In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially tailored for English-speaking travellers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
Join PONANT aboard Le Dumont-d'Urville for a 10-day cruise on an exceptional itinerary to discover the rugged landscapes of the Scottish Isles and the beauty of the Norwegian fjords.
Begin your voyage in Glasgow, Scotland's cultural capital with a rich artistic and architectural heritage.
Your ship will first sail to Fort William, from where you can immerse yourself in local lore during a cruise of fabled Loch Ness or take a tour and enjoy a dram of scotch whisky at a local distillery.
From Kyle of Lochalsh, spend a day including the unparalleled Isle of Skye. Not to be missed on the mainland is Eilean Donan, one of the most recognisable castles in the world and an iconic symbol of Scotland.
Your ship sails next towards Kirkwall, capital of Orkney, where numerous seabirds, such as gannets and European shags, take residence. The Standing Stones of Stenness, built around 5,400 years ago, are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Le Dumont-d’Urville then sails for Lerwick, the main port in the Shetland Islands. Nearby is the Jarlshof prehistoric and Norse settlement, where Neolithic people first settled more than 4,000 years ago – it is one of the most spectacular excavated sites in the British Isles.
Next cross the North Sea and sail towards Alesund, famous for the art nouveau architectural style in which its downtown was rebuilt after a terrible fire in 1904. Here you will also find the Atlantic Ocean Park, a unique aquarium featuring marine life found along Norway’s Atlantic coast.
Traverse the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Geirangerfjord to Geiranger and explore the fjord region overland – including a stop at the Jostedal Glacier National Park Centre – before rejoining your ship in Hellesylt. Alternatively, venture into the mountains to sample goatmilk cheeses and caramels at a local farm.
Continue to Olden. From this small and charming village, located a few miles from Jostedalsbreen National Park, home to one of the last ice caps in Europe, admire the magnificent Briksdal Glacier.
End your voyage in Flåm where you will board the Flåm Railway to take a beautiful train journey high into the mountains of western Norway. Stunning rivers, waterfalls and cultural landscapes will be found around every bend.
You will disembark in Bergen, famous for its Hanseatic wharf, Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site that still carries traces of the rich historic past of the city founded by the Vikings.
A voyage specially tailored for English-speaking travellers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included excursion in each port of call. Engaging discussions...
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For more peace of mind, PONANT organizes your trip before or after the cruise. This package is included in the price of your cruise.
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*Price is per person, based on double occupancy, based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of stateroom to which this price applies may no longer be available.
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Dr. Colleen Batey is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, with honorary positions at both the University of the Highlands and Islands and Hunter College, New York. For the past 40 years she has been involved in research on the Viking Age in Scotland, Scandinavia, and the North Atlantic, both as director of excavations and teacher. Since 2004, Colleen has combined her research interests with expedition cruising, both as expedition team member and guest lecturer—traveling extensively throughout the world of the Vikings from the Black Sea to Canada! Colleen was the British coordinator of Viking loan material for the highly successful Smithsonian exhibition Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, which toured widely in the U.S. starting in 2000 and attracted several million visitors throughout its run. More recently she was an academic advisor for a PBS/BBC program Uncovering the Vikings, which aired in early 2016. Colleen has published extensively both books and journal articles. She is based in Argyll, in the beautiful—but wet—region of Western Scotland, surrounded by lochs and mountains.
Language spoken: English
Terje Leiren is Professor Emeritus of Scandinavian Studies and History at the University of Washington, Seattle. He taught at the University of Oslo before joining the UW in 1977. He served as Chair of the Department of Scandinavian Studies from 1995 to 2010. He is the author of four books and numerous scholarly articles on Scandinavian and Scandinavian-American history and culture, most recently a new revised edition of The Historical Dictionary of Norway. Leiren has lived and traveled extensively in Norway's fjord country. He has appeared in several television documentary programs about Scandinavia from the Vikings to World War II, including a documentary on the American years of Norwegian Crown Princess Martha who is the featured character in the PBS Masterpiece series, Atlantic Crossing.
Language spoken: English
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Important trip details
Boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities
We invite you to read our boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities by clicking here.
