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12 nights
from £4495

Summer in the Lands of Vikings, Sagas & Fjords

A voyage from Copenhagen to Aberdeen aboard the MS Serenissima

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  • History and Culture
  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Copenhagen

Here is a perfect summer voyage for those who enjoy visiting picturesque villages, cities and towns, learning of their past inhabitants, most notably the Viking settlements of the region combined with an interest in the natural world.

Setting sail from Copenhagen, we continue our exploration of Denmark with a day in Aalborg with its rich Viking history before sailing to the northernmost tip of the country for a day in the delightful resort of Skagen. The following morning we will enter the Oslo Fjord, a truly marvellous sight, and begin our discovery of Norway which will include some stunning fjord scenery and time in the charming summer resorts of Lillesand and Kragero. Our time spent on deck as we cruise through some of Norway’s most impressive scenery promises to astound even the most jaded of travellers. Our voyage ends on Scotland’s east coast after we have visited the ancient ruins on the Orkney Islands and the Shetland capital, Lerwick.

Joining us onboard will be our guest who along with our local, informative guides will add much to our understanding of the region and with just 100 fellow travellers, we have the added benefit of not overwhelming the small towns we visit or disturbing the serenity of the beautiful landscapes as we explore in small groups.

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The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

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Day 1 - London / Manchester to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima. Embark and enjoy a welcome drink and dinner as we moor overnight.

Day 2 - Copenhagen.

After breakfast we will enjoy a tour of Copenhagen driving past the Tivoli Gardens and Nyhavn before seeing the Palace of Amalienborg, the four identical Rococo buildings which have been the Royal Residence since 1784. We will continue to Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Parliament built in 1167 and the city’s first fortress which was once the home of the Royal Family. Here we can see the Royal Reception rooms, used by the Danish Queen when receiving foreign ambassadors and visiting heads of state. We return to the MS Serenissima for lunch via the Little Mermaid fountain. This afternoon either choose to return to explore Copenhagen at your own pace or join an excursion to Roskilde where we will visit the impressive UNESCO listed cathedral dating back nearly 1000 years where almost 40 kings and queens of Denmark are buried. Continue to the Viking Ship Museum which houses five original Viking vessels dating from the 11th century and the Tunet, a replica of a Viking meeting place exhibiting handicrafts such as metal work and jewellery.

Day 3 - Aalborg.

Aalborg was founded by the Vikings in the late 10th century across the Limfjord and prospered on the fishing and sea trade on the fjord. On a morning excursion we will explore the ancient Viking site of Lindholm Hoje, one of the most important ancient monuments in Scandinavia which was dug out from a thick layer of sand. We will visit the burial site of 700 graves, scattered on a hilltop with a beautiful view of the fjord. Continue to the onsite museum that contains a fascinating exhibition on the Viking settlements found close to the burial ground. We will end with the chance to enjoy authentic Viking cuisine with some small dishes prepared using traditional recipes. After lunch onboard we will have an afternoon to explore the old town of Aalborg. A guided tour will include the Renaissance styled Merchant houses, the Baroque town hall, the 16th century Budolfi cathedral and Aalborghus Castle. For anyone interested in sampling the local beers there will be the chance to join a guided walk of the old town including a tasting of the local specialities.

Day 4 - Skagen.

For our last day in Denmark we are at its northernmost port of Skagen, a 600 year old market town. The delightful scenery and light has inspired artists such as Ancher and Kroyer whilst the surrounding area has been designated by the World Wide Fund for Nature as a rare, authentic natural beauty spot. On a morning excursion we will head to Skagen Odde, the narrow spit at the headland of Skagen where the North Sea and Baltic Sea meet. Due to the strong currents and shallow waters, the shifting sands create a constantly changing landscape. We return to Skagen and enjoy an afternoon exploring the winding alleys in the atmospheric old quarter or the vibrant atmosphere at the marina. Alternatively view the artwork inspired by the region in the local museum or enjoy a beer from the micro-brewery.

Day 5 - Oslo, Norway.

Be on deck this morning as we navigate the Oslo Fjord, a marvellous sight as the fjord dramatically narrows on the approach to the city. Founded in the 11th century, Oslo has much to offer the visitor and on a morning tour we will see the Akershus Fortress, Royal Palace and Parliament Building before spending some time at the Viking Ship Museum. Here we find discoveries from the great ship burials at Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune as well as finds from the chieftain grave at Borre, Vestfold County. The three ships, which are the best preserved Viking ships in existence, were found in large burial mounds in the Oslo fjord region and contained rich furnishings of wood and textiles rarely found in such a good state of preservation. Our excursion will end at Holmenkollen Hill where we find the world renowned ski jumping area and ski museum as well as offering wonderful views to the city and Oslo Fjord below. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city at leisure.

Day 6 - Kragero.

Surrounded by nearly 500 islands and skerries, Kragero is a charming town in the region of Telemark and a popular summer retreat. Enjoy a free morning to explore the downtown area, walking through the narrow streets and alleyways amongst the old wooden houses. Alternatively join a cruise through the hundreds of large and small islands that line the coast which are home to wildflowers, seabirds and lighthouses. After lunch onboard we head inland to the Telemark Canal. When completed in 1892, after five years of construction, it was described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. We will join one of the local nostalgic boats as they transit the 18 locks, lifting the ship 72 metres above sea level, and enjoying the changing scenery as we travel from the sea to the mountains.

