MS Spitsbergen
13 Days

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

Price from $ 5,324
$ 4,259
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
MS Spitsbergen
13 Days

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

Price from $ 5,324
$ 4,259
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
The Scottish Isles – Whisky and Wildlife from the Hebrides to the Shetlands (Southbound)
Departure
April 11, 2022
  • 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
  • Explore remote islands with diverse landscapes and magnificent scenery

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Valid until 1/31/2021

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Itinerary

Focusing on what the Scottish isles are famous for – varied wildlife and superb distinctive whiskies - this cruise takes full advantage of the outer islands. We first visit the “whisky isle” of Islay with its eight working distilleries that make unique, peaty drams evoking the island’s terrain.

Those not interested in whisky will enjoy the abundant wildlife we encounter from the Treshnish Isles to the lonely and remote St. Kilda archipelago. Both destinations 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 spot otters, seals, sea eagles, and golden eagles. We may even hear a corncrake amidst spring orchids in small island meadows.
Day 1
Bergen (Norway)

April 11, 2022

Estimated time of departure is 8:00 PM

City of Seven Mountains
Stroll Bergen´s historic harbour.
Stroll Bergen´s historic harbour.
Photo: Shutterstock

Visit the fish market and stroll through Bergen´s historic harbor area, fronted by wooden houses dating back as far as the 1300s. You can also take a trip up nearby Mount Fløyen via funicular tram. Enjoy views over the city and surrounding mountains, and even spot your expedition ship, MS Spitsbergen, docked below.

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
Explore among the historic ruins.
Day 2
Lerwick, Shetland Islands (Scotland)

April 12, 2022

At the Center of Scotland’s Shetland Islands
Stroll in the lively port town.
Stroll in the lively port town.
Photo: Les Kelly
Idyllic beaches in Lerwick.
Idyllic beaches in Lerwick.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 2
Lerwick, Shetland Islands (Scotland)

April 12, 2022

At the Center of Scotland’s Shetland Islands
Explore among the historic ruins.
Explore among the historic ruins.
Photo: Les Kelly

Lerwick is the main port of the Shetland Islands, and by far the northernmost town in Scotland. Founded in the 17th century as a fishing port, Lerwick today 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 3
Fair Isle, Shetland Islands (Scotland)

April 13, 2022

A Scenic Stop for Birds
Cliffs, sea and a green landscape attract visitors to Fair Isle.
Cliffs, sea and a green landscape attract visitors to Fair Isle.
Photo: Shutterstock

Lonely Fair Isle has high red-sandstone cliffs and gentle rolling fields and is vital stop for migrating birds. A permanent bird observatory was established here in 1948.  Synonymous with unique geometric knitwear, possibly of Spanish or Scandinavian origin, the island also boasts a mini “Lighthouse Keepers” golf course, as well as a friendly, self-reliant population.

Cliffs, sea and a green landscape attract visitors to Fair Isle.
Cliffs, sea and a green landscape attract visitors to Fair Isle.
Photo: Shutterstock
Scan for colourful puffins.
Scan for colourful puffins.
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
Visit the impressive St.Magnus Cathedral.
Visit the impressive St.Magnus Cathedral.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 4
Kirkwall, Orkney (Scotland)

April 14, 2022

In Memory of Magnus
Get to know the heart of Kirkwall.
Get to know the heart of Kirkwall.
Photo: Shutterstock

Kirkwall is the largest town and capital of the Orkney Islands. The first mention of a settlement here is in a saga from 1046, and the name Kirkwall derives from the Old 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, kidnapped 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.

The mysterious Carloway Broch dates back more than 2,000 years.
Day 5
Stornoway, Lewis & Harris (Scotland)

April 15, 2022

Capital of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides
Day 5
Stornoway, Lewis & Harris (Scotland)

April 15, 2022

Capital of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides
The mysterious Carloway Broch dates back more than 2,000 years.
The mysterious Carloway Broch dates back more than 2,000 years.
Photo: Shutterstock

Originally a Viking settlement, Stornoway is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of the Isle of Lewis & Harris, which is the largest and most northerly of the Outer Hebrides. A bustling harbor and waterfront with museums and art galleries is overlooked by the handsome Lews Castle, which we invite you to explore with us. Further afield are mills and cottages where durable Harris Tweeds are woven. Discover 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
Explore handsome Lews Castle.
Explore handsome Lews Castle.
Photo: Shutterstock
Scout for minke whales.
Scout for minke whales.
Photo: Shutterstock
Enjoy the rugged beauty of St. Kilda, Hirta Island
Enjoy the rugged beauty of St. Kilda, Hirta Island
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 6
St. Kilda, Hirta Island (Scotland)

April 16, 2022

Reclaimed by Nature
Scout for minke whales.
Scout for minke whales.
Photo: Shutterstock

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 “jewel in the crown” of the National Trust for Scotland, it is an unforgettable experience. The outlying sea stacks and islands, the remains of a volcanic crater, provide ledges for thousands of nesting seabirds. Minke whales are frequently seen in the swirling waters around the archipelago.

