20419
Northern Europe
The British Isles by Sea: Ireland, Scotland and England
Gain a deeper understanding of the British Isles, exploring ancient castles in Edinburgh, idyllic villages in Ireland, the Inner Hebrides in Scotland and grand architecture in England.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20419RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
6,795
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17 days
16 nights
43 meals
15 B 13 L 15 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Amsterdam, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Amsterdam
D
Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station

Activity note: Hotel check-in 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel, take some time to freshen up and relax before our late afternoon Orientation session. Orientation: Before dinner, we will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. We will have a Study Leader with us throughout the program who will also serve as Group Leader for Road Scholar lectures and field trips. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of activities and events aboard ship as well as excursions ashore that are separate from the Road Scholar program. A number of afternoons are free for independent exploration following the ship’s excursions; if you like, you may also return to the ship. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars as we dine with our Group Leader.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out, transfer, and embarkation tomorrow.

DAY
3
Exploring Amsterdam, Embark MS Prinsendam
Amsterdam
B,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking during field trips.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet that includes coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will learn about the rich history of this European capital during a field trip led by a local expert. While our expert talks about the history, we will take in sites including the Royal Palace and the National Monument at Dam Square. We will also visit the Albert Cuyp Market, the largest day market in Europe and the most popular in The Netherlands.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We will re-group at a designated time and place, then transfer by motorcoach to the port in Amsterdam and embark the MS Prinsendam. Upon completion of check-in you will receive a ship identification card. This ship ID card serves as your identification for security procedures when embarking and disembarking the ship, and for making purchases on board. It is also your access card to your cabin. After settling in to your cabin, take some time to freshen up and relax, then start becoming familiar with the ship. Along with everyone on board, we will take part in the ship’s safety drill. The ship is scheduled to depart Amsterdam at 4:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship each evening, Road Scholars are invited to have dinner together with our Study Leader at the early seating in the main dining room where we will have reserved tables. There are tasty choices for each of the five (5) a la carte courses to order from the menu; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Begin to enjoy the variety of activities and amenities aboard ship.

DAY
4
At Sea
At Sea
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Breakfast: Aboard ship. The Lido Restaurant is cafeteria style for breakfast with choices such as cooked-to-order omelettes, pancakes, fresh fruits, cereals, yogurts, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will gather for a lecture by our Study Leader about Celtic and Scottish history.

Lunch: Aboard ship in the Lido Restaurant, cafeteria style lunches offer cuisine from around the world including Asian stir-fry, gourmet sandwiches, pasta, pizza, sushi, and an extensive salad bar.

Afternoon: We will join our Study Leader for a presentation on the history and culture of the British Isles. The remainder of the afternoon is free. As a special highlight, we'll gather before dinner for a Road Scholar cocktail party to share what we may have in common beyond a love of learning.

Dinner: Aboard ship. You are welcome to dine at specialty restaurants that include an upscale option at extra cost.

Evening: At leisure. Continue to enjoy shipboard activities and amenities.

DAY
5
Arrive Scotland, Port of Rosyth, Explore Edinburgh
Port of Rosyth
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking approximately 1,600 feet (500 meters) from ship to motorcoach loading area. Wear comfortable walking shoes; uneven and cobblestone terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will depart from the ship at the Port of Rosyth, board a motorcoach, and drive into the heart of Edinburgh city. We will begin your panoramic driving tour exploration on Princes Street, Edinburgh's main thoroughfare and shopping district in the heart of the New Town. In the Old Town, we will pass St. Giles' Cathedral with its soaring crown spires, and travel down the Royal Mile, Edinburgh's main street in medieval times. At the far end, we will see Holyrood Palace, official home to the Queen when she visits, and the Sir Walter Scott Memorial. We will leave the coach briefly to stretch your legs and take some photos of the new Scottish Parliament building — an unusual, semi-modernist building strongly influenced by Gaudí. We will continue our drive around Holyrood Park, a green oasis of lakes and ponds.

Lunch: Aboard ship. If you like, you can choose to have lunch on your own in Edinburgh.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The ship is scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Arrive Invergordon – Scotland, Cawdor Castle
Ivergordon
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking at field trip sites.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and set out on a Road Scholar exclusive field trip to the parish of Cawdor for an exploration of Cawdor Castle. Set amid gardens in the parish of Cawdor, the castle is built around a 15th-century tower house, with substantial additions in later centuries. Originally a property of the Clan Calder, it passed to the Campbells in the 16th century. It remains in Campbell ownership, and is now home to the Dowager Countess Cawdor, who kindly moves out in the summer so people can visit. The castle is perhaps best known for its literary connection to William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, in which the title character is made "Thane of Cawdor." However, the story is highly fictionalized, and the castle itself was built many years after the life of the 11th-century King Macbeth.

