A unique journey to Scotland’s rarely-visited Inner Hebridean, Orkney and Shetland islands and Norway’s majestic fjords awaits. Cruise from Glasgow to Bergen aboard the exclusively-chartered, Five-Star Le Champlain. Travel in the wake of early Viking explorers, cruising into ports accessible only by small ship, and take one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys aboard the Flåm Railway through Norway’s fjordlands. Enjoy a special presentation by a local archaeologist in Neolithic Orkney and a tour of Bryggen, the oldest quarter in Bergen.
Complimentary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise!
- Pricing from
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- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Jun 6, 2021 - Jun 14, 2021
Jun 13, 2021 - Jun 21, 2021
Rolf Achilles is an independent art historian, curator of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, and adjunct faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A writer and lecturer on various topics related to preserving American artistic heritage, Mr. Achilles is the author of several books on Chicago architecture and commerce.
- day 1
Depart the U.S.
- day 2
Arrive in Glasgow where the indelible mark of Viking conquest still permeates the culture, and embark the Five‑Star Le Champlain.
- day 3
Fort William/Scottish Highlands
The legendary Scottish Highlands and their striking, rugged scenery have inspired countless folktales and storytellers with their enchanting and mysterious allure. Begin your day in bucolic Glenfinnan; view the Glenfinnan Viaduct, immortalized by the Hogwarts™ Express in the Harry Potter film series, and see the Glenfinnan Monument, commemorating the Jacobite Highlanders that Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied against King George II in 1745. Stop along the Caledonian Canal to view Neptune’s Staircase, an incredible feat of engineering when it was built in the early 1800s and the longest staircase lock in Britain. Travel along castle-dotted shores enshrouded with myth and legend to Glencoe, hailed as one of Scotland’s most scenic glens, partially owned and preserved by the National Trust for Scotland. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening.
- day 4
Kyle of Lochalsh/ Portree, Isle of Skye
Visit the soul-stirring 13th‑century Eilean Donan Castle, named for a 6th-century Irish Saint. Colonel MacRae, of Clan MacRae, restored this icon in 1932 and established a clan museum. Travel across heather‑covered moors and through the starkly beautiful Cullin Mountains en route to the scenic capital of Portree, situated along the unforgettable coastline of ethereal Isle of Skye.
- day 5
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
This morning, the director and head archaeologist of the Ness of Brodgar site, Nick Card, will provide his keen insights about this impressive ancient compound that lies outside of Kirkwall. Mr. Card’s research and fieldwork are internationally regarded, both in the archaeology field and by the popular press. The Ness of Brodgar excavations were named the Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year in 2011 and were featured in a cover article of National Geographic in 2014. Steeped in Viking heritage, the largest Orkney Island, known as Mainland, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its concentration of prehistoric treasures defined as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. Nearly 1,000 years before the pharaohs built Giza’s pyramids and over 500 years before Neolithic man raised Stonehenge, Stone Age inhabitants of this archipelago, dating back to 3200 B.C., erected the Ness of Brodgar, a mysterious compound rivaling the scale of the Acropolis, demonstrating advanced technological prowess and Neolithic “artistry.” Walk among the nearby stone monoliths of the Ring of Brodgar, raised more than 4,000 years ago in the patterned circle of a henge. See the ceremonial Stones of Stenness en route to the settlement of Skara Brae, where more than 5,000 years ago, it was inhabited by an early Orcadian culture known for decorative arts and sophisticated craftsmanship. Thousands of years later, the Vikings established the port town of Kirkwall on Mainland, leaving behind the towering 12th‑century St. Magnus Cathedral, known as the “Light of the North.” Hear the classically haunting sounds of a Scottish bagpiper as you reboard the ship. This evening, a Scottish storyteller weaves traditional tales that have been handed down by word of mouth for generations.
- day 6
Lerwick, Shetland Islands
Explore the remote Shetland Islands, declared a Global Geopark by UNESCO for their geologically diverse landscapes and seascapes carved by prehistoric ice. Here, nature’s colors and textures endlessly shift, and clamoring gannets and puffins crowd the dramatic rock cliffs. Dock in Lerwick, Shetland’s capital, and journey to the island’s southernmost point, scanning the verdant landscape for Shetland’s famous ponies grazing on the grass‑covered knolls. Visit Jarlshof, a pending UNESCO World Heritage Site deemed the zenith of
prehistoric architectural achievement in Northern Europe. Multi-period remains span over 4,000 years of human history, including late Neolithic stone houses, a Bronze Age village, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouse, Norse longhouses, a medieval farmstead and a 16th‑century laird’s house.
- day 7
Flåm Railway, Norway/ Cruising the Norwegian Fjords
Norway’s fjords and islands offer some of Europe’s most profoundly beautiful coastal scenery, where sea mist and sunlight enhance the fjords’ deep blues and the valley’s lush greens. Cruise the majestic Sognefjord passing traditional farmsteads and villages flanked by soaring mountains and glaciers. This afternoon, board the Flåm Railway, one of the world’s most scenic train rides. This masterpiece of Norwegian engineering—the steepest standard‑gauge railway track in Europe, spirals 2,835 feet—opened to the public in 1940 and travels 13 dramatic miles through 20 tunnels to Myrdal’s mountaintop station. Watch as snowcapped mountains, cascading waterfalls—including the awe‑inspiring Kjofossen—and intriguing
hamlets unfold along this alpine branch of the world‑renowned Bergen Line.
- day 8
Founded on a Viking settlement in 1070 and the Norwegian capital during the 12th and 13th centuries, Bergen was an important part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to mid‑16th centuries. The city’s illustrious past can be glimpsed in the beautifully preserved gabled buildings of Bergen’s Bryggen (the old wharf), a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by lushly carpeted hills and fjords. Stroll the grounds of Troldhaugen, the summer home of famed Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg. Visit the reconstructed Fantoft Stavkirke, a traditional 12th-century wooden stave church, noted for its durable post and lintel construction. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in Bergen before the Captain’s Farewell Reception on board this evening.
- day 9
Bergen/Disembark ship/ Return to the U.S.
Disembark in Bergen and continue on the Wonders of Norway Post-Cruise Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.
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