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|Price range||From £2109|
|Travel partner||Newmarket Holidays|
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Iceland and the northern isles cruise - Marco Polo 2014 From Tilbury
- 12 nights accommodation in your choice of cabin
- Full-board arrangements including full breakfast, luncheon, dinner, afternoon tea and midnight snacks
- On-board entertainment as arranged
- Calls at ports as detailed in the itinerary
- The services of a friendly, professional crew and cruise staff
- Port charges and taxes
- Single and upgrade cabins are available for a supplement
The holiday begins as you journey to Tilbury, ready to embark and sail this afternoon.
Today is spent cruising at sea, off the east coast of Scotland.
Marco Polo docks in Kirkwall, just a mile from the waters of historic Scapa Flow, where the German fleet was scuttled in 1919. HMS Royal Oak also sunk here in the second world war, prompting the construction of the barriers, the Italian chapel serving as a reminder that they were built with the aid of Italian prisoners of war.
Today is spent at sea, cruising ever northwards.
At our next landfall, Heimaey, the cone of Eldfell (Fire Mountain) looms above the tiny port of Vestmannaeyjar, together with its greener twin Helgafell, which last erupted in 1973, almost destroying the town. The island is also a haven for countless bird species, including puffins, and the surrounding waters are home to a variety of giant marine mammals. Enjoy the tranquility of this location before Marco Polo makes her way to the 'new' island of Surtsey, created from a three-year series of volcanic eruptions that began in 1963.
Early this morning Marco Polo docks in the world's northernmost capital, Reykjavik. Sitting on a promontory jutting into the sea and framed by Mt Ejsa, the city's brightly painted wooden buildings stand in sharp contrast to its setting. Step ashore to explore the city - perhaps taking the lift to the top of the Hallgrimskirkja church for a panoramic view or visiting the Arbaer Folk museum and the Saga museum. Witness geothermal activity at the famous Blue Lagoon pool, and at the original Geysir - after which all others are named.
This morning Marco Polo arrives in Isafjordur, the capital of the Westfjords area, and gateway to western Iceland. Visit the replica Viking farmstead at Eiriksstaoir, once home of Eirik the Red (who left it to settle Greenland) and birthplace of Leif the Lucky, who discovered America. See the glacier, on Snaefellsjokull, which is Iceland's newest national park.
Our final day in Iceland is spent at Akureyri on the north coast, where the summer days are longest of all. The area beyond this thriving winter resort is particularly scenic, and today's excursion, to the Godafoss falls and volcanic Lake Myvatn, highlights this. This evening, Marco Polo will briefly cross the Arctic Circle before turning south once more.
Today finds Marco Polo in the natural harbour of Seydisfjordur. The town's collection of pretty, Norwegian-style houses is flanked by high mountains, and from here, ferries and a sub-ocean telephone cable connect Iceland to the outside world. The town is known as the cultural capital of east Iceland, and is gateway to yet more fine countryside.
The 'stretched' village of Kollafjordur welcomes Marco Polo to the Faroes today. A birdwatcher's Paradise, the islands are home to countless species and their inhabitants are guardians of a deep-rooted Norse tradition. They live surrounded by natural beauty, drawing their income from the sea in the shape of fish and oil exploration. See Kollafjordur's ancient, turf-roofed church, and perhaps visit the island capital, tiny Torshavn, or join an excursion to other parts of the islands, crossing the famous bridge across the Atlantic connecting the main island of Streymoy with smaller Eysturoy.
Our final port of call is the Shetland capital of Lerwick. This town is gateway to a land of ancient legend, traditional crafts and an abundance of bird-life. Wander the town, or join the excursion to the 3000-year-old archaeological site at Jarlshof, with its Bronze and Iron Age remains.
A final day at sea.
Marco Polo arrives back in Tilbury.
MV Marco Polo
In an age of vast, impersonal, floating hotels, 22,000-tonne 'Marco Polo', her profile marking her out as the epitome of sea-going elegance, is a beautiful ocean-liner in the classic tradition. Offering high levels of comfort, sumptuous dining and a genuinely warm welcome from the crew, 'Marco Polo' will offer everything you'd expect of such a high-class vessel.
Fully stabilised and air-conditioned, 'Marco Polo' boasts eight passenger decks, which are serviced by four lifts and three wide stairwells. Out on deck a vast amount of space ensures plenty of viewing opportunities when cruising through scenic waters, and more-than-ample room for sunbathers to top up their tans, while belowdecks you'll find facilities to cater to all your cruising pleasures by day and night. In addition to the comfortable lounges and bars, beautiful main dining room and light and airy bistro there's a shopping arcade, a library, a card room and an internet room. The Spa, Beauty and Fitness Centre spoils the body-conscious with a gym, a hair and beauty salon, a table-tennis room, a massage and sauna area, and even deck-top Jacuzzis.'Marco Polo"s 15 categories of cabins and suites all offer private facilities with showers or bath/showers, TV with satellite, 'view from the bridge' and in-house movie channels, telephones, hairdryers and personal safes. Cabins have a variety of twin and double beds, with upper berths for third and fourth sharing passengers. Outside cabins offer porthole or larger windows. Your cabin will be looked after your steward/stewardess and housekeeper, who will ensure that beds are made, towels are changed and toiletries replenished. All cabins feature 110v and 220v current and have an electrical socket. Even in the most economical cabins, the standard features are impressive.