In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially-tailored for English-speaking travelers 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 7-day cruise on an exceptional itinerary to discover the rich cultural history and stunning landscapes of the Celtic lands.
Begin your voyage in Glasgow, Scotland's warm cultural capital with a rich artistic and architectural heritage.
Your ship will sail first to Kyle of Lochalsh, gateway to the Isle of Skye. Not to be missed is Eilean Donan, one of the most recognizable castles in the world and an iconic symbol of Scotland. You may recognize the castle as the Scottish headquarters of MI6 in the James Bond film, The World is Not Enough.
Continue along the Hebrides archipelago and call at Tobermory, a charming fishing port on the Isle of Mull with multi-coloured houses and whose distillery produces a renowned single malt scotch whiskey. Lose yourself in the local lore of Duart Castle before proceeding to a mystical abbey on the Isle of Iona, home to the first Christian settlement in Scotland.
Le Dumont-d’Urville then sails for Belfast, Northern Ireland’s dynamic capital and gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Giant’s Causeway, whose 40,000 iconic basalt columns resulted from a volcanic eruption some six million years ago.
Your ship sails next towards Dublin, the vibrant capital of Ireland and a UNESCO City of Literature, where Trinity College holds the legendary and important Book of Kells. Dublin is also home to Guinness, whose brewery has been pouring the world-famous stout for over 250 years.
End your voyage in the quaint seaport of Holyhead, Wales. From here, a drive across the Isle of Anglesey brings you to the mainland and to the medieval Caernarfon Castle, which together with three other northern Welsh castles built by King Edward I are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Your cruise comes full circle as you disembark in Fairlie, a quaint village outside Glasgow.
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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.
PONANT has organised the following included programme for you, which starts the day of embarkation.
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Important trip details
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 19 museums, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. 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.
Miriam C. Davis received a B.A. in History from Emory University before studying Scottish history at the University of St. Andrews on a Bobby Jones Scholarship. She then received an M.A. in Medieval Archaeology from the University of York on a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Ph.D. in Medieval Archaeology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has participated in archaeological excavations in Scotland and England. After teaching for sixteen years at Delta State University, she left as Professor of History and is now a freelance writer. Miriam has served as the Smithsonian Journeys Expert on tours of Scotland and Ireland since 2011.
Language spoken: English
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
17 June 2022 Glasgow, Scotland
Embarkation 17/06/2022 from 15:30 to 16:30
Departure 17/06/2022 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.
18 June 2022 Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland
Arrival 18/06/2022 early afternoon
Departure 18/06/2022 late evening
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.
19 June 2022 Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Arrival 19/06/2022 early morning
Departure 19/06/2022 late morning
Located at the northernmost tip of the lovely Isle of Mull, Tobermory has to be one of the most beautiful natural seaports on Scotland’s West Coast. Founded in 1788, this ancient fishing village has been converted to a leisure port highly appreciated today for its surroundings and the quiet charm it exudes. You will definitely be won over by the row of many-storied houses on the hillside, illuminating the harbour with their vibrant colours. Although the real spectacle is outdoors, no less interesting are the Mull Museum dedicated the local history and the exhibitions at the An Tobar art gallery.
19 June 2022 Iona, Hebrides
Arrival 19/06/2022 early afternoon
Departure 19/06/2022 early evening
Of all the islands in the Inner Hebrides, Iona is by far the most conducive to contemplation and meditation. And for good reason... it is here that St Columba landed from Ireland in 563 and undertook to establish Christianity in Scotland. Now an abbey, the islandﾒs true spiritual centre stands where the ancient monastery founded by the Irish missionary was built. Many kings of Scotland, including the legendary Macbeth, are buried in the nearby cemetery. In sunny weather, arriving on the Isle of Iona is a stunningly beautiful experience.
20 June 2022 Belfast, Northern Ireland
Arrival 20/06/2022 early morning
Departure 20/06/2022 early evening
The capital city of Northern Ireland is located on the very tip of Belfast Lough, in the north-east of the Emerald Isle. Along the waterfront, the building shaped like a fragmented liner is non other than the Titanic Belfast, a homage to the famous transatlantic liner, with full-scale reconstructions making for an insightful experience of the Belle Epoque. In the historical centre, you’ll also travel back in time when you see the majestic Edwardian columns of the City Hall, and the imposing neo-gothic towers of Queen’s University for example. The carved wooden façades of the Victorian pubs will certainly entice you in for a pint of beer or chilled cider.
