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SH Vega - 152 Guests

In The Wake Of Celts And Vikings

13 Day 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.



 

 

HIGHLIGHTS


  • 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

DATES / RATES

Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Jun 04, 2024Jun 16, 20249,871 10,728
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Jun 04, 2024Jun 16, 20249,871 10,728


ITINERARY


DAY 1
DUBLIN
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
PORT ELLEN, ISLAY ISLAND, SCOTLAND
Port Ellen is a small village on the Isle of Islay in Scotland, known for its whisky distilleries and stunning scenery. One of the main attractions is the nearby Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, which offers stunning views of the coastline and the surrounding islands. There is also the Singing Sands beach, a beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear waters that is perfect for a relaxing day out. For those interested in history, the Museum of Islay Life showcases the island's rich cultural heritage. It exhibits everything from traditional crafts and farming practices to the history of whisky production in Islay.

DAY 3
DUNVEGAN, SKYE ISLAND, SCOTLAND
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.

Shore Excursion (See Optional Activities)

DAY 4
ULLAPOOL, SCOTLAND
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.

Shore Excursion (See Optional Activities)

DAY 5
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND
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.

Shore Excursion (See Optional Activities)

DAY 6
LERWICK, SCOTLAND
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 7
THORSHAVN
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
DJUPIVOGUR
Home to fewer than 500 residents, the quiet fishing village of Djupivogur dates back to the Viking era. Despite its formidable origins, the village is better known these days for its unhurried pace of life. Djupivogur’s most famous artistic offering may be the first thing you notice as you disembark. The 34 large granite eggs that line the road along the bay are not easy to miss. The art installation, named ‘The Eggs at Merry Bay’ (Eggin í Gleðivík in Icelandic) represents the 34 species of birds that nest locally. Immerse yourself further into the wild on a trip to nearby Vatnajökull National Park. Covering 14% of Iceland’s land mass, this vast area is home to giant ice caps, thundering glacial rivers, grumbling active volcanoes and a host of other geological wonders. Take a guided tour out onto Vatnajökull Glacier, Europe’s largest ice cap, and experience the glory of true Icelandic wilderness for yourself.

DAY 9
GRIMSEY ISLAND
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 10
AKUREYRI
Home to some 18,000 residents, Akureyri stands proud as the Land of Fire and Ice’s ‘Capital of the North’. It’s the gateway to some natural wonders including the Myvatn region, Dettifoss waterfall, Godafoss waterfall and Asbyrgi canyon. But before you rush off, take some time to explore: Iceland’s winsome second city is colourful, cosy and utterly enchanting – even the red traffic lights are cute. Instagrammers will adore heart-shaped stop signs. Enjoy the quaint harbourfront; climb the steps to the towering Akureyri Church; stroll around Lystigardurinn, the city’s Arctic botanical garden; visit the Laufás Turf Houses; get in the festive spirit early at the Christmas House (Jolahusid); admire the exhibits at the Akureyri Art Museum or the Hof cultural centre; or take a dip in the outdoor, geothermal swimming pool.

DAY 11
ISAFJORDUR
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 11
VIGUR ISLAND
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.

Shore Excursion (See Optional Activities)

DAY 12
DYNJANDI WATERFALL
Considered one of Iceland’s most impressive, this thunderous waterfall in the Westfjords region gives the impression of a bridal veil as it spreads its tumbling waters down a series of ever- growing cascades. Dynjandi is one of the most photographed sights in Iceland. Walking up to it takes 15 minutes passing five smaller waterfalls. Nearby, Hrafnseyri is the birthplace of Jón Sigurdsson, 19th-century leader of the Icelandic Independence movement. The museum includes an Icelandic turf house.

Expedition Activities (See Optional Activities)

DAY 12
PATREKSFJÖRÐUR
The largest town in the southern part of Iceland’s striking Westfjords region, Patreksfjörður was a pioneering force in Iceland’s fishing industry. Today commercial fishing remains the town’s primary industry. One of Patreksfjörður’s main draws is the nearby Látrabjarg Cliff. This stunning slice of coastline is Europe’s largest bird cliff, as well as being the continent’s most western point. One of the world’s best seabird watching spots, this place is a must-see for keen ornithologists. Látrabjarg Cliff is also the perfect place to capture that iconic puffin photo. The puffins here are protected and have little reason to fear humans, allowing for some excellent photo opportunities.

