The awe-inspiring sites of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean have attracted, inspired, and fascinated travellers throughout the centuries and during this voyage we will concentrate on the splendid archaeological sites of the Eastern Aegean, an incomparable region of Greek and Roman architectural treasures. Visiting some of the most historic and scenically beautiful places in Turkey and Greece, our itinerary represents small ship cruising at its best and is timed for October when the absence of high summer crowds will contribute towards making this a very memorable journey. By the end of the cruise you will have seen and learnt so much, all from the comfort of the all-suite MS Caledonian Sky which allows us access to ports which the big ships simply can’t reach.
Our cruise begins in Istanbul, a city of endless fascination and a fitting starting place for our voyage to the great sites of antiquity. We continue to some truly magnificent ancient sites including Pergamum, one of the cultural capitals of antiquity and one of the finest archaeological sites in Turkey, and Ephesus, one of the most famous Graeco- Roman sites in the Mediterranean. We continue to Greece enjoying some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the Mediterranean, learning more about the great cities that flourished and fell and the intriguing civilisations that so coveted these ancient lands before returning to the Turkish coast and finally across to Cyprus.
After many years of experience of operating cruises in the Aegean, we believe we have the perfectly balanced itinerary with a mix of guided excursions and time at leisure to explore the charming villages independently. We have planned some late departures from port, which affords the opportunity to enjoy an after dinner stroll in some towns which are particularly atmospheric in the evening. With just over 100 fellow passengers, our trips ashore with local guides will be a pleasure and whether your interest lies in ancient history, modern politics or simply the joy of experiencing new places, this journey has something for everyone.
Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky and embark. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner and be on deck after dinner as we depart our berth and sail down the Bosphorous.
Enjoy a leisurely morning at sea arriving in the early afternoon at Canakkale, our gateway for Troy. Ongoing archaeological excavations have revealed nine different layers of cities superimposed in rings on a massive mound rising above the Plain of Ilium. It was at one of these cities, as legend has it, that the Greeks fought the Trojans as told by Homer in the Iliad. Our tour follows the excavations made by Heinrich Schliemann, the archaeologist who discovered Troy and “Priam’s Treasure”, the jewels that, Schliemann claimed, were worn by Helen of Troy. We will walk the walls that held Helen of Troy and look down at the plain where Achilles dragged the dead body of Hector. We can also visit the new Troy museum on site.
From the port of Dikili we will drive inland to Pergamum with its splendid Acropolis towering above the valley of the Caicus River. This city, built by Alexander’s warring generals became one of the cultural capitals of antiquity, its library rivalling those of Athens and Alexandria. Today Pergamum is one of Turkey’s finest archaeological sites. We will take a cable car up to the Acropolis to see the remains of the citadel and the city walls, the foundations of the Zeus Altar and the Royal Palace. We will enjoy a local lunch and time in the archaeological museum before returning to the MS Caledonian Sky and sailing this evening.
From our berth in Kusadasi we will drive to the nearby ancient city of Ephesus, a stunning and partially excavated site where digging has been taking place for over a century. Broad streets are lined by impressive buildings including the library of Celsus and the temples of Serapis and Hadrian. Once the capital of Ionia, St Paul preached here on his second missionary journey and we will see the spectacular Grand Theatre, originally built in the 3rd century BC by the Greeks, and later expanded by the Romans. This afternoon is at leisure to explore Kusadasi independently.
Of all the Greek islands, Patmos is the most sacred to Christians both Orthodox and Western; it was here that St John received his revelation. This morning we will make our way to the grotto of St John. This small cave, now converted into the beautiful chapel, is where the Saint lived, had his revelation and wrote ‘Book of the Apocalypse’. From here we continue to the village of Chora, with its simple houses and Byzantine churches and climb to the Monastery of St John the Theologian. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy an afternoon and evening at leisure.
According to myth, Kos was the homeland of the Giants. The island has given to the world Hippocrates, father of medicine and the 4th century painter Apelles. We will drive the short distance to the Asklepion, the infirmary of Antiquity, which was constructed in the 4th century BC. Among the ruins are part of the Doric Temple of Aesculapius, the altar and the Stoa which housed the famous Hippocrates Medical School. After lunch on board you have the afternoon to explore Kos Town at your own pace, maybe head to the once impregnable Castle of the Knights, the 3rd century BC Agora, see the museum housing fine mosaics or simply relax at one of the cafes in the squares.
Our tour this morning will take us to the ancient Acropolis of Lindos. From here the views of the Pelagus and St Paul’s Bay, where the apostle anchored during his voyage to Ephesus, are stunning. The Medieval walls which guard Lindos were constructed by the Knights of St John. This afternoon there will be the opportunity to relax on board, explore at leisure or join a guided Rhodes Town walk before sailing in the late evening.
From the harbour at Fethiye, we travel south east to discover the rich Lycian towns of the past. Drive along the Esme River to the ancient city of Xanthos, Lycia’s prominent capital city built on a great cliff overlooking the river. Xanthos boasts several significant ruins, including the Nereid Monument, an exquisite iconic building whose figured friezes are in the British Museum. Continue to Letoon, a city named after Leto, mother Goddess of Lycians. We will see the ruins of the temples dedicated to Leto, Artemis and Apollo and the amphitheatre. Enjoy a local lunch before visiting Patara, located amidst sand dunes and by a long sandy beach. The city was conquered by Alexander the Great and St Paul stopped here on his way to Rome in AD 60. It was also the birthplace of St Nicholas. See the Grand Theatre and the ruins of the temples.
