Monday, August 17th, 2020
Hebridean Island Cruises Doubles Fleet Size
Hebridean Island Cruises is to double the size of its small luxury passenger fleet with the acquisition of the 42 metre yacht like Lord of the Glens
HP Shipping Ltd, the owner of Hebridean Island Cruises the operators of Hebridean Princess has announced the purchase of MV Lord of the Glens, from the Magna Carta Steamship Company Ltd, for an undisclosed sum.
When she was built the design challenge was to construct a vessel that could transit the intricate waters of the Caledonian Canal as well as the sheltered waters around Scotland’s hauntingly beautiful fretted west coast.
The limiting factor being the size of the 36 locks (on the canal) each having a maximum dimension of 45 metres in length and 10.3 metres in width, with a depth of no more than 3.6 metres. Due to the width and meandering nature of the navigation, dual propulsion systems and bow thrusters are required to be controlled not only from the bridge but also from the side-wings of the vessel – this so that the Master is able to manoeuvre the ship into almost impossibly tight locks and around the many tortuous bends, bringing the dramatic landscape even closer.
Royal Yacht Britannia
The result of all these endeavours calls to mind that of a superyacht, this is no accident since the ‘Royal Yacht Britannia’ was very much in mind when it came to deciding the exterior livery with its ‘Mauritius’ deep blue hull, complemented by an all around band and resplendent eagle motifs all in gold, together with a brilliant white superstructure.
Internally the vessel deliberately shuns the ‘urban chic’ and the contemporary, for one that is most certainly more in sympathy with both the landscape and the environment.
Upon stepping aboard for the first time the weary traveller is immediately greeted by the more durable, and arguably the much more sumptuous classical look – with its rich hardwood finishes throughout offset by cream panelling.
Liners’ of yesteryear
She boats beautiful fixtures, fittings and furnishings, and individually chosen historic pieces sometimes originating from the ‘Grand Expresses’ and ‘Ocean-Liners’ of yesteryear.
Of special note are the original 1929 ‘Riviera’ armchairs (PLM Orient Express), hand painted David Roberts lithographs, light fittings from the SS France and Nord Norge, restaurant chairs, overhead glass panelling, deck furniture from the RMS Windsor Castle and lovely brass friezes from the RMS Kenya Castle.
Elsewhere there are scaled models of locomotives and ocean going ships. Throughout the vessel is adorned with plush carpeting by ‘Brinton’s’ and hardwood flooring with inlaid compass motifs made by craftsmen at the top of their profession.
The whole vessel is air-conditioned/heated throughout. Guests embark at the Reception level, where is also located the delightful ‘one sitting’ ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’ restaurant and the Bridge, besides the six Top Deck State Cabins.
A short flight of stairs brings guests to the splendid Upper Deck – the ‘David Livingstone Lounge/Bar’ – which is again richly decorated in hardwood finishes and divided into two sections. The aft area is reserved for the Bar and a comfortable relaxing area, as well as a stern facing viewing deck. The forward area is perhaps reserved for quieter contemplation and spectacular viewing opportunities both through the all-round panoramic windows and the forward viewing deck.
There are 27 outward facing State Cabins spread over three decks, sequentially all named after well known Scottish personages (Thomas Telford, David Roberts and Alexander Graham Bell). Each State Cabin is finished in rich hardwood finishes, plush carpeting, dressing table, stool, wardrobe, internal telephone, satellite TV and en-suite facilities with shower, WC and washbasin. All State Cabins are air-conditioned/heated – the Top and Middle Deck State Cabins have a picture window, whereas the Lower Deck State Cabins have two portholes each.
As is the case on board Hebridean Princess, the cuisine is expected to be excellent, freshly prepared onboard by a loyal and long serving brigade of chefs, drawing on the rich bounty of locally sourced produce – and what could be more delightful than to awake to the prospect of a full Scottish breakfast, and for earlier risers to take advantage of the complimentary hot beverages that await in the lounge, and for that matter for the rest of the day as well.
Lord of the Glens will be chartered to Hebridean Island Cruises Ltd with operations and reservations for the vessel moved to Hebridean Island Cruises’ HQ in Skipton, North Yorkshire.
Hebridean Island Cruises will offer five and seven night cruises, commencing April 2021 along the beautiful Caledonian Canal, between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh including Loch Ness and Oban.
Advance bookings for 2021 are very strong and a number of cruises have been chartered to US and European tour operators. Lord of the Glens is a ship of similar size to our well-established and well-loved Hebridean Princess which carries a maximum of 50 guests and operates mainly on the west coast of Scotland.”
The vessel operates an ‘open bridge’ policy. The vessel is British registered and carries a full nautical compliment of British officers and European crew. The vessel was re-constructed in 2000 and has been renovated annually ever since.