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Exploring the British and Irish Isles

Joining an expedition to the Isles is an unparalleled experience—a fresh, revealing perspective on what might be ancestral lands for many Americans, and familiar to quite a few. We find the hidden treasures and most charming places to explore, and we reveal the seldom-seen. With the docent-quality guidance from our staff, you will see and learn more than you thought possible, all while traveling in comfort and style.

It’s your expedition, you choose how to explore
How you spend your expedition time is vital to us. We want to bring you to and through the British & Irish Isles in the most engaging ways possible. Every day you can join naturalist or historian-guided hikes—choosing the individual whose interest and personality matches yours. Meet the lively characters who make up the contemporary scene in towns along the way. Or simply enjoy the open decks and glorious views from National Geographic Explorer.

Travel with some of the best and brightest
The encyclopedic knowledge of our historians adds insight, depth, and clarity to each geography. Our naturalists will describe the geology of these rich coastlines, sharing their knowledge daily. If improving your travel photos is a passion, than we recommend you spend time with the National Geographic photographer and the National Geographic certified photo instructor aboard ship and on walks ashore.
10 May, 2016 to 23 May, 2016 Make a booking request for Exploring the British and Irish Isles, departing on 10 May, 2016
Category 1 $ 17050 AUD pp
Main Deck with one or two Portholes
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Category 2 $ 17900 AUD pp
Main Deck with Window
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Category 3 $ 18700 AUD pp
Main Deck with Window
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Category 4 $ 19490 AUD pp
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window
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Solo A Main Deck $ 22360 AUD pp
#309-312, 329-334
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Category 5 $ 23260 AUD pp
Upper Deck with Balcony
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Solo B Upper and Veranda Decks $ 23360 AUD pp
With Window #105-106, 203, 208
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Category 6 $ 27090 AUD pp
Veranda Deck - Suite and Upper Deck-Suite with Balcony
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Category 7 $ 31120 AUD pp
Upper Deck–Suite with Balcony
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Exploring the British and Irish Isles itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
DAY 1: London, U.K./ Embark
Arrive in London, and upon arrival, embark National Geographic Explorer along the Thames River, seeing the iconic Tower Bridge. (D)
DAY 2: Portsmouth
Set along the south coast of England, Portsmouth plays a major role in British naval history. The rich heritage is evident at the Historical Dockyard which houses HMS Victory, the three-masted flagship in which Lord Nelson led the victorious Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and the Mary Rose, a Tudor-era warship. Aside from its marine heritage, Portsmouth is also known for its literary history as the birthplace of Charles Dickens. (B,L,D)
DAY 3: Fowey Island/Eden Project
Steeped in maritime history, Drake, Raleigh and Cook have all passed through Fowey (pronounced “Foy” by the locals). Stroll the winding, medieval streets and browse unique shops, art galleries and pubs, before heading to the Cornwall countryside and the Eden Project, where our botanical journey continues. A celebration of nature, the Eden Project is more than a garden walk — with vast biomes (greenhouses), it emphasizes man’s connection to, and dependence on, the natural world. Or opt to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Lost for almost 75 years after WWI, the private gardens at Heligan were the seat of the Tremayne family for more than 400 years. (B,L,D)
DAY 4: Isles of Scilly
According to Arthurian legend, the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of Lyonnesse, a land off Cornwall that vanished beneath the Atlantic. Meander through Tresco Abbey Gardens, where an astounding variety of subtropical plants flourish. (B,L,D)
DAY 5: The Skelligs and Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
Rising abruptly from the sea, the rocky isle of Skellig Michael was once an important center of Celtic Christianity. From the ship gaze up, the beehive huts of its seventh-century monastery, clinging to the jagged peak 600 feet above the sea. After lunch, explore the ancient sites of beautiful Dingle Peninsula and wander through the village of Dingle. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: Cliffs Of Moher And Aran Islands
View the towering Cliffs of Moher as we sail by them this morning. Continue to the Aran Islands, known for their limestone moonscapes and strong Gaelic identity. Visit Dun Aengus, an enigmatic Celtic ring fort perched on the edge of a cliff. (B,L,D)
DAY 7: County Donegal, Ireland
Explore the sheltered fishing harbor of Killybegs and drive to Gaelic-speaking Glencolumbcille to discover ancient cairns and dolmens. In the evening, sail past the soaring 2,000-foot cliffs of Slieve League. (B,L,D)
DAY 8: Iona and Staffa, Inner Hebrides, Scotland
On Iona, venture into an ancient nunnery and a 13th-century abbey. Examine the Celtic high crosses of kings such as Duncan and Macbeth. This afternoon, explore Staffa, an island famed for its geometric basalt columns and deep-sea caves. It was here that Felix Mendelssohn was inspired to write his “Hebrides Overture.” (B,L,D)
DAY 9: Outer Hebrides: St. Kilda & Callanish
