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The Beauty of the British Isles - 2024

London • 10-night expedition cruise with Poole, Isles of Scilly, Fishguard, Holyhead, Isle of Man, Belfast, Isle of Mull, Isle of Skye, Outer Hebrides (Stornoway), Orkney Islands (Stromness), Invergordon • Edinburgh
  • A farmstead on the Isle of Mull is dwarfed by beautiful, grassy cliffs.
    DISCOVER THE BRITISH ISLES ABOARD OUR 5-STAR OCEAN ODYSSEY, A NIMBLE SMALL SHIP THAT CAN ACCESS THE SMALLER PORTS LARGER SHIPS CAN’T
  • Castle ruins on the verdant Isle of Man
    SEE THE ISLE OF MAN, A UNIQUE BRITISH PROTECTORATE AND UNESCO WORLD BIOSPHERE RESERVE
  • Geometric rock formations make up the Giants Causeway between the ocean and a grassy peak in Ireland.
    MARVEL AT THE UNESCO-LISTED GIANT'S CAUSEWAY, A SERIES OF OTHERWORLDLY BASALT COLUMNS IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  • Isle of Skye Scotland
    CELEBRATE THE ISLE OF SKYE’S MAGIC BY LAND AND SEA, ADMIRING ITS DRAMATIC CLIFFS, RUGGED PEAKS, MEDIEVAL CASTLES, AND TOWERING WATERFALLS THAT LUNGE TO THE SEA
  • Edinburgh, Scotland extension
    ROUND OUT THIS REMARKABLE JOURNEY WITH AN EXTENSION TO EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
DATES & PRICES
STARTING FROM
$9,999
  • $666
    PER DAY
  • 15
    DAYS
  • 32
    TOURS
TRIP WITH AIR
16 DAYS FROM $10,798
Luxury
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Dublin, Ireland (Pre-Trip)

4 DAYS FROM $1,399

Edinburgh, Scotland (Pre-Trip)

3 DAYS FROM $1,499

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Uncover the beauty of the British Isles on this fascinating expedition voyage with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. There are more than 6,000 islands comprising the British Isles, but only a handful are ever seen by curious travelers. Now, our nimble new 5-star ship, the Ocean Odyssey, brings the best of them within easy reach.

On this small ship cruise, you’ll discover the wild Hebrides, born of volcanoes and carved by glaciers, the Isle of Man, with its distinctive Manx culture, and lush Scilly and the misty Isle of Skye. See the massive horizontal slabs that form Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and the bizarre monoliths of Callanish, a circular ritual site older than Stonehenge. Walk around fortifications that were civilized by monks and breached by Vikings. Contrast the medieval castles of Wales with the Victorian charm of Belfast. And bookend your cruise with included stays in Dublin and Edinburgh, where you may also extend your time.

With exciting scenery, varied traditions, amazing wildlife, historic monuments, onboard lectures, and 32 included features and Cultural Discoveries, every day will be an adventure in diversity. In a handful of ports, you’ll have the opportunity to board Zodiac boats that allow you to get even closer to intimate harbors and small villages. Plus, get in-depth insights into the cultures of your destinations with onboard lectures led by your highly-knowledgeable, 5-person Expedition Team.

Best of all, as you cruise to distant shores, luxurious comfort is right at your fingertips. The Ocean Odyssey is designed with just 77 spacious cabins — including a landmark 15 solo cabins — for a more intimate cruising experience. And with amenities like an onboard spa, gym facilities, and gourmet dining to complement your onshore explorations, you can confidently add this remotely-rugged, eye-opening journey to your travel bucket list.

Please note: 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/or Zodiac operations, and possess the physical agility to embark and disembark small crafts in unpredictable waters.

London to Edinburgh

Pre-Trip Extension

Dublin, Ireland (Pre-Trip)

FROM: $1399 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $350 PER DAY

Edinburgh, Scotland (Pre-Trip)

FROM: $1499 PER PERSON | 3 DAYS | $500 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Fly to London

Your British Isles journey begins! Today you’ll fly overnight from the U.S. to London, England.

DAY 2:

Land in London

If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival in the United Kingdom, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. Settle in and then join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner and Briefing.

