If you have never been on a Scottish small-ship cruise you are likely to have many questions - here are a few basic FAQ's based on the most frequent questions we get asked but please do get in touch if you have further queries, we are very happy to help.
How many guests will there be onboard a cruise?
Both Elizabeth G and Lucy Mary take a maximum of 8 guests on board (10 for charter), and a maximum of 10 guests on board the Emma Jane. All 3 vessels are operatoed with 4 crew on each cruise.
What is the average age of guests who cruise with you?
We have people of all ages joining our cruises but the majority fall within the range of 45-75. We have also had guests in their 80’s who have thoroughly enjoyed the trips with us.
How active can guests be?
This is entirely up to guests. You can take advantage of trips ashore with our fully qualified Wildlife Guides or choose to stay on board and relax. Walking opportunities vary on trips ashore and there is usually more than one walking option to suit everyone. There is often a small communitiy with a cafe to visit. Guests can swim at anchorages from the boat or the tender or sit quietly and watch for wildlife.
Do solo guests enjoy your cruises
Absolutely, many single travellers have enjoyed holidays with us and have established friendships with other individuals within the group. We keep 1 cabin free on Emma Jane with no single supplement charged, however, if this cabin have been booked out or you would like a single cabin on the Elizabeth G or Lucy Mary a single occupancy supplement will be added.
Are your cruises suitable for guests with restricted mobility?
Guests do need to have some mobility. If cruising on Elizabeth G, guests have to be able to step in and out of the boat tender and climb one step up to the vessel, with the aid of crew members. On board Emma Jane we have a landing platfrom with one step directly onto the tender at the same level. The Lucy Mary has 2 sets of stairs at the aft leading down to a platfrom. Onboard our vessels there are stairs leading to the upper decks and cabins. There are also opportunities to go ashore every day and these would require a level of walking ability. If unsure, please get in touch, we are happy to advise.
How much space is there on board?
Both vessels have ensuite cabins and space is more restricted than in a hotel, but guests are very complimentary of the space available and enjoy the interior nautical ambience . The Emma Jane and Lucy Mary offer a master cabin which is very spacious. Elizabeth G is a slightly smaller vessel but all 3 have spacious dining and saloon areas indoors and roomy external decks.
What meals are included on your cruises?
All meals and snacks are included. A typical day’s menu starts with breakfast with a cooked option as well as cereal, fruit and porridge. Lunch is a light 2 courses and morning and afternoon coffee (or tea) with home-made cake or biscuits is served to suit the day's excursions to shore. A candlelit 3-course dinner is always a highlight as guests relax and exchange stories of the day, followed by cheese and biscuits and coffee and chocolates. The menu is set but dietary requirements are catered for.
What will the temperature be like and what clothes should I bring?
Scotland’s weather can be very changeable and the temperatures can drop even in the summer months. Guests are recommended to bring a good breathable waterproof jacket and trousers and a warm fleece. Plenty of layers are better than one thick one. A good pair of walking boots is essential for trips ashore, also a walking stick can be helpful. However the sun does shine a lot, so make sure you have lightweight clothing, a hat and sunscreen!
Are guests ever seasick?
Seasickness is not normally a problem on our cruises as during the summer months Scotland’s coastal waters are normally calmer. All 3 vessels have an active fin stabilising system and the Skipper will head for sheltered waters in very windy weather. People who are very prone to being seasick come prepared and say they feel fine on our cruises. We do carry good sea sickness tablets on board so please so speak to a member of crew about these.
How often do guests see wildlife?
Our cruising area is one of the best places in the world to see minke whales, basking sharks, dolphins, porpoises and a huge diversity of birds including white tailed and golden eagles. Otters and red deer are frequently seen onshore. We do see a good selection of these species on our cruises because our Crews know the best places to find wildlife and can read the sea and landscape for clues that wildlife is present, but sightings cannot be guaranteed. The Wildlife Guide aboard each vessel helps find wildlife for guests to see while onboard and on walks ashore.
What type of terrain will we be walking while ashore?
There are hill paths and tracks to take advantage of on our shore walks. These tracks can be rough, narrow and wet at times so appropriate footwear is recommended. Walks are often along coastlines or to explore communities, which tend to be more gentle. There is often a choice of different types of walk at any anchorage.
Who will be guiding us?
All of our Wildlife Guides are fully qualified and experienced leaders - many return to us every season and are very knowledgeable about the wildlife of the Hebrides.
How far will we be walking each day?
This depends entirely on what you want to do. On some of the islands we might walk for a couple of hours or less, on islands such as Hirta, St.Kilda we may take a packed lunch and spend 6 hours ashore exploring. There will of course be an option to spend just a couple of hours onshore and then return to the boat to take in the views from our observation deck.
On the day of departure, what time and where do we board the vessel?
We ask guests to board with us at 3pm from the North Pier pontoons. We have a luggage drop at the pontoon gates between 12pm and 12.30pm to suit guests' travel arrangements. If you arrive after this time and still wish to drop your luggage before boarding, we may be able to come and meet you depending on crew timings. Please call Emma (07585151611) who will arrange a crew member to meet you at the pontoon gates if available.
If I travel by car, where can I park it during the cruise?
MacQueens provide secure parking at £10 per day.
Tel: + 44 (0) 1631 564848
Are there children on board?
Children aged under 16 are not allowed on board. Children are more than welcome on a private charter.