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Photo credit: Saajida Francis
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Durban Harbour lit up with colour, music, and glamour as MSC Cruises, the leading cruise brand in South Africa, celebrated the arrival of MSC Musica, the largest and most luxurious cruise ship to do a seasonal tour in South African waters.

She promises more than the Sinfonia,  more balcony cabins, more swimming pools, more restaurants (there’s even a sushi restaurant), more bars and designer venues.

Almost 1500 people were treated to a lavish gala dinner on board, followed by an awe-inspiring show in the ship’s 1200-seater theatre, and entertainment by SA acts, Jeremy Loops and Mi Casa.

A see-through piano, floating suspended on a crystal floor above a pool of shimmering water.

“MSC Cruises is thrilled to celebrate the arrival of this elegant lady to our shores to mark the start of her six-month seasonal tour in the region,” says Ross Volk, Managing Director for MSC Cruises South Africa.

MSC Musica has a passenger capacity of 3223, which is around 550 more than MSC Sinfonia, the ship that South Africans fell in love with on her many tours in the region over the past few years.

Over 16 decks, this luxurious ship offers something for everyone.

Dining options include an á la carte Italian seafood and steakhouse restaurant, an authentic Japanese sushi bar, two formal dining rooms, and an all-day world cuisine buffet and pizzeria.

On the activity side, MSC Musica offers mini golf, tennis, basketball, virtual games, bowling lanes, children’s activity clubs, a gym, a power walking track, and a Balinese spa.

MSC Musica also has an exciting nightlife, boasting a casino, bars, dance floors, a cigar lounge and a wine tasting bar.

The designer venues on board are equally inspiring, whether you’re dancing to a band in the dazzling Crystal Lounge or pausing in the stylish Havana Club cigar lounge.

Mr Volk continues, “As well as welcoming MSC Musica to our shores, we will also be building a R200-million cruise terminal at the Port of Durban as part of the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) consortium. MSC Cruises will also be opening a hospitality school in the Durban Harbour in the near future, which will train young South Africans who are keen to be part of the hospitality industry.”

Verdict

Although it took aeons to embark, due to the torturous queues and muddled staff directions, my first experience on an MSC cruise ship was surprisingly delightful.

The excitement was infectious as wide-eyed passengers wheeled their luggage to assigned cabins on the first day.

I got lost often, forgot my cabin number constantly and managed to annoy cabin inhabitants when I insisted that it was my cabin, not theirs. I often found myself in the midst of a reprimand, trudging off to find the correct room with a meek expression on my face.

Admittedly the ship’s interior is impressive and its labyrinth unleashed my inner adventurer. 

The allure of broadway-style entertainment every night, real Italian cafes, boutique and duty-free shopping, a vast choice of freshly-cooked authentic Mediterranean cuisine is enough to convince even the most Trunchbull-esque personalities.

I’m severely tempted to book a week-long cruise vacation to South America, simply to eat doughy Margherita pizza in the wee hours of the morning.


All photography by Saajida Francis

saajida.francis@inl.co.za