Included meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

London’s landmarks and UNESCO Sites

Today’s half-day guided city tour by coach and by foot includes some of London’s most notable landmarks — Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and more. You’ll also enjoy an included visit to the British Museum, famed for its extensive permanent collection of 8 million works dedicated to human history and culture. Lunch and dinner are on your own — perhaps you'll do as the locals do and head to the nearby pub! Our local experts can recommend many restaurants and activities in the area surrounding your hotel, thanks to its central location.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day London city tour

Cultural Discovery:

  • Guided tour of the British Museum

Included meals:

Breakfast

DAY 4:

Windsor Castle, embarking the Ocean Odyssey

After breakfast you’ll transfer through the English countryside to our ship in Poole. But along the way you’ll stop to explore historic Windsor Castle, the world’s oldest occupied castle. Built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has served as a royal residence since then, and the current royal family, the House of Windsor, took their dynastic name from this beloved site. If you see the royal standard flying from its ramparts, that means the Queen is in residence! You’ll have time for lunch on your own before we commence our tour.

From Windsor, you’ll proceed to the sweeping Dorset coast and meet your ship in Poole. It was from here that many of the troopships involved in the D-Day landings set sail for Normandy to rendezvous with history. After embarking the Ocean Odyssey later this afternoon, join the Captain and crew for an onboard Welcome Briefing, followed by your first dinner on board.

Included Feature:

  • Tour of Windsor Castle

Scenic Sailing:

  • Wave goodbye to Poole and sail off through the English Channel and continue your exciting journey

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 5:

The Abbey Gardens of Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Scattered off the Cornwall coast like a handful of pearls lie the lovely Isles of Scilly. Today after breakfast, you’ll board a tender and be taken ashore to visit Tresco, a paradise of shell-strewn beaches, flower-filled heaths, and dense forests.

Arriving at the Tresco Abbey Gardens you can hardly believe you are in England. For here, surrounded by protective stands of elm, sycamore, and oak, is a wonderland of exotic, subtropical flora from the Mediterranean and as far away as Brazil, Australia and South Africa. Walk with your guide among eye-popping bowers of bright orange bomarea, pink pincushion protea, spiny red and blue bromeliads, and more. Complementing the arboreal beauty are the maritime collections at the Valhalla Museum. Here you’ll admire items retrieved from shipwrecks dating back to the 17th century, including 30 figureheads, a bronze cannon, quarter boards, and more.

Back on board you’ll enjoy a leisurely lunch and an engrossing discussion on immigration in the United Kingdom.

Included Features:

  • Visit the Abbey Gardens of Tresco
  • Visit Valhalla Museum

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard lecture

Scenic Sailing:

  • Arrive and depart in Tresco today and look forward to cruising between the varied Islands of Scilly

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 6:

Fishguard and St. David’s, the spiritual heart of Wales

After breakfast, you’ll disembark in the tiny Welsh port of Fishguard and travel to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This is the home of St. David's, the religious capital of Wales and the smallest city in the country. Enjoy your guided tour of the 12th-century Cathedral of St. David, which was built over a site where country’s patron saint, David, established a monastery in the 6th century. The cathedral has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries. Other highlights include the 14th-century Tower Gate, Celtic Old Cross and a number of art galleries and pubs, where you can spend more time during your afternoon at leisure.

This evening before dinner, learn about Wales’ relationship with the British Empire over the centuries during an informative lecture presented by your Expedition Team. Then, be enchanted by the sounds of a classical Welsh harp performance on board.

Included Feature:

  • Half-day historical tour of St. David’s

Cultural Discoveries:

  • Lecture on Wales and the British Empire
  • Evening onboard entertainment: classical Welsh harp performance

Scenic Sailing:

  • The views are sure to be just as memorable as the name of the coastal city of Fishguard

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 7:

Step into medieval Wales at Holyhead and Caernarfon Castle

This morning you will board a Zodiac boat offshore and transfer inland into Holyhead where you will enjoy a short drive to majestic Caernarfon Castle, built between 1283 and 1330 by King Edward I.