Day 7 - Lillesand.

This morning we arrive at one of Norway’s best kept secrets, the charming summer resort of Lillesand. Using our small ship we will navigate the small islands and skerries which dot the coastline making the approach to the town from the sea a truly memorable sight. We will enjoy a few hours ashore in Lillesand exploring the old town with its old white clapboard houses, beautiful gardens and the local shipping museum whilst enjoying the unique atmosphere of a Norwegian summer resort. Return to the ship for lunch and a relaxing afternoon at sea.
Please note that we will be at anchor today and Zodiacs will be used for transportation ashore.

Day 8 - Lysefjord & Stavanger.

Enjoy a morning cruising Lysefjord, which measures 23 miles end to end and has walls up to 1100 metres in height. We will cruise by Preikestolen (Priest Rock) and Kjerag Mountain, both towering above whilst waterfalls cascade down the rock faces into the fjord. In the early afternoon we will arrive in Stavanger for a stroll in the small harbour with its multi-coloured traditional wood buildings. Old Stavanger is a cluster of 173 small white wooden houses built in the 18th century which house craft shops, galleries and museums. Alternatively join a local boat to the garden at Sor Hidle where we find a tranquil, blossoming garden full of exotic plants and palm trees offering stunning sea views.

Day 9 - Haugesund.

It was in nearby Avaldsnes where, a thousand years ago, King Harald Fairhair united Norway into a single kingdom, and it was from this area that the Viking Kings ruled Norway for more than 500 years. The region has laid claim to the title of Norway’s Birthplace and Homeland of the Viking Kings. On a morning tour we will visit the 13th century St Olavs church which was built by Haakon Haakonson and seen as a symbol of the unification of the Norwegian Kingdom. Later we will learn about the Viking age at the Nordvegen Heritage Centre before ending at a Viking Farm complete with long houses, round houses and a large boat shed. After lunch onboard the afternoon is free to explore this small town independently, maybe make your way to the top of Steinsfjellet Mountain with panoramic views over the town, fjord and surrounding islands. Alternatively join us as we visit the charming old town of Skudeneshavn which consists of 130 white wooden houses originating from the 1800’s, when herringfishing was at its peak. We will stroll through the streets and the guide will share stories about the locals that lived here before visiting the Maelandsgarden Museum highlighting the development of the town.

Day 10 - Bergen.

Our final call in Norway is the lovely fjord capital of Bergen. A guided excursion will include King Hakons Hall, the Rosenkrantz Tower, Bergen Theatre and St. Mary`s Church which was built around 1170 and is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Norway. Continue to Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Greig where we explore the house and gardens before enjoying a private concert of his music. We return to the ship via the Hanseatic Quarters of “Bryggen”. Enjoy lunch onboard and enjoy an afternoon at leisure to explore at your own pace.

Day 11 - Lerwick, Shetland Islands.

After a morning at sea we arrive, during lunch, in the capital of the Shetland Islands. From here we have a choice of afternoon excursions. You may wish to visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1896/7, revealing an extraordinary settlement site embracing at least 5000 years of human history. The site contains a remarkable sequence of stone structures – late Neolithic houses, a Bronze- Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouses, a Medieval farmstead and the 16th century laird’s house. Alternatively stay in Lerwick and discover the historic port wandering through its narrow stone lanes. We will visit the excellent Shetland Museum, containing historical artefacts from the Neolithic period, Viking memorabilia and items from the whaling era.

Day 12 - Papa Westray & Kirkwall, Orkney Islands.

Our first call in the Orkney Islands is the island of Papa Westray. Here we will visit the 3500 year old Knap of Howar, a Neolithic farm building that claims to be the oldest standing house in Europe and the 12th century St Boniface Kirk. In the north of the island is the North Hill reserve, home to arctic terns and skuas and also the extremely rare Scottish primrose. Over lunch we sail to the Orkney capital of Kirkwall from where we will head into the west of the Mainland, Orkney’s largest island. We will pass through gentle rolling landscape and into the Neolithic Heartland of Orkney; an area designated as a World Heritage Site due to its wealth of pre-historic archaeology. We will see the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar; a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5000 years. We continue to the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae and see the remarkable dwellings revealed from beneath the sand dunes by storms only 150 years ago. We will also visit Birsay, the ancient centre of Viking power and explore St Magnus Church which dates back over 900 years.
Please note that we will be at anchor this morning and Zodiacs will be used for transportation ashore.

Day 13 - Aberdeen, Scotland to London.

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for the return scheduled flight to London. Alternatively, join the transfer to the railway station at a fixed time.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
8 to 20 August 2017
Category Price
1 Inside Twin/Double £4495
2 Standard Stateroom £4795
3 Standard Stateroom Plus £5095
4 Superior Stateroom £5345
5 Deluxe Stateroom £5595
6 Junior Suite £5845
7 Executive Suite £6395
8 Owner’s Suite £6395
9 Inside Single £4495
10 Standard Single £4795
2 Standard Stateroom for sole use £7195
3 Standard Stateroom Plus for sole use £7645

Tour Reference Code: SCSE080817

For those who do not wish to join our scheduled flight from Aberdeen to London, a credit of £85 per person will apply.

