15 independent reviews for Skye and the Small Isles sailing vacation

Reviews for Skye and the Small Isles sailing vacation

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review 30 Aug 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

I had the opportunity to experience places and meet people I would not have been able to do alone. The captain arranged for local people to meet with us on several small islands and give us a first-hand view of life on those islands. With a shot of whiskey, of course. I also loved to sit alone on the top deck, even when the weather was blustery, with the absolute confidence that I was well looked after. Once, when the weather turned, the captain decided we should wear life jackets moving around the outside of the boat. I had been on the top deck for a while and didn't know, but the Boson (he does everything the Chef and Captain don't) remembered I was there and came and brought me my life jacket.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring lots of layers. The first couple of days, I was in a sleeveless shirt. I would have worn shorts if I had them, but other days were cold and blustery, and I had several layers on. Also, waterproof shoes, pants, a jacket and sunscreen are mandatory. For those traveling solo, pajamas can come in handy, as I ended up sharing a bathroom with four guys, and I left my door partially open for a bit of air circulation. You need to be prepared to be in close quarters with 7-10 people (depending on the boat) who you might not otherwise spend time with. Curiousity helps a lot. Some days, you may not be able to get off the boat at all, or even outside for very long. Because the boat is small, you may feel the weather more, so if there is a chance you might get motion sickness, you should be prepared. The steps to get to and from the cabins, as well as to the upper deck, are very steep. If you are claustrophobic, the rooms might be challenging because there are no portholes and no outside air sources except when we were anchored. Most importantly, this is a trip that requires being flexible about where you are going (which could change between the time you go to bed and get up), when you might stop or eat (although we never went hungry-quite the opposite), the level of difficulty of hikes (pro tip: Scots seem to understate the degree of difficulty of various s0-called paths greatly."

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I do. At every stop, we worked with the local people. The boat anchored off the shore, and we went ashore with a small tender to limit the damage to the coastline. The food served was local as much as possible, and we kept waste to a minimum. We all tried to spend a little money at each stop to help their economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I know for me, and this seemed to be shared by all of the passengers; this was a trip of a lifetime. In addition to the obvious stuff, such as the locations we went to and the beautiful scenery, we were exceptionally well taken care of. The food was excellent, varied and beautifully presented, and the Chef could easily work at a gourmet restaurant if he wanted to (and had in the past). The captain educated us about each place we were stopping, kept us informed of any changes and was unflaggingly patient with all the questions he was peppered with and people's frustration and constantly changing plans. He also allowed us to people the helm and tour the boat's innards. I want to give a special shoutout to the Boson, Mark. I was traveling alone and am used to taking care of myself. He was attentive in many ways, anticipated my needs, never let me get something myself if he could, and regularly checked in to see if I needed anything, even when I was on the top deck alone. As someone who attends to the needs of others professionally, having that experience for myself left me recharged to go home and back to work.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you very much for a wonderful review. We very much appreciate you taking the time to write it. I thought that it would be useful for other guests to know that portholes and hatches need to be closed when the vessel is traveling for safety reasons and can be opened again as soon as the vessel is at anchor.

review 26 May 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Every day was memorable....Loved being a small group and therefore able to hang over the bough and see the dolphins beneath the boat...see the wonderful bird life, seals etc and going ashore to explore all the small isles and of course Mull...

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be prepared to take time to get used to the narrow bunks ....if at all possible indulge in ensuite... Also be prepared for the delicious and beautiful prepared food which kept on coming! Take lots of layers...I was never cold although sometimes I wore six! The cabins were warm with radiators and lots of hot water.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Not specially, although we loved our visit to the Whisky distillery and the Mussel Farm. The little shop on Eigg had some good local things and Charlie the taxi driver was a real character. Tobermory is slightly different, some good shops but a bit touristy...

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Absolutely wonderful...mostly due to our superb Captain Dougie,who was not only very professional, knowledgeable about all maritime information and made sure he included us with his charts etc and was always smiling and friendly and fun... Ian our Chef produced superlative food every day and was also always pleasant and helpful.. Mark the Bosun was also fabulous, always smiling and helpful...we were so lucky to have such an outstanding crew, which created a great atmosphere.

review 19 Jul 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The tranquility and beauty of some of our anchorages. Watching a small pod of bottlenose dolphins off the bow. The food on board which was less meat- orientated than we cook for ourselves and was therefore an exciting and different taste experience.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

When going on one of these trips be mindful that the conditions will dictate the route you are able to follow. This was our second trip with this company and yet again we were not able to do the itinerary advertised because of the weather! We had hoped to visit Lunga, The Treshnish Isles and Coll and Tiree. However we only managed Iona, Lismore and Tobermory. This does not necessarily detract from the experience which was wonderful, but you should be prepared to be completely flexible and not to set your heart on any particular destination. Just enjoy the voyage!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Being a small ship reduces our footprint on the environment. Local businesses in Oban benefit from guests often staying in the town before and after the voyage. Otherwise not of huge benefit to local communities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We love these small ship cruises. These boats are not luxury but they have a unique charm and character and you are very well looked-after, the food being a particular treat. Our fellow guests were great fun and although we were driven inside by the weather we kept ourselves entertained. When the weather was kind nothing beats the peace and beauty of the surroundings, and it is this that lives long in the memory!

