Springtime in the British Isles: Sea Spirit

United Kingdom

Experience some of most beautiful and historic sites of the British Isles in the marvellous month of May on this luxury adventure. From the exquisite Tresco Abbey Gardens to spectacular bird sites like Bass Rock, dramatic Snowdonia, world-famous Giant’s Causeway and Fingals Cave, beautiful Inner and Outer Hebrides including Iona Abbey and St Kilda, finishing off with the World Heritage listed Ring of Brodgar in the Orkneys and Broch of Mousa in the Shetlands. And many more highlights besides!

  • Bronze Age burial sites and romantic 17th-century castle ruins
  • Wild and remote Orkney, Hebrides and Shetland Islands
  • Spectacular birdlife.
  • Dramatic landscapes
  • Giant’s Causeway and Fingal’s Cave
  • Elegance and luxury on the small ship Sea Spirit
  • Informative lectures and expert guides

EXPEDITION LEADER: DR. HUW LEWIS-JONES

Huw is a historian of exploration, culture, photography and the environment, with a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of award-winning books but is happiest when out in wild nature. Huw was Curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute and the National Maritime Museum in London. His books include In Search of the South Pole, The Crossing of Antarctica, Ocean Portraits, The Conquest of Everest, winner of the History Award at the Banff Mountain Festival, Across the Arctic Ocean, and Explorers’ Sketchbooks, an art history of discovery and adventure. His books now have been published in 14 languages.

As an experienced polar guide, over the last decade Huw has wandered on both sides of Antarctica and in the Arctic, from the Ross Sea and the Southern Ocean, to Siberia, Greenland and the North Pole. His research interests are equally wide-ranging, from Admiral Nelson and Captain Cook, through whaling and Heroic Age expeditions, to pioneering photography and even Inuit Art. Back in Britain, Huw regularly appears on television and radio as a historian and cultural commentator, in the BBC documentaries Wilderness Explored, Of Ice and Men, Antarctica’s Forgotten Hero, Battle for the Himalayas, and most recently the PBS Nova special Franklin’s Lost Ships.

Special Offer

Reduced deposit of just 10%!

2022 Season: Book before June 30, 2021 and save 10% on Triple, Main Deck and Classic Suites - or 15% on Superior suites and higher categories. Quote Promocode SPX10 or SPX15 during the booking process.

