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Day by Day Itinerary

Small in territory but vast in diversity, the island nations of Great Britain and Ireland boast an array of distinct cultures, colorful histories, and singular natural splendors from highlands to cliff-tops. Cruising aboard a small ship that allows you to navigate among tiny islands and remote ports as easily as big city harbors, you’ll discover the Isles of Scilly, then follow the coast of Wales to explore fishing villages and mighty castles. Witness Dublin’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and get to know Scotland, sailing from the remote waters of the Hebrides to the far-flung shores of the Orkney archipelago and onward to atmospheric Aberdeen and Edinburgh. As you meet local people and learn about traditional culture, you’ll discover that the sun never sets on the charms of these isles.

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    Depart today on your flight to London, England. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times. Or begin your discoveries early with our pre-trip extension.

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    Arrive in London, England where a Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to your hotel. You’ll also get acquainted with your surroundings when you venture out for an orientation walk.

    This evening, you’ll meet your fellow travelers during a Welcome Briefing with a drink, followed by a Welcome Dinner together.

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    There’s no better place to launch your discoveries than the actual Crown Jewel of the United Kingdom: London. After breakfast, begin with a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city about which Samuel Johnson wrote, “there is in London all that life can afford.”

    After an included lunch in a local pub, for a true taste of British daily life, enjoy the balance of the day to make discoveries at leisure. Dinner is on your own this evening.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After this morning's breakfast, you'll travel southwest to Poole and embark the Corinthian, the Grand Circle ship that will be your home for the next ten nights. Lunch will be onboard.

    This afternoon, enjoy an included tour of the south coast seaport known for its lovely beaches and busy marina. We set sail from the largest natural harbor in Europe this evening and enjoy a Captain's Welcome Drink and Welcome Dinner onboard.

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    With shell-covered beaches, rolling heaths, granite outcroppings, and a pair of castles, windswept Tresco presents many faces despite its small size (just more than a square mile). After breakfast onboard the Corinthian, you’ll explore Tresco on your way to Abbey Gardens. These gardens contain the remnants of an abbey first founded in the tenth century and the expanded in the twelfth. Elm, sycamore, oak, cypress, and pine trees provide natural protection from the elements, which allows exotic plants from all over the globe to thrive, including South African proteas, Canary Island echiums, Australian banksia, and more.

    Enjoy lunch aboard ship, with members of University of the Third Age, a lifelong learning organization for retirees and the semi-retired.

    Tonight, hear a Port Talk about your next destination: Fishguard, Wales.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    We arrive in Fishguard, Wales this morning. After breakfast onboard, visit Fishguard, where the Gwaun River flows to the sea. The Lower Town of Fishguard is the setting where the original fishing village here was established in the tenth century. A Norse trading post that became a busy port town, Fishguard was the site of an incursion in 1797 that would be France's last successful invasion of Britain—a triumph that lasted only two days. The tale of the short-lived occupation is told in a 100-foot tapestry which was created for the 200th anniversary by a team of 77 local women, who used 97 colors and sewed for two years to create the piece. You’ll visit Town Hall to view the tapestry and admire their handiwork.

    Then enjoy free time in Fishguard, perhaps visiting the Fishguard Farmers Market. Or, join our optional tour to St. David's, the ecclesiastical capital of Wales. You'll visit a woolen mill before exploring the Medieval cathedral named after the country's patron saint, as well as an adjacent bishop's palace.

    Enjoy lunch and dinner onboard the Corinthian today.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Your ship arrives in Holyhead, located on Holy Island, Wales, a seaport that has linked Wales and Ireland for 4,000 years. After breakfast aboard, a short drive will bring you to Caernarfon Castle, which sits on the strait that divides the mainland of Wales from Anglesey. King Edward I built a fortress here to control supply routes to the coast, as well as to control access to the agriculturally rich Angelsey. A walking tour to the castle will reveal its massive construction and imposing polygonal towers, of which 17th century travel writer John Taylor wrote, "if [the castle] be well manned, victualled, and ammunitioned, it is invincible." This impressive setting is where His Royal Highness Prince Charles was invested in 1969.

    Then, get to know more about life in the present here as you join locals for a light Home-Hosted Lunch, a light meal during which you'll discover the friendliness characteristic of Welsh culture.

