Call 020 7752 0000

AAAHome
7 nights
from £2795

Island Hopping in the Hebrides - 2019

An expedition voyage exploring the majestic beauty of the Hebrides aboard the Ocean Nova

  • 11 May 2019
  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Expedition Cruising
  • St Kilda

Words do not do justice to the spectacular beauty, rich wildlife and fascinating history of the Inner and Outer Hebrides which we will explore during this expedition aboard the Ocean Nova. One of Europe’s last true remaining wilderness areas affords the traveller a marvellous island hopping journey through stunning scenery accompanied by spectacular sunsets and prolific birdlife. With our naturalists and local guides and our fleet of nimble Zodiacs we are able to visit some of the most remote and uninhabited islands that surround the Scottish coast including St Kilda and Mingulay as well as the small island communities of Canna and Iona.

Having arranged hundreds of small ship cruises around Scotland, we have realised that everyone takes something different from the experience. Learn something of the island’s history, see their abundant bird and marine life, but above all revel in the timeless enchantment that these islands exude to all those who appreciate the natural world. We are indeed fortunate in having such marvellous places so close to home. Now, more than ever there is a great appreciation for the peace, beauty and culture of this special corner of the UK. Whether your interest lies in horticulture or the natural world, history or bird watching or simply being there to witness the beauty of the islands, this trip will lift the spirits and gladden the heart.

Useful Links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  

  • What to Expect

    Flexibility is the key to an expedition cruise; sometimes the whole day’s schedule may be changed to maximise your experience based on weather or wildlife sightings, something that would not be possible on a large cruise ship. Each day holds something new and below are some extracts from our vessel’s logs from our last Hebridean voyages which will provide you with an idea of what to expect should you choose to join our Hebridean adventure:

    18th June — Iona, Staffa & Lunga: We awoke to find ourselves anchored in the Sound of Iona for our walk up to the Abbey. Little remains of the early Christian settlement, founded around 563 A.D. by St Columba and 12 companions who had sailed from Ireland. It became one of the most important monasteries in early Medieval Europe, renowned as a centre of learning and artistic excellence. During our walk, many passengers heard corncrakes calling in the gardens and fields around the village and some were lucky enough to catch sight of one. All too soon it was time to return to the ship for lunch as we still had a full day ahead. Once the ship had repositioned to anchor off Staffa half of our compliment were landed on the island to walk round into Fingal’s Cave, while others were taken by Zodiac into the cave, swapping over later. The latter was a distinct highlight, made possible only by the ship’s Zodiacs so not many visitors are able to view the wondrous basalt columns from within the cave itself! John showed a short but spectacular slide presentation to Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture as the ship moved on to Lunga. It was after five when we began our landing but it had brightened to a bright sunny afternoon showing the Hebridean vista to full effect – from the Cuillin of Rum to the Paps of Jura, even distant Ben Nevis was just visible. But the climax of a very full day must be the puffins that awaited us at the top of a short, slightly rocky path. Lying down meant that the birds soon became used to our presence, providing unparalleled close encounters – well worth the climb! Some of the more energetic followed John along a cliff path to Harp Rock, which was crammed with nesting guillemots, some razorbills, more puffins, fulmars, kittiwakes and shags – all presenting wonderful photo opportunities. Those who could not face the climb were still able to enjoy the spectacle from the Zodiacs as thousands of puffins and other seabirds were resting on the sea.

    21st June — Shiant Islands: By breakfast the ship had anchored amongst the Shiant Islands in the Minch – Eilean Mhuire (Mary’s Isle) to the north, Eilean Tighe (House Island) and the spectacular Garbh Eilean (Rough Island) to the south, the two joined by a boulder beach. Once more we were viewing tertiary basalt columns just like Staffa and Canna but this time several hundred feet tall and thronging with seabirds, many of whom sat on the calm sea as our Zodiacs cruised close off shore. The islands are owned by Adam Nicholson who wrote about them so eloquently in his book ‘Sea Room’ and are uninhabited. We made first for the tall basalt cliffs where we enjoyed a fly-past of a white-tailed sea eagle which then landed near its mate on a grassy ledge. They sat side by side for the rest of our visit. This very cliff housed one of the very last breeding pairs early in the 20th century but a highly successful reintroduction programme (begun on the Isle of Rum in 1975) has resulted in some 60 pairs now nesting in Britain (mainly the Hebrides) once again. We saw some grey and common seals hauled out ashore, and investigated some interesting sea caves before turning along the huge boulder scree along the east side of Garbh Eilean with its huge numbers of razorbills, puffins and shags. There were also some great skuas flying around, looking for an opportunity to rob the auks of the food they carried to feed chicks.

