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DESTINATIONS SCOTLAND CRUISE


SAMPLE PRODUCT


Hebridean Island Cruises has a six-night cruise, Argyll’s Secret Coast, departing from Greenock on Hebridean Princess on


November 6, and calling at Great Cumbrae, Arran, Crarae, Strachur and Rothesay. The all-inclusive cruise starts at £2,500, which covers meals and drinks on board and


ashore, including champagne and spirits, plus two gala dinners, guided shore visits, Wi-Fi, and


transfers from the local airport or railway station. hebridean.co.uk


by the pursers and the captain, and there are gala dinners twice a week on typical Scottish islands sailings. Attention to detail is critical to the delivery of the ‘no request is too small’ experience. Whisky, a Scottish favourite of course, is provided in a personal decanter in your cabin, but the waiting staff are more than happy to fetch your brand of choice, and will put a bottle each in your room and the lounge bar. The same applies to wine, or whatever your tipple of choice. Even if passengers’ tastes are not


as refined as the atmosphere, they will be catered for. One couple asked if they could have digestive biscuits and cheddar cheese rather than gourmet crackers and a cheeseboard – and they arrived as soon as the ship was in the next port. The all-inclusive experience puts


guests at ease, but forget about long queues at crowded bars and showing your wristband to a harassed bartender. Drinks tend to be topped up before they’re even halfway down the glass, so chances are passengers won’t even need to ask. In the lounge, furnished with


sofas, armchairs and a 10-ton brick fireplace, you can’t help but make acquaintances. Not only is that good fun for sociable couples, it’s ideal for single travellers, who are seated


From addressing the haggis to porridge with whisky for breakfast, the touches of old-school Scotland make it unique


daytime-only cruising is that you don’t miss a thing and, with the stunning scenery of the Scottish countryside and traditional hamlets dotted among the rolling, endless hills that stoop over maze-like bodies of water, you wouldn’t want to. You might even pass a spot where the government stashes its nuclear weapons. The daily excursions are designed to


together at dinner to help them foster new friendships. In fact, 10 of the cabins are singles, so the ship isn’t just good at catering for the occasional lone traveller, they make up a fifth of the guests when at full capacity. The social side of the cruise never


feels forced, although guests would be hard pushed not to bond over the evening entertainment in the lounge, when all formalities are cast aside for a hilarious 20 minutes, as hosts read aloud jokes and humorous stories.


◗ BONNY BANKS With the nature of cruising through lochs and between islands, sailing doesn’t typically take place overnight, as the distances covered in a day are relatively short. The bonus of


complement the rarefied atmosphere onboard Hebridean Princess. Mount Stewart House, on the island of Bute, for example, is a Grade A-listed building designed in its latest guise by philanthropist and architectural visionary the third marquis of Bute. It exudes class in every corner of its


Victorian construction, which includes secret doors, impressive stained glass, ‘never-ending’ mirrors and what it claims was the first indoor heated swimming pool in a house. Hebridean offers exclusive tours, even on days when the house is not open to the public, so passengers need not worry about missing out.


◗ ROYAL ROOTS Hebridean Princess sails along European rivers and the Irish coast as well as the Scottish Highlands and its northernmost islands, but it certainly doesn’t forget its roots. From addressing the haggis at gala


BELOW: Tobermory


68 travelweekly.co.uk 11 January 2018


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