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Castles and Kilts: Stories of the Ancients in the British Isles and Norway

Program Number: 21026RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/17/2013 - 8/26/2013;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: England/Scotland/Norway/Ireland
Price starting at: $6,525.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 22; 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Delve into the layered history, abundant natural beauty and cultural riches of the British Isles and Norway. Cross the North Sea on a voyage from regal London and Edinburgh to Stavanger and the Isle of Man, coming ashore in grand cities and charming harbors to study the maritime culture and heritage that unite them.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile, mostly paved surfaces, some uneven terrain. Some optional excursions may require more walking.



Programs with Crystal Cruises are designed for the independent traveler. These programs offer a lower activity level and the ability to choose your own shore excursion based on your preferences and physical ability. Road Scholar will provide one exclusive shore excursion and private onboard lectures with our own Study Leader.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

London (England), 1 night; Crystal Serenity, 7 nights.



Days 1–3: Overnight flight from the U.S.A. / arrival London / embark Crystal Serenity:

Embark the vessel in London after becoming acquainted with its world-famous centers for art and its nearly 2,000-year history of settlement.



Day 4: Newcastle upon Tyne:

In this lovely river port, study shipbuilding heritage and early Roman settlement as you explore Newcastle from the Keep to the Quayside.



Days 5-6: Edinburgh:

A rolling volcanic landscape, unimaginably green, skirts along a regal procession of structures ten centuries in the making, webbed by streets whirring with car and foot traffic, all beneath an ancient castle atop an emerald crag. A meeting of modern and medieval, Edinburgh is a model European city making a prosperous future while preserving a celebrated past. On a walk down the famous Royal Mile, explore St. Giles Cathedral and John Knox House, then arrive at Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official Scottish residence.



Days 7-8: Stavanger / at sea:

Despite booming progress throughout the last century, Stavanger retains in its center a colorful cluster of wooden houses built 200 to 300 years ago, protected by steadfast residents as a revered element of their culture. Explore this city focusing on its central role in Norway's maritime history, which began with the battles fought among Viking kings.



Days 9-10: Isle of Man / disembark Dublin / departure:

From a Viking kingdom 1,000 years ago, Douglas has grown into the bustling capital of the Isle of Man and its commercial and artistic hub. Explore the town as a local and hear the story of its icon, the Tower of Refuge.





Crystal Serenity

At 820 feet long, this elegant ocean liner offers its 1,080 passengers plenty of space, unsparing amenities including the high-tech Computer University@Sea and several restaurants, including one by acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Complimentary fine wines and premium spirits available throughout voyage.


