BEST OF IRELAND LAND TOUR & THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
CRUISE INCLUDING EDINBURGH & GLASGOW
President’s Tour & Cruise
An 18-day package with a 9-day first class coach tour around Ireland, known as
the Emerald Isle. It also includes a 6-day inland cruise of the Scottish Highlands,
a 2-night hotel stay in Edinburgh and an overnight stay in Glasgow.
September 20 – October 7, 2018
A 6-day sheltered water cruise through the Highlands of Scotland. Nothing to clutter the view, just hauntingly beautiful Scottish Highland scenes brought effortlessly to your panoramic window, this together with excellent cuisine and deluxe State Cabin accommodations provides for a truly unique travel experience. This five-night voyage on board the deluxe ‘Lord of the Glens’ encompasses the main highlights of a voyage through the very heart of the Scottish Highlands, including a transit of the intricate and endlessly fascinating inland waters of the Caledonian Canal. The voyage commences at Inverness and continues via Loch Dochfour and Loch Ness to Fort Augustus and onto beautiful Loch Oich, the highest point of the canal, before reaching Memories image 1 Loch Lochy and finally to Corpach (Fort William) which lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis and the gateway to the sea. At Corpach there is time to take the famed ‘West Highland Line’ train to Glenfinnan (Viaduct) returning to ‘Lord of the Glens’ via the Glenfinnan Monument. At Corpach the ‘Lord of the Glens’ passes through the sea lock and enters the serenely beautiful sheltered waters of Loch Linnhe and then it is onto the Sound of Mull, and to the gaily painted waterfront at Tobermory. The voyage concludes with a call at Craignure (Isle of Mull) for the visit to Duart Castle before reaching the ‘gateway of the isles’ at Oban.
Day 1 Depart CANADA
Day 2 Dublin, IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 3 Dublin, IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 4 Waterford, IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 5 Kerry, IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 6 Kerry, IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 7 Galway, IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 8 Derry, NORTHERN IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 9 Belfast, NORTHERN IRELAND Hotel Overnight
Day 10 Edinburgh, SCOTLAND Hotel Overnight
Day 11 Edinburgh, SCOTLAND Hotel Overnight
Day 12 Inverness, SCOTLAND Embark
Day 13 Fort Augustus, SCOTLAND Inland Cruising
Day 14 Banavie, SCOTLAND Inland Cruising
Day 15 Tobermory, SCOTLAND Inland Cruising
Day 16 Craignure, SCOTLAND Inland Cruising
Day 17 Oban, SCOTLAND Disembark
Glasgow, SCOTLAND Hotel Overnight
Day 18 Depart for CANADA
DOUBLE Occupancy – All Outside Staterooms: SINGLE Occupancy – All Outside Staterooms:
Cat. “D” JAMES WATT Deck (Portholes) $9,695 Cat. “D” JAMES WATT Deck (Portholes) $12,195
Cat. “C” DAVID ROBERTS Deck (Standard) $9,995 Cat. “C” DAVID ROBERTS Deck (Standard) $12,495
Cat. “B” DAVID ROBERTS Deck (Superior) $10,295 Cat. “B” DAVID ROBERTS Deck (Superior) $12,895
Cat. “A” ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL Deck $10,295 Cat. “A” ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL Deck $12,895
Deposit requirement is $1,200 CA per person – Final balance is due on JUNE 12, 2018
ALL PRICES ARE IN CANADIAN DOLLARS PER PERSON AND INCLUDE:
Return airfare from TORONTO for departures from OTTAWA please add $200 per person (other cities available upon request).
2-Nights first class hotel stay in DUBLIN, KERRY & EDINBURGH.
1-Night first class hotel stay in WATERFORD, GALWAY, IREALND, DERRY, BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND & GLASGOW, SCOTLAND.
6-Day inland cruise with full breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Fully guided shore excursion in each port during your cruise.
All tipping for all local guides/drivers while on our land tour in Ireland and Scotland as well as for the cruise director and the crew on your cruise.
All departures taxes, port, and government fees.
Fully hosted by Expo Cruises & Tours.
