Many of the crossings from North America to Europe are repositioning sailings for ships that cruise the Caribbean in winter and European waters in summer. Sometimes rates are reduced, and fly-cruise packages are usually available. To get the best deal on a cruise, consult a cruise-only travel agency.
The National Trust for Scotland runs a Cultural Cruising program with natural history, literary, and culinary themes. The destinations change each year but may include the west coast or Northern Isles. Hebridean Island Cruises offers 4- to 10-night luxury cruises aboard the MV Hebridean Princess around the Scottish islands, including all the Western Isles. Majestic Line runs small-group cruises on converted wooden fishing boats around Argyll and the Hebrides.
Hebridean Island Cruises. 01756/704700; 855/866–8612; www.hebridean.co.uk.
Majestic Line. 01369/707951; www.themajesticline.co.uk.
National Trust for Scotland. 0844/493–2457; www.nts.org.uk.