Sixty Years Old and Still Going Strong

Our favourite little cruise ship has turn sixty years old.

Hebridean Island Cruises, the small luxury cruise operator, has a celebrated sixty year anniversary of the launch of its 48-passenger cruise ship Hebridean Princess.

The did so with a formal lunch on board attended by HRH The Princess Royal, local dignitaries and members of the travel press

Built as Columba the ship was launched sixty years ago on the 12th March 1964. She ran down the slipway at the Hall Russell yard in Aberdeen.  

Transporting passengers, cars and goods between the islands, she provided a lifeline to the community and an adventurous journey for the tourist.


In ‘October 1988 Columba left her Scottish home, bound for Great Yarmouth and a £1.5m transformation.

She emerged in her new role as a miniature luxury liner, with the seaworthiness of Columba retained, and the more elegant lines of  Hebridean Princess apparent.

Carrying a maximum of 48 passengers, many of them are accommodated in deluxe staterooms. She sails in one of the most scenic and beautiful areas of the world.

The changing moods and spectacular scenery of the islands can now be viewed in elegant comfort. Through the windows of the Tiree lounge, or from the Columba restaurant. Here fresh and carefully prepared food can be enjoyed along with fine wines and the very best of malt whisky

Having been renamed Hebridean Princess she entered service in 1989.

The vessel is the only cruise ship to have received a Royal Warrant and has been chartered by the Royal Family.

Ken Charleson, said

Of the anniversary, Hebridean Island Cruises‘ Managing Director, Ken Charleson, said. “We were delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal back on board Hebridean Princess. She helps us celebrate such a momentous occasion. Since 1989, Hebridean Princess has established herself as the epitome of luxury, small-ship Scottish cruising. She has earned an enviable reputation for her renowned level of service and attention to detail.”

Charleson added. “It is testament to her design and build quality that Hebridean Princess is still sailing the waters for which she was designed and built. After thirty-five years of luxury cruising, Hebridean Princess has outlived Columba.”

Hebridean Princess operates all-inclusive, luxury cruises around the Highland and Islands of Scotland. She sails from March to November, departing mainly from Oban.