Stewart's Take

Experience the Legendary History & Wild Nature of wildest Britain

Overview

Experience some of most beautiful and historic sites of the British Isles in the marvellous month of May on this luxury adventure. From the exquisite Tresco Abbey Gardens to spectacular bird sites like Bass Rock, dramatic Snowdonia, world-famous Giant’s Causeway and Fingals Cave, beautiful Inner and Outer Hebrides including Iona Abbey and St Kilda, finishing off with the World Heritage listed Ring of Brodgar in the Orkneys and Broch of Mousa in the Shetlands. And many more highlights besides!
Day 1: Arrival in Heathrow Airport, London Welcome to England and the start of your British Isles cruise! Our included pre-cruise hotel night at the Hilton Garden Inn, near Terminal 2, is designed to allow for a relaxing motorcoach transfer to Portsmouth the next morning. You’ll receive information about the time and place to meet the motorcoach at the hotel. Day 2: Embarkation in Portsmouth, England Look for the ship's representative in the hotel’s lobby, who will direct you to our chartered motorcoach that will take us to Portsmouth. Considered the home of the Royal Navy, its rich maritime heritage sets the mood for the beginning of our exciting voyage. In the afternoon we welcome you aboard the deluxe expedition ship Sea Spirit. Day 3: Tresco, Scilly Isles, England The Isles of Scilly is a group of small islands off the coast of Cornwall boasting mild weather, secluded beaches, enchanting wildlife and a relaxed lifestyle. On the lovely, sand-fringed island of Tresco, Bronze Age burial sites and romantic 17th-century castle ruins reveal a long and dramatic history. On the hallowed grounds of a Benedictine abbey we discover the exquisite Tresco Abbey Garden with its spectacular collection of more than 20,000 exotic plants from all corners of the world. Here we also find the Valhalla Museum, a collection of colorful figureheads salvaged from the islands’ shipwrecks. Delightful cafés and local shops enrich your experience even further. Day 4: Dunmore East, Republic of Ireland Dunmore East is a popular tourist and fishing village in County Waterford on Ireland’s southeastern coast. From here it is a short journey through scenic countryside to the House of Waterford Crystal. Here you can take a guided tour of the factory to see the master craftsmen at work as well as the world’s largest collection of their wares. Also nearby is Mount Congreve, a magnificent 18th-century Georgian estate and botanical gardens containing thousands of plant species on 70 acres of intensively planted woodland and a four-acre walled garden. Day 5: Saltee Islands, Republic of Ireland Our plan is to visit the the Saltee Islands. The larger island, Great Saltee, is the most famous bird sanctuary in Ireland. These Islands are privately owned and are one of the world's major bird sanctuaries. The Saltees are a haven for sea birds, nurturing an impressive array of Gannets and Gulls to Puffins and Manx Shearwaters. They also lie on an important migratory route and a popular stopping-off place for spring and autumn migrants. Day 6: Llandudno, Wales Our port for today is the vibrant seaside town of Llandudno in the north of Wales. From here we embark on a scenic overland tour of Snowdonia National Park. We drive through some of the wildest and most dramatic landscapes in Britain as we discover craggy mountains, stunning waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, dense woodlands and flowering meadows. Snowdonia is also renowned for wildlife including otters, water voles, wild ponies and rare birds such as dotterel and peregrine falcon. We enjoy a delightful stop at the charming and distinctively Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed in the Gwydyr Forest. Visit to the Conwy Castle is also on our list. UNESCO considers Conwy to be one of "the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe", and it is classed as a World Heritage site. Divided into an Inner and an Outer Ward, it is defended by eight large towers and two barbicans, with a postern gate leading down to the river, allowing the castle to be resupplied from the sea. Day 7: Portrush and Rathlin Island: Northern Ireland This morning, we disembark at the small seaside resort town of Portrush in Northern Ireland. We travel overland to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway. Here we discover a geological masterpiece—40,000 closely packed hexagonal basalt columns of varying heights descending like a staircase into the sea. According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. In this area we are also able to spot various seabirds such as fulmar, petrel, cormorant, shag, redshank, guillemot and razorbill. This afternoon, we’ll pause at Rathlin Island, the only inhabited offshore island of Northern Ireland with a population of about 150. It’s a popular spot for daytrippers, who come to see the tens of thousands of common guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills. The island is of prehistoric volcanic origin, and is one of 43 Special Areas of Conservation in Northern Ireland. Day 8: Inner Hebrides, Scotland Weather permitting, we also plan to visit the uninhabited island of Staffa. This island of volcanic origin is easily recognized by its striking colonnade of hexagonal basalt pillars. Here we hope to explore the island’s most famous feature, Fingal’s Cave. Reaching deep into the island, the undulating sea plays upon the stunning matrix of columnar basalt to create an eerie melody which was the inspiration for Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. The rugged island also provides nesting sites for seabirds including guillemots, razorbills and puffins. Today we also explore beautiful and serene Iona, a small island in the Inner Hebrides just off the Isle of Mull in western Scotland. At the gorgeous Iona Abbey, founded in 563 AD, we are spellbound by one of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites and indeed one of the oldest Christian religious centers in Western Europe. The adjacent graveyard is said to be the final resting place of numerous medieval kings, including Macbeth. In addition to its historical and religious significance, Iona is well known for its soul-soothing tranquility, white sand beaches and excellent birdwatching. Day 9: Outer Hebrides, Scotland The Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, are a chain of dramatically rugged islands off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The most isolated of these is St Kilda. This remote and storm-ravaged island was continuously inhabited for at least two millennia by peoples of extraordinary hardiness. But as the modern world closed in after World War I, the remaining inhabitants chose to evacuate. Now we find only their rough stone buildings and distinctive storehouses called cleitean, all set amidst some of the most dramatic island scenery in the British Isles. Nature-lovers will be delighted, as the island is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, two early types of sheep, and over 130 species of flowering plants. We’ll also plan for a close cruise-by of Stac Lee, a sea stack about four miles northeast of St. Kilda’s main island of Hirta. It is home to part of the world’s largest colony of northern gannet. When St. Kilda had a permanent population, islanders would come here, precariously leaping ashore to hunt birds and gather eggs. Day 10: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands Today, we’ll disembark in Stromness for an overland tour of Mainland, the largest of the Orkney Islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Attractions such as the well-preserved 5000-year-old village site at Skara Brae and the ancient Ring of Brodgar within the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” showcase the world-class cultural heritage of the island. We finish our island tour in the charming village of Kirkwall, where find the landmark Saint Magnus Cathedral, built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. You will also have free time to roam the old streets of Kirkwall and enjoy its unique atmosphere before we head to our next destination. Day 11: Shetland Islands On Fair Isle—an isolated island of rolling moorlands and rugged coastlines—one is easily enchanted by historic crofts, picturesque lighthouses, and friendly locals. The island is famous among birders for its abundance of British birds and for its numerous records of eastern rarities and migrants. Fair Isle is also one of Europe’s best places to watch seabirds, especially puffins, at close range. Additionally, the island is notable for the abundance and diversity of its wildflowers. Seals are also commonly seen in its bays. Finally, during our visit it will be possible to see and purchase articles hand-knitted in the intricate and distinctive style for which Fair Isle has been celebrated for hundreds of years. Day 12: Isle of May and Bass Rock, Scotland Both of these uninhabited islands are in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. The Isle of May is a national nature reserve and includes significant colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags, cormorants and terns. Harbor seals and grey seals can be spotted along the shores. There are also some historic architectural sites, including St. Ardin’s Chapel, the lighthouse and the Low and Light Cottages. The island known as “the Bass” plays host to over 150,000 northern gannets in the breeding season, making it the world’s largest colony of these magnificent birds. The island’s steep walls are white with guano and the sky all around is darkened by the vast multitude of seabirds in flight. Our voyage is perfectly timed to coincide with this amazing spectacle—truly one of the wildlife wonders of the world. Day 13: Disembarkation in Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland After breakfast on board Sea Spirit we say farewell in Leith, Edinburgh’s vibrant port district. We provide transfers to the airport or to Edinburgh city center if you wish to spend more time in the wonderful capital of Scotland.

