Friday, 25 November 2016

Read our 2016 Cruise Logs

Although the 2016 season has drawn to a close and Hebridean Princess has returned to her winter home in Greenock on the Clyde for her annual re-fit, you can still read all the Cruise Logs from this years cruises on our website.
Our Cruise Logs are a day by day account from life on board Hebridean Princess as each itinerary unfolds, illustrated with images of the stunning Scottish scenery, the remote destinations which we visit and life on board and ashore. They take you on a virtual voyage of relaxation and discovery; for guests who have cruised with us this year they will serve as an online diary and pictorial reminder of their holiday among the Highlands and Islands; for those of you who are considering your first holiday with Hebridean Island Cruises, they will give a real insight to life on board our unique, small ship.
 Highlights from the 2016 Cruise Logs include our first ever Whisky tasting cruise, Spirit of Scotland, in the company of renowned guest speaker and author Charles MacLean; a royal encounter with HRH Prince Charles in Wick during our Nordic Outposts cruise; several landings on Fair Isle during our summer cruises to the northernmost outposts of Orkney and Shetland; friendly seals alongside the jetty in Gairloch during our voyage Westward to Harris and Lewis in September and an unexpected trip to Northern Ireland during Captain Bailey’s Autumn Surprise cruise in October.
Our Cruise Logs will re-commence in March 2017 when Hebridean Princess sets sail from Greenock to explore the lochs and islands of the Clyde estuary, before heading north to her home port of Oban on Scotland’s scenic west coast and the Hebridean Islands which have become her familiar territory over the last 28 years.

It is of the utmost importance to us that all our guests enjoy their holidays with us and we welcome your feedback. If you would like to contribute to our Cruise Logs please send your pictures to us by email at or upload them to our Facebook page


Friday, 18 November 2016

New Guest Speaker: Joanna Macpherson

Historic Castles and Glorious Gardens - Tuesday 20th to Tuesday 27th June 2017

Scotland boasts an abundance of castles and the Hebrides are no exception. Several islands of the Inner Hebrides are home to fascinating structures dating back many centuries.

Scottish gardens are a delight to visit at any time of the year and are famous for their clear air and profuse flowers.  The west coast of Scotland is influenced by the Gulf Stream giving milder temperatures which enable great displays in spring and early summer of rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.

We are delighted to announce that Joanna Macpherson, star of the recent BBC Scotland series Lady Lairds, will be joining this cruise as guest speaker.  

Joanna moved to her family’s estate, Attadale on the shores of Loch Carron in Wester Ross, 4 years ago taking her husband Alec Cormack with her.  They had both lived and worked in London until then.  Attadale had belonged to her grandfather so she has always spent holidays there since a baby.

Having studied History and Russian at university, she ended up in magazine publishing in London, working on a wide variety of titles from Classic Cars Magazine to Flight International and finally running the advertising sales on both The English Garden and The English Home magazines.  This proved a useful training ground for ending up in the Highlands of Scotland attempting to help run a large estate with a 20 acre garden, four holiday cottages and approximately 30,000 acres, mostly wild country, including two Munros and a lot of red deer.

Attadale Gardens play host to one of the visits on this cruise.  Started by Baron Schroder in the late 19th century, hill paths meander through 20 acres of conifers and rhododendrons. Totally transformed after the 1980 storms by owner Nicky Macpherson, Joanna’s mother, it is an artist’s garden designed to frame the magnificent views of Skye and the surrounding hills. 

Joanna will give us an insight into the running of the Attadale Estate, the making of the Lady Lairds documentary and the organisation ‘Discover Scottish Gardens’, a network of gardens which have come together to promote their rich diversity, a number of which we will visit on this cruise.


Historic Castles and Glorious Gardens
Departing from Oban 
20th June to 27th June 2017

Prices from £3,995 per person based on 2 people sharing an inside double/twin cabin

Friday, 11 November 2016

An insight into river cruising on board Royal Crown

2016 marks the fifth year of operation for Hebridean River Cruises on board Royal Crown.  During this time I have seen many pictures of the vessel in our brochures and in photographs taken by our guests and crew, however until now I had not seen the ship in her full glory. 

