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17 nights
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Circumnavigation of Sumatra

An in-depth exploration of Sumatra aboard the MS Caledonian Sky

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  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Expedition Cruising

"Our voyage will be one of contrasts, from lush rainforests to diverse cultures, spectacular wildlife and an intriguing history, all of which will be made all the more captivating by our on board expedition team who are experts in the natural world."

  • Malacca

Join us aboard the MS Caledonian Sky as we circumnavigate Sumatra, the world’s sixth largest island. Separated from mainland Asia by the Strait of Malacca and from Java by the Strait of Sunda, Sumatra lies at the heart of geological and cultural crossroads. Spectacular volcanoes and mysterious calderas are many along the Barisan Mountains, the long spinal range of the island following Sumatra’s west coast. Perpetual warmth and the presence of high peaks have made the natural environment of this large landmass one of the most diverse in the world: the many national parks of the island are an attempt to protect this increasingly endangered treasure.

With the Indian Ocean to the west and the south-east Asian archipelagos to the east, Sumatra’s history is rich and the island is home to many fascinating peoples. Our voyage will explore their cities, towns and villages, from Aceh at the northwestern tip of Indonesia, to the Bataks and Minangkabau of the central highlands, and the Nias of offshore archipelagos. Sumatra was revealed to the western world by Marco Polo and is often referred to as the Isle of Gold: sailing around its diverse shores, exploring its coastal communities and occasionally venturing inland, we will be able understand why. The privilege of exploring this remarkable land from a small ship and in the company of knowledgeable expedition team members and local guides is an opportunity not to be missed.

Useful Links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  

  • Voyage Highlights

    Orangutan

    • Full circumnavigation of the sixth largest island on Earth.

    • Great natural world experiences including opportunities to see Orangutans in Bukit Lawang, searching for the world’s largest flower near Bukkitingi and snorkelling amongst fish and corals in Pulau Weh, Mentawai and Belitung Islands.

    • Opportunity to enjoy walks on the slopes of Krakatoa Volcano.

    • Visit remote tribal cultures in Siberut and Nias.

    • Explore remote islands including Simeulue which is well off the traditional tourist route.

    More information

Caledonian Sky

Caledonian Sky

The MS Caledonian Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island 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 to Singapore.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 - Singapore.

Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the Shangri La Hotel (or similar) for an overnight stay. The remainder of the evening is free.

Day 3 - Singapore.

Enjoy a leisurely morning to either explore independently or relax at the hotel. In the early afternoon there will be a guided tour of Singapore which will include the National Orchid Garden and Chinatown before we transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky. Enjoy a Welcome drink and later sail the Malacca Strait which was named after the Malacca Sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1414 and 1511. It is from here that early traders from Arabia, Africa and Persia would trade glassware, camphor, ivory, sandalwood, and perfumes and today the Strait is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.

Day 4 - Malacca, Malaysia.

Before setting off for Sumatra we spend the morning in the historic port of Malacca. With more than its fair share of colonisers from Malaysian princes to the Portuguese, Dutch, British and Japanese, this strategically placed city has a fascinating history brought vividly to life in the excellent Ethnographical Museum. On a guided walk other visits will include the 16th century Portuguese fortress, the former Dutch Governor’s house and the impressive Christ Church. We return to our vessel by rickshaw for lunch and continue up the Strait of Malacca.

Day 5 - Lake Toba, Sumatra.

From the port of Belawan our first discovery in Sumatra is to the iconic Lake Toba. At over 1145 square kilometres it is the largest lake in South East Asia found amidst the volcanic peaks of the island. After an early breakfast we will start our journey inland to Parapat, the gateway town located in the beautiful and fertile volcanic basin at the northern end of Bukit Barisan mountains’ range. The scenery is stunning and after lunch in a local restaurant we will board our boat to cruise across the lake to the central island of Samosir, passing lovely coves with white sandy beaches to where colourful Toba Batak villages cling to the shore. We visit the traditional beautiful houses and ancient tombs of Laga Siallagan, the first raja of Ambarita. In front of the traditional houses we find the Banyan tree with the stone chair of King Siallagan, the location where all important judicial and village matters where traditionally administered. Continue to the local market before returning to the MS Caledonian Sky in the early evening and moor overnight.