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you very much, Louise, for taking the time to write some comments regarding your cruise around the Isle of Mull. I thought that we should explain how important our local community is to our small cruising company. Many of our crew (skippers, chefs, bosuns) are local. All of them are British. We work with local cleaners, laundrette, boat joiners, engineers, electricians and general maintenance contractors. All our shopping for food, materials and equipment is also done locally. During the cruises, our guests and crew frequently visit the local shops and tourist attractions.We are so pleased that you love our small cruise ships and enjoyed the trips you have already done with us. We hope to be able to see you soon again for another sea adventure.

review 17 Sep 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The fantastic friendly crew helped make it an exciting vacation by making sure they did their best to help us see wildlife + stunning scenery & serving scrumptious meals. Having a couple of smaller boat trips as I struggle to walk made it extra special, getting closer to the seals + waterfall as well as seeing deer was extra special. I also really appreciated Natasha leaving a cup with teabag so I could enjoy an extra early cup of tea.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Take a sense of humour, flexibility & really relax! It is a wonderful trip. Don't be scared to ask if you want something at a different time as long as its not too difficult.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. I spent time & money visiting a local aquarium + buying local food & jewellery.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent & am very happy to tell everyone about it.

review 4 Sep 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Leaning over the bow of the ship watching dolphins enjoy the rush of the boat then joining up as a pod to race the seas jumping in unison.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Be ready to enjoy delicious meals ie elastic waist bands. Dress warm to enjoy traveling on the bow of the ship.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes the tour operator is involved in wildlife surveys and the crew very respectful of the environment. We were encouraged to shop locally and visit local sites.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Marvellous, I have dreamed of this and planned over three years to make it happen. This was a wonderful trip. The crew were generous with their time and talents. I look forward to trying another of their itineraries.

review 5 May 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The trips to Canna and the Shiants

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring clothes for every type of weather!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful! Comfortable boat - even if our cabin was a little cosy. Really good food. Friendly and helpful crew. Wonderful views and birdlife.

review 21 Sep 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing golden eagles

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

You need to be fit to climb up and down ladder to cabins. If in non En suite cabins, there is no day light or ventilation. Not for the claustrophobic!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Slightly

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Wonderful opportunity to explore beautiful coastal waters around Jura and Mull. Food was outstanding, great crew. Very lucky with the mix of other passengers.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you very much for taking the time to write a review for us. We do appreciate you taking the time. We are always very careful to send pictures of the stairs aboard our vessels and of the tender's boarding ladder to the people enquiring about a cruise as it is very important that our guests know what to expect. While there isn't a porthole in the cabin you had booked for your cruise, there is some ventilation. I would like to reassure you regarding our commitment to sustainable tourism. We always support local communities and employ the services of the local marina, shops, services, restaurants and guides. These suppliers employ local staff. We encourage our guests to visit locally important heritage sites, visit local gardens, craft shops and participate in cultural events. We also work with local wildlife rangers and tour guides. With regards to our environmental impact: We ask guests to bring their own water bottles which we refill. We do not use straws, plastic cutlery/plates, drink stirrers. We recycle all of our waste where it is possible to do so. We buy items with minimal packaging. Engine revolutions are kept to a minimum to reduce fuel consumption. We do not travel at night as we anchor in secluded anchorages and in two of our vessels the fuel consuming generators are switched off to give quiet ships. All fuel usage is recorded so that fuel consumption can be tightly monitored. Our company depends largely on the internet and word of mouth for marketing to reduce paper waste. We use low energy LEDs where possible. When purchasing equipment, priority is given to the products that consume less water, energy and fuel. Guests traveling all the way by public transport (bus, ferry or train) will receive a Green Voucher towards the cost of their cruise. We try to use seasonal and locally produced food when possible, which, unfortunately, isnt always the case, depending on the season and demand. Vegetarians and Vegans are catered for. We are also supporting various wildlife Trusts and were awarded, following a detailed inspection, The Green Tourism's Gold Award. I hope that this will be helpful. We hope to see you soon again for another Hebridean, marine adventure.

review 24 Apr 2022

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


review 2 Oct 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The stunning views and landscapes

