Uncover the hidden side of well-known isles on a journey that encompasses Britain, Ireland, and Scotland. Enter coastal villages by Zodiac and land on remote beaches. Witness prehistory juxtaposed with the present, probe the secrets of Stone Age megaliths, and discover early Christian settlements, Navigate through a picturesque sea cave, and observe colonies of migratory seabirds. Stroll charming, remote towns and mingle with locals in cozy pubs throughout the land.


Highlights


• Trace a maritime thread around the isles, exploring the wild and beautiful places where Celtic and Viking influences still thrive in local languages and customs

• Zodiac into Staffa Island's ancient Fingal's Cave, formed entirely from hexagonal basalt columns (conditions permitting), and observe a puffin colony

• Walk along Cornwall's scenic cliffside trails, and experience the peninsula's rich history and culture with visits to local producers and country estates

• In the Inner Hebrides, see the stunning 12th-century Iona Abbey—believed to be the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland

• Explore the wild, windswept coast of Western Ireland and Scotland; search for whales, dolphins, and seals; and see vast, important seabird nesting sites

• Discover the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae on Orkney

• Extend your voyage: explore the Scottish Highlands on a post-voyage extension

 

Arrive in London and spend the morning in the countryside of Windsor, known for its royal heritage and grand estates. This afternoon, transfer to Portsmouth to embark on our journey around the British and Irish Isles. 

 

Arrive in the Cornish port of Fowey (pronounced “Foy”) this afternoon. Visit the Eden Project, a collection of immense eco-garden biomes set within a 34-acre bowl—celebrating sustainability and botanical innovation. Alternatively, experience the grandeur of the Estates of Cornwall on a visit to the houses of Pencarrow and Lanhydrock. For those wishing for a more relaxed afternoon, spend time on your own in the village of Fowey or join the field staff for an expeditionary outing in the area. 

 

Revel in flourishing subtropical beauty at Tresco Abbey Garden, planted in the 19th century around the ruins of a Benedictine abbey in the Isles of Scilly. Today, it’s matured into a priceless botanical sanctuary for thousands of exotic species from across the southern hemisphere—from Brazil to New Zealand, Myanmar to South Africa. Yet here it is, on an islet just 28 miles off the Cornwall coast.

 

Arrive in this colorful port city on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, intimately tied to maritime history and the great Irish Emigration. Visit the Cobh Heritage Centre and learn about the momentous events that took place here—from the 1912 departure of the Titanic to the successful rescue of passengers from the torpedoed Lusitania and the millions of Irish who departed these shores in search of a better life. Enjoy an afternoon of Irish traditions, from music to sport, with locals.

 

Over the next two days, enjoy the windswept landscapes of western Ireland. Be on deck as we sail past Skellig Michael, the protected Celtic Christian hermitage where beehive huts and remains of a seventh-century monastery still stand. Then, get photo tips from our National Geographic Photography Expert as we sail past the uninhabited Blasket Islands, on which you'll observe a wide array of birds including storm petrels, shearwaters, terns, gulls, and auks. Our exploration continues on land through the southern corner of Ireland with its cozy local pubs, cultural centers, and country walks.  

 

Visit the sacred island of Iona and its 13th-century abbey, long revered as a Christian pilgrimage site and believed to be where the Book of Kells originated. Several Scottish kings, including the actual Macbeth, are buried in the royal graveyard here. Later, weather permitting, we explore uninhabited Staffa Island, famed for its perfect six-sided volcanic basalt columns and dramatic Fingal’s Cave. On Staffa, join one of our naturalists to learn about and observe a large puffin colony.  

 

Explore the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, boasting incredible seabird colonies. Conditions permitting, we make a landing at St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage site and nature preserve. Uninhabited since 1930, the traditional stone village left behind by the island’s final residents now lies in ruins. But active occupants do remain: a huge population of gannets, domesticated sheep now gone wild, puffins, and wrens.

 

The Shetlands are characterized by deep-seated cultural traditions and dramatic landscapes. Far north and near enough to Norway to speak Scottish with a Scandinavian accent, this 100-island archipelago has never been fully tamed by those who live here. Explore these rural islands with their mix of ponies, ruins, and windswept pastures. 

