The cruise season along South African shores run from end November / beginning of December till end April annually. Currently MSC is the only cruise company offering an extended cruise season.

This review focuses on a 4 night 4 days cruise, Durban to Portuguese Island return, March 2016.

MSC Sinfonia

Various special offers for less than R800 per person per night (entry level cabins)  including accommodation, compulsory port charges and taxes, all meals, day and night entertainment and tender boat transfers to the Portuguese Island on 2 days, weather permitting. All packages excludes drinks. Children under age of 12 sharing with parents stay for free. As a matter of fact there is food available 20 of 24 hours every day. Thus rather good value for money.

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Portuguese Island

Was known as Elephants Island, founded in 1545. Located next to Inhaca Island and you are able to see Maputo from the island. Currently, it is a uninhabited marine reserve with limited semi-permanent structures to accommodate day cruise visitors. All food and drinks is brought across from the cruise liner. Facilities include toilets, island style restaurant and bar facilities, umbrellas and shade cloth covered gazebos, desk for excursions. Sturdy tender boats, seating 84 guest, ferry passengers between the boat and the island. Transfers to the island is subject to favourable weather conditions.

Lunch is provided on the island at no additional cost. Drinks and ice cream can be purchased on the island with your cruise card.

Excursions such as snorkelling, sea kayaking, stand up paddle boards, floating mats  and fun torpodos can be booked at the excursion desk on-board at an additional charge. Excursions range from $15-$40. Excursions also included transfers to various point on Inhaca Island.

During cruise season locals from Maputo provide a variety of stalls selling clothing, beach wear, African curios, etc. Passengers need to pay cash for these purchases (US Dollar, Mozambican-Metical or South African Rand)

Duration on the island is your choice. Transfers usually start from 09:00 and last transfer usually leaves the island at 16:00 This varies accoroding to weather conditions on the day. Beach fooze ball and music provided, otherwise guests enjoy the sun, eat, drink, swim or tan. For the more active guests, take a stroll around the island, approx 6 km, and enjoy the beautiful beaches, lagoons, scenery and tranquility. Allow between 1-2 hours for this activity.

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Take note of the following to ensure a fabulous cruise

– You need a valid passport, valid for at least 6 months after the end of your cruise
– If you do not have a passport from any of the SADEC countries, you need a visa @ $25 to be able to enjoy any of the off board destinations such as Portuguese Island, Inhaca, Maputo etc
– On board currency is US $ for drinks, shopping, spa, cacino, etc and quite pricy for South Africans
– Be prepared if you are prone to motion sickness
– Boat can become quite crowded, the MSC Sinfonia can carry a maximum of 2 679 plus approx 700 staff
– Internet not complimentary