DAY 1 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 DEPART CANADA
Evening departure from Toronto to Dublin, Ireland. (In-flight Meals)
DAY 2 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 DUBLIN, IRELAND
Welcome to Dublin, the capital of Ireland. This charming town with its history dating back to Viking times bubbles with creativity, culture, and craic – The Irish for having a good time. Dublin is one of Europe’s most popular city break destinations. Whether you come for business, the city’s rich cultural heritage, the shopping, restaurants, or the famous Dublin nightlife, you are guaranteed a ‘céad míle fáilte’ or a ‘thousand welcomes’ in Irish. Upon arrival, you will be met by our guide at the airport and transferred to the city center for a panoramic Dublin city tour, followed by a lunch at a local restaurant and then check-in to your hotel. Rest of the day is at your leisure. Our hotel is set in the city centre. This upscale modern hotel is a short walk from St Patrick’s Cathedral and from Dublin Castle. The plush, contemporary rooms and suites feature flat-screen TVs, minibars, and free Wi-Fi, as well as 24-hour room service and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Amenities include a classic French restaurant, 3 bars and a business centre. The hotel also has a fitness centre with a gym, an indoor heated pool, and a sauna. Accommodation: RADISSON BLU ROYAL HOTEL or similar (2 nights). (L)
DAY 3 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 DUBLIN, IRELAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day tour in Dublin includes visit of Book of Kells and St Patrick’s Cathedral with admission. Here you will discover the north and south side of the River Liffey. On the north side, you will be gazing upon a variety of striking landmarks such as the GPO (General Post Office) on the city main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street as well as the Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe. While on the south side you can admire the beautiful Georgian part of the city with its beautiful colourful doors and Merrion Square at the forefront. It is here that you can still find Oscar Wilde’s House (today owned by an American College) and for those looking for some retail therapy, Grafton Street and its quality shops can be found just around the corner. This part of the city is also dominated by the students of Trinity College, where the famous book of Kells is permanently exhibited in its library. The university is facing the medieval district where Dublin Castle and the two Anglican Cathedrals can be found. Visit – Trinity College – Book of Kells – Thomas Burgh built the Old Library building in the 18th century. Today it houses one of Ireland’s most illustrious books, the 9th century “Book of Kells”. Before viewing the famous book, visitors pass through an excellent exhibition based on the Book of Kells and other important books written in monasteries around Ireland from the 9th century. After viewing the Book of Kells visitors are invited to visit the Long Room built in 1745. Once the principal library of the University, it now contains over two hundred thousand books and manuscripts of the Trinity’s oldest volumes. Brian Boru’s harp said to be the “oldest harp in Ireland” and a copy of the 1916 proclamation, one of the most important documents relating to Irish history are also on display in the Long Room. In 2015, Conde Nast Traveler magazine included visiting the Book of Kells as one of the ’50 things to do in Europe before you die’. Visit – St Patrick’s Cathedral – Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. The parish church of Saint Patrick on this site was granted collegiate status in 1191, and raised to cathedral status in 1224. The present building dates from 1220. The Cathedral is today the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland (a church of the Anglican communion). St Patrick’s is Gothic in style and its splendid interior is adorned with funeral monuments, such as The Boyle Family Memorial and the grave of Dean Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels). Swift was dean here until his death in 1745. The Chancel has ornate stained-glass windows, and spectacular choir stalls, once used by the knights of St Patrick, adjoin the Altar. The massive west towers, houses a large peal of bells whose ringing tones are so much part of the character of Dublin. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. Afternoon is at your leisure. Tonight, we have our special “Welcome to Ireland” dinner and entertainment at the J.W. Sweetman Pub (or similar) with live Irish music & dancing. (B/L/D)
