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13 nights
from £7295

Timeless Japan

Discover the cultural treasures of Japan & the ancient wonders of South Korea aboard the MS Caledonian sky

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  • History and Culture
  • Old Merchant Quarter, Kurashiki

Japan is a fascinating balance of unique heritage and culture contrasting with the sprawling metropolises of the world’s most advanced technological civilisation. Made up of 6,852 islands, the perfect way to explore the Land of the Rising Sun is by sea. During our voyage we will visit the historic and serene castle town of Matsue and the ancient feudal town of Hagi, experience the tranquility of scared Miyajima and discover one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en. Although we will also visit the awe-inspiring contemporary landscape of Tokyo, what makes our itinerary truly unique is our visits to parts of Japan where relatively few tourists set foot such as the remote and fascinating Oki Islands and our excursion inland to the picturesque five-storied Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple which dates back to 1442. In addition to our partial circumnavigation of Japan, our course takes us past the south eastern tip of Korea, where we will spend a day in Kyongju, the ‘Museum Without Walls’ and also visit the Haeinsa Temple, considered one of the three great temples in Korea. 

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.  


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.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Tokyo, Japan.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 - Tokyo.

Arrive this morning and transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay. Remainder of the day at leisure.

Day 3 - Tokyo to Niigata.

After breakfast in the hotel we will enjoy a city tour of Tokyo. Continue to the train station to join the bullet train to Niigata enjoying lunch along the way. On arrival in Niigata we will transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky. Enjoy Welcome Drinks and Dinner onboard. Sail this evening.

Day 4 - Kanazawa.

Kanazawa is a thriving centre of the arts, long known for its lacquer ware, outstanding collectible pottery of the Kutani style, gold-leaf workmanship and delicate hand-painting of silk for kimonos and Noh theatre dramas. The narrow and winding cobblestone streets have a quaint photogenic charm with old-fashioned streetlamps and wooden-lattice windows hiding elegant restaurants and craft galleries. Around each bend is a traditional house, museum, art gallery, craft shop, historic samurai residence and even a geisha house to explore. The fascinating open-air market displays a vast variety of items from flowers to fish and local handicrafts. Next to the Kanazawa Castle ruins is one of Japan’s premier highlights, the famed Kenroku-en Garden, ranked among the country’s top three gardens. Enjoy a morning garden visit and an afternoon city walking tour.

Day 5 - Urago, Oki Islands.

We have a real treat in store today as we will venture off the beaten track and call into the remote and fascinating Oki Islands. The archipelago is made up of four large inhabited islands and 180 smaller uninhabited islands. The natural beauty of the islands led to them being included in the Daisen- Oki National Park in 1963 and more recently, in 2013, they were classified as a UNESCO Global Geopark. From the port of Urago on Nishinoshima we will offer a choice of tours that will enable us to fully appreciate this tranquil and stunning part of Japan.

Day 6 - Matsue.

Called the ‘town of water,’ Matsue nestles between a scenic lake and a large lagoon. We will visit the cultural attractions of the town including the 17th century Matsue Castle before enjoying a boat ride on the local canals. This afternoon is free to relax or explore the town at leisure. Alternatively join a full day excursion visiting both Matsue Castle and the Adachi Museum of Art which is set in a beautiful natural environment and well known for both its superb Japanese gardens and its collection of contemporary Japanese paintings, comprising approximately 1500 of the country’s most highly regarded paintings produced after the Meiji period.

Day 7 - Hagi.

Hagi was a minor fishing port until Mori Terumoto fortified it in 1604 and it was Mori Samurai that helped spark off the anti-Tokugawa revolt in the mid-19th century. Today it is better known for its traditional pottery making traditions. On our morning tour we will explore the Teramachi District with its temples and shrines, the Jokamachi District, where we find the old samurai houses and also take time to explore Hagi Castle, Shizuki Park and Tokoji Temple. Return to the vessel for lunch and this afternoon is free to relax or perhaps travel to the outskirts of the city and the Yoshika Taibi Memorial Museum which is dedicated to a large collection of Hagiyaki pottery which was highly prized in the Edo Period as wares for tea ceremonies.

Day 8 - Ulsan for Kyongju, South Korea.

Today we embark on a full-day excursion to magnificent Kyongju, a World Heritage Site, which is often described as the world’s finest openair museum embracing ancient Korean history and Buddhist culture. As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, Kyongju’s cultural heritage dates back to the first millennium. Today, as we stroll through some of the hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas, there will be time to explore the National Museum with its exceptional collection of finely worked gold jewellery, metal weapons and distinctive pottery. At lunch time, we will sample Korean delicacies and enjoy a cultural performance of traditional dance.

Day 9 - Masan for Haeinsa, South Korea.

From our berth in Masan we head inland to the Haeinsa Temple. Regarded as one of the three great temples in Korea, it was first settled in 802 AD and its name derives from a verse in a Buddhist Sutra as “reflections on a smooth sea”. In the 13th century when Korea was at war with the Mongols, the government commissioned the Triptaka Koreana, a complete copy of Buddhist scriptures, in the hope of Buddha’s intervention in the war. They were carved onto 81,258 double sided wooden blocks and stored on floor to ceiling shelves in the Janggyeong Panjeon building. We also visit the Daejokkwangjeon, the main worship hall of the temple. After lunch in a nearby restaurant we will return to Masan this afternoon, here you may want to visit the vibrant fish market selling the daily catch as well as dried and salted fish and seaweed and try a sample at one of the raw fish restaurants.

Day 10 - Ube, Japan.