    22nd June — St Kilda: The early risers were rewarded with fine views of our approach to the archipelago of St Kilda, its tops draped mysteriously in mist. It had been a calm crossing and some dolphins and minke whales had been spotted on route. We ate breakfast quickly so as to hear an introduction to the islands by the ranger. Soon after the Zodiacs began shuttling people ashore to the pier and, although several options had been offered, most people opted first to join John on a guided historical walk along the village street from the Manse (now the staff quarters which also housed the shop). Many then progressed up The Gap to find Jamie and his party of longer walkers, while Karin had led an energetic walk up the road to the summit ridge and the radar installation. John’s group then dispersed to explore on their own and most of us, of course, found time to visit the shop for postcards and souvenirs. On return to the ship, lunch consisted of a barbecue prepared by the galley staff and many opted to eat outside on deck with the impressive backdrop of St Kilda’s Village Bay. But we were not finished yet, for the expedition team then filled their Zodiacs with enthusiastic and intrepid guests, keen to explore the rocky shores and dramatic caves of Dun, seeing seals and seabirds notably, of course, puffins. This highlight was quickly overshadowed by the final offering – the Captain taking his ship for a circumnavigation of St Kilda, around Dun, under the Lover’s Stone and the Carn Mor boulder field on Hirta to Soay, and then past Glen Bay to view, Conachair, at 1,400 feet the highest sheer cliff in Britain. As if on cue, the cloud lifted briefly to reveal its summit before we struck east, across the four mile volcanic caldera 60 metres under us, towards Boreray and the stacs. Approaching Stac Lee (564 ft) the Captain opted to take a wide sweep and circumnavigate this hugely impressive tooth of rock, smothered in 9,000 pairs of nesting gannets. The noise – and the smell! – were palpable as we stared up at the sheer face in its cloud of gannets, constantly changing shape and almost close enough to touch. We next moved on to the pyramid shape of Stac an Armin – at 644 ft the highest sea stack in Britain, home again to 9,000 pairs of gannets, the remaining 40,000 pairs of St Kilda’s largest colony dispersed around the soaring 1,260 ft cliffs of Boreray. Dozens of great skuas were patrolling the skies seeking out gannets returning to feed their chick with a crop fullof fish. The pirates often acted in groups forcing their victim to regurgitate.

    More information

Ocean Nova

Ocean Nova

Built in Denmark in 1992, the Ocean Nova was completely refurbished in 2006 and now operates as a small, comfortable expedition ship, accommodating up to 84 passengers.

Cabins are spread over two decks and include cabins for the single traveller, double and triple cabins, all with sea-view and private facilities. The comfortable dining room located on the Upper deck seats all passengers in a single sitting and offers delicious meals with a mixture of table service and buffet. The informal dining arrangement adds to the friendly atmosphere onboard and meals are a great chance to discuss all you have seen with your fellow travellers, and for the expedition team to share their knowledge. 

View vessel details

Itinerary

  • Puffin
  • Isle of Lewis

Day 1 - Oban.

Embark the Ocean Nova this afternoon in Oban. Transfers will be provided from Glasgow Central Railway Station and Glasgow International Airport at a fixed time. Enjoy Welcome Drinks and Dinner as we sail this evening.

Day 2 - Barra & Mingulay.

This morning we will land on Barra which is near the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides and visit Castlebay which curves around the barren rocky hills of a beautiful wide bay. Here we find the 15th century Kisimul Castle, seat of the Clan Macneil and a key defensive stronghold situated on a rock in the bay. During lunch we will sail the short distance to Mingulay, which is nearly 1,600 acres and the largest of the group of islands south of Barra. Its towering cliffs and stacks face the Atlantic while the east side slopes gradually down to the sandy beach of Mingulay Bay. Despite there being a continuous population on the island for at least two thousand years, evacuation began in 1907 and the island was completely abandoned in 1912. Ruins of the village remain close to the shore which we will explore on a guided walk. The islands are also a nature reserve with important breeding populations of razorbills, guillemots, puffins, fulmars and shags.

Day 3 - St Kilda.

Arrive at first light in St Kilda, a remarkable uninhabited archipelago some fifty miles beyond the Outer Hebrides. Dominated by the highest cliffs and sea stacks in Britain, Hirta, St Kilda’s main island was occupied on and off for at least two thousand years, with the last 36 Gaelic speaking inhabitants evacuated at their own request in 1930. Immediately after the evacuation, the island was bought by the Marquess of Bute to protect the island’s thousands of seabirds including puffin and fulmars, and in 1957 it was bequeathed to The National Trust for Scotland. St Kilda is one of only two dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites with dual status reflecting its natural and cultural significance. The local ranger will join us on board before our expedition staff lead a number of guided walks on the island. Later, cruise past two of the largest gannetries in the world at Stac Lee and Boreray. These impressive stacs rise 170 metres from the sea and are home to up to 60,000 breeding pairs of northern gannet.

Day 4 - Isle of Lewis & Shiant Isles.

On leaving the island capital of Stornoway, we will head across the island to the beautiful west coast. Described as Scotland’s Stonehenge, the Callanish Standing Stones date from around 3000 B.C. There are a total of 32 stones in a circular and avenue design which stand like a petrified forest on the flat top of a peninsula which reaches out into East Loch Roag. We also visit the Dun Carloway Pictish Broch, probably built sometime in the last century B.C., it would have served as an occasionally defensible residence for an extended family complete with accommodation for animals at ground floor level. Our final stop is the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village – a reconstructed settlement of traditional black houses which were made using dry stone masonry and have thatched roofs, distinctively weighted down with rocks. Visit the small museum, enjoy a display of a typical crofting activity such as weaving and take in the views at this dramatic site on the wild Atlantic coast. Spend the afternoon exploring the Shiant Isles. Anyone who has read Adam Nicholson’s captivating book ‘Sea Room’ will want to visit these lonely little islands located a few miles off the shores of Lewis. We will use our Zodiacs to explore the coastline and see the abundant birdlife and seals.

