Thursday, 28 December 2017

Land of Waterways and Windmills on board Royal Crown

This captivating cruise explores the history, heritage and art of The Netherlands with a variety of intriguing visits along the scenic Dutch waterways. After uncovering a hidden gem right in the heart of the capital Amsterdam, the Hortus Botanicus, we sail through some of the smaller and lesser visited canals and rivers to discover more secrets of this fascinating landscape.

Amsterdam has one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, the Hortus Botanicus. It was established in 1638 by the city municipality as Hortus Medicus, a herb garden with
medical plants for Amsterdam doctors and pharmacists.

In the second half of the 17th century, the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus garden had a rich collection of plants completely unknown in Europe. They were brought here from all over the world by the traders of the Dutch East India Company.

Today, Hortus Botanicus is an attractive oasis, with more than 6,000 different plants with some unique species. The new hothouse creates conditions for three different tropical climates.

We take a glass-topped canal boat to the gardens for a peaceful and relaxing visit and enjoy an exclusive afternoon tea in the recently renovated Orangery.

After sailing through what Royal Crown Captain Hans de Gelder describes as a ‘very beautiful area’ of his beloved home nation, we arrive at the fortified town of Naarden. An example of a Spanish Star Fort, it is one of the best preserved fortified towns in Europe, complete with fortified Naarden was one of the most important defence works of the New Dutch Waterline and is breathtaking. At the Fortress Museum we can observe the underground casemates and learn more about the fortressed garrison town. A stroll through the town will allow you to observe many historical buildings and monuments, such as the St. Vitus Church, a large gothic basilica from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Holland and water are inextricably linked. Behind its coast lies an intricate network of ditches, waterways, canals, lakes and rivers. The nations windmills, pumping stations, polders and dykes are world-famous and almost a third of the land lies below sea level. Without the large water engineering works of the past centuries, culminating in the Delta Works, half of Holland would be submerged.

The Woudagemaal in Lemmer is the largest steampowered pumping station ever constructed and the only steam-powered pumping station in the world that is still in use. In a beautiful building, inspired by the Amsterdam School style, The Woudagemaal was built in 1920 to pump away the excess water in Friesland. Until that time, large parts of the region were submerged during the winter. The pumping station, which can pump away over 4000 cubic meters of water per minute, or 6 million cubic meters per day, changed that.

Weerribben-Wieden is a cultural landscape that was created in the 14th century through peat cutting. This peat was highly valuable as a fuel when dried, and was cut from the areas known as ‘weren’. The peat was then laid out to dry on long strips of lands, known as ‘ribben’, thus creating these unique wetlands.

The best way to explore the Weerribben-Wieden National Park is on the water. We take a boat tour through this gorgeous area, known as ‘the Venice of Holland’, where we hope to see many kinds of waterfowl and insects, and maybe even spot an otter among the vegetation in the water and on the banks.

In the 17th century, Enkhuizen was one of the wealthiest cities of Holland. It gained power and influence as a member of the Dutch East India Company. Enkhuizen’s rich history is still noticeable today as you walk through the old inner city with its numerous state mansions, canals, churches, city walls and harbours.

Following our walking tour of Enkhuisen we travel back in time to see how people lived centuries ago at the open-air Zuiderzee Museum which depicts a typical Dutch town and everyday life from the period between 1700 and 1900. People dressed in traditional Dutch clothing help bring the past in this little town to life. The museum is housed in more than a hundred and thirty authentic houses, shops and workshops, illustrating the history and culture of this unique region.

Alkmaar is known as the city of cheese in Holland, but has many other attractions including a beautiful old centre with many historic monuments and a range of interesting museums. Like many old cities in Holland, Alkmaar is a real ‘canal town’. In the past these canals were used as waterways, as a sewer system and to defend the city, but today they are mainly decorative.

The Alkmaar Cheese Market is a fascinating spectacle. This colourful, folkloric spectacle takes place at the picturesque Waagplein and here you can discover how cheese is traded according to a tradition that began in 1365. The 'kaasdragers' (cheese porters), 'zetters' (loaders), 'ingooiers' (cheese tossers) and 'waagmeesters' (weighers) all play defining roles at the market and belong to a guild with many traditions.

The area around IJsselmeer lake is dotted with beautiful old Dutch villages and towns. Together, they form one of the most gorgeous and authentic parts of Holland. Hoorn’s heyday was in the 17th century, when it was one of the main cities of the Dutch East India Company. Like Amsterdam and Enkhuizen, Hoorn became a very wealthy city. A walking tour of the old quarter and harbour will uncover dozens of monuments and churches which will allow you to experience the atmosphere of those historic times.

With its many historic buildings and beautiful old squares, Haarlem lies near the beach on the banks of the Spaarne river. Narrow streets are lined with monumental buildings built by the master Lieven de Key.

The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem has many artworks of masters from the 16th and 17th century and is home to the world’s biggest Frans Hals collection. Counted among the greatest of the Dutch masters, Frans Hals became known as the best portrait painter in the country. Great masters of impressionism, like Monet, Corbet and Manet, visited the Frans Hals Museum to admire his art.

During the 17th century, more than 600 windmills were constructed in the area around the Zaanse Schans, creating the first industrial zone. The windmills were used, among others, to grind spices, produce paint, saw wood, and make oil. A number of these windmills still exist and can be visited to discover how these wind-powered machines work, inside and out.

There are various museums you can visit at the Zaanse Schans to get an accurate impression of life in Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries including authentic wooden houses, a bakery museum, a chocolate factory, a cheese and dairy factory and a warehouse where clogs are still made today.

We hope you can join the Hebridean River Cruises team, including host David Indge, on this enchanting voyage which will reveal many of Holland’s hidden treasures.


