What do Hebrides cruise vacations entail?Cruises are aboard a wide range of vessels: tall ships, converted ferries, fishing boats and lifeboats, or purpose-built small ship cruise vessels. In every case, space will be at a premium, so you will need to pack light and cleverly. Given you’ll not spend much time in your cabin anyway though, the cramped conditions below deck shouldn’t be too much of an issue. What can be are the steep steps down to the cabins, and bunk beds – you’ll need to be comfortable negotiating them, as well as getting from the boat onto a tender for shore visits. Cabins are typically en suite, and some operators do not impose a single supplement, making their trips ideal for solo passengers.
Another aspect of Hebrides cruise vacations that serves solo travelers well is the communal side to boat life: you’ll all dine together in a roomy saloon, or al fresco on deck when the weather is nice, and many boats have their own onboard chef. Days on shore excursions, and evenings spent playing games, make for a very sociable atmosphere which the small crew helps with as well. For this reason however, most cruises are adults only, while a few have a minimum age of 16. If you are interested in a more family-orientated tour, look at a center-based trip on Mull, as wildlife day trips often have a minimum age of just five.
Dining can be exquisite, with chefs making good use of locally sourced meat, seafood and vegetables. You should expect to be very well-fed. Some itineraries will see you mooring up on inhabited islands where you might visit a local restaurant, or take a distillery tour. There are several prestigious whisky distilleries in the Hebrides, particularly on Islay.