2 August 2021 by David Ward
With so much beauty and intrigue right on our doorstep, you might want to consider a luxury cruise taking in the UK and Ireland’s spectacular islands and coasts. For inspiration, we’ve picked out a selection top itineraries below, each a spectacular showcase for the history, culture, landscapes and wildlife of our precious island home.
Best known for their adventure-packed itineraries along the coast of Norway, Hurtigruten have turned their attention to our own picturesque shores with a programme of spectacular UK voyages.
Our pick of the bunch is their Remote Islands, Natural Wonders & a Diverse Coastline itinerary, which takes in everything from the World Heritage wonders of faraway St Kilda to Stornoway’s Viking heritage to the glorious beaches of the Scilly Isles. It’s all enjoyed aboard the newly refurbished MS Maud, where stylish accommodation and state-of-the-art facilities, including an onboard science centre, will ensure a comfortable and memorable voyage.
Another superb Hurtigruten option is their Island Hopping in the Hebrides itinerary aboard MS Spitsbergen. This is a chance to explore some of the most pristine waters on Earth, seeking out tiny island and hidden lochs far off the beaten track.
Ceann Hulavig, Stornoway
Hebridean Island Cruises
Definitely another one to consider if Scotland’s on your wish-list, Hebridean Island Cruises offers a range of voyages between four and nine nights, each designed to showcase the very best of its islands and highlands.
Not only are there chances to explore the likes of Raasay island and Loch Boisadal, but you’ll also sail in boutique luxury fit for royalty (Queen Elizabeth II has chartered her twice), complete with Scottish-inspired dining, champagne receptions and some particularly lavish afternoon teas.
Interesting options include Hebridean’s Clyde Castles and Stately Homes, a weeklong sailing around the Firth of Clyde, the islands of Arran and Bute and up into the Highland lochs of Striven and Goil. While many cruises take you far and wide, this is a rare chance to focus on a localised region and discover it in depth. Alternatively, for those short on time, a similar four-night programme, Argyll Escape, is planned in for 2022. Contact our specialists for details.
We can’t wait to welcome expedition cruise pioneers, Swan Hellenic, to the UK in 2022. Swapping the likes of the Russian Far East and Antarctica for the myriad pleasures of bonnie Scotland, our top-pick sailing takes in a spectacular array of ports, from fair Dublin to Lindisfarne via Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast, remote St Kilda, Stornoway, Lerwick and Leith.
Expect delicious dining, enrichment lectures and photography workshops from onboard experts and all the other creature comforts that their brand-new ship, SH Vega, provides.
Also flying the luxury flag are Silversea – a longstanding Wexas favourite. Looking ahead, their May 2023 offering will be a spectacular circumnavigation aboard Silver Wind, combining Silversea’s signature brand of ultra-luxury – fine dining, butler service and a raft of expert-led excursions and activities – with visits to a wide range of exciting and intriguing ports. Expect everything from historic castle tours to distillery visits and guided national park hikes. And, it's due to set sail from beneath London's Tower Bridge, a truly iconic departure.
Silver Wind departing from Tower Bridge