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Exploring the Isles of Great Britain and Ireland by Sea

Program Number: 21294RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/5/2015 - 6/17/2015;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: England/Ireland/Scotland
Price starting at: $8,499.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 31; 11 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 11 Dinners    

On an extraordinary voyage around the island of Great Britain and across the Irish Sea to the warmth and spark of Ireland, discover 16th-century palaces and castles, energetic modern cities and beautiful stretches of wild coastline. Wander off-the-beaten path to Edinburgh’s medieval closes (alleyways) to secret hideaways, trace the story of a kiss to a 700-year-old stone at Blarney Castle in Ireland, and in England’s North East stroll the River Tyne to marvel at Newcastle bridges that have transformed the face of a 2,000-year-old city.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile per day; some uneven terrain and stairs.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

London (England), 1 night; aboard Nautica, 10 nights.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.



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


Days 2-3:
Arrival London (England) / coach to Southampton / embark Nautica

Before embarking the ship, discover Hampton Court Palace, seat of Tudor and Stuart monarchs. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.



Days 4-5:
At Sea / Edinburgh (Scotland)

Sail into the Firth of Forth to reach Edinburgh. A city excursion includes the medieval Royal Mile and a visit to imposing Edinburgh Castle.



Day 6:
Invergordon

Experience the Scottish Highlands as you journey to the majestic ruins of Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness. Learn about the truth and legends of Loch Ness at an interactive exhibit.



Day 7:
Kirkwall

Continue north to the Orkney Islands and step ashore in Kirkwall, the capital, where you find buildings dating to the Middle Ages and visit the Orkney Museum to examine the islands’ Viking history.



Day 8:
Isle of Skye

Experience the ruggedly beautiful Isle of Skye including Dunvegan Castle, seat of the powerful Clan MacLeod for more than 800 years. Keep an eye out for Atlantic Puffins on the coast.



Day 9:
Belfast (Northern Ireland)

Explore Belfast by black taxi, paying special attention to its political murals. Enjoy an opportunity to lunch with former Lord Mayor of Belfast Tom Hartley and discuss life during the Troubles.



Day 10:
Dublin (Ireland).

Undergraduate students at Trinity College — founded 1592 — show you their university including its magnificent library, home to the Book of Kells. Savor a hearty lunch and traditional music in an authentic pub.



Day 11:
Cork

Journey to medieval Blarney Castle and learn the legend of the Blarney Stone and the “gift of gab.” Walk the Titanic Trail in Cobh, the final port of call for the ill-fated passenger liner.



Day 12:
Isle of Portland (England)

Step ashore on this small English Channel island, part of the geologically spectacular Jurassic Coast. The island is famous for its limestone, used in buildings such as Buckingham Palace.



Day 13:
Southampton / disembark / coach to London for departure


Nautica

The Nautica, built in 1998 and refurbished in 2010, has 342 staterooms and suites. With dining venues under the direction of Jacques Pépin, passengers can count on his signature French-inspired dishes in the Grand Dining Room. At the other restaurants, Toscana focuses on Italian, Waves serves fish and casual fare, and the Polo Grill was recently renovated, with new leather seating in oxblood and carpeting and drapes in rich, dark hues to give it a traditional steak house ambiance. The Nautica splits her time between Europe (with Mediterranean, Black, and Baltic seas cruises), Africa, and Asia (Indian Ocean and East Asia cruises).