Day 6 - Gunung Leuser National Park or Medan.

There will be a choice of excursions today, either choose from a long but rewarding day as we leave the vessel at sunrise and drive inland to the eastern side of the Gunung Leuser National Park and visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Bukit Lawang. This is now one of the world’s most important conservation projects as orphaned orangutans are brought here to learn how to live in the wild again. We can watch them at play and feeding and learn how the six month rehabilitation programme works. We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before returning to the ship in the late afternoon. Alternatively explore the highlights of Medan, the nearby capital of North Sumatra. Here we visit the 19th century Maimoon Palace, a 30 room palace featuring Malay, Mogul and Italian influences before continuing to the Mesjid Raya (Grand Mosque). We will explore the collections at the Museum of Northern Sumatra including stone carvings from Nias Island, artefacts from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic periods as well as exhibits on colonial and military history. Our guided tour will end at the Chinese pagoda before returning to the ship.

Day 7 - At sea.

After a busy couple of days we have a day to relax as we cruise the coast to the northern tip of Sumatra. Maybe take in a lecture by the onboard experts or find a spot to relax on deck.

Day 8 - Pulau Weh & Banda Aceh.

We will berth this morning in Sabang, the main port of Pulau Weh and you can choose to either join a glass bottomed boat trip to nearby Rupiah Island where we will spend the morning swimming or snorkelling amongst the tropical fish and coral. Alternatively an island drive will include views of the historic Dutch buildings and the geothermal volcanic valley. We will sail over lunch to Banda Aceh where we will visit the Tsunami Museum, memorial and educational centre and the Blang Padang Park. We will also visit the State Museum that exhibits many cultural artefacts including the ‘Lonceng Cakra Donya’ bell, a gift from the Chinese Emperor, which dates from the 15th century.

Day 9 - Simeulue Islands.

After a morning at sea we arrive in the archipelago of the Simeulue Islands at lunchtime. Located 100 miles from the Sumatran coast and with white sand beaches, vast coral reefs and a pristine blue sea dotted with a multitude of seamounts, atolls and small islets, the Simeulue Islands are well off the traditional tourist route. We will use our Zodiacs to land on one of the local beaches for swimming, snorkelling and nature walks.

Day 10 - Nias Island.

We continue south and land on the island of Nias some 70 miles from the west coast of Sumatra. Its very isolation has protected its cultural heritage and we will see some wonderful examples of tribal art and unique architecture. After an island drive we will witness a stone jumping demonstration in a traditional village. Here, talented local villagers leap over six foot tall stone megaliths in a rite of passage. The higher they jump, the better chance they have of acquiring a wife. However, the tradition originated to train them for warfare and defence. This colourful culture developed separately to mainland Sumatra and the island has a history of head hunting, warfare, slaves and gold. After lunch on board your expedition team will arrange a Zodiac cruise before continuing our journey south in the late afternoon, crossing the equator this evening.

Day 11 - Padang for Bukittinggi.

We return to the Sumatran mainland today at the port of Padang, our base for a choice of full day excursions. This part of Western Sumatra, in the Bukkitinggi Highlands, is home to the Minangkabau culture which, despite their Islamic faith has the largest matrilineal society where the woman is the head of the house and controls family affairs. We will head inland passing the magnificent Anai Valley and visit the Pagaruyung Palace, one of the most important socio-historical projects in Tanah Datar. The palace building is a duplicate of the original that was burned by Dutch Colonials in 1804 and was rebuilt to preserve the historical culture of Minangkabau. Here we will witness the cultural performances of Minangkabau and try some local delicacies. The region is also home to the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia Arnoldii which can grow to nearly one metre across and weigh up to 11 kilogrammes. These typically bloom between August and November so on an alternative full day excursion you can visit the Batang Paluph Nature Reserve where we will enjoy a series of walks in search of the flower.

Day 12 - Siberut Island.