Any new reservation implies the acceptance of these conditions.
The evolving COVID-19 health formalities are available in real time by clicking here.
Given the particularly changing international sanitary context, this itinerary as well as the land programmes and shore excursions may have to evolve according to port authorisations and governmental regulations in force at the time of your trip.
Therefore, for even greater peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you book your land programmes and flights before and after your cruise with PONANT.
Health formalities related to COVID-19 will be confirmed to you before your departure.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://en.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
Depending on the itinerary and the program of your cruise, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
In your hand luggage, remember to bring any medicines that you need, and possibly a small spare bag of toiletries (in case of delay in the delivery of your baggage by the airline). Remember to always have your travel documents with you in case you need them: hotel vouchers, cruise vouchers, return flight tickets... Never leave them in your hold luggage.
All our cabins have a safe. We recommend not to go ashore with valuable jewellery.
Smithsonian Journeys is the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Embarkation 24/06/2023 from 15:30 to 16:30
Departure 24/06/2023 at 17:30
In the heart of the Clyde Valley, the bustling city of Glasgow contrasts starkly with the wild beauty of the surrounding countryside. Scotland's biggest city overflows with landmarks from its extensive artistic heritage and outstanding architectural tradition. The city's chequerboard layout makes walking through the major pedestrian thoroughfares easy: go with the flow and let the lively street atmosphere take you past the many Victorian monuments. Don't miss the collections on display in the numerous museums and art galleries. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is an outstanding example.
Arrival 25/06/2023 mid morning
Departure 25/06/2023 evening
A port town on the eastern shore of Loch Linnhe, Fort William is sometimes described as the "Outdoor Capital of the UK." Because it sits at the base of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles, and is in close proximity to the dramatic landscape of Glencoe, it is a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers. For those looking for a less adventurous experience, the nearby Ben Nevis Distillery offers tours and tastings, and Old Fort and Old Inverlochy Castle are interesting historical sites.
Arrival 26/06/2023 early morning
Departure 26/06/2023 mid afternoon
Kyle of Lochalsh ("Straits of the Alsh Inlet") is a small port town at the foot of the bridge connecting the mainland to the Isle of Skye. It is set amidst extraordinary natural beauty and serves as a gateway to the Scottish Highlands and to several castles that preserve the history and traditions of the clans who once ruled here. Eilean Donan Castle, on a tiny island overlooking the confluence of three lochs, is one of the most picturesque and most-filmed castles in Scotland. Armadale Castle and Gardens, historic residence of Clan Donald, is also within easy reach of the town.
Arrival 26/06/2023 late afternoon
Departure 26/06/2023 late afternoon
The Isle of Skye is the largest in theInner Hebrides archipelago. Nicknamed the island of the mist, its romantic and magical landscapes have inspired the greatest authors and filmmakers, such as the poet Walter Scott or Virginia Woolf. The almost deserted interior of the island and its coast are a concentration of the most emblematic beauty of the Scottish Highlands: rocky outcrops, basalt columns, hills and wide vales covered in peat bog and heather, lakes, waterfalls, fine sandy coves and cliffs. You may be lucky enough to see a sea eagle perched on their summits, watching the waves beneath which otters, sea lions, seals, dolphins and whales may be hiding.
Arrival 27/06/2023 midday
Departure 27/06/2023 early evening
Capital of the Orkney archipelago, Kirkwall, which means “church bay”, is an ideal stopover before continuing on to the Northern Isles. Sheltered in a wide bay, the lively town welcomes the visitor with its charming paved alleyways edged by old houses and craft shops. Tankerness House, the oldest homestead in the town, is a must-see landmark. But the true architectural treasure of the aptly named Kirkwall is none other than its remarkable red and gold stone cathedral. And because whisky is inseparable from Scotland’s identity, stop at the Highland Park Distillery for a highly instructive visit.
Arrival 28/06/2023 early morning
Departure 28/06/2023 early afternoon
The small and charming capital of the Shetland Islands, with its sea front of old houses and narrow streets, offering travellers its old districts and a warm port atmosphere. Geopark Shetland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located to the north. Incredibly well-preserved archaeological sites and ruins prove that the islands’ occupation dates back to the first Neolithic colonies. The Shetland Museum and Archives recounts the Shetlands’ history of heritage and culture: Lerwick’s abundant waters were even fished by the Dutch in the past.
