Cruise to Oban
Oban is home to Caledonian MacBrayne (Calmac) and the harbour is always busy with activity as their ferries come and go. As a result, visiting cruise ships (unless they are small enough to tie up at North Pier) usually keep clear of the bay and anchor just off shore. For the majority, passengers will disembark by tender to the town's North Pier Pontoons. This new facility (opened summer 2017) is adjacent to North Pier where waiting coaches will take passengers on excursions to visit some of Argyll's key attractions, such as Arduaine Gardens and Inverawe Castle. Do check your shore excursion timetable and if you've time, an independent exploration of Oban will surely prove rewarding. The Port of Oban Welcomes group has trained walking tour guides working from the new Harbour Building on North Pier and their walking tours are a perfect antidote for those suffering from cruise cabin fever!
For those independent travellers who want to stretch their legs ashore Oban has some wonderful wee shops selling everything from handmade chocolates to kilts and jewellery and you can visit Oban Whisky Distillery, Dunollie House and Castle and McCaig's Tower. There may be fine dinining on offer aboard ship but sometimes it's good to get a change and 'eat like a local!' You're spoilt for choice with award winning restaurants and several seafood shacks on the pier serving the freshest shellfish you are ever likely to eat!
If you are ready for some real exercise the steep walk up to McCaig's Tower will reward you with a fantastic photo opportunity to capture an image of your ship which will be spectacular - even in poor weather.
Of course we hope the sun shines when you visit, but remember there's a saying in these parts - 'if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes' - it's best described as changeable whatever the season.
Look out for the Walking Tour Guides who can lead you from North Pier (uphill) to McCaig's Tower or take a level walk along the Esplanade.
The Oban Town Ambassadors do their best to meet and greet every cruise ship passenger and they will also have local maps and plenty of suggestions of things to see and do. Oban's Visitor Information Centre (iCentre) is also conveniently located just off North Pier and can help independent cruise ship passengers plan their visit to Oban and Lorn. You can also purchase tour tickets for walking tours, boat trips and other activities from VisitScotland counter staff.
Hebridean Princess and Lord of the Glens is also a regular visitor and there are several smaller cruise ships operators, such as The Majestic Line which embark passengers from Oban. St Hilda Sea Adventures is based at Dunstaffnage Marina and offers unique sailing experience for smaller groups. Vessels of all types (commercial and pleasure) will find a wealth of useful information on Harbour facilities online at www.obanharbour.scot
You can also check out the Oban Webcams to see what's in port!