This charming boutique vessel carries just 50 passengers around the Western Isles of Scotland on all-inclusive cruises lasting four to nine nights. (It has the distinction of being chartered twice by Queen Elizabeth II for private vacations to celebrate her birthday with other members of the British royal family.) The ship’s interiors resemble a Highland lodge and are decorated with comfy sofas, framed watercolors, and nautical clocks. There’s also a delightful conservatory and well-stocked library. Unique in the world of cruising, Hebridean Princess offers a relaxing yet invigorating way of experiencing Scotland’s untamed natural beauty.
What We Love
Tiree Lounge: This cozy lounge has an Inglenook fireplace and armchairs offering views of Scotland’s lochs and mountains, while its bar is stocked with an inviting array of single malt whisky that ensures the house party continues until late at night.
Columba Restaurant: Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the ship’s sole restaurant features open seating so guests can dine with whomever they want. At dinner, passengers prefer dressy attire, and there are usually two formal nights per cruise.
Best Known For
Sumptuously Appointed Cabins: The crowning glory is the splendid Isle of Arran Suite with its regal canopied bed, but Hebridean Princess offers an array of tastefully appointed double and twin cabins (four of which have balconies) as well as 10 single cabins.
Enjoyable Excursions: Small group tours with local guides include visits to the 13th-century Benedictine abbey on the Isle of Iona, magical Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa, the colorful village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, and a distillery on the Isle of Jura.
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Who It's Best For
Scotland Enthusiasts: Anyone excited about enjoying an array of Scottish experiences will be delighted. There’s the chance to trace ancestral roots and study the Scottish clans or simply explore some of the country’s finest gardens. For the more energetic, there are excellent “Footloose” walking cruises, where itineraries vary according to fitness and ability.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You’ll Need Some Agility: Getting in and out of the shore tenders and Zodiac needed to go ashore in many ports can be challenging if there are swells, so sensible footwear is essential.
Gary Buchanan is a UK-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written multiple books about cruising.
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Hebridean Princess at a Glance
- Line: Hebridean Island Cruises
- Number of Passengers: 50
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 1989
- Refurbish Date: 2015