From PP Twin Share
✓ Travel with Hurtigruten
✓ Explore the coastal treasures of the British Isles and beyond. Discover the wildlife, natural wonders and history of its most beautiful port towns and islands
✓ Explore the far-flung British Isles
✓ Nature, wildlife and whisky
✓ Travel with Hurtigruten
✓ Explore the coastal treasures of the British Isles and beyond. Discover the wildlife, natural wonders and history of its most beautiful port towns and islands
✓ Explore the far-flung British Isles
✓ Nature, wildlife and whisky
Travelling with Inspiring Vacations allows you to explore the wonders of the world in a variety of different ways. We have partnered with a worldwide network of local travel experts to bring you culturally unique and delightfully unforgettable travel experiences. Whether it is meandering through narrow canyons by rail, cruising the idyllic waters of the Mediterranean or touring through the backroads of provincial towns, Inspiring Vacations trips offer amazing value and will leave you inspired.
Before joining your ship today, perhaps take some time to explore the coastal town of Dover with its magnificent, medieval castle.
Your comfortable expedition ship MS Maud will be ready and waiting for you in the port of Dover. Once you board the ship and check-in, you’ll receive your complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket which may come in handy with the unpredictable weather. There’ll be time to settle into your cabin and explore a bit of the ship before attending a mandatory pre-departure safety drill.
And with that, we’ll be away! MS Maud will set sail from Dover, making our way along the south coast, bound for an adventure all the way up to Hebrides, around the diverse islands and coastline of the British Isles and beyond.
You’ll be greeted by your friendly and energetic Expedition Team. They’ll prepare you for the exciting days ahead, but their first priority will be to take you through important health and safety principles to ensure you and your fellow explorers are always safe and well throughout your cruise.
Stretch your newly-found sea legs out on deck and get to know the different areas of the ship, your new home away from home for the next 13 days. Enjoy your first dinner aboard the ship and look forward to many more delicious meals to come. Raise your glass and join the Captain and crew as they toast to an enjoyable expedition together.
Please note, as this is an expedition cruise, the order of stops may change due to local circumstances.
Enjoy an idyllic day at sea with plenty to do. You’ll have plenty of time to unwind and really get into the mood for this expedition cruise. Admire the views from MS Maud’s expansive Observation Deck, settle into a good book together with a freshly baked pastry from the Fredheim restaurant, or take full advantage of the gym and hot tubs.
You’ll also be invited to talks hosted by the Expedition Team, experienced explorers who will happily share their extensive knowledge of the British Isles with you. Topics will change each day and often be relevant to the area you are sailing in so today you might be learning about Welsh history or the Pembrokeshire coast. These added insights will enhance your experience, filling out your sense of discovery with delicious detail. Our professional onboard photographer will also be available to give top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos.
Our first port of call on our exploration of the British Isles, between the Preseli Hills and the Pembrokeshire coast, is the charming fishing village of Fishguard. Split in two by a steep, winding hill, Lower Town is home to the original hamlet and harbour, while the ‘new’ town sits on a clifftop, commanding spectacular views.
Fishguard has the accolade of being the infamous site of the ‘Last Invasion of Britain’, by the French in 1797. The local library houses a 100-foot-long commemorative, ‘Bayeux’ style tapestry, depicting the invasion.
From Lower Town, you can explore the ancient woodlands of the Gwaun Valley that stretch towards the Preseli Hills. Follow a walking trail that takes in the River Gwaun, medieval Llanychllwydog pillar stones, St Brynach’s Church and the Dyffryn Arms pub, run by local legend Bessie. If you appreciate beautiful, landscaped gardens, then head towards the gardens at Dyffryn Fernant.
On the outskirts of Fishguard, you can walk up the hill to Castle Point to the ruins of Fishguard Fort, for incredible views overlooking the harbour. From here, you can also enjoy a walk along a stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Further west of Fishguard, you can take a walk along a stretch of the coastal path on the Pencaer Peninsula, looking out to Strumble Head lighthouse. It’s also a great place for spotting seabirds, seals and porpoises.
The area is also home to a number of Iron Age hillforts, settlements and Neolithic burial mounds. About 30 minutes from Fishguard, you’ll find the reconstructed roundhouses of Castell Henllys, where costumed guides share the history of the local Demetae tribe.
Sitting just off the north coast of County Antrim, with rugged cliffs, lakes and vast, natural grasslands, Rathlin Island boasts Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony.
