Here is an extraordinary cruise for those who enjoy the natural world and all its wonders and are looking for the opportunity to escape the British winter. Join us aboard the all-suite MS Island Sky and enjoy the warmth and beauty of the Indian Ocean as she undertakes exactly the type of itinerary that suits her many talents best. With the vessel’s purpose built Zodiacs we will land on otherwise inaccessible beaches, explore vast lagoons and coral reefs and encounter some of the most extraordinarily beautiful tropical scenery to be found anywhere in the world.
Sailing from Mauritius we will land on its nearest neighbour, Reunion, a little bit of France in the Indian Ocean and a stunning place. We will spend the day exploring its truly awesome and dramatic scenery before we continue to Madagascar for four days of exploration of this incredibly verdant and beautiful island with its unique flora and fauna.
From Madagascar we will make our way to the Seychelles with three days scheduled in the Aldabra Island group. Being one of the most difficult places in the world to access and having a lack of freshwater has saved Aldabra from any tourism development and there is no landing strip so the only viable means of reaching this untouched region is by ship. Aldabra is the last breeding ground of the giant tortoise and in addition to seeing some of these endearing creatures you should also encounter dolphins, turtles and whales as well as countless birds including the flightless rail, the last flightless bird in the Indian Ocean. Our expedition concludes in Tanzania where we visit Kilwa Kisiwani, a site of exceptional historical interest, followed by a full day in atmospheric Zanzibar.
This expedition really is a veritable feast of beauty, the natural world and island culture. You will witness the bounty of the islands, the wildlife from the giant tortoises of Aldabra to the lemurs of Madagascar and an amazingly prolific birdlife.
Arrive today and transfer to the MS Island Sky moored in Port Louis. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.
We arrive at breakfast in Reunion where we have a choice of excursions. On a full day tour we will visit the central highlands where spectacularly rugged peaks of dormant or extinct volcanoes cradle huge amphitheatres known as cirques, where mountains tower to over 10,000 feet and beautiful waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet. The rich soil and mellow climate produce a lush and verdant landscape which is dotted with villages and towns with a uniquely French atmosphere. Fields of sugar cane and plantations of tropical fruits, vanilla and all manner of spices perfume the air. We will enjoy views from the Nez des Bouefs and see the Piton de la Fournaise crater. After a creole lunch in a local restaurant we will visit the ‘Cite du Volcan’ Museum. Alternatively enjoy a morning tour to a vanilla plantation in St Andre where we learn about the history and culture of this integral part of Reunion’s heritage. Continue to Salazie, a verdant landscape and home to many waterfalls including the ‘Voile de la Mariee’ before stopping in St Denis for some free time on our way back to the ship. This afternoon is at leisure before we set sail this evening.
Spend the day at sea as we sail towards Madagascar. Maybe join a lecture or find a spot on deck to relax.
Our first call in Madagascar is at Toamasina, the country’s main port and second largest city but also the gateway to the Pangalanes Canals, a series of rivers, waterways and lakes that extend for over 400 miles down the island’s east coast. Used mainly for transportation and fishing, the canals are also home to unspoiled beaches, lagoons and lakes whilst providing access to national parks and private reserves. This morning we will take a local boat cruise through the canal to enjoy the scenery followed by a nature walk in one of the private reserves. Enjoy lunch in the reserve before returning to Toamasina this afternoon. Alternatively visit the Ivoloina Zoological Parc, a 282 hectare property combining a small zoo where we will see up to 12 species of lemur as well as indigenous tortoises and chameleons. Meanwhile in the surrounding forests we may see wild lemurs or malachite kingfishers on one of the many walking trails.
Spend a day and a half in Antongil Bay area. We discover Nosy Mangabe, a 520-hectare island reserve and one of the most diverse areas of virgin rain forest in Madagascar which has also been an important research centre since the mid-1960s when several aye-ayes and lemurs were released into the forest. We will use our Zodiacs to land on the beach next to the forest and organise a series of nature walks looking at the varied trees, plants and ferns and we hope to spot chameleon, lizards and black and white ruffed lemur. For the birders, we will keep an eye out for Madagascar buzzard, kingfisher and paradise flycatchers. We also explore Madagascar’s largest protected area, the Masoala National Park, which comprises of coastal rainforest, flooded forests, marsh and mangroves. Mammal species encountered include the red-ruffed lemur, the red-fronted brown lemur and the ring-tailed mongoose. The park is also home to various species of brightly coloured Mantella frogs, all manner of extraordinary chameleons and is a refuge of the endangered Madagascar red-owl, Madagascar serpent eagle and many endemic bird species. A series of walks for all levels will operate whilst there will also be the option to swim off the beach or perhaps visit the local village.
