Islands of the Indian Ocean (Caledonian Sky)

Islands of the Indian Ocean (Caledonian Sky)

From GBP £8,795

Description

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 Caledonian 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 truly stunning place. We will spend the day exploring its truly awesome and dramatic scenery including the Central Highlands with their spectacularly rugged peaks of dormant volcanoes which cradle huge natural amphitheatres known as cirques. We then continue to Madagascar where we will have three days exploring this incredible verdant and beautiful island. Madagascar is unique; the animals, plants, landscapes and people that make up this thousand mile long island are unlike anywhere else. It is a country that has long remained obscure as a destination and is relatively little known even amongst the most serious of travellers. The long separation from the African mainland has given rise to its amazing number of unique species of flora and fauna.

From Madagascar we will make our way to 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.

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.

Trip Name
Islands of the Indian Ocean (Caledonian Sky)
Days
15
Overview
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.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 London to Mauritius.
Fly by scheduled flight.
Day 2 - Day 2 Mauritius.
Arrive this morning and transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure to acclimatise before we meet for dinner in the hotel this evening.
Day 3 - Day 3 Mauritius.
Enjoy breakfast in the hotel and a morning at leisure. After checking out, lunch will be followed by an island tour which will include the Trou-aux-Cerfs Volcano, the Grand Bassin Lake and Black River Gorges before transferring to the MS Caledonian Sky in the late afternoon. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail tonight.
Day 4 - Day 4 Reunion.
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, mountains tower to over 10,000 feet and beautiful waterfalls plummet hundreds of feet. 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 join 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. We will also have some free time in St Denis before returning to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch and an afternoon at leisure before we set sail this evening.
Day 5 - Day 5 At Sea.
Enjoy a day at sea as we cross to Madagascar. Find a spot on deck to relax or listen to a talk in the Lounge from the experienced expedition team.
Day 6 - Days 6 & 7 Nosy Mangabe & Masoala National Park, Madagascar.
Spend a day and a half in Antongil Bay. We visit 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 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 visit 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 and all manner of extraordinary chameleons. Masoala is also a refuge of the endangered Madagascar red-owl, Madagascar serpent eagle and many endemic bird species. We will run a series of walks for all levels whilst you also have the option to swim off the beach or perhaps visit the local village.
Day 7 - Day 8 Diego Suarez.
After a morning at sea we will enter dramatic Diego Suarez, a natural harbour with a cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants including Creoles, Indians, Chinese, Comorans and Arabs. After lunch on board there will be a choice of excursion 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 lemurs and chameleons as we explore the rain forest. In the towering vegetation, we may spot several species of lemurs and chameleons as well as endemic birds, including parrots.
Day 8 - Days 9 to 11 Aldabra Island Group.
Spend a relaxing morning at sea before arriving in to the Seychelles where we plan to spend two and a half days at the Aldabra group of islands. 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 will 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 a nature walk 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 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.
Day 9 - Day 12 At Sea.
Spend the day at sea, maybe join a lecture or find a spot on deck.
Day 10 - Day 13 Alphonse Islands.
There are three islands in the Alphonse group which is located directly south of the Amirantes. As we approach the islands over breakfast you will understand why they are regarded by many to be the most beautiful of the 115 islands in the Seychelles archipelago. On the main island the circular lagoon offers good snorkelling and there are several tracks across the island to enjoy island walks. Spend the morning exploring before returning to the ship for lunch and an afternoon cruising.
Day 11 - Day 14 Praslin & Grande Soeur.
This morning we will use Zodiacs to land on Praslin and explore the ‘Vallee de Mai’, the last remnant of the original high canopied Seychelles palm forest and home to the coco de mer. Walk its paths looking out for the rare black parrot and enjoying its natural beauty. Return to the ship for lunch as we sail the short distance to Grande Soeur, an idyllic uninhabited island. Spend the afternoon walking the island trails which link the white sand beaches and maybe catch sight of some of the islands giant Aldabra tortoises, enjoy a swim or join our final snorkelling opportunity in the turquoise waters.
Day 12 - Day 15 Mahe to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled indirect flight to London. Arrive this afternoon.
Day 13 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
09-12-202023-12-2020GBP £8,795Castle Standard Suite
09-12-202023-12-2020GBP £11,795Promenade Owner's Corner Suite
09-12-202023-12-2020GBP £8,995Caledonian Superior Suite
09-12-202023-12-2020GBP £9,195Promenade Premium Suite
09-12-202023-12-2020GBP £10,195Bridge Deluxe Balcony Suite
09-12-202023-12-2020GBP £10,495Promenade Prem. Balcony Suite

Inclusions

    • Discover Mauritius
    • Explore Nosy Mangabe & Masoala National Park, Madagascar
    • Visit Aldabra Island Group

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