At just six miles long and one mile wide, this L-shaped island, home to just 140 inhabitants, is ideal for exploring by bike or on foot. Choose from scenic clifftop walks or the many rambler trails where you can admire the natural beauty and enjoy the tranquillity. Stroll to Mill Bay where you might catch seals frolicking in the water or basking on the rocks.
Visit the RSPB Seabird Centre and the working “upside-down” lighthouse perched on the cliffs. Here, you’ll enjoy close-up views of the seabird colonies, as well as spectacular coastal panoramas.
From late April to July, tens of thousands of seabirds congregate on the island to breed, including puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, Razorbills and fulmars. Rathlin Island is also home to Northern Ireland's only pair of breeding Choughs, and more recently, the calls of the secretive Corncrake have been heard here for the first time in 30 years.
Pay a visit to the Boathouse Visitor Centre to learn about island life, local history, and the many historical shipwrecks that lie in the waters. Local legend has it that when Robert the Bruce took refuge on the island in 1306, he was inspired by the sight of a spider to return to Scotland and fight for his crown.
Just a short ferry ride and drive away, is the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s top attraction. It’s a mesmerising sight - 40,000 interlocking hexagonal basalt columns, formed through volcanic activity over 60 million years ago.
Famed for its mystical Christian associations, Iona is a peaceful little island off the coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. The restored Abbey remains a place of pilgrimage and peace, but there’s much more to see here including picturesque beaches, wonderful wildlife and the beautiful St Columba’s Bay.
Iona has been a centre for Christian worship since the sixth century, but the Abbey was sacked several times by Vikings between 795 and 825. Today you can explore this sacred site, including the restored church. There’s said to be 48 early Scottish kings buried in the graveyard, as well as Irish and Norwegian kings – see if you can find them!
There’s a popular hike uphill to Dun I (pronounced Dun Eee) from the Abbey. At the top, you’ll be at Iona’s highest point and will be able to see St Columba’s Bay and the Treshnish Isles. While you’re up there, look out for ‘Natural Well’ aka the ‘Well of Eternal Youth’ and splash your face with its allegedly miraculous waters. It’s in a cleft between two rocks as you walk downhill facing North.
From here, we head towards the remote beauty of the Treshnish Isles, a group of distinctive skerries home to a wealth of wildlife, including nesting Atlantic Puffins, colonies of Black-legged Kittiwakes, Razorbills, and Common Guillemots, as well as and Atlantic grey seals.
Fingal’s Cave, immortalised in music by Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, is on the cave-riddled island of Staffa and is noted for its amazing natural acoustics. The basalt columns within are a northern extension of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. On a calm, clear day, it might even be possible to land and see the colour of the waters inside the cave, but its rising columns can also be viewed from the sea.
There’s only one way to describe tiny, rocky St Kilda: wild. As such, our visit to this storm-tossed archipelago, with its breathtaking sea cliffs and boiling seas, is totally weather-dependent.
As a UNESCO double World Heritage Site and the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the National Trust for Scotland, visiting St Kilda is an unforgettable experience. The outlying stacks and islands, which are the remains of a volcanic crater, provide ledges for thousands of nesting seabirds. What’s more, it’s frequented by Minke whales. If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of one in the swirling waters surrounding the rocky outcrop. Once home to Britain’s most remote island community, in 1930, after 4,000 years of continuous habitation, the people living on St Kilda’s Hirta Island were evacuated at their own request. The tiny museum that remains is a record of how hard life was on this exposed outcrop.
However, setting foot on St Kilda you’ll soon see the island is far from deserted – it’s home to a multitude of seabirds, including over 60,000 pairs of Northern Gannets – the second largest gannet colony in the world! There’s a good chance you’ll spot many other seabirds, including Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, Common Guillemots, and Black-legged Kittiwakes. It’s why St Kilda is considered one of the most important seabird colonies in Europe.
Birdlife aside, you might see other island inhabitants if you look. An ancient breed of sheep – the Soay sheep – lives wild here, as do a number of other rare species including the St Kilda mouse and the St Kilda Wren. See if you can find any of them!
Explore the abandoned village and see the distinctive ‘cleits’ – circular stone buildings used to store peat, eggs and smoked puffins, before heading back to the ship and our rather less primitive dining options.
Stornoway is the capital of the Isle of Lewis & Harris, an island famed for its pristine beaches, Neolithic sites and tweed workshops. Be prepared to step back in time as you investigate ancient ruins and gaze in wonder at the mysterious Callanish standing stones, as well as exploring the bustling waterfront and streets of island’s main town.
