With National Geographic and PONANT, board L’Austral for an all new expedition cruise that will take you from Dublin to Longyearbyen. During this exceptional 12-day trip, you will discover the most beautiful of the Scottish Isles and cross the Arctic Circle to reach the frozen lands of Spitsbergen Island.
From the Irish capital, you will set a course northward and have the chance to stop at several of the British Isles.
First you will discover the Hebrides archipelago: Iona, the cradle of Scottish Christianity, Mull and the charming colourful town of Tobermory, and finally the Isle of Skye, a bastion of Gaelic culture, its famous bridge, and its stunning scenery.
You will then call at Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Islands, where numerous seabirds, such as gannets and European shags, have taken up residence.
Further north, you will marvel at the mysterious charm of the Lofoten archipelago. These islands have landscapes of surreal beauty alternating between sea, spectacular fjords, mountain slopes, fine sand beaches and huts on stilts.
To round off your trip, Spitsbergen, an island that is emblematic of the Arctic lands, will reveal itself to you. There you will be able to explore Hornsund, one of the island’s most beautiful fjords, boasting an impressive glacier front.
We are privileged guests in these remote lands where we are at the mercy of weather, ice, tidal and current conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the AECO.
The capital of Ireland is a remarkably diverse city that makes an ideal starting point for your Scotland to Spitsbergen expedition. The cobbled streets which line the streets of Dublin are filled with art shops, tea houses and pubs as well as iconic architecture that can be found around every corner.
Islay Island is the southernmost island of the InnerHebrides of Scotland.Also referred the Queen of the Hebrides, the island has an impressive 130 miles of coastline and its famed for its eight working whisky distilleries. Islay offers many quiet sandy beaches that are dotted all around the island, and ofwhich some are safe for swimming.
Iona is a small island off the southwest coal of Mill in the Inner Hebrides. With just 130 inhabitants, Iona is famed for Iona Abbey, which was once the centre of Gaelic monasticism. The tranquil lands are typical of Hebridean beauty and the approach is particularly spectacular when the weather is sunny.
The Orcadesor the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland. It comprises of approximately 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. The Ordades have an abundance of wildlife, particularly grey and common seals as well as seabirds such as puffins, tysties, ravens, and bonxies. In the sea, you may be lucky enough to spot whales, dolphins and otters.
Lerwick is capital of the Shetland Islands and is Britain's most northerly town. Situated off the north coast of mainland Scotland, the popular seaport is centred by the old waterfront which is lined with shops, cafes, lively bars and clubs. The sandstone buildings are reminiscent of the 18th century with many of the warehouses still stand with their foundations in the sea.
During your day on the L’Austral, make the most of your surroundings and enjoy the onboard amenities and services. Relax in the spa, head to the fitness centre for a workout or take a dip in the swimming pool. If you’re interested in wildlife, head to the upper deck where you’ll get the best view to observe marine species, should you be lucky enough to pass any.
Lofoten Islands are considered to be in “another world” and for good reason. The archipelago with its jagged coastline is a majestic setting of high alpine summits, sandy beaches, green prairies and spectacular fjords. Many of the fjords are UNESCO listed, so whichever you manage to see will be a treat.
Tromsøis a secluded town situated in the country of Troms. Known locally as the “Paris of the north” it is the largest city of Northern Norway and is a specular location to see to the Northern Lights. The diverse town is ideal for eating and drinking as well asbeing surrounded by untouched wilderness, which offers many opportunities for outdoor activities.
Situated halfway between Norway and Spitsbergen, Bjørnøya is the most southern island of Svalbard. Also known as Bear Island, it was discovered by Dutch explorers in 1596 and was aptly named after the explorers got into a ‘fight’ with a polar bear. From the cruise, you may be lucky enough to see the diverse wildlife that resides on and around the island.
Isbukta is a bay in Sørkapp Land on the south-east point of the island Spitsbergen. The relatively small bay protects the immense glacier, Vasil’evbreen which is bigger than 20km in length. This stop is the perfect opportunity for a unique Zodiac® outing if the weather permits and get the chance to approach Stellingfjellet.
The crown of Norway, Spitsbergen is positioned between millennial glaciers and carved mountains making for a remarkable experience. The expedition will take you close to the beautiful archipelago and Hornsund fjord that is considered to be the most beautiful of them all and where you may pass icebergs along the way.
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago and is situated on Svalbard’s main island. By many, Longyearbyen may seem like an extreme environment to reside with winter temperatures plummeting to around 40°C but these conditions make the experience during the expedition even more spectacular.
National Geographic Expeditions has carefully chosen world-leading travel partners to create extraordinary travel experiences. Each expedition offers guests our unique access, knowledge and the ability to give back by supporting the National Geographic Society.
Never miss a Nat Geo moment
Join our curious community and you'll have access to some great features!
Personalised content reflecting your interests on the site
Watch exclusive videos before anyone else
Favourite content that you like or want to check out later
Free SMS and Email reminders so you never miss a show
Get notified when content that interests you is published
Share your photos on Snap! that could appear on TV
Share your thoughts and opinions on various matters
Receive a monthly newsletter with loads of great content