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North Atlantic Crossing: Montréal to Dublin - 2023

Montréal • 25-night expedition cruise with Québec, Woody Point (Newfoundland and Labrador), Nanortalik, Isortoq, Kulusuk, Siglufjörður, Ísafjörður, Reykjavík, Heimaey Island, the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, Isle of Lewis, Isle of Skye, Tobermory, Belfast • Dublin
  • Ocean Explorer Product Carousel Atrium and Main Staircase
    CRUISE ON THE OCEAN EXPLORER, AN AGILE AND STATE-OF-THE-ART EXPEDITION VESSEL THAT CAN NAVIGATE TO PLACES LARGER SHIPS CAN’T
  • Expedition Cruise to Reykjavík Gullfoss Waterfall
    DISCOVER SOME OF ICELAND'S MOST UNFORGETTABLE NATURAL ATTRACTIONS, INCLUDING UNESCO-LISTED THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK
  • Expedition Cruise from Reykjavík to Dublin Explore Giants Causeway's fascinating formation of hexagonal basalt slabs
    DISCOVER THE UNESCO-LISTED GIANT'S CAUSEWAY, A SERIES OF OTHERWORLDLY BASALT COLUMNS IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  • Expedition Cruise to Reykjavík Shetland Ponies
    EXPLORE THE SHETLAND ISLANDS, SCOTLAND’S NORTHERNMOST ISLES BRIMMING WITH SPECTACULAR SCENERY, BRONZE AGE AND VIKING RUINS, AND WORLD WAR II INTRIGUE
  • Expedition Cruise to Reykjavík Torshavn Denmark
    MEANING “THOR’S HARBOR,” EXPLORE TÓRSHAVN, EUROPE’S OLDEST (ALBEIT SMALLEST) CAPITAL AND WHERE VIKINGS USED TO CONVENE
  • Arctic Adventure: Iceland, Greenland small ship expedition cruise from Montréal to Reykjavík including Ottawa extension Siglufjordur
    VISIT SIGLUFJÖRÐUR & UNCOVER ITS HERRING HISTORY AT THE HERRING ERA MUSEUM
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$18,599
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  • 30
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  • 37
    TOURS
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3 DAYS FROM $1,499

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Sail with Vantage Deluxe World Travel from North America to Europe on a most romantic and exhilarating voyage across the North Atlantic! This journey retraces the expeditions of Viking explorers a millennia ago, unveiling the surreal splendor of this rugged, windswept fringe of the Arctic. Please note that the nature of these journeys requires a certain level of physical fitness, and guests should be able to walk three miles unassisted over potentially-uneven terrain, be prepared to anchor at ports requiring the use of a tender, and possess the physical agility to embark and disembark small crafts in unpredictable waters.

Guided by a 5- to 17-person Expedition Team of naturalists, ornithologists, wildlife experts, equipment masters, and more, you’ll enjoy enlightening lectures onboard and the intangible greetings of the wild onshore. You’ll call at UNESCO-listed Gros Morne National Park, where the Gulf of St. Lawrence opens onto the Labrador Sea. Visit the remote village of Isortoq and the island of Kulusuk, each home to just a handful of hardy Inuit residents. Admire the crisp, serene landscapes of Iceland’s Westfjords region and the volatile lava fields of Heimaey, “Pompeii of the North”. Birds and marine wildlife accompany you at sea, while cities like Montréal, Reykjavík, Torshavn, and Dublin outline modern life and culture across continents.

Our intimately-sized ships are designed with a total of just 77 cabins and a maximum capacity of 130 passengers on expedition cruises, allowing us to reach some of the world’s most remote areas. Cruising amid icebergs, polar winds, and foggy seas, you can count on the 5-star Ocean Explorer built for expedition travel with ULSTEIN X-BOW® technology to keep you safe and delightfully comfortable with the latest satellite and navigation technology, luxury amenities, a small passenger-to-crew ratio, and gourmet cuisine. With a total of 37 included features and Cultural Discoveries and an Expedition Team guiding you throughout, this is an adventure not to be missed.

