This expedition-style voyage from Edinburgh to Iceland is your chance to discover some of the most historically significant and wildlife-rich destinations. Cruising aboard our small, luxury expedition ship is the perfect way to visit difficult-to-access locations where tourist value far exceeds tourist numbers.

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Day 1: Arrival in Edinburgh, Scotland

Welcome to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland and the starting point of our trans-Atlantic expedition. To provide you with more time to enjoy this metropolis rich in history and culture, we’ve arranged pre-cruise hotel accommodations near the city center. Relax and take a stroll through town, enjoying both medieval and classic 18th-century architecture. The famous Edinburgh Castle rises majestically above it all.

Day 2: Welcome Aboard!

Enjoy the morning and early afternoon at leisure. Each corner of Edinburgh’s old streets opens beautiful unexpected vistas of green hills or a blue flash of the distant sea. In the afternoon, you will be transferred from the hotel to the ship in the nearby Port of Leith. Before dinner, there’s time to explore the Sea Spirit, your home-away-from-home for the next nine days.

Day 3: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland

Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Archipelago, is a small, quiet town, with a gentle pace of life. It was first mentioned in Orkneyinga saga in 1046. Such a long history has left a rich heritage which we explore today on an included tour. The most famous sites in town are the sandstone St. Magnus Cathedral, considered to be the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland, the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace.

We leave town and head west, passing through the gentle rolling landscape of the Orkney’s largest island, Mainland, and into the Neolithic heartland, an area designated as a World Heritage Site due to its wealth of pre-historic archaeology. Passing the Standing Stones of Stenness, we will stop at the Ring of Brodgar – a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5,000 years. We then continue on to the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, with remarkable dwellings first revealed beneath the sand dunes by storms just 150 years ago. Return to the ship for dinner and a late-evening departure.

Day 4: North Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands; Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland

You can expect a physically more active day, as the places we visit become more remote with less tourism infrastructure. This morning, we land at North Ronaldsay, the most distant isle of the Orkneys, with a population of about 70 people. The isle supports an extremely rich and diverse population of wildflowers, birdlife and flocks of the unusual seaweed-eating North Ronaldsay sheep. Many migrating species of birds stop here in spring and autumn, while there are also many breeding species which spend the spring and summer at the island. Escorted by our knowledgeable expedition staff, we’ll plan to hike and birdwatching in this picturesque landscape.

During lunch on board, we head to Fair Isle, a real paradise for birdwatchers. The lush grasslands and spectacular cliffs are inhabited by a huge number of birds. Over 345 species have been recorded here – more than anywhere else in Britain. The variety of birdlife inspired the ornithologist George Waterston to build a bird observatory here in 1948. Enjoy a pleasant afternoon walk across the island, visit the newly refurbished observatory and see thousands of northern fulmars, kittiwakes, northern gannets, puffins, and great and arctic skuas.

Days 5 – 7: Exploring the Faroe Islands

National Geographic Traveler had designated the Faroe Islands as “authentic, unspoiled and likely to remain so”. Nature has spared no colors in painting the islands: deep-green hills, bright blue sea, colorful houses and boats, and puffins’ orange-red beaks make the landscape unforgettable.

The rugged Faroese are proud of their Viking heritage and their love of the sea. We will explore the archipelago with possible stops in:

Tórshavn. This would include a visit to Kirkjubøur, the ecclesiastical and cultural center of the Faroes in the Middle Ages. It was the site of the Bishop’s residence until the Reformation, when the Faroese diocese was abolished. The imposing Gothic ruin of the late 13th-century Saint Magnus Cathedral still dominates the site. The Roykstovan, standing on the wide, stone foundation of a portion of the Bishop’s palace, has been the home of farmers in Kirkjubøur for centuries and occupied by the same Faroese family for 17 generations. There are magnificent views to the west and the islands of Koltur, Hestur, Sandoy, and Vágar.

Klaksvík, the second-largest town in the Faroes and an important fishing and shipping port. Charcoal gray, snow-dusted mountains create a spectacular backdrop to our visit. The town originated from four farms which grew into four villages and ultimately into a modern town in the late 1939s. Some light hiking and birdwatching are possible in areas selected by local guides and our expedition team.

Our expedition team will also search for more remote areas of the archipelago to visit or pause, where we can take advantage of the ship and possibly Zodiacs to see bird cliffs and other natural wonders that are otherwise difficult to access.

Day 8: At Sea, En route to Iceland

Today is for relaxation on board or watching for seabirds and aquatic life in the Atlantic’s pelagic layers from the Sea Spirit’s decks or open bridge. When they’re not busy giving informative presentations on the geology, wildlife or Viking heritage of the Faroes and Iceland in the Oceanus Lounge, the expedition team will be happy to answer your questions.

Day 9: Vestmannaeyjar, Heimaey, Iceland

Sometimes anglicized as Westman Islands, Vestmannaeyjar is the name of the small town of 4,200 inhabitants as well as the 15-island archipelago that is located off the south coast of Iceland. It came to the world’s attention in 1973 with the eruption of the Eldfell volcano, which forced the evacuation of the entire population. It has a unique microclimate, and more than 30 species of birds nest in the millions in the high cliffs and grassy ledges.

Vestmannaeyjar – literally “the islands of the westmen” – is named after the Irish slaves brought here by the Vikings. A full day here will provide us with time to tour the small town and travel into more windswept and remote areas for hiking and views of massive breeding colonies of migratory birdlife. Tonight, as the Sea Spirit departs Vestmannaeyjar, enjoy the Captain’s farewell cocktail party and festive dinner.

Day 10: Reykjavik, Disembarkation, Iceland

We finish our journey in the capital city of Iceland where, after breakfast, guests will disembark and be transferred to either the International Airport or the city center.


  • 1 pre-voyage night on Day 1 in Edinburgh
  • Group transfer to the ship for embarkation on Day 2
  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All meals on board throughout the voyage
  • Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily
  • All scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions)
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team
  • An Expedition parka
  • Rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise
  • Welcome and Farewell cocktails
  • All port fees
  • Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation
  • Pre-departure materials
  • Digital Voyage Log
  • Wi-Fi on board

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of expedition cruising, itineraries are subject to change due to weather, ice conditions, natural and cultural events, wildlife viewing opportunities and other logistical considerations. In general, a ship's crew will endeavor to complete the itinerary provided, but the ultimate decision lies with the ship's captain and expedition leaders.

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