SA music fans can set sail on the Blues Cruise + 2018/2019 cruises to start planning

2018-07-09 18:00 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photo: MSC

If you thought sailing away on board a luxury cruise liner while indulging in bountiful entertainment, shopping and dining options couldn’t get any better, then Mojo Rising Blues Cruise is here to take cruising to a whole new level.

Hop on board the MSC Musica from 22 - 25 March 2019 for the very first Blues Cruise featuring South African blues musicians who promise a cruise experience like no other, whether you are a first-time or regular cruiser.

SEE: SA cruise ports nominated for World Travel Award + get planning for 2018/2019 cruise season

Local blues artists who will take over the entertainment line-up for this special cruise include the legendary Albert Frost, Black Cat Bones, Shadowclub, Gerald Clark, Crimson House, Wolgang Marrow, Gunshot Blue and Coelacanth.

The 4-day cruise begins in Durban and sails to the Portugese Islands. On board facilities - free of charge - include access to the Aqua Park, swimming pools and water slide, a range of cuisine and variety of entertainment.

Need to know:

Cruise dates: 22 - 25 March 2019 on MSC Musica.

Bookings: Click here to book - make sure to select the Blues Cruise option. Kids under 18 sail for free.

ALSO SEE: WATCH: Sail away on Norwegian Cruise Lines' new 'floating resort' + Cruises for South Africans

Blues don’t float your boat?

While there will be much to do on board the MSC Musica even if blues music isn’t your favourite, for South Africans there are many other cruises available to embark on - including cruises that depart direct from SA shores and some adventures that require a short expedition to or from exotic locations across the globe.

Now’s the best time to start planning to set sail in the 2018/ 2019 cruise season. Here are some local and international cruises to get you started:

MSC Cruises

Popular Sinfonia cruises

South Africans have grown quite fond of MSC cruises taking place around our shores during summer, with the Sinfonia cruises set to return for the 2018/2019 season. The popular local departures include cruises to Mozambique, Portuguese Island and Reunion and Mauritius. Click here to see the MSC cruise calendar for 2018/2019.

MSC Musica

South Africa’s ports welcome the MSC Musica in November 2018. The luxury cruise ship features more balcony cabins, swimming pools, bars and restaurants - including a sushi restaurant.

There’s something for everyone. Be blown away by the central foyer’s see-through piano floating suspended above water, the palm-lined swimming pool, a massive theatre, Turkish baths and saunas, a video games room and outdoor games among other entertainment. Click here to start booking your 2018/2019 cruise.

New cruise to Pomene Bay

In addition to the annual cruises to Africa’s warm east coast, the luxury cruise liner launched a new cruise to Pomene Bay in Mozambique.

Just 605km north of Maputo, Pomene Bay is praised as one of Mozambique’s hidden jewels. “On one side, the smooth-as-glass Indian Ocean laps onto the powdery white sand of its palm-lined beaches, while the other side is framed by the clear waters of a spectacular mangrove estuary,” says MSC Cruises.

SEE: All aboard MSC’s new cruise ship + brand new island cruise offering for SA

This picturesque destination is added to MSC Cruises’ itinerary for the 2018/2019 season. There will be 18 departures visiting Pomene Bay or a combination of both Pomene Bay and Portuguese Island.

MSC World Cruise

For those who love life at sea, MSC Magnifica is offering a unique itinerary aboard a brand-new 116 night world cruise - that’s almost four months of setting sail across the world!

With more than 40 destinations spanning 23 countries - including Peru, Papua New Guinea, Bali and India - the 2020 MSC World Cruise promises “more exotic and aspirational destinations than ever before”. If you can’t wait to hop on board, secure your stay by booking your room asap. Click here for more information.

MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia, popularly termed MSC’s ship for all seasons, returns to the Mediterranean towards the end of 2018. It features exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, the MSC Yacht Club, gourmet dining from around the world - with 20 bars and lounges and 12 restaurants, rejuvenation at the MSC Aurea Spa and a special festive line-up over Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)

Norwegian Bliss, which launched on 19 April 2018, is on its maiden voyage in June 2018 cruising Alaskan waters for 7-nights, during the northern hemisphere's summer. The liner will then explore the Caribbean beaches in the northern hemisphere's winter.

SEE: PICS: New Norwegian Bliss cruise ship sets sail to Alaska

Cruisers can enjoy 'cooking stations' with dishes from around the world, adrenaline adventures on board such as the largest racetrack at sea, a variety of entertainment options including musical shows, family activities like galactic laser tag, and breathtaking views from the 180-degree Observation Lounge, among other luxury features.

NCL does not dock in South African ports, but with cruises from Alaska “growing in popularity” with South Africans according to Nick Wilkinson, NCL’s general manager for Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, you can sail from Venice, New York or the Mediterranean.

River cruises for millennials

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection launched a river cruise brand offering immersive, adventure travel for 21-45-year-olds. 

Aimed at the millennial age group, the river cruise, according to the company, will feature "vessels with a more contemporary look and feel, fewer inclusions and longer stays in each destination".

SEE: Uniworld launches river cruises for millennials

The first-ever cruise brand of its kind, U by Uniworld debuted its first ship in Paris, France and it is said that it will transform the travel industry with a fresh approach to experiential travel, introducing a whole new audience to cruising, on some of the most interesting rivers of Europe. 

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is adding a new stop to Turkey to its 2018/ 2019 cruise itineraries. In October and November 2018, sails will include stops in Ephesus (Kusadasi).

MS Roald Amundsen

Coming in 2019, Hurtigruten’s new ship, the MS Roald Amundsen, will be the first of two ships using hybrid technology to set sail in South America and Antarctica.

The ships will have an advanced hull construction - including a built-in viewing deck - and effective use of electricity on board that will reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions on the ship by 20%.

G Adventures

G Adventures launched Sri Lanka Sailing for November 2018. Discover the culture and natural beauty of Sri Lanka by sailing along its southern coast.

Edge

Celebrity Cruises new ship, Edge will feature a viewing desk on the side of the ship, that converts into a restaurant - nice! According to Celebrity Cruises, this is the "world’s first cantilevered, floating platform that reaches heights of 13 stories above sea level, so you can soar over the open ocean".

Click here to see cruises for 2018/2019.

Ponant 

Ponant has added new itineraries to its Australia cruises of Kimberley. Click here for info on upcoming 2018/2019 cruises.

Why cruise?

All-inclusive holidays are popular among budget-conscious South African travellers. Knowing that you will get to see multiple destinations on one trip, and the convenience of having all meals and many activities included, makes cruising a value-for-money option.

“Cruise lines are vying for the attention of South African travellers, extending value-for-money packages that include drinks packages, for example, so that they know upfront what their holiday is going to cost them, and there are no nasty surprises later on,” says Jane Davidson, director at Development Promotions.

MUST-SEE: New MSC island cruise for SA + Affordable summer cruise ideas

In addition to all meals included and sailing between ports, cruise lines are also equipping their ships with entertainment, activities and restaurants so that cruisers of all ages and interests are catered for throughout their journey.

“The activities on board are so diverse, it’s no surprise that passengers sometimes don’t even bother leaving the ship once it’s docked,” adds Davidson.

ALSO SEE: 4 Things a first-time cruiser needs to know

For first-time travellers there are some important factors that should be considered to ensure you get the best value and cruise to suit your needs.

“Do your research and rely on an expert to help you make the right choice, especially since there are so many options, destinations, ships and deals out there,” says Davidson.