Wild Scotland Dates & Rates

From the Hebrides in the west, to inhospitable windswept specks of land like St Kilda and Foula, and to the Orkney and Shetland islands in the north, we’ll explore the intriguing diversity of these wild islands. We plan to take in Neolithic sites scarcely changed in 5000 years, and ponder the mystery of huge monoliths that marked seasonal change. We’ll visit remote crofting communities, picturesque villages and castles that were once strongholds of Scottish clans. We hope to see some of the world’s largest seabird colonies, raucous places filled with gannets, fulmars, arctic terns and delightful puffins. Or sit quietly in Zodiacs as seals play nearby in waters patrolled by whales and dolphins.

These rugged islands and intricate waterways are a paradise for hikers and sea kayakers. Please register your interest for our sea kayaking option when booking as numbers are limited.

Wild Scotland Complete Package
Ask our team about our fully-inclusive packages that include voyage plus return international airfares (from your nearest Australian capital city), accommodation, tours and transfers. Request more information here or call us on +61 2 9252 1033.

highlights

  • Genealogy Expert Our onboard genealogist will lift the kilt on clans and help you to research your ancestry, prepare a family tree and discover your family line. 
  • FREE 12-month National Trust of Australia membership for each passenger following entry into multiple National Trust properties throughout the UK.
  • NEW for 2015 Every passenger will receive our new custom-made polar expedition jacket. Find out more here.

 

dates & prices

Wild Scotland (SCOT11)

Dates: 20-06-2015 to 30-06-2015
Duration: 11 Day Voyage
Start: Oban, Scotland
Finish: Aberdeen, Scotland
Activities: Kayaking

 

• 12 month membership to National Trust of Australia (NSW), including entry into over 300 properties within the United Kingdom

• Accommodation during the voyage

• All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during the voyage

• All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises

• Educational lectures and guiding services from our expert team

• Access to our on board doctor and basic medical services

• Use of gumboots during the voyage

• Daily cabin service

• Comprehensive pre-departure information

• Professionally produced electronic voyage journal

• Port taxes and charges

• All entry fees to historic landings sites.

 

Voyage Exclusions

• International or domestic flights to or from Polar Pioneer

• Airport arrival or departure taxes

• Any airport transfers or transfers to or from Polar Pioneer

• Visa, passport, and vaccination charges

• Travel insurance or any emergency evacuation charges

• Hotels and meals not included in voyage itinerary

• Optional excursions not included in the voyage itinerary

• Optional activity surcharge. Please contact us if you wish to book any optional activities

• All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, and email or phone charges.

Close

DECK CABIN PRICE
Main Triple, shared facilities AUD $6,850
Main Twin, shared facilities AUD $8,200
Upper/Captain's Twin, private facilities AUD $9,950
Captain's Mini Suite, private facilities AUD $10,500
Captain's Suite, private facilities AUD $11,700
Kayaking option Please register interest when booking. Limited spaces available. AUD $995

Prices quoted are per person in AUD, based on twin-share. Single occupancy is 1.7 times the twin share price. No single travel fees apply if you are willing to share your cabin (triple & twin cabins only). Fuel surcharge may apply in the event of significant fuel price increases.

Wild Scotland (SCOT12)

Dates: 13-06-2016 to 23-06-2016
Duration: 11 Days
Start: Oban, Scotland
Finish: Aberdeen, Scotland
Activities: Kayaking

Voyage Inclusions

• 12 month membership to National Trust of Australia (NSW), including entry into over 300 properties within the United Kingdom

• Accommodation during the voyage

• All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during the voyage

• All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises

• Educational lectures and guiding services from our expert team

• Access to our on board doctor and basic medical services

• Use of gumboots during the voyage

• Daily cabin service

• Comprehensive pre-departure information

• Professionally produced electronic voyage journal

• Port taxes and charges

• All entry fees to historic landings sites.

 

Voyage Exclusions

• International or domestic flights to or from Polar Pioneer

• Airport arrival or departure taxes

• Any airport transfers or transfers to or from Polar Pioneer

• Visa, passport, and vaccination charges

• Travel insurance or any emergency evacuation charges

• Hotels and meals not included in voyage itinerary

• Optional excursions not included in the voyage itinerary

• Optional activity surcharge. Please contact us if you wish to book any optional activities

• All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, and email or phone charges.