    This afternoon, visit the National Slate Museum, on the site of a 19th century slate quarry. The museum recounts the long industrial history here, and you'll view a slate-splitting demonstration to see how craftsman sliced the stone and made objects from it.

    This evening, enjoy dinner aboard the Corinthian as you sail toward Dublin.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, enjoy breakfast onboard before you embark on an included sightseeing tour of Dublin, with a visit to Trinity College, where we view the ninth-century Book of Kells, one of the most elaborately illustrated illuminated Gospels. Then we visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Built next to the legendary well in which Patrick was said to have baptized new converts, the cathedral dates back to the the late twelfth century. The final resting place of Jonathan Swift, and now the National Cathedral, St. Patrick’s is rich with history. In one tale, warring families brought their blood feud all the way to the church, with one family hiding inside and the other outside. To make a truce, a hole was cut in a doorway, and one patriarch dared to stick his arm through to shake that of the other—hoping it wouldn’t be cut off. When they shook, peace was brokered, and ever since, it’s been an Irish saying “ to chance your arm.” The so-called “Door of Reconciliation” is on display in the cathedral to this day.

    Return to the ship for lunch, or you may enjoy an included shuttle back to the ship this afternoon to explore more of Dublin independently and enjoy lunch on your own. Or, join us for our optional Malahide Castle tour, a twelfth-century fortress, where you’ll enjoy an included lunch.

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    • Meals included:
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    Anchoring in Iona after your onboard breakfast, you’ll go ashore on one of Scotland’s smallest inhabited islands to enjoy a walk to Iona Abbey, which was key in fostering the rise of Christianity throughout the region. Saint Columba established a monastery here in 563, which faced its first great challenge in 800, when it was pillaged by the Vikings. The local faithful persevered and in 1200, the Abbey was established. With restoration completed in the 20th century, the site has been an active ecumenical religious center ever since.

    Then, revel in a multifaceted portrait of local culture. First, a local artist and silversmith introduces you to this blend of skill and artistry. Then, enjoy an included lunch of island produce for a true taste of Iona. Round out your discoveries with a talk by a crofter, a farmer who tends a small, fenced plot and keeps alive uniquely Scottish agricultural traditions.

    After returning to the ship for dinner this evening, you’ll enjoy a shipboard talk led by your Program Director, who will discuss the Inner Hebrides, the archipelago off Scotland’s west coast, and the Isle of Saints.

    Please note: In case of adverse weather conditions we may dock in Craignure and enjoy alternate discoveries there instead of Iona.

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    Your ship drops anchor in Barra, Scotland before breakfast. Go ashore on the most southerly of the inhabited Outer Hebrides islands for a walking tour. You’ll view the seaside village of Castlebay, where a ship loaded with 50,000 cases of whiskey ran aground in 1941 (spawning the film Whiskey Galore!). You’ll visit a toffee manufacturer to taste why Hebrides toffee is considered the best in Scotland, and visit the Old Herring Harbor, once the hub of island industry. Then travel to Vatersay, visiting the wreckage of a World War II aircraft, as well as taking in the island’s white sand beach and the surrounding machair, low, grassy dunes that sweep away from the coast.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy a talk about faith and local life from clergy featured in the BBC documentary, An Island Parish.

    Enjoy free time this afternoon before dinner onboard. Perhaps you'll visit Kisimul, a medieval castle built on a rock in the bay. Its name inspired by the Gaelic cìosamul (castle island), Kisimul is accessible via a short boat trip.

    A lecture this evening will enrich your understanding of the history and culture of the Isle of Barra.

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    • Accommodations:

    Today, enjoy breakfast onboard, then explore the Outer Hebrides. You will arrive in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, first settled by the Vikings as a sea trade port. With its lighthouse and fishing harbor, Stornoway has kept its maritime character ever since, as you’ll see during an included walking tour. Enjoy time to explore at your own leisure here.

    Then set off to discover the island’s rich past. You’ll visit the 5,000 year-old Callanish Stones, an ancient standing stone circle roughly shaped like a Celtic Cross, then discover the Gaerannan Thatch Village, during which you witness a tweed-weaving demonstration and hear the music of a melodeon, a centuries-old local instrument.

