Empty cruise ships in Scotland used as holiday accommodation

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Many cruise ships around the world are still unable to navigate and pick up passengers, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions.

So a Scottish brand, St Hilda Sea Adventures, based in Dunstaffnage Marina, near Oban, decided to turn its fleet of boats into independent accommodation for customers.

A spokesperson for the family business said The independent that this decision was taken after having repeatedly postponed cruises and not being able to do them.

“We continued to have to postpone, month by month,” she explained. “And so we decided to do that instead, they are moored where we are based and can be prepared as a chalet or a vacation home.”

It has three ships – St Hilda, Seahorse and Gemini Explorer – which normally take passengers on cruises through the Highlands and West Isles of Scotland, to the Outer and Inner Hebrides.

The company’s website says: “We drop anchor in the most sheltered and idyllic places, in some of Scotland’s world famous islands such as Skye, St Kilda, Mull, Jura, Islay, Staffa and Iona where you can observe wildlife, fish, swim in sea lakes, play golf, visit famous malt whiskey distilleries or just go ashore and explore.

Although guests can no longer travel anywhere, they still have the option of getting on the water and enjoying the pleasures of life on a boat. There is no crew on board during the guest’s stay.

The spokesperson confirmed that the setup will continue throughout the winter months until April 2021, when “I hope” they can offer cruises as usual.

“We had a lot of interest,” she says. St Hilda sleeps six and costs from £ 204 per night. Seahorse can accommodate up to 11 people and costs from £ 396 per night. Gemini Explorer is a former lifeboat that can accommodate eight people from £ 300 per night.

All ships have been “converted to sail the West Isles of Scotland in comfort and style,” the website says.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the number of cruise passengers from the UK and Ireland reached over two million in 2017 and was the largest market in Europe after Germany.

But with the Diamond Princess cruise liner hosting the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of China in February, there has been some reluctance to give ships the green light to set sail again.

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