Day 5 - Canna & Loch Scavaig.

Strategically placed between the mountains of Rum and the Outer Hebrides, the island of Canna and its adjoining neighbour Sanday are bound together like some rare text that reveals over 60 million years of Hebridean geology and history. They have an amazingly rich archaeological landscape with remains dating to all periods of settled occupation in Scotland. Canna is run as a single farm and bird sanctuary by the National Trust for Scotland and enjoys the best harbour in the Small Isles, a horn-shaped haven. The fertile soil and its diversity of habitats mean that the island has an incredibly rich plant life with 248 native flowering plants recorded. We will see Canna House and wander across grassy basalt plateaus to the 600 foot cliffs on the north shore. Enjoy lunch as we sail to lovely Loch Scavaig on the island of Skye. Just beyond is the freshwater Loch Corruisk with its breathtakingly beautiful view over the Cuillins. This is great walking country and our expedition team will run a series of hikes for all interests. For those who prefer a less energetic afternoon our Zodiacs will explore the coast looking out for seals.

Day 6 - Iona & Lunga.

This morning we land on Iona. For more than 1,000 years the island of Iona has been a place of deep spiritual significance and no less than 62 Kings of Scotland are buried here. St Columba came here from Ireland in 563A.D. and early Christianity spread through northern Britain from this remote island community. After exploring the Abbey, time permitting, you may take a short walk on the wild side to the ‘Bay at the Back of the Ocean’. Over lunch we sail to Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish Isles. Of volcanic origin, Lunga has been described as a ‘green jewel in a peacock sea’. Populated until the 19th century, the island still bears the remains of black houses. There is prolific birdlife on the island including storm-petrels, puffins, kittiwakes and Manx shearwaters.

Day 7 - Colonsay & Jura.

Lying between Mull and Islay, we will spend the morning exploring the island of Colonsay, with her craggy, heather-backed hills and sparse woodland yet impressive array of plant and birdlife. Near Colonsay House, built in 1722 by Malcolm MacNeil and bought by Lord Strathcona in 1904, we will visit the attractively dilapidated wooded gardens which protect the tiny, enigmatic 8th century St Oran’s Cross. Return to the vessel for lunch as we sail through the Sound of Islay to Jura, arriving in the late afternoon. Dominating the views of Jura are the three hills called ‘The Paps of Jura’, the highest being Beinn an Oir at 785 metres. We will go ashore at Craighouse and will be welcomed in the cooperage where we will be given an introduction to the Jura Distillery and an opportunity to taste the local product. Alternatively, join one of our naturalists on a walk along the shore or take the local bus for a short drive around the island.

Day 8 - Oban.

Disembark this morning. Transfers will be provided to Glasgow Central Station and Glasgow International Airport at a fixed time.

  • Grey seals
  • Guillemot
  • Canna

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
11 to 18 May 2019
Category Price
Category 1 Bunk Bedded cabin for twin use £2795
Category 2 Standard Twin £2995
Category 3 Superior Twin £3495
Category 1 Bunk bedded cabin for sole use £3795
Category 2 Standard twin sole use £3995

Tour Reference Code: SCON110518

Price Includes: Seven nights aboard Ocean Nova on a full board basis, shore excursions, expedition team, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance.

  • Deckplan

     

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

Ocean Nova

Built in Denmark in 1992, the Ocean Nova was completely refurbished in 2006 and now operates as a small, comfortable expedition ship, accommodating up to 84 passengers.

Cabins are spread over two decks and include cabins for the single traveller, double and triple cabins, all with sea-view and private facilities. The comfortable dining room located on the Upper deck seats all passengers in a single sitting and offers delicious meals with a mixture of table service and buffet. The informal dining arrangement adds to the friendly atmosphere onboard and meals are a great chance to discuss all you have seen with your fellow travellers, and for the expedition team to share their knowledge. 

 
  • Ocean Nova
  • Ocean Nova
  • Twin Cabin
  • Restaurant
  • Lounge
  • The Bridge
  • Ocean Nova
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Your Cabin/Suite

    Cabins are spread over two decks and include cabins for the single traveller, double and triple cabins, all with sea-view and private facilities. The double cabins have either two lower beds or upper and lower beds. The triple cabins have upper and lower beds. In your cabin you will also find a desk with chair and ample storage space for clothes and equipment.

  • Your Space

    Your Space

    The Panorama lounge located on the Top deck affords excellent views and is the main meeting place. It is here that our Expedition Team will entertain and educate you with lectures on biology, history, geology, conservation briefings and daily briefings. There is also a library with panoramic views and a good selection of books on the area you are visiting. On board there is a satellite phone, small gym and medical doctor. Passengers are welcome on the Bridge around the clock and there is always something to see or search for from the spacious observation decks.

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining

    The comfortable dining room located on the Upper deck seats all passengers in a single sitting and offers delicious meals with a mixture of table service and buffet. It is comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate all passengers and expedition staff in one seating, and the portholes allow you to take in your surroundings as you dine. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinner combines a starter and salad buffet with a served main course and dessert. Meals offer a choice of fish, meat and vegetarian options – all excellently prepared by the onboard chef. The informal dining arrangement adds to the friendly atmosphere onboard and meals are a great chance to discuss all you have seen with your fellow travellers, and for the expedition team to share their knowledge. 