After a morning at sea we will enter dramatic Diego Suarez, a stunning natural harbour with a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants including Creoles, Indians, Chinese, Comorans and Arabs. This afternoon choose from a city tour visiting the Commonwealth Cemetery and Place Joffre, or the Malagasy Rain Forest at the Mount Amber National Park. Dividing into short and long walk parties we will go in search of wildlife as we explore the rainforest. In the towering vegetation, we may spot several species of lemurs and chameleons as well as endemic birds, including parrots.
Arriving in the Seychelles this morning, we will anchor off Farquhar where we will use our Zodiacs to explore the sparkling lagoon of this remote atoll ringed island of coconut and casuarina trees. Hawksbill and green sea turtles come to the atoll to nest and several of the Farquhar Group’s islands are Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas. The island is a haven providing us with a delightful morning of bird watching or snorkelling. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon cruising.
We have three days to enjoy the Aldabra group of islands and our itinerary will be in the hands of our Expedition Leader and Captain who will monitor the local conditions to ensure we maximise our time here. Whilst our itinerary is flexible, we hope to call at the island of Assumption which was ruthlessly plundered for its vast deposits of guano in the early 20th century. Happily, peace has returned, and the wildlife of rare birds and green turtles are once again in abundance. Our time here will be spent beachcombing, on nature walks or snorkelling. We also hope to reach Cosmoledo where a huge ring of twelve islands circle a lagoon. Many of the atolls are still to be surveyed and we will explore some of them by Zodiac. This is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area with all three species of booby found in the Seychelles including the last breeding site for the brown booby. Also spot sooty terns and great frigate birds. We will also spend time on Aldabra, the island referred to by Sir Julian Huxley as “One of nature’s treasures and should belong to the whole world”. Aldabra is unique and every time we call at what is believed to be the world’s largest atoll we find something new of interest. Sightings have been made of the extremely rare white throated rail and the atoll is also home to the world’s second largest colony of frigate birds and to the largest crab, the coconut crab. Whilst exploring by Zodiac it is difficult to know in which direction to look. The clear blue seas abound with life, the skies are alive with varied birdlife and ashore giant land tortoises forage as they have done for millions of years. We hope to explore Picard Island with a short walk to see some of the thousands of tortoises and numerous robber crabs or swim in the lagoon, a vast 17 mile stretch of shallow clear water. From our Zodiacs we can watch the ever-changing undersea world and snorkel in colourful coral waters.
Enjoy the day at sea to relax.
This morning we anchor off Kilwa Kisiwani, a site of exceptional historical interest, where the atmospheric ruins represent a wide sweep of East African coastal history, from the heights of the Swahili and Shirazi trading civilisation to the darker days of slavery and the uprisings against German rule. Once one of Africa’s wealthiest towns, Kilwa Kisiwani is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains the world’s most extensive and best-preserved Swahili ruins. We will spend the morning on a walking tour and see the prominent fort and the Great Mosque which stood at the heart of this ancient city which was once the largest in East Africa. This afternoon we set sail for Zanzibar.
Zanzibar’s harbour, crowded with dhows, very much sets the scene for our visit to this Arab-style city with its long narrow streets, bazaars, houses with overhanging balconies and intricately carved doorways. On a morning walking tour, soak up the timeless atmosphere of Stone Town including Livingstone House, Sultan’s Palace, the slave market and the Old Fort. The afternoon is free to relax and explore independently or join a tour to a spice farm to experience the various fruits and spices cultivated on the island. Alternatively, travel to Jozani Forest which sustains a variety of wildlife and birds, including the rare red colobus monkey, indigenous to the island.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
Itineraries are subject to change.
20 January, 2022 to 03 February, 2022
Magellan Deck Standard Suite
Suites on the Castle Deck measure 22.7 square metres and feature four port holes, en-suite bathroom with shower and spacious wardrobes.
Columbus Deck 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.
Marco Polo 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
Erikson Deck 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
Explorer 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.
Magellan Deck Standard for sole occupancy
Explorer Deck Island Suite
Columbus Deck Superior Suite for Sole Occupancy
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 116
Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017
Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck.
Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner
Complimentary Coffee/Tea station
On-board MD and Facilities
Dedicated Passenger Service Manager
Pre-voyage hotel night
Complimentary Expedition Jacket
Elevator serving all passenger decks
Upgraded WIFI Internet
Library with computers
Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform
Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment
Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities
DVD Movie Library
Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck
Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage.
All Suites Feature:
Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds
Sitting area with sofa and side chair
Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player
Independent temperature controls
Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries
220 square feet or more
Sofa can be converted to bed for third person
PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.
• 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)
• Passport and Visa costs where applicable
• Travel insurance
• 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