Visit the Outer Hebrides, where Scottish Gaelic is still spoken and artisans weave traditional woolen fabrics. Weather permitting, explore the cottages of remote St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage site inhabited from the Bronze Age. Later, see the neolithic Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis. (B,L,D)
DAY 10: Inverewe
Stroll through Inverewe Gardens, where colorful subtropical flora thrives. Explore the charming fishing village of Ullapool in the afternoon. (B,L,D)
DAY 11: Orkney Islands
Encounter a sophisticated Stone Age culture on visits to the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Step into the medieval St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. (B,L,D)
DAY 12: Fair Isle and Mousa
Visit the bird research station, located on the migration flyway. Hike to a nearby beach to look for puffins. Then, on the uninhabited island of Mousa, see one of the best examples of an Iron Age broch. (B,L,D)
DAY 13: Shetland Islands
Dock at the Shetland Islands, an archipelago of about 100 islands and islets. Drive through a rolling landscape with Shetland ponies. Explore the ruins at Jarlshof, which reveal 4,000 years of near-continuous settlement. (B,L,D)
DAY 14: Bergen, Norway/Disembark/Home
Disembark in Bergen and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Exploring the British and Irish Isles reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
DAY 14: Bergen, Norway/Disembark/Home *
Disembark in Bergen and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)
DAY 13: Shetland Islands *
Dock at the Shetland Islands, an archipelago of about 100 islands and islets. Drive through a rolling landscape with Shetland ponies. Explore the ruins at Jarlshof, which reveal 4,000 years of near-continuous settlement. (B,L,D)
DAY 12: Fair Isle and Mousa *
Visit the bird research station, located on the migration flyway. Hike to a nearby beach to look for puffins. Then, on the uninhabited island of Mousa, see one of the best examples of an Iron Age broch. (B,L,D)
DAY 11: Orkney Islands *
Encounter a sophisticated Stone Age culture on visits to the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Step into the medieval St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. (B,L,D)
DAY 10: Inverewe *
Stroll through Inverewe Gardens, where colorful subtropical flora thrives. Explore the charming fishing village of Ullapool in the afternoon. (B,L,D)
DAY 9: Outer Hebrides: St. Kilda & Callanish *
Visit the Outer Hebrides, where Scottish Gaelic is still spoken and artisans weave traditional woolen fabrics. Weather permitting, explore the cottages of remote St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage site inhabited from the Bronze Age. Later, see the neolithic Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis. (B,L,D)
DAY 8: Iona and Staffa, Inner Hebrides, Scotland *
On Iona, venture into an ancient nunnery and a 13th-century abbey. Examine the Celtic high crosses of kings such as Duncan and Macbeth. This afternoon, explore Staffa, an island famed for its geometric basalt columns and deep-sea caves. It was here that Felix Mendelssohn was inspired to write his “Hebrides Overture.” (B,L,D)
DAY 7: County Donegal, Ireland *
Explore the sheltered fishing harbor of Killybegs and drive to Gaelic-speaking Glencolumbcille to discover ancient cairns and dolmens. In the evening, sail past the soaring 2,000-foot cliffs of Slieve League. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: Cliffs Of Moher And Aran Islands *
View the towering Cliffs of Moher as we sail by them this morning. Continue to the Aran Islands, known for their limestone moonscapes and strong Gaelic identity. Visit Dun Aengus, an enigmatic Celtic ring fort perched on the edge of a cliff. (B,L,D)
DAY 5: The Skelligs and Dingle Peninsula, Ireland *
Rising abruptly from the sea, the rocky isle of Skellig Michael was once an important center of Celtic Christianity. From the ship gaze up, the beehive huts of its seventh-century monastery, clinging to the jagged peak 600 feet above the sea. After lunch, explore the ancient sites of beautiful Dingle Peninsula and wander through the village of Dingle. (B,L,D)
DAY 4: Isles of Scilly *
According to Arthurian legend, the Isles of Scilly are all that remain of Lyonnesse, a land off Cornwall that vanished beneath the Atlantic. Meander through Tresco Abbey Gardens, where an astounding variety of subtropical plants flourish. (B,L,D)
DAY 3: Fowey Island/Eden Project *
Steeped in maritime history, Drake, Raleigh and Cook have all passed through Fowey (pronounced “Foy” by the locals). Stroll the winding, medieval streets and browse unique shops, art galleries and pubs, before heading to the Cornwall countryside and the Eden Project, where our botanical journey continues. A celebration of nature, the Eden Project is more than a garden walk — with vast biomes (greenhouses), it emphasizes man’s connection to, and dependence on, the natural world. Or opt to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Lost for almost 75 years after WWI, the private gardens at Heligan were the seat of the Tremayne family for more than 400 years. (B,L,D)
DAY 2: Portsmouth *
Set along the south coast of England, Portsmouth plays a major role in British naval history. The rich heritage is evident at the Historical Dockyard which houses HMS Victory, the three-masted flagship in which Lord Nelson led the victorious Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and the Mary Rose, a Tudor-era warship. Aside from its marine heritage, Portsmouth is also known for its literary history as the birthplace of Charles Dickens. (B,L,D)
DAY 1: London, U.K./ Embark *
Arrive in London, and upon arrival, embark National Geographic Explorer along the Thames River, seeing the iconic Tower Bridge. (D)
* = Indicative
Map for Exploring the British and Irish Isles
National Geographic Explorer, the ship servicing Exploring the British and Irish Isles

