I never thought I would be one to enjoy cruises and here I find myself thoroughly enjoying the experience and finding out just how popular this type of holiday is especially for South Africans. My first MSC cruise was roughly five years ago with my cousin which was fun and different as for the first time we had no parents with us and we sailed on the MSC Sinfonia . My second experience was totally different as this time I was going with my mum on the cruise and that was a totally new experience and this time we cruised on the MSC Opera. Most people I had spoken to had either been on a cruise, knew someone who had gone on a cruise or they themselves where planning a cruise in the future. So this got me thinking about why are cruise holidays so popular especially with South Africans and this is what I found out.
What is the MSC ?
The MSC Cruise ships are a luxury ships with state of the art of facilities on-board. Every year from November to April the cruise liners arrive on South Africa for the summer holidays.
MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company and the number one cruise line in Europe and South America. A game-changer in the world of cruises, the Company has achieved 800% growth in its first ten years, building a global reputation in the industry and one of the youngest cruise fleets at sea. MSC Cruises is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.The MSC Cruises fleet currently comprises 14 ultra-modern, highly innovative and elegantly designed ships, offering an unparalleled holiday experience with always delicious and authentic food, award-winning entertainment, plenty of relaxation, comfortable accommodation, as well as impeccable service and expertise.
Under its ambitious industry-unprecedented €10.5 billion investment plan, the fleet is set to expand to 24 mega-cruise ships by 2026. To date, MSC Cruises has designed six new ship classes, all prototypes that push the boundaries of marine architecture and design.
MSC Cruises feels a deep responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. The Company operates with the greatest respect for the world’s oceans and is on an ongoing journey to further develop innovative ways of lowering the environmental impact of its cruise passages.
MSC Cruises’ holiday experiences are sold across the globe through a distribution network in 67 countries. The Company employs over 17,000 people worldwide, both ashore and on board its ships. MSC Cruises is part of MSC Group which is comprised of leading transport and logistics companies.
The ships are beautifully designed and fitted with exquisite fittings. One can find on every cruise ship several eating places, a casino, spa, library , several lounges and bars , nightclubs, internet cafes, duty free shops , kiddie friendly pool areas and lots more. At first the ship does seem like a maze but once you find you bearing it is easy to find your way around and the staff are very helpful in helping you find your way.
There are currently a variety of cruise options for South Africans which include a number of days out at sea and even some international cruises where passports are required.
Reasons why an MSC Cruise is so popular :
A cost effective way to travel as children under 18 travel for free with paying adults.
It is easy to budget for your trip as you only have to pay for drinks, shopping and off shore excursions.
Suitable for all ages so from babies to grandparents it is a great holiday option. For the elderly who are wheelchair bound trhe cruise liner is designed to accommodate wheelchairs
There is no limit on the amount of luggage you can take on-board.
It is a very relaxing holiday as you are not rushing around catching flights, loading luggage and trying to not miss things.
There is less travel planning as all activities and excursions and daily events are organised my the cruise company.
The service and accommodation is five star.
You only need to unpack once and so your cabin becomes like your own room.
No need to worry about driving home after a few drinks.
Connectivity to the outside world is at your discretion as there is no free wifi and this is a paid service so a holiday where you really have a digital detox is possible.
No early morning wake ups to get on a tour , and yes you can order breakfast to your room free of charge.
Not all cruises require a passport.
It is a good way to cover a few countries at the same time like this cruise.
Guests with food intolerances and/or allergies are asked to inform MSC Cruises of their requirements through the Special Needs Form, and, once on board, to confirm their needs at the Reception – Guest Service and/or with the Maître d’Hôtel.
If informed in advance, on-board staff will be happy to assist guests in choosing dishes that do not contain foods or ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction. So halaal and other meals can be arranged.
There is a variety of places to eat at when on board so one does not get bored of the same food.
It is a great way for family and friends to bond on a holiday.
Amazing views to wake up to every day.
A variety of activities to keep every one occupied.
There is no cleaning up and meal prep for mum to do.
World class theatre performances every night and each is different.
A convenient holiday where everything is taken care of for you and your only things to worry about is what cocktail you drinking that day.
What is included in your MSC Cruise deal ?
All your meals
Nightly theatre shows
22 hour meals
Cabin for the duration of your stay
Use of the library
Use of the fitness centre
Last week I was invited to spend one night on-board of the newest MSC to come to South Africa, having travelled on two other cruise liners I was blown away by the size and sheer opulence I found on-board. Some of the highlights the new ship include a much larger theatre beautifully done in rich velvets with 7 new shows on the schedule , a larger casino, a cigar bar, more balcony suites , a sushi bar and loads of plush lounges for you to relax in. This new ship can carry over 32200 passengers The MSC Musica is 16 floors with 13 floors for guests. The Top Deck has got a gorgeous pool area and shaded area with sun loungers for those who just want to chill with a cocktail and read a book.I am really looking forward to staying on board for longer and discovering all the MSC has to offer.
Ross Volk ,the Managing Director for MSC Cruises South Africa spoke of the companies commitment is opening up a maritime college to train people from disadvantaged backgrounds and to offer them employment on their cruise liners around the world.MSC is commited to train and employ South Africans and are also building a termainal in Durban harbour which will also create jobs.All this fits in with the plans of KZN TOURISM well as the words of Cyril Ramaphosa “Thuma Mina”
So do yourself a favour and book an MSC Cruise check out the deals online and a little birdy tells me that there might be some Black Friday deals happening too.