Love of Country (Serenissima)

Love of Country (Serenissima)

From GBP £3,995


We are delighted to have the opportunity to offer this unique cruise which has been exclusively designed for the National Trust for Scotland. Noble Caledonia introduced small ship cruising, often referred to as expedition cruising, to Scotland almost 30 years ago. Scotland soon became one of the most important areas for our fleet of small ships which operate in every continent of the world.

The geography of Scotland lends itself well to exploration by sea, perfect for our small ships that carry up to 100 passengers. The very essence of our journeys is to take small numbers of travellers to fascinating places and enhance the experience with our onboard teams of experts. This is not a ‘traditional’ cruise but a thought provoking voyage of discovery for those who wish to see and learn more about the natural world and the culture of remote communities. The Trust has a long history of running cruises for members and we are delighted to be involved with their plans for 2020.

A well-tuned itinerary is like a good book, each day being a new chapter offering insight, wonder and reflection. Join us as we explore Shetland, Fair Isle and St Kilda and cruise to the Hebridean islands of Canna, Skye, Staffa, Iona and Colonsay. For the gardeners we have included the magical gardens of Inverewe and the Castle of Mey.

Trip Name
Love of Country (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 in the afternoon. Transfers will be provided from Aberdeen airport and railway station at a fixed time.
Day 2 - Day 2 Fair Isle & Lerwick, Shetland.
This morning we anchor off the island of Fair Isle, the most remote inhabited island in the UK, owned and cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. Located midway between Shetland and Orkney, the tiny population of 60 or so islanders always extend us a warm welcome. Enjoy a three mile walk across the island, enjoying a Stevenson lighthouse at each end, visit the community hall for a cup of tea or maybe purchase some of the famous knitwear. Return to the ship for lunch before we sail the short distance to Lerwick, where the afternoon is free to explore this historic port at your own pace.
Day 3 - Day 3 Unst & Yell, Shetland.
Continue our exploration of Shetland with a visit to the islands of Unst and Yell. Unst is Britain’s most northerly inhabited island. The Trust owns seven parcels of land on Unst, the nearby small uninhabited island of Daaey and some croft land on Yell. The islands are of special interest to geologists, botanists and birdwatchers. We will visit the Heritage Centre to learn about the islanders’ struggles over the centuries as well as the industries that have prospered. The Unst Boat Haven is dedicated to the history of the islands’ distinctive wooden boats, based on Viking design. We also visit Saxa Vord to enjoy with views over Hermaness National Nature Reserve and Muckle Flugga. Arriving at Yell in the afternoon, we will have free time to explore the pretty village of Burravoe.
Day 4 - Day 4 Inverewe.
We will spend the morning at sea as we sail towards Inverewe for our visit to the impressive garden, surely one of the finest sited gardens in all Scotland, cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. First designed by Osgood Mackenzie in the late 19th century it is home to exotic and tender plants that thrive in this northerly location warmed by the effects of the Gulf Stream and protected by over 40 hectares of woodland shelter. Lose yourself in the lush setting and enjoy a riot of colours and scents. As well as the garden, you can explore Inverewe House, an interactive museum and explore the estate which has many designations recognising its importance as a species-rich habitat. The wildlife hide provides the perfect vantage point over Loch Ewe, where coastal birds, seals and otters can be seen.
Day 5 - Day 5 Canna & Loch Scavaig.
Strategically placed between the mountains of Rum and the Outer Hebrides, the island of Canna and its adjoining neighbour Sanday have an amazingly rich archaeological landscape, with remains dating from all periods of settled occupation in Scotland. Canna is run as a single farm and bird sanctuary by the National Trust for Scotland and enjoys the best harbour in the Small Isles, a horn-shaped haven. The fertile soil and diversity of habitats mean that the island has an incredibly rich plant life, with 248 native flowering plants recorded. We see Canna House, and wander across grassy plateaus to the 600 feet cliffs in the north. Sail during lunch to lovely Loch Scavaig on the island of Skye. Just beyond is the freshwater Loch Coruisk with breathtakingly beautiful views over the Cuillins. This is great walking country, but for those who prefer a less energetic afternoon our Zodiacs will explore the coastline looking out for seals.
Day 6 - Day 6 Staffa & Iona.
Today we explore two magical places in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. Awake this morning at our anchorage off the south side of Staffa. The perpendicular rock face features an imposing series of basalt columns, known as the colonnade, which have been shaped by the sea into cathedralesque caverns, most notably Fingal’s Cave. Weather permitting, we will use our Zodiacs to explore closer before sailing to Iona. This flat Hebridean island has been occupied for thousands of years and has been a place of pilgrimage and Christian worship for several centuries. 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. Many early Scottish kings are buried in the abbey. Visit the abbey or enjoy a walk along the white sandy beaches.
Day 7 - Day 7 Colonsay & Islay.
Lying between Mull and Islay, we will spend the morning exploring the island of Colonsay, with her craggy, heather-clad hills and sparse woodland yet impressive array of plants and birdlife. Near Colonsay House, built in 1722 by Malcolm MacNeil and bought by Lord Strathcona in 1904, we will visit the attractively dilapidated woodland gardens which protect the tiny, enigmatic 8th century St Oran’s Cross. Over lunch we sail the short distance to Islay where we anchor at Bunnahabhain with its beautiful views of the Sound of Islay. Here we will learn the steps involved in creating the whisky at the local distillery, and afterwards will savour the experience with a dram of Bunnahabhain in the tasting room.
Day 8 - Day 8 St Kilda, Outer Hebrides.
We arrive this morning at St Kilda, a remarkable archipelago some 40 miles west of North Uist. Dominated by the highest sea cliffs and sea stacs in Britain, Hirta, (St Kilda’s main island) was occupied on and off for at least 2000 years, with the last 36 islanders 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 puffins and fulmars, and in 1957 it was bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland. St Kilda is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites with dual status, reflecting both its natural and cultural significance. The National Trust for Scotland Ranger will join us on board before our expedition staff lead a number of guided walks on the island.
Day 9 - Day 9 Scrabster.
Our final day sees us in Scrabster, the most northerly port on the Scottish mainland. In the morning visit the Castle & Gardens of Mey, built between 1566 and 1572 by George Sinclair, 4th Earl of Caithness. The castle was purchased by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1952 who restored the castle for use as a holiday home and created the beautiful gardens we will see today. After lunch on board we will drive along the coast to Dunnet Bay, a glorious crescent of sand dunes and Dunnet Head. Here we will see the lighthouse built in 1831 by Robert Stevenson and enjoy the views over to Orkney. We continue to John O’Groats, the most northerly town on mainland Britain.
Day 10 - Day 10 Aberdeen.
Disembark after breakfast. Transfers will be provided to Aberdeen airport and railway station at a fixed time.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £3,995Standard Stateroom
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £4,195Classic Stateroom
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £4,695Superior Stateroom
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £4,995Deluxe Stateroom
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £5,395Junior Suite
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £5,495Standard Single
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £5,795Owner’s Suite
24-07-202102-08-2021GBP £5,795Serenissima Suite


    • Enjoy a journey around the Northern & Western Isles aboard the MS Serenissima
    • Learn from knowledgeable guest speakers
    • A specially arranged voyage in support of the National Trust for Scotland