    After a picnic lunch with a local storyteller, visit the Abhain Dearg (Red River) Distillery for a taste of single-malt whiskey, the making of which is a 170-year tradition in Scotland.

    After your return to the ship, Highland Scottish Dancers will come aboard for a spirited performance. Enjoy dinner aboard the Corinthian, before your Program Director leads a talk on the Orkneys, an archipelago of 70 or so islands located off the northern tip of mainland Scotland.

    Please note: If this itinerary day falls on a Sunday, you'll visit the islands of North Uist and Berneray, which are also located in the Outer Hebrides.

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    • Meals included:
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    Today, you arrive in the Orkneys, an archipelago in the north of Scotland. After an onboard breakfast, go ashore in Stromness for an included walking tour.

    The second most populous town in the Orkneys, Stromness became a surprisingly vital seaport for British trade in the 17th century. With war waging against France, the British were unable to utilize the English Channel for shipping, which led shipping to take a northern route. Stromness was also a hub for the whaling trade—which is why many of the buildings today continue to be adorned by whale bones and maritime touches.

    You'll learn more about this history with a visit to the Stromness Museum. Then, witness the massive Churchill Barriers built to protect Orkney, as well as the little homespun chapel made by Italian POWs pressed into service to construct the barriers. Your tour continues to a local farm, a fossil center with specimens hundreds of millions of years old, and the village of St. Mary’s, where you visit a handcrafts cooperative.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy leisure time. Or join us for an optional East Mainland tour, including Skara Brae, the most well-preserved Neolithic village in Northern Europe, as well as the most northerly brewery in the British Isles.

    Dine onboard the Corinthian this evening.

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    • Meals included:
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    Arriving in Aberdeen, Scotland, this morning, enjoy breakfast onboard before you set off on a short sightseeing tour of Scotland’s “Silver City,” so named for the local granite used in many of its buildings. Then visit Crathes Castle, a 16th century castle built on what was once a bog. For centuries, it was known for its walled garden, interior ceiling paintings, and recurring rumors of a “green lady,” the spirit of a restless former occupant. But in 2013, it gained a new claim to fame when 10,000-year-old man-made pits were uncovered on the grounds. It’s since been determined that the pits functioned as the oldest lunar calendar on Earth.

    Return to the ship or join us for an optional excursion to Balmoral Castle, where you'll explore the seasonal home of the British royal family and enjoy an included cream tea.

    Enjoy the Captain's Farewell Dinner aboard ship this evening.

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    Enjoy an included city tour of Edinburgh after breakfast today, and get to know this city where commerce and culture mix. Home to the world's largest annual arts festival and a major center for banking, Edinburgh is not only a vibrant metropolis  but also a repository of historic treasures. Its medieval Old Town and 18th-century New Town are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a memorable mix of old and new unfold this morning on your included tour.

    After lunch on your own, the balance of the day is yours for discoveries at your leisure. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Drink and Farewell Dinner.

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    • Meals included:

    Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or begin your post-trip extension to Edinburgh, Scotland.

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    Depart today on your flight to Edinburgh, Scotland. Please refer to your individual air itinerary for exact departure and arrival times. Or begin your discoveries early with our pre-trip extension.

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    Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland, where a Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to to your hotel. 

    Following lunch on your own, enjoy an afternoon at leisure. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink and Dinner.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After an included breakfast, embark on an included city tour of Edinburgh this morning, during which you'll get to know this city where commerce and culture mix. Home to the world's largest annual arts festival and a major center for banking, Edinburgh is not only a vibrant metropolis  but also a repository of historic treasures. Its medieval Old Town and 18th-century New Town are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a memorable mix of old and new unfold this morning on your included tour.

    Then, transfer to the Corinthian, your home for the next 10 nights, in time for an onboard lunch.

    This evening, enjoy a Welcome Briefing and drink, followed by a Welcome Dinner together aboard your ship.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Arriving in Aberdeen, Scotland, this morning, disembark after breakfast to enjoy a short sightseeing tour of Scotland’s “Silver City,” so named for the local granite used in many of its buildings. Then visit Crathes Castle, a 16th century castle built on what was once a bog. For centuries, it was known for its walled garden, interior ceiling paintings, and recurring rumors of a “green lady,” the spirit of a restless former occupant. But in 2013, it gained a new claim to fame when 10,000-year-old man-made pits were uncovered on the grounds. It’s since been determined that the pits functioned as the oldest lunar calendar on Earth.

