabled structures. The Hanseatic League established four overseas offices, and Bryggen is the only one preserved today. Embark this afternoon and enjoy a scenic sailing through the fjords of southern Norway.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Flekkefjord

Bryggen has a history of German residents, and the waterfront area of Flekkefjord, with charming white wooden houses, flower boxes, and wall murals, was inhabited by the Dutch in the Middle Ages. Stroll the village of Hollenderbyen, or Dutch Quarter, this morning and learn about its maritime history or walk with a naturalist on a coastal trail in a picturesque fjord.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
At Sea & Hamburg, Germany

While sailing the North Sea en route to Germany, attend a talk about the different facets of the next cities you will be visiting or learn from a National Geographic photography expert about how best to capture the wonderful architecture and nature subjects you will encounter.

The first experience in Hamburg will be an overview tour of Germany’s second-largest city after Berlin. See how its strategic location between the North Sea and the many canals that lead inland has made it an important port and a major hub of transportation throughout the centuries. Enjoy the city at your leisure this evening as the ship will be docked in Hamburg overnight.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Hamburg

Today, spend more time in Hamburg or travel to Lübeck, a former capital of the Hanseatic League. Speicherstadt means “warehouse city” and Hamburg’s unique collection of tall neo-gothic brick buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world’s largest warehouse district. Walk its winding streets cut by canals and connected by bridges, see the impressive Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall and learn about the artifacts donated by citizens to trace the city’s development as a colonial world trading power. Or choose to step back in time on a walking tour of Lübeck’s Old Town lined with gabled houses and converted warehouses. Visit the inspiring 13th-century gothic Marienkirche and at the European Hansemuseum, delve into the important history of the Hanseatic League.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
At Sea

Travel back into the North Sea on a course to the Low Countries. The ship’s route follows in the wake of merchant ships throughout the ages, and the shipboard historian will discuss the relationships of the Northern European countries you have just visited with the next destinations: the Netherlands and Belgium. These countries have been inextricably linked through time, evolving from trading powers to roles as colonial forces, and now as part of the European Union.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 6 - 7
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Explore Amsterdam’s storied canals, lined with pleasure boats and houseboats, crossed by arched bridges, and affording a window on this beautiful city called the “Venice of the North.” This afternoon, learn more about the maritime and trading history of the Netherlands, walk through the Jewish Quarter made famous by Anne Frank and gain a better understanding of the resistance history of this world capital, or see some of the most famous artworks by Dutch masters at the Rijksmuseum. The next day, head into the lowland countryside to Haarlem for a walking tour of the medieval streets and gabled houses of this North Sea port. Another option is stepping back to the 17th century in Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum. Outdoor enthusiasts will want to explore De Hoge Veluwe National Park, the country’s largest nature reserve. Join a naturalist to walk on the park’s sand dunes, wooded paths and heathlands.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Antwerp, Belgium

Wake up in Belgium today, in the vibrant city of Antwerp. Admire the Flemish Renaissance architecture of Grote Markt, the central square lined by 16th-century guild halls. A walking tour will also include a stop at the world’s only museum with a UNESCO designation. Surrounded by books in the original home of a dynasty of printers, treasures of the Plantin-Moretus Museum include one of the world’s oldest printing presses. Cap the day with private tastings of Belgian culinary specialties: chocolate and beer.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Ghent or Brussels

Choose to explore either Ghent or Brussels or to tour an impressive Dutch feat of engineering. The historic capital of Flanders, Ghent is a very walkable city known for public squares and marketplaces surrounded by medieval castles, monasteries and guildhalls that are never far from canals and harbors. Known today as the seat of the administrative, legislative and executive branches of the European Union, Brussels is a culturally rich city with a long history dating back to the Roman Empire. A third option is to spend the day at the Delta Works project of Neeltje Jans, a storm surge barrier protecting the Low Countries from North Sea swells. A remarkable example of Dutch hydraulic engineering, Neeltje Jans tells the story of the Netherlands’ history with water and demonstrates its power.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Dunkirk, France

The last full day is spent in the French town of Dunkirk, site of the courageous 1940 Operation Dynamo that rescued 338,000 British and French soldiers from German forces. The town has experienced much turmoil beginning in the 16th century, and you can honor its critical role in global conflicts with visits to either the World War I or II memorial. Dunkirk is on the Cote d’Opale, where chalky cliffs and sand dunes meet the sea. Another option today is to take in the beauty of a botanical garden on the Opal Coast followed by a stroll along Dunkirk’s historic waterfront.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
Disembark London, England

Arrive in London this morning. After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

For expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more, inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit*
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

*Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate which only may be applied towards final payment on any future booking; the certificate does not expire.

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 Coastal Powers of The North Sea: Medieval Capitals & Vibrant Cultures cruise begins in Bergen, Norway (BGO), and ends in London, England (LHR). Group flights are recommended for this cruise and your AdventureSmith Specialist can assist with group flight details. 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.

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.

Jun 06 - Jun 16, 2023
National Geographic Explorer • 11 days
From $10050USD
Per Person
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Jul 19 - Jul 29, 2024
National Geographic Explorer • 11 days
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From $10990USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship 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.

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.

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 post-cruise option is available for a seamless land-and-sea group travel experience with National Geographic guides and fellow passengers. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for pricing and further details.

The London Post-Voyage Extension is a 4-day guided tour of the city’s most iconic sites, from St Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben to the Houses of Parliament and the Churchill War Rooms, with a private, after-hours tour of the Household Calvary Museum and Horse Guards Gin & Tonic tasting—crafted with the regiment’s very own gin.

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13 - 16 Day Cruise
Circumnavigating the Baltic Sea Cruise

Sail aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer to six different countries that dot the shores of the Baltic Sea, for a whirlwind exploratory cruise through the history and cultures of these varied places.

Special Offer
From $18990USD
May Jun Jul
Add to Wishlist
15 - 16 Day Cruise
Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland

Meander through English gardens, steep in Irish folklore and visit sacred islands, ancient abbeys and UNESCO World Heritage sites during this comprehensive England, Ireland and Scotland cruise aboard 148-guest National Geographic Explorer.

Special Offer
From $17770USD
Jun Jul Aug
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8 - 9 Day Cruise
Scotland's Highlands & Islands

This 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.

Special Offer
From $9250USD
May Jun Jul Aug Sep
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9 - 10 Day Cruise
Exploring Scotland's Wild Isles: Shetlands, Orkneys & Inner Hebrides

From the lively streets of Dublin to the rolling hills of the remote Shetland Islands, encounter vivid histories and stunning scenery on this voyage from Dublin to Edinburgh by way of the Scottish Isles aboard a National Geographic ship.

Special Offer
From $9960USD
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Coastal Wonders of Norway, the Faroe Islands & Iceland

Follow the Viking trail on this expedition cruise from Norway to Iceland, visiting the Faroes & other far-flung North Atlantic islands. Include time in the Norwegian fjords or opt for more time in Iceland and Scotland.

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From $12739USD
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Treasures of Ireland & The British Isles

Select from various British Isles itineraries to explore charming port towns along England, Ireland and Scotland. Experience the romance of gardens and lush landscapes, colorful houses made of timber and slate, and rich cultural and historic heritage. Aboard luxury ships L'Austral, Le Bellot or Le Dumont D'Urville, cruise in absolute style and comfort.

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From $5240USD
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North Sea Cruises

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