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Experience the beauty and heritage of the UK’s islands by visiting some of the more interesting, but remoter, parts of the British Isles together with contrasting calls in Rotterdam and Honfleur. Walk among peaceful hills, view ancient monuments and wander through historic streets. At each port of call you can be as busy or relaxed as you wish, with a full program of optional excursions. History, heritage and beauty – plus wonderful memories to bring home.
*The transfer service from Heathrow airport to London Tilbury Cruise Terminal; from the Cruise Terminal to the central London hotel and back to Heathrow airport is included in the tour price. If you would prefer to be picked up from an alternative airport or location, please contact us for additional mileage costs.
To enhance the enjoyment of your cruise, a program of optional shore excursions will be available at extra cost in advance of the cruise departure for pre-registration. Please note certain ports may only be accessible by the use of a smaller tender vessel.
The Columbus operates a cashless system on board and all incidental expenses will be charged to your account. The ship operates under a UK pound sterling currency policy and a gratuity of £7 per person, per night (approximately $10) will be debited to your account automatically.
You will be met at Heathrow airport for your transfer to the cruise ship (journey time approximately 1 hour 45 minutes). Check-in on the ship is normally available from 2pm. On arrival at London Tilbury Cruise Terminal, we board the Columbus and begin our journey, taking time to relax in our cabins or on deck and enjoying the use of the ship’s range of leisure facilities.
We cruise into Rotterdam where we have time to discover this diverse city with its absorbing maritime tradition and patchwork of architectural styles. Admire the sparkling skyscrapers and impressive port or visit the fascinating food markets.
After a day at leisure on the ship, we arrive in Invergordon. Situated on the shores of the deep Cromarty Firth and with a fine natural harbour, Invergordon is a key port with an important naval history stretching back through two World Wars. The small, yet modern town is a charming coastal gateway to the beautiful Scottish Highlands and the incredible scenery that forms a stunning backdrop to the romantic castles and historic battlefields featuring in optional excursions along with the ‘Capital of the Highlands’ Inverness. Other popular options include the Glenmorangie Distillery and a visit to haunting Loch Ness with its legendary monster.
Set around its picturesque natural harbour and fringed by high ground and cliffs, charming Portree is the main town on the beautiful Isle of Skye. The impact of Skye’s stunning scenery is spectacular. The soaring peaks of the Cuilins, undulating heather moorland, small lochs and gently flowing streams form a wonderful backdrop to optional excursions featuring crofting villages, and iconic castles with both colorful and poignant history. On the outskirts of Portree, the Skye Heritage Centre and Aros Experience bring to life the history of the island and give an insight into the life these Highland communities lived.
Established in the late 18th century as a fishing port, Tobermory is one of the prettiest ports in Scotland. The picture-postcard village has a large natural harbour where colorful boats bob on the waves watched over by a rainbow of brightly, painted buildings backed by woodland-fringed hills. Tobermory is the capital of the Isle of Mull. Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides and its diverse landscape ranges from high mountain and wild moorland, to wave-lashed sea cliffs and sandy beaches. Neighbouring Iona is the tiny island where St Columba first brought Christianity to Scotland in 563 AD.
After a day at sea we drop anchor in St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly. Britain’s only island archipelago, the magical Isles of Scilly lie just 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall. St Mary’s, the largest of the five inhabited islands, is a delight with white sand beaches, tranquil waters and stunning seascapes. The attractive village of Hugh Town, considered the ‘capital’, is the hub of the islands’ activity. The second largest and the only privately-owned island is Tresco, where, in the glorious Abbey Gardens, some 20,000 exotic species thrive in the sub-tropical climate. Optional excursions explore both St Mary’s and Tresco, two of the beautiful cluster of islands that are worlds apart from everyday life.
For over 800 years Castle Cornet has stood guard over St Peter Port. The attractive town is a delight with cobbled streets, steep stairways and alleyways winding their way down between the houses to a picturesque waterfront of grey and white stone buildings. Guernsey is geographically closer to France, yet loyal to the British crown, and this is reflected in the wonderful Anglo-French ambience around the town. The second largest of the Channel Islands has a wonderful coastline with beautiful bays, and pastoral scenery that includes the handsome, much-prized Guernsey dairy cows. The tax-free haven is perfect for duty-free shopping.
Our last port of call is Honfleur. Over the years many renowned painters and writers have been attracted to pretty Honfleur, which with its narrow, half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets and charming old harbour set in a sheltered cove off the Seine’s tidal estuary, is simply enchanting. Unlike many of its Normandy neighbours, Honfleur was spared during the bombing of World War Two and nestled in its tidy, picturesque streets historic buildings house art galleries, artists’ studios, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and fine souvenir shops.
We arrive back in London Tilbury where we disembark and are met for the transfer to our central London hotel. From here we have free time to explore Europe’s most exciting capital city and stay overnight.
You will be picked up from your central London hotel and transferred to Heathrow airport for your flight home.
The impressive Columbus cruise ship joined the Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet in June 2017 and combines all the benefits of smaller ship cruising with an impressive choice of dining options, lounges, activities and entertainment. Fully air-conditioned throughout, facilities include three restaurants and a bistro, seven lounge areas, six entertainment venues including a two-decked and tiered Palladium Show Lounge, a library, a shopping arcade and wellness centre offering a sauna and gym plus massage and beauty treatments (at an extra cost). Out on deck, there are two swimming pools and a large screen for outdoor movies and sporting events. All cabins are en suite with flat-screen TV, hairdryer, fridge and personal safe.