    Return to the ship for an onboard lunch and time at leisure. Or, join us for an optional Balmoral Castle & Tea tour, where you’ll soak in the grandeur of the seasonal home of the British royal family, and enjoy tea together. You'll return to the ship for an onboard dinner this evening.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Today, you arrive in the Orkneys, an archipelago in the north of Scotland. After breakfast, go ashore in Stromness for an included walking tour. Your discoveries include the Stromness Museum of maritime memorabilia. Then, witness the massive Churchill Barriers built to protect Orkney, as well as the little homespun chapel made by Italian POWs pressed into service to construct the barriers. Your tour continues to a local farm, a fossil center with specimens hundreds of millions of years old, and the village of St. Mary’s, where you visit a handcrafts cooperative.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy leisure time. Or join us for an optional East Mainland tour, including Skara Brae, the most well-preserved Neolithic village in Northern Europe, as well as the most northerly brewery in the British Isles.

    After dinner onboard the Corinthian this evening, enjoy a talk on the Inner Hebrides and Saints Isles.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Today, enjoy breakfast onboard as the Corinthian arrives in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, first settled by the Vikings as a sea trade port. With its lighthouse and fishing harbor, Stornoway has kept its maritime character ever since, as you’ll see during a walking tour. Enjoy time to explore at your own leisure here.

    Then set off to discover the island’s rich past. You’ll visit the 5,000 year-old Callanish Stones, an ancient standing stone circle roughly shaped like a Celtic cross, then discover the Gearrannan Thatch Village, during which you witness a tweed-weaving demonstration and hear the music of a melodeon, a centuries-old local instrument.

    After a picnic lunch with a local storyteller, visit the Abhain Dearg (Red River) Distillery for a taste of single-malt whiskey, the making of which is a 170-year tradition in Scotland.

    After your return to the ship, Highland Scottish Dancers will come aboard for a spirited performance. Enjoy dinner aboard the Corinthian, before your Program Director leads a talk on Barra, Scotland, as you sail there.

    Please note: If this day falls on a Sunday, you’ll visit the islands of North Uist and Berneray, which are also located in the Outer Hebrides.

  • hidden

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Your ship drops anchor in Barra, Scotland before your onboard breakfast. After dining, disembark to discover the most southerly of the inhabited Outer Hebrides islands during a walking tour. You’ll view the seaside village of Castlebay, where a ship loaded with 50,000 cases of whiskey ran aground in 1941 (spawning the film Whiskey Galore!). You’ll visit a toffee manufacturer to taste why Hebrides toffee is considered the best in Scotland, and visit the Old Herring Harbor, once the hub of island industry. Then travel to Vatersay, visiting the wreckage of a World War II aircraft, as well as taking in the island’s white sand beach and the surrounding machair, low, grassy dunes that sweep away from the coast.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy a talk about faith and local life from clergy featured in the BBC documentary, An Island Parish.

    Enjoy free time this afternoon before dinner onboard. Perhaps you'll visit Kisimul, a medieval castle built on a rock in the bay. Its name inspired by the Gaelic cìosamul (castle island), Kisimul is accessible via a short boat trip.

    A lecture this evening will enrich your understanding of the history and culture of the Isle of Barra.

  • hidden

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Anchoring in Iona, you’ll go ashore on one of Scotland’s smallest inhabited islands to enjoy a walk to the Abbey, which was key in fostering the rise of Christianity throughout the region. Saint Columba established a monastery here in 563, which faced its first great challenge in 800, when it was pillaged by the Vikings. The local faithful persevered and in 1200, the Abbey was established. With restoration completed in the 20th century, the Abbey has been an active ecumenical religious center ever since.

    Then, revel in a multifaceted portrait of local culture. First, a local artist and silversmith introduces you to this blend of skill and artistry. Then, enjoy an included lunch of island produce for a true taste of Iona. Round out your discoveries with a talk by a crofter, a farmer who tends a small, fenced plot and keeps alive uniquely Scottish agricultural traditions.

    Enjoy free time to explore this afternoon before returning to your ship for dinner.

    Please note: In case of adverse weather conditions we may dock in Craignure and enjoy alternate discoveries there instead of Iona.

