Note: Current p/p indicative rate. Final price may change due to currency fluctuations.
Oporto to Portsmouth
Join the MS Caledonian Sky in Oporto for this springtime voyage of some 1000 miles to Portsmouth visiting some marvellously historic and scenic places along the way. Giving the large ports a wide berth, we will instead call into some places away from the well traversed routes of the larger cruise lines and have allowed time to explore the horticultural splendours and delightful towns of the region in depth. Our exploration begins with a day discovering the beauty of the Douro Valley with an exclusive cruise along the Douro River to Regua where we will visit a wine estate and enjoy a tasting of some fabulous Douro wines. Setting sail from Portugal, we will witness some splendid gardens in all their springtime glory, step into the pilgrimage cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, spend a day exploring Brittany and the charming village of Locronan and taste some local ports and wines along the way. A highlight for many will be our call in the Isles of Scilly where we visit the stunning sub-tropical Abbey Gardens on Tresco. All of this combined with the rich maritime history of the region and the sheer beauty of the coastal landscapes makes for an endlessly fascinating cultural experience.
Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Caledonian Sky moored in Leixoes.
Transfer this morning to the waterfront in Oporto and embark our awaiting vessel for an exclusive cruise up the breathtaking Douro Valley, passing through two of the river system’s huge locks and enjoying views of peaceful villages and terraced hillsides as we make our way upstream. Lunch will be served on board prior to our arrival in the town of Regua in the early afternoon. Disembark here and enjoy a tasting session at the Quinta da Pacheca, a wine estate offering fabulous views of the surrounding countryside that was established in the town in 1738. Return to the MS Caledonian Sky by coach in time for an early evening sail.
Arriving in Galicia we spend a relaxing morning in the port of Villagarcia De Arousa where we can explore ashore at leisure. After lunch on board, visit the nearby Pazo de Rubianes, originally founded in 1411 and one of the three official lordships in Spain. Enjoy a guided walk through the stunning gardens, famous for their thousands of camellias but also home to eucalyptus trees, sequoias and camphors. Also visit the Pazo’s extensive vineyards and learn about the local Albarino wine production, before exploring the historical palace itself. Enjoy a wine tasting before returning to the ship.
From our berth in La Coruna we will make our way to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia. The city’s cathedral is the destination of the important Medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St James (in Spanish the ‘Camino de Santiago’), which is still walked today. For those keen to walk some of the route there will be the chance to hike a short, steepish section towards Santiago. Otherwise transfer directly to the site where we will visit the Conventual de San Francisco, the Faculty of Medicine and the world-famous Plaza del Obradoiro. Inside the cathedral, we will visit the Romanic crypt and see the facade of Platerias; the Quintana Plaza; House of Parra; facade of Azabachería; and the facade of San Martin Pinario. Enjoy lunch at a Parador and some free time before returning to the ship this afternoon and sailing.
After a busy few days take the chance to relax as we spend the day at sea. Our lecture programme continues in the lounge or find a spot on deck to relax.
This morning we anchor off the Finistere region of France and the port of Douarnenez which prospered as a major centre for the sardine industry in the 19th century. Traces of these days still show in the architecture and the old fisherman’s houses that line the harbour, whilst at the Port Musee you may find a number of traditional boats at anchor. Using the ship’s Zodiacs to get ashore, we have planned a morning visit to Locronan, one of the most picturesque and preserved Medieval Breton villages which grew from the manufacture of sailcloth. Visit the 15th century church, remarkable for its stone vaulting and stained-glass windows, before walking through the craft workshops. You might also be tempted to taste the famous “kouignamann”, a traditional Breton butter cake. Return to the MS Caledonian Sky for lunch and this afternoon will be at leisure to relax on board or to explore this lovely town at your own pace. Please note that the ship’s Zodiacs may be used to transfer guests ashore today.
