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10 nights
from £4895

Atlantic Archipelagos

An exploration of the lesser known islands of Madeira and the Canaries aboard the MS Island Sky

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  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Funchal Botanical Gardens

Whilst back home autumn may be setting in, Madeira and the Canary Islands still have many months of sunshine ahead allowing us the chance to fully appreciate the diverse and intriguing topography, lunar like landscapes, verdant pine forests and stunning national parks.

Our voyage will begin in the city of Lisbon and then onto the “floating garden in the Atlantic” of Madeira before we make our way to the Canary Islands. Located some 700 miles off Saharan Africa, far from being a sun and fun package destination, there is much to see in this delightful Atlantic Archipelago. In fact, you do not have to stray far from the resorts to discover some marvellously varied landscapes and an absorbing, multifaceted culture. Exploring the hinterlands, back roads and villages brings you in touch with a unique side of Spanish culture, much removed from the mainland. The melting pot of Andalucian, Berber, Portuguese, Italian, French and British migration, together with los Guanches, the original inhabitants who were displaced by the Spanish conquest in the 15th century, have all left their mark, making this a unique destination.

The archipelago consists of seven main islands that are formed from the tips of a vast volcanic mountain range that lies beneath the Atlantic Ocean and we will start by visiting three of the lesser known islands: La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera where we can enjoy nature at its very best. These volcanic islands impress with their unique flora and fauna and boast rugged rocky landscapes, evergreen cloud forests, metre high ferns and bizarre-looking dragon trees. Our final call will be to Santa Cruz de Tenerife where there will be the opportunity to explore the beautiful gardens of the city and spectacular Mount Teide.

Madeira and the Canary Islands have something to offer everyone and so our itinerary has been designed to try and offer a choice of excursion at each port of call. Whether your interests lie in gardens, geology or walking, we are confident that you will find this cruise the perfect antidote to the cold and grey October skies at home.

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.  


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 to Lisbon, Portugal.

Fly by scheduled flight and upon arrival in Lisbon transfer to the MS Island Sky. Moor overnight.

Day 2 - Lisbon.

This morning explore Portugal’s capital seeing the Gulbenkian Museum, Republic Avenue, Rossio and Commercial Square. We will drive along the Tagus River to the Monument to the Discoveries, erected in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henrique the Navigator and the Belem Tower, an elegant Manueline structure, built in the middle of the Tagus River. It was from this superb tower that Portuguese explorers were given a rousing send-off. Return to the vessel for lunch and set sail for Madeira.

Day 3 - At Sea.

A day of relaxation. Maybe join one of the onboard lectures or enjoy a book on deck.

Day 4 - Porto Santo, Madeira.

Today we arrive in Porto Santo. Although one of the islands constituting the archipelago of Madeira, Porto Santo and Madeira could not be more different. Whilst lush green predominates Madeira, Porto Santo is arid and the southern coast is bordered by a 9 kilometre long beach of golden sand. Our morning tour will introduce us to the island and will include some beautiful vistas, a tasting of Porto Santo wine and a visit to the Christopher Columbus museum, where he once lived. After lunch on board perhaps enjoy some time on the beach, explore the local town or join a hike to the summit of Pico do Castelo offering spectacular views of the island.

Day 5 - Funchal.

This morning we arrive into Funchal and commence our day with a visit to Monte, a charming village high in the hills overlooking Funchal. We will reach Monte by cable car experiencing wonderful views along the way and visit the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens. This garden collection has been enriched with plants from all over the world and about 100,000 plant species have been planted. The garden also features a collection of cycads (encephalartos) which, because of their age, are considered living fossils. Before returning to the ship for lunch we will make our way to the Botanical Gardens. Situated in the grounds of a former private house, the gardens are host to a profusion of plants and flowers, from all parts of the world, which thrive in the island’s temperate climate. This afternoon will be at leisure to explore Funchal independently or perhaps join a guided Levada walk. Levada are irrigation channels that were created by the Portuguese settlers in the 19th century, who painstakingly carved them out of the rock by hand. Designed to carry fresh water from the north to the drier southern regions of the island, they helped to create many of the lush landscapes that can be seen today. The walk will follow the course of ‘levadas’ for over three miles, seeing the verdant plants, mountain views and green farmland that cover Madeira. This evening we will dine ashore at the traditional Adega da Quinta Restaurant and enjoy a performance by a local folklore group.

