Having previously travelled extensively within Australia and overseas both with tour groups and independently we were absolutely blown away with the quality and service provided on this tour, our very first “Captains Choice Tour”.
R & R Stephenson, Back of Beyond by Private Plane
Please note: on this expedition cruise, all landings will require guests to board the ship’s Zodiacs, subject to weather conditions. Due to the spontaneous nature of a Silversea Expeditions cruise with Captain’s Choice, this itinerary should be considered a guide only. This tour requires a moderate degree of physical fitness.
Bound for days that never end, we settle in on our Emirates flight to Glasgow via Dubai.
Over the next three weeks, there are memories to be made under the glow of the midnight sun.
Touching down in Glasgow, we begin a scenic journey north, coasting along the mysterious shores of Loch Lomond and the wind-beaten west coast to our hotel.
The peaceful Isle of Eriska Hotel and Spa hides in still waters and emerald grasslands on a private island. At our home for the next three nights, tasteful guest rooms beckon and Michelin-starred cuisine delights curious diners. You won’t find a residence more intrinsically Scottish.
We board a high-speed boat to visit the reckless waves and swirls of the Corryvreckan whirlpool. Dramatic and daring, the ocean swells beneath us.
Past the Isle of Jura, we follow the only road on Islay, the ‘Whisky Isle’. As the name suggests, we’re in search of its world-famous whiskies. Trial the finest as we wander through a distillery.
Lunch awaits us within the walls of Islay House. From our table, sprawling lawns reach out to protected woodland.
The wild waters of Loch Indaal rumble beyond. Afterwards, a thrilling Your World experience reveals the dramatic landscapes of the Inner Hebrides.
Our day begins over on the Isle of Mull. Sculpted by fire and ice, the second largest-island of the Inner Hebrides presents wind-beaten ridges, black basalt hills, beaches stark white in colour and the stately Duart Castle - our first stop this morning. Almost stern, the stone building stands on a grassy peak surveying the waters below. We are welcomed by Sir Lachlan Maclean, 28th Chief of the Clan Maclean and castle lord, if he is in residence.
An impromptu lunch is served from bountiful hampers as we recline on picnic rugs on the shores of the Sound of Mull. We then glide over the water to historic Iona for a spell, then to the uninhabited Isle of Staffa, the ‘Pillar Island’. With hexagonal columns and remarkable symmetry, Fingal’s Cave has been gifted by nature. Peek at the wonder this afternoon, taking in each stone - a unique structure that cannot be rivalled elsewhere.
From our post on the Isle of Eriska, we venture further afield. Design the morning with a Your World discovery.
After, The Jacobite steam train awaits. Across the West Highland Line, the turn of ancient wheels takes us back in time. We then check in to the Kinloch Lodge, our new home on the Isle of Skye for the next two nights.
Tucked away on a remote coastal location is the world-renowned restaurant, Three Chimneys. We enjoy lunch here among the white stone walls and gentle waves on the shore. We then visit Dunvegan Castle and Gardens with a boat trip followed by a tour of the castle’s interior.
This evening, a formal dinner is hosted at our hotel by the gracious owners of Kinloch Lodge, if they are home.
We depart the Isle of Skye and head towards Loch Ness. Upon arrival, Jacobite and government soldiers escort us to Loch Ness where we peruse the ripples on the mysterious waters during a private cruise. Enjoy a seafood lunch on board before visiting Culloden battlefield.
At Inverness, we board a private plane and fly towards Scotland’s proud capital, Edinburgh. Rest your head in luxury at The Balmoral Hotel for one night.
We get our bearings on a guided tour and enjoy some time to shop and wander on our own. Meanwhile, Silver Cloud is moored on Edinburgh’s calm waters. This afternoon, we will be welcomed on board by the gentle waves of the shore and our knowledgeable Expedition Team.
On our first evening, we dine at any one of the ship’s fine restaurants. Champagne flows and courses are devoured as we pull away from the shore.
Our adventure begins at the ‘End of the Road’. The tiny village of John O’Groats is the most northerly settlement of mainland Britain.
On a Zodiac cruise, we take in nesting sea birds and star-shaped spring squill flowers adorning the sea cliffs. Coastal heathland and grassland habitats hide a plethora of wildlife. It’s a rare joy to see Atlantic puffins during their breeding season. With every tug of the waves, we find another feathered friend in the inlets and ledges, and a sleek seal or dolphin dipping in and out of the water. Orcas may even accompany our discovery along the Caithness coast.
Back on board, perhaps warm up before dinner with a glass of your favourite single malt.
An intrepid adventure south reveals the fascinating history of Scotland. Under Norse rule until 1469, the Shetland Islands are steeped in legends and the whisper of Viking ghosts.
Charming sandstone buildings stand side-by-side on the waterfront of Lerwick, the region’s main port. Shetland ponies graze in lime-green meadows near the town centre. Sheep meander off course onto the roadside.
We uncover the Broch of Mousa, ancient Neolithic houses and a settlement site revealed by a violent winter storm. From the remains of villages, we journey to the southernmost tip of mainland Shetland in search of white-beaked dolphins and humpback whales.
A day in deep Norwegian fjords, we marvel at one of the most beautiful, Geirangerfjord.
Sheer granite cliffs shimmer with plunging waterfalls that seem to descend from the clouds. Farms balance on steep cliffsides, and the mountain road, which twists like a charcoal ribbon, leads us to the village of Geiranger.
Our expedition takes in panoramic vistas of mountains, waterfalls and lakes at the summit of Mt Dalsnibba.Standing beneath a twinkling blue sky, the view from here is like nothing else. Alternatively, we have an exciting Your World experience on offer for those feeling energetic.