This itinerary is a combination of: Arctic Adventure: Iceland, Greenland, and Beyond and Northern European Voyage: Reykjavík to Dublin.

Montréal to Dublin

Pre-Trip Extension

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Pre-Trip)

FROM: $1499 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $500 PER DAY

Kingscourt, Ireland (Pre-Trip)

FROM: $999 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $333 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Fly to Montréal

Today, you’ll fly to Montréal. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Ottawa! If you purchased your airfare through Vantage, you'll be met upon arrival by a representative who will assist in your transfer to the hotel. Enjoy free time to get settled into Montréal before a Welcome Briefing and Welcome Dinner. 

Included meals:

Dinner

DAY 2:

Explore Montréal, a UNESCO-listed City of Design

Set out to explore this remarkable city, situated on an island in the St. Lawrence River. This UNESCO City of Design (one of only a few in the world), is home to more than 50 national historic sites, and it boasts a lively downtown arts and cultural scene. View many of its gems, including historic Old Montréal’s stunning architecture, and the magnificent neo-Gothic Notre Dame Basilica, one of the crown jewels in Québec's rich religious heritage. Then, a scenic drive takes you from Montréal’s downtown district to the top of Mont Royal for commanding views of the city and the St. Lawrence River.

At lunchtime, you'll take part in a traditional sugar shack meal, rich and laden with maple sweetness that reaching peak flavor for the season. This afternoon, you'll have time to explore this magnificent city on your own.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day tour of Montréal, a UNESCO City of Design

Cultural Discovery:

  • Sugar shack lunch

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 3:

Enjoy a morning at leisure in Montréal, then embark the Ocean Explorer

Enjoy a morning at leisure today to wrap up any loose ends in Montréal — perhaps you want to run out for a last-minute shopping trip to buy souvenirs or enjoy lunch on your own. Later, you’ll embark the Ocean Explorer — welcome aboard!

Today provides the perfect opportunity to savor the easy pace and camaraderie that small ship cruising affords. Our inviting lounge area and elegant common spaces offer ideal settings to relax, have a cocktail, and get to know your fellow adventurers. During your cruising, take advantage of your ship’s many amenities, and see how days on board can be just as exciting as days offshore. Perhaps enjoy a spa treatment, relax by the infinity pool, curl up with a book on deck, or pop into the boutique for any items you may need.

Scenic Sailing:

  • Bid au revoir to Montréal and enjoy your last views of the dazzling city and Mount Royal as you set sail towards your next exciting destination

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 4:

Find a touch of the Old World in Québec City

In 2018, the Travel + Leisure “World’s Best” poll ranked Québec City as Canada’s #1 city, citing the romantic old-world atmosphere, friendly residents, and great dining, among other things. See if you agree with the poll during today’s discoveries!

Discover Québec City (the Upper and Lower Town) through its history, architecture, and culture. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was one of New France’s most heavily fortified settlements. Today, its ramparts are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America north of Mexico. You will also visit the historic Lower Town, where Samuel de Champlain established the first French foothold in 1608. See also the imposing Château Frontenac, a luxury hotel that’s also a National Historic Site. Its grand fortress-tower design commands the skyline. You might also see the Terrasse Dufferin overlooking the St. Lawrence River, and City Hall, a former Jesuit college with lovely fountains and a garden. Continue via the shop-lined Grande-Allée to Montmorency Falls, a roaring and scenic cascade that feeds the St. Lawrence, for a photo stop.

Your tour concludes in time for you to enjoy lunch on board and some further exploration in town. Perhaps you’ll visit the Musée des Beaux Arts, or explore the bohemian Saint-Jean-Baptiste district. This evening, dinner is back on board.