 

Options this morning include a birdwatching trek in quest of Orkney’s remarkably varied birdlife or a walking tour of Kirkwall, Orkney’s capital and a showplace of ancient Viking history thanks to its proximity to Norway. Later, discover the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stone slab village of Skara Brae. And step inside majestic St. Magnus Cathedral, a sandstone landmark that took three centuries to build.

 

Start off the day with a panoramic drive through “the Granite City” before exploring Aberdeenshire’s countryside. Choose to visit a local Highland cattle farm where you will learn about its award-winning products and practices. Or, dive into Highland traditions with a visit to the Gordon Highlanders Museum. Transfer back to the ship later this afternoon and enjoy your last evening at sea. 

 

Disembark in Edinburgh after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or choose to explore the Scottish Highlands on a post-voyage extension. 

All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Category 1

$15,160 AUD pp
Category 1
#301-308 — Cabins feature one or two portholes. Most cabins feature two single beds that can be converted to a queen. Cabins #301-306 feature one queen-sized bed. All cabins feature a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.

Category 2

$16,150 AUD pp
Category 2
#317-320, 335-336 — Cabins feature two single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), and one large window. They offer a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, sitting chair, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.

Category 3

$17,210 AUD pp
Category 3
#313-316, 321-328, 337-350 — Cabins feature two single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), one large window, and two sitting chairs and a small table and ample storage. They have a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV. Cabins 341 & 343 have a sofa bed for a triple.

Category 4

$17,910 AUD pp
Category 4
Veranda Deck #103-104, 107-108 — Cabins feature two single beds than can convert to a queen-sized bed, and at least one large window, climate controls, sitting chair, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. Upper Deck #201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228 — Cabins feature two single beds and at least one large window. All cabins can convert between two single beds to a queen, except Cabins 217, 226 & 228 that feature one queen-size bed only. All cabins feature climate controls, sitting chairs, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.

Category SA (solo)

$20,220 AUD pp
Category SA (solo)
#309-311, 329-334 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV.

Category 5

$20,930 AUD pp
Category 5
#209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224 — Cabins feature a balcony with sliding glass doors, feature one queen-sized bed, a writing desk and chairs, climate controls, a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. (Cabin 221 has two single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen.)

Category SB (solo)

$21,510 AUD pp
Category SB (solo)
Veranda Deck #105-106 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV. Upper Deck #203, 208 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV.

Category 6

$24,480 AUD pp
Category 6
Veranda Deck #101-102 — These spacious cabins can be converted into triples. They have two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, double closet, bookcase, sofa-bed, chairs, two large windows, and a TV. The sleeping area can be closed off with the glass partition. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks. Upper Deck #213 — This spacious cabin has a private balcony, two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, double closet, bookcase, chairs, and a TV. The sleeping area can be closed off with the glass partition. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.

Category 7

$28,190 AUD pp
Category 7
#215, 219, 230 — These large cabins with private balconies have two single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen. They have seating areas with a sofa-bed and can be converted to triples. Cabins also include a desk with chairs, coffee table with sitting chair, and a small table. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.

Category 1

$15,160 AUD pp
Category 1
#301-308 — Cabins feature one or two portholes. Most cabins feature two single beds that can be converted to a queen. Cabins #301-306 feature one queen-sized bed. All cabins feature a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.

Category 2

$16,150 AUD pp
Category 2
#317-320, 335-336 — Cabins feature two single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), and one large window. They offer a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, sitting chair, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV.

Category 3

$17,210 AUD pp
Category 3
#313-316, 321-328, 337-350 — Cabins feature two single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), one large window, and two sitting chairs and a small table and ample storage. They have a writing desk, floor length mirror, reading lamps, well-appointed bathrooms with a roomy glass-wall shower, and a TV. Cabins 341 & 343 have a sofa bed for a triple.

