- National Geographic Orion
- Luxury Expedition Ship
- 102 Capacity
- 8 Days
- Price from
Summary : Sail through the heart of fjord country and experience the unforgettable beauty of western Norway’s stark cliffs and the windswept isles of Scotland. Kayak below emerald mountains in the dramatic Sognefjorden, and step ashore at Undredal to explore its 12th Century stave church. Cross the North Sea to encounter rich marine life, as well as the fascinating intermingling of Nordic and Celtic cultures. Visit a Shetland pony farm, a Fair Isle seabird research station, the marvelous Stone Age megaliths of the Orkneys, the sacred Christian sites of Iona. Perhaps you’ll dive the historic wrecks of Sapa Flow or hike to the lighthouse on Sumburgh Head, and you’ll discover the unique heritage of the Inner Hebrides archipelago on your way to cosmopolitan Glasgow.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
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Embark the National Geographic Orion in time for lunch on board.
Today, explore Norway’s famous fjords. Your expedition ship makes its way deep into the Sognefjord where you launch kayaks for amazing views of this famous fjord. Zodiac to shore for a scenic hike, visit the village of Undredal, where goats outnumber people, taste the town's famous brown goat cheese, and see its classic Norwegian stave church.
This morning, cruise by the Isle of Noss and, if weather permits, take a Zodiac ride over to its shores. This uninhabited island is a nature preserve and home to hundreds of seabirds, seals and otters. Later, arrive in Lerwick and visit a Shetland pony farm and learn how this unique breed is protected and raised. Visit Jarlshof and hike through this multi-period settlement that dates back to the Bronze Age, with the Norse settlement being the largest used during the entire Viking period. Also visit the 300 foot cliffs of Sumburgh Head and its lighthouse surrounded by birds such as puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. This evening, remain docked in town overnight, leaving you free to check out the local pub scene after dinner.
The Mousa Broch is one of the best preserved Iron Age fortifications in the British Isles. This morning you will Zodiac to the island, hike to the Iron Age tower and search this protected area for storm petrels.
Situated between the Shetland and Orkney islands is the small but somewhat famous Fair Isle. It has a permanent bird observatory where some of western Europe’s rarest birds have been observed. This afternoon, visit the observatory and hike the island to see some of the over 250 species of flowering plants that grow on the island. Also known for its knitting, you will have the chance to learn about the famous Fair Isle knitting technique, and shop for the special Fair Isle sweaters.
There are plenty of ways to explore the Orkney Islands while docked in the former Norse capital of Kirkwall for a full day. Take an archeological excursion to the neolithic stone circle at the Ring of Brodgar and the prehistoric village of Skara Brae nestled along the white beach of the Bay of Skaill. Or take a walking tour of historic Kirkwall including St. Magnus Cathedral and the medieval remains of the Earl’s Palace and Bishop’s Palace. For scuba enthusiasts, you may join a planned optional dive to Scapa Flow, known worldwide for its German warship wrecks. Join your guides this evening for an authentic dinner ashore.
Spend the morning cruising along the scenic coast of Scotland. This afternoon, anchor in Loch Ewe and Zodiac to the pier entrance of the Inverewe Garden and Estate. Bring your cameras along as you explore this 2,000 acre botanical garden. Uniquely sheltered from the wind, and warmed by the Atlantic currents from the Caribbean, this garden is home to hundreds of exotic plant species, grown here since the end of the 19th century. Take a guided walk or hike on your own to find eucalyptus from Australia or rhododendrons from China and a wide variety of birds and mammals.
Cruise through the Sea of Hebrides and journey by Zodiac to the Isle of Iona to visit the medieval abbey ruins and the rebuilt abbey church, and learn about the ecumenical movement based there. Stroll through St. Oran’s Chapel and the royal graveyard where generations of Scottish kings are buried. Enjoy a brief walking tour of Iona before heading back to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, take a Zodiac cruise to the uninhabited island of Staffa and visit Fingal’s Cave, the inspiration for Felix Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture.”
Disembark this morning for your flight home, or remain in Glasgow for an added stay.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary (from Dublin to London): 7/24/2016
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.
All accommodations aboard ship; all meals aboard ship; alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; excursions; sightseeing and entrance fees; special access permits; transfers to and from group flights; use of kayaks; services of expedition leader, National Geographic photographer, naturalist staff and expert guide; services of a ship physician; all gratuities; all port charges and service taxes.
Air transportation; passport; visa; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including internet, laundry, etc.
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Puffin); © Stewart Cohen (Abbey); © Stewart Aitchison (Houses); © Ralph Hammelbacher (Flower)