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Going off-the-beaten-path on a Luxury Cruise in Scotland

Hebridean Island Cruises is sponsoring this look at luxury cruising in Scotland.

Are you dreaming of a trip to explore off-the-beaten-path Scotland? If you’ve visited Edinburgh to see the military tattoo or explored Glasgow’s art galleries and museums, it’s time for a more unique way of seeing the Scottish countryside—on a luxury cruise.

Exploring Scotland with Hebridean Island Cruises

Ship anchors off the coast of Scotland.

Hebridean Princess at anchor in Scotland. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

If visions of discovering small villages, hiking in the highlands, or cycling scenic trails are in your travel dreams, a luxury cruise in Scotland with Hebridean Island Cruises will make those dreams come true. Their luxury ship, Hebridean Princess, cruises the rugged coastline and remote Scottish island chains filled with history and natural beauty.

The all-inclusive luxury ship hosts 50 guests served by 40 crew members. Your fellow guests include British baby boomers who are as active and inquisitive as you are.

A luxury cruise in Scotland on the Hebridean Princess

More akin to staying in a Scottish country club than a ship, Hebridean Princess accommodations include a suite, several cabins with private balconies, cabins with double beds, and single cabins that solo travelers will appreciate. All are decorated  in a Scottish manor house style. The decanter of whiskey that’s refilled each day is a special touch.

Hebridean Princess is a luxury ship that truly includes everything—tips, port tours, alcohol, port taxes, use of the ship’s bicycles while in port, gym equipment, even fishing tackle. Expert lecturers and tour guides accompany guests onshore for quality experiences.

Your day may be rough and tumble with a hiking or cycling adventure, but evenings are spent in a refined, upscale country club atmosphere. After a fine dining experience, relax in the lounge as you listen to lectures or converse with fellow guests. Bring formal wear along for two gala nights that are included on every itinerary.

The luxury yacht anchors each evening in a secluded cove before motoring to the next port in the morning. Once you’ve arrived, enjoy walking tours, cycling adventures and exploring history while on an off-the-beaten-path boomer travel adventure in Scotland.

Special offer for My Itchy Travel Feet readers: 10% discount for new passengers (use code MyItchyTravelFeet10) and 15% discount for past passengers (use code MyItchyTravelFeet15), when booking a 2019 or 2020 cruise. Offer ends December 31, 2019.

You might want to know these Scottish terms, before cruising:

  • Firth is a narrow inlet or fjord
  • Loch is a sea inlet or lake
  • Ness is a headland or promontory point
  • Mull is another word for headland

 Here are seven itineraries to fuel your Scottish cruising dreams. Come along as a bagpiper pipes you aboard on embarkation.

Cruising to the Highlands: Outlook on the Clyde

Gray-colored castle in the green countryside of Scotland.

An imposing castle in the Scottish countryside. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

On a roundtrip from Greenock, spend seven days exploring the Firth of Clyde with many deep lochs that extend into the Scottish Highlands. While the natural landscape is outstanding, the historic architecture is just as impressive.

Visit gardens, homes that are Victorian architectural masterpieces, as well as experience the intimacy of owners guiding you through their manor house. Get your fill of castles before the ship moves on to an 1850’s lighthouse on the island of Sanda and the smallest cathedral in Great Britain at the island of Great Cumbrae.

Exploring the Inlets and Islands of Argyll

White village buildings sit near the shore as seen from a luxury cruise in Scotland.

Small village along the Scottish coast. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

For seven days, a spring cruise from Greenock to Oban explores destinations like the pristine Kintyre peninsula, where miles of heather and unspoiled beaches are definitely off-the-beaten-path. Of course there are gardens to visit such as Benmore Botanic Garden—120 mountainous acres of rhododendron, flowering trees and giant redwoods.

You’ll visit manor houses like Mount Stuart House, a gothic mansion that is a must-see, as well as the the wild and scenic small islands of Sanda and Jura. This beautiful combination of nature and history also cruises the Mull of Kintyre, immortalized by Sir Paul McCartney’s song, Mull of Kintyre.

Footloose through the Inner Sound

White Scottish manor house surrounded by green trees and lawn.

A lovely manor house with gardens. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

This 7-day-round-trip cruise from Oban includes something for everyone. Walkers and hikers will appreciate the many opportunities to see the Small Isles and Isle of Skye on foot. From walks in a deer reserve to The Quiraing, a trail on the Isle of Skye that satisfies hikers and photographers alike, there are plenty of opportunities to walk off the delicious food that Herbridean Princess has been serving.

Garden strolls, distillery visits and castle explorations provide opportunities when you need a break from the trail. And there’s scenic cruising in the Sound of Raaysay and The Narrows.

Cycling over the Minch

Beige stone castle with square and round towers.

A castle in the countryside. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

Another round-trip cruise from Oban, this 7-day adventure focuses on cycling. Join cycling guide, and Olympic cyclist, Chris Boardman on some of the most remote trails in the British Isles. You don’t have to be an expert cyclists to enjoy them. The Hebrides scenery will make up for the lack of cars and people.

Non-cyclists will enjoy garden walks, castle explorations and museums. Highlights include Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum and a tour of Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye.

Visit Island Kingdoms of the Vikings

Stone remnants of a neolithic village

Visit Sakra Brae for a look at Neolithic history. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

This 8-night cruise from Invergordon to Oban visits the Orkney Islands for a deep look at Viking history. Although the Viking stronghold of Orkney was returned to Scotland in 1468, the Nordic influence remains strong.

Visit the Isle of Lewis where 5,000-year-old Callanish Stones stand tall and Gearranan Black House village is home to stone cottages with thatched roofs. At Stromness, wonder at the Ring of Brodgar dating back to 2,000 B.C. The settlement of Skara Brae offers another look at Neolithic times.

Cruise to Outer Isles and Small Isles

White horses on a beach with mountains in the distance.

Horses on the beach are a beautiful addition to your cruise in Scotland. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

Here’s a 4-day round-trip-cruise from Oban that’s the perfect introduction to Hebridean Princess. It’s also a great addition to a land trip in Scotland.

This short visit to the Inner and Outer Hebrides will inspire a longer Hebrides cruise for next time. Enjoy wildlife watching, exploring secluded beaches and walks in spectacular Scottish scenery.

Enjoy an Autumn Surprise

White sheep graze on an red and orange hillside in the fall.

Sheep graze amidst autumn colors. Photo courtesy Hebridean Island Cruises

This 8-day round-trip-cruse from Oban is, literally, a surprise. You could call it Captain’s choice as the captain takes you to his favorite destinations in the Hebrides. Experience the fun of anticipation on a cruise with no known itinerary, where the next day’s destination is revealed each evening. Enjoy walks and fall foliage on a beautiful autumn adventure.

With such diverse offerings, it’s hard to know which Hebrides Island Cruise to choose but Cycling over the Minch has my vote, although I’ll be the one walking. Which one will you choose?

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Exploring Scotland on a luxury cruise with Hebridean Island Cruises

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