With 90% of the current 2014/15 season already sold, and the majority of cruise departures heading to Portuguese Island, it’s no wonder that this is one of South Africa’s favourite holiday escapes.
The MSC Opera arrived in South African on Tuesday, 28th October, for the start of the local summer season and will undertake a total of 27 voyages up the East coast of Africa to Mozambique during her season.
The Inhaca Archipelago which includes both Inhaca and Portuguese Island has long been a favoured destination for South African cruises, with over 90 000 people visiting the islands during the previous 2013/14 cruise season.
MSC Cruises has committed to substantial investment into Mozambique which includes the supporting of local traders and service providers, training, education and job creation.
Revenue generated and paid to local Mozambiquans from 2012 to 2014 includes just over R2,500, 000 for Portuguese Island alone, with infrastructure development on the island totalling just over R20 000 000.
The 2014 season sees new and exciting additions to Portuguese Island as a destination including bigger local markets, a better beach bar, an additional 650 metres of decking under shade, a new and improved kitchen, women’s ablutions and fresh water showers.
New Landing Craft are also being introduced to ensure greater comfort for all passengers disembarking and heading to the island. The landing craft have a faster transfer time, and accommodate up to 85 passengers at a time all seated in individual seats. Disembarking at the island is undertaken by means of a ramp which allows passengers to exit directly onto the beach. , MSC aims to have a total of 4 of these landing craft in play by November 2015.
MSC Cruises SA has through all improvements worked closely with University officials to ensure that fauna and flora is preserved and that the environment is undisturbed. All services are integrated, structures are raised whilst protecting the dunes and sewers use a bio degradation system. Water is sourced from the sea and solar panels supply necessary power.
These improvements allow Mozambique to boast a world class holiday destination, with research showing that 50% of cruise traveller’s then return for land based holiday options. The Local economy sees substantial income over the course of the cruise season and ultimately this benefits the country’s economic growth as a whole.
MSC Cruises SA is working alongside Mozambiquan government to ensure that the region remains the preferred cruise destination in the Indian Ocean, as well as implementing various social upliftment programmes on Inhaca.
Bookings for the current 2014/15 season are at a 90% capacity rate, with limited bookings available over the peak season periods. Cruise enthusiasts are urged to book now for the February / March itineraries to ensure availability.
The 2015/16 season will see the return of the newly refurbished MSC Sinfonia for an extended season and bookings are already open with early booking discounts of up to 50% .
MSC Cruises is the market leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Brazil and operates across the globe. MSC Cruises sails year-round in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean and offers a wide range of seasonal itineraries in northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, Southern Africa, as well as in Dubai, the Emirates and Oman. Its modern fleet comprises twelve ships: Fantasia-class MSC Preziosa, MSC Divina, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia; Musica-class MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, and MSC Musica; Lirica-class MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica. MSC Cruises is the only company in the world to receive the “7 Golden Pearls” award from the Bureau Veritas in recognition of its high level of quality management and environmental responsibility. MSC has also achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification for the quality and food safety of all aspects of its catering, both on shore and on board. MSC Cruises believes that global leadership brings increased responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. As such, MSC entered in a long-term partnership with UNICEF in 2009 to support educational programmes for children in Brazil. The partnership was renewed early 2014, this time to support UNICEF’s efforts to tackle famine and malnutrition in developing countries and in emergency situations. Since the beginning of the partnership, MSC collected three million euros in MSC guests donations.
Source: MSC Cruises