Sustainable Wildlife Cruising on the West Coast of Scotland since 1996

Hebrides Cruises is a family owned and run business based in Oban on the west coast of Scotland, offering wildlife cruises to the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides, St Kilda and the remote north west coast. Four crew on each vessel reveal the huge diversity of wildlife and stunning scenery to our guests while providing the best of highland hospitality alongside our wildlife expertise. Our two ocean-going vessels. Emma Jane and Elizabeth G, offer luxury ensuite accommodation and the food served on board by our professional Chefs is of gourmet standard.

Hebrides Cruises is owned and run by Rob Barlow who has spent all his working life at sea and is one of the Skippers on board. He will happily hand-dive for scallops to serve to guests. A qualified engineer, and a member of Tobermory Coastguard team, Rob has 24 years experience of running small-ship cruises and charters around the West Coast of Scotland. 

Rob’s daughter, Emma Fairbairns, is Shore Manager, Sales Manager and responsible for customer care. Emma communicates with guests from the first point of enquiry until the end of their cruise to ensure their time with Hebrides Cruises is the best it can be.

Hebrides Cruises is supported by an outstanding team of colleagues, expert in working at sea, the natural environment and hospitality. Our Skippers, Wildlife Guides, Bosuns and Chefs are the best available. Hebrides Cruises has the highest crew to guest ratio in Scottish small-ship cruising at 4 crew to 8 or 10 guests.

Protecting the marine environment 

Hebrides Cruises is passionate about protecting the natural environment, in the beautiful areas in which our vessels operate and are WiSe accredited. The Wildlife Safe Scheme (WiSe) is the British standard for wildlife watching.  It 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 Dolphiin 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. 

In July 2019 the company was delighted to achieve the Green Tourism Silver level of award at first assessment. This excellent initiative not only recognises our commitment to sustainable tourism but helps us achieve our own aims as a high-quality sustainable tourism organisation. We aim not only to leave no trace of our visit but also proactively help the environment by picking up any dangerous waste we come across and taking part in research on the rare species which inhabit these waters.