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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958

2017 Maritime Jewels of the British Isles & Ireland

England: London, Tresco • Wales: Fishguard, Caernarfon • Ireland: Dublin • Northern Ireland: Belfast • Scotland: Barra, Stornoway, Stromness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh

CRUISE COMFORTABLY IN SMALL GROUPS OF 25 ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 98-PASSENGER M/V CORINTHIAN
82% Traveler Excellence Rating Read reviews

15 Days from only $8795 including international airfare

Courtesy CNN
What to see in London

From bookstores hidden on soho side streets, to the Royal Opera House, London beckons with wonders large and small.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Dublin & Beyond

Discover Celtic treasures and cultural delights during a Dublin walking tour with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

Courtesy of Epiphany Morgan
Glyn: A 365 Docobites Film

Meet a Scottish man who’s been playing the bagpipes since he was a boy—and who now fills Edinburgh’s streets with music.

Courtesy of Ross Harrison
The Morris Men

With bells, bowler hats, and a playful spirit, England’s Morris Men dance their way into your heart.

©2014 The New York Times
36 Hours in Dublin

Get a taste of Dublin's vibrant energy, world-class pub culture, and how local Guinness reigns supreme.

FROM
$8795
15 DAYS
$587/DAY
including international airfare
14 DAYS FROM $7395 Small Ship Adventure Only
Extend Your Trip
 

ACT NOW! There’s still time to
travel to the British Isles &
Ireland in 2017. Reserve today.

 

Discover Scotland with our
NEW Destination Page
use our interactive map & more

 

You can extend your discoveries in London, England.
See More Options »

NEW: Activity Level

Our NEW Activity Level rating system ranks our trips on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult) to help you determine if a trip is right for you. The information below is a general guide to our rating system, but see our itineraries for much more detailed physical activity information about each trip.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

Itinerary Overview

Small in territory but vast in diversity, the island nations of Great Britain and Ireland boast an array of distinct cultures, colorful histories, and natural splendors, from highlands to cliff-tops. Cruising aboard a small ship allows you to navigate among tiny islands and remote ports as easily as city harbors. On this 14-day British Isles cruise, you’ll discover the Isles of Scilly, then follow the coast of Wales to explore fishing villages and mighty castles. Witness Dublin’s Book of Kells 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 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.

Make It Your Adventure

Personalize your trip to meet your individual needs, from preferred flights and air routing, to “breaking away” to spend more time in a destination.

  • O.A.T’s team of Adventure Specialists makes every effort to provide you with non-stop flights and acceptable connection times to and from your destination. You also have several other options for personalizing your air itinerary, which include:

    • Choose your departure city and airline: We list the most popular gateway cities on our website, but not all of them. If you don’t see yours listed, or there’s one that better suits your needs, let us know. You can also tell us if you have an airline preference and we will try to accommodation your request.
    • Depart from one city and return from another: Just because your flight leaves from one city doesn’t mean you have to return there. Maybe you flew out of Boston and wish to visit friends in Los Angeles after your trip is over. Tell us where you want to go and we’ll do our best to get you there.
    • Fly the way you want to: We’ll gladly arrange a flight upgrade to business or premium economy class if it’s available. And when you fly economy class, we’ll do our best to see that you get your choice of seating preference or even add a special meal request if you have dietary restrictions or needs.
  • You can maximize your time abroad and "break away" anywhere you'd like to do more exploring on your own. Consider arriving early to get a fresh start in London, England or stay for a day, a week, or even a month in Edinburgh, Scotland to make even more discoveries before you journey back home. Our Travel Counselors can provide you with information on the accommodations we will use at the beginning of your trip so that you can make your own arrangements. That way, you'll know that you will be exactly where you need to be to meet your group.

  • Many of our travelers choose to take another trip directly after their first one ends. Think about it: If you’re already overseas, why not see more of the region and avoid the expense and length of another international flight? Many of our travelers have taken two or three consecutive trips before returning home. Some of the most common trips combined with our Maritime Jewels of the British Isles & Ireland Small Ship Adventure are our England, Scotland & Wales vacation, our Ireland in Depth vacation,our Cruising Burgundy & Provence to the Cote d’Azur River Cruise, and our The Seine: Paris to Normandy River Cruise. And now you’ll save an additional $250-$350 per person when you reserve two trips right after one another.