Lunch: At a local pub.

Afternoon: We will also visit the Culloden Battlefield Center and Clava Cairns, returning to the ship by approximately 5:00 p.m. The ship is scheduled to depart at 6:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Scrabster – Scotland
Scrabster
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking at field trip sites.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will visit the northernmost community in Britain in an area isolated by high mountains. Neither roads nor bridges existed here until the 18th century, so the Highlands have long remained a distinctive and individual part of the British Isles. The Celtic people who came to live in this fertile land retained a very different way of life until relatively recent times. From the port of Scrabster, we will travel through nearby Thurso and across the far northeastern peninsula. Here, the landscape is flat and fertile with some of the finest farming land in Scotland. The three churches in Caithness dating back to the Middle Ages are still in use. When the Queen Mother stayed at the nearby Castle of Mey, just three miles further along the coast, she regularly worshipped at Canisbay Kirk (church). We will stop here for a few minutes. We’ll then continue to the end of the road at John o' Groats, offering wonderful panoramic views across the stormy waters of the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands. We will have an opportunity to wander about the small harbor area or maybe take a photo of the well-known signpost that advises exactly how far we are from many point of civilization. Back on the motorcoach, we will drive to Dunnet Head — the northernmost point of Scotland's mainland for memorable views of the clean sweep of Dunnet Bay and, on a clear day, across the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands. We will return to the ship for a late lunch.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. The ship is scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
At Sea
At Sea
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: N/A

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will join our Study Leader for an educational presentation.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time. See and do more of what you enjoy most.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Dublin – Ireland
Dublin
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking during field trips; opportunity for hiking during free time.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and begin a Road Scholar exclusive field trip to historic Trinity College in the company of current undergraduates. Trinity College builds on its 400 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 field trip 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. Next, we will meet a Dublin historian at Trinity College to commence the 1916 Rebellion walking field trip 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. We’ll then depart for County Wicklow.

Lunch: In a pretty village en route, we will stop for a pub lunch.

Afternoon: Arriving in Glendalough, we will have an expert-led visit to a monastic site. We’ll also have time for independent exploration and a hike for the vigorous. We expect to return to the ship by 7:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. The ship is scheduled to depart at 9:00 p.m.

