MSC ORCHESTRA lights up Durban Harbour at the official christening or launch.
This went down at the Indian Ocean, on Saturday evening November 16, as the skies cleared to welcome three-thousand guests, trade partners and of course members of the Fourth-Estate, whom many jetted in from all over country.
Damn SAA should be licking their wounds as the strike affected the ailing airline…talk of bad timing!
Back to serious business though: MSC ORCHESTRA was ushered onto the quayside N-Shed Passenger Terminal as traditional dancers and a marimba band entertained embarking and visibly energized passengers.
Her Durban call ended a 29-night itinerary from Genoa in Italy and prior to Durban she had called in Reunion. The ship has been introduced on the local route following the success enjoyed by MSC Cruises with previous vessels including MSC SINFONIA, MSC OPERA and MSC MUSICA.
Yes, security let nothing to slip, so were Immigration Officers, though we were not leaving the shore for another country.
Aboard the MSC ORCHESTRA -after getting lost intentionally- forbidden waters, a lineup of food stations, gym, Spa, and other luxurious items welcomed us on this ‘titanic’ 1,275 cabins ship, that also boast two pools, four Jacuzzis, a tennis court, basketball hoops, a two-story theatre, a wine car, eight bars, etc…
Intentionally because the following cowards: City Press associate editor Rapula Tabane, Mike Ramoroesi (freelance reporter), Njabulo Ngcobo (Daily Sun), Mpho Sibanyoni (Sowetan) and the SABC news reporter, decided we go left and walk right, as lifts played us along. Bloody agents…
But thanks to our hospitable ‘butlers‘ whom many were overseas based, had to run after us directing the ‘lost Souls’ to our cabins, with luggage in-tow.
With 5 different room types to choose from which include the Inside Cabins, the Outside With Partial View Cabins, the Ocean View Cabins, the Balcony Cabins and the luxurious Suites, guests had a chance to select their preferred choice.
Rooms which are ideal for families with children are also available which feature one bedroom and a living area with up to 4 berths.
Angelo Capurro Sales Executive Director and Ross Volk Managing Director MSC Cruises South Africa, gave a down-low on the purpose of the MSC ORCHESTRA landing in SA, why and the increasing number of bookings made, etc.
Says Volk at a media brief: “This is the first time MSC Orchestra is visiting South African shores and we are proud to welcome her to Durban. “South Africans have shown us how much they enjoy cruising, and we know that this beautiful ship will not disappoint.”
With a buffet lunch on the pool deck, cocktails in one of the lounges, and a three-course gala dinner- what would you ask for- its worth paying for!
Award winning Mi Casa and DJs Pascale & Pearce, kept guests on their toes, as they wiggled until wee hours of the Sunday morning -as cocktails to any kinda drink you wanted experience or experiment with- kept flowing like a tap.
During the 2019/20 cruise season which runs from October 2019 until late April 2020, at least 23 luxury cruise ships operated by at least 17 international cruise lines are scheduled to call at the country’s six cruise ports. Of these, the Port of Durban is expected to welcome at least 17 cruise liners.
The port’s 2018/19 cruise season figures were up by 29.4% from 197 382 in 2017/18 to 255 422 in 2018/19.
Durban has held the title of Africa’s Leading Cruise Port for three consecutive years in the World Travel Awards for Africa and Indian Ocean.
MSC Orchestra will conduct cruises in 39 Southern African waters over the next six months, from Pomene, Cape Town, Portuguese Island, Mauritius to Walvis Bay.
In August Volk (fluent in isiZulu) did indicate during media engagement that due to vast interest from tourists, they decided to bring two ships to SA during the 2020/2021 cruise season –namely MSC Opera and MSC Musica.
Recently MSC SA was recognized by the KwaZulu-Natal Government for its role in the development of a KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Consortium (KTC), for having invested over R200m in the project- an important element of a flourishing tourism sector in the province.
The company has invested millions of rands to create job opportunities following the opening of its Shosholoza Ocean Academy in November, which will provide free three-month training courses for young South Africans who qualify through MSC Cruises’ medical requirements.
Those who successfully complete the course will be eligible to be employed on MSC Cruises’ ships across the world. MSC Cruises plans to get 3 000 to 5 000 new placements from South Africa over the next five years, which will bring around R5bn in salaries back to South Africa.
Ok- after an impressive background on future projections on the company- legend has it that what happens on the ship- remains in the Ocean- oops is it me sayin’ all this- is Mo from MiCasa listening?
Image SLM (The interior swimming pool of gigantic and magical MSC ORCHESTRA at the exclusive launch held at Durban Harbour).