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Wildlife & Culture of the Scenic Scottish Isles

L2509

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Croft on Isle of Lewis Croft on Isle of Lewis
16 May 2025
Southampton
7 nights
Balmoral

Your cruise at a glance

Hand-crafted highlights

On this rewarding journey, Balmoral will divert off the main cruising route to take you to remote Scottish isles and past some of Scotland's most awe-inspiring scenery, including the wonderfully symmetrical basalt columns of Fingal's Cave and bonnet-shaped Bac Mòr. Cruising from Southampton to Falmouth, you'll have the chance to explore the world-renowned Eden Project before journeying north, where you can discover the intriguing history of Orkney by visiting the Neolithic site of Skara Brae from the Viking town of Kirkwall and uncover Shetland's farming customs with a local crofter in Stornoway. While here, you can immerse yourself in local traditions, like enjoying a performance of Ceilidh dancing and learning some steps, sampling locally produced fudge and cheeses, or visiting a whisky distillery. Representatives from wildlife charity ORCA will be on hand to help you search for seabirds and marine life from Balmoral, including puffins and dolphins.

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Highlights

Guests looking out from deck to Fingal's cave

Explore Scotland's scenic isles

This Balmoral cruise to the Scottish isles will give you plenty of opportunities to explore scenic islands and rugged coastlines. Balmoral will divert away from the usual sailing routes to bring you closer to Bac Màr, also known as Dutchman's Cap because of its ruggedly unusual shape, and Fingal's Cave on the uninhabited Isle of Staffa, whose awe-inspiring hexagonal basalt columns were shaped by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Orkney's sea stacks of the Old Man of Hoy and the Needle rise majestically from the sea, while the craggy cliffs and unspoiled beaches draw attention to the Isle of Lewis and Harris' spectacular shoreline and are best witnessed from the decks of your ship.

Bar man pouring whiskey into glass

Traditions of the Scottish Isles

Deeply ingrained in the fabric of island life, the traditions of the Scottish Isles reflect a rich cultural heritage and a close bond with land and sea. Experience stories of folkloric finfolk, selkies, and sea spirits, participate in Ceilidh dancing in Stornoway, and discover how the traditional Gaelic language is preserved in the Western Isles, while Kirkwall is home to the Highland Park Distillery, where you'll have the chance to sample locally produced whiskies. During your visit to the Orkney Islands, be sure to try local delicacies like Orkney cheese on oatcakes or a Pattie supper, made from a secret recipe of mince and potatoes, rolled together, battered, and deep-fried. 

Dolphins seen from deck

Whales, dolphins & seabirds

The islands of Scotland are home to a rich diversity of seabirds and marine life, including playful dolphins and minke whales, while migrating birds such as guillemots, shags, and fulmars soar overhead and puffins make their homes amongst the rocky outcrops and cliffs. You'll be joined on board Balmoral by representatives from wildlife charity ORCA, who will be available to help you spot various marine and birdlife and will also hold talks on the significance of their work.

Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

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Life On Board

Introducing Balmoral

Beautiful Balmoral is small enough to navigate some of Europe’s most picturesque waterways so guests can enjoy hours of scenic cruising. Balmoral retains a warm, civilised atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation, stylish restaurants and plenty of open deck space.

Balmoral
Fred. Olsen ship Balmoral sailing at dawn

Balmoral

Beautiful Balmoral is small enough to navigate Europe’s most picturesque waterways so guests can enjoy hours of scenic cruising. Balmoral offers a warm, civilised atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation, stylish restaurants and plenty of open-deck space.

710 cabins
1,325 guests
551 crew
43,537 GT
16kts max speed
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Our Signature Experiences

To make your experience even more special, our Journey Planners have designed a unique programme of Signature Experiences which will allow you to discover real insights about the culture and nature of the places we are visiting, so you can arrive in each destination fully prepared to get the most out of your visit.

Itinerary Insights

We have carefully curated a programme of events to give you a deeper understanding of each of the destinations you will be visiting

Scenic Discoveries

Our Scenic Discoveries are designed to allow you to enjoy seeing the world from the unique perspective of our ships

The Ship and the Sea

Maritime is in our DNA - our history in shipping goes back almost 200 years

The Sky at Sea

There’s very little in the natural world more beautiful than a clear night sky, sunrise or sunset seen at sea

Treats of the Region

We love to bring a taste of the region's food, drink, local tastes and culinary traditions to life on board

Sample Shore Tours

At each port of call on your cruise, we carefully research and hand pick Shore Tour options for you, designed for you see as many of the world's best destinations as possible.