  • Life On Board

    Life Onboard

    Adventure cruising is about exploration and therefore an itinerary aboard the Ocean Nova is never fixed. These cruises will appeal to the more adventurous, those keen to get off the beaten track and explore far-flung destinations, removed from civilisation. The atmosphere onboard is consequently informal and time onboard is often spent on the Panorama Deck keeping watch for wildlife sightings or admiring the spectacular view. The expedition team are always ready for an impromptu exploration by Zodiac.

    There is ample space onboard to relax and take in your surroundings, but similarly communal areas will be alive following a lecture, a wildlife sighting, or taking part in an informal discussion with your Expedition Team who will give you insight into the remote islands you have called into that day.

    Travelling with this small expedition ship offers an entirely different experience and perspective than you can get on a larger and more conventional cruise ship.

  • For your comfort

    For your comfort

    With one of the highest ice classes (1B) and a 2000 hp diesel engine, Ocean Nova is a small but sturdy expedition vessel just as at home in the icy waters of Svalbard as she is in a tranquil Scottish loch. The ship has a crew of 34, including North European officers, whose prime concern is your safety as well as ensuring wildlife sightings and weather conditions are maximised. For your safety there are two fully enclosed lifeboats and a medical clinic onboard.

  • Ship Directory

     Ship Directory

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    Please find below further details pertaining to the vessel or click on the booklet to download.

    We are delighted you have chosen the Ocean Nova for your upcoming voyage. The 84-passenger vessel provides stability and speed and yet is small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas, making her an ideal vessel for expedition cruising.

    Completely refurbished in 2006, the atmosphere on board is welcoming and informal and the public areas are spacious and dedicated to discovery and relaxation. Relax with a book in the Panorama Lounge or perhaps join new found friends in the bar to discuss the day’s events and wildlife sightings.

    The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft and the Captain, Officers, expedition team and crew offer a first-class service and have been selected for their professionalism and expertise. After a day of exploration ashore, you will return to the comfort and peace of a well-run and exceedingly comfortable ship.

    We hope this information booklet answers any questions you may have pertaining to the vessel and wish you a pleasant voyage.

    AIR CONDITIONING

    The ship is heated throughout. The Panorama Lounge and dining room are air conditioned and all cabins have outside air flow that can be individually controlled.

    ALARM

    An alarm will be sounded in the event of emergency. Please follow the instructions provided on board for what to do in the event of emergency.

    ALL ABOARD

    Your times for embarkation and disembarkation will be provided by your Expedition Leader.

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    During your time on board, various announcements will be made by the ship’s crew and the Expedition Leader. Please listen out for these announcements as they will be of importance or interest.

    BAR/BEVERAGES

    A bar offering soft and alcoholic drinks is available in the Panorama Lounge. Individually purchased drinks consumed throughout your journey should be settled at the end of your voyage. Wine and beverage service is also available in the dining room.

    BEAUTY SALON

    There is no beauty salon available on board.

    BRIDGE

    Permission to visit the ship’s Bridge may be requested. Please note this is a working area and access may sometimes be restricted, for example, during manoeuvres or bad weather conditions.

    CABINS

    There are 39 passenger cabins on board, all outside facing and with en-suite bathroom facilities. All cabins have upper and lower beds, however, in twin cabins only the lower beds will be used. Each cabin features a window, fitted wardrobe with hangers, mirror, writing table and chair, hairdryer and telephone. All cabins are cleaned on a daily basis and towels are changed as required.

    CURRENCY

    The currency on board is USD. Your ship account will be payable at the end of your cruise by cash (in USD) or credit card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express). Please note that debit cards are not accepted.

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    Each evening the next day’s programme will be delivered to your cabin.

    DRESS CODE

    Since we are embarking on an expedition cruise, the dress code on board is informal. We recommend that you bring comfortable, casual clothes that can be layered according to the temperature. We recommend wearing sturdy shoes with rubber soles or other non-slip soles when moving around inside the ship. Leather soles are not recommended.

    ELECTRICITY

    The electrical supply aboard ship is 220 volts AC and outlets take Scandinavian two-prong plugs. We recommend you take an adaptor with you.

    EMERGENCY AND SAFETY PROCEDURES

    Full details of the ship’s emergency and safety procedures will be provided following your embarkation. There is a medical doctor and a first aid station on board.

    EXPEDITION LEADER

    A Noble Caledonia Expedition Leader will accompany you on your voyage, along with Naturalists and Zodiac Drivers.

    FIRE SAFETY

    On your cabin door is a deck plan displaying your closest (and all other) emergency exits. Emergency exits are marked in green and fire extinguishers fitted in all corridors.

    FIRST AID

    There is both a medical doctor and a first aid station on board.

    FITNESS ROOM

    An exercise area is available on the Bridge Deck and contains a variety of equipment. If you intend to use the gym please ensure you wear suitable clothing.

    GRATUITIES

    Gratuities have been included in your holiday price, however if you feel that certain individuals deserve special award, you are of course free to remunerate as you please.