  • Many Grand Circle travelers simply don’t want their trips to end. With an array of pre- and post-trip extensions to choose from, you have the chance to experience more of the places you’ve traveled so far to see, including London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. Plus, you lower your average per-day costs because you’re taking advantage of your already included international airfare.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $945

    English Countryside
    Produced by Small World Productions
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    The bustling capital of England offers discoveries both historic and cosmopolitan, from Trafalgar Square to some of the world’s most pre-eminent museums. Your included two-day London Transport Pass will give you easy access to the city’s “Tube” (subway) and buses, bringing you to all corners of the city, where you can further enhance your discoveries independently after discovering historic Hampton Court.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 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.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    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.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    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 London city tour, during which you'll witness some of the city's greatest icons—including the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace.

    After an included lunch in a local pub, for a true taste of British daily life, enjoy the balance of the day to explore at leisure, and discover for yourself the highlights that inspired Samuel Johnson to write, “there is in London all that life can afford.”

    Dinner is on your own this evening.

  • After this morning's breakfast, you'll travel southwest to Poole and embark the Grand Circle small ship that will be your home for the duration of your British Isles cruise.

    Set sail from the largest natural harbor in Europe this evening and enjoy a Captain's Welcome Drink and Welcome Dinner onboard.

  • 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). Of all the treasures that Tresco boasts, one of its more famous gems is the Abby Garden. These gardens contain the remnants of an abbey first founded in the tenth century and 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.

    After lunch aboard your ship today, you'll tender to Tresco, then explore this tiny island on your way to Abbey Gardens.

    Tonight, hear a Port Talk about your next destination: Fishguard, Wales, before enjoying dinner onboard.

  • Enjoy breakfast onboard as you cruise into the tiny town of Fishguard. Once you arrive this morning, see another side of Welsh life during a visit to Alan James Farm—for an exclusive Discovery Series event. There, you’ll tour the property and visit some of the animals to see how each contributes to the business—including sampling fresh milk when you pass through the milking parlor. Get an intimate and authentic glimpse of the farmer's routine, everyday life, and the inner workings of the business today. After, enjoy tea and a light snack in the farmer's home while learning about the difficulties Welsh farmers and the farming industry face in the region today.

    Next, you’ll visit Fishguard’s Town Hall to view a 100-foot tapestry that depicts an incursion in 1797 that lasted only two days. The tale of the short-lived occupation is told on the tapestry that 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. Afterwards, return to the ship for lunch.

    Later this afternoon, depart for Wale’s ecclesiastical capital—St. David's—where you’ll visit the medieval cathedral named after the country's patron saint before making your own independent discoveries. St. David, a Welsh bishop, established a monastery in the sixth century on the site of today's cathedral. Churches at the time were one of the wealthier institutions in the British Isles, making them more susceptible to attacks. As Viking invaders flooded the region, the cathedral fell prey to attacks from the seventh century until the eleventh century.  It wasn't until 1181 when construction of the current cathedral began. 

    Enjoy dinner onboard the ship this evening before sailing to your next port of call.

  • 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.

    Following your castle visit, you’ll enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before visiting 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 craftsmen sliced the stone and made objects from it.

    This evening, enjoy dinner aboard your small ship as you sail toward Dublin.

  • This morning, enjoy breakfast onboard before you embark on an included sightseeing tour of Dublin. Visit Trinity College to view the ninth-century Book of Kells, one of the most elaborately illustrated illuminated Gospels, before visiting St. Mary’s Cathedral, a 19th-century Catholic church built on the site of a twelfth century Cistercian Abbey.

    Starting in the 16th and 17th centuries, anti-Catholic Penal Laws and religious limitations were enacted to prevent Roman Catholics from practicing. Protestantism was the dominant religion of the time, but due to resistance from the public in the early 19th century, these strict laws dissolved and Catholicism was a free religion again. As a result, the construction of St. Mary’s Cathedral on Marlborough Street commenced.  

    Later this morning, set off for a Home-Hosted Lunch. Enjoy a true taste of Irish life as you savor a traditional meal with a local family. Then this afternoon you may choose to return to the ship or take a shuttle bus into town to explore Dublin independently. Perhaps you’ll visit the 12th-century St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the final resting place of Jonathan Swift, and now the National Cathedral of Ireland. The cathedral was built next to the legendary well in which Patrick was said to have baptized new converts.

    Enjoy dinner onboard this evening before cruising to Belfast.

  • This morning, your ship arrives in the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, a city steeped in history and culture. During this morning’s exclusive Discovery Series tour, get a local perspective of the city's political turmoil and religious divide, all while traveling like a resident—via taxi. Delve into the dark past of Northern Ireland during a visit to the Crumlin Road Jail, where you’ll get firsthand insight into life as a political prisoner during a meeting with a former convict.

