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Outer hebrides

Stay Closer to Home with a Breathtaking British Isles Cruise with Riviera Travel

Author: Olivia Sharpe

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With amazing history, cosmopolitan cities, soft-sand beaches and dramatic landscapes, why bother with the hassle of travelling abroad when you can enjoy all of this on your doorstep with a British Isles cruise this summer?

The tides are certainly beginning to turn for the cruise industry, as highlighted by the recent announcement that domestic cruises would be resuming in the UK from 17 May, enabling cruisers to dip their toes back into cruising post-lockdown this summer.

In anticipation of this, many cruise lines have been launching British Isles cruises for 2021, including Riviera Travel, which has released two brand new and exclusive UK itineraries departing this July on elegant small ship MS Seaventure: ‘Cruising the Emerald Isle’ and ‘Cruising Scotland’s Highlands & Islands’.

Encompassing the best of Ireland or Scotland by sea, both sailings offer a fascinating insight into these countries from a different and unique perspective. And the benefit of a small ship means guests can explore lesser-known UK ports inaccessible to larger ships for a much more authentic experience of the British Isles.

Explore all cruises on MS Seaventure HERE

British Isles cruise: Cliffs moher

Cruising the Emerald Isle

Discover the beauty of Ireland on Riviera Travel’s scenic eight-day cruise, which also takes in the country’s contrasting cosmopolitan cities, Belfast and Dublin, along with medieval and ancient sites. The sailing commences in Greenock, Glasgow, where you will board MS Seaventure, which will transport you to the first port of call, Belfast.

After disembarking the ship, guests will enjoy a walking tour of Northern Ireland’s historic capital, which is famously home to Titanic Belfast, the world’s biggest Titanic Museum. Other historic sites include Belfast City Hall, the 19th-century Albert Memorial Clock and St Anne’s Cathedral in the Cathedral Quarter. If all that sightseeing has got you thirsty and hungry, why not treat yourself to a drink in the spectacular surroundings of The Merchant Hotel or wander around St George’s Market, a Victorian covered market, for a bite to eat?

Next up after Belfast is dynamic Dublin, the birthplace of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Guinness beer. Guests will get to take in some of the city’s best and most well-known sights, including the Molly Malone statue, Grafton Street – which became known as the musical heart of the city in the 1980s – and St Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s largest park.

Bibliophiles will love visiting Trinity College and meandering through the corridors of its Old Library, where The Book of Kells, considered to be one of Ireland’s greatest treasures, is housed. Alternatively, check out Temple Bar, Dublin’s bustling nightlife district situated on the south side of the River Liffey.

British Isles cruise: Trinity College Dublin Dublin Ireland

Ireland is a wonderful blend of old and new, as highlighted in both Kilkenny and Cork, the next ports of call on the itinerary. In the medieval city of Kilkenny, guests will explore the castle, built by Norman occupiers in 1195, and take a stroll down the ‘Medieval mile’, visiting the Black Abbey, a 13th-century Catholic priory, and the St Canice Cathedral and Round Tower, a place of Christian worship since the sixth century. Meanwhile, in the picturesque port of Cork, iconic sites include the Irish market, St Anne’s Shandon and St Patricks’ Bridge.

As well as fascinating sites, Ireland is also famed for its spectacular scenery. Along with the Cliffs of Moher, guests will get to take in the unrivalled beauty of County Donegal. After mooring in Killybegs, enjoy a scenic drive to Muckross Head, where you can experience vistas of John’s Point, Ben Bulben and the Slieve League Cliffs, the tallest sea cliffs in Europe.

British Isles cruise: Slieve cliffs

Cruising Scotland’s Highlands & Islands

Alternatively, you can soak up Scotland’s stunning landscapes as you experience this diverse country by sea on Riviera Travel’s eight-night itinerary. Take in Aberdeen and Balmoral Castle, before heading to Inverness, Orkney, Oban and the fascinating Outer Hebrides, before finishing the trip with a taste of coastal Ireland.

With the advantage of sailing on a small ship, guests will get to explore less-visited ports of Scotland, including Invergordon, which is the perfect stop to explore Inverness and the famous Loch Ness.

British Isles cruise: Loch Ness, Scotland

The agile ship will also make its way Kirkwall, the largest town in the Orkney archipelago. Here guests will enjoy a scenic tour of the Unesco-listed Neolithic Orkney, including visits to Skara Brae and Skaill House. You will then head west and see the Standing Stones of Stennes, before visiting the Ring of Brodgar, the mystical stones which form one of the most fascinating prehistoric monuments in the British Isles.

Other highlights of this epic itinerary include a stop in Stornoway to discover the untamed scenery of the Outer Hebrides. During a half-day tour, guests will visit Lews Castle, a Victorian-era castle designed by Glaswegian architect Charles Wilson, and the Neolithic Callanish Standing Stones. There’s natural beauty at every turn, from the wild landscape of Carloway Beach to the striking white sand of Bosta Beach.

Stornoway

Aboard MS Seaventure

On both itineraries, guests will get to enjoy the delights of small-ship MS Seaventure, which is the only ship of her size to cruise the waters of the British Isles. The boutique vessel can accommodate just 158 guests and 90 crew, and its intimate size lends itself to the region, being able to dock in smaller harbours that are off-limits for larger ships. The ship also features 14 Zodiac boats to get guests closer to shore and nature.

British Isles cruise: Riviera Travel

While small, MS Seaventure boasts many contemporary and state-of-the-art facilities and amenities that one would typically expect of a larger ship, having been recently refurbished in 2019. These include a fitness suite, sauna and heated saltwater pool, along with 82 well-appointed sea-view cabins with a choice of porthole, panoramic window or balcony.

The ship is also home to many places to relax and unwind after a day of sightseeing, including the stylish Seabreeze Lounge and Bar, which features an outdoor terrace area for al fresco dining, or the more cosy onboard library. If you wish to enjoy the sea views, then head up to Deck 7, where you’ll find the magnificent Sun Deck and Expedition Lounge. There’s also a modern restaurant on board, which serves a buffet breakfast, lunch and à la carte dinner.

British Isles cruise: Riviera Travel Suite Deck

So, what are you waiting for? With only four departures setting sail this July, be sure to book ahead to secure the best price and cabin.

Visit rivieratravel.co.uk for more information.

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