DAY 4 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2018 DUBLIN – WICKLOW – WATERFORD, IRELAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart Ireland’s capital travelling to Waterford City, Ireland’s oldest city. Wicklow – County Wicklow is known as “the Garden of Ireland” and it is home to Powerscourt, Mount Usher and Russborough, to name a few of its many houses and gardens. This region features all the various types of scenery that makes Ireland so beautiful. The coastline is bordered by charming sea resorts such as Bray or Greystones. In the heart of its gentle and rounded hills are nestled Enniskerry and Avoca, both very picturesque villages. Discover its romantic and quiet beauty, the deserted mounts where nothing but heather grows, the small forests and the lush prairies illuminated by yellow gorse in spring. Panoramic Waterford City Tour – Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland. A walled city of Viking origins, it retains much of its medieval character together with the graceful buildings from its 18th century expansion. Like Kilkenny, Waterford feels medieval, with narrow alleyways leading off many of the larger streets. Reginald’s Tower marks the city’s Viking heart and the surrounding area is particularly attractive. Georgian times left a legacy of fine houses and commercial buildings particularly around The Mall, George’s street and O’Connell Street. Highlights include the French church and Christchurch Cathedral on the tour. Today Waterford is best known as a port and commercial city. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. Remainder of day is at your leisure. Our hotel is overlooking the River Suir, this bright hotel is a 4-minute walk from Plunkett train station and a 15-minute walk from factory tours at the House of Waterford Crystal. The casual rooms feature flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, as well as tea and coffeemaking equipment. Suites add separate living areas, whirlpool tubs and panoramic city views. Room service is available. Accommodation: FITZWILTON HOTEL or similar (1 night). (B/L)
DAY 5 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 WATERFORD – KERRY, IRELAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart County Waterford travelling to County Kerry. Visit – Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre – The Waterford Crystal visitor centre has moved in 2010 to a magnificent new home in the heart of Waterford City. A unique highlight of a visit is the factory tour which gives an up-close insight into the centuries-old tradition of Waterford Crystal making. Feel the heat of the furnace and marvel at the skills of the craftsmen. The factory tour includes the following traditional production areas; wooden mould making, crystal blowing and furnace, crystal cutting and quality inspection and finishing. After the tour, you can browse the world’s most famous crystal in a lavish retail store, which houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal found anywhere in the world. The centre includes the retail store, exhibition and crystal installation areas, coffee shop and worldwide shipping facility. Cork – Photo stop – Macroom Castle – The Gateway and tower are all that remain of Macroom Castle, whose story reflects the trials and tribulations of Irish society over the centuries, passing from the hands of the Carew Clan to the McCarthy’s, when they became overlords in the region. In 1650 Bishop Boetius McEgan failed to hold it on behalf of the McCarthy’s against Cromwellian forces, and McEgan was taken prisoner and hanged at Carrigadrohid. The castle was given, as a reward, to William Penn (whose son founded the state of Pennsylvania) who lived there for some time, and then sold it to the Hollow Sword Blade Company. Kerry – Highlights of the Ring of Kerry – Travel the Ring of Kerry road into Killarney through Molls’ Gap. Molls’ Gap is a spectacular photographic viewing point on the famous Ring of Kerry Tour. The visitor is presented with a magnificent view of Death Valley. Close by is the famous Ladies View viewing point which gives a different perspective of this magnificent countryside, with the 3 Lakes of Killarney all surrounded by the Kerry Mountains. Ladies View received its name from Queen Victoria, who was so impressed with the view that she insisted that her ladies-in-waiting should also visit here. Afternoon at your leisure. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. Our hotel is set on the grounds of Ireland’s National Event Centre, this refined hotel is 2 km from Killarney National Park, and 4 km from walking tours of the 15th-century Ross Castle. Featuring marble bathrooms and bespoke linens, the polished rooms offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screens. Upgraded rooms have balconies and/or countryside views, and suites add sitting areas. There’s a chic eatery, an elegant bar, and a lounge for afternoon tea (fee). There’s also a posh spa and a salon, as well as access to the indoor pool and gym. Accommodation: THE BREHON HOTEL or similar (2 nights). (B/L)
DAY 6 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2018 KERRY, IRELAND
Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, spend this morning with a visit to Muckross House. Visit – Muckross House and Gardens – Muckross House is a magnificent Victorian mansion built in 1843 and is one of Ireland’s leading stately homes. Built on the shores of Muckross Lake, it is beautifully situated amidst the spectacular scenery of Killarney National Park. The elegantly furnished rooms portray the lifestyle of the landed gentry, while downstairs in the basement area one can experience the working conditions of the servants employed in the house. The gardens of Muckross House are famed for their beauty worldwide. In particular they are noted for their collections of azaleas and rhododendrons. However, the extensive water garden, the children’s sunken garden and the outstanding rock garden, hewn out of natural limestone, are just some of the features to be discovered. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. Afternoon is at your leisure. (B/L)