    Following these discoveries, learn about Northern Ireland’s age-old conflict between Catholics and Protestants, which continues to affect life here today. Witness the division between West Belfast’s Protestant neighborhood of Shankhill Road and the Catholic neighborhood of Crumlin Road, where you’ll pass detailed street art that conveys both side’s deep-rooted feelings before returning to the ship for lunch.    

    The balance of the afternoon is yours to explore the city independently. Return to the ship this evening for an onboard dinner. Your ship cruises to Barra overnight.   

  • Your ship drops anchor in Barra, Scotland before breakfast. Go ashore on the most southerly of the inhabited Outer Hebrides islands for an immersive tour. Visit with a community of local gardeners who grow and sell produce on the island. Learn about the different crops, and how Scotland’s temperamental weather proves to be a daily struggle for farmers. Later, we’ll stop at a community center to chat with more islanders and enjoy a spot of tea or coffee. You can also opt to join your Trip Leader on a walk to the Annie Jane memorial, erected to commemorate the tragic shipwreck of an emigrant ship of the same name in 1853.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy free time this afternoon. Perhaps you’ll seek out one of Barra’s specialties—toffee—to find out why it’s considered the best in Scotland. Or you may 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.

    Return to the ship later this afternoon where you may take part in a discussion led by two local community leaders who will speak about the challenges faced on the island as well as the Barra’s opportunities.

    Dinner is onboard this evening as you cruise to Stornoway.

  • Today, enjoy breakfast onboard before exploring 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.

    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 Blackhouse Village, during which you hear the music of a melodeon, a centuries-old local instrument.

    After returning to the ship for lunch, the balance of the day is yours. Perhaps you’ll enjoy the afternoon lounging on the Sun Deck or journey to the 18th-century Lews Castle to visit the ground's museum to get a glimpse of the island’s history and locals’ daily lives. Later this afternoon, enjoy the warm spirit of local Highland Scottish Dancers and their families when they come aboard to share a piece of their culture with you.

    Please note: If this itinerary day falls on a Sunday, you'll visit the Isle of Skye.  

  • Today, you arrive in the Orkneys, an archipelago in the north of Scotland. After an onboard breakfast, go ashore in Stromness for an included tour. You’ll begin your day’s discoveries with a visit to Stromness’ World War II Italian Chapel where you’ll learn about the humbling story of how the structure came to be before setting off to visit the town of Kirkwall. The capital of Orkney, this ancient city dates back to the 11th century when the Norse first christened it Kirkjuvagr, meaning “The Church of the Bay.” Today, it’s a vibrant port with the charm of a small town and the abundant shopping and restaurant options of a city.

    Then visit the Stromness Museum to learn more about the second most populous town in the Orkneys, which 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.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy leisure time. Or join us for an optional West Mainland tour, including the many Neolithic sites for which the area is famous.

    Your Program Director will lead an in-depth Port Talk on your next destination, Aberdeen, prior to dinner this evening.

  • After this morning’s breakfast, you'll sample Scotland's beloved drink of choice—whiskey—during a visit to a local distillery. Next, depart for a tour of Footdee. The small 19th-century fishing village boasts charming stone cottages, sweeping views of the ocean, and colorfully quirky garden sheds, which showcase eclectic designs and nautical embellishments.

    Then enjoy a city tour of Aberdeen, Scotland's “Silver City,” so named for the local granite used in many of its buildings. Return to the ship for an onboard lunch and the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Perhaps you'll explore the Old Town in Aberdeen where you may visit King's College to see the 15th-century architecture or stroll through the serene Cruickshank Botanic Gardens.

    Enjoy a Captain's Farewell Drink and Farewell Dinner aboard ship this evening as you cruise to Edinburgh.

  • 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. 

    Start today's tour at the National Museum to get a quick glimpse of the culture and history of Scotland before driving to the New Town, past the medieval St. Giles Cathedral and the dramatic Scott Monument—the world's biggest monument dedicated to a writer, Sir Walter Scott. End your tour on the Old Town's Royal Mile. This stretch of the city reaches from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Road.

    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 Dinner.

    • Meals included:

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

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    3 nights from only $945

    Edinburgh's Maritime Attractions
    Courtesy of CNN
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    Like Rome, it sits on seven hills and has been called the “Athens of the North” for its architectural gems and scholarly traditions—but Edinburgh is a city with a spirit all its own. With a fascinating history and vibrant contemporary culture, Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most memorable capitals. Explore the city that has been home to such luminaries as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson, and discover its cobbled streets, world-famous museums, and, of course, iconic Edinburgh Castle.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 3 nights from only $945

    Edinburgh's Maritime Attractions
    Courtesy of CNN
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    Like Rome, it sits on seven hills and has been called the “Athens of the North” for its architectural gems and scholarly traditions—but Edinburgh is a city with a spirit all its own. With a fascinating history and vibrant contemporary culture, Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most memorable capitals. Explore the city that has been home to such luminaries as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson, and discover its cobbled streets, world-famous museums, and, of course, iconic Edinburgh Castle.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 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.

