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Swan Hellenic is offering voyagers three expert-curated cultural expedition cruises, designed expressly to immerse them in the historical, cultural and wildlife wonders of the British Isles and Iceland.

From the mystic romance of ancient Celtic civilizations to the legendary trails of Vikings and the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland, these voyages promise unforgettable exploration and discovery. All three cruises in the series are aboard Swan Hellenic’s purpose-designed boutique ice-class ship SH Vega.

The first is Spirit of the Celts (11 nights from 24 May to 4 June 2024), which sails from Portsmouth, England’s only island city, to Fowey in Cornwall, Tresco in the Scilly Isles, Bantry, Dingle, Galway and Killybegs in Ireland, then Iona, Stornoway, Loch Ewe and Oban in Scotland, followed by Portrush and Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland before finally concluding the odyssey in Dublin, Ireland.

With every destination offering a wealth of experiences, it’s difficult to single out highlights, but the spellbinding Callanish Stones on the west coast of Lewis and Harris, also famed for Harris tweed, are sure to be a treasured memory.

Built some 500 years before Stonehenge, in 3,000 BC, they’re one of the two oldest stone circles in the UK. Another standout is the Causeway Coast, its clifftop walks and beaches leading to the UNESCO-listed Giant’s Causeway with its 40,000 basalt formations, deservedly Ireland’s leading tourist attraction.

In the Wake of Celts and Vikings (12 nights from 4 to 16 June 2024) follows on, leaving Dublin for Iona, Portree on the Isle of Skye, then Ullapool, Stromness on Orkney, Lerwick on Shetland, and Tórshavn, port capital of the Faroe Islands, before embarking on a semi-circumnavigation of Iceland, calling at Djupivogur, Grimsey Island, Akureyri, Isafjordur, Vigur Island, Dynjandi waterfall, Látrabjarg cliffs and Reykjavik.

Highlights are again difficult to pick with so many magical places visited, but Orkney’s Skara Brae is a standout as Northern Europe’s best preserved Neolithic village, predating Stonehenge and the Giza pyramids.

The over one million seabirds on Grimsey also make for awe-inspiring encounters, only matched by the immense landscapes of Akureyri with its spectacular canyon and waterfalls.

The third cruise in this exceptional series is Iceland in Depth (8 nights from 16 to 24 June 2024), which departs Reykjavik for a full circumnavigation of the island, exploring the Dynjandi waterfall, Ísafjördur and the Westfjords region, Vigur Island, the seabird paradise of Grimsey, then Hrisey Island, famed for its wildlife and traditional Icelandic crafts.

Next comes Akureyri, “Capital of the North”, with its spectacular surroundings, the art port of Seyðisfjörður and the charming fishing village of Djupivogur, followed by Heimaey, home to the largest puffin colony in the world, after which SH Vega will complete the circle to Reykjavik.

Each of these captivating cultural expedition cruises offers voyagers a special opportunity to unlock the rich secrets of these beautiful wild lands, where the legacies of Celtic and Viking culture intertwine. Moreover, they can be daisy-chained to create an extended in-depth experience.

Which is one reason why there is already only limited availability of the middle cruise, In the Wake of Celts and Vikings. Take note!

“The myths and legends of the Celts and Vikings have long exerted a fascination as strong as that of the otherworldly landscapes and rich wildlife of the regions where they lived,” Swan Hellenic Chief Commercial Officer Patrizia Iantorno, said.

“These three cultural expedition cruises have been crafted by our experts to provide an immersive experience of every aspect.

“We’re extremely proud of the result, knowing the unforgettable moments that will await our guests as they voyage in the sophisticated casual ambience of SH Vega, with its gourmet dining and designer amenities.”