Whether you’re sailing across the ocean into the sunset on a mega-ship or drifting along a river on a boutique boat, cruising is addictive. Nancy Richards gives her guide to what’s new on-board, as well as her top seven suggestions.
Action-Packed Family Fun
You and your family will experience magic on the MSC Musica. The ship is similar to the MSC Sinfonia, but has a bigger theatre, and more space, balcony cabins and restaurants. It’s visually spectacular, with a three-tier waterfall in the central foyer, a floating semi-transparent piano and a palm-fringed swimming pool. Spend five days and four nights on a trip up the coast from Durban to visit some of Mozambique’s wonders – you’ll be able to disembark for leisurely shore time!
Sailing: From R7 260pps in a four-sleeper inside cabin; kids under 18 cruise for free when sharing the same cabin as their parents. Includes all meals (except at the sushi eatery) and entertainment. Valid till 8 April 2019. To book, visit msccruises.co.za. Cruise regularly departs from Durban (till 8 April 2019).
Following in the footsteps of the rich and famous, the original transatlantic voyage from Southampton in the UK westward to New York aboard Cunard’s iconic Queen Mary 2 is the ultimate spoil – sociable sophisticated, and oh-so relaxed with a royal line-up of activities to fill up every moment. The on-board entertainment ranges from productions in the Royal Court theatre to lessons in astronomy in the full-scale Planetarium, and live music to suit all tastes. This is bound to be an unforgettable passage.
Sailing from R14 889pps for a two-sleeper Britannia Inside stateroom, including all meals, selected soft drinks, room service, port taxes, entertainment. Excludes flights. To book, see whitestar.co.za, and quote ‘M842 Transatlantic’.
What better way to begin your wedded bliss than on a seven-night Honeymoon Cruise in the western Caribbean aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway luxury ship? You’ll begin in sizzling Miami, and then cross the Gulf of Mexico to the tranquil Honduran island of Roatán. Belize is your next port of call – while here, try river tubing in the rainforest at Harvest Caye, the cruise line’s very own private island. On your fifth day, a visit to Costa Maya in Mexico is in store, where expert guides tell tales of pirates while you explore the ancient Mayan ruins. The romantic package will certainly add to your experience, as it includes a romantic dinner for two at the Le Bistro restaurant, as well as a professional portrait.
Sailing from R14 050pps a two-sleeper Inside Stateroom, including all meals, entertainment, the romantic package, port charges and taxes, and US$50 on-board credit per cabin. Excludes flights. See cruiseabout.co.za
Spirit Of Adventure
For the nature-loving traveller, this 12-day Norway expedition aboard Hurtigruten’s MS Trollfjord has been called ‘the most beautiful sea voyage in the world’. It takes you around the craggy coastline of the Norwegian fjords in search of the Northern Lights in winter (October to March) and the midnight sun in summer (April to September). In a trip that starts and finishes in Bergen, see 2 500 nautical miles of spectacular landscape and cross the Arctic twice, with plenty of opportunities to explore quaint Nordic port villages where the Vikings walked. And, as it’s a natural phenomenon, seeing the aurora borealis isn’t guaranteed. So if it doesn’t occur on your journey, the line will offer you free a one-way voyage for a future trip.
Sailing from R21 000pps for two-sleeper cabin, including all meals. Excludes drinks, tips, flights and land arrangements; justcruising.co.za.
Here’s an opportunity to indulge all your passions in one glorious eight-day river cruise on board the Poetry II along the Rhône in the South of France. Starting in Arles, the old-world town where artist Vincent Van Gogh lived for a time, and ending in the gastronomic capital of Lyon, you’ll walk through the Camargue Regional National Park and spot the famous flocks of pink flamingos, or go on a guided tasting tour of an oyster farm. The next day, back in Arles, opt to do a painting workshop in the style of the genius Van Gogh. This cruise is the very best way to savour the flavours of France.
Sailing: Next departs 14 May 2019 from Arles; from R62 199pps in a double Deluxe Stateroom, including all meals, drinks during meal times, selected guided tours, port charge and gratuities. Flights are excluded; see avalonwaterways.co.za.
Aboard the private Zambezi Queen from the Zambezi Queen Collection for just two nights, you’ll slip right into the rhythm of Africa. The wide, wild Chobe River flows between Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and Botswana’s Chobe National Park, both banks boasting some of the densest populations of wildlife on the continent, including the largest number of elephants in the world. The Zambezi Queen, with its 14 suites, is described as a floating five-star hotel – each suite features a lavish double bed, an en-suite bathroom with a shower, cosy gowns and slippers, and world-class interiors designed by SA fashion guru Jenni Button. Unwind on the top deck with binoculars in one hand and a cocktail in the other.
Sailing from R20 011pps for two in a Standard Suite, all-inclusive, with return flights from Joburg, and transfers. To book, see thompsons.co.za.
Luxurious And Magical
Cruises International recently launched their Luxury Collection, an exclusive offering with four of their leading cruise liners in which passengers will be able to visit several countries in one unforgettable trip. Board either the Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Seabourn or AmaWaterways liner and prepare to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here, you will dine in a world-class setting, lap up the incredible Broadway entertainment at sea, and enjoy the lavish scents of the BVLGARI amenities available to all guests. A blissful and luxe excursion awaits!
Sailing: Next 10-day Oceania Cruises liner departs 15 May from Rome; from R62 124pp. To book, see cruises.co.za.