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Scottish Highlander Review

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Scottish Highlander
-- / 5.0
2 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line

About

Passengers
8

Crew
4

Passenger to Crew
2.00:1

Launched
2000

Shore Excursions
0
Sails To
Sails From
European Waterways Cruise Deals
Jana Jones
Cruise Critic Contributor

Scottish Highlander Overview

Nessie-hunting Scottish Highlander started life in 1931 as a Luxemotor rivership used to carry grain, and was converted to a hotel barge in 2000. At 117 feet long and 16.5 feet wide, but with only four staterooms, Scottish Highlander has a higher space ratio than many other hotel barges of the same size.

The staterooms on this vessel are relatively roomy compared to others, with one suite at just about 150 sq. feet and three staterooms at 115 sq. feet. All rooms can be doubles or twins and are designed with cheerful Scottish plaids, dark woods and antique reproductions. Each room has a wardrobe (the suite has two), a bedside table with reading lamp, four drawers and a cabinet. Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet and sink. Amenities include soap, shampoo, shower gel, lotion, towels, hairdryers and bathrobes. Each room also has two windows with one that opens. All current is 220 to 240 volts (North American appliances need converters) with the exception of the bathrooms, which have a 110 outlet for shaving only. Rooms do not have air-conditioning (fans are available if needed), but they do offer central heat.

The saloon is graciously appointed with leather club chairs, sofas, occasional tables, a bar and several large windows. Walls are clad in clubby mahogany and yew, the floor is carpeted in a blue and green tartan plaid. The room contains a television and DVDs, a stereo and CDs, some board games and a small library. A walnut dining table serves eight. The unfurnished sundeck is used primarily for observation.

Meals are served in a single seating, with breakfast and lunch offered buffet-style. Breakfast is Continental, with breads, yogurt, cereal, fruit, coffee and tea, but a full Scottish breakfast can be prepared on request. Lunch is typically breads, cold-cuts, pates, fish, salads and cheeses served with wine. If the air is chilly, a hot three-course meal may be served, and if the weather is nice, a picnic on the moors may be planned. Dinner is an elegant candlelit affair, with regional cuisine (salmon, lamb, venison or game, such as partridge) paired with wine, desserts, cheeses, coffee and liqueurs. The dress code at all meals is resort casual, except for the Captain’s dinner on the last evening, which requires cocktail attire.

As on all of the hotel barges in European Waterways' fleet, Scottish Highlander is an all-inclusive product, with wines, soft drinks, bottled water, beer, liquor and liqueurs, as well as all onboard meals and snacks, included. (Certain vintages of wine and Champagne -- except for the Welcome Aboard greeting -- are not included, but can be provided for a fee.) Shore excursions, usually lasting from two to four hours, typically take place once a day; all entry fees are included with your cruise fare. Optional activities cost extra. An eight-passenger minibus meets the barge at specified locations to transport passengers on their excursions.

The barge carries six mountain bikes onboard for guest use. Scottish Highlander also has a Zodiac-type boat -- called a ship's fender -- with an outboard motor for excursions along streams and creeks and for fly-fishing opportunities. Onboard binoculars come in handy for bird-watching.

Obviously, golf excursions are popular in Scotland, but in order to play at a rated course, you have to have a handicap rate card and a letter of introduction from your hometown club manager.

Scottish Highlander's route takes you through the locks and canals around Loch Ness and onto the lake itself. Excursions include visits to castles, hikes through heather-laced moors, at least one Scotch whisky distillery and dinner ashore at the Caledonian Hotel.

Available for charter, Scottish Highlander is also available as a honeymoon escape from fall to spring. The entire barge is configured for two people with a cozy, romantic atmosphere. Other charters include family sailings, walking tours and -- of course -- golf cruises.

Scottish Highlander has four crew members: skipper (captain), chef, hostess and tour guide. Gratuities are discretionary and typically average between 4 and 7 percent of the fare paid, given to the Captain for distribution.

There is no smoking inside the boat; smoking is allowed outside on the deck only.

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Awards and Recognition

European Waterways Scottish Highlander Member Reviews

Scottish Highlander
halljm
Sail Date: Jun 2017
We had a wonderful week aboard the Scottish Highlander with Mick and the crew during the first week of June, 2017.... Read More
Scottish Highlander
Sabdan
Sail Date: Jul 2013
We even had a private Scottish band on board one night, which we really enjoyed. This trip was fun and relaxing and never boring, as we became one happy group!... Read More

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Editor Rating

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With only eight passengers, Andjodi offers an intimate, all-inclusive barge experience on Southern France's Canal du Midi, with wine tasting, guided tours and bike trips.

La Belle Epoque

The 13-passenger La Belle Epoque barge cruises through Burgundy on the Upper Burgundy Canal, making stops in small villages and stopping for private wine and foie gras tastings.

Athos

One of widest barges in European Waterways' fleet, the all-inclusive Athos carries 10 passengers on the Canal du Midi in Southern France.

Nymphea

With only six passengers, Nymphea is one of the smallest European Waterways' barges and has a draft shallow enough to sail on the River Cher in France's Loire Valley.

Scottish Highlander

With roomy cabins compared to most hotel barges, Scottish Highlander carries eight passengers around the locks and canals of Scotland's Loch Ness, serving regional cuisine and designing local excursions - including golf.

Shannon Princess

With 10 passengers, the custom-built hotel river barge Shannon Princess II sails in Ireland from the Lough Ree down the Shannon River to Killaloe.

Enchante

Enchante joined European Waterways in 2009 as a luxury hotel barge with a capacity of eight passengers, sailing Southern France on the Canal du Midi and Rhone River.

L'Art de Vivre

The eight-passenger L'Art de Vivre hotel barge cruises along Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, France, an infrequently traveled canal; all meals, open bar and most excursions are included.

La Nouvelle Etoile

The eight-passenger La Nouvelle Etoile hotel river barge cruises the canals and waterways of France, Holland, Germany and Luxembourg.

Magna Carta

The eight-passenger Magna Carta hotel river barge sails along England's River Thames, one of the few to do so.

Renaissance

The eight-passenger Renaissance hotel river barge cruises Western Burgundy and the Upper Loire.

La Bella Vita

The 20-passenger La Bella Vita was added to the European Waterways fleet in 2010. The refurbished barge sails from Venice to Mantua via Italy's famous Canal of the Orphans and Bianco Canal.

Rosa

European Waterways' eight-passenger Rosa is a former Dutch "clipper" barge completely refitted in 2010.

Clair de Lune

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