From the green islands of Scotland and North Atlantic to Iceland, this 6-day early-summer adventure rewards you with 24-hours of daylight and matchless seascapes. Migrating birds, dolphins, and whales are only some of the sights you can expect in this expedition. Your journey begins on the Scottish East Coast in Aberdeen, where you will embark on board the ice-class 1b vessel Ocean Atlantic, your home for the next 6 days.
Your first stop is Kirkwall, off the northeastern coast of Scotland, the fascinating capital of Orkney, an archipelago known for its sandstone cliffs and Neolithic cities, before you sail further north to the Faroe Islands, where Tórshavn, its capital and largest town, awaits you.
You will approach the Westman island of Surtsey, UNESCO Natural Heritage Site and youngest island of the world, and spend an exciting day in Heimaey, the largest island of the archipelago, before arriving to your destination: Reykjavík.
• Kirkwall on the Orkney Islands is old Norse for the "seal islands", and, like the other North Atlantic islands, Orkney has a rich Viking story worth visiting.
• Skara Brae, Northern Europe's Pompeii, was hidden for almost 5,000 years before a massive storm revealed the ancient settlement.
• Kirkjubøur is the most important historical site of the Faore islands. It was once in medieval times the Episcopal centre of the islands, and its also its undisputed cultural centre.
• The Westman Islands were on the headlines of the world press in January 1973, when a volcano erupted in the Heimaey island. All 5,000 inhabitants evacuated, but most have now returned, and today the population is about 4,000.
• Listen to lectures from experienced expedition staff and enjoy zodiac excursions everyday with guides and naturalists.
Our journey begins in Aberdeen in North East Scotland, where MV Ocean Atlantic is moored in the Dee River. Boarding is in the afternoon, where the cabins are designated. After the mandatory security review and drill, we sail out through the mouth of the Dee River towards the North Sea.
During the night we’ll have sailed out into the waters between Outer and Inner Hebrides, and in the early morning we’ll reach the town of Kirkwall on the windy Orkney off the mainland of Scotland. Orkney is old Norse for the "seal islands", and, like the other North Atlantic islands, Orkney has a rich Viking story worth visiting. But history goes even further back to one of the oldest European civilizations.
Skara Brae, Northern Europe's Pompeii, was hidden for almost 5,000 years before a massive storm revealed the ancient settlement. The 10-room homes are almost ready for moving into, fully furnished and with sanitation - all made in stone. After arriving at Kirkwall there is a bus ride to visit Skara Brae on a short excursion. Back in Kirkwall, we will visit Highland Park, considered by many to be the world's best distillery. On four occasions, the golden drops from Highland have been voted the world's best. It is also Scotland's northernmost whisky.
(The excursion is part of the excursion package and is not included in the price of the trip).
We arrive after breakfast at Tórshavn, possibly the smallest capital in the world, ruling the scattered 18 islands that make up the Faroes. Centred around the charming grass-roofed Parliament on Tinganes, Tórshavn is now an almost bustling modern city with shops, cafés and even three traffic lights!
By midmorning you can participate in an optional bus excursion where we will try to look a bit back in history. We drive out of the capital and over the mountains to the south. As the climate on the Faroe Island is ‘stable unstable’ it is not unlikely that we will drive through the cloud base and experience some fog on the way. But if you wait a moment, it also not unlikely that it will clear up. We arrive in Kirkjubøur, the most important historical site on the islands. Kirkjubøur was in medieval times the Episcopal centre of the Faroe Islands, and also its undisputed cultural centre. We visit the ruins of the impressive Magnus Cathedral that perhaps never was completed, and the St. Olav church – the only remaining medieval church on the Faroe Islands. Upon our return to ‘Havn’ – as Tórshavn is often just called – you can go for a leisurely stroll through the old citadel near the harbour. A visit to the Art museum and the Nordic House is also very recommendable.
Listen to a lecture from our experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.
The Westman Islands were on the headlines of the world press in January 1973, when a volcano erupted in the Heimaey island. All 5,000 inhabitants evacuated, but most have now returned, and today the population is about 4,000. The Westman Islands are only 14 kilometers off the southwest coast of Iceland and consist of 15 green small islands and about 30 moorings.
When you go sailing, you can see the islands steep and grateful profiles in clear weather from a long distance. They are beautifully raised by the sea, and looking at them, one understands why an Icelandic poet would compare them with the sapphires in a silver ring.
The birdlife on these edges is unique and hosts, among other natural beauties, puffins and not least the "Queen of the Sea", the gannet.
We start the day by passing close to one of the world's newest islands, Surtsey. The island rose from the sea in 1963 and arrived in 2008 on UNESCO's list of world natural heritage sites. The island is closed to the public and only researchers are allowed.
