Review: Glen Massan
Cruise - River Cruise
Ruby Anniversary Cruise
63 people found this review helpful
My wife and I had been looking for something different to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary. We decided to charter a whole boat cruise with the Majestic Line – an inspired decision as it turned out. From the time we first made contact with them to the time we left the boat at Oban to return home everybody we met and/or talked to could not have been more helpful (unknown to us they also helped our guests to organise flowers and champagne to help the celebrations). The Majestic Line is a small, very friendly and professional company. And so in April, 2012, we and nine close family and very good friends departed Oban on the Glen Massan. Having chartered the whole boat we could decide where we would like to go within their normal cruising area, which is the waters around Argyll and the West of Scotland – superb scenery and wild life. We had decided we would like to go to Staffa and to use the boat to see places we could not otherwise get to or only with some difficulty. A meeting place is organised in Oban where luggage can be left whilst we strolled around Oban, then returned to the meeting place for tea and scones. Two of the crew then came and introduced themselves and took the luggage, which they delivered direct to our cabins and then returned for us. We travelled north past Lismore and across Loch Linnhe to our first night’s anchorage in the very sheltered Loch a Choire. This was chosen to give options as the weather forecast for the next few days was not very good. Our first dinner was worthy of a Michelin starred restaurant – 3 different canapés starting with oysters in champagne, herb smoked chicken with caviar and hot smoked salmon pate. The main course was Highland Surf and Turf (Argyll fillet of beef with langoustines, herb demi-glazed sauce, clapshot and asparagus. Citrus cheesecake posset followed then a selection of cheeses. All served with complimentary wine of excellent quality. Every evening was of the same standard. Local produce is used even to the point of hand dived scallops which we saw being caught that morning! Individual tastes are catered for – some of our guests were not fond of shellfish and alternatives were offered. The next day, Sunday, was our Anniversary Day, and the crew and guests had decorated the saloon. Breakfast was porridge with honey and malt whisky, cereals, muesli, yoghurt with raspberries and blueberries, fresh melon and orange slices, fruit juice and a bowl of fresh fruit (which was available all day along with tea and coffee). The hot offering was Highland Benedict – Stornaway black pudding on a toasted muffin topped with free range poached egg and hollandaise sauce. The hot course changed each morning. Toast and preserves completed a good start to the day which also came with the news that the weather forecast had improved so we set off south in good weather and good heart. We went ashore at Duart Bay and visited the castle which was very interesting with very good views from the top. On return to the ship we were treated to lunch of carrot and coriander soup with a freshly made cheese and chive roll; scallop and chorizo salad with quails eggs, croutons and tomatoes. Then it was off through the Sound of Mull to Tobermory. You get a different view of the islands from the water. There are three deck areas for strolling, viewing or sunbathing and there is always something passing – trawlers, ferries, pleasure boats, birds and much wildlife plus the constant changing scenery, such a change from “a day at sea” on the larger cruise ships. The skipper also makes you welcome in the wheelhouse and all the crew are very knowledgeable about the area and its history and wildlife plus there is a small library in the saloon. At Tobermory we went ashore in the tender to Aros Park and walked around the bay back to Tobermory from where we were ferried back to the boat for dinner, celebrations and a very peaceful night at anchor (the generators are switched off when everyone has gone to bed). Waking up to the sunrise in Tobermory Bay is magical. Overnight anchorages off Bunessan; at Gometra Harbour; in Loch na Droma Buidhe (off Oronsay) and Loch Spelve were very calm, quiet, remote and full of wild life (we saw red deer, osprey, golden eagles, sea eagles, buzzards, puffins, eider ducks, skylarks, shags, seals and many more). Shore visits and walks were made at Staffa, Iona, Gometra and Ulva, around Loch Sunart and along Loch Spelve. Lunch anchorages off Fingals cave, Staffa and opposite Iona Abbey would have had double yellow lines if the water had been a road – amazing experience. The other lunch stops off Carna in Loch Sunart, and Ardtornish Bay were also extremely well chosen for their views and tranquillity. Thanks to the Majestic Line and the Glen Massan our anniversary will be long in the memory of ourselves and our guests and we look forward to our next cruise with them – hopefully to Skye.
63 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.