The first ship is the Quest, an 'expedition' ship rather than a 'cruise' ship, though that's essentially what she is. Built in Denmark in 1992 to serve as a ferry on Greenland's coasts, she has a pedigree for going to interesting places, including such exotic ones as the Sound of Mull. She's operated by a company called Wild Earth Travel - website here.
Silversea Expeditions, "specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations, including both of earth’s polar regions" and the Sound of Mull. The last time we saw her pass through the Sound, back in May 2010, she was called the Prince Albert II. Obviously this name wasn't exciting enough, though the new one rather suggests that she's full of grey-haired retirees.
Polar Cruises. Of this ship they say, "The distinguished Sea Explorer offers a classic yacht-like atmosphere and deluxe accommodations for expeditions to Antarctica." The ship is also peddled - very firmly as 'our ship' - by Polar Latitudes; they say, "Sea Explorer has always been known for its effortless elegance, impeccable service and atmosphere of charm and camaraderie." The 'always....known' suggests she's been around for many years if not centuries: she hasn't, not under that name. Before having her name changed to something a little more... appealing.... to the adventurous, she was Noble Caledonia's Corinthian II.
here, Saga don't go in for any great promises, though a scan of what they do say doesn't seem to offer anything particularly adventurous: perhaps it's the quest that's important, hoping that the adventures, if they happen, won't be too exciting.
here, is quite open about the sort of holiday they offer aboard, with a prominent list of 'Toys' which begins, "1 x Jet Ski, 5 x Windsurf Boards (1 x beginner, 4 x intermediate, 4 advanced), 8 x Windsurf Sails (3 x beginner, 5 x intermediate, 5 x advanced)...."
Fonnes Shipping but she used to be the Jan van Gent. Look at these older pictures of her and spot the differences since she was refitted.
here. She spent some time pottering around at the northern end of the Sound of Mull on the 23rd May. It's good to know that the UK still puts money into maritime research at a time when monitoring changes in the oceans are one of the keys to understanding why and to what extent the global climate is changing.