21 June 2022 Dublin
Arrival 21/06/2022 early morning
Departure 21/06/2022 late evening
The Irish capital stretches along the banks of the Liffey to Dublin bay, on the East coast of Ireland. Discover Ireland’s warm conviviality in the pedestrian district of Temple Bar. Its cobbled streets are brimming with fabulous shops, pubs and arts centres. Next to Trinity College, famous for its 18th century library, you can stroll along Grafton Street: in one of its famous tea shops, try a delicious scone and clotted cream served hot and melt-in-the-mouth with jam. Not far from here, the majestic O’Connell bridge leads you to the avenue with the same name, on which Spire, a luminous contemporary sculpture presides.
22 June 2022 Holyhead, Wales
Arrival 22/06/2022 early morning
Departure 22/06/2022 midday
In the north of Wales and in the west of the captivating Isle of Anglesey, succumb to the charms of the enchanting small port town of Holyhead. Often called “the mother of Wales” due to its importance in history, Holyhead is a paradise for anyone with a passion for natural landscapes and heritage. They will love exploring the town’s many historical landmarks, among other sites. Among these is Holyhead’s 13th-century church, St Cybi’s Church, nestling right in the middle of the Roman citadel. Finally, you will be able to admire one of the symbols of the town: South Stack Lighthouse, built in 1809. As you pass near the lighthouse, you might have the chance to marvel at numerous species of seabirds, including guillemots and razorbills.
23 June 2022 Fairlie (Glasgow), Scotland
Arrival 23/06/2022 early morning
Disembarkation 23/06/2022 at 07:00
The village of Fairlie can be found less than an hour away from lively Glasgow. In the north of Ayrshire county, on the western Scottish coast, this charming little town faces the Isle of Arran. The originality of Kelburn Castle, built in the 12th century, stems from its façade covered in graffiti by four famous Brazilian graffiti artists. This artistic statement as well as the castle’s estate and gardens, which can be discovered during a pleasant walk, are well worth a visit.
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 that sits strategically at the intersection 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 the first community on the island as part of his effort to bring Christianity to the Picts. There has been a fortified castle on this site since the 13th century, when it was built as a defense against raiding Vikings. Castles have been built, destroyed, and rebuilt several times in the long and turbulent history of the island. Restoration of the castle you visit today was completed in the 1930s.
You are free to explore the castle and its grounds on your own to learn about its rich history and take in the views that make it such a favorite among photographers. You may also wish to drop by the Visitor Center for a coffee or souvenir before returning to the ship.
Armadale Castle has been an important part of the life of the Isle of Skye since the early 18th-century, when the chiefs of Clan Donald, historical Lords of the Isle, made it their residence. The castle building fell into disrepair in the early 20th century and is now in the process of being restored by the Clan Donald Trust. But the ruins, and especially the magnificent gardens that surround them, remain a site well worth experiencing.
Sheltered by their location on the southwestern coast of Skye and enjoying a mild climate created by the Gulf Stream, the Gardens are a floral paradise. Magnificent trees tower over carpets of bluebells, orchids, and wildflowers throughout spring and summer, providing a tranquil place to sit or stroll on walks through this sunny haven.
You may wish to spend time in the award-winning Museum of the Isles, where exhibits trace 1,500 years of the history and culture of the area once known as the Kingdom of the Isles. Or you may wish simply to wander through the lovely historic gardens and woodland trails around the romantic ruins of Armadale Castle. Whatever you choose, a local guide will be on hand to answer any questions.
Disembark in Tobermory and enjoy a brief stroll along the waterfront of this bustling fishing village before boarding your coach for a scenic drive along the Sound of Mull to Duart Castle. Perched on a rocky promontory jutting into the Sound, the castle is the ancestral home of Clan Maclean. Fully refurbished in 1911, it is a fascinating place, full of stories about the clan, their rivalries, and the role they have played in Scottish history. You can see the dungeons where Spanish prisoners were kept after the Macleans sank their galleon as it retreated from the defeat of the Armada in 1588. And those prepared to climb the ancient, worn steps, can take the turnpike stairs to the top of the 13th-century keep and the battlements, with views as far as Ben Nevis in the north and Jura in the south.
After this visit, a short drive brings you to a nearby hotel where you will enjoy a relaxing lunch before continuing westward across the island through stunning scenery to Fionnphort, where you board a local ferry to Iona.