DAY 13
REYKJAVIK
Your cruise ends in Reykjavík. Make sure there is sufficient time before you begin your journey home to explore this diminutive but dramatic capital city. Despite its small size, you won’t be short of things to see and do. To get your bearings, take the elevator to the top of Hallgrímskirkja. This church, designed by famed Icelandic architect Gudjón Samuelsson is one of the most distinctive buildings in town. When you return to earth, visit the city’s other renowned building Harpa Concert Hall, located at the heart of Reykjavík's regenerated harbour – also the home of the Maritime Museum. Speaking of cultural spaces, tour the National Museum to learn the story of Iceland from past to present. The Reykjavík Art Museum houses an impressive contemporary collection including eye-catching pieces by Erró. And, of course, just 50 kilometres outside the city lies Thingvellir National Park, the site of Iceland’s original Viking parliament.

SH Vega (Luxury Expedition, 152-guests)

Making her maiden voyage in April 2022, our 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage.

Our brand new ship has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort. The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible.


(Click image to view Ship details)

WHAT'S INCLUDED


  • 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 (Kayak not included, bookable for a fee on board)
  • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
  • Standard WiFi
  • Onboard gratuities & port taxes


DAY 3
DUNVEGAN, SKYE ISLAND, SCOTLAND
Shore Excursion

Dunvegan castle
Duration: 02 h 00 m
Included
Visit Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland; it has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of clan MacLeod for 800 years
Discover the treasures of a Castle steeped in history and clan legend and explore the lovely gardens and Rory Mor's cascade

Northern scenic drive
Duration: 04 h 30 m
Optional
Learn all about the Isle of Skye, from its geography and social history to its myths and legends
Visit the fascinating Skye Museum of Island Life to learn more of the traditional crofting life
Stop at Kilt Rock – a dramatic 200-foot high cliff marked in an almost tartan-like pattern by the rock strata and with a waterfall tumbling sheer to the pebbled shore below

DAY 4
ULLAPOOL, SCOTLAND
Shore Excursion

Scenic Assynt
Duration: 03 h 30 m
Included
Enjoy a panoramic drive through the dramatic scenery Scotland Geopark.
Spend some time to have a picture of Ardvreck Castle, a marvellously scenic ruined fortress in a magnificent location
Spend some free time in the pretty fishing village of Lochinver

Hiking to Knockan Crag - Heart of the Geopark
Duration: 03 h 00 m
Optional
Knockan Crag, one of Scotland’s natural beauties, is a must visit for all the hiking lovers, but also for those searching for an excursion to explore something new.
Explore the Geopark by following one of three trails whilst learning about this fascinating natural feature, spend some time in the excellent visitor centre and walk along the Thrust Trail bridging 500 million years.

Singelton of Glen Ord with free time in Beauly
Duration: 04 h 45 m
Optional
Enjoy a panoramic drive along picturesque shores of Loch Broom towards Muir of Ord .
Visist Glen Ord Distillery one of one of the Highland’s hidden treasures producing liquid gold all year round.
Discover all the secrets of the whisky production and taste the Singleton of Glen Ord range

DAY 5
STROMNESS, SCOTLAND
Shore Excursion

Orkney Treasures
Duration: 03 h 15 m
Included
Walk among the enigmatic stones of one of the most spectacular prehistoric monuments in the British Isles. The Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle and Henge, an enormous ceremonial site dating back to the 3rd millennium BC.
Step back 5,000 years in time to explore the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe, Skara Brae
Discover the fascinating history of Skaill House built by Bishop George Graham in the 1620’s.

DAY 11
VIGUR ISLAND
Shore Excursion

Vigur Island Walking Tour
Duration: 01 h 30 m
Included
Spot eider ducks nesting in great numbers, you might even see the majestic birds plucking down from their chests to make a warm shelter for their eggs.
Get up close with a 200-year-old, eight-oar rowing boat and the oldest windmill in Iceland
See the charming houses that dot Vigur's landscape including Viktoria House,built in 1862 and restored by the National Museum of Iceland in 1993, as well as a house established by a young priest in 1884

DAY 12
DYNJANDI WATERFALL
Expedition Activities

Walk to Dynjandi Waterfall With Swan Hellenic Expedition Team
Duration: 01 h 30 m
Included
Your onboard expedition team, experts in all things Icelandic, will guide you along the path to this hidden treasure.
Awaken your spirit of adventure as you witness nature's raw power firsthand
Discover the secrets of Dynjandi and providing a deeper understanding of its geological significance and cultural importance.

 

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DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person, subject to availability and can change at any time