Once home to Britain’s most remote island community, it was evacuated in 1930 at the islanders’ 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.

Day 7
Loch Scavaig & Isle of Canna (Scotland)

April 17, 2022

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 next head to the Isle of Canna, which is the most sheltered of the “Small Isles” and known as “the Garden of the Hebrides.”  Linked by causeway to the island of Sanday and its puffin colonies, Canna is green and grassy with 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
Sandy beaches surround the isle.
Day 8
Isle of Iona & Treshnish Isles (Scotland)

April 18, 2022

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 8
Isle of Iona & Treshnish Isles (Scotland)

April 18, 2022

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 563 AD 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 that are home to a wealth of wildlife, from nesting puffins to colonies of kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots and Atlantic grey seals.

Fingal’s Cave, immortalized by Mendelssohn’s glorious “Hebrides Overture,” is on the cave-riddled isle of Staffa, one of Scotland’s most famous islands.  The basalt columns here are a northern extension of the Giant’s Causeway. Discovered by the Vikings and noted in 1772 by Sir Joseph Banks, the island has been visited by Queen Victoria, Sir Walter Scott and Samuel Johnson. Staffa is best viewed from the sea where the color of the water within the cave and the rising columns are at their most impressive

Day 9
Oban (Scotland)

April 19, 2022

Gateway to the Isles
Cafes and distilleries are highlights of the town.
Cafes and distilleries are highlights of the town.
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.  

As this expedition voyage is still under development, our stop in Oban may change to another exciting destination in this area of Western Scotland. Once we have confirmed the final details in the itinerary, we will update this information accordingly.

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
Learn about whisky distilling in Islay.
Learn about whisky distilling in Islay.
Photo: Shutterstock
Local whisky awaits worldwide export.
Local whisky awaits worldwide export.
Photo: Shutterstock
Relics of the past are sprinkled throughout the islands.
Relics of the past are sprinkled throughout the islands.
Photo: Shutterstock
Day 10
Islay (Scotland)

April 20, 2022

Land of Scottish Whisky
Local whisky awaits worldwide export.
Local whisky awaits worldwide export.
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. A stop-off for wintering geese and migrating birds, Islay offers good bird spotting. In the charming little town of Bowmore, there are a handful of small shops, an interesting round church with no corners, plus superb cliff-top walks and a well-known golf course.

Explore impressive Peel Castle.
Day 11
Peel (Isle of Man)

April 21, 2022

From Royalty to Races
Day 11
Peel (Isle of Man)

April 21, 2022

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 and seat to the King of Mann. Winding lanes of merchants’ houses bear witness to the 19th century fishing schooners built here and that 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 direct connection to the modern-day high-speed racing scene 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
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 12
Belfast (Northern Ireland)

April 22, 2022

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 the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. It is the gateway to a glorious countryside of pretty villages and beautiful rugged coastline with pristine beaches and breathtaking cliff-top walks. Experience Giants Causeway, hike through spectacular scenery or explore what impressive Belfast has to offer.

Day 13
Greenock (Glasgow), (Scotland)

April 23, 2022

Estimated time of arrival is 8:00 AM

Dear Green Place
Dramatic bridges and concert halls in Glasgow.
Dramatic bridges and concert halls in Glasgow.
Photo: Shutterstock

Our voyage ends in Glasgow (Greenock), which means “Dear Green Place” in Gaelic. Glasgow boasts over 90 parks and gardens, is famous for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, and is home to such institutions as the Scottish Ballet, Opera and National Theatre. This is definitely a city you’ll want to explore more of before you head home.

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
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 Expedition

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 onboard. 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 onboard
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and accompany activities onboard 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 program 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 Expedition

  • International flights
  • Travel protection plan
  • 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
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 100.54 m/ 330 ft
Beam 18.0 m/ 59 ft
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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