DAY 7 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2018 KERRY – GALWAY, IRELAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart your hotel this morning and transfer to County Galway via County Limerick. Limerick – Stop in – Adare – Adare, regarded as one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages, is a small village with thatched cottages dotted throughout the town. These where created by the 3rd Earl of Dunraven in the 1820’s for his estate workers. Today they are mostly used as craft shops or restaurants. As a small town, it offers a lot. No visitor should leave with a visit to the Trinitarian Abbey, The Wishing Pools or partaking of a drink in the famous Dunraven Arms hotel. The village has a Desmond castle and a Manor, once the home of Lord Dunraven. The heritage site in the centre of town is a useful source of information. Galway – Walking City Tour of Galway – The city centre of Galway is mainly pedestrian, so a walking tour is the best way to enjoy its atmosphere and discover some of its most important monument. The tour starts on Eyre Square and finishes at the Claddagh. During the tour, you will see Lynch Castle, home to the mayors of Galway, Saint Nicholas Church founded in the 13th century, and the famous Spanish Arch. You can walk along the Corrib river to the Claddagh village or to the majestic Cathedral. Visit – Galway Cathedral – The largest catholic church in Galway, the cathedral is located on Nun’s Island, on the west bank of the River Corrib near Salmon Weir Bridge. It was the last large church in Ireland to be made from stone, and features a huge octagonal dome that complements the skyline of the City of Galway. The cathedral combines many features from different styles and periods of architecture. There are many treasures of art inside and outside. Erected on the site of an old jail, the parking lot of the cathedral contains a white cross in the pavement. It marks the site of the prison graveyard. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. Afternoon is at your leisure. Our hotel is located on Galway’s Salthill promenade, this traditional seafront hotel is 0.8 km from the National Aquarium of Ireland. The classic rooms offer free Wi-Fi, 24-hr room service, and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Accommodation: GALWAY BAY HOTEL or similar (1 night). (B/L)
DAY 8 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 GALWAY – DERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart your hotel in Galway heading for County Derry via County Sligo. Sligo – Photo stop – Drumcliffe Church & Cemetery – Drumcliffe was an early Christian site in at the foot of impressive Benbulben – the table top mountain. Today the principal visible remains of the monastic site are the High Cross, another plain cross, the stump of a round tower, the Church of Ireland, and a graveyard. Drumcliffe is best known worldwide as the final resting place of W. B. Yeats, whose grandfather was Rector here. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. The rest of day is free at your leisure. Our hotel is a modern hotel that overlooks the River Foyle. It’s also a 6-minute walk from Foyleside Shopping Centre and 1.2 miles from Londonderry train station. The contemporary rooms and suites feature en suite bathrooms and TVs, as well as work desks, WiFi access, and tea and coffeemaking equipment. Some rooms offer river views, while the suites add separate living areas. There’s an indoor pool and a gym on-site, plus a steam room and a Jacuzzi. Other amenities include a bistro restaurant. Accommodation: CITY HOTEL or similar (1 night). (B/L)
DAY 9 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 DERRY – BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart Derry City travelling to Belfast City via the North Antrim Coast. Derry – Visit – Tower Museum and Craft Village – Take a trip through Derry’s colourful history at the Tower Museum, Derry City Council’s award-winning exhibition centre. The museum features a host of displays, including holograms, detailed models, tableaux, audio-visual displays and a range of historical artefacts which together can trace the city’s history from its earliest habitation to the present day. The Tower Museum links the Craft Village to the O’Doherty Tower to form an overall development highlighting many aspects of Derry’s ancient heritage. Antrim – Visit – Giants Causeway Visitor Centre – Encounter Northern Ireland’s favourite giant Finn McCool at the new Giants Causeway Visitor centre on the North Antrim coast which opened in the summer of 2012. According to legend Finn McCool created the Giants Causeway by building stepping stones to Scotland to challenge the Scottish giant Benandonner! The new Visitor centre explores the major themes of mythology, geology, landscape, ecology, culture and social history based on the UNESCO World Heritage site that consists of 40,000 basalt polygonal columns formed 60 million years ago, after a volcanic eruption. There are various interactive exhibits and short video presentations within five designated interpretive exhibition areas and the self-guided visit will culminate with a spectacular two-minute audio-visual projection of a volcanic eruption flowing over the walls and onto the