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 12 nights aboard the MS Serenissima on a full board basis with house wine and beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard, Noble Caledonia onboard team, shore excursions, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel Insurance.

  • All Decks



The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

  • Restaurant
  • Restaurant
  • On Deck
    On Deck
  • Harald Jarl Lounge
    Harald Jarl Lounge
  • Jacuzzi area
    Jacuzzi area
  • Owners Suite
    Owners Suite
  • Executive Suite
    Executive Suite
  • Executive suite
    Executive suite
  • Junior Suite
    Junior Suite
  • Superior Stateroom
    Superior Stateroom
  • De Luxe Stateroom
    De Luxe Stateroom
  • Standard Plus
    Standard Plus
  • Standard inside
    Standard inside
  • Serenissima
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Accommodating no more than 100 passengers, the cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an ensuite bathroom with shower, sink, toilet, a selection of toiletries including shower gel, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. There are ten different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and with the exception of the three inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm. 

    Cabin sizes vary between 7 and 25 square metres.

  • Your Space

    The facilities onboard include two lounges – the larger Andrea Lounge is comfortable and spacious and the smaller Harald Lounge is more intimate. There is also a small library with a computer for internet access. The outside areas are something special with a spacious observation deck allowing for 360 degree views of the passing scenery. From here, step down to the lido area with two treadmills, Jacuzzi and outside bar.

    The covered seating area at the back of deck 6 is ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand. Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. 

  • Your Dining

    The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. Being on deck 5, it has great views from all tables. The picture windows mean the restaurant is light and airy. Breakfast is served buffet-style with cooked dishes available and eggs to order by the ship’s accomplished chef. Lunch is also served buffetstyle with hot and cold dishes available. Dinner is served a la carte and is four courses, except for at the Captain’s Dinner, which is a six course affair. In addition, there are al fresco dining facilities available in good weather.

    Where possible, local produce is sourced for an authentic dining experience. A choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks, and water are included at lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee are served around the clock in the Andrea Lounge. In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere onboard, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure and dress is informal except for the Captain’s Dinner for which you may wish to dress in smarter attire.

  • Life Onboard

    The MS Serenissima is more akin to a countryhotel than one of the large ships trawling the seas today. The European Captain, Officers and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on around the clock entertainment and dining, but instead on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. 

  • For your comfort

    There are so few ships of this generation still cruising and MS Serenissima is a great testament to her present and previous owners that they have seen fit to invest considerable sums over the years to keep her in top form and complying with the stringent health and safety requirements. There is a doctor onboard and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the bridge.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 


  • Drone Footage

    Please click below for some great drone footage of Serenissima.

  • Deck plans
    • All Decks


Onboard Team

  • Elizabeth Pierce

    Elizabeth Pierce grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota in the US. Despite her landlocked origins, she first travelled to Scandinavia during college to study. After college she worked for a few years as a journalist before turning her attention to two other areas of interest: archaeology and Scandinavia. For nearly a decade she lived in Scotland, where she received her master's degree and PhD in archaeology.

    The focus of Elizabeth's archaeological research has been the Viking and Norse periods, particularly the material culture of those periods. During her postgraduate studies, Elizabeth worked on excavations in Shetland, Iceland and mainland Scotland and travelled extensively throughout Scandinavia to attend conferences and see the fantastic artefacts from the area. Since completing her degree, Elizabeth has taught undergraduate, postgraduate and adult education courses about the Vikings at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, has published numerous book chapters and scholarly articles and has consulted on television documentaries about the Vikings. More recently she has been a guest lecturer on voyages to the British Isles and Scandinavia, as well as an expedition staff member and lecturer in the Arctic. Currently she is co-authoring a book on the Vikings in the North Atlantic.

    Her research interests continue to lie in the western Viking world, including the North Atlantic, British Isles and Scandinavia.

    Elizabeth Pierce will be on the following tour dates: 8 to 20 August 2017
  • Joseph Cockram

    Joe started birdwatching at the age of 7, and left home to work as a warden and researcher on nature reserves as soon as was legally allowable. He soon developed a passion for seabirds and has worked on some of England’s most important colonies, living amongst nesting Puffins, Shearwaters and Terns. Working on these sites, leading guided walks and engaging visitors at viewpoints, he took great pleasure in using his knowledge and enthusiasm to connect people to the wildlife around them, and realised that a career in guiding would make the best use of his skills. He now guides on tours around the British coast, sharing his passion for the marine environment and its inhabitants, and also runs guided walks and tours in the Somerset Levels, where he grew up. He has travelled extensively, from the Southern Oceans in pursuit of Albatrosses and Whales, to Nepal where he is gradually ticking off the trekking routes through the Himalayas.

    Joseph Cockram will be on the following tour dates: 8 to 20 August 2017

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Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000