Back in January, we reported that the royal family had chartered the 49-passenger boutique ship Hebridean Princess for a summer jaunt around the coast of Scotland.
Well, today’s departure day, according to reports on Sky News and STV. And sure enough, although Hebridean executives are still keeping quiet about the charter, the company’s website is still showing the ship out of service until August 5.
The Queen is no stranger to Hebridean Princess. She chartered the ship in 2006 for her 80th birthday celebrations. This year, there are two more ‘big’ birthday bashes, as the Princess Royal is 60 and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, hits 50. So why not?
Naturally, the itinerary and cost are being kept under wraps but typically, the tiny ship will potter through the remote Western Isles while its passengers enjoy the finest of Scottish cuisine and a magnificent range of single malts. Estimates in the media put the cost at around £150,000, with Her Majesty footing the bill herself.
Meanwhile, lovers of Scottish cruising might want to consider their own wee jolly in the exclusive style of the royals, as a line even tinier than Hebridean is offering charters of a very lovely ship for a special deal of just £10,000. The Majestic Line , which sails two wonderful old converted wooden fishing vessels in the same region as Hebridean, will take up to 11 guests on a six-night sailing out of Oban including all food, wine and shore trips.
There will be no paparazzi-style spying on the royals, as Majestic’s offer is for August, but it’s a pretty good deal nonetheless.
There’s only one caveat (no such thing as a free lunch, after all); August is peak midge season in Scotland, so if you snap up this offer, pack plenty of insect repellent! SJB