The Scotsman published an article by Gareth Moore titled Inner Hebrides Cruise. In fact it’s more a travel report about a cruise in November, a time when the first winter storms hit the west of Scotland which, as the author confirms, results in alterations in the schedule. Gareth choose not just a cruise ship but embarked on the Hebridean Princess, a familiar sight in the Inner Hebridean waters and according to the writer a floating palace of pampering. I myself never had the pleasure of making such a cruise but if I would I know that the Inner Hebrides would be my nr1 choice for making a cruise in Scotland. To share this fantastic experience I’ll offer you a quote of this highly interesting article. With impeccable service, an intimate atmosphere and heart-stoppingly beautiful scenery, a cruise around the Inner Hebrides recharges body and soul:
Gareth: North-west seven to severe gale nine, backing south-west five to six. Rough or very rough.” The forecast on the television in our cabin spoke volumes: for once, the crew of the Hebridean Princess would not be pushing the boat out for us. The sea was too rough to go ashore by motor launch for a visit to one of Islay’s famous distilleries. Guests wouldn’t have been digesting their breakfast, they’d have been wearing it. Not that the 30 or so passengers aboard appeared to mind. If you’re going to cruise the Inner Hebrides in early November you have to expect a few alterations to your schedule. And there can be few more pleasant places to be stuck than the Princess, a floating palace of pampering. From the minute you step aboard to be greeted by the chief purser, to the moment when you walk down the gangway for the last time, the officers and crew attend to your every need. When you enter your cabin, a decanter of malt whisky is waiting. Leave your cabin in a mess and it will be tidy when you return, however brief your absence. And there’s no chance of emptying your wine glass at lunch or dinner before a sommelier arrives to top it up. The crew – a mix of British seamen and “hotel” staff who are mostly from the Baltic states – are there to please, and do their job superbly.
The cruise started from Oban on a dreich Wednesday that had never managed to get properly light. When we visited Torosay Castle on Mull, we walked back instead of waiting for the bus. And at Crinan, on the Kintyre peninsula, we borrowed bikes to cycle the length of the canal. We also used the bikes for a round trip of the beautiful island of Colonsay, the visual highlight of a cruise filled with quite stunning scenery. And when the ship moored at Tobermory for a morning’s shopping – not something my partner or I regard as a legitimate leisure activity – the first officer was happy to take us for a spin round the bay in the ship’s speedboat. Much of the pleasure on the cruise, though, was simply that – cruising slowly between the coast and the Inner Hebrides, sitting in the lounge or the glassed-in conservatories on each side of the ship, or standing on the open Skye deck at the stern, enjoying the kind of views that compare well with anything on the planet. One passenger who had never seen the west coast kept making exclamations of pleasure at the sight of the landscape.
Some facts about the Hebridean Island Cruises: Hebridean Island Cruises begins its 2010 itinerary on 1 March. Its last sailing begins on 16 November. Prices range from £986 per person up to £11,020, depending on which cruise you opt for, the time of year and the type of cabin. For more details call the company’s Skipton head office on 01756 704704 or visit www.hebridean.co.uk