We cruise by mountainous islands, through Norway’s fjords and down narrow channels today. Relax and ponder the Arctic scenery as it glides by, Champagne in hand.
Later in the day, we enjoy an al fresco lunch. Norway’s landscapes are all around us. Sample exquisite food, prepared by a team of international chefs on board.
It’s early morning as our ship docks on the central Lofoten Island of Vestvagoy. Once ashore, choose from these Your World experiences.
The streets of Tromso are dusted with soft snow, dotted with tiny pinpricks of light. The music of buskers drifts with the icy furls, and the sun is ever-hanging overhead.
This morning, the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ tempts the traveller. Icy peaks frame the polar town, the starting point for many explorations to the Arctic. Along its charming streets there
is a distinct air of adventure. Our selection of Your World experiences help uncover Tromso’s many rarities today.
In the afternoon, Silver Cloud will head out onto the Norwegian Sea. Due north, Bear Island awaits us on a new dawn. Lecturers will take the opportunity to prepare you for our next few days.
Common guillemots, Brunnich’s guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes, northern fulmars, and glaucous gulls - uninhabited Bear Island is a paradise for birdwatchers, though its name suggests otherwise. We won’t find any bears on our discovery today.
Our Zodiac awaits and we set out to explore the wild and remote southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago. With our Expedition Team guiding the way, we watch for white-beaked dolphins and graze the cliffs in search of feathered friends. Puffins and gannets parade along the rugged coastline. A keen eye may even glimpse minke whales.
This evening, back on board our ship, we head onto the deck and watch for whales and white-beaked dolphins known to frequently visit the area.
We have reached the Svalbard archipelago, submerged between mainland Norway and the North Pole. For the following four days, weather and ice conditions determine our best course. We may jump aboard our nimble Zodiacs or head ashore for guided walks amongst nature.
Cruising amidst floating icebergs at Hornsund on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island, we look for bearded seals, beluga whales, walrus and polar bears. Disembark ashore and hike the Fjortende Julibreen glacier. Or, stroll through a plant oasis, the Hanging Gardens. Encounter the polar bears on ice and ashore at the Duck Islands. We may also circumnavigate several of the islands by Zodiac. Cruise past red sandstone mountains and to the front of two glaciers, Monacobreen and Seligerbreen. Here you can see seals, black-legged kittiwakes and ivory gulls.
Thanks to the ice-strengthened hull of Silver Cloud, we devote at least one day to exploring the pack ice north of Spitsbergen, searching for walrus and polar bears. Our Expedition Leader may choose to take us out in the Zodiacs for an even closer look.
We disembark Silver Cloud this morning in the main town of the Svalbard archipelago, Longyearbyen. Our next stop is home soil via Oslo on a flight with Emirates.
On our final flight, reflect upon the journey. We hope to see you again on your next Captain’s Choice adventure.
Reaching the world’s frontiers is no easy feat. And let’s face it, adventure and roughing it is so last century. That’s why all the legwork has been done for you; everything mundane sits behind the scenes. We’ve searched the seven seas for the finest expedition ships to usher you to the edges of the planet, where you’ll never have to carry a map. Or your luggage. You’ll certainly never have to find small change for tips.
In a class all of their own, Silversea’s purpose-built expedition ships make far-flung regions accessible. Your days sweep between two very different worlds: the refinement of your vessel, and destinations where human footprints are scarce. A strong espresso and croissant delivered to your suite before landing on a remote island. Champagne or a nip of scotch out on deck after returning from a Zodiac expedition. Unadulterated indulgences and the rush of adventure – it’s all part of life aboard a Silversea expedition cruise.
After unpacking once – or letting your butler do it for you – your suite will become a delightful haven for the duration of the voyage. And with almost one staff member to every guest, the standard of personalised service goes beyond all expectation.
You won’t just be watching coastlines through binoculars from the deck. Our ships and Zodiacs put you on that coast, smack-bang in the middle of the wilderness with an experienced Expedition Team at the helm. You’ll set out on gentle hikes, learn about the land from locals and follow wildlife along remote shores. Thanks to the flexible nature of our itineraries, we’re always at liberty to change course or linger awhile longer. And most importantly, you can always set your own pace depending on how active you’re feeling. Sightseeing opportunities are as boundless as our new horizons.
Welcome aboard the most spacious and luxurious ice-class vessel of its kind, Silver Cloud. An extensive refurbishment will see the ship move to Silversea’s expedition fleet in 2017, bound for polar waters thanks to its newly ice-strengthened hull. The multi-million dollar vision blends the raw beauty of remote destinations with luxuries you’d expect to find at the world’s greatest hotels. It now presents five gourmet dining options, expansive decks and a swimming pool. Most suites include a veranda, and all benefit from the services of a butler.
Large picture windows frame panoramic views, the perfect backdrop for breakfast in bed. Vista Suites feature a sitting area and a marbled bathroom with a shower (some with bath/shower combination).
Fares are based on a Vista Suite aboard Silver Cloud per person, twin share. Fares include Emirates flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Prices from other cities available on request.
Cruise and Land Only guests join the tour in Isle of Eriska for dinner on Day 2 and depart Longyearbyen after breakfast on Day 20.
Veranda Suite $2,890
Deluxe Veranda Suite $3,380
Solo Suite Supplements
Vista Suite $14,810
Veranda Suite $22,160
Deluxe Veranda Suite $23,130
Includes supplements for single hotel rooms. Solo suites at above prices are limited. Contact our Tour Sales Consultants for details on other suite upgrades.