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Island Cultures and Ancient Ports of the North Atlantic: Voyage from Ireland to Iceland

Program Number: 21219RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/15/2013 - 6/5/2013;
Duration: 21 nights
Location: England/Ireland/Scotland/Denmark Faroe Islands/Iceland
Price starting at: $8,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 54; 19 Breakfasts, 16 Lunches, 19 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Along the waters of the eastern North Atlantic — once claimed by Vikings and besieged by pirates — lay quiet island gems nestled among their larger counterparts of Great Britain, Ireland and Iceland. Via small ship, discover the historic ports and bustling cities that combine the traditions of ancient times with modern culture.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 1-3 miles per day; some uneven and hilly terrain. Getting in/out of small boats and tenders.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Dublin (Ireland), 1 night; Kilkenny City, 1 night; Killarney, 1 night; Aboard Sea Explorer, 14 nights; Reykjavik (Iceland), 2 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-3: Arrival Dublin (Ireland) / coach to Kilkenny City:

Explore Dublin with an expert, and learn about the history of Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells. Admire the interior and grounds of Kilkenny Castle. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Days 4-5: Killarney / Ring of Kerry:

Spend a day along the Iveragh Peninsula — the Ring of Kerry — and learn about farming traditions during a field trip to the Kissane Sheep Farm. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Day 6: Cork / Cobh / embark Sea Explorer:

En route to Cork, stop to explore Blarney Castle, built over 600 years ago by Cormac McCarthy. Make your way along the Titanic Trail and experience the historic seaport of Cobh.

Day 7: Waterford:

Join an expert for an introduction to Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city. Chat about daily life with locals as you savor a home-cooked lunch in the seaside town of Tramore.

Day 8: Holyhead (Wales):

Discover the history of St. Cybi’s church, built on Roman ruins, and walk through the village with the longest name in the world. Admire the beauty of Beaumaris Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit Caernarvon Castle, built by Edward I.

Day 9: Liverpool (England):

Hear stories of The Beatles as you walk the neighborhoods where John, Paul, George and Ringo grew up and performed. Learn why Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 10: Douglas (Isle of Mann):

See treasures unique to the Isle of Mann at the Manx Museum, followed by an afternoon of free exploration.

Day 11: Belfast (Northern Ireland):

View the colorful murals of East and West Belfast, and delve into politics during a meeting with a local Sinn Fein party member and former Lord Mayor of Belfast Tom Hartley.

Day 12: Isle of Mull (Scotland):

Learn about the island’s earliest inhabitants at the Mull Museum, and admire views of the Sound of Mull.

Day 13: Greenock / Glasgow:

Spend a morning admiring the artworks and collections of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Scotland’s most visited museum.

Day 14: Portree (Isle of Skye):

Admire the beauty of Loch Dunvegan as you take a field trip to Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland.

Day 15: Kirkwall (Orkney Islands):

Explore the ancient streets of Kirkwall. At the Orkney Museum, trace the history of the Orkney Islands from the Stone Age to the Picts and the Vikings, through to present day.

Day 16: Lerwick (Shetland Islands):

With a local expert, walk through the historic port village of Lerwick — Shetland’s capital — and delve into the region’s history during a field trip to the Shetland Museum.

Days 17-18: Tórshavn (Faroe Islands) / At Sea:

The Nordic history of the Faroe Islands, an archipelago comprised of 18 islands, comes to life as you explore its capital city of Tórshavn.

Day 19: Westman Islands (Iceland):

Learn how the residents of the beautiful Westman Islands have made their living from the sea during a day on the main island of Heimaey.

Days 20-22: Reykjavik / disembark / departure:

Discover Iceland’s Golden Circle with a local expert, and spend a day thrilling in the healing geothermic waters of the Blue Lagoon. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Sea Explorer

The deluxe Sea Explorer is an all-suite yacht accommodating up to 114 guests. Completely refurbished and redecorated, it has 57 suites, each with sea view, queen-sized bed separable into two twin-sized beds, sitting area, flat-screen TVs, DVD/CD player, telephone, mini-refrigerator, and marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries.