    GIFT SHOP

    A small shop selling practical items is located on the ship’s Main Deck.

    HOUSEKEEPING

    Your cabin will be cleaned twice a day and you will be provided with a ‘turn down’ service at night.

    LAUNDRY

    Laundry service is available at additional charge (prices available in your cabin). Laundry will be collected in the morning and will be returned to you in approximately two days. Ironing facilities are also available for a fee, however please note there is no tumble drying or dry cleaning on board.

    LIBRARY

    A small selection of books are available for use on board.

    LIFT

    There is no lift on board the vessel.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Lost property can be handed in to the ship’s reception. Please ensure you have all of your belongings with you before you return home. Should you leave items on board the ship we are only able to return them to you at your own cost.

    MEALS

    The dining room located on the Upper Deck seats all passengers at a single sitting. The chef will serve three meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style and dinner will be a combination of self-service and served items. All tables seat at least 5 people. Dietary requests can be catered for (on request). Please provide any such requests in writing to Noble Caledonia at the time of your reservation and please reiterate these requests to the ship’s Hotel Manager upon your embarkation.

    MEDICAL

    There is a doctor and a first aid station on board. Passengers under regular treatment, or requiring special medications, should bring sufficient quantities to last the duration of the expedition.

    MOSQUITOES

    Please ensure you take the appropriate precautions to guard against mosquito bites.

    OBSERVATION DECK

    Available to passengers throughout the sailing. Please note the deck may have to be closed during periods of inclement weather.

    OPERATIONAL CHANGES

    Despite our meticulous planning efforts, there may be times when changes must be made to the daily programme due to circumstances beyond our control such as rough seas or inclement weather. The ship’s Captain and crew will do their utmost to find the best and safest solution. Any changes to the day’s schedule will be communicated as soon as possible.

    PAYMENTS ON BOARD

    The vessel operates a signed-chit system whereby no payment is immediately required (the vessel only requiring a signature for your purchase) and, only at the end of the cruise will you be presented with your final itemised bill to settle.

    POST

    The vessel’s crew will be happy to send any post you may have on your behalf (although please note that as they are unable to do so at every port of call, this could take longer than if you were to post yourself). Please note that neither the ship nor Noble Caledonia can be held responsible for items of post that are not successfully delivered on your behalf.

    QUESTIONNAIRES

    A questionnaire will be provided to all passengers towards the end of their sailing. We would be grateful for you to complete and return this.

    RECEPTION

    Reception is staffed during peak hours. You will always be able to contact a member of the crew 24 hours a day.

    SAFE

    A safe is available in the hotel manager’s office for valuables, but we recommend leaving valuables at home or keeping them on your person.

    SAFETY

    Please take careful note of all safety instructions provided to you by the Master and crew of the vessel. Full safety instructions and a safety video are available to you in your cabin.

    SMOKING

    Smoking within your cabin or any of the vessel’s public areas is strictly prohibited. Designated smoking areas are provided and can be advised by the ship’s reception upon embarkation.

    TELEPHONE

    The ship can be contacted by a satellite phone (tel: + 870773221777). Passengers will be able to receive and make satellite phone calls via the telephone on the Bridge and the charges will be added to their onboard account. All passengers can also be assigned an email account for receiving and sending emails. The cost of each received or sent email will automatically be added to your final bill settled at the end of the cruise. Since all communication by phone or email is through a satellite system, coverage and availability can vary throughout the cruise, depending on the signal.

    VISITORS

    Visitors are not permitted aboard the vessel.

    WATER

    The water on board is safe to drink. There are strategically placed water bottle filling stations where water is additionally filtered for taste and quality.

    Wi-Fi

    Wi-Fi is available throughout the vessel and all passengers can be assigned an email account for receiving and sending emails. The cost of each received or sent email will automatically be added to your final bill settled at the end of the cruise. Since all communication by phone or email is through a satellite system, coverage and availability can vary throughout the cruise, depending on the signal.

    Please Note:

    The above information is accurate and correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Noble Caledonia accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and none of the facilities or features of the vessel described herein which are not specifically described in our advertisements and on your holiday invoice as being included in your holiday price will be deemed to be included in your holiday package. If you would like further information about the vessel or about any of your holiday arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

     

  • Deck plans
    • Deckplan

       

      {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

  • View all tours
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Your Cabin/Suite

    Cabins are spread over two decks and include cabins for the single traveller, double and triple cabins, all with sea-view and private facilities. The double cabins have either two lower beds or upper and lower beds. The triple cabins have upper and lower beds. In your cabin you will also find a desk with chair and ample storage space for clothes and equipment.

  • Your Space

    Your Space

    The Panorama lounge located on the Top deck affords excellent views and is the main meeting place. It is here that our Expedition Team will entertain and educate you with lectures on biology, history, geology, conservation briefings and daily briefings. There is also a library with panoramic views and a good selection of books on the area you are visiting. On board there is a satellite phone, small gym and medical doctor. Passengers are welcome on the Bridge around the clock and there is always something to see or search for from the spacious observation decks.

