If you are going to travel half way around the world, you need a good reason. What better reason could you have than the desire to visit one of the most beautiful places on earth? The scenery, people of New Zealand and their lifestyle has enormous appeal which is why it is always high on travellers’ wish lists. The country’s 27 regions stretch more than 1600 kilometres across two main islands and offer the traveller a journey of breathtaking natural wonder. With vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes and a temperate climate, New Zealand is a land of rare natural beauty and contrasts.
There are steepsided fjords, geysers and boiling mud, coastal rainforests, snow-capped mountains, rolling green pasture lands, often spectacular geothermal and volcanic activity, enchanting sandy bays and coves, fastflowing rivers and a variety of birdlife. By contrast, in the cities, towns and villages you can experience that unique combination of New World and British heritage, see some of the most splendid gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, visit world famous vineyards, encounter fascinating wildlife and meet the friendly people. Exploring New Zealand from aboard the MS Caledonian Sky allows us access to small inlets and bays on remote islands and coastlines that would not normally be possible to explore using other modes of transport or larger cruise ships.
• In Queenstown take a scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu enjoying wonderful views of the Remarkables Mountain range and Mount Nicholas
• Have two days to explore the incredible wilderness of fjords in the south west corner of the South Island
• Visit Stewart Island - New Zealand’s third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track
• Enjoy Christmas Day on board the MS Caledonian Sky, cruise south to the Snares Island group, one of the most untouched and pristine areas of New Zealand
• Enjoy a full day in the nation’s capital - Wellington
Arrive in Queenstown and transfer to our hotel for a two night stay. The remainder of the day and evening is free for independent exploration.
Enjoy a day in Queenstown. This morning we will take a scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu enjoying wonderful views of the Remarkables Mountain range and Mount Nicholas. The afternoon is free to make independent plans, maybe join one of the many tour options available locally including jet boating on the Dart or Shotover Rivers, take the Skyline gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for wonderful views over the town or visit one of the nearby vineyards. This evening we will meet for a welcome dinner.
After breakfast in the hotel we will travel via the town of Te Anau to Milford Sound to embark the MS Caledonian Sky. Enjoy Welcome Drinks and Dinner on board as we sail this evening.
We have two days to explore the incredible wilderness of fjords in the south west corner of the South Island. This is an area rich in history, Captain Cook landed here on HMS Resolution in 1773, that offers majestic scenery and abundant wildlife. It is only accessible by sea, making it the most remote region of New Zealand. Our schedule may include Astronomers Point, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound but final itinerary decisions will be made by the Captain and expedition team based on weather conditions. Zodiacs will be used daily either to shuttle from the ship to a landing site or as our transport to explore the fjords.
New Zealand’s third island is well off the usual beaten tourist track. It is a wonderfully tranquil place, the scenery of untouched bushland is stunning. We will enjoy a morning on the small Ulva Island where we will use Zodiacs to go ashore for a choice of walks with our local guides. Explore the dense vegetation and keep an eye out for the amazing birdlife. This afternoon we land at Oban on Stewart Island and have the chance to wander amongst the shops and see the Rakiura Museum. The island is rich with European, Maori and nautical history and the museum offers displays showing how early Stewart Islanders lived, the industries they were involved in and how they travelled. Alternatively join a drive along some of the 15 miles of sealed road to some of the beauty spots including Observation Rock with views over Iona and Ulva Island and the beaches lining the east coast.
Please note that sea in and around Stewart Island can be rough so you should be prepared for potentially difficult conditions.
Enjoy Christmas Day on board the MS Caledonian Sky. Our lecture programme will continue whilst our Chef and galley team prepare a delicious Christmas meal. We hope to be able to cruise south to the Snares Island group, one of the most untouched and pristine areas of New Zealand. From our anchorage we can enjoy a Zodiac cruise in the waters where shearwaters, petrels and penguins are abundant.
Arrive this morning in Dunedin and enjoy a guided tour including the gracious 19th century buildings and the beautiful botanical gardens, the oldest in New Zealand containing over 6800 plant species. Alternatively, choose to drive to the Otago Peninsula to visit the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head and enjoy a walk at Penguin Place where we learn about the breeding and conservation programme of the rare yellow eyed penguins. This afternoon is free for independent exploration or maybe choose to join the optional excursion on the Taieri Gorge Railway through the rugged and spectacular scenery of inland Otago.
