Islands on the Edge (Serenissima)

Islands on the Edge (Serenissima)

From GBP £4,795


Here is a unique summer expedition which will appeal to those who wish to visit some remote and inaccessible islands. Setting sail from Aberdeen, we will explore different islands each day as we make our way to Plymouth, discovering both inhabited and uninhabited islands and places of great natural beauty, rich in wildlife and mystical history. The sheer diversity of the landscapes and lifestyles will amaze you as will the spirit and warmth of the small communities we will encounter. This is not a cruise in the traditional sense, more an exploration with 95 or so fellow travellers who wish to enjoy the peace, beauty and tranquility of the islands.

Over the course of just 12 days we will visit fifteen islands and such an undertaking would be virtually impossible to arrange independently. However, the ideally suited MS Serenissima has the ability to reach these remote places and with the use of the onboard Zodiacs we will be able to explore in small groups ashore ensuring the solitude we find on these isles is not disturbed. Each day there will be the opportunity to explore coastal paths, see the resident wildlife, enjoy the wonderful views on offer and appreciate the ancient history of the region. This, combined with the sheer diversity of the coastline, makes for a most appealing sea journey, whether you be an avid gardener, birdwatcher or simply enjoy sailing past and visiting some of the most enchanting places in the world.

Trip Name
Islands on the Edge (Serenissima)
Vessel Type: Small Ship Length: 87 metres Passenger Capacity: 95 Built / refurbished: 1960 / 2013 / 2019 MS Serenissima is a charming vessel and one of her best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During a major refit the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft allowing us to visit remote places where normal tender arrangements are not possible. The European Captain, Officers, Expedition Staff, and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere on board is warm and welcoming and dedicated to discovery and relaxation. AIR-CONDITIONING The ship is air conditioned throughout. Please note that only the Serenissima Suites have individually controlled air-conditioning. DAILY PROGRAMME A Daily Programme, detailing the following day’s arrangements as well as any specific information about the day’s activities is produced onboard and delivered to your cabin each evening during the turn down service. DINING, DRINKING AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS The Venice Restaurant onboard serves international cuisine and accommodates all guests at a single open seating. Tables seat 4 to 10 diners. In addition, there is an outside dining area for when the weather and itinerary permit. Breakfast and lunch are both buffet style, dinner is waiter service only. Complimentary (red and white) house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Bar drinks and other beverages with meals are not included; these may be purchased onboard and paid for at the end of your cruise. Complimentary tea and coffee are available between 07:00 hours and 23:00 hours at the tea and coffee station located in the Andrea lounge. Please advise of any special dietary requests in advance. DISABLED FACILITIES The ship can accommodate passengers with mobility restrictions and wheelchair dependent passengers in cabin 407, which has a wider door and no step into/out of the bathroom and shower area. There is a lift serving decks 3 to 6, but there is no stair lift. DOCTOR A medical doctor is available on board 24 hours a day. A fee is charged for any consultations and medication prescribed. Please ensure you carry adequate supplies of any regular medications you may require.  ELECTRICITY The electrical outlets in the cabins and public areas are 220V and take a two-round-pin plug (as in continental Europe). There is a 110/220V, 60Hz outlet for electric shavers in the bathroom. We recommend that you bring an international adaptor. GRATUITIES Gratuities to crew and whilst on excursions are included in the cost of your holiday. INTERNET The onboard library has a computer equipped for email/internet access and Wi-Fi access is available in public areas, although you will require your own laptop, tablet or smartphone, and charges apply – 100mb for €15 Euros, or 500mb for €25 Euros. Please note that connection is dependent on weather conditions and location. LANGUAGE All members of the crew speak English. MONEY The following payment methods are accepted for settlement of shipboard accounts: Cash (Euros or British Pounds), Credit Card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express), Debit Card (MasterCard and Visa). Please note that personal cheques and Travellers’ Cheques are not accepted. PUBLIC AREAS • Andrea Lounge (on Deck 5). The bar is open from 11.00 until 24.00. • Harald Jarl Lounge (on Deck 5). There is a small library here with books and games. There is also a computer for public use (charges apply for internet access) • Lido area (on Deck 5) with a Jacuzzi and fitness room with two running machines • Observation Deck (access from Deck 5 lido area) • Deck 5 and Deck 6 outside seating areas SNORKELLING Snorkelling equipment is kept onboard. Please note that there is no snorkelling from Zodiacs. All snorkelling stops will operate from a beach.  TELEVISION The ship is equipped with a satellite TV system which receives 15 channels. TV reception depends on the satellite dish and on occasion it may not be possible to receive a signal. There is one central video channel on which it is possible to listen to the lectures delivered in the Andrea Lounge. There is also a channel for the ship’s camera located in front of the ship. ZODIACS Some destinations may require the use of Zodiacs to go ashore. These are usually on expedition cruises though may sometimes be used on destination cruises. 