The mystical Isle of Iona is the site of the first Christian settlement in Scotland, dating from 563, the year that St. Columba landed in this remote place. It enjoys a reputation as a seat of spiritual power and bears the distinction of harboring in its "Graves of the Kings" some 60 Scottish monarchs, including Macbeth and his victim Duncan. A guided walking tour includes a visit to the 13th-century Abbey, which is open all the year round to welcome pilgrims from every corner of the globe to this holy site.
Your tour comes to an end with a short walk to the pier to rejoin your ship, which has sailed during the day to meet you here.
From the port of Belfast drive along the Antrim Coast. Some of the world's most unspoiled scenery is to be found here. From the rugged cliffs of the coast to the Glens, this is the best of what Northern Ireland has to offer.
Travel northwards along the Coast Road through a succession of varied seascapes, towering cliffs, white sandy beaches, tranquil glens, and lush forest parks. From the vantage point at Fair Head and Murlough Bay you can enjoy views of Scotland's Mull of Kintyre, as well as the wild and mysterious island of Rathlin just seven miles off the coast.
A stop for tea or coffee and scones at a local hotel affords some refreshment before continuing along the coast to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This narrow swaying bridge spans a chasm some eighty feet deep connecting the mainland to a tiny island. An early version of the bridge consisted of a single rope handrail and widely spaced slats, which fishermen used to bring home the salmon they had caught off the island.
Next is lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Giant's Causeway. A new Visitor Center, opened in 2012, provides information you can use to decide for yourself between competing theories of how the causeway came to be. One view is that the 40,000 basalt stones that form the causeway were deposited here as the result of a volcanic eruption 6 million years ago. Another story is that during the age of giants, the local giant, Finn McCool, tore up pieces of the coast and threw them into the sea in order to protect Ireland from another giant across the sea in Scotland. If you wish, you can board the "Causeway Coaster" minibus to take you to the causeway itself.
The drive back to Belfast will include a brief stop at Dunluce Castle before returning to your ship.
Your full day tour of Belfast begins this morning with a drive into the heart of this capital of Northern Ireland.
Your panoramic tour takes you past a host of popular sights — the stately Grand Opera House and Albert Memorial Clock Tower, as well as Queens University, founded by Queen Victoria in 1845, where you will have an opportunity to stroll through the grounds. Your walk will continue through Belfast's celebrated Botanic Gardens.
When your drive resumes, you will stop briefly at the ornate City Hall surrounded by a square that is home to a statue of Queen Victoria and to the Titanic Memorial, before arriving at the Crumlin Road Goal. Here you can explore this Victorian-era jail, which first received prisoners in 1846 and was a fully operational prison for 150 years. Walk through this historic building, now completely renovated, and step into its eerie past, even entering cells that housed prisoners as late as the 1990s. At the end of your visit, there will be a brief opportunity to visit the small shop and museum before the return drive to the ship for lunch.
After a relaxing lunch aboard, you will set off on an afternoon tour to Titanic Belfast, a monument to the city's maritime heritage on the site of the shipyard where the ill-fated ship was built. Opened in 2012, this state-of-the-art experiential museum tells the stories of the men and women who labored at the Harland & Wolff yard to build what was the largest ship afloat at the time, and also tells the stories of the passengers and crew who were aboard on April 15, 1912. Through a variety of materials and media including CGI, film and video, audio, archival materials, and scale models, the oft-told story of the Titanic is brought to life in a new and fascinating way, as Belfast remembers this important part of its legacy.
This lively city on the banks of the River Liffey is justly famous for its historic sites, handsome Georgian architecture, and genuinely friendly inhabitants. On this excursion you will enjoy a panoramic tour of Dublin's city center and explore two of its many treasures — Trinity College and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Your panoramic tour begins as you pass by the historic Customs House, designed by James Gandon, who was also responsible for some of Dublin's most beautiful buildings. Crossing the Liffey to Dublin’s south side, you will drive by the Old Parliament House, now the Bank of Ireland, before arriving at Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity is the oldest college in Ireland. Located in its library is the world-famous Book of Kells, a hand-illuminated manuscript of the Christian Gospels. You will have the opportunity to view this world-renowned medieval treasure, which lies deep within the walls of this historic building.