Close

DECK CABIN PRICE
Main Triple, shared facilities AUD $7,080
Main Twin, shared facilities AUD $8,500
Upper/Captain's Twin, private facilities AUD $9,990
Captain's Mini Suite, private facilities AUD $10,900
Captain's Suite, private facilities AUD $11,900
Kayaking option Please register interest when booking. Limited spaces available. AUD $1,025

Prices quoted are per person in AUD, based on twin-share. Single occupancy is 1.7 times the twin share price. No single travel fees apply if you are willing to share your cabin (triple & twin cabins only). Fuel surcharge may apply in the event of significant fuel price increases.

Discover Scotland's Wild History

Scottish HistoryFrom the stone circles that are scattered across Scotland’s islands, which are thought to date back 5,000 years, to the mysterious ruins and iconic castles, we explore Scotland's isles and uncover stories of heroes, villains, fallen monarchs and bloody battles. We come across Neolithic settlements, Roman frontiers and hundreds more fascinating historical sites.

Our Scottish historian, Carol Knott, will lead our historic adventures, sharing entertaining tales and interpreting the historical importance of the places, ruins and monumnets we come across. Find out more here.

Itinerary

TRIP DATES
Wild Scotland (SCOT11) 20-Jun-15 to 30-Jun-15
Wild Scotland (SCOT12) 13-Jun-16 to 23-Jun-16

Day 1
Our staff welcome you aboard Polar Pioneer in Oban.

Days 2-3
Overnight we travel to Iona, birthplace of Christianity in Britain and burial ground of early Scottish kings. At Staffa, we visit Fingal’s Cave, set amidst spectacular basalt columns, and learn why it inspired Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. In the Cuillin Hills, spiritual heart of Skye, we follow a lonely track to Rubh’an Dunain, an ancient passage grave with a nearby Iron Age fort and stonelined canal, possibly built by Vikings. If conditions allow, we may take longer walks into the hills. Canna offers golden and sea eagles, basking sharks, dolphins, grey seals and puffins.

Days 4-6
Conditions permitting, we land on Hirta, in remote St Kilda, home to Europe’s most important seabird colony and Britain’s highest sea stacks. We learn of the incredible islanders, who survived here for nearly 5000 years, and their heroic courtship rituals. On Lewis we visit the Callanish Stones, sombre slabs placed upright nearly 3000 years ago to mark burial sites. A Zodiac cruise takes us to pure white beaches where the brave might swim and Bostadh’s reconstructed Iron Age house. We aim to visit Sula Sgeir and North Rona, tiny islands with dramatic coastlines, inhabited by breeding seals and seabirds.

Days 7-8
Closer to Norway than Scotland, the Shetland Isles played a strategic role in Viking conquests. We visit the capital, Lerwick, and explore the complex Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Jarlshof. On Mousa, we walk to the world’s best-preserved Iron Age structure known as a broch and our historian recounts its importance. Foula’s five dramatic peaks dwarf its crofting hamlets and its cliffs are alive with kittiwakes, razorbills, fulmars and skuas. Papa Stour’s coastline offers Zodiac exploration of dramatic caves.

Days 9-10
Blessed with red, fertile soil, the Orkney archipelago has welcomed people since ancient times. From Kirkwall, we visit 5000- year old archaeological wonders like Skara Brae, excavated less than 100 years ago. We view relics of Viking occupation and World War II curiosities, include the exquisite Italian Chapel, built from scrap by Italian POWs. We sail past the giant sea stack Old Man of Hoy. On Papa Westray we see the Knap of Howar, the oldest standing dwelling in Europe and on to Fair Isle, a birdwatchers’ paradise, where the few inhabitants still live in traditional crofts and welcome us to admire and buy their exquisite knitwear.

Day 11
In Aberdeen, we disembark and bid farewell to Polar Pioneer staff and crew.

Activities

TRIP DATES ACTIVITIES
11 Day Voyage 20-Jun-15 to 30-Jun-15 Kayaking
11 Days 13-Jun-16 to 23-Jun-16 Kayaking

How to Prepare

How to prepare for an Arctic Expedition

To ensure you have an enjoyable and safe expedition we have developed some import pre-departure information to help you prepare for your voyage. We strongly recommend you download the documents below and read carefully. Our reservation staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Before you depart for your expedition we will send you a detailed pack including your itinerary, travel documents and any other essential information relevant to your voyage.

Is your passport valid? 
Your passport will be required to have validity that will extend to six months after the date of your return.

Visa arrangements 
Your visa arrangements are your responsibility. Please contact our reservations staff for assistance, or if you are unsure if you require a visa.

Travel insurance 
All passengers are required to provide travel insurance details including policy number and emergency contact number to Aurora Expeditions prior to departure. We strongly recommend insurance coverage that includes emergency medical evacuation from the vessel.

Emergency contact details 
So that you can be contacted in the case of an emergency, remember to provide your family or friends with a copy of your travel documents as well as Aurora Expeditions’ and your Ship’s contact numbers.