  • hidden

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    This morning, enjoy breakfast onboard before you set off for an included sightseeing tour of Dublin, with a visit to Trinity Cathedral, where we view the ninth-century Book of Kells, one of the most elaborately illustrated illuminated Gospels. Then we visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Built next to the legendary well in which Patrick was said to have baptized new converts, the cathedral was completed in 1220. The final resting place of Jonathan Swift, and now the National Cathedral, Saint Patrick’s is rich with history. In one tale, warring families brought their blood feud all the way to the church, with one family hiding inside and the other outside. To make a truce, a hole was cut in a doorway, and one patriarch dared to stick his arm through to shake that of the other—hoping it wouldn’t be cut off. When they shook, peace was brokered, and ever since, it’s been an Irish saying “ to chance your arm.” The so-called “Door of Reconciliation” is on display in the cathedral to this day.

    Return to the ship for lunch, or you may enjoy an included shuttle back to the ship this afternoon to explore more of Dublin independently and enjoy lunch on your own. Or, join us for our optional Malahide Castle tour, a twelfth-century fortress, where you’ll enjoy an included lunch.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After this morning's breakfast, the Corinthian arrives in Holyhead, located on Holy Island, Wales, a seaport linking Wales and Ireland for 4,000 years. A short drive brings you to Caernarfon Castle, which sits on the strait that divides the mainland of Wales from Anglesey. King Edward I built a fortress here to control supply routes to the coast, as well as to control access to the agriculturally rich Angelsey. A walking tour to the castle will reveal its massive construction and imposing polygonal towers, of which 17th century travel writer John Taylor wrote, "if [the castle] be well manned, victualled, and ammunitioned, it is invincible." This impressive setting is where His Royal Highness Prince Charles was invested in 1969.

    This afternoon, break bread with a local family during a light Home-Hosted Lunch, where you'll learn more about Welsh daily life today. These insights will be complemented by this afternoon's visit to the National Slate Museum, built on the site of a 19th-century slate quarry. You'll view a slate splitting demonstration here to see how craftsman sliced the stone and made objects from it.

    This evening, savor dinner aboard the Corinthian as you sail toward Fishguard.

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    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    We arrive in Fishguard, Wales this morning. After breakfast onboard, visit Fishguard, where the Gwaun River flows to the sea. The Lower Town of Fishguard is the setting where the original fishing village here was established in the tenth century. A Norse trading post that became a busy port town, Fishguard was the site of an incursion in 1797 that would be France's last successful invasion of Britain—a triumph that lasted only two days. The tale of the short-lived occupation is told in a 100-foot tapestry which was created for the 200th anniversary by a team of 77 local women, who used 97 colors and sewed for two years to create the piece. You’ll visit Town Hall to view the tapestry and admire their handiwork.

    Then enjoy free time in Fishguard, perhaps visiting the Fishguard Farmers Market. Or, join our optional tour to St. David's, the ecclesiastical capital of Wales. You'll visit a woolen mill before exploring the Medieval cathedral named after the country's patron saint, as well as an adjacent bishop's palace.

    Enjoy lunch and dinner onboard the Corinthian today.

  • hidden

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    With shell-covered beaches, rolling heaths, granite outcroppings, and a pair of castles, windswept Tresco presents many faces despite its small size (just more than a square mile). After breakfast onboard the Corinthian, you’ll explore Tresco on your way to Abbey Gardens. These gardens contain the remnants of an abbey first founded in the tenth century and the expanded in the twelfth. Elm, sycamore, oak, cypress, and pine trees provide natural protection from the elements, which allows exotic plants from all over the globe to thrive, including South African proteas, Canary Island echiums, Australian banksia, and more. A local guide with lead your discoveries here, before you enjoy free time.

    During lunch aboard ship, you'll meet members of University of the Third Age, a lifelong learning organization for retirees and the semi-retired.

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    Enjoy breakfast onboard as the Corinthian docks this morning in Poole, a major south coast seaport. Here you will transfer later from the ship to your hotel in London. After enjoying lunch on your own, get to know the area surrounding your hotel on a guided walk with your Program Director.

    Dinner is on your own this evening.

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    There’s no better place to launch your discoveries than the actual Crown Jewel of the United Kingdom: London. After this morning's breakfast, begin your London discoveries with a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city, about which Samuel Johnson wrote, “there is in London all that life can afford.”