This morning we will anchor off the Mentawai archipelago. Like Nias, these islands have a unique culture, flora and fauna due to their isolation from the rest of the country. On arrival local boats will take us upriver through the tropical forest to a small village where we will be invited to the meeting house to enjoy a cultural performance before spending time walking though the village. The island is rich in wildlife and as we return along the river we will keep an eye out for some of the 140 bird species and monkeys which frequent the forest. Over lunch we sail to the islands off the coast and will find a suitable landing site to enjoy a beach walk or swim off the beach.

Day 13 - Bengkulu.

After a morning at sea we reach the southern half of the island and the city of Bengkulu. The British East India Company established a garrison here in 1685 but with little success until Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in 1818 and established a market in pepper, coffee and nutmeg. The British remained until 1824 when the city was traded with the Dutch for Malacca. On a city drive we will view Fort Marlborough built by the British between 1714 and 1719, the British cemetery and explore the bustling local market.

Day 14 - Ujung Kulon National Park.

Just a few miles separate Sumatra from the island of Java. In the early afternoon we will land at the far western tip of Java for an afternoon of exploration in the Ujung Kulon National Park which is a World Heritage Site. It is a stunningly beautiful area and contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforest on the Java Plain. It is a wonderful area for bird watching and wildlife spotting. Alternatively join us for a swim or snorkel from the beach.

Day 15 - Pulau, Krakatoa.

This morning we sail into the Suna strait and the island of Krakatoa. The volcano famously exploded in 1883, killing 36 417 people. The explosion is considered to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard nearly 3000 miles (4800 kilometres) from its point of origin. We will use our Zodiacs to land on the island where you can choose to join a nature walk at the base, climb up the lower slopes of the volcano or swim in the surrounding waters. Sail over lunch and maybe enjoy a lecture this afternoon as we continue cruising.

Day 16 - Belitung Islands.

This afternoon we arrive in the idyllic Belitung Islands, a group of islands off the coast of Sumatra famed for their long clean beaches and crystal clear sea water. We have the afternoon to enjoy the fine white sandy beaches and the coral reefs. Snorkelling platforms will allow us to swim with a multitude of colourful fish. Meanwhile nature walks will take place to explore the island for birdlife or you may prefer to simply stay on the beach or walk to the nearby lighthouse.

Day 17 - At sea.

Enjoy a relaxing day as we cruise towards Singapore. Maybe join a lecture, relax with a book or find a spot on deck.

Day 18 - Singapore to London.

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for the scheduled flight to London. Arrive this evening.

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £500 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
30 October 2018 to 16 November 2018
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
Castle Deck Standard Forward Suite £8495 £7995
Castle Deck Standard Suite £8795 £8295
Caledonian Deck Superior Suite £9095 £8595
Promenade Deck Premium Suite £9595 £9095
Bridge Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite £10095 £9595
Promenade Deck Premium Balcony Suite £10295 £9795
Promenade Deck Owner's Corner Suite £10995 £10495
Castle Deck Standard for sole use £10495 £9995
Caledonian Deck Superior for sole use £10995 £10495

Tour Reference Code: SCCSK30108

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, overnight hotel accommodation on bed and breakfast basis in Singapore, 15 nights aboard the MS Caledonian Sky on a full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, expedition team, shore excursions, gratuities, group transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visas.

  • All Decks

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  • Panorama Deck

  • Bridge Deck

  • Promenade Deck

  • Caledonian Deck

  • Castle Deck

  • Key

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Caledonian Sky

The MS Caledonian Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island 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 Caledonian Sky
  • MS Caledonian Sky
    MS Caledonian Sky
  • Castle Deck - Standard Suite
  • Caledonian Deck - Superior Suite
  • Promenade Deck - Premium Suite
  • Bridge Deck - Deluxe Balcony Suite
  • Promenade Deck - Premium Balcony Suites
  • Promenade Deck - Owner's Corner Balcony Suite
  • Bar
  • Dining Room
    Dining Room
  • Bar Lounge
  • Gym
  • Panorama Lounge
    Panorama Lounge
  • Sun Deck
  • Canapes
  • Drinks on deck
  • Zodiacs
  • Your Suite

    On board there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites, 23 of which have private balconies located on the Promenade or Bridge Decks. Each cabin exudes great character and grandeur with wood panelling and brass features found throughout.