Included Feature:

  • Québec City tour featuring UNESCO-listed Old Town

Scenic Sailing:

  • As you arrive this morning, admire the charm and sophistication of the skyline of Québec City

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 5:

Cruising the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence River

Enjoy a day at sea to unwind and take advantage of the ship’s facilities. By this time, you’ve likely familiarized yourself with the onboard Concierge, who can help make spa appointments or plan activities on land. Head to the spa for a soothing treatment, get in a workout at the fitness center, or take in some sightseeing from the sundeck. You can also soak in the hot tub, check out a book from the library to read in the multistory lounge, and enjoy curated lectures we’ll be providing throughout your expedition.

Scenic Sailing:

  • As you cruise the St. Lawrence River, have your camera ready for coastal views, shore birds, and even possible whale sightings

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 6:

Experience the beauty of Newfoundland in Gros Morne National Park

This morning we’ll make landfall on Woody Point, a scenic town on Bonne Bay on the island of Newfoundland (in Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador province). You’ll enjoy a brief tour of Woody Point, which will be our jumping-off point for Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the effects of plate tectonics have created a breathtaking landscape. On our tour, you’ll walk on the Tablelands, which is the landform that gives the park its UNESCO designation. Gros Morne National Park’s interpreters will join us here to discuss this region’s unique geology. This is as close as you will ever get to the mantle of the Earth or the surface of Mars!

Your Expedition Team will coordinate today’s additional explorations, which focus on the park’s northern reaches. As you explore, you’ll learn about the fishing culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. At the Western Brook Pond, you’ll be amazed to find an inland fjord that was carved by the sea some 15,000 years ago, then cut off by glaciation. When the ice melted, the fjord was filled with fresh water. Today this water has been assigned the highest purity rating available for natural bodies of water. You’ll also see the park’s namesake Gros Morne Mountain, which at 2,644 feet is the island’s second highest peak.

Vantage Exclusive:

  • Exploration of Gros Morne National Park

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAYS 7-8:

Cruising the Labrador Sea

Enjoy two days at sea as your ship makes its way toward Greenland. Your Expedition Team might offer a lecture today on this historic voyage; you might also join a fitness class, do some dancing in the lounge, attend a cooking demonstration, or simply curl up with a book from the library.

Included Meals:

2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

DAY 9:

Revel in the beauty and nature of Nanortalik, Greenland

Nanortalik means “the place with polar bears,” and though you won’t find too many within the city limits, if you scan the ice packs as they float by you might just spot one of these white ursine wonders lounging about. Otherwise, the southernmost town in South Greenland has plenty to attract your eye, as Nanortalik is carved by deep fjords and surmounted by jagged peaks.

Nanortalik is South Greenland’s adventure capital, attracting mountaineers, climbers, kayakers, and extreme sport enthusiasts from around the world. After breakfast on board, your Expedition Team will coordinate some soft adventures for you to choose from, based on local conditions.

Included Feature:

  • Excursion to Nanortalik led by the Expedition Team

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 10:

Cruising the Prince Christian Sound along the coast of Greenland

Enjoy another relaxing day at sea, perhaps indulging in a spa treatment, sipping cocktails in the lounge, and attending onboard workshops presented by your expedition crew. As you take in the scenery from the decks, you might notice that the icebergs have a uniquely blue color. That is because the icebergs in southern Greenland are older and denser with less air.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 11:

Explore Isortoq, one of the most remote places on Earth

Isortoq means “Foggy Sea,” and it sits less than 3 miles from the edge of the polar ice cap. Today you will set foot on pristine land that may just well be the most remote place you’ve ever been in your life (so far!).

Experience Inuit traditions in Greenland’s smallest village, where fewer than 100 or so residents eke out a life by hunting and fishing. In summertime, they are also sustained by boat shipments of fresh produce and other supplies, but for most of the rest of year, Isortoq is largely inaccessible — surrounded by pack ice and battered by the powerful polar winds called piteraqs. Based on local conditions, your Expedition Team will coordinate a visit to the settlement, where you can observe the native Inuit lifestyle firsthand.

