Guest speakers

The enrichment of discovery and thrill of knowledge place Hebridean River Cruises in a category of their own.

Our on board speakers are chosen precisely because they are among some of the best authorities in their field. Passionate about their subject, these captivating orators bring each cruise alive and are delighted to share their knowledge with their fellow guests – a true meeting of minds.

Tulip time in the Low Lands 

Amsterdam to Antwerp

Wednesday 1st April to Wednesday 8th April 2020

7 nights including 2 Gala Dinners

GUEST SPEAKER - Sandy Primrose

Sandy PrimroseSandy trained as a microbiologist. After spending 10 years in academia, he moved to industry where he worked in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and food sectors. He has worked with various government departments on topics such as the safety of GM crops and the detection of food fraud. His real passion is plants and gardening and his cruise lectures focus on the plants and food of the regions through which we travel. Sandy was awarded an MBE in 2010 for services to the Food Standards Agency and still consults widely, as well as being Chairman of a number of small, high technology companies. He has written a number of very popular scientific textbooks but is  particularly proud of his recent publication entitled Plants, Poisons and Personalities which is aimed at lay audiences. 

Flavours of the Low Countries

Antwerp to Amstedam

Wednesday 8th April to Wednesday 15th April 2020

7 nights including 2 Gala Dinners


John DuckerA freelancer wearing two quite distinct ‘hats’, John is a member both of the Association of Wine Educators and the élite Circle of Wine Writers, with many sea and river miles behind him as a lecturer.  Happily, and never quite having recovered from the surprise of winning the BBC’s Zanussi-sponsored competition ‘The Taste of Italy’ many years ago, judged by Antonio Carluccio,  his interest in wine is completely interlocked with that of food…. and of creating exciting balanced wine/food matches. Not a food professional himself, his main focus has centered principally around the sheer diversity of European cuisine, not simply theoretically but practically too, as an accomplished home cook. Under John’s other ‘hat’ is a professional actor of many years standing with, in his later years, a world-wide reputation for ‘doggedness’…. Yes, pun intended.  Wait and see!

Voyage from the Danube Delta

Bucharest to Budapest

Wednesday 7th October to Tuesday 20th October 2020

13 nights including 2 Gala Dinners and 1 night in Bucharest

GUEST SPEAKER - Nick Hammond

Nick HammondHaving worked for both the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts, Nicholas Hammond has been able to continue his boyhood passions for wildlife and art in a career that included being editor of Birds, head of publications and director of communications with the RSPB, before working for the Wildlife Trusts on projects in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Wales.  Among the books he has written are four about art and wildlife, which have also been the subject of numerous magazine articles in the UK and USA.  A widely travelled guest speaker on cruises, his topics on this voyage will include the wildlife of the Danube, wild animals in fine art and stories of eccentric human interaction with the natural world.  

Danube Discovery  

Budapest to Passau

Tuesday 20th October to Thursday 29th October 2020

9 nights including 2 Gala Dinners

GUEST SPEAKER - Nicholas Merchant

Nicholas MerchantNicholas has lectured for Hebridean Island Cruises for a number of years, both on Hebridean Princess and more recently on European river cruises. In both cases he takes pleasure in preparing talks appropriate to the destinations to be visited, with the intention of ‘setting the scene’ for the guests and so enhance the pleasure of the visits. His background is in the Decorative and Fine Arts, having worked as a valuer for some of the major auction houses including Sotheby’s and Phillips (now Bonhams). From these associations he has acquired a wide knowledge and interest in not just objects but their historical background. On becoming accredited to the Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) in 2004, he has travelled widely to lecture on various aspects of his passion, the decorative and fine arts.


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