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Luxury Expedition Ship M/S Sea Spirit

MS Sea Spirit, luxury, small expedition ship

Sail aboard the remarkably comfortable Sea Spirit and experience the polar regions in grand style with spacious suites. Carrying a maximum of 112 passengers this outstanding vessel, approved for polar waters, is equipped with rubber inflatable boats - called Zodiacs- for shore transfers and cruising. Kayaking and camping options are available on select departures. All suites have facilities en suite and exterior views. Deluxe Suites, Premium Suites and the Owner's Suite have private balconies for viewing the breathtaking landscapes of the Arctic, Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands. Cruise with all the comfort of home - king-size beds (twin beds for those who prefer them), an open bar, balconies and a hot tub. Plus enjoy the amenities of a fine hotel, while a resident photographer helps you take brag-worthy photos.

For full information about this vessel click here...

Included
  • 1 pre-voyage hotel night;
  • Group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation;
  • Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation;
  • Shipboard accommodation;
  • All scheduled landings/excursions (other than optional);
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team;
  • All meals on board throughout the voyage;
  • Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily;
  • A pair of rubber boots on loan for shore landings;
  • Welcome and Farewell cocktails;
  • All port fees;
  • Pre-departure materials;
  • Digital Voyage Log;
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of US 100,000 per person.
Excluded
  • Airfare;
  • Visa and passport fees (if applicable);
  • Luggage and trip cancellation insurance;
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges;
  • Staff gratuities.
  • Special conditions: In case fuel price increases significantly fuel surcharge may be applied for all bookings.
New Flexible Reservation Policy and Risk-Free Travel It’s a great time to plan your next polar adventure, and our new flexible booking policy makes it easy and risk-free. Valid for all Sea Spirit reservations made by March 31, 2021 for any Arctic or Antarctic voyage as outlined below.*
  • A reduced deposit of just 10% is required by the end of the seven-day option period to confirm the reservation.
  • Any time up to 30 days before the departure, you can transfer your booking to any future Sea Spirit cruise.**
  • From 29 to one day before the departure, you can transfer your booking to any future Poseidon cruise for a valid COVID-related reason. Proof of the COVID-related reason is required.**
* This Flexible Reservation Policy is valid for any Sea Spirit reservation for any 2021 Arctic or Oct. 2021-Feb. 22 Antarctic departure. Please note that cancellation & refund policies for “Flexible Reservations” are slightly different from the normal Terms & Conditions in that any new reservation canceled from 119 to 91 days prior to departure is subject to just 10% cancellation fee rather than the usual 20%.
  • “Flexible Reservation” transfers are reserved for those bookings
where final payment has been made 90 days before departure in case transfer is made less than 90 days prior to the departure. NB: When transferring the booking according to our Flexible Reservation Policy, the rate of the new cruise is to be applied. Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 120 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 90 days prior to departure. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing. Reservations cancelled more than 120 days prior to departure are subject to a USD 750 per person cancellation fee (or equivalent currency). Reservations cancelled from 119 to 91 days prior to departure are subject to 20% per person cancellation fee. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Poseidon Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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