The Island Sky arrives on Wednesday from St Kilda before departing for Stromness in Orkney.
She was abuilt in 1992 at 4,200grt by Nuovi Cantieri Apuania, at Marina di Carrara in Italy as the Renaissance Eight for Renaissance Cruises. She remained with the company until it filed for bankruptcy in the autumn of 2001, following which she was renamed as the Renal II and laid up. In 2003 she became the Sky and was renamed the Island Sky in 2004 when acquired by Mauritius Island Cruises.
The Island Sky and her sister the Island Sun (now the Corinthian II) were acquired by Danish container operator Clipper Group from Mauritius Island Cruises, which has now ceased trading. Noble Caledonia has chartered the Island Sky from 2004. She is currently owned by International Shipping and has a normal capacity of 114 with 72 crew.
Where possible the ship will go alongside in port; in remote, undeveloped areas or places with restricted access, they will use the vessel’s tender. During the winter months when the vessel is operating expedition cruises or in areas such as the British Isles, they will employ the vessel’s Zodiacs. These inflatable craft offer marvellous manoeuvrability, allowing access to otherwise impossible landing places.
The daily programme on board is in the capable hands of the cruise director and staff who co-ordinate with the captain and officers to make the most of each day. Briefings and talks are provided throughout the voyage together with a daily programme distributed every evening outlining the next day’s activities. Dress is casual and relaxed and there will no “black tie” evenings, although there is an evening or two when a jacket and tie are requested.
There is a high ratio of passengers to crew who are mainly Filipino and eastern European. Their northern European captains are experienced mariners, many having been in service aboard large 2,000 plus passenger vessels, who now prefer a less frantic life aboard a small ship. If, like them, you prefer a more peaceful life at sea, you will find the Island Sky the perfect ship. They promise there will be no organised entertainment, fancy dress, deck games or any of the usual big ship experiences.
The atmosphere on board is more akin to a private yacht or country hotel. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, guest speakers, informative port briefings from their cruise director and of course good food which may be enjoyed leisurely in the attractive dining room. After a day ashore passengers return to the comfort and peace of a well run and exceedingly comfortable ship.