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 an 8-day cruise on an exceptional itinerary to discover the beauty of the Norwegian fjords and the rugged landscapes of the Scottish Isles.
Begin your voyage in Bergen, famous for its Hanseatic wharf, Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site which still carries traces of the rich historic past of the city founded by the Vikings.
Your ship will first sail for 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, you are able to admire the magnificent Briksdal Glacier.
Continue to charming Flåm where you will board the Flåm Railway to take a beautiful train journey high into the mountains of western Norway. View stunning rivers, waterfalls, and cultural landscapes around every corner.
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.
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.
From Kyle of Lochalsh, spend a day on the unparalleled 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.
End your voyage in Fort William, from where you are able to immerse yourself in local lore during a cruise of fabled Loch Ness or take a tour and enjoy a dram of scotch whiskey at a local distillery.
You will disembark in Glasgow, Scotland's warm cultural capital with a rich artistic and architectural heritage.
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Included in your cruise
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.
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
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
10 June 2022 Bergen
Embarkation 10/06/2022 from 15:30 to 16:30
Departure 10/06/2022 at 17:30
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.
11 June 2022 Olden
Arrival 11/06/2022 early morning
Departure 11/06/2022 midday
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.
12 June 2022 Flam
Arrival 12/06/2022 early morning
Departure 12/06/2022 midday
13 June 2022 Lerwick, Shetland Islands
Arrival 13/06/2022 midday
Departure 13/06/2022 early evening
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.
14 June 2022 Kirkwall, Scotland
Arrival 14/06/2022 early morning
Departure 14/06/2022 midday
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.
15 June 2022 Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland
Arrival 15/06/2022 early morning
Departure 15/06/2022 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.
16 June 2022 Fort William
Arrival 16/06/2022 early morning
Departure 16/06/2022 early afternoon
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.
17 June 2022 Glasgow, Scotland
Arrival 17/06/2022 early morning
Disembarkation 17/06/2022 at 08:00
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.
From the pier, drive down the winding road along the fjord to the neighboring village of Loen. Continue into the Lodalen Valley to the far end at Kjenndalen. From here, take a short stroll up to a viewpoint over the Kjenndalen Glacier in the distance. This glacier is an arm of the mighty Jostedal Glacier – the largest glacier on mainland Europe.
Walk back to the coach and drive back towards Loen. Leaving the buses, board the new cable car (inaugurated in 2017) which takes you up to Mount Hoven, 3300 feet above sea level and around 650 feet above the tree line in this part of Norway. Here, enjoy a coffee break and spectacular views of the fjord and villages below, as well as of the surrounding mountain scenery. While at Mount Hoven, you have the opportunity to enjoy a short walk to soak up the scenery around you.
After some time at leisure, return by cable car to Loen where your coach will be waiting to bring you back to the pier in Olden.
Briksdal Glacier lies at the end of the enchanting Oldedalen Valley and is a part of the Jostedal glacier ice field, which is the largest glacier on the European mainland. The wild glacier is a fantastic work of nature. Its slope plunges from a height of 3,937 feet (1,200 m) down to the lush, narrow Briksdal Valley. Board your coach in Olden. The drive through Oldedalen Valley to Briksdal Glacier is an amazing symphony of scenic splendors – from wildflowers to awe-inspiring mountains that are reflected in crystal clear lake waters and to great waterfalls that cascade from vertical mountainsides.
Your coach will stop at a mountain lodge, where you will board electric “troll cars” (7 seats in each) for a ride from the lodge up to a parking lot to reach the glacier. The troll cars are the only motorized vehicles allowed on this gravel road. En route, you will travel along a river, past a waterfall, and through serpentine bends. From the parking lot, the walk to the face of the Briksdal Glacier is about 0.4 miles and takes about 10 minutes to reach.
Glacial ice only reflects blue light, so the Glacier provides an impressive site. It might be hard to imagine that the ice is in constant motion – and the arms of a glacier can grow or shrink several hundred yards in only a few years, depending on the amount of snow that fell in years past. Sometimes the glacier calves, and huge chunks of ice fall off the edge. Therefore, guests are urged to respect the warning signs that stand near the Glacier for the sake of their security.
Return by foot to the troll cars that will take you back to the lodge. At the lodge, enjoy a snack including coffee, tea, and pastries, and some time at leisure to browse for souvenirs. Re-board your coach for the drive back to the ship.
