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12 nights
from £6095

Circumnavigation of the Black Sea

Discover the wonders of the Black Sea aboard the MS Island Sky

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  • History and Culture
  • Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Join us aboard the MS Island Sky as we explore the shores of the Black Sea, one of the most fascinating and historically rich regions in the world. Our voyage begins in Istanbul and from the Golden Horn follows the Turkish coast to Trabzon (Trebizond) before crossing to Georgia where the richness of its culture reflects the influence of Greeks, Byzantines, Persians, Turks and Mongols. Georgia’s ‘Golden Age’ reached its height between the reigns of David the Builder and his granddaughter Queen Tamara in the 11th and 12th centuries.

From Georgia we follow the coastline to Russia’s premier resort and spa, Sochi. Here the microclimate produces wonderful year round weather and a lush countryside. After a day at sea which will be filled with fascinating lectures by our onboard guest speakers, we reach Odessa, the historic city founded by Catherine the Great at the mouth of the great River Dnieper, following which we arrive in Constanta, Romania, an ancient metropolis and Romania’s largest sea port. Finally we reach Nessebur, a delightful Bulgarian town with a fascinating history before our cruise ends where it all began, in the captivating city of Istanbul.

Such a journey as this would be totally impractical by any means other than a cruise. Whether your interest lies in ancient or military history, architecture, literature, contemporary politics or just in visiting some of the most atmospheric and fascinating places on earth, the Black Sea has a lot to offer. Local guides and our onboard guest speakers will contribute greatly to our enjoyment and understanding of this intriguing corner of the world where East meets West.


Island Sky

Island Sky

The MS Island Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Caledonian Sky and MS Hebridean Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world.

View vessel details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London or Manchester to Istanbul, Turkey.

Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Island Sky and embark in the late afternoon. Moor overnight.

Day 2 - Istanbul.

Enjoy a day of exploration in the fascinating city of Istanbul. Choose to either join a full day excursion visiting the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern built during the reign of the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and the magnificent Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before spending the afternoon at Topkapi Palace with its recently restored pavilions, harems and treasury. Alternatively join a morning tour which will include a visit to Chora Church for the best Byzantine art, mosaics and frescoes in the city as well as Hagia Sophia before returning to the MS Island Sky for lunch and a free afternoon to explore independently. In your free time you may wish to spend some time at the Grand Bazaar or visit the spice market. Early this evening we will sail along the Bosphorus, heading for the Black Sea.

Day 3 - Bartin.

From the port of Bartin in ancient Paphlagonia, we have a choice of excursions today. The morning tour will include a drive along the coast to nearby Amasra (ancient Sesamus) which is located on a headland in between two bays. We will explore the attractive old town which was founded by the Milesians in the 6th century B.C. and later became an important possession of both Byzantium and Genoa. See the Genoese citadel and learn more about its Greek and Roman past. Alternatively join a full day tour to the UNESCO site of Safranbolu, a preserved Ottoman style town named for its prominence in saffron production. On a walking tour we will visit the market place, the streets where copper makers, iron makers and Turkish delight makers work, the Mosque and a Turkish Hammam all from the time of Suleiman the Magnificent. Our tour will end at a typical Safranbolu house which is now an ethnographical museum. Enjoy lunch in an Ottoman caravanserai before returning to the MS Island Sky and sailing this evening.

Day 4 - Sinop.

Founded by the Greeks in the 7th century B.C. Sinop flourished as a Black Sea port on the caravan route. On a walking tour we will discover this walled city including the 13th century Alaadin Mosque, constructed after the Seljuk conquest of the Sinop Province. The architecture is typical of the Seljuk period consisting of a rectangular plan featuring five domes. A fountain adorns the courtyard, which also contains ancient tombs. In the same period the town saw the construction of Sinop prison to honour the memory of Sultan Keykavus, who conquered Sinop in 1214. During our tour of the old jail which stands behind the ruins of the town’s inner castle, we will learn about the types of crimes committed by the inmates and the conditions they endured here. We will then enjoy some free time to explore. You may wish to visit the Archaeological Museum of Sinop with a collection of objects dating from the Hittite, Hellenistic, Phrygian, Roman and Byzantine periods or the Ethnography Museum. Return to the MS Island Sky for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruising.

