Awesome purser David Indge came on the bus to welcome us all to Hebridean Princess. It was raining, and we were informed that some of us had to have a bag randomly searched. Naturally, Bill and I were selected. It appeared that anyone not from the U.K. was required to go into a little guardhouse and have a bag searched. Two adorable little Scottish ladies dealt with me. I had to open one of my bags for them and answer security questions. They were very sweet and apologetic, which I have to say was a nice change of pace after the Frankfurt Airport.
“Dirty underwear.” I helpfully explained when one of them looked in a side pocket. She laughed; they wanded me and I came up clean, so they sent me on my way.
Every Hebridean Princess cruise begins with being piped on board by a real live Scottish piper. Years ago, Hebridean owned another ship called Spirit, which sailed all over the place. We spoke to one couple that took several cruises on Hebridean Spirit and they said they were piped on even when they boarded the ship in Oman! Sadly, Hebridean was forced to sell Spirit and all the wild adventures that could be had on her in lands beyond Scotland, Norway, Ireland and northern France. I’m sorry we missed out on that.
As we walked on the ship, someone told me that they’d show me where my room was. I laughed and said, “Unless you upgraded us, I know exactly where to go!”
She laughed, too, and assured me no changes had been made. Back to the bowels of the ship we went. But if you have to be in the bowels of anywhere, Hebridean Princess is not a bad place to be! We were escorted to Loch Torridon and our bags were brought aboard for us. Then we went to the Tiree Lounge, the living room of the ship. I spend a lot of time there, since it’s where the bar is. I was handed a glass of my favorite champagne, Taittinger, which Hebridean started pouring last year, according to Egita, my favorite Food and Beverage Supervisor. On our last cruise, she handled pouring wines, but she got promoted. It was a well-deserved promotion, too.
Wioletta was there, too, and she remembered me and gave me a big hug. So did Egita. In fact, I was amazed by just how many people remembered us from last time. One gentleman in the kitchen even remembered me from our 2012 cruises. I don’t think he was faking it, either, since he told me he remembered me in 2016, too. It’s my laugh, I tell you!
I mentioned Queen Elizabeth II in a previous post. She once had the Royal Yacht Britannia at her service, but it was decommissioned in 1997. She’s since sailed twice on Hebridean Princess, including for her 80th birthday in 2006. She enjoyed chief purser David Indge so much that she made a personal request for him to be the purser on her second cruise. She left a signed portrait of herself and Prince Philip, which is proudly displayed at the reception desk.
I can’t blame Queen Elizabeth for loving Dave. He’s truly a rare and special breed. He’s never met a stranger and is always smiling. Again… I would love to have a personality like his. Alas, I was born a crank.
We unpacked our bags, had our muster drill, and were soon on the way to our first port of call, Wick… where we would enjoy Old Pultaney whisky and Stroma, Old Pultaney’s sweet liqueur. More on that in the next post.