Meals and Lodgings
   The Grand Canal Hotel
  Dublin, Ireland 1 night
   The River Court Hotel
  Kilkenny City, Ireland 1 night
   The Earls Court House Hotel
  Killarney, Ireland 2 nights
   Sea Explorer
  Sea Explorer, At Sea 14 nights
   Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura
  Reyjkavik, Iceland 2 nights
 The Grand Canal Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Experience Irish hospitality as it should be at the Mc Eniff Grand Canal Hotel in picturesque Dublin 4. Featuring a coveted location in the heart of the city centre, the newly refurbished hotel is only steps from the vibrant Grafton Street shopping promenade. At the meeting point of the Dublin’s technology hub & Ireland’s Broadway like theatre district of Grand Canal dock, The Grand Canal Hotel is truly amidst the best of what the historic Georgian city of Dublin has to offer, such as the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Aviva Stadium, Trinity College, The Irish Financial Services Centre, The RDS, Convention Centre Dublin and The O2.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Grand Canal Hotel
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Dublin,   Ireland
phone: +00353-1-6461000
  Room amenities: The Grand Canal Hotel boasts 142 deluxe rooms over 5 floors and two suites. All rooms are en-suite and fitted with all the modern facilities expected from a top hotel including: Cable television with In room Movies and Games Complimentary Wireless Internet access provided Direct dial telephone with voice mail Tea and coffee making facilities Steam Iron and Ironing Board Hairdryer Work desk with lamp Complimentary soap, shampoo and bath & shower gel
  Facility amenities: After a relaxing nights sleep you can look forward to a sumptuous breakfast in the Epic restaurant, the hotels more formal dining choice. In a rush and don’t have time for breakfast? Grab a coffee and a pastry at canal express. Gasworks bar, serving casual food and drink in a lively atmosphere, is the perfect location for an important business meeting or just an informal coffee with friends. The Grand Canal Hotel offers an array of additional facilities such as 2,200 square feet of fully equipped meeting and conference space, a fully equipped gymnasium and a two story complimentary parking for all guests.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please contact PD for additional night information
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 The River Court Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: On the banks of the Nore River in the heart of Kilkenny, with views of the 12th-century castle, this 4-star hotel offers free Wi-Fi and a 19-yard pool. The Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel has a quiet location in a private courtyard, back from the busy Kilkenny streets. The main shopping areas, theaters and entertainment are all close by. Each of the large rooms is stylishly decorated with nice furnishings, goose-down comforters and pillows. Most overlook the Nore River and the castle. The Riverside Restaurant and the Riverview Bar have great views. Recreational facilities include a 19-yard indoor swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a geyser pool, a steam room and a state-of-the-art gym.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: The Bridge
John Street
Kilkenny,   Ireland
phone: +353 (0)56 772 3388
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Earls Court House Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Earls Court House is a unique 4 star hotel ideally located on its own grounds, just a 7 minute gentle stroll to Killarney’s bustling town centre. The hotel is renowned among Killarney Hotels for its awards and splendid collection of antiques, period furniture and works of art. With olde world charm and relaxed atmosphere, it is the ideal base for exploring the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Killarney National Park and the Main Attractions of the magical Kingdom of Kerry and South West Ireland.
  Ship Information: N/A
  Contact info: Woodlawn Junct. Muckross Rd
Killarney,   Ireland
phone: +353 64 6634366
  Facility amenities: HOTEL FACILITIES AT A GLANCE . Beautifully furnished antique rooms . Choice of Queen, King and Four Poster beds . Award winning Breakfast . Privte Bathroom . Flat Screen LCD Televisions . Broadband computer port . Private Parking . Tea coffee making facilities . Elevator and disabled acccessibility facilities . Complimentary wireless Access . Jacuzzi baths exclusive to four poster Suites. . Drying room for golf and outdoor enthusiasts . Electronic safe, ironing facilities and buckets of ice . Direct Dial Telephone . American 110v power sockets in most rooms
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Sea Explorer
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The deluxe Sea Explorer is an all-suite yacht accommodating up to 114 guests. Built in 1992 and refurbished and redecorated in 2005, it has 57 suites. This small ship offers several advantages that mass cruiseliners cannot match. It can dock or anchor almost anywhere and are not limited to large commercial ports. The Sea Explorer can slip into small towns and tiny fishing villages. The ship's 75 officers and crew ensure personalized service.
  Ship Information: Length: 297 feet / Beam: 50 feet / Draft: 12 feet / Gross Tonnage: 4, 200 / Suites: 57 The Sea Explorer is outfitted with the most current navigational and communications technology and with retractable fin stabilizers.
  Contact info: Enrichment Journeys