After a morning at sea we continue our exploration of Japan and visit some sites of historic, southern Yamaguchi prefecture. From our base at the port of Ube we travel inland to visit the picturesque five-storied Pagoda of Rurikoji Temple and the surrounding park. Dating back to 1442 the pagoda was built in memory of Yoshihiro Mori Terumoto who ruled the area during this period. We also hope to visit the Fujigochi Tea Plantation and enjoy a tour of the tea factory and plantation where the local Ono Tea is produced from 70 hectares of gentle rolling countryside.

Day 11 - Miyajima & Hiroshima.

Considered one of Japan’s top scenic wonders, Miyajima provides a picture postcard vista of the scarlet Torii gate, the giant camphor wood gates at the entrance to the Shinto Shrine. We will use the vessel’s Zodiacs to go ashore and explore the Itsukushima Jinja Shrine, founded in the 6th century and dedicated to three sea goddesses. The shrine is a designated World Heritage Site. Over lunch we sail to Hiroshima for our visit to the compelling Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials, including the cenotaph which contains the names of all the known victims of the A-bomb and the permanently lit “Flame of Peace”. Just outside the park, the A-Bomb Dome is a haunting reminder of the destructive forces that were unleashed on the city being one of the few original buildings to survive. In the museum we will see photos, videos and victim’s personal effects relating to the bomb.

Day 12 - Uno-Ko for Koraku-en & Kurashiki.

From the port of Uno-Ko we will visit one of Japan’s most famed gardens, Koraku-en, which translates as “Garden of pleasure after”. This 17th century formal garden has 28 acres of walking trails, ponds, plum and cherry trees, and a classic teahouse where we will experience a traditional tea ceremony. After a Japanese lunch in a local restaurant we will continue to Kurashiki where we explore the old merchant quarter and its fine 17th century wooden warehouses painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. There is also a chance to visit the Ohara Museum of Art which includes rare works by Matisse, Picasso and Renoir as well as collections from Japan’s mingei movement including ceramics by Hamada Shoji.

Day 13 - Himeji.

Today we arrive at Himeji where we will visit the recently renovated Himeji Castle. Built in the 16th century, Himeji Castle is a World Heritage Site and a national treasure being one of the few original feudal era fortresses remaining. The castle’s name means “white egret,” and the gleaming white walls that soar high above the plains below justify its name. A guided tour will take us through the castle, past the main keeps walls featuring “ishiotoshi”, narrow openings that allowed defending soldiers to fire arrows or pour boiling oil onto anyone trying to scale the walls. From the top of the keep there are wonderful views to the inland sea. Continue to the Himeji Koko-en, a reconstruction of the former samurai quarters containing nine Edo period style homes and gardens including koi ponds and intricately pruned trees. Return to the ship for lunch and this afternoon is free to explore further independently.

Day 14 - Kobe to London.

Disembark this morning in Kobe and transfer to Osaka airport for the return scheduled indirect flight to London. Arrive this evening.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
29 May 2019 to 11 June 2019
Category Price
Castle Deck Standard Suite £7295
Caledonian Deck Superior Suite £7795
Promenade Deck Premium Suite £8295
Bridge Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite £8995
Promenade Deck Premium Balcony Suite £9495
Promenade Deck Owner's Corner Suite £10495
Castle Deck Standard for sole use £9495
Caledonian Deck Superior for sole use £9995

Tour Reference Code: SCCSK290519

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, overnight hotel accommodation in Tokyo on breakfast only basis, 11 nights aboard the MS Caledonian Sky on a full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, Noble Caledonia onboard team, shore excursions, gratuities, transfers, port taxes, airport taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visas.

NB: The ship will be at anchor at Miyajima and the Oki Islands and Zodiacs or tenders will be used to transport passengers ashore. 

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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
  • Panorama Lounge
    Panorama Lounge
  • Gym
  • 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 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. Daily briefings given by the onboard team and talks from Guest Speakers take place in the main lounge which is fitted with multiple screens. For your convenience it is also possible to follow the onboard lectures from the comfort of your suite. Also featured in the Lounge is a a 24-hour tea and coffee station along with an elegant bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day.

    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 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.

  • Your Dining

    It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board the MS Caledonian Sky whilst 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 that befits such a vessel. 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 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 Caledonian Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. As is the joy of small ship cruising, 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 (subject to weather or security conditions). There is a navigation channel on the television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel. 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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  • Cabin Plans

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  • Deck plans
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Tour Extensions

    • 11th to 13th June 2019

      If you would like to spend some time in Kyoto after your cruise we are offering a two night extension.

      Day 1 Kobe to Kyoto. Disembark this morning in Kobe and join a tour of Kyoto and Nara, before transferring to your hotel for a two night stay.

      Day 2 Kyoto. Day at leisure to explore.

      Day 3 Kyoto to London. Check-out this morning and transfer to Osaka airport for the return scheduled indirect flight to London. Arrive this evening.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £765
      Single £995

      Price Includes: Two nights hotel accommodation in Kyoto on bed and breakfast basis,
      full day tour, transfers.

      Not Included: Travel insurance.

    • 27th to 30th May 2019

      If you would like to spend some more time in Tokyo we have arranged a two night extension.

      Sensoji Temple in Tokyo’s Asakusa district Sensoji Temple in Tokyo’s Asakusa district

      Day 1 London to Tokyo, Japan. Fly by scheduled flight.

      Day 2 Tokyo. Arrive this morning and transfer your hotel for your stay. Remainder of the day at leisure to explore the vibrant metropolis independently.

      Day 3 Tokyo. Full day tour of Tokyo, including Hamarikyu garden, Edo Tokyo Museum and Tokyo Tower.

      Day 4 Tokyo. Day at leisure (main group arrive).

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £695
      Single £985

      Price Includes: Two nights hotel accommodation in Tokyo on bed and breakfast basis,
      full day tour, transfer from airport to hotel.

      Not Included: Travel insurance.

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