First Hebridean Princess Member Review!

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#1
Suffolk, England
94 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Hi

We were on the Hebridean Princess a couple of weeks ago and had the best cruise ever! So much so that I have posted the first ever Member Review of the ship on Cruise Critic!!!

You'll find it here:

http://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/member...ID=92271&sr=us

If you have any questions about the ship or life on board, I try and answer them.

Simon
#2
Germany
1,049 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Great! I am definitely interested, since we'll be on the Hebridean Princess in about a year for a back to back cruise. I'm off to go read your review!
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Our first cruise- Vision of the Seas- June 4, 2009 Baltics
#3
Germany
1,049 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Did Hebridean arrange the spa hotel or was that something you came up with yourself? We will be boarding in Greenock, but since the embarkation is so late, I'm wondering if I'll have to find some way to entertain us until then.
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Our first cruise- Vision of the Seas- June 4, 2009 Baltics
#4
Suffolk, England
94 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
The spa was something we arranged ourselves. We looked online for hotels in Oban, originally with the idea of having a Day Room, so that we would have a base whilst waiting for embarkation. However no-one seemed to be interested in offering a Day Room, but we found that there was a hotel with its own spa, so we phoned up asking if we could use the facilities as non-residents. They were happy to oblige, so for £5 each we had use of the outdoor hot tub, sauna and steam room as well as shower and changing facilities. They also let us leave our day bag with them whilst we went for a walk.

I am afraid that I don't know anything about Greenock, but I suspect it is not such a holiday resort as Oban. It would, however, be worthwhile you searching on-line for somewhere to use as a base while you wait for embarkation time.

Our problem was that our train arrived in Oban really early, at 11.30 am, so had five hours to kill before we could board. I am not sure what time you plan to arrive in Greenock.

By the way, I see that you are a fellow fan of SeaDream! The Hebridean experience is TOTALLY different from SeaDream, it is much more low key (apart from a few people staying up late enjoying the hospitality). It is very outdoorsy, with a big emphasis on getting off the ship and exploring/walking - don't forget your walking boots, you'll need them!

Anything else I can tell you about, just ask.

Simon
#5
Germany
1,049 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Thanks for your kind reply! Yes, I do love SeaDream and to read that the Hebridean Princess is even more low key makes me think it must be a very relaxing experience indeed! We just got off the SeaDream I a couple of weeks ago and have already pre-booked another cruise with them. Our two SeaDream cruises have been in the Caribbean, so we're hoping our next one will be in the Mediterranean. I have a feeling a Med cruise on SeaDream will be more stimulating than their Caribbean cruises are. As much as I love SeaDream, though, change is good and we are really itching to get out of the Caribbean, even if Scotland doesn't have the most predictable weather!

At this point, we're still planning our trip to Scotland. I think we'll probably get there the day or two before our back to back cruises start, November 17th. This cruise will be a celebration for our 10th anniversary (November 16th, 2012). But it's still kind of up in the air. I'm not familiar with Scotland, so I'll be hunting the boards looking for suggestions on how to spend the time before we board the ship.

Were you able to leave your big luggage at least? I think if we can do that before boarding, we'll be okay. I'm sure we can find a pub or museum to occupy us until 4:30pm. My husband is in the military and we may have to move next year, so I'm just hoping we can pull off this trip! I think we'll probably stay about two weeks and hit Glasgow and Edinburgh on either end of the cruise.

I have a feeling my husband is going to LOVE the Hebridean Princess even more than I will. He loves nature and walking and, of course, scotch.
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Our first cruise- Vision of the Seas- June 4, 2009 Baltics
#6
Suffolk, England
94 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
There is no problem with leaving the large luggage with Hebridean security. Their reception seems to be constantly manned, so you go there first and they will direct you to the security area. We left three large cases with them and took one day bag with us for the rest of the day.

Security opened one of the bags just to check everything was ok (luckily no dirty laundry by that time!). They also did our checking in at the same time. To say it took less than 30 seconds is absolutely true!

If you do want to return to the port early, they have a waiting room and complimentary tea and coffee, so there is somewhere warm (and dry!) to wait. Just before 4.30 pm, the Chief Purser arrives, checks you all off against his passenger list, then once he has confirmation from the Captain that the ship is ready for boarding, you are boarded one couple at a time, in the order that you checked in. It is very civilised!

As you approach the ship, a piper standing on one of the upper decks pipes you aboard, to be met by senior officers and taken to your cabin.