Originally a Viking settlement, Stornoway is the main town on Lewis & Harris – a single island with two names, denoting the north and south parts. It’s the largest and most northerly island in the Outer Hebrides, aka the Western Isles. Check out Lews Castle, an impressive Gothic-revival style which overlooks Stornoway harbour. As well as visiting its museum, you can wander round the grounds and get unbeatable views of the inky blue seas. Or why not drop in for a wee dram in the castle’s very own whisky bar.
Harris is famed for its woollen tweed fabric, and you’ll see jackets, trousers and hats for sale in shops all over the island – perfect for gifts or mementos. After visiting shops, museums and old castles, blow the cobwebs off with a walk.
Of course, a visit to Lewis & Harris wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Callanish standing stones (Calanais in Gaelic), a magical ring of monoliths whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Another atmospheric site is the Blackhouse at Arnol, a completely restored thatched traditional dwelling which provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.
If you fancy a walk, there are many routes to pick from, with Lewis being the less hilly part. As you explore the island, look out for red deer, eagles, otters, gannets and butterflies – the wild side of this peaceful island attracts nature lovers from around the world.
We sail into Loch Linnhe and enjoy the beautiful environs of its mountains, islets, estuaries and lochs. We anchor at the highland town of Fort William, dominated by the views of Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain. Known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, with some of the most spectacular Highlands scenery in Britain, it’s an ideal location from which to explore the area.
Around Fort William High Street are several local points of interest like pretty St Andrew's Church, St Mary's Church, and the West Highland Museum. While the museum may appear small, you’ll discover a fascinating archive of local history, crammed full of artefacts documenting the Jacobites, commandos stationed here in WW2 and highland life. And, of course, there’s the now-familiar local whisky distillery, offering its own take on the national tipple.
A short drive away is Glen Nevis, offering one of the best short walks in Scotland: a four-mile scenic loop that starts in a secluded valley, opens up into the dramatic and beautiful Nevis Gorge, and takes in the raging rapids of the stunning Steall Falls.
On the shores of Loch Shiel, you’ll find the village of Glenfinnan, surrounded by mountains. It was the site of the second Jacobite Rising in 1745, where Bonnie Prince Charlies led 1,200 Highland clansmen to battle. More recently, the iconic arches of Glenfinnan Viaduct, that rise 100 feet off the ground, were made famous in the Harry Potter movies when the ‘Hogwarts Express’ steam train passes over the viaduct.
Other attractions in the area include the 60-mile-long Caledonian Canal, and Glen Coe, formed from volcanic activity, sculpted by glacier and designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Fire up your spirit of adventure and step onto an island famed for its whisky, wildlife and woolly garments.
Islay isn’t called ‘whisky island’ for nothing. There are nine working distilleries here, and you’ll find their peaty single malts sold around the world. One of the larger isles, there’s 130 miles of coastline here, and numerous quiet, sandy beaches. Superb cliff-top walks await, and there’s a rather beautiful and famous yet difficult golf course on the Oa Peninsula.
History abounds on Islay, with standing stones and a stone circle showing the island was inhabited back in Neolithic times. Islay was later known as the Lordship of the Isles, and you can explore the enigmatic settlement at Finlaggan, which remains the most important archaeological site on the island, while a number of Celtic crosses can be found dotted around.
Islay is a wildlife paradise, with over 200 species of birds including oystercatchers, gannets, terns, and cormorants, as well as buzzards, Hen Harriers and even White-tailed Eagles. From the beaches, dolphins and basking sharks are sometimes spotted, and you might even see otters if you are patient.
Delve into the delights of the charming little town of Bowmore where there’s shops, an interesting round church, plus several cosy pubs and restaurants. It’s probably the only place in the world you can grab a Hebridean pizza – or ‘peat-za’ – topped with crab and lobster.
Arts and crafts abound in Bowmore, and you can visit potters, quilters and artists in their workshops. Visit Islay Woollen Mill, near Bridgend, which made tartan clothes for Mel Gibson in Braveheart, as well as Liam Neeson’s kilt in Rob Roy.
Of course, no trip to Islay would be complete without a visit to at least one of its famous distilleries. Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Bunnahabhain, Ardbeg and Bowmore are among the best known.
Bring your camera and head out on deck as we sail in to Douglas – the scenic approach is not to be missed! We pull up alongside the capital of the Isle of Man, a quirky island that’s full of character. Learn about the island’s Celtic and Viking heritage, trace its development as a Victorian tourist resort, or discover its stunning rugged coastline.
