Few lands have such an exotic and mysterious allure as Papua New Guinea. The world’s second-largest island sits off the north coast of Australia and is home to more than 1,000 indigenous tribes — each with their own traditions — as well as flamboyant birdlife, tropical forests rich with orchids, steepsided volcanoes, pristine coral wonderlands and golden beaches. Our past travellers and field staff who have visited this mysterious land, where nothing is contrived and every experience is truly authentic, have enthused about the spectacular scenery and truly astounding array of native cultures which are known to only a few privileged travellers.
Travelling independently in Papua New Guinea can be difficult, with little infrastructure in place to accommodate for tourists and information about getting around often scarce. This is of course what makes the region alluring to the genuine traveller, but also why travelling with just 100 passengers and our expert onboard team aboard the all-suite MS Caledonian Sky, is an ideal way to explore this fascinating part of the world in comfort. Afloat and ashore, our exploration will be filled with unforgettable images and we hope you will join us for this unparalleled opportunity to explore one of the most intriguing places on the map.
• Discover six cone-shaped volcanoes that ring Rabaul’s dramatic flooded-caldera harbour
• Visit Rabaul that had a significant role in World War Two
• Swim or snorkel from the beaches, enjoy Zodiac cruises to the mangroves or join our expedition staff for nature spotting.
• Visit a local village, see the men’s house, learn about the process of sago palms and see pieces of tribal art and crafts
• Explore Madang - the ‘prettiest town in the Pacific’
Fly by scheduled indirect flight.
Arrive this morning and transfer to our hotel for a two night stay. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast at the hotel enjoy a full day in Cairns. Choose to spend the day exploring the underwater world on the Great Barrier Reef or discover the wildlife at the Daintree Rainforest. We meet this evening for dinner at the hotel.
After breakfast in the hotel we will transfer to the airport for our specially chartered flight to Port Moresby. On arrival transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky and enjoy Welcome Drinks and Dinner on board as we sail this evening.
Enjoy a morning at sea. As we follow the coast of Papua New Guinea, the peaks of the dramatic Stanley Owens Range come into view and we arrive at the island of Bonarua in Milne Bay at lunchtime. We will go ashore to view fishing and weaving demonstrations, and wander through the enchanting village, sampling local delicacies. Birders have the chance to trek into the thicket whilst the warm inviting waters of the Coral Sea offer a first opportunity to explore the underwater world.
Today we arrive in Alotau, the provincial capital. As the centre for Milne Bay many of the islanders come here to sell their wares and the vibrant local market is a trove of local artefacts including Trobriand carvings. We will have time to explore the town whilst our naturalists will take walks to explore the surrounding rainforest looking for birds. The more adventurous may wish to investigate the local caves which are home to thousands of bats.
Arrive at first light in the fjordland of Papua New Guinea. These fjords are over 90 metres deep and rise vertically to 150 metres from the water. The faces of the fjord are covered with moss and orchids and waterfalls fall into the sea. We will use our Zodiacs or local boats to explore the fjords and also visit the local villages. In the markets we will see the local pottery, jewellery and tapa cloth typical of this region. Due to the protection of the fjords the coral reefs are rich in colour and variety and have good visibility. We will find a suitable spot with our Zodiacs to snorkel amongst the gobie, mandarin fish, pigmy seahorses, sponge and shelf corals.
Arrive at breakfast time in Lababia, our entry to the Kamiali Wildlife Management Area. It is accessible only by boat and the area has been formally protected but is under the control of local landowners. It includes a wide range of lowland and mid-montane rainforest, together with inshore marine areas including lush coral reefs, and has a rich array of plants, animals and ecosystems. We can take a rainforest walk on the David Suzuki Trail, seeking hornbills, parrots and palm cockatoos or enjoy time in the local village. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at one of the nearby reefs swimming or snorkelling.
After a morning at sea we arrive at Madang, which is sometimes dubbed the ‘prettiest town in the Pacific’ perched on a peninsula surrounded by picturesque islands and sprinkled with parks, ponds and water-lily filled waterways. Madang’s warm, wet climate and fertile soil produce luxuriant growth and any of the huge casuarina trees that tower over the Madang streets support huge colonies of flying foxes. The trees may have escaped World War II relatively unscathed but Madang itself wasn’t so lucky. The town was rebuilt after it was virtually destroyed during the Japanese occupation and subsequent fighting. A morning tour will include the Catholic Mission and Coastwatcher’s Memorial Lighthouse and vibrant market.
Arrive this morning on the Tami Islands, four tiny atolls situated seven miles off the Huon Peninsula with around 400 inhabitants. We will be welcomed by the islanders and have a chance to see the distinctive wooden bowls, figure carvings and masks of the region. Alternatively we will use our Zodiacs taking the opportunity to snorkel in the crystal clear waters. Enjoy lunch on board as we sail this afternoon.
Over breakfast we arrive in Kuiawa in the Trobriand Islands. First discovered by the French vessel, Esperence in 1793 and named after the first lieutenant, they are also known as the “Islands of Love” after the study by anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski who wrote about them in his study “The Argonauts of the Western Pacific”. We will be welcomed to the island by the local villagers before having time to explore and learn about their culture. Over lunch we sail the short distance to Nakwaba, a sand cay emerging from the blue waters of the lagoon. Spend the afternoon lounging on the beach, snorkelling along the surrounding reef or the birders may take a walk and hope to see a variety of terns and Pacific golden plovers.
Our Papua New Guinea adventure continues in the D’Entrecasteaux islands. We will use our Zodiacs to land on Fergusson Island, the largest of the chain, in a small fishing village. From here we will walk to the local hot springs and bubbling mud pools surrounded by lush vegetation, birders can keep a lookout for parrots and cockatoos. A welcome dance will be accompanied by local foods cooked in the hot pools. This afternoon we will cruise through the spectacular Dobu passage and use our Zodiacs to explore and snorkel or alternatively land to meet the villagers and visit the local church.
This morning we will explore Samarai which was once known as the “Pearl of the Pacific” and was the Provincial capital until 1968. Samarai was the country’s first provincial headquarters and the faded colonial charm of the buildings is indicative of its former importance. Return to the ship for lunch and spend the afternoon at sea as we return to Port Moresby.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our specially chartered flight to Cairns. On arrival transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration.
After breakfast in the hotel transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London.
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.
Castle Standard Suite Sole
Sole Occupancy. 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 Sole
Sole Occupancy. 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.
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.