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Our History

Noble Caledonia was established in 1991, the same year the Gulf War ended. Probably, not the most auspicious time to start a new company. Leisure travel was particularly badly hit, but in such times, opportunities can present themselves. All around the world cruise vessels were laid up waiting for the travelling public to return. Such a vessel was the Swedish owned small expedition cruise ship Caledonian Star.

Andrew Cochrane, a travel industry expert of considerable experience contacted the owner of the vessel, Christer Salén with a proposal to create a new specialist travel company. A plan was set in motion to market the vessel in the UK and from this point onwards things snowballed quite quickly. Within two short weeks Noble Caledonia was formed and trading and the first responses from advertisements in national newspapers were very encouraging.

Happily the first Caledonian Star cruise in 1991 was a success. Since then the company has prospered offering hundreds of different cruises and tours to every continent. The company is fortunate in having a marvellously supportive following of travellers with many having travelled twenty, thirty and some over 50 times. Noble Caledonia has been built on responding to the wishes and ideas of our regular clients. Our aim was and remains to always provide a unique, interesting and educational travel experience; a journey shared with like-minded travellers. Whilst our repertoire has expanded over the years what has remained constant is our knowledge and expertise. Our London based staff and those in the field have grown with us and their dedication and experience has helped us to shape the high level of planning, quality and personalised service that has become our hallmark.

Over a quarter of a century on, Noble Caledonia goes from strength to strength. From our modest beginnings we have grown to the point where we are now generally recognised as being the leading small ship cruise specialist, with a loyal following and an ever-developing portfolio of innovative and enticing tours and cruises.

Along the way, there have been some changes but many of our staff and clients have been with us since our establishment and continue to play an important role in our growth. Andrew Cochrane recently retired as Managing Director and the position is now held by his son Tim, assisted by his sister Laura who is the Director of Marketing and Sales. In 2006, the majority shareholding passed from Christer Salén to his daughter Katarina Salén and her husband Per Magnus Sander. Both are from a travel background and offer great support and enthusiasm. Since then the company has benefitted from the purchase of the three sister vessels, the MS Island Sky, MS Caledonian Sky and MS Hebridean Sky. Carrying just over 100 passengers in great comfort, the company is fortunate in having some of the most highly regarded and finest expedition vessels in the world.

Noble Caledonia is a rarity in today’s cruising world where the vast majority of vessels are owned and operated by multi-nationals. Being an independent company where the owners are involved in all aspects puts us in a unique place. From this position of freedom and not having to pander to shareholders and financial institutions we operate for the benefit of our passengers who reward us by travelling with us time and time again. We are immensely proud of our fleet and continue to develop inspiring itineraries aboard our own ships and others which we charter to cover all regions of the world.