Day 5 - Trabzon.

Trabzon is a gateway to Eastern Turkey and Iran which was founded in the 7th century BC. On our morning excursion we drive through the picturesque mountain scenery to Sumela to see the dramatic Byzantine monastery carved out of a sheer rock face in the Pontic Alps. After lunch onboard we discover the church of Aya Sofia (1200) and the old town of Trabzon, then travel to the outskirts to visit Ataturk’s lovely villa set high on a cliff above the city.

Day 6 - Batumi, Georgia.

Enjoy a day amongst the sights and sounds of charming Batumi. This morning enjoy a choice of excursions either to the ancient Gonio fortress dating back to the first century AD and the Ethnographic Museum that highlights the varied and fascinating history of the country. Alternatively spend time at the impressive botanical garden ‘Dendrarium’, see the golden statue of Medea before heading to the bustling farmers market. This afternoon enjoy a truly exhilarating private performance of Georgian song and dance by the Adjara State Assembly of Music and Dance.

Day 7 - Sochi, Russia.

We have a day to explore delightful Sochi, framed by the Caucasus Mountains and famous for its marvellous climate and health spas. On a morning tour we will visit Dagomy’s tea plantation, the most northerly in the world where we learn about the cultivation processes and challenges before having the chance to enjoy a local brew. Return to the ship for lunch and this afternoon we visit Stalin’s Dacha, built in 1937 as his summer residence it remains intact as it was in Stalin’s time.

Day 8 - At sea.

Enjoy a day at sea as we cruise to Odessa. Maybe join one of the onboard lectures or relax with a book in the library.

Day 9 - Odessa, Ukraine.

Founded by Catherine the Great in 1794 following the Russian victory over the Turks, Odessa today is a busy port and popular resort. On our tour we will see the famous Promenade Primorsky Boulevard and the Potemkin Steps. This afternoon is free to explore at leisure before we hope to enjoy a concert this evening at the acoustically perfect Opera House (schedules not confirmed until early 2017 when more details will be available). Return to the ship tonight and moor overnight.

Day 10 - Odessa.

We recall Odessa’s former splendour this morning by visiting two of the city’s many mansions. We will begin with the mansion built for Count Pototsky between 1824 and 1828 which now houses the Odessa Fine Arts Museum with a fine collection of Russian and Ukrainian Art. After a short drive you will reach the Gagarin Mansion, designed by Otton in the middle of the 19th century for the nobleman, Prince Gagarin. This now houses the Museum for Russian & Ukraine Literature. Tour the museum before enjoying a superb violin recital in the Golden Hall. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at sea.

Day 11 - Constanta, Romania.

At breakfast we arrive in Constanta, known as Tomis to the Greeks but named Constanta by the Romans. Choose this morning to stay in Constanta and enjoy a tour to include the excellent Archaeological Museum including a visit to the Treasury to see the gigantic 3rd century Roman Mosaic. Later, stretch your legs with a walk along the Black Sea waterfront promenade. Alternatively join a full day tour to Bucharest. We will explore the main sights of the city and see the boulevards with their decidedly French style. After lunch in a local restaurant we visit the Parliament Palace, the second largest administrative building in the world at 3.77 million square feet and renowned as former dictator Ceausescu’s most infamous creation.

Day 12 - Nessebur, Bulgaria.

After a morning at sea we will arrive in the ancient town of Nessebur, a delightful place to spend an afternoon. A guided tour of the town will include the 5th century Bishopric, the 12th century St Stephen’s church and some of the traditional-style houses with their overhanging first floors above winding cobbled lanes.

Day 13 - Istanbul, Turkey to London or Manchester.