Arrival 29/06/2023 midday
Departure 29/06/2023 evening
Surrounded by a multitude of islands, fjords and majestic mountains, the town of Ålesund surprises many visitors. In fact, it is internationally renowned for its Art nouveau architecture. After the terrible fire of 1904 which reduced a large part of the town to ashes, Norwegian architects inspired by the Art nouveau style contributed to its reconstruction, with a very picturesque result. Not far from Ålesund, you will also discover Giske, the native island of Rollon, the great Viking leader who commanded the Norse expeditions to Normandy, or the beautiful island of Godoy and the village of Alnes, which offers a grandiose panorama over the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding islands.
Arrival 30/06/2023 early morning
Departure 30/06/2023 midday
A must-see stopover in Norway, located halfway between Bergen and Trondheim, Geiranger offers the stunning beauty of a natural decor, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The splendour of the sheer cliffs, dark rock and crystalline water are the stars of the show here. The sides of the fjord offer many possibilities for hiking: the Eagle’s Road takes you up to a steep stretch offering a gorgeous panoramic view. A visit to Geiranger village will immerse you in the rhythm of life in the little local community.
Arrival 30/06/2023 early afternoon
Departure 30/06/2023 mid afternoon
Hellesylt is a small village located 20 kilometres from the Geiranger site. Here, you’ll get a taste of a traditional Norwegian village. Colourful houses, wooden walkways, rustic stalls where you can have a refreshment before heading off to discover more of the local colour. The surroundings are simply magnificent with cliffs, mountains and lakes with peaceful waters. The village is crossed by a river whose charming cascade tumbles into the fjord waters.
Arrival 01/07/2023 early morning
Departure 01/07/2023 early afternoon
With its two wooden churches, one red and the other white, plus its breathtaking view of the mouth of the river Oldeelva, Olden looks just like a picture post card. Located a few kilometres from the Jostedalsbreen park, home to one of the last glacier polar icecaps, this little village is a definite must for exploring the blue languages of the Briksdal or Kjennalen glaciers. Make sure you find some time to visit the Norwegian Glacier Museum. Absolutely amazing. Another gem is lake Lovatn and its turquoise waters inviting you to quiet contemplation.
Arrival 02/07/2023 early morning
Departure 02/07/2023 early evening
Nestled in the heart of the fjord country, less than 200 kilometres from Bergen, the picturesque village of Flåm – pronounced Flôm – offers you an experience of authentic Norway. You can mosey around the brightly coloured streets and admire the majestic contours of the surrounding mountains. The town is also the departure point for the mythical train route Flamsbana, 20 kilometres long, whose journey offers a superb view of the scenery, as sublime as it is pristine. This attraction makes Flåm one of the country’s main tourist destinations.
Arrival 03/07/2023 early morning
Disembarkation 03/07/2023 at 08:00
Located at the end of Byfjord, Bergen was the capital of Norway in the 12th and 13th Centuries and has preserved some very beautiful monuments from the time when it was home to royalty. Wandering through Bergen’s streets means going back in time, in search of the hidden treasures that have been listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. A veritable openair museum, Bergen is home to a thriving artistic community of painters, potters, jewellers. The Bergen cable car offers you a splendid panorama over the port and the surrounding fjords. Do not miss the visit to the old quarter with its narrow streets, a testimony of the power of the hanseatic League that controlled trade in Northern Europe at the end of the Middle Ages.
At the pier in Fort William board your motorcoach for a wonderfully scenic drive though Scotland's Great Glen along the shores of Loch Lochy and Loch Oich. Your drive will pass by Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, and by the Commando Memorial, dedicated to the men of the British Commando Forces whose training depot the memorial overlooks.
As you drive through the splendor of the Highlands, you follow the route of the Caledonian Canal, built in the early 19th-century to connect Scotland's east and west coasts, ending your journey at the small town of Fort Augustus, situated at the midpoint of the canal, on the southern tip of legendary Loch Ness.