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

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

  • 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. 

    Start today's tour at the National Museum to get a quick glimpse of the culture and history of Scotland before driving to the New Town, past the medieval St. Giles Cathedral and the dramatic Scott Monument—the world's biggest monument dedicated to a writer, Sir Walter Scott. End your tour on the Old Town's Royal Mile. This stretch of the city reaches from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Road.

    Then, transfer to your Grand Circle Cruise Line small ship, which will be your home for the duration of your British Isles cruise, in time for an onboard lunch.

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

  • After this morning’s breakfast, you'll sample Scotland's beloved drink of choice—whiskey—during a visit to a local distillery. Next, depart for a tour of Footdee. The small 19th-century fishing village boasts charming stone cottages, sweeping views of the ocean, and colorfully quirky garden sheds, which showcase eclectic designs and nautical embellishments.

    Then enjoy a city tour of Aberdeen, Scotland's “Silver City,” so named for the local granite used in many of its buildings. Return to the ship for an onboard lunch and the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Perhaps you'll explore the Old Town in Aberdeen where you may visit King's College to see the 15th-century architecture or stroll through the serene Cruickshank Botanic Gardens.

    Enjoy dinner aboard ship this evening as you cruise to Stromness.

  • Today, you arrive in the Orkneys, an archipelago in the north of Scotland. After an onboard breakfast, go ashore in Stromness for an included tour. You’ll begin your day’s discoveries with a visit to Stromness’ World War II Italian Chapel where you’ll learn about the humbling story of how the structure came to be before setting off to visit the town of Kirkwall. The capital of Orkney, this ancient city dates back to the 11th century when the Norse first christened it Kirkjuvagr, meaning “The Church of the Bay.” Today, it’s a vibrant port with the charm of a small town and the abundant shopping and restaurant options of a city.

    Then visit the Stromness Museum to learn more about the second most populous town in the Orkneys, which 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.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy leisure time. Or join us for an optional West Mainland tour, including the many Neolithic sites for which the area is famous.

    Dinner is onboard this evening.

  • Today, enjoy breakfast onboard as your small ship 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 ancient maritime character ever since, as you'll see on your included tour today.

    Your first stop is the 5,000 year-old Callanish Stones, an standing stone circle roughly shaped like a Celtic cross. Then discover the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, during which you'll hear the music of a melodeon, a centuries-old local instrument.

    After returning to the ship for lunch, the remainder of the day is yours. Perhaps you’ll enjoy the afternoon lounging on the Sun Deck or journey to the 18th-century Lews Castle to visit the ground's museum to get a glimpse of the island’s history and locals’ daily lives. Later this afternoon, enjoy the warm spirit of local Highland Scottish Dancers and their families when they come aboard to share a piece of their culture with you.

    This evening, your Program Director leads a talk on your next port of call, Stromness, before dinner onboard. 

    Please note: If this day falls on a Sunday, you'll visit the Isle of Skye.

  • Your ship drops anchor in Barra, Scotland before breakfast. Go ashore on the most southerly of the inhabited Outer Hebrides islands for an immersive tour. Visit with a community of local gardeners who grow and sell produce on the island. Learn about the different crops, and how Scotland’s temperamental weather proves to be a daily struggle for farmers. Later, we’ll stop at a community center to chat with more islanders and enjoy a spot of tea or coffee. You can also opt to join your Trip Leader on a walk to the Annie Jane memorial, erected to commemorate the tragic shipwreck of an emigrant ship of the same name in 1853.

    After lunch aboard ship, enjoy free time this afternoon. Perhaps you’ll seek out one of Barra’s specialties—toffee—to find out why it’s considered the best in Scotland. Or you may 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.

    Return to the ship later this afternoon where you may take part in a discussion led by two local community leaders who will speak about the challenges faced on the island as well as the Barra’s opportunities.

    Dinner is onboard this evening as you cruise to Belfast.

  • This morning, your ship arrives in the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, a city steeped in history and culture. During this morning’s exclusive Discovery Series tour, get a local perspective of the city's political turmoil and religious divide, all while traveling like a resident—via taxi. Delve into the dark past of Northern Ireland during a visit to the Crumlin Road Jail, where you’ll get firsthand insight into life as a political prisoner during a meeting with a former convict.