DAY
10
Liverpool – England, The Beatles
Liverpool
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; numerous stops.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: The Beatles and more! On another Road Scholar exclusive field trip, we will explore the Beatles' Liverpool 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. We will see Beatles' sites including some of their birthplaces, former homes, schools and some of the places made famous by their songs including Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. As we ride around the city we will also see city highlights including the world famous waterfront, Albert Dock, the cultural and Georgian quarters, and two wonderful cathedrals.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. The ship is scheduled to depart at 6:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Belfast – Ireland, Giant’s Causeway
Belfast
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Departing the port of Belfast, we’ll go for a panoramic drive inland through Ballymena and Bushmills to the North Antrim Coast. Our first stop this morning is the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For centuries, visitors have marveled at its majesty and mystery. A state of-the-art Visitor Center offers differing explanations of how the causeway’s 40,000 basalt stones were formed. You can decide for yourself which is the best (or most interesting) explanation. Stories about the area’s rich mythology, history, geology, flora and fauna will intrigue you before we even set eyes on the stones themselves. We will then walk along the Giant’s Causeway — a journey back in time through genuine history and romantic legend. This unique rock formation has stood as a natural rampart against the unbridled ferocity of Atlantic storms for millions of years, and the rugged symmetry of the columns never fails to intrigue and inspire. Re-boarding the motorcoach, we will drive along the stunning Antrim Coast before turning inland at Ballycastle toward Belfast.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. The ship is scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Milford Haven – Wales
Milford Haven
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: St. David's is the smallest city in Wales, a charming little town that was conferred the status of a city by virtue of its cathedral. Sheltered in a grassy hollow to protect it from the sea, St. David's Cathedral is a building of stunning beauty. Over the centuries it has grown in importance and, in the 12th century, it was declared that two pilgrimages to St. David's were equal to one to Rome, and that three were equal to one pilgrimage to Jerusalem itself. The ruins of the Bishop's Palace are also to be found in this hollow. They bear testament to the wealth and influence that the bishops of St. David's enjoyed in the Middle Ages. We will have some time for independent exploration to enjoy the town itself with its charming shops, craft stores, and cafés. Re-boarding the motorcoach and continuing our scenic drive, we will follow the road along the coast with spectacular views. Turning inland again, we will cross the dramatic Prescelly Mountains, home of the great blue stones that were used to build Stonehenge.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. The ship is scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
St. Mary's, Isle of Scilly – England
St. Mary's, Isle of Scilly
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: This is a tender port. The ship will anchor as close to port as possible and we will be transported to the port on smaller boats. Walking during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Just 28 miles off the southwest tip of Britain lies the small, beautiful archipelago of the Isles of Scilly. Its components include St. Mary's, St. Agnes, Bryher, Tresco, St. Martins, and seemingly countless uninhabited islands and skerries. These beautiful islands exude a timeless peace and natural tranquility seldom found elsewhere. Adjusting our tempo to island time, we will set off on foot to explore with our local expert. St Mary's is the hub of island life and its capital, Hugh Town, is pinched between the miles of sandy beaches and the town of Porthcressa. Our first destination is the Atlantic Hotel on the idyllic island of St. Mary's. At the hotel, we will enjoy a morning coffee and refreshments as we listen to an overview of the island's history, enthusiastically delivered by a local guide. The remainder of our scenic walking field trip will lead us through Hugh Town and Penninis Head, before returning to the pier and taking the tender back to the ship.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. The ship is scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Portland – England
Llfracombe
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: On the Heritage Coastline is the world-famous 18-mile stretch of shingle known as Chesil Beach, immortalized in the Ian MacEwan novel of the same name. The small village of Abbotsbury lies at the area called “the Fleet” — the stretch of water between the Chesil Bank and the mainland that forms a sheltered lagoon. Monks from the nearby Benedictine abbey established a sanctuary for mute swans here in 1393 — it is now called the Swannery. Mute swans have been nesting in this sheltered spot in the lee of the shingle beach of Chesil Bank ever since, and at any one time there may be as many as 1,000 swans in the sanctuary. We will walk through the Swannery for an up-close look at the life of the swans, then continue the short distance to the Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens. Proximity to the sea helps to provide the microclimate that makes Abbotsbury Gardens so special. Higher-than average sunshine hours on this part of the Dorset coast have helped to create a mild climate. With the sheltering effect from the hills north of the village, the warming effect from the sea and the evergreen oak trees, the garden provides an almost frost-free botanic treasure trove of rare and exotic plants from all over the world. The first Countess of Ilchester established the gardens in 1765 as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle. Since then, they have developed into a magnificent 20-acre garden with many of the introductions to this country found by the plant-hunting descendants of the Countess. After the great storm of 1990, many new exotic and unusual plants were introduced. The garden is now a mixture of formal and informal, with charming walled garden walks and spectacular woodland valley views. In summer, it is awash with sub-tropical color.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. The ship is scheduled to depart at 11:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands
St. Peter Port - Guernsey
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Activity note: This is a tender port. The ship will anchor as close to port as possible and we will be transported to the port on smaller boats. Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Guernsey is part of the southernmost group of islands that make up the British Isles. They sit in the Bay of St Malo, less than 30 miles from the French coast. To begin our Road Scholar exclusive field trip, we will board a motorcoach and ride through the green and beautiful island starts with a visit to a Neolithic Passage Grave and viewing of an Open Loophole Tower, built because of the American War of Independence. We will be able to see the remains of a medieval fishing village on the west coast plus German Fortifications left over from World War II and the Martello Tower. Just inland from the west coast is the only remaining free-standing chantry chapel in Guernsey, St. Appolline Chapel, built in 1392. The chapel contains medieval wall paintings. Next, we will drive through the countryside to Bruce Russells and then to Castle Cornet. Those who wish to miss lunch aboard ship to may stay with our local expert to visit the Castle. After the visit to the Castle, we will continue walking through St. Peter Port.

Lunch: At the Castle Cornet Cafeteria.

Afternoon: We will continue our exploration of St. Peter Port. The ship is scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
At Sea
At Sea
B,L,D
MS Prinsendam

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Free time. See and do more of what you like.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We will gather for a program wrap-up with our Study Leader.

Dinner: Aboard ship, share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Our Study Leader will discuss disembarkation procedures for in the morning, then prepare for departure.

DAY
17
Arrive Amsterdam, Disembark, Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive in Amsterdam at 7:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Aboard ship. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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