Meals and Lodgings
   Tower Hotel
  At Sea., UK:England 1 night
   Crystal Serenity
  At Sea., UK:England 7 nights
 Tower Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located on the River Thams in the heart of London, the Tower Hotel enjoys panoramic views of the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the River Thames and St Katherine Docks. Vibrant, contemporary and spacious, this non-smoking hotel feels relaxed and enjoys an abundance of natural daylight.
  Contact info: St Katharine's Way
London,  E1W 1LD UK:England
phone: +44 845 305 8335
web: www.guoman.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/london/the_tower/index.html
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, coffee and tea making facilities, flat screen LDC TV, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, mini bar, room safe, trouser press
  Facility amenities: Air conditioning, gym, meeting rooms, restaurant with outdoor terrace, bar, wifi internet (for an additional charge)
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and bookings.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Crystal Serenity
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The readers of Condé Nast Traveler consistently vote Crystal Serenity the number one cruise ship in the world. At 68,000 tons and capable of serving 1,070 guests, Crystal Serenity while the larger of Crystal's two ships, still maintains one of the highest space-per-guest ratios at sea, so you'll never feel crowded.
  Ship Information: Guest Capacity: 1,070 Per guest space ratio: 63 Ship’s Registry: The Bahamas Officers: European Captain, International Officers International Crew: Countries Represented: 40 European-trained Hotel and Dining Staff American/European Cruise Staff Total Crew: 655 Gross Registered Tons: 68,870 Length: 820 ft. (249.9 m) Width: 106 ft. (32.3 m) Draft: 25 ft. (7.6 m) Cruising Speed: 21 knots Maximum Speed: 22 knots
  Contact info: 2049 Century Park East
Suite 1400
Los Angeles, CA 90067 USA
phone: 310-785-9300
web: www.crystalcruises.com
  Room amenities: Hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers, soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, sewing kit, umbrealla, pillow menu, 24 hour in stateroom dining, wireless internet access, phone, TV, refrigerator filled with complimentary soft drinks and bottled water, safe
  Facility amenities: Two-story Crystal Plaza and Crystal Cove, lobby area with atrium, comfortable seating and piano bar "Avenue of the Stars" shopping arcade with three boutiques offering upscale clothing, jewelry, and specialty items. Casino featuring slot machines, bar poker and slant top poker machines, blackjack tables, craps, a roulette table, baccarat table and the Ultimate Texas Hold'em Galaxy Lounge, the ship's main entertainment venue Hollywood Theatre for recently released movies, with state-of-the-art audio visual and translation equipment that may be used for meetings and/or conferences; theatre also features audio enhancement for the hearing-impaired Computer University@Sea® center with a lab for classroom instruction and separate room offering 24-hour Internet and e-mail access The Studio, a completely new learning center for a variety of creative and educational hands-on classes Variety of lounges including the Stardust Club for dancing and cabaret, Avenue Saloon cocktail and piano bar, Connoisseur Club, an intimate refined cigar lounge, Palm Court/Sunset Bar observation lounge, and Pulse disco Fantasia children's center and Waves teen center Library featuring over 3,000 books, videos, DVDs, and books-on-tape Bridge Lounge Wi-Fi access is available on board throughout the ship Laundry Service Complimentary self-service launderettes including washing machines, detergent, fabric softener, dryers, irons and ironing boards are provided on Decks 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins wtih the program orientation at the hotel in London. You will be staying at Tower Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
The programs ends on after breakfast on board the ship. You will be staying at Crystal Serenity the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. **IMPORTANT INFORMATION** All participants must register online with Crystal Cruises. To register go to www.checkin.crystalcruises.com to access the Priority Check-in and Planning Center. To log in, you need type in your first/last names as they appear on your passport and your booking number (which appears on your cruise confirmation or can be obtained from Road Scholar). You will need to enter your contact and passport information in order to register. Once registered you will be able to book excursions and on-board activities (such as specialty dining, spa appointments, etc). If you did not recieve a booking number, please call us at 1.866.359.5966. For more information on using the Priority Check-in & Planning Center please see the attachment at the end of this booklet. Proof of citizenship is required for ALL guests. For full information regarding traveling with Crystal Cruises, we recommend visiting the Crystal Cruise website at: www.crystalcruises.com and refer to the "Cruise Guidebook"
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  At Sea.
  Transportation to site: The Tower Hotel is just east of the Tower Bridge, on the north side of the River Thames. From London Heathrow, we recommend the Heathrow Express: this runs direct from the airport to London Paddington in just 15 minutes (20 from Terminal 5) and theres a train every quarter of an hour. The Gatwick Express runs a similar service into Victoria. From either terminus, you can take the Underground (Circle Line) to Tower Hill: The Tower Hotel is less than 7 minutes walk away. Participants who purchased their air travel from Road Scholar Travel Services, and are arriving on August 18th, will be met at the airport and provided with a transfer to the hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location: At Sea.
  Transportation from site: A group departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and depart on the group date. Independent travelers may join the group transfer if they are departing on the program end date.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Depature from North America to London
(Saturday, August 17)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flights from North America to Dublin, Ireland

Day 2: Arrive in London/ Program Orientation/Welcome Dinner
(Sunday, August 18)
   
 Morning: Arrive in London. Transfer to the program hotel and check in at hotel and take time to unpack and relax before orientation.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Evening at leisure
   
Accommodations: Tower Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: London/Dover, England /Embarkation
(Monday, August 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hotel
 Morning: EXCLUSIVE ROAD SCHOLAR EXCURSION: The Tower of London. We visit the Crown Jewels first, avoiding the crowds which come later. Then the White Tower, which was completed in 1100, and now houses an exhibition of armour and a range of fascinating artefacts connected with the history of the Tower and the Monarchy
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Transfer to Dover to embark Crystal Serenity. On board the crystal serenity there will be a safety drill prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Road Scholar participants are invited to eat as a group every night in the Crystal Dining room. Tables have been reserved for the first dinner seating which begins at 6:15 pm.
   