National Geographic Explorer

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition

Length: 108 meters

Passenger Capacity: 148 (single & twin cabins)

Built / Refurbished: 1982 / 2008

 

National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship. It is a fully stabilized, ice-class vessel, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing exceptional comfort. It carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft. An Undersea Specialist operates a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sophisticated video equipment, extending access to the underwater world.

 

Public areas: Bistro Bar; Chart Room; Restaurant; Global Gallery; Library, Lounge with full service bar and state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; Mud Room with lockers for expedition gear, and Observation Lounge. Our “Open Bridge” provides guests an opportunity to meet our Officers and Captain and learn about navigation.

Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with local flair.

Cabins: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes, private facilities and climate controls.

Expedition Equipment: Zodiac landing craft, kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, SplashCam, underwater video camera, Crow’s Nest remote controlled camera, video microscope, snorkeling gear.

Special Features: A full-time doctor, Undersea Specialist, LEX Photo Specialist and Video Chronicler, Internet Cafe and laundry.

Wellness: The vessel is staffed by two Wellness Specialists and features a glass enclosed Fitness Center, outdoor stretching area, two LEXspa treatment rooms and Sauna.

  

 

 

 

Cabin layout for National Geographic Explorer
• Begin your journey along the historic Thames, passing under London's iconic Tower Bridge

• Follow the maritime thread through the isles, exploring the wild and beautiful places where Celtic and Viking influences still thrive

• Explore some of the charming villages along the British and Irish coasts—with opportunities to kayak, stroll on nature walks, or hike into the hills for scenic perspectives

• View one of the world’s most complete pre-historic villages at Skara Brae in Orkney

• Be surprised—by lush tropical gardens in the otherwise English-y Isles of Scilly; and by thrilling amount and thriving activity of bird life in the Isles

• Visit ancient standing stones at off-the-beaten path locations Like Callanish, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, St Kilda.
Enquire now about Exploring the British and Irish Isles

Optional extras & upgrades

Exploring Wales Pre-Voyage Extension (None USD)
This 7-day extension explores the distinct Welsh culture and a wealth of castles, gardens, and abbeys, including Tintern Abbey, made famous by the poet Wordsworth, and so much more.

Exploring Wales Post Voyage Extension (None USD)
This extension includes the same experiences as the pre-voyage extension, but it is offered after your time aboard National Geographic Explorer to better accommodate some travelers’ schedules.