    After an included lunch in a local pub, for a true taste of British daily life, enjoy the balance of the day to make discoveries at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Drink and Farewell Dinner together.

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    • Meals included:

    Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or begin your London, England post-trip extension.

Extensions

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Weather & Regional

Before you travel, we encourage you to learn about the region of the world you'll discover on this trip. From weather and currency information to details on population, geography, and local history, you'll find a comprehensive introduction to your destinations below.

Visit our “What to Know” page to find information about the level of activity to expect, vaccination information resources, and visa requirements specific to this vacation.

What to Know

For more detailed information about this trip, download our Travel Handbook below. This document covers a wide range of information on specific areas of your trip, from passport, visa, and medical requirements; to the currencies of the countries you’ll visit and the types of electrical outlets you’ll encounter. This handbook is written expressly for this itinerary. For your convenience, we've highlighted our travelers' most common areas of interest on this page.

What to Expect

Pacing

  • 14 days, with 10 nights aboard the Corinthian, and 2 hotel stays, including 1 single-night stay

Physical Requirements

  • Travelers using mobility aids or with medical conditions that might require immediate attention will not be able to board the Corinthian
  • You must be able to walk 3 miles unassisted and participate in 2 hours of physical activities each day

Climate

  • Daytime temperatures range from 60-74°F during cruising season

Terrain

  • Travel over uneven surfaces, including unpaved paths, steep hills, stairs, and cobblestones

Small Ship Cruising

  • In several ports along the Scottish Islands, it will be necessary to use local tenders or Zodiacs
  • Agility and balance are required for embarking Zodiac boats; landings may be wet
  • If docked at a pier, gangway incline can be steep
  • Weather conditions and tides may require adjustments to your itinerary, especially in the Scottish and Scilly islands

Transportation

  • Travel by 33- to 45-seat coach, and 98-passenger small ship

Cuisine

  • Meals will be a mix of regional specialties and familiar American standards
  • Meals onboard feature a variety of entrée options, including vegetarian

Travel Documents

Passport

Your passport should meet these requirements for this itinerary

  • It should be valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled return to the U.S.
  • It should have the recommended number of blank pages (refer to the handbook for details).
  • The blank pages must be labeled “Visas” at the top. Pages labeled “Amendments and Endorsements” are not acceptable.

Visas

U.S. citizens do not need a visa for this trip.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, do not travel with a U.S. passport, or will be traveling independently before/after this trip, then your entry requirements may be different. Please check with the appropriate embassy or a visa servicing company. To contact our recommended visa servicing company, PVS International, call toll-free at 1-800-556-9990.

Vaccinations Information

For a detailed and up-to-date list of vaccinations that are recommended for this trip, please visit the CDC’s “Traveler’s Health” website. You can also refer to the handbook for details.

Before Your Trip

Before you leave on your vacation, there are at least four health-related things you should do. Please check the handbook for specifics, but for now, here’s the short list:

Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting.
Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor.
Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.)

What to Bring

In an effort to help you bring less, we have included checklists within the handbook, which have been compiled from suggestions by Program Directors and former travelers. The lists are only jumping-off points—they offer recommendations based on experience, but not requirements. You might also want to refer to the climate charts in the handbook or online weather forecasts before you pack. Refer to the handbook for details.

Accommodations

Main Trip

  • Corinthian

    The Corinthian is 290 feet long and carries 98 passengers in 49 outside-facing suites—each at least 215 sq. ft. in area. All suites feature individual climate control, mini-refrigerator, safe, telephone, TV, DVD/CD player, a sitting area, hair dryer, and a private bathroom with shower. An elevator serves all passenger decks. The ship’s well-appointed common areas include a restaurant, two lounges and a library with Internet access, and provide congenial spaces to get to know your fellow travelers as you cruise. Enjoy discoveries on land in a group of no more than 25 travelers led by your own expert, resident Program Director.

Main Trip

  • Millennium Gloucester

    London, England

    The Millennium Gloucester Hotel is located in the fashionable neighborhood of Kensington, in the heart of central London. The hotel is a two-minute walk from Gloucester Road Tube Station, which serves as the gateway to the rest of the city. This upscale hotel features a restaurant, casino, lounge/ bar, safety deposit boxes, dry cleaning and laundry service, and your room is equipped with a color/cable TV with movie channel, coffee/tea maker, a minibar, air conditioning, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and in-room safe.