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London or Manchester.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
6 to 18 June 2017
Category Price
Magellan Deck Standard Forward Suites Sold Out
Magellan Deck Standard Suites £6095
Columbus Deck Superior Suites £6395
Marco Polo Deck Premium Suites £6795
Marco Polo Deck Corner Suites Sold Out
Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suites £7895
Explorer Deck Owner's Balcony Suite Sold Out
Magellan Deck Standard for sole occupancy £9145
Columbus Deck Superior for sole occupancy £9595

Tour Reference Code: SCIS060617

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel from London or Manchester, 12 nights aboard the MS Island Sky on a full board basis, wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner onboard, shore excursions, transfers, port taxes, gratuities, Russian Group visa, Noble Caledonia onboard team including guest speaker.

Not Included: Travel Insurance, Turkish visa.

N.B. Ports and itinerary subject to change.

  • All Decks

  • Explorer Deck

  • Erikson Deck

  • Marco Polo Deck

  • Columbus Deck

  • Magellan Deck

Island Sky

The MS Island Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Caledonian Sky and MS Hebridean Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world.

 
  • MS Island Sky
  • Standard Suite (Magellan Deck)
    Standard Suite (Magellan Deck)
  • Superior Suite (Columbus Deck)
  • Premium Suite (Marco Polo Deck)
  • Corner Suite (Marco Polo Deck)
  • Premium Balcony Suite (Erikson Deck)
  • Owner's Balcony Suites (Explorer Deck)
  • Lido Deck
  • Lido Deck
  • Restaurant
  • The Lounge
  • Library
  • Restaurant
  • Your Suite

    On board there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass, which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht.

    The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring marble-topped vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower, a large wardrobe, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a mini-fridge, flat screen television with inbuilt DVD/CD player and a telephone in each suite. Bottled water, dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Other facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. The suites on each deck have their own colour theme. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be.

  • Your Space

    The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge on the Columbus Deck featuring a selection of seating options from individual armchairs and sofas to side cushioned benches. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in The Lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. For your convenience, it is also possible to follow the onboard lectures from the comfort of your suite.

    In addition to the main Lounge on the Columbus Deck, there is also The Club, located on the Marco Polo Deck which features the main bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The Club also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. Towards the aft of the ship on the Marco Polo Deck is The Library. Well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a selection of essential reads, you will not find yourself short of excellent literature on board. A selection of games and two computers complete with internet access can also be found in The Library. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability.

    The main dining room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Magellan Deck and outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Erikson Deck, complete with deck tables and chairs where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Further to this on the top Explorer Deck the observation area complete with sun loungers is ideal for sun bathing, relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. There is also a small hairdressers on board with appointments made on request. For your comfort, there is also a clinic with Doctor and a lift which serves all decks.

    As is the joy of small ship cruising, we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the progress of the vessel (subject to weather or security conditions).

  • Dining

    It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board our vessels when you are cruising in far-flung corners of the globe, indeed it takes a team of highly talented chefs to deliver fresh, varied dishes no matter where you are at sea. Fortunately, our catering teams are well adapted to the world of small ship cruising where no two days are the same and the menus are often scheduled and tailored around the days’ excursions.

    With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine on board all three vessels is of a consistent superior quality that befits such vessels. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and enable the chefs on board to exhibit their culinary skills and bring a local touch to the varied menus, emphasising the international expertise of the chefs on board. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapes take place every day in either the comfort of the Lounge or out on the Lido deck when the weather is favourable. Tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day. Special diets can be catered for with sufficient notice.

    In keeping with the informal atmosphere on board, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals and there is also a comprehensive wine list with a wide selection of new and old world wines from which to choose.

    The onboard catering and restaurant staff are experienced at sea and enthuse a passion for superb service. Whether it be ensuring you have an outdoor blanket as you enjoy the crisp sea breeze on the Lido Deck or sharing their knowledge of the characteristics of the days’ wine selections, you will experience a service on board like no other. You may also enjoy sumptuous barbeques on deck whilst at times, the chef will make your dish to order at special pasta or stir fry stations.

  • Life Onboard

    If large resort-style vessels accommodating many thousands of passengers are your ideal, then our ships are not for you as you will not find endless entertainment, round the clock buffets and the people management which is so much a part of today’s big ship on board style. However, if like us you prefer a more peaceful life at sea you will find our flagships the perfect vessels.