Remember to pack any valuables or essential items such as medication in your hand luggage to avoid issues in the case of lost baggage.

 

Recommended reading:

Arctic Biosecurity Guidelines

Arctic Landing & Wildlife Viewing Guidelines

Arctic Photography Hints

Arctic Clothing Checklist

FAQ's

How many people on the ship?
Polar Pioneer sleeps 54 passengers. We believe that small groups are the best way to experience our destinations.

Where do passengers come from?
The majority of our clients come from Australia, the UK/Europe and America, however we do often have a mix of other nationalities on board, including our expedition staff.

How much room is there for luggage?
There is ample storage space in your cabin on all our ships. Your empty baggage can be stored safely elsewhere on the ship if need be.

Does the crew speak English?
The crew on Polar Pioneer are all Russian. They are undoubtedly the ice-masters of the world. The Captain and most of the watch officers speak English. Whilst some of the crew speak only a little English, they do like to practice their English skills on our willing passengers.

Is the ship air-conditioned? What is the temperature?
All our ships are air-conditioned and the temperature ranges for 15°C to 25°C. On Polar Pioneer you can control the temperature of your cabin by adjusting the airflow through the roof vent and turning your heater on or off.

How do we dry wet clothing?
Clothing dries very quickly inside your cabin. There are no passenger laundry facilities for you to do your own washing, but there is a laundry service on board all our vessels. Prices are listed in your cabin. All cabins have a sink.

What clothes do I take to wear on the ship?
Shipboard clothing is informal and casual. Depending on your destination; jeans, jumpers, long sleeve shirt and enclosed shoes are ideal in our polar regions. However be sure to keep your jacket close for unexpected sightings!

Some people like to take a nice outfit or something a bit special for the Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks, but formal clothing is not necessary.

What type of jacket should I take?
You can get away without a padded ski jacket or down parka, if you don’t have one; however a wind and waterproof jacket is a must!

Do you provide parkers or jackets?
From November 2014 each passenger travelling on our Antarctic or Arctic voyages will receive a complimentary polar expedition jacket to wear during your expedition and take home after your trip.

What kind of footwear do I need for our shore visits?
It is most important that you bring a good pair of walking shoes. Gumboots will be provided on board in our polar destinations.

How often do we get off the ship?
We aim to get off the ship as much as possible, usually two, sometimes three times a day depending on weather and itinerary. Weather permitting we spend between one to four hours at each location. We come back to the ship for meals.

What is not included in the price of the voyage?
In general items that are not included in the cost of your voyage are flights to and from your voyage, pre and post accommodation, transfers, drinks from the bar (alcohol and soft drinks), gratuities, ship-shop items, laundry costs and other items of a personal nature (unless stated in your voyage inclusions).

Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance, including medical evacuation cover, is mandatory for all Aurora Expeditions’ voyages. We advise you have insurance for voyage cancellation to ensure you will be covered financially if you are forced to cancel your voyage due to circumstances beyond your control. It is in your best interest to read carefully the General Terms & Conditions on your booking form or on our website here. http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/terms-and-conditions

How much should I tip?
People often ask us what they should do about tipping. Tipping is a very personal matter, however if pressed we recommend $US10-12 per passenger, per day that you are on the ship. It is better for our Russian crew if you can give them US dollars cash. Our Russian crews work extremely hard to ensure you have the best possible experience. They are paid by the Russian ship owners and do not receive large wages. We are continually lobbying on their behalf for better pay.

Should I bring along my own walking poles?
Yes, it’s a good idea, especially if you have trouble walking over uneven ground. Some of our landings can be on slippery rocks or deep snow, and we may go for extended walks to see different parts of our landing point. We recommend the telescopic poles, with the optional snow-basket tips for polar voyages. You can purchase these poles in most outdoor stores.

Do you have facilities on board to download digital images from my camera?
No, we do not provide a computer to download your digital images. We recommended you bring a laptop computer or similar downloading device to download your images, either between landings, in the evenings or during sea crossings.

What is the electrical supply on board? Do I need a converter?
The electrical supply on board Polar Pioneer is 220 volts, 50 hertz. You will need a European round two-prong plug adapter (as pictured), available at duty free or electrical supply shops.

Is there Internet, email or telephone access on board?
There is no Internet access on board our ships, however you can pay to send and receive emails only (no attachments). On Polar Pioneer, the prices start from approximately 20 US cents per one kilobyte. Wi-fi access is available for laptops, with an email account set up for US$5, with the same download/sending fees.