Meals and Lodgings
   Club Quarters Trafalgar Square Hotel
  London, UK:England 1 night
   Oceania Nautica
  London, UK:England
At Sea
10 nights
 Club Quarters Trafalgar Square Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The elegant Club Quarters, Trafalgar Square is in a historic Victorian building, a stone’s throw from Nelson’s Column monument and Charing Cross Tube Station. You'll be just a few minutes' walk from the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. This vibrant West End location is great for restaurants and theaters, and you’ll be a half-mile from both Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus. For a change of pace, take a 20-minute stroll to St James’s Park.
  Ship Information: N/A
  Contact info: 8 Northumberland Avenue
London,  WC2N 5BY UK:England
phone: +44 (0)20 7839 9333
web: www.clubquarters.com/london/trafalgar-square
  Room amenities: Free high-speed Internet access Latest design workstation with task lighting and ergonomic chair Premium bedding and linens LCD TV Speaker and cordless phone with direct dial number Complimentary coffee and tea Alarm clock radio with iPod dock
  Facility amenities: Free WiFi throughout the hotel and purified bottled water are popular with guests, who also value the helpful staff. There’s an English brasserie and Japanese restaurant on site – or you can take advantage of 24-hour room service. Comfortable guestrooms offer luxury linens, LCD TVs with on-demand movies, and iPod docking stations.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability Please contact Contact Road Scholar Travel Services at 800-241-1404 or via email at travelinfo@roadscholar.org.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Oceania Nautica
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Oceania Nautica, sister ship to Regatta and Insignia, radiates her own unique warmth and character. Her distinctive personality shines through from the moment you first step into her newly redesigned, neo-classical lobby or Toscana, resplendent in rich new fabrics and furnishings that reflect the charisma of Tuscany. Nautica boasts decks and verandas graced with the finest teak and exquisite custom stone and tile work. To ensure the elegance shines throughout the entire experience, there is all new Villeroy & Boch china, the finest silver and crystal, and a distinctive museum-quality art collection that is an eclectic melding of traditional and contemporary, with a touch of whimsy.
  Ship Information: Year Built: 2000 Year Refurbished: 2010 Gross Tonnage: 30,277 Length: 593.7 feet Beam: 83.5 feet Max. Draught: 19.5 feet Stabilizers: Yes Cruising Speed: 18 knots Electric Power or Voltage: 110,220 AC Guest Capacity (double occupancy): 684 Crew Size: 400 Guest-to-Staff Ratio: 1.71 to 1 Nationality of Officers: European Nationality of Staff: European Country of Registry: Marshall Islands
  Contact info: Docked in Oslo
Oslo,   Norway
phone: +8556232642
web: http://www.oceaniacruises.com/ships/nautica/default.aspx
  Room amenities: Cabin sizes and layout vary based on ship category. Room amenities include toiletries, hair dryer, mini bar/refrigerator, nightly turn down service, private safe, television, and direct dial phone.
  Facility amenities: Restaurants, café/coffee bar, card room, casino, classes and workshops, show lounge, beauty salon, business services, butler service, concierge desk, culinary arts center, dry cleaning/laundry, duty-free shops, elevators, infirmary/medical center, fitness center, fitness instruction and/or group fitness classes, full service spa, heated pool, jogging track, massage room, outdoor swimming pool(s), shuffleboard, yoga classes, and 24-hour room service. Wireless Internet service is available throughout the ship for an additional cost. All suites include a wireless laptop for guests' convenience. Designated smoking areas are available on Deck 9, the forward starboard corner of the Pool Deck, and Deck 10, in the aft. port corner of Horizons. Smoking is expressly forbidden in all staterooms and suites, on verandas, or in any areas of the ship other than officially designated smoking areas.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  Not available


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins with orientation at 4:00 pm at the hotel. You will be staying at Club Quarters Trafalgar Square Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
This programs ends upon disembarking the ship. You will be staying at Oceania Nautica the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Ship Guest Registration Form is required and must be submitted to Oceania Cruises at least 90 days prior to program start. This document is included at the end of this packet and may also be completed online at www.oceaniacruises.com/grf.
  Parking availability:
Parking is not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  London
  Transportation to site: Independent travelers are responsible for making their own transportation arrangements. TAXIS: Taxis are readily available at the London-Heathrow Airport and cost approximately $100 for a 30 minute ride. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: From London-Heathrow, we recommend the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground: this runs direct from the airport to Hammersmith, where you should change to the District Line to Gloucester Road Underground Station. Upon arrival at the station, walk down Courtfield Rd and take a left on Ashburn Place. The Millennium Gloucester Hotel will be on your left after approximately four minutes. From London-Gatwick, we recommend the Gatwick Express which runs a service into Victoria. From the terminus, you can take the Underground (Circle Line) to Gloucester Road Underground Station. Upon arrival at the station, walk down Courtfield Rd and take a left on Ashburn Place. The Millennium Gloucester Hotel will be on your left after approximately four minutes.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Southampton
  Transportation from site: Independent travelers are responsible for making their own transportation arrangements. Transfers are available for purchase from the cruise line for disembarkation.
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: Overnight Flight from USA
(Friday, June 5)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flights from USA.

