Road Scholar : Home
Island Cultures and Ancient Ports of the North Atlantic: Voyage from Scotland to Iceland

Program Number: 21218RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/25/2013 - 6/5/2013;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Scotland/Faroe Islands/Iceland
Price starting at: $4,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 26; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

The waters of the eastern North Atlantic are home to islands renowned for their prehistoric history, natural beauty and thriving port cities. On a journey that leads from Scotland to Iceland, delight in an opportunity to explore the region’s quieter gems, from the Isle of Skye, to the Orkney, Shetland, Faroe and Westman Islands.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 2-3 miles per day; some uneven and hilly terrain. Getting in/out of small boats and tenders.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Glasgow (Scotland), 1 night; Aboard Sea Explorer, 7 nights; Reykjavik (Iceland), 2 nights.

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

Day 2-3: Arrival Glasgow (Scotland) / Greenock / embark Sea Explorer:

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

Day 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7-8: 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 9: 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 10-12: 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
   Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel
  Glasgow, UK:Scotland 1 night
   Sea Explorer
  Sea Explorer, At Sea 7 nights
   Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura
  Reyjkavik, Iceland 2 nights
 Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel offers excellent accommodation right on the doorstep of Glasgow Airport, and is also just seven miles from the cosmopolitan city centre of Glasgow, with great connections. This purpose-built contemporary Airport Hotel is ideal for both business and leisure. Each of the 108 rooms are comfortable and stylish and feature all the necessary creature comforts required to guarantee a restful and stress-free stay. The hotel’s location and accessibility makes it an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area. Glasgow central station and Buchanan Bus Station are both just 15 minutes drive away whilst Paisley Gilmour Street Station is only 1 mile. With the airport within easy access you can take the Airport shuttle bus straight into Glasgow city centre, and the service operates 24 hours a day. With the hotel just next to the M8 junction in just minutes you can be enjoying the sea views and coastline along the mouth of the Clyde with views of the West Coast. Head in the other direction and you can be in the city centre in just 15 minutes, or Edinburgh in just over a hour!
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: Marchburn Drive, Glasgow Airport Business Park
Abbotsinch,  PA3 2SJ UK:Scotland
phone: +44 (0)141 843 4800
  Room amenities: Every room comes fully equipped with an en-suite bathroom with shower facilities, satellite TV with pay to view movies, direct dial telephone with internet access, hairdryer, trouser press, iron and ironing board and tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: •24 Hour Front Desk •Airport Shuttle available from 4am - 12noon (extra charge) •Hotel is now completely Non Smoking •Free High Speed Internet in Public Areas. •6 Accessible & adapted bedrooms (interconnecting rooms for carers are also available) •Family and Interconnecting rooms available •On Site residents parking (Overnight Car Parking Charge £4.00)
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Depends upon availability Please contact RS Programming Department for more information
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 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 Glasgow, Scotland You will be staying at Ramada Glasgow Airport 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:  Glasgow
  Nearest airport:  Glasgow International Airport
  Transportation to site: All participants who arrange their air travel through Road Scholar Travel Services will be met at the Glasgow airport (GLA) and will be provided with a free transfer to the program hotel. If you are arranging your own air, your flights should arrive in Glasgow before 4:00 p.m. on May 26th.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Reyjkavik
  Transportation from site: There will be one transfer from the ship to the airport upon disembarkation in Reyjkavik. All participants are welcome to join this tranfer. If you are arranging your own air, we do not recommend booking flights that depart before 2:00 pm.
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
(Saturday, May 25)
 Depart From: Depart North America for flights to Scotland

Day 2: Arrive in Glasgow
(Sunday, May 26)
 Arrive To: Arrive in Glasgow, Scotland. Transfer to the hotel and check-in for 1 night.
 Afternoon: Join your group leader for a program orientation followed by the welcome dinner.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Glasgow / Greenock
(Monday, May 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: 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 at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Transfer to embark the Sea Explorer in Troon, Scotland.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship
Accommodations: Sea Explorer
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Thorshavn, 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 8: 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 9: 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 10: 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 11: 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 12: 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

A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic

Author: E.C. Pielou

Description: Our best-selling book on the Arctic, this guide covers the geography and climate, plants, birds and wildlife of the circumpolar north.

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.

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 Fish Can Sing

Author: Halldor Laxness, Magnus Magnusson (Translator)

Description: A quirky, moving coming-of-age tale set in Reykjavik at the turn of the last century, featuring an unforgettable cast of Icelandic characters. Laxness, who also wrote Independent People (ICL01), won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955.

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 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 Shetland Bus, A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival and Adventure

Author: David Howarth

Description: The little-known story of a fleet of fishing boats that regularly journeyed across treacherous waters from the Shetland Islands to Norway, to bring relief and fortifications to Norwegians under Nazi attack.

The Vikings, Lords of the Seas

Author: Yves Cohat

Description: An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photographs and illustrations. It tells of the Norse homeland, discoveries and settlements, and features a useful chronology and excerpts from the Viking Sagas. Part of the "Discoveries" series.

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.

Volcanoes, Fire From the Earth

Author: Maurice Krafft

Description: By the great French volcanologist (who died on the job on Mount Unzen in Japan in 1992), this pocket guide features hundreds of full-color paintings and traces the study of volcanoes from early myth and legend to modern science.

White Nights

Author: Ann Cleeves

Description: Inspector Perez finds a murdered man, last seen causing an amnesia-induced ruckus at an art gallery in this second novel in the Shetland Island Quartet.

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.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768