floor. To enhance the wider visitor experience around the site, a handheld audio guide is available which will bring the wider World Heritage Site to life and inform visitors of unique features to look out for across this amazing landscape. Guided tours of the site are also available. The walks and trails around the World Heritage. In 2015, Conde Nast Traveler magazine included hopping the stones of the Giant’s Causeway as one of the ’50 things to do in Europe before you die’. North Antrim Coast Drive – Enjoy a panoramic tour along the North Antrim Coast. Often referred to as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ the landscape along this breathtaking part of the country is indeed varied from coastal roads to mountain tops, from harbour towns to sleepy hamlets. Along the way, you will get the opportunity to cross the world-famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and see the award-winning UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Giants Causeway. The area is also a common location for the filming of the popular series the Game of Thrones. Panoramic Belfast City Tour – A guided city tour is an excellent way to discover Belfast City. The tour will take in the leaning Albert Memorial Clock tower (Irelands answer to the Tower of Pisa) and the Opera House, which is one of Belfast’s great landmarks. Your tour will pass by the City Hall, the Opera house, The Crown Bar (dates from 1885), Queens University and the Botanic Gardens. You will also take in a visit to the Harland and Wolfe Shipyard, where the Titanic was built and launched in 1912. A visit to the Shankill and Falls road will be of interest as it will give the visitor an indication of how life was in Belfast during the troubles. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. We gather tonight for our ‘Farewell to Ireland’ dinner and live entertainment at the Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich (or similar). Our hotel is located opposite the 19th-century Grand Opera House. This modern, upscale hotel is a 3-minute walk from Great Victoria Street train station and 3 miles from the Titanic Belfast museum. Bright rooms with a midcentury-modern vibe feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, plus tea and coffeemaking equipment. Accommodation: EUROPA HOTEL or similar (1 night). (B/L/D)
DAY 10 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 BELFAST – EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer from your hotel to Belfast Airport for a short flight to Edinburgh. Upon arrival in Edinburgh, you will be transferred for lunch at a local restaurant followed by hotel check-in. Afternoon and evening is at your leisure to explore this beautiful and historical capital city of Scotland. Our upscale hotel, set on the Royal Mile in an imposing stone building with a turret, is 0.4 miles from the National Museum of Scotland and 0.7 miles from Edinburgh Castle. The modern rooms and suites feature free Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service and flat-screen TVs. Amenities include an indoor pool, a fitness center, and a sauna, as well as a full-service Scottish restaurant and a restaurant/bar overlooking the Royal Mile. Rest of the day is at your leisure. Accommodation: RADISSON BLU EDINBURGH or similar (2 nights). (B/L)
DAY 11 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2018 EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day tour includes Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyrood House with Admission. Visit Edinburgh Castle, the medieval fortress which dominates the cities skyline. Perched on an extinct volcano and offering stunning views, this instantly recognisable fortress is a powerful national symbol, and part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage site. Lunch will be at local restaurant. Admission is arranged to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is closely associated with Scotland’s turbulent past, and successive kings and queens have made the Palace of Holyroodhouse the premier royal residence in Scotland. Dinner will be at local restaurant. (B/L/D)
DAY 12 – MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2018 EDINBURGH – INVERNESS – EMBARKATION
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning you will be transferred to Inverness pier and board your ship of MV Lord of the Glens. You will visit Clava cains on enroute. One of the many joys of Inverness is the rich variety of places to visit and things to see and do in and around the city. The city boasts a host of historic buildings in the Old Town to appreciate while you shop. Don’t forget to enjoy the views from our castle. You’ll see it as you stroll along our beautiful riverside. Clava Cairns is the site of an exceptionally well preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns that were built about 4,000 years ago. The Bronze Age cemetery complex comprises of passage graves, ring cairns, kerb cairn, standing stones in a beautiful setting and the remains of a chapel of unknown date. Lunch will be at local restaurant. Embark in Inverness at 4 pm. Evening welcome reception and dinner. Moor Inverness overnight. Ship: MV LORD OF THE GLENS (5 nights). (B/L/D)
DAY 13 – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2018 FORT AUGUSTUS, SCOTLAND
