MS Spitsbergen
13 days

The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands

Price from
$ 5357
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
MS Spitsbergen
13 days

The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands

Price from
$ 5357
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands
Departure
12 May 2021
  • Visit the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands
  • Engage in bird and wildlife spotting, especially in St. Kilda and the Treshnish Isles
  • Taste authentic Scottish whiskies from the barrel at various distilleries in Islay
  • Enjoy a private visit of Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull hosted by the Clan Chief
Scan for colourful puffins.

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Valid until 31/10/2020

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Itinerary

Focusing on the aspects the Scottish isles are famous for – varied wildlife and superb distinctive whiskies, this cruise takes full advantage of the outer isles in May. We delve first into the ‘whisky isle’ of Islay with its eight working distilleries creating unique, peaty drams that evokes the island’s terrain. In the Victorian port of Oban, the distillery produces a very different style of whisky, whilst on the Isle of Mull, in the pretty tiny fishing port of Tobermory, the distillery dates from the 18th century.

Those not interested in whisky will still be spoilt for choice in terms of wildlife, from the archipelago of the Treshnish Isles to lonely and remote St Kilda. In May, both destinations will have teeming colonies of nesting seabirds such as puffins, kittiwakes and gannets. Whether from the ship’s decks, explorer boat cruising, or on foot, we may also get to see otters, seals, sea eagles, and golden eagles. We may even hear a corncrake amongst the spring orchids in the fields of the Small Isles.

Other highlights include a private hosted visit to one of Scotland’s most ancient and scenic castles. As guests of clan chieftain Sir Lachlan MacLean, we will enjoy a private evening visit at his clan home that has a history running back 800 years. We will see where Christianity arrived in Scotland from Ireland, and how Harris Tweed is created in the Outer Hebrides.
Day 1
Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland
‘Dear Green Place’
Dramatic bridges and concert halls in Glasgow.
Dramatic bridges and concert halls in Glasgow.
Photo: Shutterstock

Our voyage starts in Glasgow (Greenock). Meaning ‘Dear Green Place’ in Gaelic, Glasgow boasts over 90 parks and gardens. Famous for its Victorian as well as art nouveau architecture, it is home to such institutions as the Scottish Ballet, Opera and National Theatre. This is definitely a city you’ll want to explore more before you board MS Spitsbergen.

Dramatic bridges and concert halls in Glasgow.
Dramatic bridges and concert halls in Glasgow.
Photo: Shutterstock
Rich history and modern energy to explore.
Rich history and modern energy to explore.
Photo: Shutterstock
The elegant Belfast City Hall.
The elegant Belfast City Hall.
Photo: Shutterstock
Discover idyllic Carnlouhg town.
Discover idyllic Carnlouhg town.
Photo: Shutterstock
Explore the rugged beauty of the Giant´s Causeway.
Explore the rugged beauty of the Giant´s Causeway.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 2
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Charming Industrial Capital
Discover idyllic Carnlouhg town.
Discover idyllic Carnlouhg town.
Photo: Shutterstock

A city of industry and elegance, Belfast is the birthplace of the Titanic, as well as being the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. It is a gateway to a glorious countryside of pretty villages and a beautiful rugged coast with pristine beaches and breathtaking clifftop walks. Experience Giants Causeway, hike through spectacular scenery or explore what this impressive city has to offer.

Explore impressive Peel Castle.
Day 3
Peel, Isle of Man
From Royalty to Races
Day 3
Peel, Isle of Man
From Royalty to Races
Explore impressive Peel Castle.
Explore impressive Peel Castle.
Photo: Shutterstock

A seaside town, the pretty port of Peel was the 14th century capital of the island and seat to the King of Mann. Winding lanes of merchants’ houses, bear witness to the 19th century fishing schooners built here which traded from Ireland to Shetland. Peel Castle, connected by causeway and reputedly built by Magnus Barelegs, King of Norway, dates from the 11th century. Museums in town display vintage bikes and cars; a connection to the more modern high-speed racing that occurs on the island.

