Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Hebridean Princess 2019 Calendar

The next winner in our 2019 Calendar Competition is John Noorani with this colourful image of Inverewe Garden.

Order your copy of the calendar for just £10 by calling 01756 704704 or email, or on board Hebridean Princess.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Hebridean Princess 2019 Calendar

The 3rd winner in our 2019 Calendar photography competition is Dr Christoph Haertel who submitted this lovely image of ponies on the Isle of Muck.

Order your copy of the calendar for just £10 by calling 01756 704704 or email, or on board Hebridean Princess.

Friday, 25 May 2018

River Cruising on Royal Crown by Martin Bell OBE

Since I am no longer sent off to the war zones at short notice, I am in the happy position of being able to pick my destinations at my leisure. Not all invitations are accepted by any means. Some years ago I twice declined to appear on Strictly Come Dancing – a wise decision, in my case.

But 2 years ago I was asked by Hebridean to join their Royal Crown cruise on the River Danube –
and I had the time of my life.

Part of it was the ship itself, with its old-fashioned blend of polished decks, brass fittings and magnificently appointed cabins. Part of it was meeting some wonderful people with a real interest in the recent troubled history of the Balkans. Some of them said afterwards that the experience had
changed them.

If you fancy casinos and night clubs, lounging on beaches, this is not for you. But if you want a cruise which is also an adventure and a learning experience, and from which you come out better informed than you went in, then it might be just your stretch of water. And bring a notebook or a sketch pad, so your memories can be somehow stored on paper.

It is as far from ocean cruising as you can imagine. We stopped at a new river port every day, from Budapest to Belgrade, each with its singular history. The Iron Gates, a mountain gorge which we passed through, is the most beautiful waterway in the whole of Europe. The banks of the Danube are mostly pristine and undeveloped, except for the high ground. We passed forests and shallows with
the most amazing bird life. And if you are of a nervous disposition, you are always within reach of dry land. No lifeboats are necessary!

And by the way, Johann Strauss was colour blind. The Danube for the most part is not blue at all but all sorts of other and interesting colours. And as it flows and winds through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria I can assure you that there is not a dull sight to be seen on the whole length of it.

I am not a tour guide and knew little about the Paprika Museum in Hungary. But I stood on the upper deck to point out the principal landmarks of the Croatian river port of Vukovar, destroyed by the Serbs after a 90 day siege in November 1991. I was with them for days on end when they destroyed it. Much of the town has been rebuilt, but a corner shop with flowers growing inside the ruins remains as shrine to the tragedy of war. In an evening lecture on board Royal Crown, I showed some of the footage of the time, and explained what it was like to be there. And in the Bosnian War too, which followed it as night follows day. Then it was news. Now it is history, and I lived it for five years.

I also wrote poetry about it – well, poetry of a sort, and had a book of my verses published. So be warned – I offer not only three lectures during the cruise but a poetry recital. I am one of the few passengers who decides not to disembark everywhere. So I wrote a poem about it:

I thought as I clutched my Vodka Smirnoff
The secret to successful cruising
Even with only moderate boozing
Is knowing when not to get off.

And I wrote another about the sort of cruise this isn’t:

If this is Monday, it’s Livorno,
And raining stair rods, no bon giorno.
Cruising’s for those who dodge the coroners
And travel without meeting foreigners.
If dismal weather’s all one needs,
We might as well have stayed in Leeds.

The Royal Crown is not at all like that.

If you are a lecturer on a big ship, you find someone whom you want to avoid (always a man, in my
experience!). But on Royal Crown that is not a problem, for you will be among like-minded people.

Nor do I hide away. If anyone wants further information or reminiscences of the wars, I can talk till your eyes glaze over! I can usually be found on the upper deck, and occasionally with something distilled and Scottish in my hand. The Hebridean hospitality remains the same from one end of Europe to the other.

I look forward to the cruise from Bavaria to the Moselle in July, and hope you will join me.

Martin Bell

13th July to 24th July 2018
Prices from £4,440 per person based on 2 people sharing a deluxe twin cabin.

Hebridean Princess 2019 Calendar

Congratulations to Rob Norman, the next winner in our calendar photo competition for this shot of Hebridean Princess at anchor off the Isle of Jura. 