Breakfast onboard the boat. Sail in the morning via the first man-made section of the Caledonian Canal into Loch Dochfour, before reaching Loch Ness. The 21-mile transit of Loch Ness provides for a brief photo opportunity by pausing in front of the ruins of Urquhart Castle before reaching Fort Augustus. The afternoon is free to explore Fort Augustus where everything is close at hand. Moor Fort Augustus overnight. (B/L/D)
DAY 14 – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2018 BANAVIE, SCOTLAND
Breakfast onboard the boat. The ‘Lord of the Glens’ is elevated from the shores of Loch Ness with the assistance of six inter-connected locks that run through the centre of Fort Augustus, before entering the stunningly impressive tree-lined Laggan Avenue. Later continue into Loch Oich, Loch Lochy and finally to Banavie in the very shadow of Ben Nevis itself. The afternoon is reserved for a passage on the scheduled West Highland train from Banavie to Glenfinnan Viaduct returning to the vessel via the Commando Memorial. Moor Banavie overnight. (B/L/D)
DAY 15 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2018 TOBERMORY, SCOTLAND
Breakfast onboard the boat. Descending the spectacular eight inter-connected locks of ‘Neptune’s Staircase’ the ‘Lord of the Glens’ is lowered to sea level at Corpach and then it is out to sea for a passage along the sheltered waters of Loch Linnhe and the Sound of Mull before reaching Tobermory. Tobermory is best explored on foot and there is plenty of time in the afternoon to visit the famed gaily painted waterfront. Moor Tobermory overnight. (B/L/D)
DAY 16 – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2018 OBAN, SCOTLAND
Breakfast onboard the boat. The voyage concludes with a call at Craignure (Mull) for the visit to Duart Castle. Later sail to Oban, followed by an afternoon walk to include a Whisky Distillery & McCaig’s Folly. Evening farewell reception and dinner. Moor Oban overnight. (B/L/D)
DAY 17 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2018 OBAN – DISEMBARKATION – GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
Disembark after breakfast in Oban. Oban is justifiably known as the Gateway to the Isles. The town’s south pier is the embarkation point for car ferries to Mull, Coll, Tiree, Barra, South Uist, Colonsay, Lismore and Islay. From these islands, you can travel further afield to Iona, Staffa and to many of the smaller less well known isles. Today you will take Loch Lomond Cruise – 1 hour cruise, then drive to Glasgow. Lunch will be at local restaurant. Tonight, we will have our Farewell dinner at local pub restaurant with live traditional Scottish music. Our hotel set close to the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, this upscale hotel offers bright and airy rooms come with desks, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. They also include tea and coffeemaking facilities. There’s also a sauna and a fitness centre. Accommodation: NOVOTEL GLASGOW CENTER or similar (1 night). (B/L/D)
DAY 18 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2018 GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – CANADA
Breakfast at the hotel. Today you’ll be met by your guide and the driver for your transfer to Glasgow airport for your flight back to Canada. (B/In-flight Meals).
YOUR SHIP – THE ‘MV LORD OF THE GLENS’
The design challenge was to build a vessel that could transit the intricate waters of the Caledonian Canal as well as the sheltered waters around Scotland’s hauntingly beautiful fretted west coast.
The limiting factor being the size of the 36 locks (on the canal) each having a maximum dimension of 150 feet in length and 34 feet in width, with a depth of no more than 12 feet. Due to the width and meandering nature of the navigation, dual propulsion systems and bow thrusters are required to be controlled not only from the bridge but also from the side-wings of the vessel – this so that the Master is able to manoeuvre the ship into almost impossibly tight locks and around the many tortuous bends, bringing the dramatic landscape even closer. The result of all these endeavours being the splendid, not to say unique, ‘MV Lord of the Glens’ – and if its elegant appeal calls to mind that of a luxury yacht, this is no accident since the ‘Royal Yacht Britannia’ was very much in mind when it came to deciding the exterior livery with its ‘Mauritius’ deep blue hull, complemented by an all around band and resplendent eagle motifs all in gold, together with a brilliant white superstructure.
When oft the ‘Lord of the Glens’ plies into and cuts a gentle swathe into these bestilled and lonely waters – her presence, most pleasingly, complements the beholden scene, where others even if unintentionally might well have disturbed the spell and the very peace they have come to find. Internally the vessel deliberately shuns the ‘urban chic’ and the contemporary, for one that is most certainly more in sympathy with both the landscape and the environment. On stepping aboard for the first time the weary traveller is immediately greeted by the more durable, and arguably the much more sumptuous ‘classical’, some might even say ‘colonial’, look – with its rich hardwood finishes throughout offset by cream paneling, very much reminiscent of the ancien deluxe British Pullman carriage – thus, but perhaps quite accidentally, echoing that train’s renown cream and umber livery.