Marvel at the ruins of St. Patrick Cathedral.
Marvel at the ruins of St. Patrick Cathedral.
Photo: Shutterstock
Charming Peel has a long history as a fishing and trading hub.
Charming Peel has a long history as a fishing and trading hub.
Photo: Shutterstock
Learn about whisky distilling in Islay.
Learn about whisky distilling in Islay.
Photo: Shutterstock
Experience a flight of the best local blends.
Experience a flight of the best local blends.
Photo: Shutterstock
Discover the fascinating Round Church in Islay.
Discover the fascinating Round Church in Islay.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 4
Islay, Scotland
Land of Scottish Whisky
Experience a flight of the best local blends.
Experience a flight of the best local blends.
Photo: Shutterstock

Once the seat of the MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles, this is ‘whisky island’, world renowned for its peaty single-malt whiskies and many distilleries. As a stop-off for wintering geese and migrating birds, there is good bird spotting. In the charming little town of Bowmore, there are a handful of small shops, an interesting round church, plus superb cliff-top walks and a well-known golf course.

Visit the regal Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull.
Day 5
Oban and Craignure, Isle of Mull, Scotland
Meeting a Clan Chief in his Castle
Day 5
Oban and Craignure, Isle of Mull, Scotland
Meeting a Clan Chief in his Castle
Visit the regal Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull.
Visit the regal Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull.
Photo: Shutterstock

Known as 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. Now a popular holiday spot, the Victorian buildings cluster round the port, ferries come and go, heading out to the distant Hebrides. Many cafés have seafood-focused menus, and the distillery provides tours to sample a local dram of whisky.

This evening we visit the Isle of Mull where we are fortunate to have a private guided visit to the dramatic 800-year-old Duart Castle, one of very few castles remaining in the ownership of the family. We will be hosted by Sir Lachlan MacLean, the Clan Chief himself. The Castle houses much MacLean memorabilia and our visit will include the kitchen, Sea Room and Edwardian bedrooms as well as a private reception in the Banqueting Hall. The Castle is very much the type of building you would expect a Highland Chief to live in; it is simply furnished, austere and has an air of no-nonsense solidity and age.

Cafes and distilleries are highlights of the town.
Cafes and distilleries are highlights of the town.
Photo: Shutterstock
Explore the Victorian lanes of scenic Oban.
Explore the Victorian lanes of scenic Oban.
Photo: Shutterstock
Sandy beaches surround the isle.
Day 6
Isle of Iona & Treshnish Isles, Scotland
Pilgrims and Puffins
Explore Iona Abbey, founded in 563 AD.
Explore Iona Abbey, founded in 563 AD.
Photo: Shutterstock
Discover the rugged beauty of the Inner Hebrides.
Discover the rugged beauty of the Inner Hebrides.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 6
Isle of Iona & Treshnish Isles, Scotland
Pilgrims and Puffins
Sandy beaches surround the isle.
Sandy beaches surround the isle.
Photo: Shutterstock

World famous for its religious connections, Iona was settled in 563AD by the Irish missionary, St Colomba. The much-restored Abbey remains a place of pilgrimage and peace.  Wide views from the beach, known as ‘The Bay at the Back of the Ocean’ stretch west towards the Outer Hebrides.

We will explore the Treshnish Isles, a group of distinctive volcanic islands which are home to a wealth of wildlife, from nesting puffins to colonies of kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots and Atlantic grey seals.

Fingal’s Cave, immortalised by Mendelssohn’s glorious ‘Hebrides Overture’, is on the cave-riddled island of Staffa. The basalt columns here are a northern extension of the Giant’s Causeway. Discovered by the Vikings and also in 1772 by Sir Joseph Banks, viewed by Queen Victoria, Sir Walter Scott and Samuel Johnson, this is one of Scotland’s most famous islands. It is best viewed from the sea where the colour of the waters within the cave and its rising columns are at their most impressive.

