Sunday, 13 February 2011

Hebridean Island Cruises Makes North American Debut



Hebridean Island Cruises has launched its North American presence with offices in Fort Lauderdale and a new North American website at www.hebrideancruises.com. Carrying 50 guests with a passenger-to-crew ratio nearing one-to-one, the 2,100-ton Hebridean Princess sails to Scotland and other destinations in the region.

“We are delighted to introduce this new and exciting cruise brand to our U.S. and Canadian region, especially at a time in our industry when avid cruisers and mature travelers are seeking a one-of-a-kind vacation experience,” said Steve Novello, president of All Discovery Cruising-North America. “Initial sales and market feedback have been extremely positive, and we are seeing incredible interest from our new website.”

All Discovery Cruising is the marketing trade arm for all cruise brands in its portfolio -- Hebridean Island Cruises, Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery.

The Hebridean Princess attracts many repeat guests, including Queen Elizabeth and members of her family when the ship was privately chartered in 2010.

In 2011, Hebridean Princess offers four- to 10-night cruises to ports along the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as well as to Ireland, England, the Channel Islands, Wales and Northern France. Most cruises depart from the Scottish port of Oban. Other departure ports are Greenock, Invergordon and Leith, Scotland; Portsmouth and Tilbury (London), England; and Cardiff, Wales.

Hebridean Princess sails to remote coastal villages, islands, and inaccessible locations in bays and lochs that are normally visited by only private yachts. Hebridean’s signature “Footloose” cruises incorporate a walking adventure along the Scottish Highlands, tailored to both seasoned walkers and those who prefer a gentle stroll. Guests who prefer a mysterious element might enjoy the seven-night “Hebridean Surprise” itinerary departing Oct. 4 roundtrip from Oban, when only the captain knows the full details of the itinerary.

All meals (including picnics ashore), beverages and select wines, spirits and champagne are included, as well as privately escorted tours, a guest speaker program, and all port charges and gratuities. Also included are activities such as the use of the ship’s bicycles, fishing, bridge, speedboat rides and more. Meals in The Columba Restaurant include with fresh local ingredients, and black-tie gala dinners are offered on every cruise.

The Hebridean Princess, which has the d├ęcor of a country home, has 30 cabins, with 10 single-occupancy cabins, each designed and named after Scottish Isles, castles, lochs and sounds. The Tiree Lounge has a large Inglenook-style fireplace and large panoramic windows. The five passenger decks also offer a well-stocked library, a gym, two lounges, a conservatory and a restaurant.

Hebridean’s new North American website includes virtual tours, online brochures, information about webinars and how to sign up for news and promotional offers.

“We look forward to welcoming our U.S. and Canadian guests aboard the Hebridean Princess and reaching a similar level of recognition as she received in Europe over the years,” Novello said. “We’ve made it easier for our market to consider a Hebridean Princess cruise as guests and travel agents are now able to book in U.S. dollars and establish a local relationship with our North American team. Together with her sister brands, 2010 marked a successful sales year for the North American region, with fourth-quarter results that almost doubled our gross quarter revenue for the same quarter in the prior year.”

Most cruises aboard the Hebridean Princess sell well in advance of its March-through-November season with four- to 10-night all-inclusive fares starting at $1,860 per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Travel agents can take All Discovery Cruising’s video-based training at www.discoverycruisingexpert.com. For more information, call 877-600-2648 or visit www.hebrideancruises.com.