Mossel Bay expecting a bumper cruise season

The MSC Sinfonia and MSC Melody return to South African shores at the end of the year for the 2011/2012 summer cruise season with a new and varied itinerary of 60 cruises out of Durban and Cape Town to destinations in Namibia, the Cape, Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands. 

The season opens with the arrival of MSC Sinfonia in Cape Town on 8 November 2011 and closes with her departure on 30 March 2012. MSC Melody arrives almost a month later on 6 December and will also have an earlier departure this coming season, leaving for Europe on 18 February 2012. 

The luxurious 2100-passenger MSC Sinfonia is returning for a third season and will feature Port Elizabeth and Bazaruto in Mozambique as new ports of call. 

Cape Town will be MSC Sinfonia’s first port of call in South Africa on 8 November after a 17-night southbound repositioning cruise from Genoa, Italy. Her season opens with a three-night cruise to Durban, which will again be home port through to 24 March when she departs, via Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, for the Mediterranean. 

MSC Sinfonia’s busy schedule out of Durban focuses mainly on the sought-after two night Indian Ocean “cruise to nowhere” weekenders and a variety of three-, four- and five-night cruises to Mozambique featuring stops in Maputo, Portuguese Island, Barra Lodge and Bazaruto. 

Regulars on MSC Sinfonia’s New Year cruise will be delighted that the ship will enjoy a longer-than-usual three-night stay in Mauritius, so passengers can fully enjoy the famous annual fireworks and general festivities as well as the island’s unique tourist attractions. The 11-night cruise also features a one-day port of call at the French island of Reunion. 

MSC Melody to arrive early 

The more intimate 1500-passenger MSC Melody makes her first port of call in South Africa earlier than last year, arriving this time at the beginning of the summer high season on 6 December in Cape Town. 

MSC Melody will again feature the Cape collection of short cruises from Cape Town to Walvis Bay in Namibia, Mossel Bay on the Southern Cape coast and the Atlantic Ocean “cruise to nowhere’s” during three distinct periods in December, January and February. 

Creating the dividers between the Cape cruises will be two periods of two cruises each at the end of December and January when MSC Melody will be Durban-based and enjoy leisurely voyages to the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, Madagascar and Reunion. 

MSC Melody’s popular 11-night Christmas cruise will also include a longer-than-usual three-night stop in Mauritius while her festive New Year’s cruise this year will feature a six-night itinerary from Durban to Fort Dauphin in Madagascar. 

Visit the ‘Red Island’ 

The highlight of MSC Melody’s season is sure to be the end of January’s bumper 11-night three-island Indian Ocean cruise from Durban through turquoise waters to Port Louis in Mauritius, Pointe des Galets, more commonly known as “little Paris”, in French Reunion and the beautiful tourist destination of Ile Sainte Marie in Madagascar. 

The last of MSC Melody’s longer cruises of the season out of Durban will be a six-night cruise to Madagascar early in February after which she returns to Cape Town for a final flush of cruises before heading north again to Italy on 18 February. 

Port Elizabeth and Bazaruto new ports of call 

“MSC Sinfonia will enjoy a slightly shorter season here in Southern Africa this year as she is needed earlier in Europe for the start of the 2012 Mediterranean season, but we don’t believe it will detract in any way from what is gearing up to be another exceptional season,” said Mr Allan Foggitt, marketing director of MSC Starlight Cruises in South Africa. 

Foggitt said the company was extremely pleased to include Port Elizabeth and Bazaruto, one of Mozambique’s top resorts, as maiden ports of call for MSC Sinfonia this season. 

“The inclusion of Port Elizabeth, albeit only one day at the end of the season, allows us to offer our international guests an opportunity to visit all three of our major port cities as well giving locals the option of joining the northbound repositioning cruise from their home town. We hope it will pave the way for many more visits. 

“Bazaruto was always a popular stop for the MSC Monterey, MSC Rhapsody and MSC Melody in the past and it’s wonderful to be able to re-introduce this great destination. “ 

Foggitt said the longer Christmas/New Year stop-over’s in Mauritius for both MSC Sinfonia and MSC Melody had come about as a result of requests from passengers and the company was happy to have been able to oblige. 

Bookings for the 2011/2012 season aboard MSC Sinfonia and MSC Melody are already open with over 31 departures listed as Prima Specials whereby the earlier you book the bigger the saving. There are also 36 ‘partner special’ departures in which a partner pays half price, and 36 departures listed for a special “buy 2 get 2 free” deal for four people sharing a cabin.

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