Included Feature:
  • Isortoq excursion led by your Expedition Team
Scenic Sailing:
  • As you depart Isortoq, you’ll be rewarded with awesome views of Greenland’s coastline

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 12:

Head to remote Kulusuk and experience another day at sea

A sea day allows for more downtime as we sail north to remote Kulusuk. Today provides the perfect opportunity to savor the easy pace and camaraderie that small ship cruising affords. Our inviting lounge area and elegant common spaces offer ideal settings to relax, have a cocktail, and get to know your fellow adventurers. During your cruising, take advantage of your ship’s many amenities and see how days on board can be just as exciting as days offshore.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 13:

Explore Greenland’s remote Kulusuk Island

If you are an early bird, you might wander up on deck as your ship cruises into the harbor of Kulusuk, ringed by brightly painted houses set against green hills and dark mountains that rise above the iceberg-flecked blue water. Only about 250 permanent residents call Kulusuk home. The island was originally settled by the Paleo-Eskimo cultures. Next came the Thule people who are descendants of today’s Inuits. Some Danes ran aground here in 1909, built a church, and stayed. As a result, today Kulusuk blends European and Inuit cultures. Most people earn their livings hunting and fishing, and some are skilled tupilaq carvers. Tupilaq means “soul of the ancestor,” and these carved figurines are said to offer protection against evil. Perhaps you’ll pick one up as you explore the town.

Your Expedition Team will determine where and how our activities will take shape based on the weather and local conditions, and you will have options for how active you want to be. You might hike from the shore of Kulusuk to the top of the 984-foot-high hill known as Isikajia Mountain for jaw-dropping views of the village, the icebergs, and the stunning fjords that chisel the coast. As you explore, keep your eye out for sea birds. You might also be lucky enough to spot ravens, white-tailed eagles, or even the occasional rare gyrfalcon.

Included Feature:
  • Expedition to Kulusuk (dependent on weather conditions)

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 14:

Rest and relax with a day at sea

A day at sea prepares you for the next leg of your expedition: Iceland. This is your opportunity to indulge in a treatment at the onboard spa. Perhaps you want to plan something special in Iceland, in which case you can see your Concierge to make any arrangements!

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 15:

Land in Iceland and tour Siglufjörður’s Herring Museum

Discover the fjord town of Siglufjörður on a walking tour, once the hub of the global herring industry. This town, which is now enjoying a rebirth in popularity, is the focus of our explorations today. Our first stop is the award-winning Herring Era Museum, located on the town’s vibrant harbor front. Enjoy free time to wander exhibits illustrating the fascinating history of the herring industry before witnessing a live herring salting demonstration, which offers a unique insight into a practice that helped define this region and its inhabitants. Lunch is back onboard, followed by an afternoon at leisure.

Included Feature:

  • Tour the Herring Era Museum

Cultural Discovery:

  • Herring salting demonstration

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 16:

Take in the expansive vistas at Ísafjörður and visit Thingeyri village

As you’re enjoying breakfast this morning, the Ocean Explorer will arrive to Ísafjörður, an idyllic town in the Westfjords region. We’ll board motorcoaches for a tour, which allows us jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea, and pristine North Atlantic vegetation. As we continue through the mountains, we’ll stop to explore the historic village of Thingeyri. With a population of about 260 inhabitants, Thingeyri is both the area’s first trading post and one of the oldest settlements. We’ll have lunch in a local community house and enjoy Viking musical entertainment before continuing to the thunderous Dynjandi, the highest and most impressive waterfall in the Westfjord region.

Included Feature:

  • Thingeyri village excursion and Dynjandi waterfall visit

Cultural Discovery:

  • Viking musical entertainment

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 17:

Get a true taste of Iceland, from Bloody Marys to hot springs

Venture out along the Golden Circle to discover some of Iceland’s most unforgettable natural attractions today. First, we’ll pay a visit to a tomato farm and greenhouse where you’ll see how Iceland’s geothermal activity helps produce some of the juiciest and most flavorful tomatoes in the world. Taste for yourself when you’re poured a fresh Bloody Mary — but this is no Sunday standard. This version has been called the “best Bloody Mary in the world” by The Guardian!