    The large suites are arranged over four decks and all have outside facing views. All suites feature a sitting room area complete with coffee table, armchairs and flat screen televisions (DVD players and DVDs can be borrowed from reception for use in your suite). The beds in each cabin offer exceptionally comfortable mattresses and pillows and can be configured as large double beds or twins.

    Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, a heated towel rail, shaver outlet and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or corner bath tub. Dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Further facilities in the suites include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, cabin to cabin telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, bottled water replenished daily, as well as extra blankets and pillows. Ship announcements made from the Bridge and Reception area are also broadcasted in your suite. A laundry service is also available on board.

  • Your Space

    The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Caledonian Sky include a large lounge featuring comfortable seating and classic winged armchairs to enhance the modern country-style furnishings throughout. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in the main 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 cabin or in the Panorama Lounge where the presentations will be streamed daily. Also featured in the Lounge is an elegant bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also offers a 24-hour tea and coffee station.

    In addition to the main Lounge on the Caledonian Deck, there is the Lounge on the Panorama Deck which has a bar, library and internet area and further spacious seating arrangements, ideal for watching the world go by as you cruise to your next destination. The travel library is the perfect place to relax with a good book. 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 complimentary internet access can also be found in the library along with newspapers and magazines which are placed there depending on local availability.

    The main dining room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Castle Deck. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck which is complete with deck tables and chairs where meals are served in warm weather under shade and often occasions such as sail away parties and barbeques are held here.

    Further to this on the Panorama Deck towards the front of the vessel there is an additional Observation Deck, complete with bar and comfortable cushioned deck furniture for sun bathing, relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. On the Promenade Deck there is also a small gymnasium featuring a treadmill, bicycle and cross trainer, and a hairdressers with appointments made on request. For your wellbeing, there is also a clinic with Doctor on board 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).

  • Your 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 Caledonian 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 Caledonian 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.

  • 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

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    • Panorama Deck

    • Bridge Deck

    • Promenade Deck

    • Caledonian Deck

    • Castle Deck

    • Key

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Voyage Highlights

• Full circumnavigation of the sixth largest island on Earth.

• Great natural world experiences including opportunities to see Orangutans in Bukit Lawang, searching for the world’s largest flower near Bukkitingi and snorkelling amongst fish and corals in Pulau Weh, Mentawai and Belitung Islands.

• Opportunity to enjoy walks on the slopes of Krakatoa Volcano.

• Visit remote tribal cultures in Siberut and Nias.

• Explore remote islands including Simeulue which is well off the traditional tourist route.

Tour Extensions

    • 16th to 18th November 2018 

      If you would like to spend some additional time in Singapore after disembarking the MS Caledonian Sky we are offering a two night extension staying at the Shangri La Hotel (or similar) on a bed and breakfast basis. Enjoy time at leisure and further explore the Lion City independently. Perhaps visit the National Museum, the Gardens by the Bay with its Cloud Forest and Flower Dome conservatories and steel supertrees or take a nature walk at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, an area of primary rainforest on the slope of Singapore’s highest peak.

      Singapore Supertrees Singapore Supertrees
    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £395
      Single £595

      Price Includes: Two nights hotel accommodation on bed and breakfast basis,
      group transfers.

      Not Included: Travel insurance, visas

    • 27th October to 1st November 2018

      If you would like to explore the wonders of the ancient Khmer City of Angkor Wat we will be offering a five night extension prior to embarking the MS Caledonian Sky in Singapore. Please register your interest at the time of booking and we will advise further details as soon as available.

      Angkor Wat Temple Angkor Wat Temple

Also of Interest

Temples & Gardens of Ancient Japan and South Korea

A voyage from Niigata to Osaka including South Korea aboard the MS Caledonian Sky

Caledonian Sky
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Niigata
  • Sado Island
  • Kanazawa
  • Matsue
  • Hagi
  • Kyongju, South Korea
  • Haeinsa
  • Jeju Island
  • Nagasaki, Japan / Dejima
  • Yakushima
  • Uwajima
  • Hiroshima / Miyajima
  • Koraku-en / Kurashiki
  • Osaka
Temples & Gardens of Ancient Japan and South Korea
15 nights from £8295
Next Departure 23 April 2017 View all dates
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