Using local boats, we alight on to the traffic-free island of Tresco, walking its idyllic lanes from the beach to the famous sub-tropical Abbey Gardens. Defying the Atlantic weather, this miracle of a garden is home to more than 20,000 species of plants from over 80 countries. Enjoy time to wander at your own pace along the paths, maybe visit the Valhalla collection of ship figureheads from ships wrecked on the islands or relax in the café. After lunch on board we use the local boats to sail over to St Agnes, the most south westerly community in the United Kingdom. Surrounded by rocks and reefs, this delightful tiny island offers marvellous coastal walks with over one third designated as “sites of special scientific interest”. The small island of Gugh lies across a narrow sandbar and here we find a single stone monolith called the ‘Old Man of Gugh’ which dates back to the Bronze Age.
Today the MS Caledonian Sky will anchor in the River Fowey from where we visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The seat of the Tremayne family for 400 years, the garden fell into disrepair after World War I and was lovingly restored between 1990 and 2000. Its pre 1920 camellias and rhododendrons, which we hope will be in bloom for our call, are now part of the National Collection and provide a living link to the past. The extensive grounds include a Victorian Kitchen Garden and atmospheric paths lead through the Pleasure Grounds. Medievel and Georgian buildings characterise the picturesque port of Fowey and Polruan opposite and the afternoon will be at leisure to wander its historic alleys and lanes.
Be on deck early this morning as we sail into the historic naval port of Portsmouth where we disembark. Transfers will be provided to Portsmouth Harbour Railway Station at a fixed time.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 114 (in 57 suites) Built: 1991 / refurbished 2012 The MS Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 spacious outside suites. Many have walk-in wardrobes and some feature tub baths. There will be seven categories of suites and sixteen suites will have private balconies. For those familiar with the MS Island Sky she will feel like a second home, although there are some differences. The dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar are all similar. However, the ‘Club’ on the MS Caledonian Sky has been transported to the very top deck. Here, there is a library and bar which leads out on to a lovely forward deck. The ‘Club’ has wonderful views with ceiling to floor windows. If you like the MS Island Sky, we are sure you will also approve of her sister. And, of course it is important that we offer the very best of facilities. However, equally as important are the staff on board whether they are the vessel’s crew or our own expedition staff. Noble Caledonia’s reputation has been built on providing the very best in all areas. Their crew of 74 not only offer an excellent service they are also noted for their kindness and attention to detail. A well run ship with a warm atmosphere is what we are known for, and it is because most of our crew have been with us for many years that we are able to engender such an atmosphere. Your Suite Onboard there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well designed suites. The passenger accommodation is arranged over four decks and all suites have outside views. All feature a sitting room area and some have private balconies. Each affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, hot towel rack and vanity unit with sink and walk-in shower and/or bath tub. Facilities in the suites also include walk-in or spacious wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool or desk, mini-fridge, flat screen television, telephone, programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, air-conditioning and heating. Bottled water, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Your space The spacious and finely decorated public rooms include a large lounge where daily briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage and an elegant bar where a pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The bar also features a 24-hour tea and coffee station. In addition there is the Club Lounge on the Panoramic Deck which features a bar. The onboard travel library is the perfect place to relax with a book and is stocked with reference books pertaining to the places the vessel is visiting along with a selection of games and two computers with internet access. Daily newspapers and magazines are also placed in the library depending on local availability. Outside there is a rear Lido deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. On the top deck there is a further observation and sun deck with bar service and comfortable deck furniture for sun bathing or relaxing with a book. There is also a small gymnasium onboard and hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your dining With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the quality of cuisine will be of a consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets his high standards, our accomplished chef will obtain local produce in markets or buy the catch of the day from a passing fishing boat. Such purchases enhance the well stocked larders and bring a local touch to the varied menus. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order and lunch and dinner is à la carte. When weather permits, breakfast, a buffet-style lunch and dinner are also served on deck. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and tea and coffee are available 24 hours. With sufficient notice, most diets can be catered for on board. For your comfort, safety and security The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilisers to minimise the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times with the exception of arrival and departure from port and during times of complicated navigation. Here you can check the ship’s progress by charts and learn more from the officers 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 outside decks only. Gratuities Unlike many other cruise vessels, onboard the MS Caledonian Sky you do not need to worry about tipping staff as we have included them in your holiday price. In addition we tip all their guides and drivers along the way, thereby taking away the hassle of always having to remember to have some small change with you.
• Visit Villagarcia De Arousa, Spain. • Discover Douarnenez, France. • Explore Isles of Scilly, UK.