Day 7
Loch Scavaig and Isle of Canna, Scotland
‘The Garden of the Hebrides’
The Isle of Canna is known as the Garden of the Hebrides.
The Isle of Canna is known as the Garden of the Hebrides.
Photo: Shutterstock

Surrounded by the high peaks of the Skye Cullins, Loch Scavaig leads to one of the most romantic and dramatic lochs in Scotland – freshwater Loch Coruisk. Painted by Turner and a popular destination for the Victorians, this is a powerful landscape promising great hiking and kayaking.

We head to the Isle of Canna, which is the most sheltered of the Small Isles, known as ‘the Garden of the Hebrides’.  Linked by causeway to the island Sanday with its puffin colonies, Canna is green and grassy and has delightful flora and butterflies. Once privately owned by Sir John Lorne Campbell, the island is now the property of The National Trust for Scotland.

The Isle of Canna is known as the Garden of the Hebrides.
The Isle of Canna is known as the Garden of the Hebrides.
Photo: Shutterstock
Enjoy incredible walking paths on the Isle of Skye.
Enjoy incredible walking paths on the Isle of Skye.
Photo: Shutterstock
Enjoy the rugged beauty of Kilda, Hirta Islands.
Enjoy the rugged beauty of Kilda, Hirta Islands.
Photo: Shuttersock
Scout for minke whales.
Scout for minke whales.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 8
St. Kilda, Hirta Island, Scotland
Reclaimed by Nature
Enjoy the rugged beauty of Kilda, Hirta Islands.
Enjoy the rugged beauty of Kilda, Hirta Islands.
Photo: Shuttersock

Any visit to this distant and wild archipelago, with its breathtaking sea cliffs, is totally weather-dependent. As a UNESCO double World Heritage Site and the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the National Trust for Scotland, it is an unforgettable experience. The outlying stacs and islands, which are the remains of a volcanic crater, provide ledges for thousands of nesting seabirds. Minke whales are frequently seen around the swirling waters of the archipelago.

Once home to Britain’s most remote island community, it was evacuated in 1930 at their own request after 5,000 years of continuous habitation. The tiny museum that remains is a record of how hard life was on this exposed island.

Explore handsome Lews Castle.
Day 9
Stornoway, Lewis & Harris, Scotland
Capital of the Outer Hebrides
Day 9
Stornoway, Lewis & Harris, Scotland
Capital of the Outer Hebrides
Explore handsome Lews Castle.
Explore handsome Lews Castle.
Photo: Shutterstock

Originally a Viking settlement, Stornoway is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of the Isle of Lewis, which is the largest and most northerly of the Outer Hebrides.  A bustling harbour and waterfront with museums and art galleries are overlooked by the handsome Lews Castle which we invite you to explore with us. Further afield are mills and cottages where hard-wearing Harris Tweed is woven. There are tiny folk museums, the world-famous Callanish Standing Stones, and the mysterious Carloway Broch - the best-preserved fort in Scotland dating back more than 2,000 years.

Discover the home of Harris Tweed.
Discover the home of Harris Tweed.
Photo: Shutterstock
The mysterious Carloway Broch dates back more than 2,000 years.
The mysterious Carloway Broch dates back more than 2,000 years.
Photo: Shutterstock
Visit the impressive St.Magnus Cathedral.
Visit the impressive St.Magnus Cathedral.
Photo: Shutterstock
Historic Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Archipelago.
Historic Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Archipelago.
Photo: Shutterstock
Get to know the heart of Kirkwall.
Get to know the heart of Kirkwall.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 10
Kirkwall, Orkney Yes / No
In Memory of Magnus
Historic Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Archipelago.
Historic Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Archipelago.
Photo: Shutterstock

Kirkwall is the largest town and the capital of the Orkney archipelago. The first mention of a settlement here is in a saga from 1046, and the name Kirkwall derives from the Norse `Kirkjuvagr´ (Church Bay). Today, Kirkwall has a population of 8,500, and is one of the most attractive and well-preserved small towns in Scotland. The community is dominated by the famous St. Magnus Cathedral. A local saga tells the story of how Magnus, kidnaped from the islands, refused to fight with the Vikings or condone their violence. Magnus eventually returned home, only to be put to death for his pacifism, and the church was named in his memory.

