Experience the world of the Vikings on this unique cruise featuring the breathtaking Norwegian fjords, home to these ancient mariners, and the inaccessible northern Scottish Isles, the destination for many of their voyages. From Copenhagen cruise to Norway and explore dramatic fjords and Bergen’s World Heritage site of Bryggen. Then sail to remote seafaring destinations forever linked by their Viking heritage and experience fascinating World Heritage sites. Preservationist John Meffert
provides commentary before visits to Jarlshof (the Shetland Islands), the Neolithic Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae, and Kirkwall (the Orkney Islands), and the ancient Callanish Standing Stones (Isle of Lewis). Plus, you'll stop at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle located on a small island off the Western Highlands before concluding your cruise in Glasgow. Optional extensions to Edinburgh and Copenhagen are also offered.Itinerary
May 21-22 — U.S., Copenhagen, Denmark
Depart the U.S. for Copenhagen, Denmark. Upon arrival, embark the deluxe M.S. Le Boréal
and set sail this evening. (D)May 23 — Cruising the North Sea
Spend the day at leisure cruising the North Sea to Norway. Attend an engaging lecture by your Smithsonian Expert and enjoy the amenities of your ship. This evening, attend the Captain’s welcome reception. (B,L,R,D)May 24 — Bergen, Norway, Cruising the Norwegian Fjords
Cruise over cobalt blue waters past traditional farms and villages along the spectacular mountainous coastline of Norway’s fjords
Enjoy a tour in Bergen, one of Scandinavia’s preeminent ports for nearly 1,000 years and a prominent former member of the Hanseatic League. In the 13th century, King Haakon Haakonsson made Bergen his capital and from here ruled the Hebrides, Orkney, and Shetland Islands. Walk through the historic Bryggen District, a World Heritage site
and home to the only remaining kontor
(trading office) of the Hanseatic period. (B,L,D)May 25 — Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland, for Jarlshof
Dock in Lerwick, the capital of ruggedly beautiful Shetland, where Scotland meets Scandinavia. Its unique Norse culture is evident in its archaeology, dialect, place names and traditional music. Along the southern cliffs of Mainland Shetland is the impressive prehistoric site of Jarlshof
. Archaeological excavations have revealed stone walls and a complex of human habitations spanning 4,000 years, from Neolithic houses, a Bronze-Age village and an Iron-Age broch to a Norse longhouse, a medieval farm and a 16th-century laird’s house.May 26 — Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
At the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, the temperate and productive Orkney Islands have been attracting visitors for over 10,000 years. Stone Age monuments, Viking ruins, place names and pronunciations and colorful folklore reveal Orkneys’ Orcadian and Norse heritage. Explore the Orkney Islands’ Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae, Neolithic monuments designated a World Heritage site
. Walk in the Ring of Brodgar, whose stone monoliths were raised more than 3,500 years ago to chart the seasons, and through Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old settlement built entirely of stone—houses, hearths and furniture.
Return to the city and Royal Burgh of Kirkwall
, an attractive, coastal Viking town of sturdy granite houses. Visit the impressive, mid-12th-century St. Magnus Cathedral
, the best-preserved medieval house of worship in Scotland, built of locally quarried red sandstone by the Orkneys’ Norse rulers.
After lunch on board ship, tour the Highland Park single-malt whiskey distillery, followed by some time for independent pursuits in Kirkwall. (B,L,D)May 27 — Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
In the Outer Hebridean islands, call on the Isle of Lewis, known for its Celtic and Viking heritage and where Gaelic is still spoken alongside English. Walk among the Callanish Standing Stones
, one of the most complete ancient stone circles in Europe, thought to date back to the Neolithic period and constructed of crystalline Lewisian gneiss, the oldest rocks in the British Isles.
Step back in time in Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
and experience the history and heritage of crofting life. See the preserved blackhouses, distinctive for their double drystone walls, low profile, and thick thatch roof, a design suitable for the Hebridean weather. Visit the Lewis Loom Center
and observe the traditional weaving of the famous Harris tweed. (B,L,D)May 28 — Isle of Skye, Kyle of Lochalsh
Cruise the scenic coast of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides and dubbed “the Winged Island” after its birdlike shape
, from the Inner Sound into Loch Alsh, a deep-water port inaccessible to larger vessels, to anchor in Kyle of Lochalsh. Travel across a starkly beautiful land of rolling green moors into the Scottish Highlands to visit iconic Eilean Donan Castle
. Strategically set on its own island at the point where three sea-lochs meet and occupying land that has been inhabited since the seventh century A.D., the castle has been rebuilt three times since its original 13th-century construction, a defense against the Vikings who raided the land of Kintail from 800 to 1266. Walk through the wonderfully restored rooms of early 20th-century furnishings, Jacobean artifacts, period weapons and fine art. Then, delve into the history of the Highlands and islands and the great Clan Donald in the Museum of the Isles and Armadale Castle
, an early 19th-century country house and gardens. Enjoy the Captain’s farewell reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)May 29 — Glasgow, U.S.
Disembark and continue on the Edinburgh Post-Cruise optional extension or depart for the U.S.
Pre- and Post-Cruise Optional Extensions and Optional Excursions are available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.
All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.