Our explorations continue in UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, which is renowned for its extraordinary landscapes and boasts a rich history that stretches back to the first settlers in Iceland. We’ll also stop to admire the spectacular Gullfoss Waterfall and the hot springs of the Geysir geothermal field during our Golden Circle discoveries.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day Golden Circle tour

Cultural Discovery:

  • Greenhouse visit and Bloody Mary tasting

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 18:

Discover the Westman from Heimaey Island, Iceland

The Vestmannaeyjar, or Westman archipelago, is a collection of 15 volcanic islands and about 30 rock pinnacles and skerries off Iceland’s southern coast. Most of the islands have sheer cliffs overlooking the sea, which are fertile habitats for all of Iceland’s seabird species including guillemot, gannet, kittiwake, Iceland gulls, and the iconic puffin (which is the symbol of the Vestmannaeyjar). It is also a good place to spot whales, including orca or killer whales.

Today, we will pull into Heimaey, the largest of the Westman islands, and enjoy a full day of discovery.

Bear in mind as you travel by coach across the lava fields of Heimaey that this wonderland is still being formed by volcanic action. You’ll see some of nature’s handiwork in the Herjólfsdalur valley, whose name means “Valley of Magic” — a moniker that is attested to by the amphitheater-like slopes, rocky cliffs and massive seascapes. Continuing on to the scenic western part of the island, keep your eyes wide open in case we spot some of the remaining puffins, more than 8 million of which seasonally come to roost here each summer.

Why is Heimaey known as the “Pompeii of the North”? You’ll find out at the Volcanic Center and Eldheimar Museum, which chronicles the effects of the 1973 Eldfell volcano whose massive lava flow destroyed half the town. The museum is built around the remains of one of the homes. You’ll also learn about the recent arrival of Surtsey Island, which emerged from the ocean during a volcanic eruption in 1963, and continued to form for four years thereafter.

Included Feature:

  • Scenic tour of Heimaey, including entrance to the Volcanic Center and Eldheimar Museum

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 19:

Enjoy a day at sea on the Ocean Explorer

Today is your day to fully relax on board your 5-star ship. Throughout the day, your light expedition team will be conducting different presentations on topics relevant to your destinations, and you’ll also have a moment to take advantage of your ship’s other amenities to refresh and restore yourself, perhaps visiting the sauna or enjoying a soothing massage in the spa.

Cultural Discovery

  • Onboard lecture

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 20:

Explore Europe’s best kept secret: the Faroe Islands

If you’re an early riser, hit the deck as we approach the Faroe Islands, and perhaps you’ll spot some wildlife. The 18 Faroe Islands form an autonomous region within the Kingdom of Denmark. The islands’ main industry is fishing and the 50,000 or so inhabitants enjoy a high standard of living. Your ship will dock on the island of Streymoy, in Tórshavn. Tórshavn was founded in the 10th century, and many historians believe it to be the oldest (albeit smallest) capital in Europe. The name means “Thor’s Harbor” and it’s fitting that the town be associated with the god of thunder, since the Faroes can be quite storm-tossed.

Your tour showcases the main attractions of Tórshavn, plus some of the surroundings. In Tinganes, the narrow neck of land that divides Tórshavn’s two harbors, you’ll see a cluster of modest, red wooden houses that was one of the oldest parliamentary gatherings in the world. Vikings would convene here for regular “Thing” meetings to resolve conflicts and establish laws. Contrast this with the contemporary Løgting or “Law Assembly” that serves as the Faroese Parliament. The office of the prime minister is also located here. At the National Museum of the Faroe Islands, you’ll see various displays celebrating the islands’ natural and cultural heritage. One of the most important is the Kikjubøstólarnirlso which are pew ends from the ancient St. Olav’s church. Dating from the 12th century, these national treasures feature elaborate carvings depicting the apostles and other biblical lore.

