MSC Cruises have confirmed to Cruise Arabia & Africa that MSC Sinfonia will be returned to the South African cruise market in November, 2016, cruising roundtrip out of Durban and Cape Town until May, 2017.
The 2016/17 cruise season will be MSC Sinfonia’s second since her major refit and lengthening, with the ship due to arrive in the country this coming November for her inaugural South African cruise season since her ‘rebuild’, a major refit done to all four Lirica-class ships.
MSC Sinfonia’s 2016/17 cruise season in South Africa will begin on November 7th when she will depart on a 4-day roundtrip Durban cruise to Mozambique, visiting Maputo and Portuguese Island – a staple itinerary of the South African cruise market.
These four day Mozambique cruises from South Africa will make up the vast majority of the itineraries offered out of Durban, with an 11-night cruise to Mauritius and Reunion offered as the annual New Year itinerary departing on December 26th.
For MSC Cruises’ Christmas cruise in South Africa, MSC Sinfonia will depart Durban on December 19th on a 7-night roundtrip cruise to Portuguese Island in Mozambique and Fort Dauphin in Madagascar.
This same 7-night itinerary will be offered again on February 6th, 2017 and March 17th, 2016 toward the tail-end of MSC Sinfonia’s South African cruise season. Throughout February, March and April the cruise ship will offer alternating 3 and 4-night cruises.
On January 27th she’ll sail the traditional 2-night cruise to nowhere, the “booze cruise” to all the rest of us, as well as a 5-night cruise from Durban to Mozambique and back on January 29th, 2017, which is basically the same as the 4-night roundtrip cruise, but with two-nights at anchor off Portuguese Island.
MSC Sinfonia will sail 8 Cape Town cruise departures and six roundtrip Cape Town cruises during her South African cruise season, departing the city on May 5th, 2017 for her 21-night re-positioning cruise to Venice, Italy, which has the same itinerary as this year’s re-positioning cruise.
Her Cape Town season consists of four cruises from Cape Town in January (4-nights, 5-nights, 2-nights and 3-nights to Durban respectively) and another set of 4, 2 and 5-night cruises in January. The 2-night cruises are Cape Town’s set of booze cruises, while the four night and five night cruises are the same except that the ship will visit Luderitz in addition to Walvis Bay.
An overriding theme of the South African cruise market, although it has grown strongly in the past decade, is that there is a demand for a greater diversity of cruise destinations. The Indian Ocean is littered with exotic and accessible ports of call, which MSC Cruises used to sail to in the late 90s and early 2000s.