1801 NW 66th Avenue, Suite 102
Plantation, FL 33313 USA
phone: Pla-nta-tion xFL333134534
  Room amenities: Sea view, Satellite TV, DVD/CD player, Telephone, Mini-refrigerator, Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries, 225 square feet or more, 24-hour room service, safe.
  Facility amenities: Afternoon Tea and all day coffee Library with Internet access Lounge with audio visual facilities wraparound sundeck with Jacuzzi Exercise room Beauty salon Medical facilities with available doctor Dining room Elevator serving all passenger decks Swimming platform
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Built in 1964 and formerly named Hotel Loftleidir, this hotel has deep roots in the capital city of Reykjavik, having provided comfortable accommodations to tourists, locals, dignitaries and famous people alike for almost five decades. The newly-named and newly-remodeled Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura carries on this tradition. Inside you’ll find a warm and inviting atmosphere, filled with thoughtful details inspired by the beautiful nature that surrounds the property itself. This is no cookie-cutter Reykjavik hotel, the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura embraces its legacy - its distinctly Icelandic roots, including works from local artists, the freshest local produce, a geothermal indoor pool all the modern conveniences. Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura also offers an unrivalled selection of free entertainment, from our popular weekly bedtime stories, to screenings of Icelandic films (with English subtitles), and a video art project by acclaimed Icelandic artist Rúri – just to name a few. We also operate “Wanna Mingle?” a program that allows you to dine with a local Icelandic family for an evening. To top it off, and unique to the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura, is our amazing indoor salt water geothermal-heated swimming pool and hot tub, which helps soothe tired muscles. The indoor pool is part of the new Soley Natura Spa, a place where you can indulge in numerous beauty and massage treatments, using exclusive, all-natural Icelandic products.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Nauthólsvegur 52 - 101
Reykjavik,   Iceland
phone: +354 444 4503
  Room amenities: Many of our rooms were recently renovated and standard amenities in all rooms include: a hairdryer, refrigerator and satellite TV. Great Wi-Fi Internet connectivity is also available in all rooms and areas of the hotel. Parquet flooring and impressive new interiors were recently fitted in all rooms and, while it looks good inside, you can also marvel at the spectacular views to be seen from so many parts of the hotel. All cosmetics and toiletries in rooms are organic from the company Sóley Organics, an Icelandic company known on the international cosmetics market.
  Facility amenities: 4-star Reykjavík Hotel - 220 rooms 20 minute walk to downtown HD Movie Theater Free city bus tickets Indoor geothermal pool Free evening “Bedtime Story” Certified Green Hotel Library on 1st floor ITA Tourist Information Centre Conference & Meeting rooms New hotel restaurant Wireless Internet (small fee) Next to running and bike paths Bike rentals Sunny patio with fireplace Close to domestic airport Disabled friendly hotel Close to bus terminal Family friendly hotel Free parking Next to the only geothermal beach in Iceland
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Prices subject to availability Please contact PD to book post night. Prices and availability subject to change.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program starts in the afternoon at the program hotel Dublin, Ireland. You will be staying at The Grand Canal Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends after breakfast at the hotel in Reyjkavik, Iceland You will be staying at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. A valid passport is required. Please check to be sure it is valid or six months after the end of the tour and that it has sufficient space for entry and exit stamps, not including the amendment and endorsement pages.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Taxis are available
To Start of Program
  Location:  Dublin
  Transportation to site: The Grand Canal Hotel in Dublin is located approximately 8 miles from the Dublin Airport (DUB). By Bus Take the Aircoach Bus in the direction to the city centre/Ballsbridge and get off at the School House Hotel. When you leave the bus turn right down the footway next to the School House Hotel. The School House Hotel will be on your right and the canal will be on your left. Follow this way for about 100 m, and then turn right. After 50 m you will see the Grand Canal Hotel to your right. Costs: Adults: one way 7 euros By Taxi There is a taxi rank outside the arrivals area at Dublin airport. A one way fare to the city centre takes around 45 minutes (depending on traffic). Costs: approximately 25-30 euros.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Reyjkavik
  Transportation from site: Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura is located on the beautiful Oskjuhlid Hill. A nice 20 minute stroll will bring guests from the hotel to Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, city centre. Taxis can be arranged at the hotel for participants not joining the group transfer to the airport.
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: Departures
(Wednesday, May 15)
 Depart From: Depart North America for flights to Dublin, Ireland

