Setting sail from Edinburgh
Edinburgh - what a city! The capital city of Scotland has some striking and varied architecture, an imposing Castle, memorable museums and galleries and some wonderful restaurants. And what we love best about this buzzing city is that you can always look up, and there's the beautiful countryside - the Seven Hills - surrounding you. It's a city of inexhaustible delights; in one day alone you could see the Scottish Crown Jewels and Stone of Destiny, follow the Royal Mile to explore narrow closes steeped in history, and go to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Edinburgh Dungeon and the Scottish Parliament.
Walk through Grassmarket to see some of Edinburgh’s oldest streets and alleys, and some unusual independent shops where you can find dedicated craftsmen, artisans and experts.
United Kingdom: John O'Groats
United Kingdom: Lerwick
Lerwick is the only town of any size in the Shetland islands, and originally grew up around the herring trade. Highlights include the charming 18th century architecture along the waterfront and the informative Shetland Museum, which provides an excellent introduction to the history and culture of the islands.
The Geirangerfjord is arguably the most spectacular fjord in all of Norway, a sinuous ten mile stretch of sheer mountain walls and tumbling waterfalls. The village of Geiranger itself sits at one end of the fjord, and in summer the population swells with an influx of visitors to this beautiful region.
Norway: Norwegian Fjords
Leknes is the gateway to the Lofoten islands, home to some of the most stunning scenery in all of Norway, and sailing through the archipelago is a wonderful experience. Fishing is still the main source of income for most of the picturesque wooden villages that are dotted along the nearby coast.
Tromsø’s location well within the Arctic Circle means the summer months are lit by the Midnight Sun, a compensation for long dark winters. Explore the streets with their multi-coloured wooden houses, see the amazing architecture of the Arctic cathedral, or take the cable car up to Mount Storsteinen for a fantastic view.
Bjørnøya, or Bear Island, is the most southerly island in the Svalbard archipelago, marooned in the Barents Sea halfway between Spitsbergen and the Norwegian mainland. Despite the name there are no polar bears permanently resident, and the island’s most impressive sight is the huge bird colonies nesting on the cliffs.
The Svalbard archipelago is a true wilderness, a land of snowy peaks, frozen tundra and glassy seas. You’ll likely have no fixed itinerary here, due to the unpredictable nature of an Arctic expedition; be prepared to drop everything and rush up to the top deck for the chance of a polar bear sighting!
Arriving in Longyearbyen
This is the world's northernmost city and the base for tourism in Svalbard. A bit quirky, as you would expect from somewhere that spends four months of the year in near darkness, Longyearbyen doesn't take long to explore. Its brightly coloured wooden houses are built on stilts, as the ground in Svalbard is permafrost. When you enter a building, you are normally asked to remove your shoes, and leave your gun at the door. Gun carrying is more or less essential for the locals, as with 3,000 local hungry polar bears, it is said that you never know when you might need protection. That said, we visited safely without a gun!
Don’t die here – it’s illegal. There have been no new burials for over 70 years, because the permafrost prevents bodies from decomposing.
Your home from home
The intimate and popular little Silver Cloud is set to undergo an extensive refurbishment in August 2017, and will be reborn as a stylish expedition ship.
What we love
The lovely Silver Cloud will join Silversea's Expeditions fleet from November 2017, with a reduced capacity, an ice-strengthened hull and 18 zodiacs making this one of the most luxurious expedition ships at sea.
|Capacity||296 guests (until Aug 2017) / 260 guests (from Nov 2017; 200 guests in polar regions)|
|Crew||222 International Staff (until Aug 2017) / 208 International Staff (from Nov 2017)|
|Style||Cosy, welcoming, stimulating, exciting - this ship has it all! If you enjoy the finer things in life but have an adventurous spirit, you will find yourself in congenial company on board.|
|Cruising Speed||18 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Edinburgh
For sheer weird quirkiness, the Witchery by the Castle has to be our top choice: gothic and theatrical, this is Edinburgh at its best.
What to see around Edinburgh
Cross the Forth Bridge to visit Hopetoun House, the seaside fortress Blackness Castle, the House of the Binns, the Palace of Linlithgow and Rosslyn Chapel.
Where to stay in Longyearbyen
There’s really not much choice! Go for the Radisson Blu.
Travel out of Longyearbyen by snow scooter or dog sled to take a look at the amazing scenery and hunt for wildlife.