Accommodations: Crystal Serenity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
(Tuesday, August 20)

Note: Today's shore excursion has been developed exclusively for Road Scholar participants. Please do not book an independent Crystal shore excursion.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at leisure on board in the Crystal Dining Room (open seating) or the more casual Lido Café. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day.
 Morning: Join your study leader for an exclusive Road Scholar lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch at leisure on board the ship in the Crystal Dining Room, the Lido Café, or the Trident Grill.
 Afternoon: EXCLUSIVE ROAD SCHOLAR EXCURSION in Newcastle upon Tyne.
 Dinner: Join your study leader for a group dinner in the Crystal Dining Room.
   
Accommodations: Crystal Serenity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Edinburgh/Queensferry Landing, Scotland
(Wednesday, August 21)

Note: Choose your own shore excursion from a variety offered by Crystal Cruises. Excursions may be booked online up to 6 months prior to the departure date. Please visit www.crystalcruises.com for more information about their shore adventures.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at leisure on board in the Crystal Dining Room (open seating) or the more casual Lido Café. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day.
 Morning: INDEPENDENT EXPLORATION: Dominated by a medieval castle on a towering crag, Edinburgh is the celebrated capital of Scotland and boasts more than a thousand years of vibrant historical heritage. The Exchange building, the famous Royal Mile featuring St. Giles Cathedral and John Knox House, as well as Palace of holyroodhouse, the Queens official, are only a few of the architectural masterpieces found in this delightful Scottish city.
 Lunch: Lunch at leisure on board the ship in the Crystal Dining Room, the Lido Café, or the Trident Grill, or you may choose to eat independently ashore. Some Crystal shore excursions will include lunch (depending on the length).
 Afternoon: Continue independent exploration of Edinburgh
 Dinner: Join your study leader for a group dinner in the Crystal Dining Room.
   
Accommodations: Crystal Serenity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Edinburgh/Queensferry Landing, Scotland
(Thursday, August 22)

Note: Choose your own shore excursion from a variety offered by Crystal Cruises. Excursions may be booked online up to 6 months prior to the departure date. Please visit www.crystalcruises.com for more information about their shore adventures.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at leisure on board in the Crystal Dining Room (open seating) or the more casual Lido Café. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day.
 Morning: INDEPENDENT EXPLORATION: Enjoy your 2nd day in Edinburgh on an independent exploration. Dominated by a medieval castle on a towering crag, Edinburgh is the celebrated capital of Scotland and boasts more than a thousand years of vibrant historical heritage. The Exchange building, the famous Royal Mile featuring St. Giles Cathedral and John Knox House, as well as Palace of holyroodhouse, the Queens official, are only a few of the architectural masterpieces found in this delightful Scottish city.
 Lunch: Lunch at leisure on board the ship in the Crystal Dining Room, the Lido Café, or the Trident Grill, or you may choose to eat independently ashore. Some Crystal shore excursions will include lunch (depending on the length).
 Afternoon: Continue your independent exploration of Edinburgh.
 Dinner: Join your study leader for a group dinner in the Crystal Dining Room.
   
Accommodations: Crystal Serenity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Stavanger, Norway
(Friday, August 23)

Note: Choose your own shore excursion from a variety offered by Crystal Cruises. Excursions may be booked online up to 6 months prior to the departure date. Please visit www.crystalcruises.com for more information about their shore adventures.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at leisure on board in the Crystal Dining Room (open seating) or the more casual Lido Café. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day.
 Morning: INDEPENDENT EXPLORATION: For centuries, Stavanger and its surrounding areas have played a leading part in Norway's maritime history - from the time when Viking kings battled in Hafrsfjord, through the period of the "White Sails," steamships and modern super tankers. As a result of its prime geographical location, Stavanger is considered the most important oil city in Norway.
 Lunch: Lunch at leisure on board the ship in the Crystal Dining Room, the Lido Café, or the Trident Grill, or you may choose to eat independently ashore. Some Crystal shore excursions will include lunch (depending on the length).
 Afternoon: Continue your independent exploration of Stavanger
 Dinner: Join your study leader for a group dinner in the Crystal Dining Room.
   
