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Hebridean Islands Cruises Beckons Couples to the Scottish Islands

by Barbara Rogers

May 3, 2023

Bay of Neist Point, Isle of Skye © Henner Damke | Dreamstime.com

Adult Children

One of Europe’s smallest luxury cruise ships, Hebridean Princess, explores Scotland’s Western Isles with occasional itineraries to Shetland, the Okneys and the remote Fair Isle. A cruise on this floating luxury hotel is the perfect travel getaway for couples or family travelers with adult children.


Staterooms and suites are beautifully appointed (some have full-sized bathtubs), and everything is included: tips, drinks (think premium Scotch whiskeys), all admissions and even tearoom stops ashore.


With only 48 guests, shipboard life takes on the feeling of a house party, and the ship’s size makes it possible to visit ports and islands larger ships cannot reach. The 2023 schedule brings travelers a choice of itineraries ranging from prime birdwatching sites to stately homes and gardens.


Late May and June itineraries include Western Isles Wildlife (May 23–30), where guests can watch puffins, golden eagles, basking sharks, minke whales and otters, as well as visit prehistoric sites including the Standing Stones of Callanish and Carloway Broch.


Hebridean Odyssey (May 30–June 6) visits the untouched and remote Hebrides for their wild scenery. This trip also includes visits to Iona Abbey, Kisimul Castle and two landmark gardens. Even more remote is the island of St. Kilda and neighboring archipelagos, rarely visited by ships, uninhabited since the 1930s and one of the world’s top nesting places for sea birds. Itineraries venturing to St. Kilda run June 6–13 and June 27–July 4.


Available June 20–27, the Cycling Over The Minch itinerary includes the chance to tour the traffic-free roads of the Hebrides with an Olympic cyclist. Those who don’t cycle can visit island attractions. Footloose Itineraries, offered July 4–11 and Sept. 12–19, explore Skye, the Outer Isles and Western Isles for walks through the remote interiors and along shore paths. These tours include beach landings.


Travelers interested in the pivotal role Scotland’s northern islands played in both World Wars will enjoy the Following the Fleet cruise (July 18–26), visiting Scapa Flow, a WWI POW camp and Arctic Convoy Museum, sailing around the tip of Scotland to Inverness.


Also sailing from northern Scotland, the nine-night Northern Isles Explorer (July 26–Aug. 4) sails to Orkney and Shetland and the magical Fair Isle, visiting some of the major Neolithic sites in Britain. A northern itinerary (Aug. 22–31) concentrates on the Orkney Islands, with visits to the prehistoric sites of Maes Howe, the Ring of Brodgar and Quoyness Chambered Cairn.


Although meals of the finest Scottish seafood, pastured meats, seasonal game and fresh produce are highlights of any Hebridean Princess cruise, foodie couples will want to book Flavours of the Hebrides (Oct. 10–17), a gastronomic voyage featuring Scottish food and drink specialties.


In late October, Hebridean Princess heads south to explore the scenic Firth of Clyde. The Historic Houses and Castles of the Clyde itinerary (Oct. 31–Nov. 7) visits 10 different castles and manor houses.


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