British Isles Cruise – Scottish Whisky Trail & Irish Sea Expedition

British Isles Cruise – Scottish Whisky Trail & Irish Sea Expedition

British Isles Cruise – Scottish Whisky Trail & Irish Sea Expedition

British Isles Cruise – Scottish Whisky Trail & Irish Sea Expedition

Travel information 11 days MS Spitsbergen
Departure
23 March 2023
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Discover the highlights of the northern British Isles, from beautiful Scottish landscapes and historic Irish cities, to ancient castles and exceptional whiskies. 

History and heritage  

You’ll uncover a goldmine of cultural heritage, from medieval castles and ancient monoliths to celebrated feats of modern engineering. Feel the pull of history from the moment you set foot in Glasgow where splendid Victorian architecture blends seamlessly with contemporary design. Witness the awesome Giant’s Causeway in Ulster, uncover Celtic and Viking history on the Isle of Man, and see Northern Ireland’s shipbuilding heritage in Belfast. 

Irish cheers and Scottish whisky 

Sample those timeless institutions that are the bedrock of British Isles society - pubs. Find out the “craic” – friendly talk and fun times – in Dublin’s cosy establishments of good cheer while sipping a pint of Guinness, and visit some of Scotland’s oldest whisky distilleries on the Isles of Arran, Mull and Islay. Naturally, you may want to sample some of those famed distilled malts as you hop from port to port.  

Wildlife and stunning scenery 

We’ll take you to scenic lochs with fascinating history attached to them, and explore hidden gems few others visit. Sailing into Loch Linnhe, we’ll visit Fort William, a town surrounded by Highland scenery and a hub for outdoor adventures. Throughout the cruise, scan the seas for mammals, and keep an eye out for some of the over 200 species of birds in Islay alone, before finishing off back in Glasgow again. 

 

British Isles Cruise – Scottish Whisky Trail & Irish Sea Expedition 
British Isles Cruise – Scottish Whisky Trail & Irish Sea Expedition
  • Day 1
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Setting sail from Glasgow

    Set sail from Scotland’s stylish city of culture and get to know your expedition ship and crew 

    Glasgow is an elegant city filled with splendid architecture in the Victorian and Art Nouveau styles. If you have any time prior to embarkation you’ll discover its museums, galleries, and lively spots to eat, drink and shop.  

    When you’re done, your comfortable expedition ship MS Spitsbergen will be waiting for you. You’ll be greeted by your friendly Expedition Team and after attending a safety briefing and settling in, you’ll sit down to a welcome dinner to mark the start of the cruise. 

    Pre-Programme 
    Want to really explore Glasgow and Edinburgh? Then we recommend extending your stay by booking our optional Pre-Programme that includes an overnight in Edinburgh. You’ll be able to see the main sights of Glasgow as well as the beautiful Edinburgh Castle. 

    Day 1
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Setting sail from Glasgow

  • Day 2
    Portrush (Northern Ireland)

    See the Giant’s Causeway

    Step out into little Portrush and see a giant natural wonder 

    Portrush is a small resort town that’s been popular since Victorian times. From here there are several walks you can go on, and this section of coast features long sandy beaches. Birders should trek up to Ramore Head, just north of the town.  A big drawcard is the UNESCO-listed Giant’s Causeway, around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns rising mysteriously from the coast. Meanwhile the Dunluce Castle ruins, set dramatically atop cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, provide a stunning backdrop to the wild beauty of this region. 

    • Included Portrush Sheepdog Demonstration
    • Included Dunluce Castle & The Giant’s Causeway
    Day 2
    Portrush (Northern Ireland)

    See the Giant’s Causeway

  • Day 3
    Belfast (Northern Ireland)

    Charming capital with historic industrial links

    Roam Northern Ireland’s historic industrial city and discover its proud heritage 

    Famed as the birthplace of the Titanic, Northern Ireland’s capital is a city of industry and elegance. Wander the Titanic Quarter and walk the Maritime Mile, a waterfront trail showcasing Belfast’s proud seafaring history.  

    Elegant Victorian architecture abounds here. Admire the detailed mosaics of St Anne’s Cathedral, and the majestic façade of the Grand Opera House. Climb Cave Hill, near Belfast Castle, for great city views. 

    There are tasty treats and great handicrafts for sale at St George’s Market, and the Ulster Museum will delight history buffs. 

    • Included Castle Espie Wetlands Centre
    Day 3
    Belfast (Northern Ireland)

    Charming capital with historic industrial links

  • Day 4
    Douglas, Isle of Man

    Viking history on a Celtic isle

    Explore the capital of the Isle of Man, a hotbed of Celtic and Viking heritage 

    The scenic approach to Douglas is not to be missed! We head ashore to explore the capital of the Isle of Man; learn about the island’s Celtic and Viking heritage, trace its development as a Victorian tourist magnet, and see its surrounding rugged coastline.  

    There’s so much to pack into your day in Douglas. Visit the Manx Museum, check out the murals in St Thomas’s Church and discover the impressively spooky Peel Castle, originally a Viking stronghold and now said to be haunted. 

    • Included Isle of Man Beach Cleaning
    Day 4
    Douglas, Isle of Man

    Viking history on a Celtic isle

  • Day 5
    Dublin, Ireland

    Emerald Isle capital

    Discover the lively city on the River Liffey, famed for its cultural contributions 

    Founded by Vikings and later becoming the Kingdom of Dublin, Ireland’s capital has a remarkable history. But as one of Europe’s most youthful cities, ‘Dubs’ is also a lively cultural centre of live music, pubs and a very modern tech hub. 

