We know that the London-centric nature of the UK's travel infrastructure can be a source of frustration to many outside the South East, whether it's the limited choice of destinations offered by regional airports, or the fact that most ex UK cruises sail from ports on the south coast.
We're always on the lookout for interesting cruise itineraries from Scotland, as we know our clients generally prefer to avoid the hassle of connecting flights to London and long journeys south via rail or road. A number of our most popular cruise lines offer voyages sailing from Scottish ports, so we've put together this selection of the best cruises from Scotland in 2023 and 2024.
1. Windstar Cruises - Lands of the Midnight Sun
In July 2023 Windstar's Star Pride, which was refurbished in 2021, embarks on a fantastic 12-night voyage from Edinburgh to Iceland via the magnificent Norwegian Fjords and the remote Faroe Islands. Highlights include the spectacular Geirangerfjord, the old Hanseatic wharf at Bergen and an overnight stay in Kirkwall, giving you plenty of time to explore the fascinating Orkney Islands. Your cruise ends in Reykjavik, where we recommend staying for a couple of nights before flying back direct to Edinburgh.
2. Silversea - British Isles
Silversea's luxury 200-guest expedition ship Silver Endeavour, refurbished this year, is an occasional visitor to Scottish shores, and we particularly like the look of her adventurous 20 April 2024 sailing from Edinburgh to Portsmouth. This 14-night voyage first calls at Aberdeen and the Shetland Islands - home to some of the best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe - before navigating Scotland's rugged outlying islands, with highlights including the remote Skye and Treshnish Isles and spotting seabirds on beautiful St Kilda and Isle of Noss, with time in the charming Isles of Scilly and cobblestone streets of Guernsey's St Peter Port before sailing back to Portsmouth.
3. Hebridean Island Cruises - Outer Isles and Small Isles
We could hardly talk about cruising from Scotland without mentioning one of our favourite little ships, the inimitable Hebridean Princess. This tiny vessel is based in Scotland all year round, carrying just 50 travellers in cosy and comfortable surroundings. Hebridean offer a number of short taster cruises, including this 4-night round-trip from Oban departing on 8 September 2023, which is a great opportunity to get a feel for what life is like on board without committing to one of the longer (and pricier) sailings.
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4. Ponant - The Sirba Octet on the North Sea
Take a trip around Britain's Celtic fringe and Norway's stunning fjord landscapes on board Ponant's stylish 184-guest yacht Le Champlain, sailing from Glasgow on 18 May 2024 on a short 7-night voyage. This varied itinerary includes the beautiful highland scenery of Glencoe, the windswept Orkney Islands and the lovely fjord-framed villages of Norway's Olden, Flam and Bergen.
5. Seabourn - Scotland & Norwegian Fjords
Experience Seabourn's 264-guest expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, launched in 2022, on this 14-night voyage from Edinburgh to Tromsø departing on 29 June 2024. You'll visit some of Scotland's most remote islands, including Fair Isle and Stroma, before crossing to Norway and following the coast north via dramatic fjords and the stunning Lofoten Islands. Highlights along the way include the pretty village of Ålesund and the spectacular bird cliffs of Runde before you end among the midnight sun of Tromsø, the gateway to the Arctic.
6. Explora Journeys - An Extended Journey to Scotland, Greenland and the New World
Sail from Glasgow on 2 September 2023 on an epic journey to New York on board brand-new ship Explora I. You'll discover the pretty islands of Scotland's remote northern coast and the turf-topped houses of the Faroe Islands, then continue on to Iceland's wild fjords, with an overnight at buzzy capital Reykjavik. Then, discover giant glaciers and Inuit culture in Greenland before setting sail for the city icons of New York, calling in at charming Atlantic Canada on the way.