Category 4

$17,910 AUD pp
Category 4
Veranda Deck #103-104, 107-108 — Cabins feature two single beds than can convert to a queen-sized bed, and at least one large window, climate controls, sitting chair, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. Upper Deck #201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228 — Cabins feature two single beds and at least one large window. All cabins can convert between two single beds to a queen, except Cabins 217, 226 & 228 that feature one queen-size bed only. All cabins feature climate controls, sitting chairs, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.

Category SA (solo)

$20,220 AUD pp
Category SA (solo)
#309-311, 329-334 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV.

Category 5

$20,930 AUD pp
Category 5
#209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224 — Cabins feature a balcony with sliding glass doors, feature one queen-sized bed, a writing desk and chairs, climate controls, a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. (Cabin 221 has two single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen.)

Category SB (solo)

$21,510 AUD pp
Category SB (solo)
Veranda Deck #105-106 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV. Upper Deck #203, 208 — These cabins feature one single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV.

Category 6

$24,480 AUD pp
Category 6
Veranda Deck #101-102 — These spacious cabins can be converted into triples. They have two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, double closet, bookcase, sofa-bed, chairs, two large windows, and a TV. The sleeping area can be closed off with the glass partition. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks. Upper Deck #213 — This spacious cabin has a private balcony, two single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, double closet, bookcase, chairs, and a TV. The sleeping area can be closed off with the glass partition. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.

Category 7

$28,190 AUD pp
Category 7
#215, 219, 230 — These large cabins with private balconies have two single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen. They have seating areas with a sofa-bed and can be converted to triples. Cabins also include a desk with chairs, coffee table with sitting chair, and a small table. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.

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.

CabinsA New Look for National Geographic Explorer Suites

National Geographic Explorer recently debuted updated suites, enhanced with the sleek, Scandinavian design that has become the hallmark of our polar fleet. Each of these elegant cabins now holds a Command Center, which allows guests to continue to explore from the comfort of their suites with a set of tools that includes a barometer, a National Geographic Atlas, a television that broadcasts entertainment and ship navigation, a coffee maker, and multiple USB and universal electric ports for cameras and other devices. 81 outside cabins

All feature windows or portholes, private facilities, climate controls, hair dryers, and TV, plus Ethernet, Wi-Fi connections, and USB ports for mobile devices. Some cabins have balconies. Single cabins in Category SA and Category SB are located on the main deck and upper deck. 

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

Inclusions


• Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
• Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
• Guidance and company of our leading expedition staff 
• All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible.
• Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
• 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
• Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits aboard the NG Endurance, NG Resolution, NG Explorer, NG Orion, NG Endeavour II, NG Islander II, Sea Cloud, Sea Cloud II, Lord of the Glens, and The Jahan. We are also pleased to offer a selection of super premium wines and liquors, available for purchase.
• Beer and wine, spirits and cocktails on all 2024 departures aboard NG Venture, NG Quest, NG Sea Bird, and NG Sea Lion, and specialty cocktails with meals aboard Delfin ll, with super premium wines and liquors available for purchase.
• Crew gratuities aboard NG Endurance, NG Resolution, NG Explorer,  NG Orion, Sea Cloud, Sea Cloud II, Lord of the Glens, Oberoi Philae, and The Jahan
• Free Wi-Fi aboard Lord of the Glens and The Jahan.
• Free Wi-Fi, up to one hour a day per person, aboard NG Islander II and NG Endeavour II 
• Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
• Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
• The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic 
• Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available 
• 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
• Complimentary Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic parka or jacket on select Arctic and Antarctic voyages
• Assistance by the onboard NG Photography Expert (NG Endurance, NG Explorer, NG Orion, NG Resolution) and Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor (all ships)
• Access to the OM System Photo Gear Locker with the latest gear to try out on loan (all Lindblad-National Geographic ships except in Galapagos)
• Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes

Exclusions


• Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers
• Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
• Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi, and phone services (except when indicated as included)
• Crew gratuities aboard NG Endeavour II, NG Islander II, NG Venture, NG Quest, NG Sea Bird, NG Sea Lion, and Delfin II
12 Days from
$1,264 AUD per day

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