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining

    The comfortable dining room located on the Upper deck seats all passengers in a single sitting and offers delicious meals with a mixture of table service and buffet. It is comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate all passengers and expedition staff in one seating, and the portholes allow you to take in your surroundings as you dine. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinner combines a starter and salad buffet with a served main course and dessert. Meals offer a choice of fish, meat and vegetarian options – all excellently prepared by the onboard chef. The informal dining arrangement adds to the friendly atmosphere onboard and meals are a great chance to discuss all you have seen with your fellow travellers, and for the expedition team to share their knowledge. 

  • Life On Board

    Life Onboard

    Adventure cruising is about exploration and therefore an itinerary aboard the Ocean Nova is never fixed. These cruises will appeal to the more adventurous, those keen to get off the beaten track and explore far-flung destinations, removed from civilisation. The atmosphere onboard is consequently informal and time onboard is often spent on the Panorama Deck keeping watch for wildlife sightings or admiring the spectacular view. The expedition team are always ready for an impromptu exploration by Zodiac.

    There is ample space onboard to relax and take in your surroundings, but similarly communal areas will be alive following a lecture, a wildlife sighting, or taking part in an informal discussion with your Expedition Team who will give you insight into the remote islands you have called into that day.

    Travelling with this small expedition ship offers an entirely different experience and perspective than you can get on a larger and more conventional cruise ship.

  • For your comfort

    For your comfort

    With one of the highest ice classes (1B) and a 2000 hp diesel engine, Ocean Nova is a small but sturdy expedition vessel just as at home in the icy waters of Svalbard as she is in a tranquil Scottish loch. The ship has a crew of 34, including North European officers, whose prime concern is your safety as well as ensuring wildlife sightings and weather conditions are maximised. For your safety there are two fully enclosed lifeboats and a medical clinic onboard.

  • Ship Directory

     Ship Directory

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    Please find below further details pertaining to the vessel or click on the booklet to download.

    We are delighted you have chosen the Ocean Nova for your upcoming voyage. The 84-passenger vessel provides stability and speed and yet is small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas, making her an ideal vessel for expedition cruising.

    Completely refurbished in 2006, the atmosphere on board is welcoming and informal and the public areas are spacious and dedicated to discovery and relaxation. Relax with a book in the Panorama Lounge or perhaps join new found friends in the bar to discuss the day’s events and wildlife sightings.

    The vessel is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft and the Captain, Officers, expedition team and crew offer a first-class service and have been selected for their professionalism and expertise. After a day of exploration ashore, you will return to the comfort and peace of a well-run and exceedingly comfortable ship.

    We hope this information booklet answers any questions you may have pertaining to the vessel and wish you a pleasant voyage.

    AIR CONDITIONING

    The ship is heated throughout. The Panorama Lounge and dining room are air conditioned and all cabins have outside air flow that can be individually controlled.

    ALARM

    An alarm will be sounded in the event of emergency. Please follow the instructions provided on board for what to do in the event of emergency.

    ALL ABOARD

    Your times for embarkation and disembarkation will be provided by your Expedition Leader.

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    During your time on board, various announcements will be made by the ship’s crew and the Expedition Leader. Please listen out for these announcements as they will be of importance or interest.

    BAR/BEVERAGES

    A bar offering soft and alcoholic drinks is available in the Panorama Lounge. Individually purchased drinks consumed throughout your journey should be settled at the end of your voyage. Wine and beverage service is also available in the dining room.

    BEAUTY SALON

    There is no beauty salon available on board.

    BRIDGE

    Permission to visit the ship’s Bridge may be requested. Please note this is a working area and access may sometimes be restricted, for example, during manoeuvres or bad weather conditions.

    CABINS

    There are 39 passenger cabins on board, all outside facing and with en-suite bathroom facilities. All cabins have upper and lower beds, however, in twin cabins only the lower beds will be used. Each cabin features a window, fitted wardrobe with hangers, mirror, writing table and chair, hairdryer and telephone. All cabins are cleaned on a daily basis and towels are changed as required.

    CURRENCY

    The currency on board is USD. Your ship account will be payable at the end of your cruise by cash (in USD) or credit card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express). Please note that debit cards are not accepted.

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    Each evening the next day’s programme will be delivered to your cabin.

    DRESS CODE

    Since we are embarking on an expedition cruise, the dress code on board is informal. We recommend that you bring comfortable, casual clothes that can be layered according to the temperature. We recommend wearing sturdy shoes with rubber soles or other non-slip soles when moving around inside the ship. Leather soles are not recommended.

    ELECTRICITY

    The electrical supply aboard ship is 220 volts AC and outlets take Scandinavian two-prong plugs. We recommend you take an adaptor with you.

    EMERGENCY AND SAFETY PROCEDURES

    Full details of the ship’s emergency and safety procedures will be provided following your embarkation. There is a medical doctor and a first aid station on board.

    EXPEDITION LEADER

    A Noble Caledonia Expedition Leader will accompany you on your voyage, along with Naturalists and Zodiac Drivers.

    FIRE SAFETY

    On your cabin door is a deck plan displaying your closest (and all other) emergency exits. Emergency exits are marked in green and fire extinguishers fitted in all corridors.

    FIRST AID

    There is both a medical doctor and a first aid station on board.

    FITNESS ROOM

    An exercise area is available on the Bridge Deck and contains a variety of equipment. If you intend to use the gym please ensure you wear suitable clothing.