Day 2: Arrivals in London
(Saturday, June 6)
   
 Morning: Arrivals and transfers to the hotel. Please see the back of this information packet for transfer times and instructions.
 Afternoon: Please meet your Road Scholar group leader in the hotel lobby at 4:00 pm. There will be a progam orientation and introductions prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Club Quarters Trafalgar Square Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: London / transfer to Southampton / Embarkation
(Sunday, June 7)

Note: Each evening aboard the ship you will be free to enjoy one of the many activities, including performances, movies, live music, the ship library and the spa. You will receive a daily schedule of events in your cabin.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we will take a field trip to Hampton Court Palace, one of two surviving palaces owned by King Henry III. Originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey beginning in 1514, it was passed to Henry VIII who extended the building. Later, Christopher Wren designed an addition to the palace. Tudor turrets and the Great Hall sit alongside Wren's Classical State Apartments and a formal baroque landscape.
 Lunch: In a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Southampton for embarkation.
 Dinner: Aboard the Oceania Marina.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cruising the North Sea
(Monday, June 8)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Enjoy a morning lecture at 10:00AM in the Red Ginger restaurant. Your group leader will discuss the history of the upcoming ports of call in Scotland and Ireland.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Take time to explore the ship and take in the magnificent views of the North Sea. There will be a ship-wide Captain's Cocktail Reception prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Newcastle, United Kingdom
(Tuesday, June 9)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: A delightful blend of ancient and modern, Newcastle is one of the liveliest cities in northern England. Originally built in the 11th century, the Castle Keep was the “new castle” for which the city is named. Stroll along the River Tyne and marvel at the different bridges that have transformed the face of the city. Learn about the history of Newcastle at the Great North Museum.
 Lunch: Sample English regional cuisine in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Newcastle on your own. Your group leader will provide you with some possible sites to explore. All aboard is scheduled for 9:00PM.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Edinburgh (Rosyth), United Kingdom
(Wednesday, June 10)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Panoramic City Tour including: Old Town area (the Royal Mile, Greyfriar’s Bobby and Grassmarket); New Town area (Princes Street, Charlotte Square, St. Andrew’s Square and Heriott Row); Holyrood Palace, and Edinburgh Castle.
 Lunch: Sample Scottish regional cuisine in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Edinburgh on your own. Your group leader will provide you with some possible sites to explore.
There will be a Road Scholar exclusive cocktail party at 6:00PM at the Horizons Lounge. Get to know your fellow participants and enjoy the magnificent views as the ship departs Edinburgh.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: There will be an informal briefing at 8:30PM in the ship's Board Room this evening where your group leader will discuss the next day’s plans.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: At Sea
(Thursday, June 11)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Enjoy a morning lecture at 10:00AM in the Red Ginger restaurant. Your group leader will discuss the history of the upcoming ports of call in Scotland and Ireland.
 Lunch: Lunch aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Take time to explore the ship and take in the magnificent views of the North Sea.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: There will be an informal briefing at 8:30PM in the ship's Board Room this evening where your group leader will discuss the next day’s plans.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Glasgow (Greenock), United Kingdom
(Friday, June 12)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Offering some of the finest Victorian architecture in the UK, Glasgow is a major center of commerce and culture. Glasgow Cathedral is one of the only cathedrals in Scotland to have survived the Reformation in tact and houses a celebrated collection of stained glass windows.
 Lunch: Sample some regional cuisine and Scotland's famous single malt whiskeys during lunch on your own. Or return to the ship for lunch.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Glasgow. Your group leader will provide you with some possible sites to explore. All aboard is scheduled for 5:00PM.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Liverpool, United Kingdom
(Saturday, June 13)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: A wealthy port city since the 19th century, Liverpool is noted for its rich architectural heritage, diverse communities and innovative infrastructure, as well as being the birthplace of The Beatles. Learn about the history of the city as one of the world’s greatest seaports at The Merseyside Maritime Museum.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship or on your own in Liverpool.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Liverpool. Your group leader will provide you with some possible sites to explore. All aboard is scheduled at 9:00PM
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: There will be an informal briefing at 8:30PM in the ship's Board Room this evening where your group leader will discuss the next day’s plans.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Dublin
(Sunday, June 14)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Disembark for a guided field trip of the city of Dublin, which includes a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch in a real Irish Pub. You will be joined by a duo of young traditional Dublin musicians who will share their knowledge of Irish music with you and play a few jigs, reels & airs!
 Afternoon: 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 the 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.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cork (Cobh), Ireland
(Monday, June 15)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Visit Blarney Castle. Built over 600 years ago by a great Irish Chieftain, Cormac MacCarthy, 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: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: After lunch we continue on our exploration of Cobh. We will meet a local historian & guide and depart by foot for the ‘Titanic Trail’, a guided visit of the historic seaside town of Cobh, the last port of call for the "Titanic".
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: There will be an informal briefing at 8:30PM in the ship's Board Room this evening where your group leader will discuss the next day’s plans.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Plymouth, United Kingdom
(Tuesday, June 16)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Today explore the cobblestone streets of the Barbican district from the Mayflower Steps, near the site where the Pilgrims sailed for the New World. Learn about the role Plymouth played in colonizing the Americas.
 Lunch: In a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Afternoon on your own to explore Plymouth. Your group leader will provide you with some possible sites to explore. All aboard is scheduled at 4:00PM.
 Dinner: Enjoy a fond farewell dinner aboard the ship and share stories from a wonderful voyage.
 Evening: There will be an informal briefing at 8:30PM in the ship's Board Room this evening where your group leader will recap the program and discuss the next day’s plans.
   