A satellite telephone is available for use, and prices start from US$10 for 5 min.
Please Note: Due to the remote location of your voyage, making contact with the ship via telephone can be difficult and expensive. In case of emergency, it is recommended your family and friends contact the Aurora Expeditions’ office and we will do our best to get the message through to the ship.

Do you cater for special meal requests?
Yes. Our talented chefs will take your requirements into their meal planning and ensure you receive tasty, healthy meals. Please ensure you list any dietary requirements on your personal details form.

Do you provide gumboots?
Yes. All passengers going to Antarctica, the Arctic, and Scotland, will be provided with gumboots. If you have concerns regarding extra small or large sizing, or hard-to-fit feet, we recommend you bring your own pair.

What if I need to go to the toilet when ashore?
Our expedition staff will instruct you with these types of rules on board. Generally on our polar voyages we avoid going to the bathroom ashore, however in an emergency we ask you to find a discreet location near the shoreline to relieve yourself.

Do you provide toiletries on board?
We provide each passenger with a bar of soap on Polar Pioneer.

How fit do I need to be?
To make the most of our voyages, you should be in good general health and able to walk reasonable distances, sometimes over uneven terrain. However, if you have problems walking on rough ground, you can enjoy the scenery closer to shore. Should you have any physical limitations please notify us well in advance of your departure, but this should not discourage you participating.

How do we pay for our bar bill at the end of the voyage?
Our hotel manager will organise this on board. We accept all major credit cards, or if you are paying cash we except US or Australian dollars on Polar Pioneer.

Can I smoke on board?
There is a ‘No Smoking’ policy throughout the interior of our ships. Our expedition leader will advise you on designated smoking areas.

Are there hairdryers on board?
There are no hairdryers on Polar Pioneer.

Will I get sea sick?
Many people ask us if they will get seasick. It is a very difficult question to answer because it depends so much on the individual. Our experience is that a small percentage of people are seasick on any trip and most of these people are fine after a day or so at sea. If you feel that you are particularly susceptible to seasickness then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. Come with motion sickness tablets. There will be a doctor on board Polar Pioneer to assist with any bouts of sea sickness. 

Will I see a polar bear?
As with all wild animals, we cannot guarantee you will see polar bears. However, the time of year we visit is when bear numbers are at their peak, and our experienced leaders and crew are aware of the bear’s habitats and are well trained to spot these marvellous creatures in the wild.

How much time do we have in Longyearbyen?
The time available to you in Longyearbyen very much depends on your personal itinerary. Aurora Expeditions offers a pre and post package to tie into our voyage departure and arrival dates, which includes flights to Longyearbyen, transfers, a town tour, and some free time in Longyearbyen. Many people like to extend their stay in Europe and Aurora Expeditions can assist you with all your travel arrangements including flights, accommodation, travel insurance and transfers as well as fascinating extra tours and activities. Contact our Expeditions Experts on +61 2 9252 1033.

What sort of money do I take and how much?
Australian dollars are difficult to exchange in Scandinavia. We recommend that you take US dollars for exchanging in Norway and Iceland. It is better to carry US dollars for tipping and payment of bar bills on board the ship. You can also pay with all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

Can I swim or snorkel in the Arctic?
Although you cannot swim or snorkel in the Arctic, most of our voyages stop for a ‘Polar Plunge’, where willing passengers can take the ultimate dip into the icy Arctic waters. Experienced scuba divers have the option to dive on selected voyages.

How to Book

Contact us

If you are interested in an Aurora Expeditions voyage, please contact our sales team to check availability.
Either email an expert here or call our experienced consultants direct on + 61 2 9252 1033 or 1800 637 688 (Freecall within Australia).

Complete a booking form

Once availability is confirmed, please download, print and complete the booking form. Please return it to us, along with your deposit to secure your berth.  Please ensure you read the Terms and Conditions of contract before sending us your signed booking form.

Download the booking form here.

Terms & Conditions

Click here to view the terms and conditions.

Preparation for your voyage

On receipt of the booking form, we will contact you to confirm your booking and our reservations staff will send you a comprehensive pre-departure kit. This kit will contain all necessary pre-departure information including visa information, insurance information, a medical and personal details form, comprehensive gear list and information tailored to your voyage.

Aurora Expeditions - Your Personal Travel Agent

Aurora Expeditions is a licensed travel agent. Our experienced reservations consultants all have specialised expertise on the destinations we travel to. Each voyage has a dedicated travel expert solely working on developing dynamic itineraries for our passengers.  Contact our reservations team and allow us to create a personal itinerary to compliment your voyage, including airfares, accommodation, travel insurance and pre and post voyage travel options.

We look forward to assisting you with your journey of a lifetime.

Extend your Holiday

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