Wednesday, 13 June 2012

New Caledonian Sky marks a bright start for APT


APT’s new association with Noble Caledonia arrives just as the expedition ship MS Caledonian Sky joins sister ship MS Island Sky in the Noble Caledonia fleet.

Formerly known as Hebridean Spirit, this vessel began her new life with Noble Caledonia following an extensive refurbishment which features wood panelling and brass fittings. Built in the same ship yard as the MS Island Sky, the MS Caledonian Sky shares the same attributes as her sister vessel, joining her as one of the finest small ships in the world.

[Editor's Note: This is the same class of vessel that includes Orion II, formerly Clelia II, and Ocean Spirit, formerly Spirit of Oceanos.]


APT’s General Manager Marketing, Debra Fox said both ships offer a warm and peaceful ambience, “what you might expect from a private yacht or country hotel.”

“Both reflect the onboard service standards, comfort and luxury style of APT river ships in Europe, so our passengers will be at home with the Noble Caledonia brand,” she said.

“These luxury expedition ships are the size that allow us to access areas not available to large sea cruise ships, so with inflatable Zodiac landing craft we provide easy discovery shore excursions which is what we deliver on our river ships,” Ms Fox said.

MS Island Sky underwent a significant refurbishment in May 2010 to make her one of the finest small ships in the world. With a maximum passenger capacity of 116, a vessel of her size is capable of carrying many more but instead the MS Island Sky has the benefit of unusually large suites, luxuriously appointed public areas and spacious outside decks.

MS Caledonian Sky will first sail around Britain, then north to the Arctic before heading for South America, Australasia and the Pacific Rim. APT will have a number of exclusive sailings, including its 85th anniversary celebration cruise in 2013, hosted by Geoff McGeary, cruising through the seven seas of the East Indies from The Philippines to Darwin. This cruise explores relatively unknown regions of The Philippines, Indonesia and the vast island of Borneo.

MS Caledonian Sky is also featured in APT’s European program with a Botanical cruise, and in Alaska.

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 23 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.

A crew of 74 (similar to MS Island Sky) not only offers an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail.

Dining

With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine is of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, the 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. A selection of wines is 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.

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.

Public spaces

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.

Library

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.