European Waterways has announced the arrival of its new 12-passenger “Spirit of Scotland” luxury hotel barge. The vessel will cruise the Caledonian Canal and lochs of the Great Glen in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, starting June 4, 2017.
One of the most stylishly designed in the company’s extensive fleet, the three-level hotel barge evokes the spirit of the traditional steamers that plied the lochs of Scotland in bygone eras. To mark the occasion, the company is offering 10% off all cabins and charters in June and July on the Spirit of Scotland, when booked before March 31, 2017.
“We’re absolutely delighted to bring this elegant hotel barge to Scotland,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “She’s a special addition to our fleet, encompassing the true ‘spirit’ of the land. Our guests also now have a choice of two hotel barges in the region, with ‘Spirit of Scotland’ complementing our existing vessel, the 8-passenger ‘Scottish Highlander’.”
Among the largest in the company’s fleet, the Spirit of Scotland features three decks of living and entertainment space. The lower deck boasts six fully modern, air-conditioned staterooms, with en suite bathrooms and a choice of twin or double beds, plus a single tour leader cabin. The middle deck features a bright and spacious saloon and dining areas with picture windows, a bar, and an integral forward wheelhouse that gives guests an unobstructed view of the route ahead.
Outside there is a sheltered aft deck with a covered dining terrace and a heated jacuzzi, while the full-length upper sundeck is the perfect place for relaxing and admiring the stunning Highlands scenery as the barge glides sedately along the Caledonian Canal and across mystical lochs.
The 6-night itinerary will especially appeal to nature lovers, who will enjoy the exceptional scenery and diverse wildlife. It is also ideal for family charters and special interest groups, such as golfers, walkers, foodies, and whisky connoisseurs.
Itinerary highlights include a tour of the Glen Ord whisky distillery, along with a private tasting; a visit to Culloden Moor, scene of the last battle to be fought on British soil; and a tour of Cawdor Castle and gardens, the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The cruise route also crosses some of Scotland’s famous lochs, such as Lochy, Oich, Dochfour, and, of course, Loch Ness, home of the legendary “Nessie”.
Regional culinary specialties are also on the menu, with the onboard master chef preparing delicious creations using local ingredients such as wild salmon, venison and Aberdeen Angus beef, accompanied by fine wines and artisan Scottish cheeses. And guests are sure to join in the proper “spirit” of the cruise with a huge selection of single malt whiskies to choose from, such as the Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old and the Singleton of Glen Ord 15 Year Old.
“Cruises on our Scottish Highlander, which also navigates the Caledonian Canal, have been extremely popular for the past several years and are nearly sold out for 2017. With the addition of the Spirit of Scotland, guests now have even more opportunities to experience the fabled scenery, history and hospitality of the Scottish Highlands in luxury and comfort,” said Banks.
Prices for a 6-night cruise in 2017 are from $4,450 per person in a twin/double cabin and from $49,500 for a full 12 passenger charter. Prices include all gourmet meals, fine wines, open bar, escorted daily excursions, admissions and local transfers.