Your panoramic tour then continues through the lovely Georgian squares of Merrion and Fitzwilliam and past the National Gallery of Ireland, the Government Buildings, and St. Stephen’s Green. You will also pass by Dublin Castle, City Hall, and Christchurch Cathedral as you make your way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Founded in 1190 on the site of a spring where St. Patrick is said to have baptized converts, the cathedral is perhaps best known for its association with the 18th-century satirist Jonathan Swift, who was Dean here from 1713 to 1745. The pulpit from which he preached is still in the cathedral.
On your return to the pier, your coach will cross to the north side of the Liffey, where you will pass by the historic Four Courts and cross the wide boulevard of O’Connell Street and the General Post Office, scene of the 1916 rising and birthplace of the Irish nation.
This lively city on the banks of the River Liffey is justly famous for its historic sites, handsome Georgian architecture, and genuinely friendly inhabitants. This excursion focuses on the city center and two of Dublin's oldest and most important buildings — Christchurch Cathedral and Dublin Castle.
Your panoramic tour begins as you pass by the Customs House, completed in 1791 and designed by the architect James Gandon, who was also responsible for some of Dublin’s loveliest buildings. Crossing the Liffey to Dublin’s south side, the Bank of Ireland stands proudly, an 18th-century building which housed the Irish Parliament until its abolition as a result of the Union Act of 1800. You will also see the impressive gateway to Trinity College, the University of Dublin founded in 1592 at the instigation of Queen Elizabeth I.
Your first visit is at Christchurch Cathedral, one of Dublin’s most famous monuments. Dating back to 1038, it is the country’s oldest and most important cathedral. The cathedral has endured countless trials and tribulations throughout its history, and underwent extensive restoration work in the Victorian era. It remains an active center of religious life.
A 15-minute walk from the cathedral brings you to Dublin Castle. A symbol of British rule for seven centuries, the castle began as a 13th-century Anglo-Norman fortress. Your guided tour includes the beautifully decorated State Apartments, adorned with Killybeg carpets and Waterford chandeliers. The castle has survived numerous rebellions, most recently the 1916 uprising, and is today the venue for official ceremonies like the investiture of the President of the Republic. It was here that the 1998 peace agreements with Northern Ireland were signed.
After your visit, reboard your coach to return to your ship.
From the small port of Holyhead your motorcoach transports you on a scenic drive across the Isle of Anglesey, over the Menai Strait to the mainland of North Wales, and along the coast to the village of Conwy, home to the world-class Bodnant Garden.
Nestled in the Snowdonian foothills, Bodnant Garden was established in 1874 by scientist, businessman, and politician Henry Pochin, whose vision it was to create here in Wales a garden that would showcase plants from around the world. He and his descendants began the work of collecting and made Bodnant home to the earliest laburnum arch in Britain, to the earliest Chinese magnolias in the country, and to unique rhododendron hybrids.
In 1949 the Garden was gifted to the National Trust, who now maintain it and carry on its traditions. Bodnant is home to exotic plants like the Blue Poppy of the Himalayas and the Fire Bush of the Andes, as well as boasting Wales’ largest collection of UK Champion Trees. During your visit, the flowers of spring — daffodils, camellias, magnolias, and rhododendrons —should still be in bloom, while the rose beds, lily ponds, herbaceous plantings and wildflower meadows of summer will be beginning to make their presence known.
You will enjoy a guided walk in the garden followed by time at leisure to explore further at your own pace.
From the small port of Holyhead your motorcoach transports you on a scenic drive across the Isle of Anglesey, over the Menai Strait to the mainland of North Wales, and then southward along the coast to Caernarfon Castle, which together with three other northern Welsh castles built by Edward I are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Standing at the mouth of the Seiont River, this fortress, with its intimidating battlements, unique polygonal towers, and multi-colored masonry, dominates the surrounding town. Its intentional grandeur is evidence of King Edward's determination to drive home the message that Wales was now, after his conquest of the Principality, subject to English rule. The new castle at Caernarfon was designed to echo the walls of Constantinople and the imperial power of Rome. It was also meant to evoke the dream-castle, 'the fairest that ever man saw', of Welsh myth and legend.
Caernarfon’s symbolic status was underscored in 1284, when Edward made certain that his son was born here and declared Prince of Wales. The current heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, was crowned Prince of Wales here in 1969.
A guided tour of the Castle and its ruins will introduce you to its history and legends, after which you may explore further on your own. Or you may use your time at leisure to visit the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum or to browse the streets of the town.