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Lorraine’s Hebridean Princess adventure.

On the 16th November 2017 Hebridean Island Cruises invited me to spend two nights aboard their wonderful ship. The Hebridean Princess, Her Majesty the Queen’s ship of choice, is essentially a floating country house that carries 50 passengers on coastal cruises around the British Isles and Scandinavia. Most cruisers are British with a few North American couples joining the mix. The ship has an enviable reputation for exceptional service, fine food and wine and the very warm welcome extended by the dedicated crew of 38. She has thirty spacious, elegant, well-appointed cabins, 10 designed especially for the single traveller.
Hebridean Princess started life as a hideaway for the Scottish government, intended to whisk away the “very important people” in case of a nuclear war. Fortunately, it was never required to serve such a purpose, instead becoming a car ferry; a necessity around these remote parts. Then just over 20 years ago, it underwent a hefty transformation and became the Hebridean Princess. The Queen has chartered the ship twice for celebratory sailings around the Scottish isles and coast. The country pursuit themed upholstery and flickering fire in the Tiree Lounge wouldn’t look out of place in a Scottish castle, along with the exposed brickwork and beams.
The Highlands and Islands of Scotland, her lochs and remote mainland areas are all accessible from the luxurious comfort of Hebridean Princess.
The all-inclusive aspect of the ship includes a member of staff meeting passengers at Glasgow airport or railway station and accompanying them to the ship on the coach transfer. All excursions are included and usually include a stop for a cup of tea and a cake. All wines, champagnes and spirits on board the ship are included. Your choice is remembered immediately and the staff are always there to make sure your glass is topped up. My colleague mentioned before boarding that she doesn’t drink caffeinated drinks so the housekeeper ensured the fridge in her cabin was stocked with caffeine free coke!

Our wonderful lunch was eaten in the Columba restaurant.

Our Gala night was definitely Scottish. Many of the crew wore tweed, tartan and kilts. Even the breakfast the following morning offered “a wee dram in your porridge”, should you want it.

We enjoyed a wonderful excursion on the Isle of Bute to Mount Stuart House.

Mount Stuart House and Gardens is a Gothic Revival country house and the ancestral home of the Marquesses of Bute located on the beautiful island of Bute. Bute is only 33 miles from Glasgow. It is the most accessible of the westerly isles from the Scottish Central Belt. It’s a peaceful island haven, just a stone’s throw away from the mainland. The original house was built in 1719 by the 2nd Earl of Bute, but rebuilt by the 3rd Marquess of Bute following a fire on 3 December 1877.
The spirit of nineteenth-century invention is embodied in Mount Stuart – a feat of Victorian engineering, this neo-gothic mansion was one of the most technologically advanced houses of its age.
The Mount Stuart House claims to be home to the world’s first heated pool in any house, it was the first home in Scotland to be lit by electricity and so may have been the first to have a heated pool.
In April 2016 it was announced that a Shakespeare First Folio had been discovered in the House’s Library.

Next year’s sailings include Belgium for the first time:30th July 2018 for 9 nights:Portland >English Channel >Caen>Dieppe>Boulogne-sur-Mer>Dunkirk>Bruges>Dover>River Thames>London


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