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.

Early Booking Offer

Early Booking Offer 2020 Season: Save 10% on Triple, Main Deck and Classic Suites - or 15% on Superior suites and higher categories. PLUS Extra Savings of 800 USD per person by booking before October 31, 2019. 800 USD is equivalent to 750 EUR, 650 GBP or 1150 AUD. 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: Embarkation in Plymouth, England Welcome to the port city of Plymouth in southwest England, where a rich maritime heritage sets the mood for the beginning of our exciting voyage. In the afternoon we welcome you aboard the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get settled in your comfortable and spacious suite. Then join us on deck and feel the sense of adventure build as we slip our moorings and sail out of the historic harbor. Day 2: 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 3-4: 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: 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. Day 6: Northern Ireland Today 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. Day 7: 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 8: 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. Day 9: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands Upon arrival at the historic port of Kirkwall we embark on 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. Back in the charming village of Kirkwall we also find the impressive Saint Magnus Cathedral, built in the Romanesque style by Vikings in the 12th century. Day 10-11: Shetland Islands On the uninhabited island of Mousa we find the famous Broch of Mousa, the finest preserved Iron Age fortification in the British Isles. At over 40 feet tall, this 2,000-year-old round tower is the tallest broch still standing and is among the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe. The island itself supports a rich diversity of plant life and is also known for grey and common seals, Arctic terns, and a significant colony of storm-petrels. We come alongside at the port of Lerwick on Mainland, the largest of the Shetland Islands. On a walking tour of this historic town we visit the award-winning Shetland Museum to learn all about Shetland’s fascinating heritage and culture. From here we take a scenic overland coach ride through the fertile countryside of Dunrossness to discover Shetland’s best destinations. Birders will relish the opportunity to visit the historic lighthouse at Sumburgh Head, the southernmost point of Mainland Shetland. These rugged cliffs attract thousands of seabirds and the grassy slopes above are particularly great for enjoying close encounters with puffins amongst beautiful wildflowers. Also on the itinerary is Jarlshof, one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the British Isles. Here we discover beautifully preserved stone structures spanning 5,000 years of human settlement, including Bronze Age oval houses, Pictish wheelhouses, an Iron Age broch, a Viking longhouse and a mediaeval farmhouse. 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: Bass Rock, Scotland Bass Rock is an uninhabited island in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland. This bastion of volcanic rock, also 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
  • 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.
Deposits - Reservations require a deposit of 20% per person 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 90 days of departure require full payment. Voyage rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and are based on passengers sharing a cabin. Rates are based on anticipated fuel costs at the time of departure multiplied by a maximum daily usage. There will be no fuel surcharge for voyages if the price of applicable fuel, delivered locally, does not exceed US$1150 per metric ton. Should the price go above this a surcharge, to cover only the increase in fuel costs, may apply. In this case agents will be notified immediately and passengers will have the right to cancel their reservations within 14 days of notice of increase without penalty. Share Travel and Single Suplements - If you are travelling alone and wish to share this is available only in the following categories: Triple Classic, Main Deck and Classic Suites. If you prefer, single occupancy of a twin cabin is available at 1.7 times the twin rate and available only in Main Deck and Classic Suites; single occupancy of a twin cabin is available at 2 times the twin rate in the Superior, Deluxe, Premium and Owner Suites. Final Payments - Balances are due 90 days prior to departure. Balance payments may be paid by bank transfer, or on request by credit card (subject to a 2% surcharge). Cancellations - All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 120 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of $750 per person. Cancellations received from 120 to 91 days prior to departure, are subject to 20% per person cancellation fee. If cancellation occurs less than 90 days prior to departure, all payments are forfeited. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. 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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