Day 1 - Day 1 Aberdeen, Scotland.
Embark the MS Serenissima this afternoon. A transfer will be provided from Aberdeen airport and railway station at a fixed time.
Day 2 - Day 2 Fair Isle & Mousa, Shetland Islands.
Anchor over breakfast off the remote island of Fair Isle. Located midway between the Shetland and Orkney islands, the tiny population of sixty or so islanders always extend us a warm welcome. Enjoy a walk across the island, perhaps visit the community hall for a cup of tea or purchase some of the famous knitwear. Over lunch we sail to Mousa to see the 40 foot defensive tower built by the Picts more than 2000 years ago, and the tallest, bestpreserved example of an Iron Age broch (tower) in Britain.
Day 3 - Day 3 Unst & Fetlar, Shetland Islands.
Arrive this morning on Unst, Britain’s most northerly inhabited island. At the Heritage Centre we will learn about the islanders struggles over the centuries and the industries that have prospered whilst the Unst Boat Haven is dedicated to the history of the islands distinctive wooden boats which descend from Viking craft. We also visit Saxa Vord with views over Hermaness National Nature Reserve and the Muckle Flugga stacks. Over lunch we sail to Fetlar, inhabited for over 5000 years the island lays claim to being the first Norse landing site in the Shetlands. Known as the most fertile of the Shetland Islands the wildflowers bring colour to the landscape. Our expedition team will lead walks ashore including the Fetlar Interpretative Centre and Museum where we will learn about the wildlife and archaeological history of the island.
Day 4 - Day 4 Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
From the Shetland capital, we will visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1896/7, revealing an extraordinary settlement site embracing at least 5000 years of human history. The site contains a remarkable sequence of stone structures – late Neolithic houses, a Bronze- Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouse, a Medieval farmstead, and the 16th century laird’s house. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon to explore this historic port. Perhaps wander through its narrow stone lanes or maybe visit the excellent Shetland Museum, containing artefacts from shipwrecks and the whaling era.
Day 5 - Day 5 Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.
After a morning at sea we arrive during lunch on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides. On leaving the island capital of Stornoway, we will head across the island to the beautiful west coast. Described as Scotland’s Stonehenge, the Callanish Standing Stones date from around 3000 BC. There are a total of 32 stones in a circular and avenue design. The stones stand like a petrified forest on the flat top of a peninsula which reaches out into East Loch Roag. We also visit the Dun Carloway Pictish Broch, probably built sometime in the last century BC, it would have served as an occasionally defensible residence for an extended family complete with accommodation for animals at ground floor level. Our final stop is the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village – a reconstructed settlement of traditional black houses which were made using dry stone masonry and have thatched roofs, distinctively weighted down with rocks. Visit the small museum, enjoy a display of a typical crofting activity such as weaving and take in the views of this dramatic site on the wild Atlantic coast.
Day 6 - Day 6 St Kilda, Outer Hebrides.
Awake this morning in St Kilda, a remarkable uninhabited archipelago some fifty miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. Dominated by the highest cliffs and sea stacks in Britain, Hirta, St Kilda’s main island was occupied on and off for at least two thousand years, with the last 36 Gaelic speaking inhabitants evacuated at their own request in 1930. Immediately after the evacuation, the island was bought by the Marquess of Bute to protect the island’s thousands of seabirds including puffin and fulmars, and in 1957 it was bequeathed to The National Trust for Scotland. St Kilda is one of only two dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites with dual status reflecting its natural and cultural significance. The local ranger will join us on board before our expedition staff lead a number of guided walks on the island.
Day 7 - Day 7 Staffa & Iona, Hebrides.
This morning we hope to drop anchor off Staffa, the south side where the perpendicular rock face features an imposing series of black basalt columns, known as the Colonnade, which have been cut by the sea into cathedralesque caverns, most notably Fingal’s Cave. Weather permitting, we will use our Zodiacs to explore closer. Over lunch we sail the short distance to Iona which has been occupied for thousands of years and has been a place of pilgrimage and Christian worship for several centuries. It was to this flat, Hebridean island that St Columba fled from Ireland in 563 and established a monastery. Here his followers were responsible for the conversion of much of pagan Scotland and Northern England. No less than 62 Scottish Kings are buried in the Abbey. Visit the Abbey or perhaps walk along the white sandy beaches.