Don't forget the 2019 calendars are available to buy on board or by mail order from our office at a cost of £10. Please call 01756 704704 or email

Friday, 18 May 2018

Hebridean Princess 2019 Calendar

You may recall in the last issue of The Hebridean Times we invited you to submit photographs for our 2019 Hebridean Princess Calendar competition. We were delighted with the standard of the entries and will be sharing some of the winning images on our website and Facebook page over the next few weeks.

We have recently take delivery of the calendars and have sent a complimentary copy to each of the winning entrants

Copies of the calendar can be purchased at a cost of £10 either on board Hebridean Princess or by mail order, please email or call 01756 704704.

Congratulations to Geoff Dixon for this stunning image of Eilean Donan Castle, your complimentary calendar is on its way to you.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Easter Opening Times

Please note our office will be closed on the following days for the Easter break:

Friday 30th March
Saturday 31st March
Sunday 1st April
Monday 2nd April

We will re-open at 9.00am on Tuesday 3rd April.

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Cruise Focus - Classical Inspiration

The beauty of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands has inspired numerous artists, composers and musicians, most famously the dramatic cathedral-like Fingal’s Cave on Staffa, immortalised by Mendelssohn and J M Turner to name but two. This cruise uncovers the talent of local musicians and artists who have also been stimulated by the unique atmosphere of the environs in which they live.

The Crinan Hotel is a renowned gallery venue where contemporary artists Frances Macdonald and her son Ross Ryan regularly exhibit. Frances is unrivalled in her ability to capture the true character and drama of the landscapes and coastline in Argyll and the Western Isles. From her studio and the hotel overlooking the Corryvreckan, there are inspirational views across the water to the north end of Jura, to Scarba, the mountains of Mull and the great expanse of the North Atlantic. Wonderfully in touch with her subject matter, Frances is immersed in her surroundings and can convey their every nuance to the viewer.

Ross Ryan grew up in the small fishing village of Crinan and graduated from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. When he is not travelling the globe or sailing, Ross works from his print studio in the Old Boathouse at the Crinan Ferry in changing mediums; fully equipped for Collograph, Monoprinting, Etching and Woodcut prints, this is where Ross creates his print series and develops new projects.

The Resipole Studio is an award-winning fine art gallery and unique exhibition space which hosts an exciting annual programme of exhibitions and workshops of Scottish contemporary art that is both emerging and established. The gallery was launched in 2004 by Andrew Sinclair. An arts graduate himself, Andrew recognised the need for a professional gallery space and studio facilities to enable resident and visiting artists to access high quality resources in a truly inspirational Highland setting.

Since its launch, Resipole Studio continues to present work by artists of many disciplines, with Scotland as their key focus. With many award-winning artists on its roster, the gallery is regarded as one of Scotland’s leading contemporary art spaces. 

Every July the beautiful Hebridean island of Islay is home to Cantilena’s professional musicians and students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland who bring together their unique sound of chamber music to residents and visitors, with many of the concerts being held in the famous Islay Malt Whisky distilleries. To this romantic island, Cantilena brings wonderful music from the dazzling virtuosity of Vivaldi and Bach, through the romantic sophistication of Beethoven and Schubert, right up to the challenges of modern composers.

The professional musicians involved in the Cantilena Festival are driven by a powerful desire to share their passionate love of music-making with an emerging generation of young musicians.

The German composer Mendelssohn visited Scotland in 1829 when he was 20 years old. It was the natural beauty of Scotland and its rich history of fact and fable that delighted the young composer and inspired the Scottish Symphony, including the Hebrides Overture and Fingal’s Cave.

Some 150 years later the remarkable violinist Leonard Friedman, based in Edinburgh, conceived a musical pilgrimage in commemoration of Mendelssohn’s visit. With the first such event in 1988, Leonard inaugurated a week of music-making, concentrating on string chamber music, where the participants were a blend of established professionals and students at which audiences were welcome at no cost.

Today, the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival has retained its shape, despite the changing nature of artistic direction, musical mentoring and student participation. The venues in which the concerts are held are extraordinary, including the rugged splendour of Duart Castle, which helps to explain why these concerts have built a national following.

Our Classical cruise also takes us to Islay House Square, the exotic woodland gardens of Colonsay House, the sacred iconic Iona Abbey, the awe-inspiring Fingal’s Cave and the ancient Duart Castle. Experience all of this, interspersed with musical interludes and breathtaking scenery, all from the luxury of our floating country house hotel, Hebridean Princess.

>> Classical Inspiration departs from Oban on 3rd July 2018 for seven nights.

Prices from £3,885 per person based on 2 people sharing an inside double/twin cabin.