Today, massive Caernarfon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it will take your breath away. Here you can walk along its interconnected walls, punctuated by impressive towers that loom above a central green studded with (now abandoned) villages. Caernarfon dominates the shoreline and you can imagine its importance in controlling coastal supply routes and providing access to the agricultural resources of neighboring lands.

En route to a traditional pub lunch, your local guides will tell you more about the castle’s fascinating history. Then, visit the National Slate Museum, nestled into a mountainside, to witness a demonstration of the vanishing Victorian-era trade of slate splitting. After tonight's dinner, unwind with a performance from a local Welsh singer.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day excursion to Caernarfon Castle

Cultural Discoveries:

  • Slate splitting demonstration at the National Slate Museum
  • Evening onboard entertainment: Welsh folk music performance

Scenic Sailing:

  • The landscape changes again upon arriving in Holyhead

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 8:

Time traveling on the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is a protectorate of Great Britain, and therefore not technically a legal part of the United Kingdom. As such, it has its own independent parliament which has governed since 979 AD. Rich in flora and fauna, the island is also a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, but your focus today will be the Isle of Man’s unique culture, called Manx. After breakfast this morning, you’ll hear a lecture on Manx culture to contextualize your discoveries today, beginning in the port of Douglas.

Here in the island’s capital, we’ll transfer by coach to Cregneash village, one of the last strongholds for Manx language and customs. After, we head to Castletown, the ancient capital of the Isle of Man and home of the preserved medieval Castle Rushen, which dates back to 1250.

We’ll head back to the Ocean Odyssey for lunch, enjoying a scenic ride with a photo stop at Tynwald Hill. After lunch, the balance of your afternoon is free for relaxing, or discovering more of the Isle of Man on your own. 

After dinner tonight, enjoy an onboard performance featuring local entertainers.

Included Feature:

  • Isle of Man sightseeing tour

Cultural Discovery: 

  • Lecture on Manx culture
  • Evening onboard entertainment by local performers

Scenic Sailing:

  • Admire the idyllic charm of Douglas when you cruise into the harbor this morning

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 9:

Choose your Northern Ireland experience: Belfast or the Giant’s Causeway

This morning you’ll arrive at Belfast and step ashore for your choice of tours uncovering the cultural and natural heritage of Northern Ireland.

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 returning to the ship.

Alternatively, embark on a panoramic tour of Belfast. The city that launched the Titanic is often remembered today for the Troubles — but with those days well behind it, Belfast bubbles with activity, centered on a revitalized Victoria Square. You’ll then return to the ship for lunch.

In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Titanic Belfast museum, where you can mull over the stories behind this ill-fated ship. Later this evening, we’ll return to the ship for an Irish music performance before dinner.

Included Features:

  • Choice of tours: Excursion to Giant’s Causeway or Belfast city tour
  • Visit the Titanic Belfast museum

Cultural Discovery:

  • Irish music session

Scenic Sailing

  • Sail out of Belfast on the same route the RMS Titanic originally took

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 10:

Discover the Isle of Mull in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides

This morning you’ll anchor offshore and board a Zodiac boat into 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.

After lunch on board the Ocean Odyssey, enjoy a panoramic drive from Tobermory to Duart Castle. En route, listen to commentary on the natural and cultural heritage of this isle by local experts from Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. When you arrive at Duart Castle, you'll take an informative tour, followed by light refreshments of tea or coffee and cake.

Later, local experts will deliver a short talk on local marine wildlife and how to identify them, providing scopes and binoculars for whale- and dolphin-watching.

Enjoy dinner onboard tonight.

Included Feature:

  • Visit to Duart Castle

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard lecture

Scenic Sailing:

  • The vibrant seafront homes and vast terrain of Tobermory will capture your imagination both as you arrive and depart this port

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 11:

The magical Isle of Skye, the “cloud island”

In a country of scenic superlatives, Scotland’s Isle of Skye will stand out in your memories as one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We’ll embark on a morning sightseeing tour of Skye, the Summer Isles or the Shiant Isles archipelagos, which will reveal medieval castles, villages, and vistas of the mist-enshrouded Cuillin Hills; crystal-clear lochs; and fairy pools fed by tiny cascades and streams. Via an offshore Zodiac boat transfer, we’ll arrive in Portree, where you’ll embark on a sightseeing tour that reveals medieval villages, vistas of the mist-enshrouded Cuillin Hills, and crystal-clear lochs. After, enjoy some time at leisure in Portree before a late lunch on board.