20th May to 27th May 2018
Genuinely Fully-Inclusive Fares from £2,835 per person

based on 2 people sharing a deluxe twin cabin

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas and New Year Opening Times

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a most enjoyable festive season and a prosperous new year.


22nd December
9am - 12pm
23rd December
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
Boxing Day
27th December
9am - 6pm
28th December
9am - 6pm
29th December
9am - 12pm
30th December
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Day
2nd January
9am - 6pm

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Photography Competition

We would like to invite you to submit your favourite photographs, taken from on board Hebridean Princess or in and around the waters in which she sails, for a 2019 calendar which will be available to purchase on board during next season, or ordered from our office in Skipton by telephone or email.  The closing date for entries is 30th January 2018.

Photographs should be digital files of at least 300 dpi and a minimum of 3mb.  Please submit your entries by email to with information on the location or subject of each image.  Entries are submitted on the basis that copyright is released and any images used in the calendar or any future publications will be acknowledged. We welcome images of the ship, Scottish wildlife, Hebridean land or seascapes or any destination visited during a Hebridean Princess cruise.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Hebridean shortlisted for more prestigious awards

The shortlist for The Wave Awards 2018 – the most prestigious awards event in the cruise industry – has been revealed.

We are delighted to announce that Hebridean Island Cruises has been shortlisted in the following categories:

  • Best for Solo Travellers
  • Best Luxury Cruise Line
  • Best Luxury River Cruise

The hotly anticipated line up features top cruise lines, agents and destinations who represent the best of the best of the industry.

Wave Awards chair and World of Cruising editor, Louise Robinson, said: “The Wave Awards celebrates excellence in the cruise industry both from a consumer and trade perspective. I’m proud to say we have been inundated with entries – up by 50 per cent on last year. The standard was so high our expert panel found it really hard to whittle each category down, but I’m extremely happy with our final shortlist. “

The winners will be announced at the awards, which will be held at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden on 1 March.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Luxury Scotland Celebrates 25 Years with Limited Edition Monopoly Game

To celebrate their 25th Anniversary, Luxury Scotland has released a new limited-edition version of Monopoly featuring all of the consortium's 31 member properties including Donald Trump's Turnberry golf course, Andy Murray's Cromlix Hotel and, of course, Hebridean Princess.

The Luxury Scotland edition of Monopoly will give players the chance to tour Scotland for the hottest hotel properties, buy them, develop them and watch their investments shoot up in value. The game will not be going on general sale to the public but around 1,000 copies will be distributed to the featured properties and is available to purchase from Hebridean Island Cruises for £30.  

For your chance to win one of 3 copies of this exclusive game, please answer the following questions:
1. Which Luxury Scotland property was the setting for John Buchan's book, The 39 Steps?
2. Which Queen stayed at Inverlochy Castle in 1873 and wrote in her diary 'I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot'?

Please send your answers, together with your name and address by email to by Wednesday 31st January 2018. Three lucky winners will be randomly selected from all the correct entries.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Bolsover Cruise Club writes about Hebridean Princess

In October of this year Rebecca Martin from Bolsover Cruise Club enjoyed a seven night cruise on board Hebridean Princess.  During her time on board she kept a diary of her experiences.

To learn what she had to say select the links below to read her four part blog:





Alternatively click the image below to read the full article in Bolsover Cruise Club's magazine, Into the Blue.

FREE TICKETS to London cruise shows

During the early part of 2018 Hebridean Island Cruises will be attending some of the UK’s biggest cruise and travel shows.

Come along and meet our experienced team and have your questions answered face to face – we’d love to see you…

Destinations: The Holiday and Travel Show 

Olympia London, 1st - 4th February 2018

Come face to face with your next holiday or travel experience at the UK's biggest travel show. Packed with hundreds of leading and independent tour operators, over 75 tourist boards from across the globe, cultural entertainment, world flavours, travel celebrities and more, Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show is the UK's largest and longest-running travel event. Taking place at Olympia London, 1 - 4 February 2018, the Destinations Holiday and Travel Show is the essential event to indulge your passion for travelling.

With the largest choice of exhibitors anywhere in the UK and a huge variety of holiday and travel options on offer, the Destinations Show inspires you to discover new destinations and adventures from our expert exhibitors. 

Plus, discover the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival, a line-up of incredible talks, presentations and panel sessions from a host of leading travel writers and authors, whilst exotic cultures are brought to life through dance, performance and free food and drink tastings across four Experience The World stages.

Meet the Experts Theatres also provide over 50 hours of free travel advice from destination specialists. Covering an array of journeys to every continent, get inspired to discover and learn about exciting destinations across the globe.

Wherever your next journey leads, make sure it begins at the Destinations The Holiday and Travel Show, Olympia London.


London Cruise Show

Olympia London, 17th - 18th February 2018

The Cruise Show returns to the Olympia, London on the 17th and 18th February and will celebrate the range of sights, sounds and wonders available to those willing to discover the world by ship!

The world has never been more accessible for those with the spirit of adventure. Packed full of information and inspiration, Cruise Show will bring together the best specialist operators and holiday providers all under one roof. In one weekend we cover everything from all-inclusive luxury getaways to small-ship cruises destined for remote locations, as well as your chance to meet like-minded travellers on organised group tours – whether you’re travelling with partner, family or friends!

As well as meeting with an excellent range of travel companies and taking advantage of their exclusive show-only offers, visitors are also invited to enjoy the show’s interactive features. Hear first-hand experience from celebrity speakers, explorers, journalists and tour operators in a choice of 3 theatres, bursting with travel ideas and practical advice that’s bound to inspire.