Scotland lends itself to small-ship cruising. The rugged coastline, with long sea-lochs and remote islands, is a treasure trove of hidden gems … if your ship is small enough to weave between them. Ok, sometimes the weather is a bit wet and windy and, on those days in a small ship, you might just need your sea legs! But, on the whole, a nimble little vessel will get you up close to stunning wildlife and into the small harbours of Scotland’s historic towns.
Grand Circle (an independent American cruise line focusing on enrichment) run a discovery tour of the British Isles during summer, which includes an interesting Scottish itinerary. Most cruises visiting Scotland take the familiar Iona, Skye, Orkney and Shetland route bringing together many of the country’s iconic historical and geological sites.
The Grand Circle tour opts for less well-known stops as well as a few of the old favourites. Barra, a Hebridean Island best known for the beach acting as the airport runway, is only 8 miles x 5 miles in size. Enjoy a gentle stroll, visit the island castle and meet the welcoming locals who are often keen to share their culture with visitors.
Then onwards to Stornoway, which is the capital of another fascinating island and often overlooked by visitors. There are ancient standing stones along with magnificent beaches and an authentic black-house village. Then, after a visit to the stunning Orkney archipelago, the trip stops at the granite city of Aberdeen before ending in Edinburgh.
Your ship is the 98-passenger MV Corinthian. Ice-strengthened for its annual season in Antarctica, this expedition vessel is comfortable without being luxurious. If you expect a clean ship with a friendly crew and an special ability to access remote places then you won’t be disappointed.
More information on this cruise can be found here on Grand Circle’s website.
Date: May/June/July 2019
Duration: 16 days
Ship: MV Corinthian
Images courtesy of Grand Circle Cruise Line