Much loved spaces more often than not drew only scant inspiration from their original design but instead were fashioned over time and by random personal touch – and nowhere is this more true than onboard the ‘Lord of the Glens’. The peril in this course is that where originality and thematic design collide it can often give latitude to cliché – thankfully this is avoided on the ‘Lord of the Glens’ where everything seemingly has been thought about and well considered. Take for instance the beautiful fixtures, fittings and furnishings, which are not to be found in the usual emporiums but rather were individually chosen historic pieces sometimes originating from the ‘Grand Expresses’ and ‘Ocean-Liners’ of yesteryear, together with personal artifacts from the owner, all lovingly restored and sit onboard sometimes unnoticed since they meld so effortlessly in their surroundings. Of special note are the original 1929 ‘Riviera’ armchairs (PLM Orient Express), hand painted David Roberts lithographs, light fittings from the SS France and Nord Norge, restaurant chairs, overhead glass paneling, deck furniture from the RMS Windsor Castle and lovely brass friezes from the RMS Kenya Castle. Elsewhere there are scaled models of locomotives and ocean going ships. Throughout the vessel is adorned with plush carpeting by ‘Brinton’s’ and hardwood flooring with inlaid compass motifs made by craftsmen at the top of their profession.
The whole vessel is air-conditioned/heated throughout. Guests embark at the Reception level, where is also located the delightful ‘one sitting’ ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’ restaurant and the Bridge, besides the six Top Deck State Cabins. A short flight of stairs brings guests to the splendid Upper Deck – the ‘David Livingstone Lounge/Bar’ – which is again richly decorated in hardwood finishes and divided into two sections. The aft area is reserved for the Bar and a comfortable relaxing area, as well as a stern facing viewing deck. The forward area is perhaps reserved for quieter contemplation and spectacular viewing opportunities both through the all-round panoramic windows and the forward viewing deck.
There are 27 outward facing State Cabins spread over three decks, sequentially all named after well known Scottish personages (Thomas Telford, David Roberts & Alexander Graham Bell). Each State Cabin is finished in rich hardwood finishes, plush carpeting, dressing table, stool, wardrobe, internal telephone, satellite TV and en-suite facilities with shower, WC and washbasin. All State Cabins are air-conditioned/heated – the Top and Middle Deck State Cabins have a picture window, whereas the Lower Deck State Cabins have two portholes each.
The cuisine is excellent, freshly prepared onboard by a loyal and long serving brigade of chefs, drawing on the rich bounty of locally sourced produce – and what could be more delightful than to awake to the prospect of a full Scottish breakfast, and for earlier risers to take advantage of the complimentary hot beverages that await in the lounge, and for that matter for the rest of the day as well.
The vessel operates an ‘open bridge’ policy. The vessel is British registered and carries a full nautical compliment of British officers and European crew. The vessel was re-constructed in 2000 and has been renovated annually ever since.
YOUR STATE CABIN – There are 27 deluxe State-cabins accommodating 54 passengers each tastefully furnished in mahogany finishes, with dressing table and stool, hairdryer, satellite TV, individually controlled air-conditioning/heating, safe deposit box, music system, internal telephone, and en-suite facilities (shower, toilet, and washbasin). Cabin wall lighting is from the SS France. In addition to the storage for suitcases under the beds there is a full-size wardrobe. All cabins are outside facing with 23 having large picture windows (with tinted glass for extra privacy) and four lower deck State Cabins with two large portholes each. State Cabins are distributed across three decks with most being comprised of twin beds.
Category “B” Superior Cabin (David Roberts Deck) – This category comprises of nine twin-berthed Superior Cabins on the ‘Middle Deck’ being one deck below the Reception level. These cabins are the largest cabins on the vessel. All having picture windows.
Category “C” Standard Cabin (David Roberts Deck) – These cabins are located on the ‘Middle Deck’ being one deck below the Reception level. There are four twin berth cabins and four double-bedded cabins. All having picture windows.
Category “D” Standard Cabin (James Watt Deck) – There are two twin berth cabins. Each cabin has two large portholes.
NB: Please note for security reasons windows or portholes do not open.