Exploring the Cape Verde Islands (Caledonian Sky)

Exploring the Cape Verde Islands (Caledonian Sky)

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Join us aboard the wonderfully comfortable MS Caledonian Sky as she undertakes an island hopping adventure; exactly the type of itinerary that suits her best. Our voyage will begin in Dakar where, after a day to explore Senegal’s fascinating capital city we sail to the intriguing Cape Verde archipelago for an in-depth discovery of the islands, exploring volcanic landscapes, colonial towns and villages and breathtaking beaches. They are an amazingly varied group of islands that have been used as a staging post by mariners through the ages and there is truly no better way to explore this region, with its dramatic beauty and cultural vibrancy than by small ship, and with the MS Caledonian Sky as our base we can island hop with great ease.

During our voyage we will discover the culture, wildlife and lifestyle of the islands, some of which are arid and flat with extraordinary beaches and dunes contrasting with lush mountainous islands. It is a little world of its own, each island having a distinct culture and atmosphere and an ideal archipelago for small ship cruising. On some islands the infrastructure is minimal but with our nimble Zodiacs we are able to land on the remotest of islands and explore. For those who enjoy visiting out of the way islands where tourists are a rarity, this is a unique opportunity.

Trip Name
Exploring the Cape Verde Islands (Caledonian Sky)
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. Your Suite 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. Your space 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. Your dining 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. Gratuities 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.


Day 1 - Day 1 London Heathrow to Dakar, Senegal.
Fly by scheduled indirect flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.
Day 2 - Day 2 Dakar.
Dakar is one of West Africa’s most westernised capitals and has a strong French influence. Skyscrapers sit side-by-side with the old part of the city, where terracotta roofs and tree-lined avenues give it a sophisticated and elegant appearance. This morning on a city tour see Independence Square and the Presidential Palace with its Red Guards permanently on duty outside. Drive through the main shopping areas of Lamine Gueye Avenue, Sandaga and Tilene to see the hectic scenes at the Senegalese markets, before continuing past the Grand Mosque, one of the most beautiful monuments in Africa, inaugurated by the late Hassan II in 1964. Before returning to the ship for lunch, visit the craft market and the Sand Painting Art Galleries. Alternatively, we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goree Island which lies off the coast of Dakar. This tiny island, measuring only 900 metres long and 300 metres wide, was first discovered by the Portuguese explorer Dinis Diaz in 1444, since then it has been controlled by the Dutch, the French and English and as such has a rich and fascinating history. Enjoy a walking tour through the narrow streets and visit the castle fortifications and the IFAN Historical Museum in the Fort d’Estree. Our guide will narrate the history of the island and take you on a tour of the ancient slave depot that bears witness to the slave trade that thrived in colonial Africa. This afternoon will be at leisure to relax on board or explore independently.
Day 3 - Day 3 At Sea.
Relax on board as we sail across to the Cape Verde Islands.
Day 4 - Day 4 Praia, Sao Tiago, Cape Verde.
Arrive this morning in the Cape Verde Islands, a varied archipelago off the West African coast. Today we explore the historic capital of Praia on the island of Sao Tiago. Praia has a wonderful African feel and we visit Cidade Velha, the old Portuguese capital with a rich history which was once the centre of the slave trade. See the fort and cathedral which dominate the narrow, cobbled lanes and stone houses. Enjoy a traditional performance of Batuco dance before we continue into the green interior, climbing the steep mountains and enjoying the colours as we make our way to Rui Vaz where we enjoy a lunch of local produce in the shadow of Pico da Antonia. We will see local farms and drive past the only water dam in Cape Verde before returning to our ship and sailing this evening.
Day 5 - Days 5 & 6 Fogo & Brava.
Over the next couple of days we will visit both Fogo and Brava. Fogo is an extraordinary place. Known as the ‘Mother Island’ it has its own unique character and people. It is a volcano that rises steeply out of the Atlantic and has become an island, the summit reaching some 3000 metres. An island drive will take us through dramatically contrasting areas of fertile valleys that are dominated by the massive grey volcanic cone of Pico de Fogo. Later, call into the main town of Sao Filipe, a gracious town of faded grandeur with its pretty squares and wide boulevards of colonial houses. Here we enjoy lunch and listen to local guides talk of the eruptions of 1995 and 2014, over local wines. Brava is often referred to as the ‘Secret Island’. It is sometimes mist-shrouded and the humid conditions produce wonderful conditions for the flora. It is also one of the most mountainous of the islands with soaring peaks and deep valleys. There will be opportunities here for walkers and a tour which will include arguably the most beautiful bay in the islands at Faja d’Agua with its pretty nearby village. The capital of Nova Sintra, named after its namesake in Portugal is a charming town full of colour from the blooming hibiscus, coconut trees and bougainvillaea.
Day 6 - Day 7 Porto Novo, Santo Antao.
We have a full day on the most beautiful of the islands, Sao 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. We will sail the short distance to Sao Vicente where we berth overnight.
Day 7 - Day 8 Mindelo, Sao Vicente.
Today we explore Mindelo, the cultural capital of Cape Verde and one of the most attractive of all the Cape Verde towns with its colonial buildings, cobbled streets, cafes and lively restaurants. Depart on a 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. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the town or visit the local beach. This evening, before we sail, we will be entertained by local music and capoeira on board.
Day 8 - Day 9 Tarrafal, Sao Nicolau.
Sao Nicolau is a charming, peaceful and attractive island of plantations, smallholdings and busy farming villages. It also has impressive, almost untouched mountain scenery, friendly residents and lively traditions. On our tour we will drive through a spectacular landscape towards the historical capital Ribeira Brava. Here we will discover the lively centre of the island which reflects the character of the people and learn why Ribeira Brava was the bedrock of Cape Verdean intellect in the 19th century. After lunch on board enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Day 9 - Day 10 Palmeira, Sal.
The island of Sal was relatively undeveloped until the midnineteenth century when the salt export business was established 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 on board the afternoon is free and shuttle buses will run to the town of Santa Maria where you can swim from the beaches or explore the local shops for Cape Verdean crafts.
Day 10 - Day 11 Sal to London Stansted.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 11 - Please Note:
SHIP TO SHOREThis cruise is not classified as an expedition cruise; however, Zodiac landing craft will be used on some days to land on islands which have minimal infrastructure.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type


    • Explore Praia, Sao Tiago, Cape Verde.
    • Discover Fogo & Brava.
    • Travel to Mindelo, Sao Vicente.
    • Enjoy Palmeira, Sal.