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Lord of the Highlands Review

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Lord of the Highlands in the Kyle of Lochalsh
A wee dram of whisky in the cabin on Lord of the Highlands
Twin cabin on Lord of the Highlands
Caledonian Restaurant on Lord of the Highlands
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Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor

Lord of the Highlands is the newest ship in the Hebridean Island Cruises’ fleet, the other two being Lord of the Glens and flagship Hebridean Princess.

Lord of the Highlands carries just 38 passengers in 19 cabins, all of them fixed twins bar one suite.

The ship operates along the breathtakingly beautiful Caledonian Canal, from Inverness to Fort William, as well as the Inner Hebrides, which includes the Isle of Skye and Rum, and the Orkney Islands.

The ship was built in 2012 and refurbished in 2021, so includes modern touches such as USB ports and lovely bathrooms, while keeping a traditional feel with rich dark woods in the cabins, lots of tweed upholstery and plush chairs and sofas in the public rooms.

Wi-Fi, gratuities and drinks are all included in the fare. Guides accompany every cruise, and you’ll often find guest speakers onboard.

Lord of the Highlands is a relaxed and leisurely way to see this part of the world, in a high degree of comfort and service.

Lord of the Highlands Deck Plan is Easy to Navigate

Lord of the Highlands exterior
Lord of the Highlands exterior (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Lord of the Highlands has three decks: the top deck, or Tweedsmuir Deck, is given over to the Caledonian Restaurant and Panorama Lounge, which has a small outdoor terrace. The other two decks are solely for cabins.

The ship is small and easy to navigate with all the action centring on the middle deck.

Lord of the Highlands Cabins Are All Fixed Twins

Twin cabin on Lord of the Highlands
Twin cabin on Lord of the Highlands (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Lord of the Highlands has 19 rooms, all of them fixed bed twins, bar one suite, which is a double. All are outside facing, bar four, which have balconies.

Room sizes start at 129 square feet, which is not a bad size considering the size of the ship, but if you need more space opt for the Deck 2 rooms, the largest of which comes in at 161 square feet.

All are outside facing, except for 104-107, which have balconies.

Cabins look and feel modern, as the ship has been recently refurbished (2021). All are furnished in rich hardwood and come with a fixed desk, foot stool, mirror, sockets by the bed, including built-in USB ports, drawers under the desk a wardrobe, safe, hairdryer, TV, mini fridge and tea and coffee making facilities.

A wee dram of whisky in the cabin on Lord of the Highlands
A wee dram of whisky in the cabin on Lord of the Highlands (Photo: Adam Coulter)

A few design touches that we loved – a glass decanter and two glasses with a complimentary “wee dram” of whisky, which you can swap for any tipple of your choice if you don’t like whisky; two complimentary water bottles which you fill from the filtered water tap by the bar; and a small floral display with sprigs of thistle and local flowers. There are also robes and slippers in the wardrobe.

Cabins are warm and cosy, and the beds are very comfortable, though it does feel slightly odd sleeping in a fixed single bed.

Shower room on Lord of the Highlands
Shower room on Lord of the Highlands (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Shower rooms are bright and modern, with a fixed glass side for the shower stall, a sink and a toilet and a shelf beside the sink. Toiletries come from Molton Brown and include hand wash, hand cream, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner and mouth wash.

The Suite comes in at 256 square feet and is located right at the front of the ship on the lower deck. It is the only room with a double bed. It has large picture windows either side of the room as well as a small corridor and divider.

Lord of the Highlands Food is Locally Sourced

Lord of the Highlands breakfast
Lord of the Highlands breakfast (Photo: Adam Coulter)

All meals are served in the Caledonian Restaurant, which can hold all passengers at one sitting. Lord of the Highlands has an open seating policy, with tables for four or six arranged around the windows. All food is freshly prepared and is sourced locally, so expect plenty of seafood and local meats.

Tea and coffee is available 24/7 from a station on the top deck.

Breakfast is a buffet and includes cereals, fruit and bread; you can also order hot food from the a la carte menu (a continental breakfast is also available in your cabin if you advise the night before).

Lunch is a three-course affair, but lighter options are available if you advise beforehand.

Afternoon Tea is served in the Panorama Lounge.

Dinner is served banquet style and is four courses, with a choice of two starters, three mains (one vegetarian) and two desserts. Dinner might include smoked salmon and a soup to start, duck breast, baked cod or a curry as a main and a choice of strawberry delice or tarte tatin as dessert. All are expertly paired with included wines and dessert wines.

Lord of the Highlands Itineraries

A view of the Skye Bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh
A view of the Skye Bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh (Photo: Adam Coulter)

Lord of the Highlands operates exclusively along the Caledonian Canal from Inverness to Fort William, before heading to open water and onto the Kyle of Lochalsh via Oban from April to October. Many itineraries are themed, for example food and drink, walking, gardens and wildlife. Lengths vary from five-, six and seven-night cruises.

Lord of the Highlands Specs

Lord of the Highlands carries 38 passengers, is 147 feet and 737 GRT.

About

Passengers: 38
Crew: 11
Passenger to Crew: 2.00:1
Launched: 2004

Fellow Passengers

Lord of the highlands attracts predominantly middle-aged Brits, with a smatter of North Americans. Dress code is casual during the day, smart casual for the evenings. There is a Gala Night Dinner, but black tie (tuxedos) is not necessary.

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