Accommodations: Crystal Serenity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cruising the North Sea
(Saturday, August 24)

Note: Choose your own shore excursion from a variety offered by Crystal Cruises. Excursions may be booked online up to 6 months prior to the departure date. Please visit www.crystalcruises.com for more information about their shore adventures.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at leisure on board in the Crystal Dining Room (open seating) or the more casual Lido Café. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day.
 Morning: Join your study leader for a presentation
 Lunch: Lunch at leisure on board the ship in the Crystal Dining Room, the Lido Café, or the Trident Grill, or you may choose to eat independently ashore. Some Crystal shore excursions will include lunch (depending on the length).
 Afternoon: Join your study leader for a presentation
 Dinner: Join your study leader for a group dinner in the Crystal Dining Room.
   
Accommodations: Crystal Serenity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Douglas, Isle of Man
(Sunday, August 25)

Note: Choose your own shore excursion from a variety offered by Crystal Cruises. Excursions may be booked online up to 6 months prior to the departure date. Please visit www.crystalcruises.com for more information about their shore adventures.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at leisure on board in the Crystal Dining Room (open seating) or the more casual Lido Café. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day.
 Morning: INDEPENDENT EXPLORATION: A Viking kingdom more than a thousand years ago, Douglas is today the capital of the Isle of Man. The shopping high street, filled with some of Europe’s biggest retailers as well as local shops, leads to the magnificent sea front lined with restaurants, theaters and museums. The Douglas Horse Trams also run along the harbor, transporting riders to a simpler time. Douglas is famed for its nighttime illuminations along the shore, which light up landmarks such as the stately Tower of Refuge, to create an unforgettable after-dark vista.
 Lunch: Lunch at leisure on board the ship in the Crystal Dining Room, the Lido Café, or the Trident Grill, or you may choose to eat independently ashore. Some Crystal shore excursions will include lunch (depending on the length).
 Afternoon: Continue to enjoy your independent exploration of Douglas, Isle of Man
 Dinner: Join your study leader for a group dinner in the Crystal Dining Room.
   
Accommodations: Crystal Serenity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Dublin Ireland, England/Disembarkation
(Monday, August 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at leisure on board in the Crystal Dining Room (open seating) or the more casual Lido Café. Room Service is also available 24 hours a day.
 Morning: Group transfers from the cruise port in Dublin to the Dublin International Airport airport for depature flights back to the USA.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides


Author: Samuel Johnson, James Boswell


Description: Written when Johnson was 63 and Boswell 32 in 1773 (when they had been friends for ten years), these travel journals were the result of a three-month trip to Scotland. Johnson observed Scotland, and Boswell observed Johnson.



A Pint of Plain


Author: Bill Barich


Description: Drawing on the wit and wisdom of O'Brien, Joyce, Behan and Synge, the author explores Irish culture (and popularity around the world) from the vantage of the local pub.



Celtic Prayers from Iona


Author: J. Philip Newell


Description: Inspired by the Gaelic prayers and poems of the 19th-century Scotsman Alexander Carmichael, Newell and his wife developed this handsome hard cover book while wardens on the island.



Coasting, A Private Journey


Author: Jonathan Raban


Description: Raban's eloquent, anecdotal account of a solo circumnavigation of the British Isles in a 30-foot ketch, his first experience in a boat. It's an engaging account of the experience of the sea, and the people and places he encounters.



Eyewitness Guide Great Britain


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: With 1,400 photos, maps and excellent introductory chapters, this guide is both a general introduction to Great Britain and a region-by-region look at its attractions.



