Read the reviews of our guests in their own words about their private cruise charter
18 May 2019
Our group of 10 friends took Emma Jane for 6 days in the Small Isles and although we were all pretty excited in anticipation of our trip for months in advance, I have to say it exceeded all our expectations in every way. Amazingly the seas were calm, and although it was cool, our welcome certainly was not. All the crew, from our superb chef, Caroline, to our delightful and knowledgeable naturalist and our great captains (yes, two for the price of one!), Rob and Chris, could not have been more charming, helpful and pleasant to spend time with. And Emma was so efficient in handling all the arrangements. The area is, of course, scenically stunning, the wildlife abundant, and I really cannot imagine how our trip could have been bettered. I am sure we all sincerely hope to return one day. Many thanks and best wishes, Jenny Brewis
11 May 2019
It had been an amazing week with not a drop of rain. Getting to the special places that we visited is what makes a holiday with Hebrides Cruises unique. My thanks to my sailing companions and fellow adventurers, to skipper Rob, mate Craig and cook Mags who were all magnificent, and Emma on shore.
**Read a detailed account of Christina’s private charter cruise, illustrated with her photographs, on our news page A Paradise of Small Islands: Christina Macaulay **
11 May 2019
What a superb trip we had this year on the Elizabeth G; a huge thank you to you all, both on the boat and behind the scenes. I attach my lighthearted account of our adventure.
**Read the epic poem that Margaret sent in about her cruise on our news page: Hebrides in the Elizabeth G - a poem
28 June 2018
We set off on 28 June from Oban for our ten days exploration of the Hebrides with the hope that we’d visit St Kilda. We did, and so much more. The crew (Chris (skipper), Alexa (wildlife guide), Pete (cook), Emma (bosun), were fantastic from the off. They effortlessly transported our mountain of luggage to our comfortable cabins which Emma kept spotless through the cruise, as well as looking after us on the rough crossing to St Kilda through to Caribbean strength G&Ts. Chris was a really good skipper. He sailed the boat well and did his best to find a route that best managed his passengers’ seafaring abilities, and he also had a ceremony to give homage to the Blue Men of the Minch! Pete’s amazing menus incorporated our requests – I’ll always remember his mussels on the first night, his haggis Scotch eggs, my mother’s clootie dumpling and much more – and we appreciated how he involved the kids (9 to 11) in the kitchen. Alexa (with Chris) magic’d up an amazing array of wildlife with huge enthusiasm and great knowledge. We became blasé about the number of dolphins we saw – I can best quote Chris “the weather and the wildlife sightings are some of the best I’ve known in almost 20 years”. The weather was fantastic which enabled us to land and explore Tobermory, Canna, Sanday, Taransay, Hirta (St. Kilda), Mingulay, Vatersay, Rum, Lunga (Treshnish Isles) and Loch Buie, as well as sailing past Neist Point (Skye), Boreray (St. Kilda), Monachs, Hellisay in the Sound of Barra, Eigg, Staffa, Ulva and Iona. The weather was so good we were able to swim off Sanday, Taransay, Mingulay and Vatersay, as well as enjoy the hot tub. This was a trip of a lifetime for us all. We were able to see so many places which have been specks on the horizon for so long. The cruise was magical and extra special. It’s given us memories to last a lifetime!
2 June 2018
What a friendly company! We were made very welcome from the moment we left the bus. Our luggage was dealt with very efficiently and put on board. The same thing happened on our departure when our bags were delivered to the bus and we were given a warm send off by the wonderful crew. The scenery was stunning and the overnight anchorages were always well-positioned in sheltered bays so that we could have undisturbed nights. It was a well thought-out itinerary, adapting to weather conditions and suggestions from our leaders. The onshore trips were well-organized and help was always offered when using the zodiacs. The crew were a wonderful source of local knowledge and always happy to answer questions. The crew were absolutely wonderful, always cheerful and friendly and so obliging. Nothing was too much trouble for them. The meals were always delicious and varied - how Stevie managed to provide such a variety of piping hot dishes in such a small space is a complete mystery! I can't think of any way the cruise could have been more special for me. Mooring so close to the Cuillins was perhaps my most special moment, although the time spent on St Kilda was quite magical. Seeing such a variety and quantity of birds and sea creatures throughout the trip has inspired me to buy a really good pair of binoculars! Go for it and hope to get good weather and calm seas. It will be an exciting trip and a real adventure. The scenery is spectacular, and such a variety of islands to visit, each with their own special charm.
2 June 2018
Best holiday ever! The wildlife sightings were fantastic. Thanks to the lovely knowledgable crew. They did everything to ensure we all had a great time. We visited some wonderful islands. St Kilda was the highlight of the trip and seeing the snowy owl there was very special. We all looked forward to the delicious food served every day. Thanks for a great holiday.