From our anchorage in the Bay of Cayagzi we will use local boats to visit the ancient port of Myra, the former capital of Lycia and the departure point of Paul to Rome in 60 AD. Surrounded by orchards and miles of greenhouses stands a large, well-preserved Roman theatre backed by splendid Lycian cave-tombs with delicately carved façades. In the town of Myra, the birthplace of St Nicholas, we visit the 11th century Church of St Nicholas, only recently excavated, with its faded frescoes and beautiful mosaic floors. After lunch on board, this afternoon is free to relax or join a local boat excursion into Kekova Bay. Here we can view the half-submerged ruins of the ancient city of Simena. We will also land at the village of Kalekoy where a strenuous walk will take us up to the Lycian castle with sarcophagi overlooking the sea.
Over breakfast we will arrive in Antalya from where we explore the principal Roman ruins along Turkey’s southern coast. We will pass the modern city of Antalya en-route to the ancient city of Perge which dates back to 1000 BC and was founded by Mopsus and Calchas after their retreat from Troy. See the Basilica of Perge, which played an important role in the spread of Christianity, the 2nd century AD stadium, the baths complex and two magnificent round towers of the Greek Gate. We drive further east for a visit to Aspendos, whose amphitheatre built in the 2nd century AD is considered the best preserved in the Mediterranean. After lunch in a local restaurant continue to Antalya to visit the excellent Archaeological Museum.
Our final day in Turkey will be based in Alanya. After breakfast we will drive through the town, with views of the Taurus Mountains in the east, then towards Incekum along the Turkish Riviera to the west, where we pass citrus and banana plantations and visit Damlatas Cave which is a masterpiece of nature, known for its curative effect on asthma. Drive along the beautiful Turkish Riviera towards the ancient city of Side which was one of the leading Pamphylian cities on the south coast of Anatolia. Visit the Grand Theatre, a perfect example of a Roman theatre built on vaults on flat land. Walk through the town, view the old harbour and see the remains of the Apollo Temple. After lunch on board, this afternoon is free to explore the town of Alanya with its Medieval fort perched on a rocky peninsula.
After a leisurely morning at sea we arrive at our anchorage at Paphos over lunch. Paphos was the ancient capital of Cyprus and birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty symbolised by the legendary Aphrodite’s Rock. We will visit the 13th century Chrysopolitissa Church which is shared by the Anglican and Catholic congregation. Saint Paul visited Paphos in 45 AD in an attempt to convert the ruler of the time to Christianity. He was successful in his efforts, but not before being tied and whipped to an otherwise unremarkable lump of stone, the Pillar of Saint Paul, which we will see during our visit. Also see the archaeological park, known as the House of Dionysos with the fabulously preserved mosaics which date back to the 2nd century AD.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Itineraries are subject to change.
12 October, 2021 to 24 October, 2021
Suites on the Castle Deck measure 22.7 square metres and feature four port holes, en-suite bathroom with shower and spacious wardrobes.
Caledonian Superior Suite
Suites on the Caledonian Deck measure 21.6 square metres and feature en-suite bathrooms with bath tub and shower (except for suites 329, 330 and 331 which feature only a shower), spacious wardrobe and large window.
The Premium Suites on the Promenade Deck measure 20.2 square metres and feature a spacious wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with shower (cabins 431 and 432 feature a bathtub) and a large window.
Bridge Deluxe Balcony Suite
Balcony Suites The Premium Balcony Suites on the Promenade Deck measure 20.2 square metres and feature a walk-in wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with shower and a private balcony measuring 5.6
Promenade Prem. Balcony Suite
The Premium Balcony Suites on the Promenade Deck measure 20.2 square metres and feature a walk-in wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with shower and a private balcony measuring 5.6
Promenade Owner's Corner Suite
The two corner suites on the Promenade Deck measure 22.6 square metres and feature one window facing to the side and two forward facing portholes, a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom with shower.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 114 (in 57 suites)
Built: 1991 / refurbished 2012
The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows.
If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere.
Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub.
Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort.
The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request.
With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board.
For your comfort, safety and security
The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to outside decks only.
Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.
Voyage on board in selected cabin cateogry
House wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board
Noble Caledonia expedition team
Shore excursions as per the itinerary (Note: Some itineraries have optional excursions as per the specific exclusions)
Port Charges/ Taxes
Transfers as per the itinerary (Note: Transfers are offered in conjunction with group flights)
Trip specific inclusions;
International Flights: London to Istanbul and Larnaca to London. Can be removed resulting a reduced fare
Passport and Visa costs where applicable
Beverages other than those listed in inclusions
Meals when not on board the ship unless otherwise stated
Pre and post voyage accommodation unless otherwise stated
Optional excursions as per specific itinerary
Any items of a personal nature
Trip specific exclusions;
Turkish visa required for some nationalities