Accommodations: Oceania Nautica
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Southampton / London / Departures
(Wednesday, June 17)
   
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Disembarkation and transfers to the airport for flights to the US.
   
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


1066, The Year of the Conquest


Author: David Howarth


Description: A crack medievalist and storyteller, Howarth brings to life the momentous events of 1066 in rich, anecdotal history -- a classic portrait of the Norman invasion and conquest of England.



A Traveller's History of Ireland


Author: Peter Neville


Description: From the Celts to the Norman invasions to modern-day Ireland, this short history is highly recommended for those who would like a brief overview of the Emerald Isle through the centuries.



Birds of Europe


Author: Lars Svensson


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



Eyewitness Guide Ireland


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: This superb guide is a wonderfully illustrated introduction to the country, featuring photographs, maps and short background essays on history and culture.



For the Love of Ireland


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 bestselling 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 the important texts that spread as they evangelized Europe.



In Search of Ancient Ireland


Author: Leo Eaton, Carmel McCaffrey


Description: This spirited, illustrated history, the companion to a PBS documentary series, traces the foundation, archaeology and legends of ancient Ireland from 9000 B.C. to 1167 A.D. with style and substance.



Insight Select London


Author: Insight Guides


Description: A handy pocket guide that provides over a hundred "secret gems" and "off-beat" itinerary ideas for a memorable stay in London. Also includes a handpicked list of hotels for all tastes and budgets and a useful travel tips reference guide.



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.



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 routes of the 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and onto the New World.



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 Faroes and to Orkney in this brief hymn to the sea.



The Aran Islands


Author: J.M. Synge, Tim Robinson (Introduction)


Description: A much-loved turn-of-the-century account of the islands (as contrasted with mainland Ireland), drenched in the Celtic soul of the Irish.



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 this Canto Classics edition of 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 Last of the Celts


Author: Marcus Tanner


Description: Welsh journalist Tanner mixes anecdote, interview and research in this lively account of encounters with far-flung Celts from Scotland, Wales and Belfast to Brittany, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Trelew.



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 Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland


Author: R.F. Foster


Description: A handsomely illustrated, comprehensive history of Ireland, written by a team of scholars.



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 travel companion.





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