In recognition of its diverse marine and coastal ecosystems, and socio-economic characteristics, the Isle of Man has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, ‘a learning place for sustainable development’. Discover the geology, marine life and maritime history of its shorelines on the island’s three Blueways Trails.
The island is a treat for railway and motorsport enthusiasts. Every year, the island becomes a mecca for motorcyclists, as hosts of the TT races. You can hop on board an historic steam train, a vintage electric tram, or horse-drawn tram. Or visit the local Motor Museum and Motorcycle Museum.
In Douglas, get an overview of the island’s history at the Manx Museum, enjoy a stroll through the town and local surrounds at your leisure, and pop into St Thomas’ Church to see the unique and colourful Nicholson Murals.
Nearby, the rocky outcrop of Douglas Head overlooking the harbour, has some of the best views of the island. Look for the Tower of Refuge in Douglas Bay, originally built as a sanctuary for shipwreck victims. Then visit the unusual Grand Union Camera Obscura, that’s been a tourist attraction since 1892.
Across the island from Douglas, you can visit the impressive Peel Castle. Originally, the stronghold of Viking King Magnus Barelegs in the 11th century, it was later run by Christian missionaries, and is rumoured to be haunted. From the castle, seals and basking sharks can occasionally be spotted.
Holyhead is an ideal destination for us to explore the charm and history of North Wales, whether on foot or by car. Enjoy a visit to Holyhead Breakwater Country Park with its wildlife and industrial exhibitions, lake Llyn Llwynog and explore the Rocky Coast. Renowned for its lighthouse and large colonies of seabirds South Stack island is also home to the RSPB visitor centre in Ellins Tower. Why not walk part of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path exploring the sea cliffs and enjoying magnificent views stretching across to Ireland. Head back into the ancient town centre, built around Saint Cybi’s Church which dates back to 550AD and stands on the site of a Roman fort with the original fort wall still surrounding it. Holyhead Maritime Museum, located at the oldest lifeboat station (dating back to 1858), showcases an enthralling maritime history and is amongst just some of the historical interest in this charming town. Before heading back to the ship take a stroll around the town and be sure to enjoy some traditional Welsh cakes at one of the many local cafés.
*Due to port congestion, 1 August voyage will overnight in Douglas (Isle of Man) where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the delightful seaside town in the evening and spend an extended time ashore. The following day will be spent at sea making our way towards the Isles of Scilly whilst our onboard team of experts will prepare you for the upcoming days as well as share their vast knowledge of the destinations visited.
This enchanting archipelago 30 miles off the tip of Cornwall is home to outstandingly beautiful, uncrowded and unspoilt islands and islets. It’s been likened to a tropical paradise, but the waters around it can also be choppy. If sea conditions and weather allow, we will spend the day here. Covered in heathland, with magnificent sandy beaches, the islands are surrounded by turquoise waters and reefs and offer picturesque coastal walks.
Ideal for exploring on foot, the island of Tresco is home to the famed Tresco Abbey Gardens with its 20,000 plants, many of them subtropical species. You can also explore the castle ruins, the Valhalla Museum – which contains a quirky collection of ships’ figureheads – or stroll along the white sandy beaches. Should conditions allow, we aim to do a beach clean-up on this charming island.
We will split our time in the area, and you may also choose to visit St Mary’s – the largest of the islands – with its rocky coves, archaeological sites and charming Hugh Town. Explore the town and sample some of the freshly caught seafood whilst enjoying the delightful views of the island.
There are many more things to see and do on St Mary’s, including visiting the Phoenix Craft Studios, which is a cooperative of individual artists and makers, checking out the Tamarisk Gallery, or dropping in on the Longstone Café for a cream tea or a spot of lunch.
Alternatively, join one of our optional landings for a trip around the islands, visiting shipwreck sites, spying seals lying on the rocks, as well as cruising around the bird sanctuary of Annet to observe the puffins and numerous other breeding seabirds.
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the beautiful, historic harbour town of Fowey rests on the west side of the Fowey Estuary, a flooded valley cut by meltwater after the last Ice Age.
Explore this delightful location on foot and wander down to the panoramic Gribbin Head on the west side where the Gribbin Headland Daymark went up in 1832 as a navigation aid. There are many other walks available, including the “Hall Walk” along the Pont Pill creek or along the esplanade to Readymoney Cove and St Catherine’s Castle.
Located at the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, an area renowned for its natural beauty and historical heritage, Portland is a destination bursting with intrigue and history. With quiet coves, disused quarries, a rich and fascinating history with some of the best views in Britain as well as being a haven for wildlife.