Day 2: Arrive in Dublin
(Thursday, May 16)
 Morning: Arrive in Dublin, transfer to check-in to the hotel
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Depart for an expertly guided field trip of Dublin City. Later, meet with your study leader for a program orientation at the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Grand Canal Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Dublin / Kilkenny City
(Friday, May 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Visit Historic Trinity College in the company of current undergraduates - Trinity College builds on its four-hundred-year-old tradition of scholarship to confirm its position as one of the great universities of the world. It has been the educator of many of Ireland's great writers from Swift to Wilde. Part of the tour will include Trinity College Library which houses 200,000 antique texts, marble busts of scholars and the oldest surviving harp in Ireland as well as the Book of Kells. This illuminated manuscript of the Gospels was created by Irish monks around the year 800. Meet Dublin historian at Trinity College to commence 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour of Dublin city, visiting the relevant sites of the Rebellion in Dublin, including O'Connell St, Dublin's main thoroughfare with its landmark statue of Daniel O'Connell, the Great Liberator; The General Post Office (GPO, headquarters of the 1916 Rising) the Four Courts, Dublin’s City Hall and finishing at Dublin Castle.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch in a Dublin Pub. You will be joined by a duo of young Dublin traditional musicians who will share their knowledge of Irish music with you and play a few jigs, reels, and airs!
 Afternoon: Transfer to Kilkenny City
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
Accommodations: The River Court Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Kilkenny City / Killarney
(Saturday, May 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Walking tour of Kilkenny City. Visit Kilkenny Castle, a 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parklands. Kilkenny Castle was the principal seat of the Butler family, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde. Due to major restoration works, the central block now includes a library, drawing room and bedrooms decorated in 1830's splendor, as well as the beautiful long gallery.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Depart for Killarney, county Kerry. Stop en route for a guided visit of the Rock of Cashel
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
Accommodations: The Earls Court House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Killarney / "Ring of Kerry"
(Sunday, May 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Full day field trip around the Iveragh Peninsula -the world renowned “Ring of Kerry” including a visit to the Kissane family’s Sheep Farm, located in the scenic area of Moll’s Gap. The goal of this family run farm is to preserve the Irish heritage of mountain sheep farming and the mountain sheep that have been in the hills and on the roads of Kerry for over one hundred years. In doing so, the heritage of a traditional family farm in the special area of conservation is saved for future generations. You will have the opportunity to learn about the work of the sheepdogs and see them in action on this mountainous terrain, to catch a sheep in the farmyard and try to shear it yourself and to bottle feed some of the orphan lambs.
 Lunch: Lunch at the farm.
 Afternoon: Transfer back to the hotel
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
Accommodations: The Earls Court House Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Cobh / Cork / Embark Sea Explorer
(Monday, May 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Depart for Cork. En route visit Blarney Castle.Built over 600 years ago by a great Irish Chieftain - Cormac Mac Carthy., the legendary Blarney Stone - Stone of Eloquence, is found at the top of the tower and has been attracting visitors to the area for decades. Kiss it and you will never be lost for words again!
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer continues to Cobh. Meet local historian & guide for the ‘Titanic Trail’ a guided visit of the historic seaside town of Cobh.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Waterford, Ireland
(Tuesday, May 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Full day shore excursion to Waterford City. Explore Ireland's oldest city founded by the Vikings in 914.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch as the guest of the local community in the nearby seaside town of Tramore. Learn about daily life and concerns of Irish people and share stories as you chat over a home cooked buffet lunch.
 Afternoon: Return to the ship
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Liverpool, UK
(Wednesday, May 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Discover Beatles Liver and some of the places associated with John, Paul, George and Ringo as they grew up, met and formed the band that would take the pop world by storm.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship or on your own in port.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to explore Liverpool on your own. As the birthplace of the Beatles, Liverpool attracts many musical pilgrims, but its fascinating social history is recognized for its importance. Liverpool's Maritime Mercantile City was inscribed onto UNESCO's World Heritage list in 2004 to help preserve one of the of the world's most recognized ports as a historic site. Situated on the River Mersey, Liverpool's former maritime grandeur - in which it garnered a fortune from cotton and slaves during the 17th and 18th centuries - has left a striking architectural legacy. The Albert Dock and the Port of Liverpool Building are two such examples. Its status as European Capital of Culture in 2008 also helped chronicle the city's contribution to British history and culture, including the Beatles Story.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Holyhead, Wales, UK
