Sustainable Wildlife Cruising on the West Coast of Scotland since 1996

Hebrides Cruises is a family-run business and the leading luxury wildlife cruise company on the west coast of Scotland, owning and operating three ocean-going vessels.  Owner Rob Barlow has been introducing people to the idyllic islands of the West Coast of Scotland for the past 27 years. 

Rob and his son-in-law James Fairbairns are qualified Skippers and Rob’s daughter Emma Fairbairns is Shore Manager, the helpful contact for guests from their first communication to post-cruise feedback.  Other crew members are long-standing friends and colleagues who return every season, providing a continuity of knowledge and expertise.

Customer service is at the heart of our business

The atmosphere of friendship onboard very quickly extends to guests and every season, over 50% of guests have cruised with us before.  We are very proud that the hundreds of reviews on our website, posted by our guests in their own words are 100% positive.  On every cruise, the close-knit team of Skipper, Chef, Steward and Wildlife Expert ensure the best possible holiday for a maximum of 10 guests on board. Highly qualified, with an intimate knowledge of the Hebrides and the west coast of Scotland, our crews love to provide the best Scottish hospitality, always with a dash of fellowship and fun

We felt very honoured to received a double award at the 2023 Herald Scottish Family Business Awards, firstly for Customer Service Excellence and then for the overall micro Scottish Family Business of the Year.

A passion for the natural environment

Sustainability and a love of nature is at the heart of our company and we are proud to have gained the Green Tourism Gold Award standard for the second year, with a very high percentage level of passes.

The award report stated “Hebrides Cruises have done an excellent job in not only retaining the Green Tourism Gold award but increasing their score thanks to some new initiatives. The team has displayed an excellent understanding of sustainability and awareness of opportunities and challenges associated with running a responsible business. They continue to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of their cruises, whilst maintaining extraordinary levels of customer service and biodiversity knowledge on each trip”

Hebrides Cruises is WiSe accredited. The Wildlife Safe Scheme (WiSe) is the British standard for wildlife watching which provides training and accreditation for wildlife cruise operators and many other types of craft. The scheme advises operators on how best to view and interact with marine wildlife while minimising disturbance. In 2017 Rob was awarded the Gold WiSe Standard at a WiSe ‘Masters’ Course Read more about Rob's WiSe Gold Standard Award here>

We are very proud to have been closely associated with the development of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) "Whale Track App" followed by testing the App on board our ships prior to its launch. In October 2018 we were very pleased to support the work of HWDT by becoming a Corporate Partner.