Below, you will find some sample Shore Tours which will give you an example of what to expect on your cruise. Your Shore Tours will be available to book approximately 8-13 weeks prior to departure via your My Cruises account.

Harris Tweed Workshop

The Harris Tweed Story

Learn about the history of Harris Tweed and how this iconic fabric has been a staple piece of the Outer Hebrides heritage. Discover the processes from wool to yarn and enjoy a workshop to create your own piece of Harris Tweed.

££££

Stornoway

Stornoway

Cultural Heritage of the Outer Hebrides

Experience life in the Outer Hebrides. Visit An Taigh Cèilidh to enjoy performances by local musicians before proceeding to Stornoway seafront to gain an insight into the town’s culture and history.

££££

Stornoway

Culture & Crofting Traditions of Lewis

Culture & Crofting Traditions of Lewis

Journey to North Lewis to discover the local culture and history of crofting. The local museum houses two exhibition galleries and a local history archive, and reflects various aspects of island life including crofting, fishing and local industries.

££££

Stornoway

Mull head, Orkney's

Mull Head Walking Tour

Enjoy a scenic coastal walk in Orkney, starting at 'The Gloup', a dramatic collapsed sea cave. Hike along cliff tops to the historic Brough of Deerness, with scenic views over Mull Head.

££££

Kirkwall

 Orkney's Wartime History

Orkney's Wartime History

Together with a specialist Wartime Guide, embark on a tour of Orkney and visit historic sites such as Stromness, Ness Battery, Scapa Flow and the beautiful hand-painted Italian chapel built by Prisoners of War.

££££

Kirkwall

Kirkwall, Orkney

West Coast Vistas

Drive through Orkney's countryside, visiting Brough of Birsay, exploring Viking ruins, rock pools, and searching for Groatie Buckies. Continue along the west coast to Yesnaby's wild cliffs, returning via Scapa Flow.

££££

Kirkwall

Your Guest Speakers

We’ve arranged for some wonderful guest speakers to join us for this cruise. They will be delivering a programme of insightful talks and activities to deepen your cultural, artistic and historical understanding of the destinations we will be exploring, well as helping you to enjoy the natural beauty of the places we visit.

ORCA
Ocean Wildlife

Orca

Founded in 2001, ORCA is a group of Ocean Conservationists. Join them out on deck to search the seas for marine life.

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Treats & Pastimes

In addition to our Signature Experiences, we have a selection of lovely Treats & Pastimes for you to enjoy when on board. Just check your Daily Times each day for full details.

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Cabins, Prices & Offers

Cabin Options On Your Cruise

* Prices correct as of 04:00 25/05/2024, based on the lowest available Cruise Only fare, and on two people sharing a twin cabin. Please call +441473746175 for live availability & prices.

* Prices correct as of 04:00 25/05/2024, based on the lowest available Cruise Only fare, and on sole occupancy. Please call +441473746175 for live availability & prices.

Cabin Grades

Standard Pricing Solo Pricing
Suite

Balcony Junior Suite (BJ)

Balmoral's Balcony Junior Suites have a large cabin area and private balcony

Freedom Fare From £2,399 pp
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Suite

Superior Suite (SS)

Located on decks 9 & 10, Superior Suites have a balcony and large cabin area

Freedom Fare From £2,599 pp
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Suite

Marquee Suite (MS)

Situated on deck 10, Marquee Suites have a private balcony and large cabin area

Freedom Fare From £3,199 pp
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Suite

Premier Suite (PS)

Located on deck 10, Premier Suites have a private balcony and large cabin area

Freedom Fare From £3,499 pp
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Suite

Owner's Suite (OW)

Exclusive Suite - please call for more details

Freedom Fare From £4,499 pp
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Cruise Offers

FREE On Board Spend   Freedom Fare

What's Included

SO MUCH ALREADY INCLUDED

As well as our Signature Experiences, there are a host of other treats to enjoy on board our ships.

  • À la carte breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • Daily buffet dining options
  • Late night Supper Club
  • Afternoon tea
  • Self-service tea & coffee
  • In-cabin dining & snacks
  • Evening shows
  • Live music & dancing
  • Dance classes
  • Lectures & talks
  • Cookery demonstrations
  • Traditional deck games
  • Daily games & quizzes
  • Swimming Pools
  • Jacuzzis
  • Fitness Centre
  • Fitness Classes

Enhance your cruise

Each of our cruises has been carefully designed for you to get the very best out of your time on board; and now you can enhance your cruise to make it even more special.

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