I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to take a familiarisation visit to the ship and join the Flavours of the Rhine, Moselle and Saar cruise in July this year.  I thought I knew what to expect of the ship but what I was not prepared for was the similarity between this vessel and our very own Hebridean Princess.  Both ships have a similar traditional style with gleaming brass and polished wood panelling in abundance, both exude the same relaxed, friendly ambience and warm welcome.  They are comparable also in the small number of guests they carry and the all-inclusive nature of the cruises.

Hebridean’s legendary standards of care, service and attention to detail also extends to the river cruises with all itineraries including accompanied travel to and from the ship by air from London Heathrow or, on selected cruises, by Eurostar from London St Pancras. 

Our experience began with a very warm welcome at Heathrow airport from Hebridean Princess Chief Purser David Indge who was acting as Hebridean Host for our cruise, and lunch at the Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant prior to boarding our British Airways flight to Amsterdam.

On arrival at Amsterdam we were met by our local guides and escorted to the coach for the transfer to the ship which was berthed right in the centre of the city, opposite the Central train station.  We were welcomed on board by our Cruise Director, Sheila Salmon.  Sheila has many years of experience sailing the rivers of Europe, is multi-lingual and makes sure that everything happens as and when it should!  We were shown to our cabin and our luggage was delivered minutes later by members of the ship’s crew for whom nothing was too much trouble and everything was delivered with a smile.

Once we had settled in to our cabin we made our way to The Lounge for a cup of afternoon tea, or something a little stronger if preferred!  After exploring the ship it was time to freshen up for dinner and, following an introductory talk by our Hebridean Host Dave Indge and a safety briefing by the Captain, we experienced our first taste of Royal Crown cuisine at dinner.

In contrast to Hebridean Princess, there are no tables for 2 on board Royal Crown but a free seating policy and tables for 6 or 8 makes for a very friendly and sociable atmosphere at meal times with all guests, and the Hebridean Rivers team, getting to know each other and share tales of previous cruise experiences.  The cuisine, however, was redolent of that on Hebridean Princess, with beautifully prepared and tasty dishes delivered with very efficient service, and the portion sizes neither too big or too small. 

There are 3 grades of cabins on board Royal Crown arranged over 2 decks.  The Royal Suites are located on the same deck as the public areas and feature large picture windows and a seating area, the Premium and Deluxe cabins are on the deck below and have twin portholes.  All the cabins are well appointed with en suite shower rooms, cleverly designed to make the most of the available space and enhanced with Hebridean slippers, bathrobes and Molton Brown toiletries.

During our cruise we were blessed with lots of sunny weather and blue skies so the social hub of the ship was the large Sun Deck which had ample space for all guests to relax and enjoy the superb scenery as we gently cruised along.  The ever-smiling crew were always on hand to provide us with liquid refreshments whenever we required them and one lunch time we enjoyed a fabulous deck barbecue.

Our days seemed to strike a perfect balance of tranquil cruising and visits to picturesque towns and cities with knowledgeable local guides to point out the highlights and regale us with historic tales.  In keeping with the theme of the cruise many of our visits were food and drink related and we tasted cheese in Edam, beer and chocolate in Cologne and wine and mustard on the Moselle!

Our Guest Speaker France Bissell revealed her passion for food at a series of 3 lectures during the cruise which were very well received, and she was even kind enough to share a selection of her own recipes in booklets which were a lovely memento of the cruise.  I, for one, cannot wait to get cooking!

Entertainment on board is provided by Hebridean’s Musician, Will Marshall, who plays the piano before and after dinner,  plays in the Haggis at the Farewell Gala Dinner on his accordion and also performs Robert Burns’ Address to the Haggis.  Will also tested our little grey cells with a quiz and ‘Call My Bluff’ which brought out the competitive spirit in some of us.

Royal Crown is a lovely ship with a very happy and efficient crew, and a river cruise is an excellent way to visit some of the most scenic and off the beaten track parts of Europe.  Add to this a little touch of Hebridean magic and I am sure you will agree that a Hebridean River Cruise most certainly is the relaxing way to cruise.

By Louise Pratt - Sales Consultant