Day 8 - Day 8 Peel, Isle of Man.
Arrive this morning on the Isle of Man and the main fishing port of Peel. Settlements have been here since the Mesolithic Age and the island also claims to have the longest continuous parliament which was founded in 979 AD. We will travel to Tynwald Hill, located in the little village of St John’s. This grasstopped, tiered hill is made from the soil and stones from each of the island’s 17 parishes and is the point from which, each 5th of July, all the laws enacted in the year preceding are promulgated to the gathered government officials and the public at large, both in Manx and English languages. We continue to Castletown and the magnificent Castle Rushen, one of the best examples of a Medieval castle in Europe which was the former seat of the Kings and Lords of Mann. We end our tour at Castletown station and board the vintage steam train for a delightful and traditional journey to Douglas. Dating from 1874, the Isle of Man Steam Railway is the island’s oldest Victorian rail system and this narrow gauge railway still runs with its original locomotives and carriages.
Day 9 - Day 9 Lundy Island.
We have scheduled a whole day on Lundy, a remote island in the Bristol Channel. Although small, just three miles long by half a mile wide, its isolation has made it a home for a range of wildlife whilst it is home to a clutch of listed buildings and monuments. The towering cliffs and rocky shoreline are a haven for migrating seabirds, whilst Sika deer, red deer and Soay sheep can also be seen as we walk along its traffic-free lanes and paths. Spend the day being as active as you wish, maybe explore the wide bays and coves by way of hanging valleys, see ancient burial chambers, climb the lighthouse, have a drink or lunch at the tavern or buy the island’s ‘puffin stamps’ at the shop.
Day 10 - Day 10 Tresco & St Agnes, Isles of Scilly.
Spend the morning on traffic-free Tresco, walking its idyllic lanes from the beach to the famous subtropical Abbey Gardens. Defying the Atlantic weather, this miracle of a garden is home to more than 20,000 species of plants from over 80 countries. Enjoy time to wander at your own pace along the paths. Sail over lunch to St Agnes, the most south westerly community in the United Kingdom. Surrounded by rocks and reefs, this delightful tiny island offers marvellous coastal walks with over one third designated as “sites of special scientific interest”. The small island of Gugh lies across a narrow sandbar and here we find a single stone monolith called the ‘Old Man of Gugh’ which dates back to the Bronze Age.
Day 11 - Day 11 Guernsey & Herm, Channel Islands.
On Guernsey, the ‘Island of Flowers’ there will be the option of a walking tour of St Peter Port including a visit to Castle Cornet, a 12th century battlement which guards the entrance to St Peter Port harbour. Alternatively, enjoy a panoramic drive during which we will see the Iona Callanish Standing Stones beautiful coastline and beaches and visit the Little Chapel, built in 1914 as a miniature version of the famous basilica at Lourdes and covered in fragments of shattered china, or join a cliff walk along the scenic coastline. We will sail the short distance to Herm, the smallest inhabited Channel Island and, at just one and a half miles long and half a mile wide, perfect for exploring on foot. Here, you will have free time to explore, perhaps take a stroll over to Shell or Belvoir Beach whilst our naturalists will be ashore on the lookout for wildflowers.
Day 12 - Day 12 Plymouth.
Disembark after breakfast. Transfers will be provided to Plymouth railway station at a fixed time.
Day 13 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £4,795Standard Stateroom
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £4,995Classic Stateroom
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £5,495Superior Stateroom
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £5,795Deluxe Stateroom
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £6,195Junior Suite
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £6,295Standard Single
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £6,595Owner’s Suite
21-08-202001-09-2020GBP £6,595Serenissima Suite


    • Explore Fair Isle & Mousa, Shetland Islands
    • Visit Lerwick, Shetland Islands
    • Discover St Kilda, Outer Hebrides
    • Sail to Peel, Isle of Man
    • Enjoy Tresco & St Agnes, Isles of Scilly