Join us aboard the wonderfully comfortable MS Caledonian Sky for a journey that will take us from the Cape Verde Islands, across to Morocco and on to some of the lesser known Canary Islands. Our itinerary has been carefully designed so that we can fully explore the dramatic beauty and cultural vibrancy of these amazingly varied groups of islands, each one having a distinct culture and landscape, and our small ship is the ideal way to make the most of the region. Whether your interests lie in botany, geology or walking, this cruise has something for everyone.
Our voyage begins with an exploration of the Cape Verde Islands where we have three full days to discover this remote archipelago, exploring volcanic landscapes, colonial towns and villages and breathtaking beaches. After two days at sea during which you can relax on deck and listen to some fascinating lectures from our onboard team and Guest Speaker, we arrive in the far south of Morocco where we will call into two little visited places along the coast and travel overland to the desert city of Laayoune. This region promises to be a most memorable experience and, for those who enjoy visiting out of the way places where tourists are a rarity, it is a unique opportunity.
Reaching the Canary Islands, an archipelago consisting of seven main islands that are formed from the tips of a vast volcanic mountain range that lies beneath the Atlantic Ocean, we have three days here, during which time we will visit Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro where we can enjoy nature at its very best. These volcanic islands impress with their unique flora and fauna and boast rugged, rocky landscapes, evergreen cloud forests, metre-high ferns and bizarre-looking dragon trees.
Fly by direct flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner.
Please note that we plan on operating a direct charter flight from London Stansted to Sal. Details will be confirmed approximately eight months before departure.
The island of Sal was relatively undeveloped until the mid-nineteenth century when the salt export business was developed and this morning we will visit one of the original sites at Pedra de Lume. We will see the saltpans, learn of the salt extraction process and even have the chance to float in the waters. After lunch there will be the option to stay on board or transfer to the town of Santa Maria for a relaxing afternoon swimming from the beaches or exploring the local shops for Cape Verdean crafts.
We have a full day on the most beautiful of the Cape Verdean islands, Santo Antao. Driving up the old trading route, we pass the volcanic crater ‘Cova’ with its agricultural plantations and enjoy panoramic views of the island before arriving in the tiny picturesque mountain village of Fontainhas on the northern side of the island. After lunch in the seaside village of Ponta do Sol, we will take the coastal road towards the greenest valley in the archipelago, the valley of Paul. Here we will enjoy a coffee break whilst learning about the production of sugarcane on the island. Also discover ‘Grogue’, the national drink of the islands and have a taste of it at the oldest traditional Grogue distillery of the island. This evening we sail the short distance to Mindelo, the cultural capital of the Cape Verde. We will be entertained by local music and capoeira on board as we moor overnight.
Enjoy a full day in Mindelo, one of the most attractive of all the Cape Verde towns with its colonial buildings, cobbled streets, cafes and lively restaurants. Depart on a morning discovery tour of the lively markets and the secret corners of the harbour town. After a coffee break in a typical Cape Verdean bar, learn about the life of the local artists and their works by visiting the national museum of handicraft. The afternoon is free to further explore the vibrant town independently.
Spend two relaxing days at sea as we sail over to Morocco. Enjoy listening to some lectures and find a spot on deck to relax with a book.
Arrive this morning in Dakhla situated in the far south of Morocco. The town occupies a long peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic and is well off the traditional tourist routes. We will drive along the lagoon, a paradise for migratory birds, before visiting a Sahraoui camp in the sand dunes. Learn about the nomadic Sahraoui culture, partake in a tea ceremony and use the 4x4 vehicles to see the stunning views from the top of the dunes. Return to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch and spend a relaxing afternoon at sea.
Spend a morning at sea and this afternoon, from the port of El Marsa drive across the sand dunes to the city of Laayoune. There are not many travellers who can boast of a visit this far south in Morocco. Mostly consisting of flat desert it is one of the least populated regions in the world. It makes for a really interesting afternoon as we take in the unique Spanish-Saharan architecture in the old town, visit the Roman Catholic church, the Moulay Abdelaziz Mosque and see the food and artisan markets.
This morning will be dedicated to gardens. We will start with a visit to the Jardin Botanico that was founded in 1788 by Charles III of Spain. The purpose of the gardens was to create an area where the plants, shrubs and flowers brought back from the New World could acclimatise to Spanish soil. Many of the plants are the original specimens brought back for the opening of the gardens including the centrepiece, an enormous South American fig tree. In contrast to the Botanical Gardens we will then explore the Sitio Litre Garden which boasts a luscious orchid collection. After lunch on board we will drive inland, along the base of the mountain range through beautiful pine forests to the Parque Nacional del Teide. The area was declared a National Park in 1954 and includes 14 species of plant found nowhere else in the world. Geologically the park is fascinating; of the many different types of volcanic formations examples of more than 80% can be found here. Alternatively there will be a full day tour to Mount Teide on offer for those who wish to enjoy a hike, accompanied by a local guide, through this spectacular landscape.
La Gomera is a paradise of natural beauty, with lush valleys and awe-inspiring cliffs dotted with charming whitewashed villages, and gives the impression of being lost in a time warp. On a full day tour we will explore the island including Garajonay National Park, home to the world’s only surviving laurel forest, and visit the villages of Hermiqua, Agulo and Las Rosas before making our way to a local restaurant for lunch. We will also experience a demonstration of Silbo Gomero, the island’s unique whistling language, and visit the magnificent rock formations of Agando. Alternatively, you may wish to join a guided morning trek through the Garajonay National Park commencing in the village of El Cedro which offers some interesting examples of Canarias architecture. Return to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch and the afternoon will be at leisure for individual exploration.
Probably the least known of the Canary Islands, and once considered to be the end of the world, El Hierro is unique and utterly captivating. On our morning island tour it will be impossible not to be entranced by the island’s slow pace and simple style; by its craggy coast, where waves hurl themselves against lava sculpted rock faces; by the pretty farmland and flower meadows of the interior; by the eerily beautiful juniper groves; and by the desolate volcanic badlands that stretch out like moonscapes in the south. We will also have the opportunity to sample some of El Hierro’s excellent wine and visit the lizard house where the island’s unique giant lizards are bred; near extinction they are protected by international law. Alternatively, opt for the La Llania hiking excursion which will take us through primeval forests, along ancient cisterns and mythical witches dance floors to El Hierro’s top viewing point affording spectacular views of the western parts of the island. This afternoon will be at leisure to relax on the ship or explore at independently.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
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
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.