Scenery, Islands, Crew, Wildlife and Making Friends - Just some of your highlights from this season!
This year our guests have been sending us their cruise highlights and memories via our post cruise feedback questionnaire, in lovely written letters and poems and even on canvas! It is hard to single out any one highlight so here is just a selection from a wonderful 2019 season.
The scenery of the west coast of Scotland is unparalleled. From the jagged mountain peaks to the basalt columns of ancient islands, our cruising areas have left many guests speechless. Many have been lucky enough to not only visit Staffa by sea, our skilful engineers and bosuns have mastered getting them into Fingal's Cave by tender boat, a real adventure for some! Having the ability to visit the remote and idyllic locations that bigger cruise ships simply cannot get near to, is evident in so many highlights such as "loved going to Rum and more isolated places" or "visiting places few people could reach". "Walking through history on St Kilda" was a highlight for one guest and another fondly remembers "walking on Muck on a still summer's day" and "the beauty of Harris and the night plane landing at Barra Airport".
Beach landings on isolated islands are a regular highlight and with the launch of Glen Shiel this summer, some were lucky enough to venture to new anchorages. One guest said it was "amazing to get all the way to Cape Wrath" while another said "having lunch at anchor in the Summer Isles" was his highlight. It is clear from all the feedback that our guests enjoyed the remote locations the best. This comment particularly resonated with us evoking a beautiful image of a perfect day on one of our cruises – “I walked barefoot on the brilliant white sand beaches ankle deep in the cool sea, heavenly colours of turquoise and blue sea, shining white sand, sunlight rippling the water, tiny waves, blue sky above; perfect paradise”. Another loved "sitting in peace and quiet, in the presence of the puffins, on the Treshnish Isles".
Our guests have relaxed at our overnight anchorages with one noticing "the peace and tranquillity at the anchorage each evening" while another said "our anchorages were just lovely, especially the first night - flat calm, a gorgeous sunset, seals poking their heads up to see what we were doing". We are delighted that our small ships have helped guests to experience these incredible sights; some which will last long in their memories.
Our experienced crew always feature highly in people’s comments and this year was no exception with one guest claiming "the crew were excellent. They took the time to be friendly and pointed out points of interest plus local history". It is so nice to hear from one of our international guests that our crew "introduced us to the Western Scottish Isles. They love these isles and now we do too". Our crew love the cruising area and always try to make the most of the prevailing wind, tides, weather and wishes of the guests to create the best itinerary possible. A private charter in September were particularly impressed that "the skipper took all of our input and crafted an itinerary that met – and exceeded – everyone’s expectations".
2019 has been a great season for wildlife sightings across all four vessels and many highlights included "sea eagles in Loch Spelve", "seeing basking sharks and a whole flock of puffins" and "the shiant islands, teeming with birds" while one lucky guest said seeing "100+ dolphins between Mull and Barra was a unique wildlife experience". On one cruise in July a guest spotted "a golden eagle, minke whale, bottle nose dolphins, common dolphins and otter".
The size of our small ships with only a maximum of 11 or 12 passengers on each cruise has meant many guests have made new friends; a regular occurrence on our cruises. We loved that one guest "found the crew with 9 other strangers. Left the cruise with 13 friends" and another liked the "way our group gelled so well – with each other and the crew". "The mix of nationalities, the food and wine, the itinerary" was a great factor in the "socialising and sharing of wonderful food with such diverse folk on board".
We look forward now to 2020 and to helping our future guests make new memories.