Day 6 - Selvagem Islands.

After a morning at sea we will arrive at the Selvagem Islands, a small uninhabited archipelago and, since 1971, one of Portugal’s first designated nature reserves. The scientific and natural interest of this tiny group of islands lies in its marine biodiversity, its unique flora and many birds that breed annually on its rock cliffs or use them on their stopover on normal migratory patterns. It is considered one of the best spots in the Atlantic for bird watching and we hope to see Cory’s shearwater and Berthelot’s pipit.
Please note that we will use the ship’s Zodiacs to transfer ashore and will spend a few hours exploring these wild and rarely visited islands.

Day 7 - Tazacorte, La Palma, Canary Islands.

La Palma is known by locals as the ‘Beautiful Island’, and it is easy to see why, it is a simply stunning, peaceful and most importantly unspoilt destination that has deservedly been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve. This morning drive inland to the beautiful village of El Paso and visit the Silk Museum. This is the only place in Europe where the 500-year-old tradition and processes have been preserved. From here we will continue onto the Caldera de Taburiente, a massive depression 8 kilometre wide, scientists agree that this was a majestically tall volcanic mountain that collapsed on itself. Explore on foot and whilst all may seem stoic and still, the forces of erosion are hard at work and some geologists estimate that it will finally disappear in just 5,000 years. Alternatively, for those who would prefer a more energetic excursion there will be a guided trek on offer through the El Pilar area; see remains of volcanic eruptions, the magnificent views of the Valley of Aridane and the crater wall that surrounds the Taburiente National Park. This afternoon will be at leisure to relax on board the ship or a shuttle service will run to Los Llanos de Aridane for independent exploration, the La Palma Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit.

Day 8 - Puerto de la Estaca, El Hierro.

Probably the least known of the Canary Islands, and once considered to be the end of the world, El Hierro is unique and utterly captivating. On our morning island tour it will be impossible not to be entranced by the island’s slow pace and simple style; by its craggy coast, where waves hurl themselves against lavasculpted rock faces; by the pretty farmland and flower meadows of the interior; by the eerily beautiful juniper groves; and by the desolate volcanic badlands that stretch out like moonscapes in the south. We will also have the opportunity to sample some of El Hierro’s excellent wine and visit the lizard house where the island’s unique giant lizards are bred; near extinction they are protected by international law. Alternatively, opt for the La Llania hiking excursion which will take us through primeval forests, along ancient cisterns and mythical witches dance floors to El Hierro’s top viewing point affording spectacular views of the western parts of the island. This afternoon will be at leisure to relax on the ship or a shuttle service will run to Valverde for independent exploration.

Day 9 - Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera.

La Gomera is a paradise of natural beauty with lush valley and aweinspiring cliffs dotted with charming white washed villages and gives the impression of being lost in a time warp. On a full day tour we will explore the island including Garajonay National Park, home to the world’s only surviving laurel forest and visit the villages of Hermiqua, Agulo and Las Rosas before making our way to a local restaurant for lunch. Before returning to the ship experience a demonstration of Silbo Gomero, the island’s unique whistling language, and visit the magnificent rock formations of Agando. Alternatively, you may wish to join a guided morning trek through the Garajonay National Park commencing in the village of El Cedro which offers some interesting examples of Canarias architecture. Return to the ship for lunch and the afternoon will be at leisure for individual exploration.

Day 10 - Santa Cruz, Tenerife.

