Best European Cruises

by Danielle Contray


For you, docking in Venice with thousands of fanny-packed Freedom-fry types is the stuff of nightmares. Besides, you've already been there—along with Athens, Barcelona, Capri, and pretty much all the ports on the big-ship circuit. Why not take the course less sailed? Iceland-to-Norway trips often stop in the Faroe Islands, a Danish-owned archipelago where you'll see more puffins than passengers. Portugal's Azores are just far enough away from the mainland to be both remote and cruise-friendly. But our favorite offbeat route is through the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland. Cruises launch from the town of Oban (a quick flight from Glasgow or London), where street signs are written in Gaelic and sightseeing focuses on castles, cathedrals, and scotch. Once you're out in the Sea of the Hebrides, you'll be sailing past countless islands like Eriskay, Mull, and Rhum, dotted with lochs and hairy coos (those adorable horned Highland cattle). You'll seal-watch off the Isle of Skye one day and learn about the Armadale clan's kicky tartan the next. The high-end Hebridean International Cruises' Hebridean Princess has just 30 cabins and starts at about $4,500 per person—a small price to pay for bragging rights.

Hebridean International Cruises
Tel: 800 659 2648

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