  • Carlton Hotel

    Edinburgh, Scotland | Rating: First Class

    The First-Class Carlton Hotel is within walking distance of many of Edinburgh’s most famous historic sites, including Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, and health club featuring a swimming pool, sauna, and gym. Each room features a TV, wireless Internet access, and private bath with hair dryer.

Extensions

  • Millennium Gloucester

    London, England

    The Millennium Gloucester Hotel is located in the fashionable neighborhood of Kensington, in the heart of central London. The hotel is a two-minute walk from Gloucester Road Tube Station, which serves as the gateway to the rest of the city. This upscale hotel features a restaurant, casino, lounge/ bar, safety deposit boxes, dry cleaning and laundry service, and your room is equipped with a color/cable TV with movie channel, coffee/tea maker, a minibar, air conditioning, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and in-room safe.

  • Carlton Hotel

    Edinburgh, Scotland | Rating: First Class

    The First-Class Carlton Hotel is within walking distance of many of Edinburgh’s most famous historic sites, including Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar, and health club featuring a swimming pool, sauna, and gym. Each room features a TV, wireless Internet access, and private bath with hair dryer.

Flight Information

Flight Options to Personalize Your Trip

You can choose to stay longer before or after your trip on your own, or combine two vacations to maximize your value.

  • Extend your vacation and lower your per day cost with our optional pre- and post-trip excursions
  • Choose our standard air routing, or work with us to select the airline and routing you prefer
  • Make your own international flight arrangements directly with the airline, applying frequent flyer miles if available
  • International airport transfers to and from your ship or hotel, including meet and greet service, are available for purchase
  • Stay overnight in a connecting city before or after your trip
  • Request to arrive a few days early to get a fresh start on your vacation
  • Choose to "break away" before or after your trip, spending additional days or weeks on your own
  • Combine your choice of Grand Circle Cruise Line vacations to maximize your value
  • Upgrade to business or premium class

The air options listed above will involve an additional fee of $100 per person for confirmed requests (as well as incremental airfare costs based on your specific choice).

Standard Air Routing

w/out standard air $5495
w/ standard air $6895
Approximate travel times

Pay Early & Save up to 10% with our Good Buy Plan

It’s simple: The earlier you reserve and pay in full by check or electronic funds transfer, the more you’ll save on any 2015 departure of Maritime Jewels of the British Isles. You’ll maximize your value—saving up to a full 10% off your total trip price—when you pay in full twelve months or more prior to departure. Even if you don’t reserve a full year in advance, you’ll still save, as seen in the example below. Plus, there’s no risk in reserving early with our Lowest Price Guarantee. You’ll receive our lowest cruise-only price if we reduce your main trip price more than 60 days from departure.

This example demonstrates how you can save, based on a 6/24/15 departure:

  ORIGINAL PRICE
per person
SAVE 7%
when you reserve and pay in full by 7/24/14
SAVE 5%
when you reserve and pay in full by 9/24/14
SAVE 3%
when you reserve
and pay in full by 11/24/14
Small Ship Cruise Tour-only price: $6495 $5846 $6040 $6170
Add a 3-night Edinburgh, Scotland extension: $795 $716 $739 $755
Add international airfare out of New York: $1400 $1260 $1302 $1330
Total price per person $8690 $7822 $8081 $8255
Total savings per couple   $1736 $1218 $870

Maximize your value by using the money you save for a cabin upgrade or optional trip extension

Call Now 1-800-221-2610

Edinburgh Castle: Shrouded in Secrets

The myths and mysteries of Scotland’s iconic landmark

by Catherine Groux, Grand Circle associate

Over the years, Edinburgh has spawned mysterious tales of falsely accused witches, sneaky prisoners, ancient relics, and paranormal activity.