The village of Flåm is nestled at the end of beautiful Aurlandsfjord, where you will walk from the pier to board the famed Flåm Railway, named by Lonely Planet Traveler “the world’s best train ride.” It is one of the most interesting stretches of railroad engineering in the world — only 12 miles long, it runs from Flåm, at sea level, to Myrdal Station, at an altitude of 2,850 feet, featuring tunnels and switchbacks and ever-changing views of waterfalls, the valley below, and snow-capped mountains
From the station, you travel along the Flåm River, one of the best salmon-rivers in the West Country. Landmarks you pass include the Rjoande Waterfall, with a sheer drop of 460 feet, and the impressive peak of Vibmesnosi, rising to just over 4,000 feet. After passing through the railway's longest tunnel at Naali, you are able to look back and see three of the four levels of the train bed that have brought you this far. You will also be able to see the old navy road that was constructed in 1895-96 to support the building of the Bergen-Oslo Railroad, opened in 1909. The road climbs the steep hills in 21 narrow hairpin bends next to a waterfall.
The train will make a brief stop at Kjosfossen Waterfall, where all passengers disembark in order to photograph this spectacular 300-foot-high waterfall. When the train reaches its destination, enjoy a taste of Norwegian hospitality at Vatnahalsen Hotel, a well-known ski resort, also popular during summer and autumn when people come to hike in the mountains or cycle on the old navy road you saw on the way up.
After this refreshing interlude, you reboard the train for the journey back to Flåm.
Your tour begins with a brief survey of Lerwick, the most northerly town in the British Isles. A site with strong Viking connections, there is little left of the old village — although in the center near the harbor, some evidence remains of the town's rugged origins.
Driving south along the coastal road, you will pass through several small settlements, pausing briefly along the way for a view of the Island of Mousa, site of the best-preserved broch (ancient fortification) in all of Scotland.
Continue south to reach the remarkable archaeological site of the Jarlshof Settlement, on the southern tip of the mainland. The settlement was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1897, revealing an extraordinary site encompassing at least 5,000 years of human history. It exhibits a remarkable layering of stone structures from a succession of historical eras – late Neolithic houses, a Bronze Age village, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouses, a medieval farmstead, and the 16th-century laird’s house.
From Jarlshof make your way along the coast to the Sumburgh Head, site of Shetland's first lighthouse (1821) and of a colony of about 5,000 birds, including puffins, guillemots, shags and fulmars. Gannets are regularly seen offshore, as well. Your visit is during the seabird breeding season, when each species has its special nesting place in the grassy banks and cliffs leading up to the lighthouse. The seas here are home to a variety of marine life, and you may be lucky enough to see harbor porpoises, white beaked dolphins, or whales – killer, minke and even humpback whales are sometimes seen.
This excursion is designed to introduce you to the history of Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands since the early 18th-century, a major center of the fishing industry, and more recently a support town for the North Sea oil industry.
Starting from Victoria Pier in the heart of the Old Town you pass by the Old Tolbooth (built in 1770) and continue on to the Lodberries — houses and warehouses erected on individual piers so that goods could be loaded and unloaded directly to and from the boats. In the 18th-century, when Lerwick was the premier herring town in Northern Europe, these structures would have lined the waterfront from end to end. You will have an opportunity to see one of few remaining, with its thick sea-battered walls, a slipway, and a fish-drying shed.
Continue your walk through the town’s narrow lanes (or ‘closses’) which run down to the waterfront to visit Lerwick Town Hall. The Hall was built in 1883 and features beautiful stained-glass windows that present a pictorial narrative of Shetland’s history from the time of the Vikings. Conclude your tour at the fascinating Shetland Museum and Archives, which you can visit on your own to learn more about Shetland’s heritage and culture. This award-winning museum has over 3,000 artifacts on two floors, a wealth of easily accessible archive material, a temporary exhibition area, Boat Hall and Sheds. The exhibits are masterfully displayed and clearly interpreted.
At the conclusion of the guided tour, you may return directly to the pier with your guide, or you may choose to remain in the Old Town to browse the local craft and knitwear shops at your leisure before making your way back to the pier.
The Island of Mousa, less than a mile off the southeastern coast of Mainland, is probably best known for the Mousa Broch. But it is also a wildlife preserve and a wonderful destination for a bracing walk.
From Lerwick, drive about half an hour south to board a small ferry for the short crossing to Mousa, 1.5 miles long and 1 mile wide, uninhabited since the 19th century. A guided walk around the island will provide opportunities to observe the abundant wildlife that is protected by both NatureScot and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Mousa is known for grey and common seals, black guillemots, Arctic