If your husband loves scotch, then he will be in heaven with the number of single malts (and blends) on offer - all free!

If you are thinking of two back to back cruises starting on 17 November, I would guess that they will be last two of the season before the ship heads for its winter refit. I think she goes to a ship yard on the River Clyde, hence sailing out of and returning to Greenock which is very close.

By the way it has been snowing heavily in Western Scotland over the last couple of days!

I think you will enjoy SeaDream even more in the Mediterranean as all the ports are so different to each other and there is much more history to explore. The only downside is that there is no Caviar Splash in the Med, it takes place around the swimming pool instead.

I'll keep looking on this thread so if you have anyt more questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Simon
#7
Germany
1,049 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Yes, we have already booked the last two cruises. I was just going to book the second to the last one (Castles of Argyll & Bute), but figured since that cruise ends right before our Thanksgiving, we might as well stick around for the last one, too. My husband would probably have the time off anyway and if we're going all the way to Scotland, we might as well take a real trip. We booked the cheapest cabin for both cruises, which I suspect will be just fine even if there are no windows!

I'm definitely looking forward to the bag piper. We had one at our wedding.

We lived in Germany a few years ago and had a ball visiting different parts of Europe. I've been dying to go back ever since and would actually love to move there again. I think a SeaDream cruise in the Med might be a nice consolation for us. In fact, I love SeaDream so much, I'm almost afraid to try other cruise lines because I'm afraid to compare them! I really prefer Europe to the Caribbean. As pretty as the blue water is, I just don't find most of the ports all that interesting.

I'm hoping to meet some interesting people on the Hebridean Princess and see some things I've never seen. On our recent SeaDream cruise, we met quite a few Brits who had heard of Hebridean Princess and every one of them said in so many words that it was "brilliant". A bonus is that I'm a lot less likely to get sunburned on this trip!
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Our first cruise- Vision of the Seas- June 4, 2009 Baltics
#8
Suffolk, England
94 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
All cabins on the Hebridean Princess are fine. Given the time of year that you are going, I don't think the lack of windows will be a problem as it is likely to be dark outside whenever you are in your cabin in the morning and evening!

Have a great time!

Simon
#9
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I sailed on her a few years ago, and the story and pictures are on our website at the bottom.called Scottish Cruise,Wales and Paris
When I was on her, the captain was a bagpiper, and coming back from Carbost in a Hardy, we saw him up in the bow playing. The sound echoing over the loch was truly beautiful!
The rest of your review is spot on.
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#10
Upper Midwest
449 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Great trip report, Steve! The Hebridean Princess is on my wish (bucket?) list and has been since I first read of the line several years ago. Just wish the fare weren't quite so steep.....

Our memorable trip to Scotland is more than 25 years ago and I've longed to return ever since. Enjoyed your train reports - as my dad was a steam fireman and engineer in Chicago for many years. And a treasured memento of that Scottish trip is a pic of me with the engineer in the cab of the Flying Scotsman (well, he's in the cab - I'm on the platform!)

For you - and others on this forum - I would alert you to a travelogue we recently rented from Netflix: Title is Great Scotch Whisky (tho Netflix adds the shameful 'e' in its listing). It's very interesting and includes one - no, I think two - of the distilleries you mentioned visiting. A nice little dose of Scottish history at the beginning, too.

Now I'm off to read the report from the OP.
#11
Scotland and Norway
536 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by ltsally
Our memorable trip to Scotland is more than 25 years ago and I've longed to return ever since. Enjoyed your train reports - as my dad was a steam fireman and engineer in Chicago for many years. And a treasured memento of that Scottish trip is a pic of me with the engineer in the cab of the Flying Scotsman (well, he's in the cab - I'm on the platform!).
I'm not sure where/when you're sailing but you might be interested in the Jacobite steam train (Harry Potter) that runs from Fort William to Mallaig during the tourist season?
#12
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Good point,Gaelsail. That is a great trip. I volunteer with a tourist railway in Southern California, and try to ride the steam trains wherever I am. There are some stories on our website about trains we have been on. The first was riding the Great Little Trains of Wales, there is one on the Trans Siberian Express, and the latest one was on the branch line in the Isle of Wight.
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#13
La Quinta, California (Palm Springs area)
15 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I'm looking forward to the March 27 cruise. It is a dream long awaited to see these brilliant islands. I am smiling already. The ship seems very fine.