(Thursday, May 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Discover Anglesey. Start with a visit to St Cybi’s church, built on the remains fo a Roman Fort. Make a photo stop in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the village with the longest name in the world.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Continue for a visit to Beaumaris Castle, a World Heritage Site considered the most beautiful castle in Wales and widely accepted as probably the most technically perfect example of a medieval castle in Britain; then visit the local Courthouse and Gaol.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Douglas, Isle of Man
(Friday, May 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Explore Douglas. The Manx Museum offering artifacts and treasures unique to the Isle of Man and presenting the Story of Mann through films, galleries and interactive displays. This is where we will start our discovery on Manx history and culture, and begin our journey around this fascinating land.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship or on your own in port
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Belfast, Northern Ireland
(Saturday, May 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Board private motor coach for a brief transfer to the city center. En route learn also about the rich legacy of the Harland and Wolff shipbuilders where the "Titanic" was built. Journey to Belfast Jury's Inn Hotel for an illustrated lecture titled "The Mural Tradition and Political Transformation in Northern Ireland". This will serve as an introduction to Belfast and a basis for understanding the expertly guided field trip of Belfast city later in the morning. After the lecture you will depart by Belfast taxi cabs who will take you to see the colorful and evocative murals of East and West Belfast. It has been said that a city can be defined by its taxi drivers and nowhere is this more true than in Belfast.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Meet with a member of the Sinn Fein political party and former Lord Mayor of Belfast Tom Hartley. Learn about life as a politician during the Troubles. Q & A session. Free time to explore Belfast city center before returning to the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Tobermory, Island of Mull
(Sunday, May 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship.
 Morning: Discover the Mull Museum. The history of the Isle of Mull is captured in the Mull Museum - a small museum crammed with information about Mull in the past. From early people living in duns and brochs, through the times of warring clans and their castles, to more recent events. Exhibits of crofting, farming, fishing and everyday objects show what life was like in Mull in the past. The wreck of a Spanish galleon in 1588 brough excitement to the place, as did the hundreds of navel personnel who trained here during the Second World War. Tobermory derives its name from the gaelic "Tobar Mhoire" meaning the well of Mary. Mary's Well and Mary's Chapel dated back to the Medieval period. The water from the well was said to possess medicinal properties. Both the well and the chapel are gone but a monument was erected on the approximate site of the well in commemoration of Edward VII's coronation. The only sign of the old chapel can be seen at one corner of the graveyard.
 Lunch: Return to the ship for lunch, or stay in town and eat on your own
 Afternoon: Discover Duart Castle: The castle stands on a crag at the end of the peninsular jutting out into the Sound of Mull at the intersection of the Sound of Mull, Loch Linne and the Firth of Lorne and within view of neighboring castles.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Troon, Scotland / Glasgow, Scotland
(Monday, May 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Transfer to the city of Glasgow. Explore the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Located in the park of the same name, this popular museum - the most visited in Scotland - is housed in a magnificent Victorian construction. The building is only a small part of the Palace of Fine Arts of the 1888 International Exhibition.
 Lunch: Lunch is on your own to sample the local fare.
 Afternoon: Transfer back to the ship
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Portree, Isle of Skye
(Tuesday, May 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: This morning is spent at sea sailing towards the Isle of Skye.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Dunvegan Castle: Situated off the west coast of Scotland, Dunvegan Castle is the seat of the Macleod of Macleod, chief of the Clan Macleod. Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the stronghold of the chiefs of the clan for 800 years. Originally designed to keep people out, it was first opened to visitors in 1933. Since then, the castle is consistently ranked as one of Scotland's premier visitor attractions. Over the years, the castle has been visited by Sir Walter Scott, Dr. Johnson, Queen Elizabeth II and the Japanese Emperor Akihito.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