A tied island, the Isle of Portland is situated on the southernmost point of the county of Dorset. A barrier beach called Chesil Beach joins Portland to the mainland and the resort town of Weymouth. With nearly 300 species of bird, over 30 species of butterfly and 720 species of moth, Chesil Beach and the Fleet lagoon are of international conservation importance. As a significant migrating point for birds, Portland provides bird watching enthusiasts with the prospect of glancing rare species.
We pass the white cliffs of Dover during the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbour. After breakfast, it’s time to leave your home for the past couple of weeks.
Cabin Bedding and Upgrades
Bedding on board the cruise is restricted to the following configurations. If you wish to upgrade your cabin, the following amounts are payable in addition to the package price prior to travel:
Polar Outside (L2): INCLUDED
Our Polar Outside cabins are mostly situated on the middle or lower decks and have a bathroom with a shower. These cabins also have a queen bed or separate beds. Each Polar Outside cabin has its own unique specifications.
Polar Outside (N2)
These standard outside cabins for two people on the middle decks have separate beds and private bathrooms.Upgrades from AU$700 per person, twin share or AU$1,495 per person, single (subject to availability).
Arctic Superior (P2)
Relaxation and comfort are hallmarks of the Arctic Superior cabins. Situated on both the upper and middle decks, the cabins all have a bathroom with a shower. Most have a queen bed, while some have separate beds. Each Arctic Superior cabin has its own unique specifications. Upgrades from AU$1,274 per person, twin share or AU$2,470 per person, single (subject to availability).
Expedition Suite (MG)
Our Expedition Suites are the most luxurious cabins on the ship. Situated on the upper decks of the ship, these cabins feature seating areas with a TV, a bathroom with a shower, and a queen bed. Each Expedition Suite has its own unique specifications. Upgrades from AU$11,201 per person, twin share or AU$32,125 per person, single (subject to availability).
Please request your cabin upgrade in the 'special requests' field. Availability and price will then be confirmed and added to your invoice upon acceptance.
MS Maud, previously MS Midnatsol, is named after one of the most famous polar vessels of all time, Roald Amundsens “Maud” from 1917. The original “Maud” got her name from the first Queen of modern-day Norway. She also had her namesake in Hurtigruten’s 1925 flagship DS Dronning Maud (“DS Queen Maud”).
To know more about your ship, please click HERE.
Inspiring Vacations has been globally recognised and awarded for its handling of COVID-19 during the pandemic. The safety and wellbeing of our guests is our highest concern during this time of uncertainty, and we are continuously monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation.
We have adopted the advice of the WHO to ensure all customers can travel with the knowledge of how to travel safely and with confidence.
Australian owned and operated with 100% Australian Customer Service support
We are proudly 100% Australian owned and operated, with our head office located in Melbourne, Victoria. When you make your booking, you will receive dedicated and ongoing support from our team of travel professionals throughout your booking, up until you are due to depart.
Flexible Date Change Option
Book now, change later with our Flexible Date Change option. You may select this $99pp option at time of purchase, giving travellers the flexibility to change your date without penalty (subject to availability, less third party costs incurred, plus any applicable surcharges for the new date selected).
Date change must be requested prior to 65 days before your original selected departure date*. Once inside 65 days of departure, date changes are not permitted. *some packages may have a varied period in which you can request a date change due to limitations with the third-party provider.
Please refer to our 'Book with Confidence' section for terms and conditions.
The Flexible Date Change option does not cover cost incurred for components not fulfilled by Inspiring Vacations or in the event extra services have been booked with Inspiring Vacations outside of the standard package, including but not limited to airfares, pre/post accommodation or insurance.
Cooling off period
If you change your mind within 7 days of making your booking online, you can request a refund of your initial deposit payment as part of our cooling off period. Once your purchase date falls outside of the 7 day period, our standard terms and conditions will apply.
Please ensure that any request to cancel your booking is received via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including the reason for cancellation.
Deposit & Payments
Booking On Request
Due to COVID there maybe disruptions to standard operating schedules of particular components of this itinerary. Should a component be effected a substitute will be confirmed prior to departure.
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity.
These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers. As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only and subject to availability. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however any changes are beyond our control.
Please follow the 'book now' prompts and select 1 passenger to view the single supplement cost.
Travel insurance is required to protect yourself against the unexpected.
Final documentation including, e-tickets and cruise details, will be provided approximately 30 days prior to travel.
Children must share a room with parents at all times and are charged the same price as adults.
For all international voyages, it is the traveller's responsibility to ensure that they have a valid passport and they meet the visa requirement. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return.
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