Scan for colourful puffins.
Day 11
Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland
A Scenic Stop for Birds
Day 11
Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland
A Scenic Stop for Birds
Scan for colourful puffins.
Scan for colourful puffins.
Photo: Shutterstock

Lonely Fair Isle with its high red-sandstone cliffs and gentle rolling fields is a vital stop for migrating birds and has had a permanent Bird Observatory since 1948. Synonymous with unique geometric knitwear possibly of Spanish or Scandinavian origin, the island also boasts a mini ‘Lighthouse Keepers’ golf course and a friendly, self-sufficient population.

Local aritsans create superb knitwear.
Local aritsans create superb knitwear.
Photo: Shutterstock
Cliffs, sea and a green landscape attract visitors to Fair Isle.
Cliffs, sea and a green landscape attract visitors to Fair Isle.
Photo: Shutterstock
Idyllic beaches in Lerwick.
Idyllic beaches in Lerwick.
Photo: Shutterstock
Stroll in the lively port town.
Stroll in the lively port town.
Photo: Les Kelly
Explore among the historic ruins.
Explore among the historic ruins.
Photo: Les Kelly
Day 12
Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland
At the Centre of Scotland’s Shetland Islands
Stroll in the lively port town.
Stroll in the lively port town.
Photo: Les Kelly

Lerwick is the main port of the Shetland Islands and by far the northernmost town of Scotland.  Founded in the 17th century as a fishing port, today Lerwick is a bustling, cosmopolitan town. The old waterfront is still active with visiting yachts and working fishing boats. The area boasts some of Shetland's most attractive scenery and an extraordinary concentration of archaeological sites, including two remarkable Iron Age villages.

Day 13
Bergen, Norway
City of Seven Mountains
Stroll Bergen´s historic harbour.
Stroll Bergen´s historic harbour.
Photo: Shutterstock

We bid farewell after a voyage of discovery. Before heading home, wisit the fish market and stroll through Bergen´s historic harbour area, fronted by wooden houses dating back as far as the 1300s. You can also take a trip up to nearby Mount Fløyen via funicular tram for views over the city and surrounding mountains.

Stroll Bergen´s historic harbour.
Stroll Bergen´s historic harbour.
Photo: Shutterstock
Take the funicular tram for superb views.
Take the funicular tram for superb views.
Photo: Shutterstock
Hurtigruten offers unique expedition cruises to some of the most remote and pristine waters of the world. As with all expeditions; nature prevails. Weather, and ice and sea conditions, sets the final framework for all Hurtigruten’s operations. Safety and unparalleled guest experiences are at all times our top priorities. All our indicative itineraries are continuously evaluated for adaptions, whether this is due to constraints the elements unexpectedly presents – or exciting possibilities nature and wildlife offer. That is why we call it an expedition.
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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 excursions

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 before landings

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 ensure you meet all visa entry requirements
  • No gratuities expected
A large ship in the water
A group of people posing for the camera
Photo: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten
A room filled with furniture and a large window
Photo: © Tor Farstad

Your ship

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 335
Beds 243
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7,344
Length 100.54m
Beam 18m
Speed 14.5 knots
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Our new ship, MS Spitsbergen will take you on a voyage beyond the ordinary.

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Extend your cruise

Get more out of your journey by adding a Pre- or Post-programme before or after your expedition cruise.

Rich history and modern energy to explore. Rich history and modern energy to explore.

Pre-Programme Edinburgh & Glasgow (21/22)

Duration

2 Days

From

$ 750

Booking code

GLAPRE

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