Explore remote UK islands and sites. From historical monuments to colorful puffins, dramatic landscapes of sweeping moorland and rugged coastlines, on this voyage we will discover seldom visited areas, largely inaccessible except by ship. Starting in historic Plymouth, and ending in majestic Edinburgh.
For those who go off the beaten path, there are places in the British Isles where nature is still wild and history can be touched.
This expedition-style voyage from Portsmouth to Edinburgh is your chance to discover some of the British Isles’ most historically significant and wildlife-rich destinations. Cruising aboard our small, luxury expedition ship is the perfect way to visit difficult-to-access locations where tourist value far exceeds tourist numbers.
We begin with beautiful Tresco in the Isles of Scilly. In Scotland we explore early Christian history on the peaceful Isle of Iona, magnificent archeological sites in the Orkney Islands, and exciting birdlife on Shetland’s beautiful Fair Isle.
Pre- and Post-cruise tour programs are available-
- Overnight at Heathrow airport hotel prior to cruise;
- Group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation;
- Shipboard accommodation;
- All meals on board throughout the voyage;
- Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily;
- All scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather);
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team;
- Rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise;
- Welcome and Farewell cocktails;
- All port fees;
- Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation;
- Pre-departure materials;
- Digital Voyage Log;
- Visa and passport fees (if applicable);
- Travel and Emergency Evacuation insurance;
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
- Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges;
- Staff gratuities.
Arrive Heathrow - Overnight
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.
NOTE: We recommend arriving at least one day prior in order to avoid complications associated with flight delays. We have Pre- and Post-cruise programs designed to complement the cruise.
Embarkation in Portsmouth, England
Look for the Poseidon 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.
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.
Dunmore East, 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.
Saltee Islands, 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.
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.
Portsrush, 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.
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.
We 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.
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.
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.
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.
We are offering a post-cruise extension tour, or we can customize a program to suit your interests.
Isle of May, 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.
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. Pre- and Post-cruise programs re available.
Introducing the Sea Spirit, formerly the Spirit of Oceanus – Sailing in grand style with all the amenities of a luxury hotel.
Providing spacious suites for accommodation of 116 passengers the Sea Spirit at the same time features maneuverability and friendly atmosphere of small ships. The vessel has an ice-strengthened hull, a fleet of Zodiacs, and a set of retractable fin stabilizers for smoother sailing.
Explore the Polar Regions in style and comfort aboard the all-suite Sea Spirit. Providing spacious suites and social areas for 116 guests the Sea Spirit at the same time features maneuverability and friendly atmosphere of small ships.
Public areas include: Reception, Restaurant, Bar, Outdoor Bistro, Club Lounge, Library, Presentation Lounge, Infirmary, Gym, Bridge.
We have open Bridge policy. Talk to the Captain and officers. Watch landscapes from this special angle of view. Fix your location at a map of your expedition.
- Dare Launched/Rebuilt: 1992/2006
- Length: 297 ft
- Beam: 50 ft
- Draft: 13.5 ft
- Tonnage: 4954 t
- Cruise Speed: 12 knots
- Total Staff: 72
- Passenger Capacity: 116
- Registry: Bahamas
The Restaurant on board the Sea Spirit offers open-seating dining, which means there are no assigned tables. Contemporary, international cuisine is created by our talented chefs.
After a day of explorations passengers may relax at a Bar staffed by a professional bartender. With a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and engaging conversation, the bar on board this small luxury ship welcomes guests to mix and mingle.
The Presentation Lounge with state-of-the-art equipment is where all lectures, briefings and social gatherings take place. Attend informative lectures, recaps and briefings, and enjoy views outside.
Club Lounge provides great opportunities for socializing and observing fantastic landscapes passing by. This comfortable seating area also offers a 24-hour self-service coffee and tea bar.
The Library is a quiet cozy place for reading and relaxation. It has an extensive selection of polar books and DVDs, magazines, reference materials and newspapers.
Well-equipped Gym allows travelers not to break away from regular sports for the time of a trip. The Gym is open daily and offers stationary bikes, several treadmills, and some multi-functional training machines.
Should you have a question or require any service be sure to visit the Reception area. Our experts can provide invaluable information to help you get the most out of your cruise.
DECK PLANS and CABINS
All accommodations are air-conditioned and fitted with TV, telephone, hairdryers, mini-fridge, central music, and public address system and safe boxes. The fully equipped bathrooms are finished with marble.
OWNER’S SUITE: Ocean view suite boasting sweeping views, interior entrance, a private terrace, a complimentary minibar (restocked daily), one queen bed and one sofa bed, sitting area, in-room safe, (Deck 6)
PREMIUM SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with direct access to their private balcony. Added amenities include: two twin or one queen bed, armoire, minibar, evening canapés, complimentary laundry service, and the services of a dedicated butler, fresh fruit upon arrival (Deck 6)
DELUXE SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with direct access to their private balcony, two twin or one queen bed (Deck 5)
SUPERIOR SUITE:Ocean view stateroom with large pictures window(s), sweeping views, two twin or one queen bed (Deck 4)
CLASSIC SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with large pictures window(s), two twin or one queen bed (Deck 3)
MAIN DECK SUITE: Large ocean view stateroom with portholes, two twin or one queen bed (Deck 2)
TRIPLE CLASSIC SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with large pictures window(s), Three twin beds, or one Queen and one twin. (Deck 3).