If Brigadoon really exists, you might just find it today as the Ocean Odyssey 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 small ship, 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!

Put your discoveries into perspective today with another lecture preluding dinner.

Included Features:

  • Scenic tour of Skye
  • Scenic daylight cruise around Skye, the Summer Isles, or the Shiant Isles archipelagos

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 12:

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. Before dinner, 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

Scenic Sailing:

  • Early this morning, admire the sights of quaint Scottish towns on the coast of the Isle of Lewis as you sail on toward Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 13:

World War II heritage of the Orkneys

Named for the strong tides that rip past the Point of Ness, it’s no surprise that Stromness, where your ship will drop anchor and you will board a Zodiac boat inland, was once a vital whaling port. It was later used by the British for shipping in times of war in lieu of the English Channel. On this morning’s tour, you’ll learn about the Churchill Barriers, a series of four causeways linking the Orkney Islands that were built as naval defenses in WWII. Today, they serve as vital roads. World War II left a spiritual mark as well, and you and your fellow travelers will visit the ornate Catholic chapel built here by Italian POWs.

After lunch on board, you’ll have the afternoon at leisure to explore Stromness on your own. Entrance to Stromness Museum is included, so you can discover the Orkney Islands’ natural history.

Before dinner, hear a lecture that delves into the culture of the region.

Included Feature:

  • Morning tour of Orkney Island with visit to the Churchill Barriers

Cultural Discovery:

  • Onboard lecture

Scenic Sailing:

  • As you sail toward Stromness, find yourself enchanted by rustic homes on tiered hills and Old World architecture

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 14:

Wind through the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh

The cruise portion of your journey ends this morning in Invergordon, your gateway to the gorgeous Scottish Highlands. This land of high mountain valleys, rushing trout streams, sparkling lochs, and sheep-dotted pastures was once the stronghold of Gaelic-speaking Scottish clans. Following the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries, small farmers were largely driven from the land, so today this remote region is one of the least-populated areas in Europe.

Our route today takes us through wildly scenic Cairngorms National Park, the largest in the U.K. We’ll stop for an included lunch in the town of Pitlochry, which blossomed as a tourist destination after Queen Victoria visited in 1842. Soon thereafter you’ll arrive in Edinburgh and check into your hotel. Tonight, dinner is on your own — ask your Cruise Director for recommendations!

Included Feature:

  • Panoramic drive through the Scottish Highlands

Scenic Sailing:

  • Take in the Scottish scenery from the unique vantage of the open waters as you travel toward Invergordon

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 15:

Discover Edinburgh and come aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia

The unforgettable city of Edinburgh unfolds before you as we ride and walk on a half-day city tour. Highlights of the Old Town include Edinburgh Castle, set high above the city on Castle Rock, and St. Margaret’s Chapel. Built around 1130, it is the oldest surviving building in town. Fast-forward to 18th-century as you explore the New Town, with its elegant neoclassical and Georgian architecture. Both districts are together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip set sail to visit their far-flung dominion, they did it on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. You'll come aboard to inspect this elegant vessel, which often hosted a retinue of more than 45 guests. It still features the furnishings and décor favored by the Queen when the ship was launched in 1953. The balance of your day is free. Your Cruise Director will be happy to assist with tips, directions, and making reservations.

Your Farewell Dinner tonight will feature musical entertainment from a traditional bagpiper. You'll also learn the history of this instrument, as well as a bit about Scottish clans, and more! 

Included Feature:

  • Half-day Edinburgh city tour including a visit of the Royal Yacht Britannia

Cultural Discovery:

  • Farewell Dinner with musical entertainment from a bagpiper

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 16:

Return home

After breakfast you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, if you’re joining the post-trip extension right here in Edinburgh, you’ll stay on for three more days!

Included meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Edinburgh, Scotland (Post-Trip)

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

Dublin, Ireland (Post-Trip)

FROM: $1399 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $350 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.

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