In the morning we head to Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago where we can see the recently excavated houses from the 1973 eruption.
In the morning Ocean Atlantic goes alongside in the port of Reykjavik. It’s time to say farewell to the crew and begin the homeward journey or extend you journey with days in Iceland.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Standard inside cabin,
triple beds on Deck 5.
Size 11-12 sq.m. Featuring a double bed or two single beds, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on the Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
Size 20-23 sq. m. Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, private bathroom and a window. Limited view. Located on the Magellan and Hudson Deck (Deck 7 & 8).
Size 35 sq.m. These 2-room suites are designed with a large double bed or two twin beds, an elegant living room, large private bathroom and window. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Vessel Type: Ice-class small expedition cruise ship
Length: 140 meters
Passenger Capacity: 198
Built / rebuilt / renovated: 1985 / 2010 / 2016
Ocean Atlantic is the perfect vessel for expedition cruising in Antarctic waters! Newly renovated in 2016 and with an international ice class rating of 1B, she is one of the strongest ships operating in Antarctica. Her high maneuverability, shallow draft and strong engines allow for extended voyages into isolated fjords, creating exciting adventures for any Antarctica traveler.
Ocean Atlantic is newly renovated (2016) with elegant common areas and accommodation for 198 passengers.
The ship was built in 1985 and underwent an extensive rebuild in 2010. With a length of 140m she has ample space on the multiple decks for several lecture halls, a relaxed restaurant serving 4-star international cuisine, professionally staffed bars and observation platforms – and even a pool.
All common areas on the Erickson Deck feature large panel windows, enabling passengers to quickly spot passing whales and photographic sights from the comfort of indoor lounges.
All private cabins are stylish appointed and feature individual bathroom facilities, phone for internal calls, individual temperature controls and TV. Ideal for relaxation, the vessels’ accommodation ranges in size from 11 - 35 m2 and are designed with either portholes or windows.
Daily shore landings at penguin rookeries, research stations and other Antarctic wonders are made possible by her fleet of 20 Zodiacs.
Restaurant & Bar
The bright, spacious restaurant prepares 4-star international cuisine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your tour price. All meals are served in the restaurant where you can enjoy the spectacular views. You have free seating at all meals. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style, while dinner is a la carte. Meals, including daily snacks, are prepared by a professional chef. Coffee, tea and water are free during the entire cruise; other drinks can be purchased in the restaurant and at the bar. In the event you are not onboard at lunch time we will prepare a lunch bag for you in the morning, which you can take ashore. In the afternoon, we offer tea and coffee in the lounge. We also offer a midnight snack between 22:00 h and 24:00 h.
The professionally staffed bar offers a selection of soft drinks, juices, wines, liquors, spirits and beer that can be charged to your shipboard account.
Observation Deck / Pool
Enjoy the time on our observation deck while relaxing in a deckchair, take a swim in the pool or soak in the jaccuzi.
Library: Our board library offers a wide range of multilingual books ranging from fiction to travel literature. Curl up with a book, watch a DVD and broaden your understanding of the region's history, flora, fauna, climate, scientific contributions and more.
Entertainment: During all Albatros Expedition cruises, the focus is placed on exploration and education. From the ship's well-equipped, onboard lecture theatres, the expedition team will host a series of presentations and workshops on various topics.
Shore Excursions & Landings: The expedition team will organize a series of Zodiac excursions and shore landing activities to bring you closer in touch with your natural surroundings.
Gym & Wellness
Gym facilities and a sauna are available onboard the ship.
Large windows, comfortable seating and even binoculars create the ideal lookout to enjoy the ever-changing landscapes.
Voyage in selected cabin category
Accommodation in shared inside or outside cabins as booked
English speaking expedition team
Shore landings by zodiac
Information briefings and lectures held on board by expedition team
All meals while on board
Welcome and farewell cocktails
Free tea and coffee on board
Complimentary use of boots for shore landings
Digital journal link after voyage (Includes voyage log, gallery, species list and more)
Port Fees, taxes and AECO fees and tariffs
Trip specific inclusions;
Near-port town walks with expedition team
Special photo workshop
Flights to/from departure port unless specified in itinerary
Hotel accommodations unless specified in itinerary
Additional excursions and activities not mentioned in itinerary
Meals when not on board the ship
Beverages other than tea/coffee and water
Gratuities for crew (recommended USD$13.50 per passenger per day)
Any items of a personal nature
Trip specific exclusions;
International flights to Aberdeen/from Reykjavik, Iceland
Excursion package, including bus tour to Skara Brae on Orkney and to Kirkjubøur in Faroe Islands.