Scottish Isles and Norwegian Fjords


Uncover the ancient and tumultuous Viking legacy of remote seafaring destinations as you sail from their Norwegian homelands to the northern Scottish Isles.

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 Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands. Credit: Paul Thompson/Danita Delimont  Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Isle of Lewis, Scotland  Blackhouse Village, Isle of Lewis, Scotland  The Standing Stones of Callanish, Isle of Lewis, Scotland  Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands  St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland  A Neolithic stone house at Skara Brae, Orkney Islands, Scotland  Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Islands, Scotland  The fjords of Bergen, Norway  Panorama of Bergen, Norway  The World Heritage site of Bryggen, in the town of Bergen, Norway  Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland  Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland
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Discover the world of the Vikings on this unique cruise that features Scotland’s rarely visited Orkney and Shetland Islands and Norway’s breathtaking coastal fjords, home to these ancient mariners. Setting off from Glasgow, you’ll cruise into ports accessible only to small ships. Stop at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye, and travel to Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness. Then sail to remote seafaring destinations forever linked by their Viking heritage and experience fascinating World Heritage sites. Highlights include the Neolithic Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae, and Kirkwall (the Orkney Islands), and Jarlshof (the Shetland Islands). From here, cruise to Norway and explore dramatic fjords and Bergen’s World Heritage site of Bryggen before concluding your voyage in Copenhagen. Optional extensions to Edinburgh and Copenhagen are also offered.

Itinerary

May 28-29 — U.S., Glasgow, Scotland

Depart the U.S. Arrive in Glasgow, a dynamic Scottish city where the indelible mark of Viking conquest still permeates the art and culture. Transfer to the Five-Star M.S. Le Boréal. Depart for Isle of Skye. (D)

May 30 — Kyle of Lochalsh, Isle of Skye

Sail the coastline of romantic and ethereal Isle of Skye, from where Bonnie Prince Charlie, against the odds and with the help of Flora MacDonald, was able to escape to France. Skye is home to some of Scotland’s most phenomenal geography, and the mist, shafts of sunlight and vivid rainbows congregate here in a dazzling array of colors that seem to make the glens greener and the sea bluer. Anchor in the Kyle of Lochalsh, tender ashore and visit Eilean Donan Castle, named for the sixth‑century Irish saint who founded the first community on the island. Constructed in the 13th century and destroyed during the Jacobite rising before being completely rebuilt in the 1930s, it now stands as one of the most iconic and recognizable castles in the world. At the ruins of Armadale Castle, stroll through a spectacular array of flora in the 17th-century gardens and learn about the powerful reign of Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles until 1493, during a tour of the Museum of the Isles.

Join the Captain for a Welcome Reception on board this evening. (B,L,R,D)

May 31 — Ullapool

Travel into the Scottish Highlands, a spectacular blend of rugged mountains, peat moors, pristine beaches, flower-speckled machair grazing land and ancient woodland, to famous Loch Ness, a long and narrow lake extensively explored throughout the centuries in search of its legendary beast, Nessie. On the banks of Loch Ness, visit medieval Urquhart Castle, an impressive stronghold even in ruins and the perfect perch for splendid views of the dark loch and the verdant Great Glen. Enjoy a scenic drive through the Highlands, following the shallow River Ness into the heart of picturesque Inverness for lunch in a restaurant.

Continue to Culloden, where the battlefield has been restored to recreate the scene of the brief but decisive 1746 confrontation between Jacobite forces and loyalist troops, the last battle ever fought on British soil. (B,L,D)

June 1 — Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Experience the mystique of the Orkney Islands, remote islands ringed with red sandstone shimmering in the sea mist. Kirkwall, founded around 1035, is noted for having Britain’s most northerly cathedral, the 12th‑century Viking‑built St. Magnus Cathedral. Enjoy the gentle rolling landscape of the Neolithic heartland of Orkney, designated a World Heritage site for its wealth of prehistoric archaeology. Pass the standing stones of Stenness and stop at the Ring of Brodgar, a huge semicircle of stones dating back to 3000 B.C. Continue to the 5000-year-old village of Skara Brae, a settlement built of stone that was only rediscovered in 1850 when a great storm wiped away its veil of sand. See Scapa Flow, one of the world’s largest natural harbors, first used by the Vikings and later made famous for its role in both world wars.

Enjoy a tasting of authentic Scotch whisky during a tour of the award-winning Highland Park Distillery, believed to be founded in 1798 by the notorious smuggler Magnus Eunson.

Later on board the ship, listen to a seanachaí tell traditional stories that have been handed down by fireside hearths over the centuries in these remote isles. (B,L,D)

June 2 — Lerwick, Shetland Islands

Explore the majestic Shetland Islands, declared a Global Geopark by UNESCO for their geologically diverse landscapes and seascapes carved and shaped by ice. Admire nature’s endlessly changing colors and textures and listen for the clamor of gannets and puffins crowding the extraordinary cliffs. Though remote, these islands have a unique 6000-year-old culture, where Scotland meets Scandinavia at this North Atlantic crossroads and legacies linger in the archaeology, dialect and traditional music. From Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, journey to the southernmost point of the island to visit Jarlshof, a pending World Heritage site and an extraordinary settlement revealing 5000 years of human history, including late Neolithic stone houses, a Bronze-Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouse, Norse longhouses, a medieval farmstead and a 16th‑century laird’s house. (B,L,D)

June 3 — Bergen, Norway/Cruising the Norwegian Fjords

The city of Bergen was founded on an old Viking settlement in 1070 and has a proud history as an important part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to mid‑16th centuries. Today Bergen’s Bryggen (the wharf) still flaunts its colorfully characteristic wooden houses, which are listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Tour Troldhaugen, the summer home of Edvard Grieg, Norway’s most famous composer, and walk the grounds of his estate, where he composed many of his finest works. (B,L,D)

June 4 — Cruising the Norwegian Fjords and North Sea

Norway’s fjords and islands offer some of the most stunning coastal scenery in Europe. Watch the light play off granite cliffs and pristine cobalt blue waters, while cruising past the inland waterways once plied by Viking longships, passing traditional Norwegian farms and villages. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)

June 5 — Copenhagen, Denmark, U.S.

Arrive in Denmark, the spiritual and historic home of the Vikings and from whence sailed their intrepid predecessors—Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Disembark in Copenhagen and continue on the Post-Cruise Option to further explore the rich heritage of the Men of the North. Or, depart for the U.S. (B)

All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.