This morning will be dedicated to gardens. We will start with a visit to the Jardin Botanico that was founded in 1788 by Charles III of Spain. The purpose of the gardens was to create an area where the plants, shrubs and flowers brought back from the New World could acclimatise to Spanish soil. Many of the plants are the original specimens brought back for the opening of the gardens including the centre piece, an enormous South American fig tree. In contrast to the Botanical Gardens we will then explore the tropical oasis Risco Bello Aquatic Gardens, with its attractive waterfalls and colourful terraces of local flowers, and finally the Sitio Litre Garden which boasts a luscious orchid collection. After lunch on board we will drive inland, along the base of the mountain range through beautiful pine forests to the Parque Nacional del Teide. The area was declared a National Park in 1954 and includes 14 species of plant found nowhere else in the world. Geologically the park is fascinating; of the many different types of volcanic formations examples of more than 80% can be found here. Alternatively there will be a full day tour to Mount Teide on offer for those who wish to enjoy a hike, accompanied by a local guide, through this spectacular landscape.

Day 11 - Tenerife to London.

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for our return flight to London.

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER - SAVE up to £400 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
5 to 15 October 2018
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
Magellan Deck Standard Suites £5095 £4895
Columbus Deck Superior Suites £5395 £4995
Marco Polo Deck Premium Suites £5595 £5195
Marco Polo Deck Corner Suites £5695 £5295
Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suites £6295 £5895
Explorer Deck Owner's Balcony Suite £6495 £6095
Explorer Deck Island Suite £7495 £7095
Magellan Deck Standard for sole occupancy £6625 £6225
Columbus Deck Superior for sole occupancy £7035 £6635

Tour Reference Code: SCISK051018

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 10 nights aboard the MS Island Sky on a full board basis, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, shore
excursions, Noble Caledonia onboard team, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.
Not Included: Travel insurance.

  • Deckplan up to February 2018

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  • Deckplan from March 2018

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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
  • Library
  • The Lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Your Suite

    On board there are 59 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies, whilst those on the Marco Polo Deck feature tinted, sliding glass doors allowing greatly enhanced viewing opportunities from your suite and quick access to the deck when a pod of whales or dolphins is spotted. 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 walkin 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. The comfortable beds in each suite can be configured as either double or twin.

    The impressive Island Suite located on the Explorer Deck features an extra large balcony stretching the length of the suite. Additional features of this marvellous suite include complimentary internet usage, complimentary minibar stocked with your preference of beverages and complimentary laundry.

  • 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 and talks given by the Noble Caledonia onboard team 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 complimentary internet access can also be found in the Library. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Throughout the vessel you will find a fine selection of artwork and photography, many of which have been drawn or taken by members of our expedition team.

    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. Whilst heaters and blankets make dining al fresco comfortable in cooler climates. 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 spotting wildlife. The walk around promenade on the Marco Polo Deck provides a unique circular view of the passing seascapes. There is also a small hairdressers on board offering a small selection of beauty treatments. For your comfort, there is also a clinic with doctor onboard 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 MS Island Sky 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 is of a consistent superior quality. 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 onboard, 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.

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     Click on image above to view a sample menu.

  • 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

    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. You will also find on your suite television a navigation channel showing the routing of the vessel as well as the view from the Bridge. 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.

  • 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
    • Deckplan up to February 2018

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    • Deckplan from March 2018

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Onboard Team

  • Prof Brian Williams

    Prof Brian Williams

    Brian is the Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and currently holds adjunct professorial positions in the Universities of Manchester and Bristol in the UK, and Dublin in Ireland. He has also held university teaching positions in The Netherlands, Canada and the USA. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and a member of the Energy Institute, and has published over 100 papers and several books. He has made TV appearances in the UK, USA and Far East and presented Radio 4 programmes for the BBC.

    Brian gained his Ph.D. in sedimentary geology from the University of Wales far too many years ago to admit to, and in 2004 was awarded a D.Sc. degree in recognition of his global contribution to sedimentary research. He is a consultant to, and undertakes training courses for, the Oil Industry and several small geological service companies. He has lectures on Voyages to Antiquity cruises since 2011. His Studies have taken him to Australia, SE Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America which has given him the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for rocks and earth processes with adult education classes, industry personnel and students alike.

    In addition to being passionate about Geology, Brian is an ardent Rugby enthusiast (he’s Welsh of course!!) and a devoted follower of American Jazz.  

    Prof Brian Williams will be on the following tour dates: 5 to 15 October 2018

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