Noble Caledonia has reunited two sisters after a long separation. The Island Sky and the Caledonian Sky were both built in the same Italian shipyard in 1991, and were sailed by Renaissance Cruises as Renaissance VIII and Renaissance VI respectively. They subsequently worked as luxurious cruise ships, making the same voyages, before Island Sky was bought by Noble Caledonia, becoming our only dedicated ship. The pair then split up.
Now, these two fine small vessels, which appear as similar as you’d expect family members to look, have been brought together again under the Noble Caledonia banner – a great reunion for these ships that sailed together in the 1990s.
The twin ships’ story goes back two decades, when they were built to be part of Renaissance Cruises fleet in Italy. Always lavish and comfortable, they also injected a new spirit into the world of cruising, with all-suite accommodation and an atmosphere designed to be more like a private yacht than the kinds of impersonal larger ships the industry was increasingly launching.
Indeed, both ships were big enough to offer complete comfort and luxury; but small enough to operate in maritime regions inaccessible to larger ships – perfect for Noble Caledonia’s ethos of small ship cruising. Carrying inflatable Zodiac landing craft, they could take passengers ashore in the most remote places.
The Renaissance VI sailed until autumn in the year 2000, when she was acquired by Hebridean Island Cruises and sailed as Hebridean Spirit. After a successful run, the ship was sold in 2009 to a Middle Eastern investor, with the idea being that she would be converted into a private yacht. The owner had great plans, lavishing the ship with teak decks and stainless steel railings. Still, the ship came back onto the market, and was then acquired by Noble Caledonia.
Caledonian Sky has since been refitted, with the addition of extra private balconies, wood panelling and brass furnishings to the 57 suites – with the intention being to convey the atmosphere of a private yacht. If you’ve experienced the Island Sky, the Caledonian Sky should feel familiar, particularly the dining room, lounge, Lido Deck and bar, but there are a couple of key differences. The Club is on the top deck, with wonderful views leading from ceiling-to-floor windows. A library and bar lead out onto a forward deck, and great attention has been paid to giving access to outside space.
Island Sky is being kept in Europe, Africa and South and Central America. Caledonian Sky operates across the Pacific region from New Zealand to the Russian Far East. With these fine small ships together again, Noble Caledonia continues their mission: to take guests to the most remote and fascinating corners of earth.
Name: Caledonian Sky
Built: Carrara, Italy, 1991
Length: 297 feet
Beam: 50 feet
Passenger decks: Four
Passenger capacity: 114
Suites: 57 suites, each with sitting room area
To read more about Caledonian Sky and Island Sky go to www.noble-caledonia.co.uk where you’ll also find up-to-date schedules of where they are next voyaging to!
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Noble Caledonia.
Read a Silver Travel review about a Noble Caledonia cruise.