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SHVega - Guests

In The Wake Of Celts And Vikings

Dublin to Reykjavik

Setting sail from Ireland, this North Atlantic islands cruise takes you to Britain’s most northerly islands and Iceland. Board this 12-night cruise and discover Scottish isles from the Hebrides to the Shetlands and Orkney, before heading to the Danish outpost of the Faroe Islands, and finally on to the land of Fire and Ice - Iceland. With rugged landscapes, picturesque villages, evidence of Norse and prehistoric settlements, you will experience culture and friendly hospitality on remote islands that have been occupied since ancient times. As we cruise past highlands and islands, sit back and enjoy the unrivalled natural beauty and gaze in awe at the only crowds you are likely to see - that of nesting birds and migratory species. Your final destinations lie in Iceland – a fascinating land forged in the twin crucibles of ice and fire.

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    • Take a guided walk over the fascinating basalt columns that make up the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
    • Explore Skara Brae, northern Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village predating Stonehenge
    • Visit the cosiest capital on Earth, the Faroe Islands’ Tórshavn, with turf-covered churches and rainbow-coloured homes
    • Tour Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland, with boiling mud pools and a roaring waterfall
    • Keep watch for spouting and breaching orca and humpback whales


    Rates are listed per person
    Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
    Rates are listed per person
    Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD


    DAY 1

    Your cruise begins today in Dublin, the Republic of Ireland’s capital. It’s at times gritty and in places, gorgeous – Georgian squares, hidden parks and tree-lined canals. It’s lively, complex, cosmopolitan and eminently walkable. So make time to explore before you board Vega II. Visit The Long Room in the Old Library in stately Trinity College to inspect the Book of Kells. The illuminated manuscript was produced on Iona, which you’ll visit on Day 4. The Long Room itself is much lauded for its beauty – it’s a stunning, two-storey, barrel-vaulted space that houses 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books and manuscripts. Elsewhere the new Museum of Literature Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedrals, the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, Glasnevin Cemetery entice visitors – just be sure to stop into a snug somewhere for a pint.

    DAY 2

    Disembark in the small Northern Ireland town of Portrush (Port Rois), which is located in County Antrim. It’s one of the island of Ireland’s most popular staycation destinations – indeed, generations have happy memories of visiting this peninsula, with its family-friendly amusements, attractions and beaches. It is also the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast. Flanked by the Atlantic and towering cliffs, the Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s number-one attraction. Visit and decide for yourself if the basalt formations are the handiwork of prehistoric volcanic activity – or two legendary Celtic giants.

    DAY 2

    Set sail to the whisky coast found in the west coast of Scotland. Islay is the fifth-largest of the Scottish islands and home to nine working distilleries. Your trip wouldn’t be complete without tasting their whisky crafted with peat from the mosslands to give it a unique smoky flavour you won’t find anywhere else. Being on the coast the seafood is fresh and abundant, but the exquisite tastes are not all this island has to offer. Be surrounded by stunning clear waters and spot otters, seals, dolphins and deer as you trek through the lush scenery.

    DAY 3

    Located on the west coast of the Isle of Skye, Dunvegan and Dunvegan Castle have historically been the seat of the Clan MacLeod. The castle sprawls out on top of a beautiful rocky outcrop and is home to some fascinating artefacts. These include the Fairy Flag (a silk banner sacred to the clan that dates back to the 4th century), Bonnie Prince Charlie’s waistcoat and a lock of his hair. The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 14th century, with most of it constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries.

    DAY 4

    As dramatic as they come, this village on Scotland’s west coast sits on fjord-like Loch Broom, the narrow waters curling away into the distance below the misty mountains. The countryside is packed with wonders: Carrieshalloch Gorge, steep, narrow and with the roar of rushing water; Achmelvich Beach, a perfect crescent of pure white sand with turquoise waters protected by rocky outcrops; and the Bone Caves, excavations where bones of reindeer and polar bear that once roamed here have been found.

    DAY 5

    Lerwick is the capital – and only real town – of the Shetland Islands, a subarctic archipelago of some 100 islands that is closer to Bergen than Inverness. The Shetlands were Viking ruled until the 15th century, and despite the Norseman ceding control, the culture remained notably Norse-tinged as can be seen at the Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick. More history awaits at Fort Charlotte, a five-sided artillery, and the Bod of Gremista, an 18th-century fishing booth-turned textile museum. If time allows, head for Jarlshof, an hour’s drive from Lerwick. This Iron Age broch and Norse settlement have more than 4,000 years of human activity on one site. If venturing outside of Lerwick to Jarlshof for example, be sure to keep an eye out for world-famous tiny Shetland ponies. Around 1,500 of them roam free throughout the archipelago.

    DAY 6

    Romantically ramshackle, the appealing grey-stone town of Stromness may not be as big as the Orkney’s capital Kirkwall, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in character. The long-established seaport, with its Norse language-derived name, has changed little since the 18th century. Captain Cook’s ships stopped here in 1780 en route back from Hawaii, and Cook’s companions would have explored a place not dissimilar to today’s Stromness. Walk the narrow, flagstone-paved main street, dive down the tiny alleyways which entice you to explore further. The Stromness Museum is excellent and full of maritime tchotchke. The Pier Arts Centre and its towering collection of modern art have been described as a ‘little seaside Tate’. Just 12 kilometres north of the harbour lies extraordinary Skara Brae, one of the world’s most evocative prehistoric sites. Predating Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza, it is northern Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village.