(Wednesday, May 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Discover Kirkwall: Kirkwall has a long and colourful history. Over the years, the town's fortunes fluctuated depending upon varying powers of the islands' earls and bishops who made it their residence. Clustered around these ancient streets are buildings dating from the seventeenth century onward. The oldest surviving buildings to be found within the town are parts of the Bishop's Palace (12th century) and Tankerness House (which now houses the Orkney Museum and dates from the early sixteenth century). The Orkney Museum tells the story of Orkney, from the Stone Age, to the Picts and Vikings, right through to the present day. Our guide will take you through the museum and we have arranged for a local councilor to meet you for a short chat.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Lerwick, Shetland Islands
(Thursday, May 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Discover Lerwick: Shetland's capital, sheltered by Bressay, the natural harbor of the town became important relatively late in Shetland's history, building on the trade from the Dutch herring industry, only becoming capital in the 17th century. From the scattering of huts and winding shoreline track, which became Commercial Street, development was tightly packed into a patchwork of narrow lanes. In the 19th century, new docks to accommodate the fishing fleet were created to the north of town.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship or on your own in port.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Torshavn, Faroe Islands
(Friday, May 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Torshavn (or Thorshavn) today blends the historical and picturesque with all the features of a modern city. It's history begins centuries ago when Vikings from Western Norway first discovered these emerald islands in the midst of the warm currents of the Gulf Stream. In the middle of the summer, they met in Torshavn to talk and to trade during their annual gathering. This summer market gradually grew into a permanent trading area. Under Norwegian, and then later Danish rule, government officials made Torshavn their home. They built forts to protect the town and their monoploy trade from marauding pirates.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue your expert led visit to the Faroe Islands
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: At Sea
(Saturday, June 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Spend a relaxing morning at sea sailing towards Iceland. Enjoy the amenities on board the ship. Later in the morning, join your study leader for a lecture and discussion.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.
 Afternoon: Continue sailing towards Iceland. Join your study leader for a lecture and discussion.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar), Iceland
(Sunday, June 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: The main island, Heimaey, has a population of about 4,000. The islanders have made their living from the sea from the days of the first settlers. Today, join your expert local guide for an introduction to these unique islands. Visit the puffins at Storhofd. This southernmost inhabited point in Iceland is home to a colony of over 700,000 puffins. Next, walk up to the Eldfell volcano. Learn about the eruption that lasted 5 months and resulted in the nearly 5,000 residents of the islands to evacuate to the mainland. You will see the new lava field and visit the Pompeii of the North", a unique archeological project excavating homes that were buried by the eruption. You will also stop at Skansinn, a wooden church built in the year 2000 as a gift from Norway to commemorate 1000 years of Christianity in Iceland.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the ship
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 20: Reyjkavik, Iceland
(Monday, June 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the ship
 Morning: Disembark the ship. This morning your expert guide will meet you at the pier where you will set out to see the Golden Circle of Iceland. This popular, and must-see, route covers around 300km from Reykjavik to central Iceland and back. Stop at Thingvellir National park, Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall) and the spouting spring area of Geysir, after whom all geysers are named.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local tomato farm. Learn how geothermal energy allows local farmers to grow food all year round. You will enjoy a light lunch featuring tomato soup and a salad.
 Afternoon: Return to Reykjavik by coach.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
Accommodations: Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 21: Reyjkavik, Iceland
(Tuesday, June 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Depart Reyjkavik and coach to the famed Blue Lagoon. Crowned by clouds of vapor and surrounded by lava, the Blue Lagoon owes its existence to a nearby geothermal power plant. The water of the lagoon is warm, mineral-rich and reputed for its healing properties. This natural and very popular health spa is now a major attraction of the region.
 Lunch: Return to Reyjkavik for lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free to explore Reyjkavik on your own.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel
Accommodations: Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 22: Reyjkavik / Departures
(Wednesday, June 5)
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flights departing to the US
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

