Hidden Gems of the British Isles & Ireland - 2018

Poole • Tresco • Fishguard • Holyhead • Dublin • Iona • Barra • Stornoway • Stromness • Aberdeen • Edinburgh

  • St. Davids Cathedral
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Edinburgh
  • London

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Edinburgh to Poole

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DAYS 1-2:

Depart home / Overnight flight / Edinburgh, Scotland

Your UK vacation begins with an overnight flight to Edinburgh, arriving on Day 2. On arrival, you’ll be greeted at the airport if you arranged your flights with us, and transported to your hotel for a Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

Edinburgh / Embark ship

The unforgettable city of Edinburgh awaits you today, where you’ll learn more about the capital of Scotland during an included panoramic city tour featuring medieval Old Town and 18th-century New Town, together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure with lunch on your own. You’ll embark the Variety Voyager this evening and receive a Welcome cocktail, briefing and dinner onboard.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4:

Aberdeen

A cosmopolitan and truly international city thanks to its prosperous oil industry, Aberdeen boasts beautiful architecture, several museums, parks, and the “Granite Mile,” a thoroughfare with more than 800 restaurants, shops, and pubs, named for the stone used in the construction of so many of its lovely buildings. You’ll have a short sightseeing tour of the city, followed by a visit to Crathes Castle, a 16th century tower house with almost 600 acres of colorful manicured gardens, rolling countryside, and wooded walking trails. You can see more of Aberdeen’s downtown area this afternoon during leisure time, and then partake in dinner onboard this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

Stromness, Orkney Islands

Named for the strong tides that rip past the Point of Ness, it’s no surprise that Stromness was once a vital whaling port—in fact, it was used by the British for shipping in times of war in lieu of the English Channel. You’ll discover Stromness’ maritime heritage and fascinating archaeological history today after breakfast during an included visit to the Stromness Museum. Cultural Connection: Then you’ll visit a local farm to view some of the impressive fossil specimens that were discovered here and learn about the Churchill Barriers, a series of four causeways linking the Orkney Islands that were built as naval defenses in WWII but today serve as vital roads. World War II left a spiritual mark here as well, and you and your fellow travelers will visit the ornate Catholic chapel built by Italian POWs. 

This afternoon, enjoy leisure time onboard or an optional tour to Skara Brae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Skara Brae

Skara Brae

  • Approximate Cost: $120 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Mainland, Orkney
  • When: Mid-day

Called the “Scottish Pompeii,” the Neolithic village of Skara Brae dates back to 3000 BC. Discovered after a storm on his property by a wealthy landowner, this UNESCO World Heritage Site gives viewers a look into the past about what life was like five millennia ago—including stone furniture like cupboards, storage, and a sophisticated drainage system including plumbing. 


DAY 6:

Stornoway

Enchanting thatched-roof cottages await you today when you arrive on the Isle of Lewis, first settled as a trade port by the Vikings. You’ll have free time to explore independently here, then your group will visit the Celtic-cross-shaped Callanish Stones — one of Europe’s most ancient monuments and one that predates Stonehenge. Cultural Connections: Next, visit the thatched-roof cottages of Gaerannan Blackhouse Village for a demonstration of the region’s most time-honored craft: tweed-weaving. Discover the colorful patterns and eye-catching tartans of the clan of Lewis before feasting on a picnic. A local storyteller will entertain you with folktales before you round out your afternoon with a whiskey tasting — you'll be able to contrast it with the Irish whiskey you sample later in the voyage.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Barra

This morning, enjoy a walking tour of the Isle of Barra, including the seaside town of Castlebay, the old herring harbor and Vatersay, where the remains of a plane downed in WWII still stand as memorial. After lunch onboard, enjoy free time for independent explorations, perhaps visiting a grocer or candy shop to see why the toffee here is considered among the finest in Europe. Cultural Connection: Your Cruise Director will lead an enlightening talk about faith and local life on these remote islands.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

Iona

After a sumptuous buffet breakfast, you'll disembark in Iona, the smallest of the inhabited Hebrides Islands. A short walk will take you to Iona Abbey, the site where Saint Columba established a monastery in 563 AD. (In fact, it’s believed that the monks of Iona worked on Book of Kells here until about 800). Nearly two and a half centuries after the monastery was formed, it was pillaged by Vikings, but Christianity remained strong in the region. The current Abbey was established in the 13th century. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure onboard your ship with included lunch and dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Dublin, Ireland

Cultural Connection: One of Ireland’s finest national treasures and a true artistic masterpiece — the Book of Kells — is yours to admire today during your discoveries in Dublin. Your guide will tell you more about this ninth-century tome on an included tour at Trinity College, where you’ll view the illuminated Gospel before toasting your taste of Ireland during a whiskey sample session at Jameson Distillery. You’ll then return to the ship for lunch, or opt to stay in the city for free time before an included shuttle bus transports you back to the Voyager this afternoon.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Holyhead