2 June 2018
Chris, our skipper, was very focused on our wish to see the Monachs, St Kilda and the Shiants, along with our focus on watching wildlife. Sam, (our wildlife guide) was fantastic at spotting cetaceans and Chris was happy to divert and wait so we could see them. We had outstanding luck and were privileged to see dolphins repeatedly making fish bait balls, which attracted gannets, gulls, skuas and petrels. This went on for about 2 hours. I have to further congratulate Chris for his sensitivity in never approaching wild animals too closely; he always kept a distance which allowed us to see their natural behaviour. We ended the cruise with a day hopping from one eagle’s nest to the next, again we had great views but respect was given to the animals. Craig (Bosun) gives superb customer service. Always there to help, always with an eye on safety and our comfort. He was unflappable! Stevy (Cook) consistently produced really nice meals. If I have dairy products I feel ill, Stevy did not put a foot wrong, he always had an alternative I could eat, I was never ill, this is above and beyond the service I have received in expensive hotels! A fantastic holiday, with a superb crew! It could not have been bettered!
2 June 2018
We were made to feel very welcome and were given help and advice. Itinerary was excellent and flexible if we so wished. The crew were excellent and did everything possible to make sure everyone had a super trip. Meals and food prepared by Stevie surpassed all expectations in such a small galley. The whole experience could not have been better, even the weather. Go for it!
19 May 2018
What is it about the Hebrides? The islands have been pulling me back every year since my first visit in the early 90’s. It may be my Scottish ancestry, but I think it’s the unique combination of landscape, wildlife and community that proves irresistible to the traveller in search of wilderness and solitude. For years, I have stood on the edge of islands like Skye, the Uists and Harris looking out at all those other islands, the unpopulated, inaccessible ones, wondering what they must be like. Well, in May of 2018 I could stop wondering, because thanks to the Elizabeth G, my wife Elin and I could go and find out for ourselves. After leaving Oban, as the 12 passengers and the crew got to know each other, we sailed through the Sound of Mull in bright sunshine and a light breeze. For me, the search for wildlife started as we left the harbour and half way up the sound, with the Ardnamurchan Peninsula to our right, a golden eagle drifted effortlessly on the breeze scanning the coastline for a meal. We spent our first peaceful night afloat in Loch Sunart, before heading out across the Minch to the Outer Hebrides. We were heading for the islands south of Barra and after an interesting crossing over the Minch, with Atlantic white-sided dolphins for company, we arrived in a bay at the island of Sandray. The guests had a variety of interests, some like myself looking for the wildlife, but others were intrigued by archaeology, history, geography and geology. It made for a fascinating and informative trip. Sandray did not disappoint, with its sand dunes, the remains of houses abandoned a hundred years ago and otter footprints on the beach. The following day it was over to Berneray or Barra Head, made famous by the shipping forecast. Initially shrouded in mist, it is one of the most atmospheric places I have ever been. As we walked up the old track to the lighthouse, the mist began to lift, revealing the ruined houses of crofters long gone, the old church and graveyard and the lighthouse on the highest point of the island. A stone circle revealed the graves of 5 of the lighthouse keeper’s children, the victims of diseases that are easily curable today. The puffins, razorbills and guillemots did not disappoint as they fussed about their nests on the steep cliffs that face out to the formidable Atlantic. After spending another night in Vatersay Bay, the rain made a brief appearance, but did not last the morning. There was a chance to explore Vatersay, to walk the strand, climb the hills, find archaeological artefacts and grab a coffee and cake at the community centre café. One of the high points for me was seeing and being able to photograph corncrakes for the first time. They are often heard but rarely seen. Next we headed for Mingulay, passing Pabay and a wonderful aerial display by a white- tailed sea eagle, ducking and diving in the crisp clear air to evade the ravens which were in hot pursuit. When we arrived at Mingulay Bay the sea was alive with seals. They were all around the boat, but that was nothing compared to the hundreds of Atlantic grey seals lying up on the beach. Mingulay is a magical island. As we walked up the beach the ruined houses and burial ground told a story of hardship and community, and of a people who lived here long ago. It is an island of contrast with sandy beaches and steep cliffs. Those who wished to walk in company could explore the island together, while others walked off alone to enjoy the peace and the solitude. You need time to explore islands like these, and with the Elizabeth G, more than enough time was allowed for everyone to make the most of their island quest. After an enchanted evening moored in the bay at Mingulay watching many more hundreds of grey seals arrive to spend the night ashore, it was time to head back to Oban, but not before landing on Hyskeir (Oigh-sgeir) to visit the lighthouse. These rocks ten kilometres off the coast of Canna and 14 kilometres west of Rum not only have an impressive lighthouse but are home to a wonderful array of wild birds. There were arctic terns, gulls and eider ducks on every rock with nests in every cranny. As a wildlife film maker and photographer, I have been privileged to travel and work in some of the wildest, remotest parts of the planet. But it is the Hebrides that keep drawing me back. The week spent on the Elizabeth G was a week that my wife Elin and myself will never forget. Skipper Rob and the crew surpassed all expectations, never failing to get us ashore on to some of the remotest islands in the Hebrides and providing meals of a truly cordon bleu standard on our return. It was without doubt, one of the most interesting, fascinating and relaxing trips we have ever enjoyed. Our thanks to Rob and the crew. Elizabeth G I love you. We will be back.” Richard Rees
19 August 2017
Emma was really friendly and answered promptly any queries we had. We were made to feel very welcome and given a lovely friendly farewell at the end. Scenery glorious; anchorages well chosen for wildlife viewing, and onshore trips varied and interesting – crew local knowledge excellent. The chef was first class and coped brilliantly with our varied diets. Go ahead – you won’t regret it!