    When choosing your next voyage the choice of vessels is astounding. You can select a ship carrying in excess of 4000 passengers with impersonal service or join us aboard the MS Caledonian Sky, MS Island Sky or MS Hebridean Sky where peace, high quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day. We promise there will be no organised entertainment, fancy dress, deck games or any of the usual big ship experiences. Instead, the atmosphere is warm and convivial and more akin to a private yacht or country hotel in which you can learn more about the wonders of nature, culture and ancient civilisations in the company of like-minded people. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, Guest Speakers and informative port briefings from our Expedition Leader or Cruise Director and of course good food with wine included at lunch and dinner, all contribute to make any voyage aboard these wonderful vessels a memorable and joyful experience. After a day ashore you will return to the comfort and peace of an exceedingly comfortable ship.

    The daily programme on board is in the capable hands of our Cruise Director or Expedition Leader and staff who coordinate with the Captain and Officers to make the most of each day. Briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage together with a ‘Daily Programme’ that is distributed every evening to your suite outlining the next day’s activities. Dress on board is casual and relaxed and there will be no ‘black tie’ evenings.

  • For your comfort

    The MS Island Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. During your voyage we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more 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 a specific area on deck.

  • Inclusions

    Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Island Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included this in your holiday price. In addition we tip all our guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you. We also include excursions and drinks with meals onboard.

  • 360's

    Island Sky Balcony 

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    Island Sky Bathroom

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    Island Sky Bridge

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    Island Sky Cafe

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    Island Sky Club

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    Island Sky Magellan Deck Cabin 

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    Island Sky Restaurant

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    Island Sky Lounge

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    Island Sky Library

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  • Cabin Plans

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  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

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  • Deck plans
    • All Decks

    • Explorer Deck

    • Erikson Deck

    • Marco Polo Deck

    • Columbus Deck

    • Magellan Deck

Onboard Team

  • JGH Corrigan

    Major JGH Corrigan MBE

    Commissioned from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1962, Gordon Corrigan was an officer of the Royal Gurkha Rifles before retiring from the Army in 1998. He served mainly in the Far East but also in Berlin, Cyprus, Belize and Northern Ireland. He is now a military historian.

    He is the author of Sepoys in the Trenches, The Indian Corps on the Western Front 1914 – 1915 (1999); Wellington, A Military Life (2001); Mud, Blood and Poppycock: Britain and the First World War (2003); Loos 1915, The Unwanted Battle (2006); Blood, Sweat and Arrogance – And The Myths of Churchill’s War (2006); The Second World War – A Military History (2010) and Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle that Saved Europe (2014)..  

    His next book, on the Hundred Years War, is to be published by Atlantic Books shortly. His television appearances include The Gurkhas, Napoleon’s Waterloo and Battlefield Detectives, and so far he has presented five series on various aspects of military history. He has conducted military history study tours in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland, Spain, Portugal, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

     

    Major JGH Corrigan MBE will be on the following tour dates: 6 to 18 June 2017
  • Neil James Horrocks

    Neil has been at sea since 2001, a year after he graduated in Pure Maths from the University of Manchester. Working for Fred. Olsen, Celebrity, Saga and Voyages to Antiquity has seen him experience everywhere from the Arctic to Antarctica. He was on the inaugural and farewell cruises of the much-loved "Spirit of Adventure" and enjoyed many cruises with former Noble Caledonia Captain Frank Allica. That developed his passion for small-ship cruising and Neil has been delighted to be welcomed into the Noble Caledonia family. An accomplished pianist, Neil is very much an all-rounder, with a keen sense of humour and eye for detail. He is equally comfortable interviewing political heavyweights, driving zodiacs ashore or even writing evening quizzes. When not at sea, Neil lives on the south coast of England and tries to enjoy following the misfortunes of his local football team, Brighton & Hove Albion, and visiting steam railways up and down the country.

    Neil James Horrocks will be on the following tour dates: 6 to 18 June 2017

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