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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Queen on ferry for islands cruise
The Queen boards the vessel
The Queen boarded the vessel on the island of Islay
The Queen and other members of the Royal Family have boarded a former car ferry at the beginning of a cruise around the Western Isles.

Around 200 well-wishers were at the quayside as they boarded the boat, the Hebridean Princess, on the island of Islay.

The cruise will recreate a trip the Royal Family made on the Royal Yacht Britannia before it was decommissioned.

An escort will be provided by a Royal Navy frigate.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Rothesay will join the Royal party later.

They will then be going on to the late Queen Mother's home at Castle of Mey in Caithness.

The Queen
A crowd had gathered to see the royal party

It has been reported that the Royal Family have paid about 125,000 to charter the former Caledonian MacBrayne ferry for the week-long trip.

Small cruise ship company, Hebridean, now owns the Hebridean Princess.

It normally sails from Oban for tours of the Scottish islands and to Norway.

It can carry 49 guests and is usually run by a crew of 38.

According to Hebridean, the Glasgow-registered vessel has 30 "spacious, elegant and well-equipped" cabins and another 11 for single travellers.

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