Akaroa meaning, ‘Long Harbour’, in Maori, was founded by French whaling Captain Jean Langlois on his ship Cachelot in 1838. He returned in 1840 with 60 settlers on the Comte de Paris to create a French colony. We spend a full day in Akaroa and there will be a choice of excursions including a dolphin watching trip using local boats to explore the scenic coastline and search for the rare Hector’s dolphin or a guided historic walk in Akaroa and through the native bush of the Garden of Tane. We also hope to offer a chance to visit a working farm in the countryside outside the town. We will hear about the history of the farm, have demonstrations of sheep shearing and see the working dogs in action as well as enjoying tea in the farm grounds. Or if you prefer you can simply wander in the town and enjoy the local atmosphere.
Spend the day in Kaikoura, a famous whale watching area due to its nutrient rich waters. The combination of very deep waters and the mixing of cold and warm waters brings the nutrients to the top. After breakfast, there will be the opportunity to join a whale watching cruise looking out for sperm whales, pods of dusky dolphins and common seals. Spend the afternoon exploring the town independently, join one of the nature walks or maybe take a trip on one of the bird watching cruises. There is an abundance of birdlife in the area including Great albatross, banded albatross, shearwater, petrels, prions and shag.
Enjoy a full day in the nation’s capital. From our central berth we will explore Wellington on a morning guided walk to see St Paul’s Cathedral, the parliament buildings, stroll through the Botanical Gardens and spend time in the excellent Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand with its impressive interactive displays and marvellous Maori collection. Return to the vessel for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon and evening to explore the city at your own pace. For those that are interested, we hope to include an optional evening excursion to Zealandia where we can hear the distinctive sounds of the New Zealand bush as day becomes night.
Sail through the Marlborough Sounds which divide the North and South Islands of New Zealand and arrive in the early morning at Resolution Bay on the South Island where keen walkers can enjoy a longer hike over to Ship Cove along the Queen Charlotte Track enjoying fantastic views over the archipelago of islands. Alternatively alight a little later at Ship Cove where Captain James Cook spent much of his time in New Zealand. View the monument dedicated to Cook or maybe walk the forest trail to the nearby waterfall. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at sea.
Arrive this morning in Napier and join a tour of this beautiful town including its charming Art Deco buildings. Totally rebuilt after the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake, Napier’s Art Deco is unique, with Maori motifs and the buildings of Louis Hay, admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright. We also visit a local vineyard to sample the local wines. This afternoon is free for independent exploration of the town or alternatively join the excursion to the gannetry at Cape Kidnappers where you are able to get amazingly close to the birds. The 13 hectare reserve includes the saddle and black reef gannet colonies. We depart in the late afternoon and ring in the New Year at sea as we cruise along the coast of the North Island.
Enjoy a relaxing morning at sea arriving just after lunch at White Island. Weather permitting there will be an excursion to explore the active volcano on White Island, identifiable by the plume of steam continually spouting from its crater. The sights are surreal: the main crater with towering walls, steaming vents, and hissing fumaroles, glittering yellow sulphur crystals, bubbling mud pots and a spectacular steaming lake. This call is well off the usual cruise routes and we will use the Zodiacs to reach the island and then take a guided walk to the crater.
From our berth in Tauranga we drive inland to the famous thermal springs at Rotorua. Discover Wai-O-Tapu, meaning Sacred Waters, an active geothermal area with colourful hot springs, steaming ground and boiling mud pools. Marvel at the incredible palette of vibrant hues displayed in the pools, lakes and craters, and enjoy the melodic sounds of birds singing in the native forest. From here we visit a local Maori Marae where we will enjoy a traditional Maori welcome and lunch before returning to the ship in the late afternoon.
Today we call to the small town of Whitianga, our base to explore the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. Named after the HMS Coromandel who called here in 1820 to take on timber supplies, the area built its trade on timber and gold mining. Today its fine beaches and stunning views attract many visitors.
Discovered by Captain Cook in 1769, this area is the cradle of European civilisation in New Zealand and has important historical significance for both Maori and Europeans. The ship will remain at anchor and on a morning tour we will visit the Waitangi Treaty House where in 1840 the treaty was signed between the Maori and the British Crown. We then continue to Kerikeri, where the Maori first welcomed missionaries in 1819, and see the oldest buildings of New Zealand dating from the 1820s. During the afternoon enjoy some free time to explore the charming, historic town of Russell.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
Itineraries are subject to change.
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
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.