    GRATUITIES

    Gratuities have been included in your holiday price, however if you feel that certain individuals deserve special award, you are of course free to remunerate as you please.

    GIFT SHOP

    A small shop selling practical items is located on the ship’s Main Deck.

    HOUSEKEEPING

    Your cabin will be cleaned twice a day and you will be provided with a ‘turn down’ service at night.

    LAUNDRY

    Laundry service is available at additional charge (prices available in your cabin). Laundry will be collected in the morning and will be returned to you in approximately two days. Ironing facilities are also available for a fee, however please note there is no tumble drying or dry cleaning on board.

    LIBRARY

    A small selection of books are available for use on board.

    LIFT

    There is no lift on board the vessel.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Lost property can be handed in to the ship’s reception. Please ensure you have all of your belongings with you before you return home. Should you leave items on board the ship we are only able to return them to you at your own cost.

    MEALS

    The dining room located on the Upper Deck seats all passengers at a single sitting. The chef will serve three meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style and dinner will be a combination of self-service and served items. All tables seat at least 5 people. Dietary requests can be catered for (on request). Please provide any such requests in writing to Noble Caledonia at the time of your reservation and please reiterate these requests to the ship’s Hotel Manager upon your embarkation.

    MEDICAL

    There is a doctor and a first aid station on board. Passengers under regular treatment, or requiring special medications, should bring sufficient quantities to last the duration of the expedition.

    MOSQUITOES

    Please ensure you take the appropriate precautions to guard against mosquito bites.

    OBSERVATION DECK

    Available to passengers throughout the sailing. Please note the deck may have to be closed during periods of inclement weather.

    OPERATIONAL CHANGES

    Despite our meticulous planning efforts, there may be times when changes must be made to the daily programme due to circumstances beyond our control such as rough seas or inclement weather. The ship’s Captain and crew will do their utmost to find the best and safest solution. Any changes to the day’s schedule will be communicated as soon as possible.

    PAYMENTS ON BOARD

    The vessel operates a signed-chit system whereby no payment is immediately required (the vessel only requiring a signature for your purchase) and, only at the end of the cruise will you be presented with your final itemised bill to settle.

    POST

    The vessel’s crew will be happy to send any post you may have on your behalf (although please note that as they are unable to do so at every port of call, this could take longer than if you were to post yourself). Please note that neither the ship nor Noble Caledonia can be held responsible for items of post that are not successfully delivered on your behalf.

    QUESTIONNAIRES

    A questionnaire will be provided to all passengers towards the end of their sailing. We would be grateful for you to complete and return this.

    RECEPTION

    Reception is staffed during peak hours. You will always be able to contact a member of the crew 24 hours a day.

    SAFE

    A safe is available in the hotel manager’s office for valuables, but we recommend leaving valuables at home or keeping them on your person.

    SAFETY

    Please take careful note of all safety instructions provided to you by the Master and crew of the vessel. Full safety instructions and a safety video are available to you in your cabin.

    SMOKING

    Smoking within your cabin or any of the vessel’s public areas is strictly prohibited. Designated smoking areas are provided and can be advised by the ship’s reception upon embarkation.

    TELEPHONE

    The ship can be contacted by a satellite phone (tel: + 870773221777). Passengers will be able to receive and make satellite phone calls via the telephone on the Bridge and the charges will be added to their onboard account. All passengers can also be assigned an email account for receiving and sending emails. The cost of each received or sent email will automatically be added to your final bill settled at the end of the cruise. Since all communication by phone or email is through a satellite system, coverage and availability can vary throughout the cruise, depending on the signal.

    VISITORS

    Visitors are not permitted aboard the vessel.

    WATER

    The water on board is safe to drink. There are strategically placed water bottle filling stations where water is additionally filtered for taste and quality.

    Wi-Fi

    Wi-Fi is available throughout the vessel and all passengers can be assigned an email account for receiving and sending emails. The cost of each received or sent email will automatically be added to your final bill settled at the end of the cruise. Since all communication by phone or email is through a satellite system, coverage and availability can vary throughout the cruise, depending on the signal.

    Please Note:

    The above information is accurate and correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Noble Caledonia accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and none of the facilities or features of the vessel described herein which are not specifically described in our advertisements and on your holiday invoice as being included in your holiday price will be deemed to be included in your holiday package. If you would like further information about the vessel or about any of your holiday arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

     

  • Deck plans
    • Deckplan

       

      {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

What to Expect

Flexibility is the key to an expedition cruise; sometimes the whole day’s schedule may be changed to maximise your experience based on weather or wildlife sightings, something that would not be possible on a large cruise ship. Each day holds something new and below are some extracts from our vessel’s logs from our last Hebridean voyages which will provide you with an idea of what to expect should you choose to join our Hebridean adventure:

18th June — Iona, Staffa & Lunga: We awoke to find ourselves anchored in the Sound of Iona for our walk up to the Abbey. Little remains of the early Christian settlement, founded around 563 A.D. by St Columba and 12 companions who had sailed from Ireland. It became one of the most important monasteries in early Medieval Europe, renowned as a centre of learning and artistic excellence. During our walk, many passengers heard corncrakes calling in the gardens and fields around the village and some were lucky enough to catch sight of one. All too soon it was time to return to the ship for lunch as we still had a full day ahead. Once the ship had repositioned to anchor off Staffa half of our compliment were landed on the island to walk round into Fingal’s Cave, while others were taken by Zodiac into the cave, swapping over later. The latter was a distinct highlight, made possible only by the ship’s Zodiacs so not many visitors are able to view the wondrous basalt columns from within the cave itself! John showed a short but spectacular slide presentation to Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture as the ship moved on to Lunga. It was after five when we began our landing but it had brightened to a bright sunny afternoon showing the Hebridean vista to full effect – from the Cuillin of Rum to the Paps of Jura, even distant Ben Nevis was just visible. But the climax of a very full day must be the puffins that awaited us at the top of a short, slightly rocky path. Lying down meant that the birds soon became used to our presence, providing unparalleled close encounters – well worth the climb! Some of the more energetic followed John along a cliff path to Harp Rock, which was crammed with nesting guillemots, some razorbills, more puffins, fulmars, kittiwakes and shags – all presenting wonderful photo opportunities. Those who could not face the climb were still able to enjoy the spectacle from the Zodiacs as thousands of puffins and other seabirds were resting on the sea.

21st June — Shiant Islands: By breakfast the ship had anchored amongst the Shiant Islands in the Minch – Eilean Mhuire (Mary’s Isle) to the north, Eilean Tighe (House Island) and the spectacular Garbh Eilean (Rough Island) to the south, the two joined by a boulder beach. Once more we were viewing tertiary basalt columns just like Staffa and Canna but this time several hundred feet tall and thronging with seabirds, many of whom sat on the calm sea as our Zodiacs cruised close off shore. The islands are owned by Adam Nicholson who wrote about them so eloquently in his book ‘Sea Room’ and are uninhabited. We made first for the tall basalt cliffs where we enjoyed a fly-past of a white-tailed sea eagle which then landed near its mate on a grassy ledge. They sat side by side for the rest of our visit. This very cliff housed one of the very last breeding pairs early in the 20th century but a highly successful reintroduction programme (begun on the Isle of Rum in 1975) has resulted in some 60 pairs now nesting in Britain (mainly the Hebrides) once again. We saw some grey and common seals hauled out ashore, and investigated some interesting sea caves before turning along the huge boulder scree along the east side of Garbh Eilean with its huge numbers of razorbills, puffins and shags. There were also some great skuas flying around, looking for an opportunity to rob the auks of the food they carried to feed chicks.

22nd June — St Kilda: The early risers were rewarded with fine views of our approach to the archipelago of St Kilda, its tops draped mysteriously in mist. It had been a calm crossing and some dolphins and minke whales had been spotted on route. We ate breakfast quickly so as to hear an introduction to the islands by the ranger. Soon after the Zodiacs began shuttling people ashore to the pier and, although several options had been offered, most people opted first to join John on a guided historical walk along the village street from the Manse (now the staff quarters which also housed the shop). Many then progressed up The Gap to find Jamie and his party of longer walkers, while Karin had led an energetic walk up the road to the summit ridge and the radar installation. John’s group then dispersed to explore on their own and most of us, of course, found time to visit the shop for postcards and souvenirs. On return to the ship, lunch consisted of a barbecue prepared by the galley staff and many opted to eat outside on deck with the impressive backdrop of St Kilda’s Village Bay. But we were not finished yet, for the expedition team then filled their Zodiacs with enthusiastic and intrepid guests, keen to explore the rocky shores and dramatic caves of Dun, seeing seals and seabirds notably, of course, puffins. This highlight was quickly overshadowed by the final offering – the Captain taking his ship for a circumnavigation of St Kilda, around Dun, under the Lover’s Stone and the Carn Mor boulder field on Hirta to Soay, and then past Glen Bay to view, Conachair, at 1,400 feet the highest sheer cliff in Britain. As if on cue, the cloud lifted briefly to reveal its summit before we struck east, across the four mile volcanic caldera 60 metres under us, towards Boreray and the stacs. Approaching Stac Lee (564 ft) the Captain opted to take a wide sweep and circumnavigate this hugely impressive tooth of rock, smothered in 9,000 pairs of nesting gannets. The noise – and the smell! – were palpable as we stared up at the sheer face in its cloud of gannets, constantly changing shape and almost close enough to touch. We next moved on to the pyramid shape of Stac an Armin – at 644 ft the highest sea stack in Britain, home again to 9,000 pairs of gannets, the remaining 40,000 pairs of St Kilda’s largest colony dispersed around the soaring 1,260 ft cliffs of Boreray. Dozens of great skuas were patrolling the skies seeking out gannets returning to feed their chick with a crop fullof fish. The pirates often acted in groups forcing their victim to regurgitate.

Also of Interest


Tours 1 - 1 of 1
Tours 1 - 1 of 1

Island Hopping in the Hebrides - 2020

Explore the majestic beauty of the Hebrides aboard the Ocean Nova

Ocean Nova
Ocean Nova

Itinerary at a glance

  • Oban / Barra / Mingulay / St Kilda / Stonroway / Shiant / Loch Scavaig / Muck / Iona / Lunga / Colonsay / Islay/ Oban

Tours 1 - 1 of 1
Tours 1 - 1 of 1

Book with Confidence

Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000