Caledonian Sky - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Caledonian Sky

★★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 402 out of 500

Accommodation: 163 out of 200

Food: 318 out of 400

Service: 313 out of 400

Entertainment: 70 out of 100

Cruise: 325 out of 400

Overall Score: 1591 out of 2000

Caledonian Sky Statistics

Size: Boutique Ship

Tonnage: 4,200

Lifestyle: Premium

Cruise Line: Noble Caledonia

Former Names: Hebridean Spirit, Sun Viva II, MegaStar Capricorn, Renaissance VI

IMO Number: 8802870

Builder: Nuovi Cantieri Apuania (Italy)

Original Cost: $25 million

Entered Service: Mar 1991/Jul 2012

Registry: Great Britain

Length (ft/m): 297.2/90.6

Beam (ft/m): 50.1/15.3

Draft (ft/m): 13.7/4.2

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (5,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 5

Total Crew: 74

Passengers (lower beds): 114

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 36.8

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.5

Cabins (total): 57

Size Range (sq ft/m): 215.0-365.9/20.0-34.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 8

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 0

Wheelchair accessibility: None

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 1

Casino (gaming tables): No

Slot Machines: No

Swimming Pools: 0

Hot Tubs (on deck): 0

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: UK£


Delightful country inn afloat for educated, seasoned travelers

Overview. The delightful pocket-sized Caledonian Sky is best suited to couples and singles that enjoy learning about the natural sciences, geography, history, gardening, art, architecture, and want to be aboard a very small ship with little or no entertainment. This is ideal for those who abhor big-ship cruising, and the crew is extremely personable.

The Ship. This ship has a neat, modern look, coupled with a traditional single funnel and a navigation bridge in a well-rounded half-moon design. It was one of a series of eight similar vessels originally built for the long-defunct Renaissance Cruises, and acquired by Noble Caledonia in 2011, after being in the possession of a private Dubai-based individual for use as his private yacht.

The exterior design has been altered somewhat with the addition of an enclosed lounge deck forward of the funnel. There are teakwood walking decks outdoors, and a very reasonable amount of open deck space. All of the deck furniture - the tables and chairs - are made of teak or hardwood and sunloungers have thick cushioned pads. All exterior handrails are of beautifully polished wood. There is also a teakwood water sports platform at the stern of the ship. The ship carries 10 Zodiac landing craft for up-close-and-personal coastal excursions or wet landings (where necessary).

You’ll find elegant interior design and the touches reminiscent of a small, lavish country house hotel. The lounge has the unmistakable feel of a British traditional drawing room; it includes a large, white Bath stone fireplace with an imitation log fire (safety regulations prohibit a real one) and is the focal point for all social activities and cocktail parties. There is also a good travel library/reading room. Inspector Hercule Poirot would be very much at home here, as it is rather like a small, exclusive club. The fact that the ship doesn’t have photographers and other trappings found aboard larger ships doesn’t matter one bit.

Although the dress code is casual and comfortable, most passengers tend to dress nicely for dinner. The service is friendly but unobtrusive; the atmosphere is quiet (no music in passageways or elevator) and refined, and the ship is well run by a crew proud to provide the kind of personal service expected by intelligent, well-traveled passengers. In fact, unobtrusive service from a Filipino and East European crew are hallmarks of a cruise aboard this ship. The fare includes gratuities, transfers, and shore excursions, plus house wine, beer, and soft drinks during lunch and dinner.

Although several pillars, needed for structural support, are obstructions in some public rooms and hallways, and the interior decor consists of wood laminates instead of real wood, the ambience is warm.

The ship’s itineraries take participants mostly to quiet, off-the-beaten-track ports not often visited by larger cruise ships. Destination lecturers accompany each cruise.

Accommodation. There are several grades of double or twin-bedded cabins and four grades of cabins for single travelers, priced by grade, size, and location. The cabins are quite spacious, measuring 215-365 sq ft (20-34 sq m), including bathrooms and balconies - generous for such a small ship. All have outside views, and most feature wallpapered walls, lighted closets, full-length mirror, dressing table with three-sided vanity mirrors, tea/coffee-making equipment, large-screen TV, refrigerator/minibar (always stocked with fresh milk and mineral water), direct-dial satellite telephone, personal safe, ironing board, and electric trouser press. However, there is no switch to turn announcements off in your cabin. There are two suites that provide lots of extra space, and several other cabins have an additional sofa bed.

The bathrooms are of a decent size, and marble-clad; towels and thick, plush bathrobe are 100 percent cotton, as is the bed linen, but note that there is a small step between bedroom and bathroom.

Dining. The Restaurant has ocean-view portholes, and operates with table assignments for dinner, in a single seating, and an open-seating arrangement for breakfast and lunch. It is a very elegant and pleasant room, with wood paneling, fine furnishings, subtle lighting, and plenty of space around each table. A mix of chairs with and without armrests is provided. There are many tables for two, but also for four, six, and eight. Breakfast is buffet-style, while lunch and dinner are served.

Fresh ingredients are often bought locally when possible - a welcome change from the mass catering of many ships today, and the desserts are worth saving space for.

Breakfasts and lunches can also be taken outdoors at the alfresco café, particularly when the ship is operating in warm-weather areas. Morning coffee and afternoon tea can be taken in the lounge areas or, weather permitting, on the open decks.

Entertainment. The Club Lounge is the room for social gatherings and talks. Passengers really like the fact that there is no formal entertainment or mindless parlor games - just good company and easy conversation.

Spa/Fitness. The Asian-style spa, at the aft end of Promenade Deck, is a peaceful place. It contains a hairdressing salon, gymnasium, steam room shower, and a relaxation area.