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If going at the beginning or end of the season expect changes! Enjoy the serendipity of unexpected places.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Probably only minimally except for around Oban with crewing, requistioning for the boat.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Brilliant, highly enjoyed it all

review 8 Sep 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Stunning scenery.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Don't pack too much and if you haven't experienced a small boat vacation before, be prepared for small cabins.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Benefited local people - use of restaurants, pubs, gift shops.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent - great scenery, food and crew

review 28 Aug 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The wildlife and exceptional weathet

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Book for all seasons and remember your binoculars watching a sea eagle and her young flying was beautiful

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Using the village shops on the island to benefit local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Very good, food and accommodation great and wildlife watching wondering where they would appear

review 11 Aug 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

It was a very peaceful vacation. We travelled to remote locations which made this a very relaxing trip. Not being in contact with the outside world, away from Covid and lockdown insanity, was a godsend. Skye and Canna - the King of Norways grave - were favourites and being to kayak on Lochaline, among seals.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

The shop etc is closed on Sunday on Muck! Make sure you try kayaking

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It benefitted local people, especially on Canna. Good bar.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

5/5 We thoroughly enjoyed this and would look to book another. Fabulous food by Jenna!

review 8 Aug 2021

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Anchoring in beautiful locations such as Loch Scavaig and Canna, and going ashore to walk and explore. Sad to say Wildlife at sea was a bit thin - perhaps we were unlucky.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

On St Hilda boat be aware that the 2 small cabins are actually VERY small and cramped, and not good if you are at all claustrophobic. Older less agile customers may have problems, and be better off in the larger boats (though not having been on them we cannot be sure!). Dont expect any comfy seating on deck. Probably all fine for younger passengers!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

No not particularly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Enjoyable some of the time ! - on board we had good helpful staff, and good company.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. There are pictures of our three vessels' cabins on our website to help our future guests decide if this vacation is suitable for them. I am sorry if you didn't see these. I should have made sure that you had seen them. I would like to reassure you regarding our commitment to sustainable tourism. We always support local communities and employ the services of the local marina, shops, services, restaurants and guides. These suppliers employ local staff. We encourage our guests to visit locally important heritage sites, visit local gardens, craft shops and participate in cultural events. We also work with local wildlife rangers and tour guides. With regards to our environmental impact: We ask guests to bring their own water bottles which we refill. We do not use straws, plastic cutlery/plates, drink stirrers. We recycle all of our waste where possible. We buy items with minimal packaging. Engine revolutions are kept to a minimum to reduce fuel consumption. We do not travel at night as we anchor in secluded in anchorages and in two of our vessels the fuel consuming generators are switched off to give quiet ships. On St Hilda, where possible, we set the sails. All fuel usage is recorded so that fuel consumption can be tightly monitored. Our company depends largely on the internet and word of mouth for marketing to reduce paper waste. We try to use seasonal and locally produced food. Vegans are catered for. We use low energy LEDs where possible. We are also members of the Marine Conservation Society, the Shark Trust, The Hebridean Whake and Dolphin Trust an have been awarded the Green Tourism's Silver Award. I am very pleased that you enjoyed anchoring in secluded places of natural beauty and also sharing life aboard with our staff and other guests.

review 8 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Exploring the beautiful coastline around Mull, Loch Sunart and Loch Teacuis.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Wetsuits were really useful when kayaking. Thermals for the cooler times outside. Very snug and cosy in the lounge in the evening.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Fresh supplies bought in Tobermory. Great care taken in dealing with refuse.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent initial safety briefing and tour of boat with skipper, Christoph and chef and crew, Amy, really gave us confidence and enabled us to enjoy our time on this beautiful ketch. Superb scenery and wildlife. Christoph shared his knowledge about sailing and the local area and Amy served us some delicious, inventive meals. Wonderful company and an amazing experience.

review 4 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

I was very happy that we found the puffins rock (Dn Mr) on Sanday. With another traveler I surrounded the peninsula with the help of a map with only a few details like some walls, the church and the silhouette of the island - no paths! But the puffins were exactly where they had been indicated on the map, and we had a wonderful, long walk. But I also enjoyed the boat trips - plenty of time to watch the sea, the sky, the birds, the seals, even some dolphins...

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Enjoy a wake-up-swimming from the boat in the morning - I wish I could continue to start my days like this! I brought several different shoes, but I found my waterproof sandals most practical for most purposes except for the longer walks.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We had mostly local (and very delicious!) food and bought souvenirs in the local shops and didn't leave any garbage on the islands.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I spent a wonderful, varied, exciting, relaxing and to my surprise even culinary week in Scotland with very nice people (travelers and crew). Of course none of us is used to share his room with three strangers, but everybody was very flexible and considerate and so we had a great time very close to nature. Thank you very much!

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