With more than 800 years of history, Edinburgh Castle is shrouded in secrets. Centuries of royals lived within its illustrious chambers and great halls, while countless prisoners awaited their death deep in its dungeons. While today one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing more than a million visitors a year, at various points, the castle served as execution site, royal treasury, and even a fortress. Over the years, Edinburgh has spawned mysterious tales of spying kings, falsely accused witches, sneaky prisoners, ancient relics, and paranormal activity. Below is just a sample of the many myths and mysteries of Edinburgh Castle and the people who lived and died there:

The Stone of Destiny

Protected in Edinburgh Castle is a mysterious block of sandstone. Bearing only a Latin cross, there is little remarkable about its appearance—but throughout history, the Stone of Destiny has inspired legends, sparked great reverence, and spurred several conflicts between Scotland and England.

Beginning in the ninth century, the stone was used during the crowning of the kings who would go on to shape Scotland’s history. Some say the stone has biblical origins, claiming that Jacob used it as a pillow in Bethel when he dreamt of a ladder to heaven. Others believe it came from Scotland or Ireland. But as the stone traveled from Iona to Scone to serve Scotland’s crowned rulers, it became revered as a national relic—a symbol of Scotland’s power and independence.

It was for this reason that Edward I of England, after invading Scotland in 1296, moved the Stone of Destiny to London’s Westminster Abbey, where he put it under the Coronation Chair—sending a message to Scots that the English ruler was their ruler as well. To many Scots’ dismay, the stone remained in Westminster until Christmas morning 1950, when a group of Scottish students stole it—claiming they were taking the ancient relic back to its rightful owners in Scotland. After performing the bold heist (and breaking the stone in half in the process), the nationalists smuggled it back to Scotland, dousing it in whiskey to welcome it home.

After police questioning, however, the students eventually gave up the stone, leaving it in Arbroath Abbey. When it was found, it was moved back to London until 1996, when the British government agreed to return it to Edinburgh Castle. While this was cause for celebration for many Scots, others say the stone you see in the castle today is not the original. Some historians believe the true Stone of Destiny was hidden in the Perthshire hillside when the English invaded in the 13th century—meaning Edward I plundered a counterfeit—while others say the Scots hid the real stone after the 1950 heist, returning a fake to England.

The Lone Piper

Edinburgh Castle is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the world, and though countless visitors claim to have seen various ghosts wandering the grounds, one of the castle’s most famous paranormal residents is the Lone Piper. Legend says that in the 19th century, a series of underground tunnels was discovered below the castle, connecting Edinburgh to the Royal Mile and Holyrood Palace. Because the tunnels were too small for adults, the authorities asked a young piper to investigate, telling him to play his bagpipes while he explored. As the boy made his way through the mysterious tunnels, the authorities tracked his movements with the sound of his pipes, until the boy stopped playing—vanishing into the dark, underground labyrinth. No one knows what happened to the boy, but visitors still report hearing the ghostly sound of pipes on the castle grounds.

The Witches’ Well

Near the entrance to the castle esplanade sits a small wall fountain called the Witches’ Well. Although the well would be easy to miss, it serves as a reminder of one of the darker times in Scottish history. Between 1479 and 1722, more than 300 suspected witches were burned at the stake near the site of the well. Among them was Janet Douglas, a.k.a. Lady Glamis, a noblewoman whose husband suddenly died while eating alone. Lady Glamis was charged with poisoning him, but when she was deemed innocent, King James V acted on his deep hatred of the Douglas family and accused her of another crime—trying to kill him with witchcraft. Although it seems clear that Lady Glamis was innocent, the king tortured her loved ones until they were willing to testify that she conspired to murder the monarch. Lady Glamis was ultimately condemned and burned at the stake on the castle’s esplanade, along with countless others who met this unfortunate fate.

The Escape Artists

Deep below the Great Hall and Queen Anne Building are stone vaults that housed countless prisoners of war, from a group of Caribbean pirates to a five-year-old drummer boy captured in the Battle of Trafalgar. Over the years, several of these prisoners tried to escape. In 1799, for example, a prisoner tried to sneak out of the castle by hiding in a dung barrel. Unfortunately, the man’s plans were dashed when a guard dumped him—and the other contents of the barrel—over the castle wall. During another famous escape in 1811, a group of 49 French prisoners managed to break through a wall and use a cloth rope to lower themselves down the south crag. Unfortunately, the Frenchmen didn’t escape scot-free. One prisoner fell to his death and four were captured almost immediately. The rest were caught within six weeks, after a successful ad in the Edinburgh Evening Courant named and described each one.