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Scottish Island Odyssey aboard Island Sky

Scottish Island Odyssey aboard Island Sky

From GBP £5,095

Description

Join us aboard the 118 passenger MS Island Sky for this wonderful journey around Scotland’s magnificent coastline, an indented landscape of enormous natural splendour with offshore islands forming stepping stones into the Atlantic. If you have always had a hankering to visit some of the remotest and most inaccessible islands in Scotland, this is the ideal opportunity. Few cruise ships offer the chance to explore in-depth the islands off the northern coast of Scotland and this unique itinerary ventures far north to the Orkney and Shetland Islands as well as the magical Hebridean islands. We will visit both inhabited and uninhabited islands and places of great natural beauty rich in birdlife, wildlife and mystical history, many with a long history dating back to the Iron Age.

Such a trip would be almost impossible to arrange independently but with the aid of our nimble Zodiac craft, and in the company of our naturalists and local guides, we will explore the most remote islands that surround the Scottish Coast such as the Shiant Islands and St Kilda, land on remote beaches and cruise close to shorelines and cliffs dotted with birdlife. We will witness vibrant colours, explore deserted villages and learn of the history and ancient culture of unique island life. Whether your interest lies in the natural world, history or bird watching or simply being there to witness the timeless beauty of the islands, this trip will lift the spirits and gladden the heart.

Trip Name
Scottish Island Odyssey aboard Island Sky
Days
11
Overview
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 116  Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017 Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck. Services: World-Class Cuisine Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner Live Entertainment Complimentary Coffee/Tea station Voyage Photographer On-board MD and Facilities Dedicated Passenger Service Manager Pre-voyage hotel night Complimentary Expedition Jacket Facilities: Elevator serving all passenger decks Upgraded WIFI Internet Library with computers Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities DVD Movie Library Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck World-Class Cuisine: Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage. Accommodations: All Suites Feature: Exterior views Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds Sitting area with sofa and side chair Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player Telephone Independent temperature controls Mini-Bar Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries Hair dryer 220 square feet or more Sofa can be converted to bed for third person PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 Oban, Scotland.
Embark the MS Island Sky this afternoon. Transfers will be provided from Glasgow International Airport and Glasgow Central Railway Station at a fixed time.
Day 2 - Day 2 Colonsay & Iona.
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 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 or go in search of the corncrake amongst the irises.
Day 3 - Day 3 Staffa & Lunga.
Awake this morning at Staffa, the south side where the perpendicular rock face features an imposing series of black basalt columns, known as the Colonnade, which has been cut by the sea into cathedralesque caverns, most notably Fingal’s Cave. Weather permitting, we will use our Zodiacs to explore closer. We continue to the Treshnish Isles, an archipelago of uninhabited volcanic islets. The island of Lunga is the largest of the Treshnish Isles in Argyll and Bute. Of volcanic origin, Lunga has been described as ‘a green jewel in a peacock sea’ and is a summer nesting-place for hundreds of seabirds.
Day 4 - Day 4 Loch Scavaig, Isle of Skye.
Spend the morning at the lovely Loch Scavaig. Just beyond is the freshwater Loch Corruisk with its breathtakingly beautiful view over the Cuillins. This is great walking country, but for those who prefer a less energetic morning our Zodiacs will explore the coast looking out for seals. Return to the MS Island Sky for lunch and we spend the afternoon at sea sailing to the Outer Hebrides.
Day 5 - Day 5 St Kilda & Stac Lee.
Arrive over breakfast at 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 a few 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. This afternoon we will cruise past two of the largest gannetries in the world at Stac Lee and Stac an Armin. These impressive stacs rise 170 metres from the sea and are home to up to 60,000 breeding pairs of northern gannet.
Day 6 - Day 6 Handa & Inverewe.
At Handa will use our Zodiacs to explore the magnificent sea cliffs of Torridonian sandstone which rise from the Atlantic. The island comes alive each spring when nearly 100,000 seabirds gather to breed including internationally important numbers of guillemot, razorbill, puffins and great skua. In the afternoon we will visit one of Scotland’s premier gardens, Inverewe. This botanical garden in the northwest Highlands presents an amazing collection of exotic trees and shrubs that are sheltered by well-positioned windbreaks of native pine. After a guided tour of the gardens, we will return to the MS Island Sky and sail.
Day 7 - Day 7 Isle of Lewis & Shiant Islands, Outer 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. This afternoon we will board the Zodiacs for a cruise around the spectacular basalt cliffs of the Shiant Islands, a group of little islands located a few miles off the shores of Lewis. This is an excellent place to spot puffins, razorbills, guillemots, seals and hopefully white-tailed eagles.
Day 8 - Day 8 Westray & Papa Westray, Orkney Islands.
Our day in the Orkney Islands will explore two of the islands to the north of the mainland. On Westray we will visit Noup Head, an RSPB reserve on the sea cliffs and Notland Castle, an incomplete fortress built in the 16th century by Gilbert Balfour, Master of the Royal Household to Mary Queen of Scots, Sheriff of Orkney. Meanwhile in the main village of Pierowall we find the Westray Heritage Centre housing Neolithic carvings. Over lunch we sail the short distance to Papa Westray, where there will be the opportunity for a number of island walks. You can also visit the 3500-year-old Knap of Howar, a Neolithic farm building that claims to be the oldest standing house in Europe and the 12th century St Boniface Kirk. In the north of the island is the North Hill Reserve, home to Arctic terns and skuas and also the extremely rare Scottish primrose. In the early evening we will meet at the Papay pub for a well-deserved pre-dinner drink.
Day 9 - Day 9 Lerwick.
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. Tonight we will be entertained by local musicians as we remain moored overnight.
Day 10 - Day 10 Noss Head & Lerwick, Shetland Islands.
Departing at dawn we head to Noss Head. Here the cliffs will be full of nesting gannets, guillemots and fulmars whilst we may also see skuas in the skies above. Later this morning we will anchor 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 searching out the puffin slopes, visit the community hall for a cup of tea or maybe purchase some of the famous knitwear.
Day 11 - Day 11 Aberdeen.
Disembark this morning after breakfast. Transfers will be provided to Aberdeen International Airport and Train Station at a fixed time.
Day 12 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,095Magellan Deck Standard Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,295Columbus Deck Superior Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,095Magellan Deck Standard Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,295Columbus Deck Superior Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,595Marco Polo Deck Premium Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,995Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,495Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,595Magellan Deck Standard Single
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,795Explorer Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,995Columbus Deck Superior Single
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £7,795Explorer Deck Island Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,595Marco Polo Deck Premium Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £5,995Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,495Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,595Magellan Deck Standard Single
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,795Explorer Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £6,995Columbus Deck Superior Single
11-06-202221-06-2022GBP £7,795Explorer Deck Island Suite

Inclusions

    • Colonsay & Iona.
    • Staffa & Lunga.
    • St Kilda & Stac Lee.
    • Isle of Lewis & Shiant Islands, Outer Hebrides.
    • Noss Head & Lerwick, Shetland Islands.

Map