The advert for a Scotland break on the Hull-based firm’s website featured the headline "Scotland All-Inclusive & Island Cruise. 5 days away".
Further text under the heading "The Island Cruise" read: "We join our boat at Oban for a memorable island cruise taking in the sights of Oban Bay, the wonderful islands of Mull and Kerrera, together with the enigmatic sights of the three great castles of Dunollie, Duart and
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated the advert after a complainant challenged whether the claim "island cruise" and the description of the boat ride were misleading, understanding the boat ride to be a return trip on a public ferry.
The advert continued: “A sensational adventure exploring the sea lochs, inlets and islands, taking in the majestic scenery and a true adventure in search of dolphins, minke whales, porpoises, seals and the amazing marine world life to be found around these beautiful Scottish island.”
In its response to the ASA National Holidays confirmed that the boat ride was a return trip on a ferry, but believed the ad description accurately reflected the excursion offered.
The company said the boat trip was supplied by Caledonian Macbrayne Ferries (CMF), which had provided the full description of the excursion.
National Holidays also provided a link to the CMF website, which contained the claim "Cruise the Sound of Mull" in reference to the ferry ride, and argued that this claim indicated that CMF also marketed their ferry ride as a "cruise".
The company said the complaint was the first it had received about the ad since they began advertising the holiday in April.
The ASA said it considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim “island cruise” to refer to a trip on a private ship arranged specifically for leisure rather than transportation.
The body said customers would likely expect the ship to take diversions and stop off at several places on its route.
The ferry journey lasted less than one hour each way.
The ASA concluded that the claim “island cruise” and the description of the boat ride were misleading and told National Holidays that the advert must not appear again in its current form.
“We told National Holidays not to state or imply that a short trip on a public ferry with no diversions or stop offs was an “island cruise”,” read the report.