National Geographic cruise to circumnavigate Ireland
Emerald Isle expedition
National Geographic Expeditions is offering an eight-day circumnavigation of Ireland, with prices from $7,990pp.
'Hidden Ireland: Loughs and Isles Off the Beaten Path', is an eight-day itinerary aboard National Geographic Orion, with two departures in June, 2016.
The expedition is described as a voyage along an "endlessly magnificent" coast, where historic treasures intermingle with a vibrant culture on the "legendary isle" of Ireland.
Highlights include Zodiac spins around Skellig Michael and Wexford's Great Saltee Island, visiting Dún Aonghusa on Inis Mór, and delving into the geology of the Giant's Causeway.
National Geographic Orion is a state-of-the-art, fully stabilised, ice-class vessel as capable of navigating polar ice as small harbours... so the vagaries of Ireland's climate (or the odd weather bomb) shouldn't prove a problem.
National Geographic Orion
The ship accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, each with ocean views and en-suite bathrooms. Onboard facilities include a hi-tech lecture theater, sauna, spa treatment rooms and a hot tub/plunge pool, with a restaurant overseen by award-winning Australian chef, Serge Dansereau.
Prices start from $7,990/€7,385pp, rising to $16,610/€15,350 for the most expensive cabin category, based on today's exchange rates.
Flights are not included.
The trips are available to book on June 12 and 19 in 2016, and will depart from Dublin, where guests gather to lunch onboard before setting sail at sunset.
Days two and three of the initial cruise will be spent cruising to the Saltee Islands and the Skelligs, before heading up Ireland's Atlantic coast to the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
Dún Aonghusa, Inis Mór. Photo: Raymond Fogarty/AirCam Ireland
Further Zodiac adventures are promised at Inismurray in Sligo Bay, before a visit to the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal. Day 6 includes a visit to Glenveagh National Park.
Day 7 is devoted to Northern Ireland, where passengers will explore the Causeway Coast and get the opportunity to kayak around Rathlin Island, before returning to disembark in Dublin the following day.
National Geographic Orion is outfitted for both snorkelers and divers, carries 24 kayaks and a fleet of 14 Zodiacs. It also comes kitted out with a remotely operated vehicle capable of 1,000 foot depth, plus a glass-bottom boat.
On board the National Geographic Orion
The Orion also operates an "open bridge" policy, offering guests the opportunity to meet the captain and officers and learn about navigation during their trip.
An expedition leader, veteran naturalists, undersea specialist, National Geographic photographer (Jim Richardson, on the June 12 cruise), wellness specialist, divemaster, video chronicler and full-time doctor are part of every expedition team.
Other National Geographic Expeditions packages featuring Ireland include a 10-day 'Hiking the Emerald Isle' trip ($5,195/€4,770pp), and a nine-day family adventure from $5,990/€5,500pp.
National Geographic Traveler also recently set a cover story in Kerry.
For more, see nationalgeographicexpeditions.com.