For the rest of the day, you may choose to relax or embark on an independent exploration. Perhaps you’ll stroll the side streets and admire the pastel-colored houses with their turf roofs. Or maybe you’ll amble down Tórshavn’s main shopping street, Niels Finsens gøta, in search of some stylish Faroese knitwear.

Enjoy a little pre-dinner entertainment as a local Faroese folk troupe comes aboard to serenade us.

Included Feature:

  • Panoramic coach and walking tour of Tórshavn

Cultural Discovery:

  • Evening onboard entertainment: performance by Faroese troupe

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 21:

Have your choice of tours in the Shetland Islands: Explore Scalloway & Lerwick, or follow in the footsteps of the Vikings

Floating between the Atlantic and the North Sea, the Shetlands are as far north as you can go and still be in Scotland. But at the same time, centuries of Norse rule make these spectacular green jewels a unique cultural hybrid. If you are on deck, perhaps a flock of northern fulmars or gannets will herald our arrival as our ship makes its way towards Mainland, the largest of the archipelago’s 16 inhabited islands. Your ship will drop anchor in Scalloway, and from here you will have two choices for exploration — An exploration of Scalloway and Lerwick, or a tour that brings you to important Viking sites.

Your first tour choice introduces Shetland’s past and present capitals on a Scalloway & Lerwick tour. The name Scalloway derives from an Old Norse phrase that means “bay with the large huts” and in this case, the huts were the ancient shelters built here for delegates to Tingwall, the parliament for Orkney and Shetland. In 1608, those huts were overshadowed by Scalloway Castle, the ruins of which still stand. You’ll visit the site, and also peek into the Scalloway Museum that chronicles important events, most notably the WWII era when Scalloway was the “depot” of the Shetland Bus. This clandestine operation ferried Norwegian refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation to safety in the Shetlands, and returned the boats to Norway with arms and munitions for the Resistance. You’ll also visit Clickimin Broch, a defensive Bronze Age round tower. Before returning to ship, enjoy a guided walk around Lerwick and stop at a local farm that breeds the island’s iconic, stout Shetland ponies.

Your second and more active tour choice invites you to explore “In Viking Footsteps.” You’ll start with a motorcoach ride across the stunning countryside to Old Scatness on the southern tip of the island. It was here in the 1970s that an airport expansion project revealed the heretofore unknown presence of an ancient mound that was inhabited for nearly 2,000 years since the Iron Age. It includes a broch (round tower) and a village that was occupied by Iron Age, Pictish, and Viking people. Many of the Pictish houses were reused by the Vikings, who left many soapstone artifacts behind. From here you’ll head to Sumburgh and visit Jarlshof, which was occupied from about 2500 BC to AD 1500. It features rectangular Viking longhouses, and a 16th-century, fortified manor house.

Back on board, enjoy some leisure time. If conditions permit, perhaps this evening one of our expedition team members will host a stargazing session.

Included Feature:

  • Your choice of tours: Excursion to Scalloway & Lerwick or ”In Viking Footsteps” tour of Old Scatness and Jarlshof

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 22:

Delve into the World War II heritage of Kirkwall in the Orkneys

Rise and shine in beautiful Kirkwall, the capital of Scotland’s northern Orkney Islands. Kirkwall was mentioned in a Norse saga from 1046, but the islands were inhabited long before that, as is evident in the island’s various Neolithic sites.

Your touring today reveals what is one of the best-preserved ancient Norse towns in Scotland. Kirkwall sits on a calm harbor and is laced with mysterious wynds (lanes) that lead to the main edifice, the imposing St. Magnus Cathedral. It is named for a local noble son who refused to participate in the Viking’s violent raids, and was martyred for it. St. Magnus stands in sharp contrast to the charmingly quaint Italian Chapel at Lamb Holm. This fanciful white stucco church was built during WWII by Italian POWs, who wanted a place to worship. They had been sent to the Orkneys to help construct the causeways (called the Churchill Barriers) that served as defensive links between the islands. Today, they are still vital roads. You’ll see both of these landmarks during your tour.

