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Hebridean Princess review: Spirit of Scotland

Trip Reports

Imagine walking in from blistering cold winds and drizzling rain to a warm, cosy and welcoming country house hotel in Scotland, where you can relax and unwind in truly special surroundings. This is what staying aboard Hebridean Princess is like.

Once a car ferry, Hebridean Princess is now a tiny luxury cruise ship. Enjoy traditional Scottish comforts of hot toddies and fresh salmon. Snuggle down in warm woollens with that all important touch of tweed and tartan. Shades of green and navy blue, with a nautical theme throughout: that's the look and feel of this ship.

The staff are like a family, each crew member just as hard-working as the next, all with several roles from speaker to guide to salmon carver! Everyone mucks in and helps out, demonstrating their real effort to provide personable and attentive service throughout. The lone bagpiper greeting us with his eerie music upon embarkation really set the scene for this 'Spirit of Scotland' cruise - Hebridean know how to make you feel special before you've even stepped on board.

Hebridean Island Cruises - Bagpiper

My 5-day mini cruise from Greenock to Campbeltown far exceeded my expectations, including the 15 degree weather! Despite being younger than the other guests on board, this didn't detract from the sociable nature of Hebridean's clientele, and I was so pleased to see just how many solo travellers there were, all equally well taken care of, included and looked after, just like the couples.

This 50-passenger ship really makes you feel part of an enjoyable, fun and caring team of like-minded travellers. Those new to Hebridean as well as those who return year on year are made to feel comfortable and relaxed, and are treated to Scottish delights such as making your own whisky, walking on untouched islands where you're completely at one with nature, or exploring historic grand houses and monuments.

Hebridean Princess in Tobermory, Scotland

Dinner each evening consisted of traditional British dishes, brought up to date with modern day twists and presentation techniques; four-course lunches sound heavy but they're just right to set you up for the next excursion or trip ashore.

The age of this ship means it doesn't sail at night. Short distances mean you often get to visit two highlights of Scotland in a single day, morning and afternoon, cruising to a new location as you enjoy lunch. The majority of the time, the ship is anchored in bays or lochs, so tenders are used to transport you ashore; ideal for closer encounters with inquisitive seals and curious cormorants.

Hebridean Princess - Conservatory

Each stateroom is named after a local landmark; my home for the voyage was the Sound of Mull. I was impressed with the size of this porthole cabin, a cosy home from home, full of character and with traditional Scottish décor mixed with a few modern luxury touches like the Molton Brown toiletries.

If you want to experience Scotland, or if you have a passion for traditional British hospitality, then Hebridean Island Cruises is for you. Utterly unique, this is an absolutely charming cruise line providing fantastic experiences.

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Hayley Meades
Meet the author

Hayley is a Cruise Consultant at Mundy Cruising

More about Hayley

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