Cruising Supplier

Hebridean Island Cruises

Written By: Mayra Donate, MSM / Director of Marketing, All Leisure Holidays North America



All Leisure Holidays (ALH)  is the sales and marketing office for All Leisure Group PLC, a publicly traded company in the United Kingdom, handled in North America by Discover the World, based in Scottsdale, AZ. ALH handles three globally marketed small ship cruise brands specializing in discovery cruising: Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises. The three cruise brands are distinct with their own customer profiles and price points, but are combined in their focus on enrichment and discovery cruising, which is about combining the chance to relax at sea on small ships featuring stylish onboard amenities and hospitality, with the opportunity to discover the world’s greatest sites and cultures in the company of experts lecturers.  Although none of our ships offer casinos, all of them do offer expert lecturers who provide educational information on a variety of subjects, including the history, geography, and sociology of the global destinations that we visit.  We also have partnerships with three premier UK Organizations: the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society, and the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS).  These three partnerships provide our guests exclusive access to speakers, castles, events, and other opportunities not available to other cruise lines.



Experience the magic that is Hebridean Princess – a delectably small and exclusive ship purpose-built for the Western Isles – as she sails mainly from her home port of Oban. As the smallest luxury cruise ship afloat, she effortlessly accesses the remotest islands, lochs and bays beyond the reach of larger vessels.



Hebridean Island Cruises, ALH’s luxury cruise brand, was by acquired All Leisure Group PLC in April 2009. It had originally started trading in 1988. A Yorkshire family who formerly operated canal boats founded the Company. Fanatical motor-sailors who spent much of their own free time touring the Western Isles, they were storm-bound one day in Loch Scresort on the Isle of Rum, when they had the idea of offering exclusive ‘yacht-style’ cruises around the inaccessible and wildly beautiful area.


MV Columba, the former Oban-Mull ferry, was acquired, which was then totally refitted in the shipyard of George Prior Engineering in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Originally carrying 46 passengers and a crew of 27, the ship, now re-named Hebridean Princess, commenced trading on May 26, 1989. Initially, the vessel retained a car-carrying capability and the cruises were marketed with the option of joining and leaving at ports of call other than Oban. By 1993 the car-carrying capacity was removed and additional cabins constructed to allow a dramatic increase in the crew-to-guest ratio. By 1997, a crew of 37 was serving just 50 passengers in considerable luxury.


After nearly ten years of successful operation, the business was taken over by Altnamara PLC in 1998. Its new managers decided to invest in a second ship and put it on far-flung international itineraries. In 2001, it acquired the 4,200 Megastar Capricorn from Star Cruises, refitted it and launched it as the 80-passenger, 70-crew Hebridean Spirit on July 3rd, 2001. Citing the difficult economy, the line announced the sale of Hebridean Spirit in March 2009 and the ship departed the fleet in April 2009. Also that month, Hebridean Island Cruises and its sole ship, Hebridean Princess, were purchased by All Leisure Group. In March 2010 the ship emerged from a major refurbishment with many of the public rooms being totally renovated. The ship currently cruises primarily in the Scottish Isles for nine months each year (March through November) and continues to receive extensive maintenance for the remaining three months to ensure she maintains the highest possible standards and comfort for her discerning guests.


HM Queen Elizabeth II chartered Hebridean Princess to celebrate her 80th birthday with the Royal family in July 2006. HM The Queen and the Royal family also chartered the ship in 2010 for a private vacation. In January 2012, Hebridean Island Cruises was granted a Royal Warrant by HM the Queen for the provision of cruise vacations on Hebridean Princess.



Perfectly complementing the wildly beautiful Scottish scenery through which she cruises, Hebridean Princess offers the unrivalled comfort and refined service of a floating country house with a maximum of 50 guests in the tradition of the halcyon days of cruising.


The epitome of good taste, an understated elegance pervades the entire ship in a carefully chosen décor of co-ordinating furnishings, fabrics and colours. From the lounges to the Columba Restaurant and the 30 spacious, individually designed cabins, the ambience on board is redolent of a bygone era.


Our crew-to-guest ratio of almost one to one ensures exceptionally high standards. A knowledgeable guide accompanies all our cruises, and they are always there to provide information and a helping hand. Unobtrusive and friendly service, with that personal touch and constant attention to detail, set the five-star Hebridean Princess apart from other cruise ships – quite simply she is unique and in a class of her own.


On-board activities

When not ashore, enjoy your favourite drink by the inglenook fireplace in the Tiree Lounge, perhaps browse the well-stocked library or the Princess Shop, or relax in the Conservatory or the Look-Out Lounge as you watch the majestic Scottish scenery pass by. Sitting on deck, whatever the weather, is an invigorating and tranquil pleasure. And if there is a chill in the air, one of our sumptuous deck blankets is always close at hand.


In the country house party atmosphere of Hebridean Princess the emphasis is on no entertainment. Films are screened every evening on your television and the occasional impromptu musical evening is held on the Skye Deck.


If you would like to stay active while on board, a visit to the gym might be the perfect precursor to an excellent meal, a walk ashore, or simply relaxing in the comfort of your cabin. Whatever your interests, the choice is yours.



Hebridean Princess has a brigade of talented chefs who make use of the freshest ingredients Scotland has to offer to create exceptional gourmet cuisine. And with Hebridean’s all-inclusive pricing, you can leave the expert selection of the perfect accompanying wines to us, if you wish.


The very elegant Columba Restaurant is perfect for formal dining, and the large windows ensure you will not miss the splendid scenery while enjoying your meal. The serving of Hebridean’s very fine Haggis is a fondly anticipated ceremony. Robert Burns’ “Address to a Haggis’’ declaimed at every Burns’ Supper celebrated around the poet’s birthday on 25th January, is a regular ritual at our Farewell gala dinner on the last night of your cruise.


Hebridean Princess offers her guests the levels of service, comfort and cuisine for which she has become renowned over the past few decades. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at (877) 600-2648 (Monday – Friday from 9am – 7pm EST).