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Review: Glen Massan

Cruise - Expedition Cruise

Over the sea to Skye – in a lovely wee fat boat!

  • By SilverTraveller Ian.Waugh

    214 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Jul 2013
  • Wife
  • Family holiday
  • Outside

85 people found this review helpful

From initial contact, through booking and joining the Glen Massan, communication with The Majestic Line was excellent. Our meeting place for this particular itinerary – ‘Skye and the Inner Hebrides’ – was the Caledonian Hotel in Oban, where we were able to leave our luggage (tagged – using labels provided as part of the ‘welcome’ package received in advance with joining instructions and other good information) – until we passengers, ten of us for six double cabins (two with single occupancy for this trip), were collected by ‘Skipper’ Martin and taken to the boarding point. On arrival onboard, our baggage was already in our allocated cabin. The cabins were, by necessity on this (thoughtfully and professionally) converted Irish fishing vessel, compact – but well laid out and with a neat en-suite toilet/shower room. A hanging wardrobe and cabin wall hooks meant that those who’d limited themselves to the suggested maximum luggage size were adequately catered for, and shouldn’t have felt bereft of choice of clothing! We departed, after the welcoming drink and safety briefing, for Tobermory, Isle of Mull, where we had our evening meal at this, our first, overnight anchorage. Breakfast in Tobermory Bay was followed by our passage to the next anchorage, in time for lunch and a walk ashore – then another short passage before another trip ashore and dinner at the new overnight anchorage. This pattern (dinner and overnight, followed by breakfast and passage to the next stop for lunch; and then on to the overnight anchorage in time for dinner) was followed successfully throughout the voyage – the Skipper judging passage and stops according to tides and prevailing weather conditions. In addition to remote ‘mainland’ stopovers in Loch Nevis, Loch Duich and Loch Carron, we visited various locations on the islands of Mull, Skye, Rum and Canna. The Captain and his three crew each had a prime role (Skipper; Mate/Engineer; Steward; and Chef) – but all four were multi-talented and multi-tasking as would be necessary onboard such a craft – this adding to the overall ‘family’ feel of the voyage. Joining the vessel, and going ashore at the various stops, was by tender – which itself was entertaining and added to the fun. Anchoring off at night meant that there were no problems with the otherwise dreaded Scottish ‘midge’ – even in July – as the wee devils don’t like to cross water. As it happens, nobody had a problem during our shoreside visits, either. The food – using mostly local produce – was excellently prepared and presented throughout the voyage. The office had asked in advance about any food preferences/to be avoided, meaning that the set meal was not a problem for anyone (with options for those for whom a particular course might not suit). House wine (red and white) with dinner was included in the price, and was of good quality – and the bar had a good selection of malt whisky,and other (not-so-local) spirits and beers. Our fellow passengers were a good mix of people from different backgrounds – in this case happening to come from Scotland, Ireland and England, though The Majestic Line regularly has visitors from all continents. This was our first experience of ‘small boat cruising’ and, if this is an example of what to expect, it won’t be our last – despite Skye living up to its ‘Misty Isle’ reputation, and the weather being less than perfect at times. The fact that two of the six cabins were occupied by repeat guests tells its own story? The Majestic Line has a number of itineraries – including six-night and three-night selections, from either Oban or their base on the River Clyde – as well as ‘bespoke’ voyages to suit group/family bookings. So we’ll have lots of other options to explore the magnificent Scottish scenery with its varied sea-life, bird-life, rock formations, castles, flora, fauna, and colourful towns like Tobermory (of TV ‘Balamory’ fame) etc, etc, etc … onboard either Glen Massan or Glen Tarsan. p.s. when I picked-up the ‘Oban Times’ on our return on Friday, I read that Sir Alex Fergusson had chartered Glen Tarsan for a ‘friends and family’ voyage on the week prior to our own cruise – now that he’s retired from Manchester United and has more time to enjoy the good things in life!

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Other Members' Thoughts - 4 Comment(s)

  • Adventurer
    about 7 years ago
    It sounds brilliant. What a wonderful cruise around Scotland.
  • ESW
    about 7 years ago
    This sounds a wonderful adventure. What a marvellous prize to have won.
  • mordigirl
    about 7 years ago
    I cruised with Majestic in April from their base on the Clyde - I had a wonderful time and hope to return one day to do another cruise with them. The review above is a genuine representation of my experience, albeit in a different location.
  • etta
    about 7 years ago
    We have had two superb cruises with the Majestic Line. one round Mull, where the trip to Fingal's Cave was one of many highlights, and the second from Inverness down the Great Glen and the Caledonian Canal to Oban, except due to problems with the lock at Gairlochy we never got to Oban. The Company however put on alternative trips and saw us safely to Oban for the train to Glasgow. On both occasions we have been lucky with the weather and the food and company were first class.