After lunch on board, enjoy and onboard lecture along with leisure time on the ship, or continue to explore Kirkwall at your leisure. Perhaps tour one of the local gin or whisky distilleries, or visit the town’s many craft galleries and boutiques to find a handmade souvenir. 

Included Feature:

  • Historical tour of Kirkwall

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard lecture

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 23:

Explore Stromness and unravel the mysteries of Skara Brae

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 cruise into its port this morning.

Then, embark on a tour to Skara Brae, a 3,000-year-old village of stone dwellings that was discovered in 1850 when a coastal storm stripped away the earthen covering. The site is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perhaps the most recognizable landmarks here is the Ring of Brodar, a mysterious Neolithic stone henge that forms an almost perfect circle, and the only henge of its kind in Britain. You’ll witness this marvel as well as the standing stones of Stenness and Maeshowe, the sites of various inscriptions left behind by the 12th century Vikings, on your morning tour.

The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure in Stromness. Perhaps you’ll peruse the varied collections housed at the Stromness museum, or utilize the onboard bicycles provided to take a ride through town. Later, enjoy an onboard cooking lesson where you’ll learn to prepare a local specialty.

Included Feature:

  • Tour of Skara Brae

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard cooking lesson

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 24:

Isle of Lewis and the mystical Callanish Stones

Enchanting thatched-roof cottages await you today when you arrive at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, first settled as a trade port by the Vikings. Your group will visit the prehistoric Callanish Stones — a hilltop, cross-shaped arrangement of standing stones with a circular ring and central monolith. Dating back some 5,000 years to Neolithic times, they are even older than Stonehenge and have been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next, visit the nine thatched-roof cottages of Gearrannan Blackhouse Village. Here, at the Carloway Mills, you’ll see a demonstration of the region’s most time-honored craft — tweed-weaving. Lunch is back on board, and you'll enjoy an afternoon at leisure, with another eye-opening lecture planned. This afternoon, be entertained by a troupe of Scottish dancers!

Included Feature:

  • Half-day Isle of Lewis tour

Cultural Discoveries:

  • Tweed-weaving demonstration
  • Scottish dance performance
  • Onboard lecture

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 25:

The magical Isle of Skye, the “cloud island”

This morning, you’ll enjoy breakfast onboard as we sail toward Portree, our next port of call. Enjoy an informative onboard lecture before lunch.

This afternoon, you’ll depart for the Isle of Skye. In a country of scenic superlatives, this Scottish isle will stand out in your memories as one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Embark on a sightseeing tour by motor coach that reveals medieval castles and villages, and vistas of the mist-enshrouded Cuillin Hills; crystal-clear lochs; and fairy pools fed by tiny cascades and streams.

If Brigadoon really exists, you might just find it today as the Ocean Explorer takes you for a scenic sail around Skye, the Summer Isles, or the Shiant Isles archipelagos. This is when you’ll be grateful for the nimbleness of your expedition vessel, as we hug the rugged coastline and discover waterfalls that plummet off high cliff-tops right into the sea and romantic moors that sweep to the rocky shore. Watch out for shorebirds and local marine life, and keep your camera at the ready!

Included Feature:

  • Scenic tour of Skye

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard lecture

Scenic Sailing:

  • Depart Portree later today. Weather permitting, you’re sure to enjoy sailing around Inner Hebrides islands, a diverse archipelago that is also home to seals and seabirds

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 26:

Explore Tobermory and tour Duart Castle

This morning you’ll anchor at Tobermory, an idyllic port whose waterfront is lined with multicolored houses, cozy pubs, crafts shops and inviting restaurants. You'll have some time at leisure to explore, perhaps visiting the An Tobar Arts Centre or the Mull Aquarium.