Unforgettable Moment: This morning the Voyager arrives in Holyhead, where you’ll enjoy a short drive to Caernarfon Castle, built by King Edward I. Its impressive towers loom over the shoreline, and you can imagine why the monarch built this fortress centuries ago to control coastline supply routes and access to the agricultural resources of neighboring lands. Cultural Connections:  Your Cruise Director will tell you more about the castle’s fascinating history before you depart for a traditional pub lunch Then visit the National Slate Museum, nestled into a mountainside, for a Victorian-era demonstration of the slate-splitter's trade.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 11:

Fishguard, Wales

After a relaxing morning of sailing and breakfast, your ship arrives in Fishguard. Unforgettable Moment: You’ll then venture to St. Davids, the religious capital of Wales and the smallest city in the country. There, you will enjoy a guided tour of the 12th century Cathedral of St. David, which has been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years. Other highlights include the 14th century Tower Gate, charming art galleries, pubs, and visiting and resident outdoor enthusiasts, who appreciate St. Davids’ position along the water forming part of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 12:

Tresco, Isles of Scilly

This morning finds us at Tresco, the second-largest of the Isles of Scilly. It’s sure to be a fascinating morning as you board a small vessel tendered by locals to be transferred onto shore. Cultural Connection: There you’ll be fascinated by the horticultural paradise of Abbey Gardens, home to more than 20,000 species of lush, colorful plants from 80 countries. The island is hospitable to species largely not native to the UK because of its mild winter climate, long hours of sunshine in summertime; the abbey’s high walls and hedges protect it from the Atlantic winds. Cultural Connection:  Later, as we cruise for the Dorset coast of England and our final port of call, enjoy a fascinating lecture aboard ship about the impact of immigration on the UK. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 13:

Poole / Disembark ship / London

After disembarking the historic seaport of Poole, we head for London and our hotel. Unforgettable Moment: Enjoy a half-day panoramic tour of the city, riding past icons including Trafalgar Square, UNESCO Sites including Big Ben and Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and more. You’ll savor an included pub lunch — perhaps trying the popular local specialty, a ploughman’s platter with crackers, cheese and fruit — before checking into your hotel. The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure, so you can rest up for what is sure to be a fun Farewell Dinner this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 14:

London / Return home

This morning you’ll be transferred to the airport for your return flight home if you purchased your airfare through Vantage. Or, opt to enrich your journey with our optional post-trip extension in London.

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or regional expert.

Please Note: Port-of-call orientation walking tours are subject to change based on port time and weather conditions

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-888-514-1845

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Vantage Tauck Noble Caledonia Vantage Advantage
Journey Hidden Gems of the British Isles & Ireland Treasure of the British / Irish Isles Spring in the British & Irish Isles
Cruise-Only Prices* $6,099 $7,390 $3,351 One of few deluxe cruises around United Kingdom. Save $2,382 per couple compared to competition
Trip Length 13 days 12 Days 8 Days Pay less & enjoy one additional day
Per Diem $469 per day $615 $479 Save $278 per couple per day!
Cabin Upgrades $200-$800 increments $120-$2280 increments Starting at $250 Lowest cabin upgrades in the market!
Ship Accommodations 10 nights cruising on the 68 meter/36 cabin Variety Voyager was launched in 2012. This sleek high-tech looking yacht accommodates up to 72 guests in 36 cabins. 28 cabins are located at the Marina and Riviera Decks and 8 staterooms at the Horizons Deck. 7 nights cruising on the 132 stateroom Le Soléal. Stateroom amenities include individually controlled air conditioning, video on demand, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, electronic safe and hair dryer. 6 nights aboard the Ocean Nova with all shore excursions and the services of the Noble Caledonia Expedition Team Refurbished in 2006, expedition ship with up to 84 passengers on two decks with single, double, and triple cabins with sea-views Informal table service and buffet dining More intimate, small ship experience, better value in deluxe category with more upscale dining. Smaller size allows for access to less-visited ports of call
Included Tours and Special Features 13-day deluxe small-group cruise in the United Kingdom and Ireland with just 72 total travelers. Explore lesser-visited ports, highlights of capitals like Dublin and Edinburgh, and incredible marine and wildlife. Shore excursions in Belfast, the Isle of Man, Liverpool, Cork, Kinsale, the Isles of Scilly, Guernsey, and Portsmouth Choice of tours in the Channel Islands free time at Tresco's Abbey Gardens Cruise to the Cliffs of Moher Longer cruise and more time in ports, plus more shore excursions and greater value
Meals 33 meals: 11 breakfast, 10 lunches, and 12 dinners, including Welcome and Farewell Dinners 28 meals: 9 breakfasts, 11 lunches, and 8 dinners, plus beverages including house wine & spirits all meals onboard daily THE MOST included meals featuring local cuisine
Single Travelers Reduced single supplements on all dates no special single offers no special single offers The most single-friendly prices
Extend Your Trip 3-days Edinburgh, Scotland, $749 $250 per day 3-days London, United Kingdom, $649 $216 per day no extension choices no extension choices The best choices at the best price
10 Ways to Save New for 2018—including gratuities for local guides and drivers! Enjoy traveler referral rewards & SmartPay early-payment savings plan: Save up to $1800 per couple combining maximum SmartPay savings and Past Traveler Discounts (based on a $6,000 trip cost) None None THE MOST WAYS TO SAVE!

*Prices are subject to change and based on comparable departure months.
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