Birds of Europe

Author: Lars Svensson

Description: Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second revised edition of this exquisite guide has been brought up to date with revised text and maps.

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.

For the Love of Ireland, A Literary Companion for Readers and Travelers

Author: Susan Cahill (Editor)

Description: Organized geographically, this rich anthology introduces Ireland through the words and lives of such luminaries as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Frank McCourt and Samuel Beckett.

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.

How the Irish Saved Civilization

Author: Thomas Cahill

Description: This best-selling history tells the generally unknown story of Ireland's preservation of classical learning in the Dark Ages, revealing how the saints and scholars, monks and scribes labored to reproduce important texts and spread the learning as they evangelized Europe.

Iceland Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic Society

Description: A detailed, double-sided traveler's map at a scale of 1:465,000 by National Geographic.

Independent People, An Epic

Author: Halldor Laxness

Description: Rich in local color, this great mock-epic by the Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner features the indelible Bjartur of Summerhouses, a hard-headed, independent-minded sheep farmer.

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.

Lonely Planet Iceland

Author: Deanna Swaney

Description: This concise guide to Iceland includes short essays on history, culture and attractions and plenty of practical travel information.

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 Celts: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Barry W Cunliffe

Description: A concise, revealing social history of the Celts, by a reigning authority and popular writer.

The History of Iceland

Author: Gunnar Karlsson

Description: A history of Iceland from the Viking era through colonization, independence and the 20th century. Karlsson draws on the sagas and rich literature of Iceland in presenting this comprehensive history.

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 Pirate Queen, In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea

Author: Barbara Sjoholm

Description: Tales of plucky female pirates and explorers in the North Atlantic. Long interested in women and seafaring, Sjoholm journeyed from Ireland out to the Shetland and Faroe islands, Iceland and Norway collecting folk-tales, stories and historical accounts of these remarkable seafaring heroines.

The Sagas of Icelanders

Author: Jane Smiley (Introduction), Robert Kellog (Illustrator)

Description: Nine sagas and six tales composed between the years 1000 and 1500, including an account of Leif Eriksson's voyage to North America, all newly translated. With an introduction by Jane Smiley.

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.

Vikings, The North Atlantic Saga

Author: William Fitzhugh (Editor), Elisabeth Ward (Editor)

Description: An extensively illustrated volume of Viking culture, history and exploration that focuses especially on voyages to North America. Published in conjunction with a Smithsonian exhibit, it features essays and 400 color photographs.

Whisky, Kilts, and the Loch Ness Monster, Traveling Through Scotland With Boswell and Johnson

Author: William W. Starr

Description: On his 3,000 mile literary pilgrimage, Starr traced the path (in reverse) James Boswell and Samuel Johnson took through Scotland in 1773. He combines biography, history, comic asides and passages from Boswell's and Johnson's accounts with his own observations to create a multifaceted travelogue.

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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