    Following these discoveries, learn about Northern Ireland’s age-old conflict between Catholics and Protestants, which continues to affect life here today. Witness the division between West Belfast’s Protestant neighborhood of Shankhill Road and the Catholic neighborhood of Crumlin Road, where you’ll pass detailed street art that conveys both side’s deep-rooted feelings before returning to the ship for lunch.    

    The balance of the afternoon is yours to explore the city independently. Return to the ship this evening for an onboard dinner while you cruise to Dublin overnight.   

  • This morning, enjoy breakfast onboard before you embark on an included sightseeing tour of Dublin. Visit Trinity College to view the ninth-century Book of Kells, one of the most elaborately illustrated illuminated Gospels, before visiting St. Mary’s Cathedral, a 19th-century Catholic church built on the site of a twelfth century Cistercian Abbey.

    Starting in the 16th and 17th centuries, anti-Catholic Penal Laws and religious limitations were enacted to prevent Roman Catholics from practicing. Protestantism was the dominant religion of the time, but due to resistance from the public in the early 19th century, these strict laws dissolved and Catholicism was a free religion again. As a result, the construction of St. Mary’s Cathedral on Marlborough Street commenced.  

    Later this morning, set off for a Home-Hosted Lunch. Enjoy a true taste of Irish life as you savor a traditional meal with a local family. Then this afternoon you may choose to return to the ship or take a shuttle bus into town to explore Dublin independently. Perhaps you’ll visit the 12th-century St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the final resting place of Jonathan Swift, and now the National Cathedral of Ireland. The cathedral was built next to the legendary well in which Patrick was said to have baptized new converts.

    Enjoy dinner onboard this evening before cruising to Holyhead.

  • 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.

    Following your castle visit, you’ll enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before visiting 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 craftsmen sliced the stone and made objects from it.

    This evening, enjoy dinner aboard your small ship as you sail toward Fishguard.

  • Enjoy breakfast onboard as you cruise into the tiny town of Fishguard. Once you arrive this morning, see another side of Welsh life during a visit to Alan James Farm—for an exclusive Discovery Series event. There, you’ll tour the property and visit some of the animals to see how each contributes to the business—including sampling fresh milk when you pass through the milking parlor. Get an intimate and authentic glimpse of the farmer's routine, everyday life, and the inner workings of the business today. After, enjoy tea and a light snack in the farmer's home while learning about the difficulties Welsh farmers and the farming industry face in the region today.

    Next, you’ll visit Fishguard’s Town Hall to view a 100-foot tapestry that depicts an incursion in 1797 that lasted only two days. The tale of the short-lived occupation is told on the tapestry that 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. Afterwards, return to the ship for lunch.

    Later this afternoon, depart for Wale’s ecclesiastical capital—St. David's—where you’ll visit the medieval cathedral named after the country's patron saint before making your own independent discoveries. St. David, a Welsh bishop, established a monastery in the sixth century on the site of today's cathedral. Churches at the time were one of the wealthier institutions in the British Isles, making them more susceptible to attacks. As Viking invaders flooded the region, the cathedral fell prey to attacks from the seventh century until the eleventh century.  It wasn't until 1181 when construction of the current cathedral began. 

    Enjoy dinner onboard the ship this evening before sailing to your next port of call.

  • 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. Stop by the National Museum to get a quick glimpse of the culture and history of Scotland before driving to the New Town, past the medieval St. Giles Cathedral and the dramatic Scott Monument—the world's biggest monument dedicated to a writer, Sir Walter Scott. End your tour on the Old Town's Royal Mile. This stretch of the city reaches from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Road.

    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 Dinner.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Enjoy breakfast onboard as your ship docks this morning in Poole, a major south coast seaport. Here you will transfer from the ship to London. Once you land in the city, you'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before taking a panoramic city tour with your program director. Witness some of the city's greatest icons—including the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace.

    Dinner is on your own this evening.

  • There's no better place to end your discoveries than the actual Crown Jewel of the United Kingdom: London. The day is yours to explore at leisure, and discover for yourself the highlights that inspired Samuel Johnson to write, “there is in London all that life can afford.” Lunch is on your own today.

    Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner together.

    • Meals included:

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

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    London, England

    3 nights from only $945

    English Countryside
    Produced by Small World Productions
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    The bustling capital of England offers discoveries both historic and cosmopolitan, from Trafalgar Square to some of the world’s most pre-eminent museums. Your included two-day London Transport Pass will give you easy access to the city’s “Tube” (subway) and buses, bringing you to all corners of the city, where you can further enhance your discoveries independently after discovering historic Hampton Court.

    View Extension Itinerary

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on Maritime Jewels of the British Isles & Ireland

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