    DAY 7

    Disembark in Tórshavn, the port capital of the Faroe Islands. Cut adrift in the Atlantic, halfway between Scotland and Iceland, the Faroes are a self-governing archipelago within the Kingdom of Denmark. Off the radar for most travellers, the Faroes are becoming increasingly well known for their scenic splendour (think New Zealand crossed with Iceland), and the unique cultural heritage. Thanks to a melange of influences, the Faroes has its own flag, saga, dances, traditions and language. Sited on the southern tip of Streymoy, the largest of the 18 islands, the lively little capital, ‘Thor’s Harbour’ will charm with its rainbow-hued clapboard warehouses, grass-roofed wooden churches and the quaint old quarter, Tinganes. You might opt to explore the twin-sited Føroya Fornminnissavn, an excellent museum; the Skansin Fort; the church of Havnar Kirkja, with its distinctive clock tower. Or the shops might tempt you, the fabulous concept store, Öström, or renowned knitwear designer Gudrun & Gudrun is an obvious choice in a place where sheep outnumber people nearly two to one.

    DAY 8

    Southeast Iceland’s staging post, Höfn is a small town perched on a narrow neck of land, and an ideal base for exploring Vatnajökull National Park. The town itself is well known for its lobster catch, particularly high-value species like the Norway lobster. The town hosts an annual Lobster Festival in celebration of its reputation as Iceland’s lobster capital. Vatnajökull National Park is Europe’s largest and covers 14% of Iceland. This vast area encompasses massive ice caps, thundering waterfalls, glaciers, canyons, craters and volcanoes. The park’s Jökulsárlón Lagoon is within easy reach of Höfn and is Iceland’s deepest lake. Icebergs float on the surface of the water all year long, offering resting spots for passing seals.

    DAY 9

    Experience life in a small fishing settlement as it has been for centuries in Eskifjordur. The port town is home to just over 1,000 people, and fishing is as central to the economy here as it was back in the 1700s. Overlooking the town's red and white wooden houses is the 985-metre Hólmatindur Mountain – a popular skiing spot in winter. Dive into the region's history at the local maritime museum or explore the striking landscapes at the Borgarfjörður estuary and Hengifoss waterfall.

    DAY 10

    Grímsey is a remote island located 40km off Iceland’s north coast. Many people travel here for the purpose of setting foot in the Arctic Circle, the only place in Iceland where you can do so. The island is also home to fewer than 100 people, but over one million seabirds. Birdlife thrives here thanks to the lack of egg predation (there are no rats or mice on the island) and the rich, well-stocked surrounding seas. Grímsey has one of Iceland’s largest tern nesting sites and largest puffin colonies.

    DAY 11

    In northern Iceland on Eyjafjördur, Akureyri is known for its colourful old town, heart-shaped traffic lights and woodlands. Nearby tours of Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland, include lava formations, hot springs, caves and rifts, boiling mud pools, volcanic craters, the roaring Godafoss waterfall and Game of Thrones locations. Puffins nest on the inhabited island of Grimsey that crosses the Arctic Circle, while Hrísey island is said to have powerful healing energies.

    DAY 12

    Surrounded by fjords in the Westfjords region, Ísafjördur is a bustling fishing town in northwest Iceland with colourful wooden 18th- and 19th-century houses in the old town of Neskaupstadur. Ísafjördur was one of the largest fisheries in Iceland, but tourism has now taken over. Nearby is Sudavik, home to the Arctic Fox Centre. Iceland’s only mammal, the arctic fox lives on the lush tundra of Hornstrandir Nature Reserve - the northernmost peninsula in the Westfjords with two of Europe’s largest bird cliffs.

    DAY 12

    Island of Vigur is a real pearl of the Western Fjords. The second-largest island in the fjord, measuring two kilometres by 400 metres, it’s a significant seabird colony, which is home to arctic terns, puffins, black guillemots and eider ducks. As one of only two inhabited islands in the fjord, Vigur is also the site of a single farm, which has been in the same family for generations. During your time on the island, you might see Iceland’s only windmill, the country’s smallest post office and oldest boat, which was built more than 200 years ago and in regular use until relatively recently.

    DAY 13

    In the centre of Iceland’s sprawling capital city, the modern organ-pipe-shaped Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the top of town. Cosy bars, cafes and shops line the surrounding streets heated by Iceland's geothermal waters. The regenerated harbour is home to a striking modern concert hall. Popular trips include to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the village of Grindavik, and the Golden Circle tour taking in Gullfoss Waterfall and the mighty Strokkur geyser in Thingvellir National Park.

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    • Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
    • One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
    • All meals onboard
    • Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
    • 24-hour room service
    • Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
    • Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
    • One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
    • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
    • Standard WiFi
    • Onboard gratuities & port taxes

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    * Rates are listed per person in USD

    DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person and subject to change.