Our meals on board are sourced from locally produced ingredients; there is plenty of choice in the area especially seafood, hill beef and lamb and a range of speciality foods. Our guests love the fact that they are enjoying the local speciality produce and that they often get to actually meet the producers themselves while en-route on their cruise. Many of our food and drink suppliers provide free range and organic produce and we favour such producers. We use local suppliers to maintain our vessels in the local marina and provide the fittings, finishes, and furnishings. When on a cruise we take our guests to the island artisans to buy their gifts. Local Guest Houses and Hotels are recommended by our sales team; local experts and guides are brought to inform the guests about the wildlife and heritage.
We link in to many organisations which are committed to protecting the natural environment of the west coast of Scotland. We are accredited by WiSe for marine wildlife watching. We report basking shark sightings to the Shark Trust, sending in photos of dorsal fins when we can. We report all our sightings to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust with as much detail as possible. Recently we were involved in a major survey for Scottish Power Renewables relating to birdlife and wind farms. Exploring the Hebrides in a group by boat is much better for the environment than travelling by car, and in fact it is much quicker and easier by boat to get to the remote islands. We carefully maintain Elizabeth G, now 50 years old, so that she does not become redundant and have to be scrapped. We recently derated the boat engine by 25% to use less fuel and reduce emissions. During our cruises nothing is ever thrown over the side, including food scraps, as this can have a negative effect on the wildlife living in the sea and on the seabed. We recycle all waste from the vessel when we go ashore and often pick up waste plastic on our travels which we also recycle. In particular we will never leave dangerous plastics such as beer can holders or fishing net or line which we find and which is particularly bad for trapping animals.
Local producers feature highly in our menus, thus reducing food miles and packaging - we often pick up supplies direct from the farm or boat which means no packaging to recycle. We have a water maker on board so that we don't need to tap into the water supply on the Islands which can be very precious. We only change guests' linen and towels on request to avoid wasting energy on cleaning them unnecessarily.
In the office we also have a policy of using recycled materials, recycling our waste and avoid using paper whenever we can.
We value the culture of the Hebrides and our guests are very keen to be educated while on board. We take our guests on shore to visit local museums, visitor centres, ancient archaeology and place to purchase local arts and crafts as part of each cruise itinerary