This afternoon, you’ll depart for a half-day tour of Duart Castle, or the ancient seat of the Scottish Clan McLean for the last 700 years. En route, you’ll take in the natural beauty of the Isle of Mull during a panoramic drive while listening to an informative lecture about the cultural Heritage of this region. When you arrive at the castle, you may notice its huge curtain walls and fortified keep. Enjoy a self-guided audio tour.

After, enjoy a dolphin and whale watching experience with guidance from members of a local marine life trust.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day Duart Castle tour

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 27:

Belfast, Antrim, and the Giant’s Causeway

Locals will tell you that the Giant’s Causeway was formed when the giant Finn McCool tossed massive boulders in the water in order to battle another giant across the way in Scotland. Scientists will tell you that this amazing natural phenomenon (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) was created when basaltic lava from an ancient eruption solidified into thousands of hexagonal columns. Your eyes will tell you that you are witnessing something quite otherworldly. Also breathtaking is the power and beauty of the Antrim coast, which you’ll travel along, too. Afterward, enjoy a delightful lunch in a local restaurant before continuing on to Belfast, Northern Ireland's capital.

The city that launched the Titanic is often remembered today for the Troubles — but as you’ll discover on a panoramic tour, with those days well behind it, Belfast bubbles with activity, centered on a revitalized Victoria Square. 

You’ll return to your ship late in the afternoon and enjoy a performance of traditional Irish music onboard tonight before dinner.

Included Features:

  • Visit Giant’s Causeway
  • Panoramic tour of Belfast

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard Irish music performance

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 28:

Disembark the Ocean Explorer and discover Dublin

This morning, you’ll bid farewell to the Ocean Explorer before setting off to discover Ireland’s energetic capital. You’ll set out for a special day discovering Dublin’s main sights, including the prestigious Trinity College, where Ireland’s most precious medieval artifact, the Book of Kells, lives. One of many Irish treasures, this illuminated manuscript of the four gospels dates back to around 800 AD. The college also hosts the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the Brian Boru harp, a national symbol of Ireland featured on the Guinness label. Then, Marvel at the lush greenery of the city’s beloved Phoenix Park — home to 1,750 acres of woodlands, lakes, historic buildings, and its own herd of wild fallow deer. Your tour will conclude at Dublin Castle, where you’ll enjoy a brief tour of the inside.

Lunch is on your own this afternoon, and you’ll have time at leisure to pursue your interests in Dublin. Perhaps you’ll visit the Guinness storehouse and browse the souvenirs there, or ask your Program Manager to help you find the best fish and chips.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day city tour of Dublin, including inside visit of Dublin Castle

Included meals:

Breakfast

DAY 29:

Take your pick of tours in Dublin

Enjoy the morning at leisure. Perhaps you’ll explore one of the many outstanding museums such as the National Gallery of Ireland or the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

This afternoon, choose from two very different but equally enticing experiences — take a whiskey tour of Dublin, or embark on a Howth Cliff walk. The former will bring you to the most important sites of Dublin’s 200-year-old whiskey tradition, providing you with ample opportunities to sample Ireland’s famous whiskey. The latter will take you out of the city to the coastal town of Howth, where you’ll embark on a cliffside nature walk with incredible views of the sea.

Tonight, toast to the discoveries you’ve made with your fellow travelers during a Farewell Dinner at your hotel.

Included Feature:

  • Choice of tours: Dublin whiskey tour with tasting OR active Howth cliff walk

Cultural Discovery:

  • Irish whiskey tasting (on Dublin whiskey tour only)

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 30:

Fly home

This morning after breakfast, transfer to the Dublin airport for your flight home. Or, join us on our Kingscourt, Ireland post-trip extension and stay on for two more nights!

Included meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Kingscourt, Ireland (Post-Trip)

FROM: $999 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $333 PER DAY

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Post-Trip)

FROM: $1499 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $500 PER DAY

Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-888-514-1845

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