    Today, you’ll have the chance to explore this fascinating city, visiting such places as Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland. Here, you’ll see the medieval manuscript the Book of Kells. Dublin Castle is also worth a visit, and don’t forget to sample a pint of Guinness. 

    • Included Dublin - Clean Coasts
    Day 5
    Dublin, Ireland

    Emerald Isle capital

  • Day 6
    Isle of Arran (Scotland)

    A microcosm of Scotland

    See dramatic mountains and wild landscapes on beautiful Arran 

    Warmed by the North Atlantic Drift, the sheltered isle of Arran is a haven for wildlife. As you travel around the island, see if you can spot Scotland’s ‘Big Five’ wildlife draws: the Golden Eagle, red deer, red squirrel, otter and seal. 

    Fancy some walking? Try the popular Goat Fell hiking trail, and visit Brodick Castle to get a sense of the aristocratic life of yesteryear. Discover Neolithic treasures across Machrie Moor, and sample the distinctive malt whisky of the local distillery. 

    • Included Brodick Castle with Shuttle
    Day 6
    Isle of Arran (Scotland)

    A microcosm of Scotland

  • Day 7
    Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland

    Colourful fishing port

    Explore colourful Tobermory and discover its many modest delights 

    Tobermory is the main town on the Isle of Mull. As you get close to the waterfront, you'll be greeted by a row of distinctive brightly-coloured Georgian houses. Explore this small town, packed with cafés, restaurants and craft stores – it even has its own whisky distillery.  

    If conditions allow, we’ll go to Loch Sunart, a beautiful seawater loch that few others visit. As a Marine Protected Area, the clear waters shelter a rich ecosystem and are a stronghold for otters. It’s also a great place for spotting dolphins and porpoises.   

    • Included Tobermory Visit and Loch Sunart Landing & Small Boat Cruising
    Day 7
    Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland

    Colourful fishing port

  • Day 8
    Fort William, Scotland 

    Scottish Highlands adventure town

    Visit Scotland’s outdoor adventure hub and take in the surrounding beauty 

    After sailing into Loch Linnhe we arrive at Fort William. The town is known as ‘Britain’s Outdoor Capital’ and is a magnet for hikers, bikers, climbers and skiers. As you’ll see, it’s set amidst some spectacular Highland scenery. 

    The town’s whisky distillery offers its take on the national tipple, and a scenic short walk awaits at Glen Nevis. You can also visit Glen Coe, a valley formed from volcanic activity, sculpted by glaciers and designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

    • Included High in the Nevis Range
    Day 8
    Fort William, Scotland 

    Scottish Highlands adventure town

  • Day 9
    Oban, Scotland

    Gateway to the Isles

    Set foot on Scotland’s west coast in this small and charming town 

    The ‘Gateway to the Isles’, the little town of Oban reached its heyday when the railway arrived, adding to its life as a busy fishing port. Victorian buildings cluster round the port while ferries come and go, heading out to the distant Hebrides.  

    A 20-minute walk from town goes past beaches and through woodland to the castle Dunollie, ancient seat of the Clan Chiefs. Fancy a wee dram? The tiny Oban Distillery is one of the smallest and one of the oldest in Scotland.  

    • Included Oban Walking Tour
    Day 9
    Oban, Scotland

    Gateway to the Isles

  • Day 10
    Islay (Scotland)

    Scottish island life, distilled

    Idyllic Islay is an island paradise of wildlife, whisky and woollen garments 

    Islay (pronounced eye-la) isn’t called ‘Whisky Island’ for nothing. There are nine working distilleries here, and you’ll find their peaty single malts sold around the world. One of the larger isles, there’s 130 miles of coastline, and numerous quiet sandy beaches. 

    Islay is also an island of wildlife, with over 200 species of birds including Golden Eagles, oystercatchers, gannets and Hen Harriers. What’s more, the mystical past is present here, with ancient monoliths, Celtic crosses and a stone circle all visible.   

    • Included Islay Coastal Walk 
    Day 10
    Islay (Scotland)

    Scottish island life, distilled

  • Day 11
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Return to Glasgow

    Finish off where you started – but why not stay a bit longer? 

    Our island-hopping expedition ends where we started out, in Glasgow. We know you’ll have had some wonderful experiences over the past 10 days, but why not linger a while and see some of the things you may have missed before you set sail. 

    Post-Programme 
    If you want to fully explore Glasgow and Edinburgh, we recommend extending your stay by booking our optional Post-Programme. With an overnight in Edinburgh, you’ll be able to see the main sights of Glasgow as well as the majestic Edinburgh Castle. 

    Day 11
    Glasgow, Scotland

    Return to Glasgow

Departures

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
March:
23.

Current offers on this cruise:

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What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise  

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune  
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with very limited connection. Streaming is not supported. 
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore 
  • Range of included activities 

Onboard Activities 

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics 
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes 
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research 
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos 
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna and indoor gym 
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come 

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats  
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities 
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket 
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings 

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights  
  • Travel insurance 
  • Luggage handling 
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners 
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team   

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change  
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements 
  • No gratuities expected 
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - MS Spitsbergen
Photo: Genna Roland
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Your ship

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 180
Beds 243
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7,344
Length 100.54m
Beam 18m
Speed 14.5 knots
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - MS Spitsbergen
Photo: Genna Roland

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