In Fort Augustus, board the Spirit of Loch Ness, a purpose-built vessel, for a 50-minute cruise on Scotland’s most famous loch. You will cruise past Cherry Island, the loch’s only island, as you take in the legendary beauty of the loch, including a striking view of Fort Augustus Abbey from the water. Enjoy a spot of tea or coffee and a cake bite while your crew points out sights of interest. A glimpse of Nessie is not guaranteed, but cannot be ruled out.
Back in Fort Augustus, enjoy some time at leisure to wander through this lovely little hamlet. You can watch as boats navigate the locks of the canal, or you may wish to browse the village's lovely shops.
Rejoin your coach for the journey back to Fort William and your awaiting ship.
Fort William is ideally situated to serve as a gateway to the Highlands. This panoramic tour provides a taste of some of the best scenery that Scotland has to offer.
Following a brief overview of Fort William, a short drive along the shore of Loch Eil, brings you to the village of Glenfinnan. Best known for the stunning railway viaduct featured in a Harry Potter movie, Glenfinnan is on the West Highland Line which connects Fort William and Mallaig. The West Highland Line itself is famous for the Jacobite Steam Train, often referred to as the “Hogwarts Express Line." Pausing here for a short time, you may wish to climb the wee hill behind the Visitor Center for a better view of the viaduct, or you may walk to the nearby Glenfinnan Monument, honoring the Jacobite clansmen who fought and died in the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Returning to Fort William, you stop at Banavie, where you visit Neptune's Staircase, a series of eight locks that raise boats 20 meters from sea level to join the Caledonian Canal. Constructed in the early 19th century by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford, the Canal connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at nearby Corpach.
No tour of the Highlands would be complete without a visit to the local whisky distillery, so your next visit is to the Ben Nevis Distillery, founded in 1825, for a tour and tasting of the local tipple. A short drive brings you to the Commando Memorial which offers breathtaking views of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles. The Memorial is dedicated to the men of the British Commando Forces and overlooks the Commando Training Depot established in 1942. Unveiled in 1952 by the Queen Mother, the memorial has become one of the United Kingdom's best-known monuments.
This full day excursion offers a panoramic tour of the Island of Skye, combining dramatic coastline vistas with an exploration of the island's fascinating history and traditions.
From the pier, your coach travels north through Portree and onto the Trotternish Peninsula, where your first stop is at Kilt Rock — a 200-foot-high cliff marked in an almost tartan-like pattern by the rock strata, with a waterfall tumbling down the cliff to the pebbled shore below.
Continuing north along the coast, you pass through the lovely township of Staffin and then around the northern tip of the island, as your guide relates some of the myths and legends of Skye. Arriving in Kilmuir, you visit the fascinating Skye Museum of Island Life, an open-air museum consisting of seven traditional thatched cottages and recreating a sense of what life was like in the 19th century. Learn about the peculiar Scottish system of tenant farming known as 'crofting', and perhaps visit the grave of Flora MacDonald, who famously disguised Bonnie Prince Charlie as a maid and smuggled him to safety during the Jacobite uprising.
After this visit, a short drive brings you to the Skeabost Hotel, where you will enjoy a refreshing lunch before heading across the island to the west coast and Dunvegan Castle.
Dunvegan Castle, seat of the Clan MacLeod chiefs since the 13th century, is one of the most celebrated of the Hebridean clan strongholds. It is the only one to have been continuously occupied by the same family over a period now spanning eight centuries. Within the castle are priceless heirlooms, some of which have come down through the hands of the Chiefs of MacLeod since medieval times.
On the return to Kyle of Lochalsh, you will pause in Portree for time at leisure to explore this charming fishing port and its colorful waterfront on your own.
From the small port of Kyle of Lochalsh, a 15-minute drive along the shore of the Loch brings you to Eilean Donan, a small tidal island at the confluence of Loch Alsh and two others. The Castle that dominates the island is perhaps the most recognizable in Scotland; it has been featured in no fewer than ten films, including James Bond's The World is Not Enough, in which the castle served as the Scottish headquarters of MI6.
The Castle is named for the 6th-century Irish saint who established a community here in an effort to bring Christianity to the Picts. Ther