Fodor's London's 25 Best


Author: Louise Nicholson


Description: This slim guide to London (with handy full-color maps) has everything you need to know for a short visit to the city, including recommended sightseeing, restaurants, hotels and shops.



Great Britain and Ireland Map


Author: HEMA Maps


Description: A nicely detailed map showing both Great Britain and Ireland at a scale of 1:750,000.



In Cod We Trust: Living the Norwegian Dream


Author: Eric Dregni


Description: A Minnesotan of Norwegian extraction, Dregni writes entertainingly of Norwegian culture and the immigrant experience in this delightful account of a year living with his wife and infant son in Trondheim on a Fulbright scholarship.



In Search of England


Author: H.V. Morton, James Morris (Introduction)


Description: The much-beloved, enduring account of Morton's ramblings through the English countryside in the early days of the motorcar. Morton charmingly mixes a deep appreciation of the art, culture and history of the place with his own keen observations.



Irish Fairy and Folk Tales


Author: W.B. Yeats


Description: Edited by the Nobel Prize-winning poet who spearheaded the Celtic Renaissance in the early 20th century, these enchanting stories introduce a cast of changelings, ghosts, mermaids, demons, saints, priests and fairies.



Kingdom by the Sea


Author: Paul Theroux


Description: This time, the prolific writer recounts a coastal journey around the British Isles in 1982, displaying his occasional ill temper alongside his celebrated ability to combine social history with a good old-fashioned traveler's tale.



Knopf Mapguide Edinburgh


Author: Knopf Guides


Description: A handy set of full color, ingeniously folded maps, each indicating favorite sites, shops, restaurants and attractions.



Orkneyinga Saga, The History of the Earls of Orkney


Author: Hermann Palssom, Paul Edwards


Description: A fusion of myth and legend, circa A.D. 1200, by an unnamed Icelandic author. The medieval chronicle has its center of action among the Orkney Islands, describing their conquest by Norwegian kings during the Viking expansion of the ninth century.



Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings


Author: John Haywood


Description: The history of the Vikings told through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. This book traces the route of the 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and on to the New World.



Scotland, A Concise History


Author: Fitzroy MacLean, Magnus Linklater (Contributor)


Description: This richly illustrated survey brings Scottish history up to the present through its romantic figures and bloody battles. With 250 well-integrated illustrations, this revised fourth edition includes a newly added chapter on Scotland’s place in the 21st century.



Seamanship, A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles


Author: Adam Nicolson


Description: Nicolson offers an engrossing account of a coastal voyage from Cornwall, along the western coast of Ireland, out to the Faeroes and to Orkney in this brief hymn to the sea.



The Book of Kells


Author: Bernard Meehan


Description: Written by the keeper of manuscripts at Trinity College, this book features 110 color illustrations, including enlargements, of some of the more spectacular decorations in this most famous of medieval manuscripts.



The British Isles, A History of Four Nations


Author: Hugh Kearney


Description: The Celts, Romans, Vikings, Normans and modern immigrants all make an appearance in Kearney's elegant and revisionist history of not just the English but also of the Scots, Welsh and Irish.



The Mother Tongue, English and How it Got That Way


Author: Bill Bryson


Description: An indispensable guide to the language that divides us, this book is an informative linguistic history that showcases Bryson's wry wit.



The Penguin Illustrated History of Britain and Ireland, From Earliest Times to the Present Day


Author: Barry Cunliffe


Description: A wonderfully rich and comprehensive guide to the history of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland -- from the arrival of the first humans half a million years ago right up to the present.



The Story of England


Author: Christopher Hibbert


Description: Beautifully illustrated with color pictures, chronological charts, royal genealogies and maps, this popular history of English politics, economics and culture from the Neolithic age to the 1990s is an excellent traveler's companion.



Wildlife of the North Atlantic, A Cruising Guide


Author: Tony Soper, Dan Powell (Illustrator)


Description: This compact, illustrated guide covers the many petrels, ducks, gulls, terns and other seabirds, as well as the rich abundance of life existing under the waves, that populate the vast Atlantic region from the British Isles to Newfoundland.





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