MS Caledonian Sky - Traditional Expedition Cruising
This boutique expedition ship adds a touch of traditional style to adventure cruising, and thanks to her petite dimensions, she can venture into cruising territory which larger ships cannot.
Although operated by Noble Caledonia, the ship is also offered by APT as part of a new partnership since June. There are several exclusive sailings in 2013 on Caledonian Sky, including an eighty-fifth anniversary celebration cruise cruising from The Philippines to Darwin to explore relatively unknown regions of The Philippines, Indonesia and Borneo.
The 4,200 ton ship has was originally built for the now defunct Renaissance Cruises, then cruised as the Hebridean Spirit for Hebridean Island Cruises, and as the Caledonian Sky for Noble Caledonia.
Name: MS Caledonian Sky.
Launched: Originally 1991.
Passengers: 116 at double occupancy.
Regions: The Arctic, South America, Australasia, and the Pacific Rim.
There are seven categories of suits, 23 with private balconies, spaced out over four decks. All suites have ocean views, sitting areas, bathrooms with country style wash basins, hot towel racks and a vanity unit, as well as a flat screen TV, assorted toiletries, a fridge, bottled water, and dressing gowns and slippers in which to relax. Suites are named after Scottish castles, islands, or clans. The decor throughout is on the traditional side, with much dark wood and rich fabrics.
The lowest category are 11 standard suites, which are 22.7 square metres in size, and all but two have views through four portholes. Superior suites total 19, and are slightly smaller at 21.6 square metres, however, all but three have larger bathrooms with a bath tub and shower, and a large window. There are four premium suites which are 20.2 square metres; two have bath tubs, two do not, but all four have a large window.
There are eight deluxe balcony suites at 20 square metres, with walk-in wardrobes, bathrooms with a tub and shower, and a private balcony. Next are the 13 premium balcony suites, which are similar in size and facilities, except for the bath tub, but have a slightly bigger balcony. The top two accommodations are Owner’s Corner Suites, which are 22.6 square metres in size and have a large private balcony as well as two forward portholes.
The verdict: There are plenty of categories but not much difference in the way of size. The decor may appear a little old fashioned and glum to some cruisers compared with more modern ships.
Key Facilities and Entertainment
- There is a small gym.
- There is a hairdresser on board which takes appointments on request.
- The travel library is a great place to relax with a good book, and it doubles up as an internet centre with two computer terminals.
- There is a large, elegant lounge which is used for daily briefings and enrichment lectures.
- There is a 24-hour tea and coffee station available.
- The Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck is the place for a drink with a view.
- There is a main bar which features a pianist.
- There is also an elegant sun deck with lounge furniture and shade.
The verdict: This is a ship designed for adventure cruising so the focus is on excursions and activities. A small pool or whirlpool would be a major asset particularly when exploring hot weather cruising regions.
- All meals are served in a single sitting in the elegant main dining room.
- The chef will obtain local produce where possible, buying from local markets and fresh fish from local fishing boats.
- Breakfast is buffet style, while lunch is also a buffet with the option of having some items cooked to order.
- Dinner is a more formal la carte affair.
- Weather permitting, a buffet lunch and dinner can be served on deck.
The Low Down
Caledonian Sky offers a low key, more traditional style of expedition cruising which may suit a slightly older generation.