Countdown to MSC Orchestra arriving in Durban:
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Earn exclusive SouthAfrica.TO cruise vouchers by emailing us a review and photographs of your cruise from Durban.
Cape Town has the mountain, but Durban has the warm water :) Enjoy island cruises from Durban to Portuguese Island, Inhaca, Pomene, Reunion or Mauritius; or to Cape Town and Maputo (there are no longer cruises to Madagascar, as the new and bigger MSC Musica doesn't fit in their harbour). It's not ready for bookings yet, but over New Year at the end of 2020 there'll be a 12 night cruise from Durban to the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius. You have the choice of 2 ships that you can book cruises from Durban on: MSC Orchestra (debut season in SA) and Ponant Yacht Cruises Le Lyrial. Early bookings get up to 40% discounts.
Newsflash : Buy 2 Get 2 Free* (mandatory fees only) Sale. Limited Availability - check if there still is on departures 27 Jan, 31 Jan, 3 Feb, 7 Feb, 10 Feb, 14 Feb, 24 Feb, 2 March, 9 March, 13 March, 16 March, 27 March and 1 April 2020.
To get a cruise quotation from Durban please fill in the form below - the questions have been especially tailored so as to enable our cruise experts to find the best cruise special for you. Navigeer na Ritsgids se Durban bootreise webblad om die Afrikaanse weergawe van die blad to sien (email email@example.com if you're experiencing difficulties).
There are Durban cruises to Mozambique (Portuguese Island, Maputo and Pomene), Nowhere, La Possession (Reunion), Cape Town, Port Louis (Mauritius) and destinations in Europe. Popular routes are:
Durban to Reunion (La Possession)
Durban to Mauritius (Port Louis)
MSC Cruises South Africa operates boat trip along all the above routes. There are also the occasional cruises from other liners, like Silversea. There are no longer cruises from Durban to Ilha de Mozambique or to Madagascar.
Durban cruises are known to be the best in South Africa because of their favourable weather conditions (unfortunately cruises from Cape Town suffer the curse of the prevailing south-easterly wind), the warm waters of the Indian Ocean (compared to the chilly waters around Cape Town) and quality destinations - think beautiful Indian Ocean island destinations and sun-drenched beaches of Mozambique.
26 January 2018. Hapag & Lloyd Cruises' MS EUROPA 2 arrives in Durban from Port Elizabeth, and en-route to Mossel Bay.
6 November 2017. The first ever cruise from Durban to Pomene, on the MSC Sinfonia.
12 June 2015 - The MSC Sinfonia, no longer able to dock at Fort Dauphin in Madagascar due to her increased length, will set sail for a new destination instead, the Ilha de Mozambique. The first cruise to this new destination takes place from the 21st to the 28th of December 2015. The second cruise will take place from the 8th to the 15th of February 2016.
6 March 2014 - Durban harbour & King Shaka Airport are under increased security arrangements as a result of recent drug busts.
1 Mar 2014 - The MSC Sinfonia sets sail from Durban, saying its final goodbyes to the Port of Durban, where she's spent several seasons giving passengers oodles of joy on her cruise to Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and Mozambique. In the 2014/2015 cruise season she won't be returning, but rather the MSC Opera will be the sole ship coming to SA.
10 Feb 2014 - MSC Cruises has upgraded the facilities on the Portuguese Island, increasing the size of the buffet area, introducing sports facilities, a larger bar area and a play area for the children. New and exciting shore excursions have been arranged for the island, including more water sports activities.
22 May 2013 - The top 6 cruises from Durban
20 November 2012 - The MSC Opera arrives in Durban for the first time.
From Dec 2010 to Feb 2011 there were some MSC Melody Durban cruises.
14 November 2016: Rating 5/5: "We were on an MSC cruise in April 2016 for four nights. What a fantastic experience! There was nothing about this cruise that could get a bad review, as there was more than enough to do... more than enough to eat... what great food and drinks!... enough fun and enough time to relax. Friendly staff all round. We bought a drinks package and this was good value for money and also the internet package worked so well. I pre-ordered a bottle of bubbly for our room, and this was there when we arrived and a big surprise to my husband. Will I go again and recommend this? Oh yes!" Hanlie De Wit
22 February 2016: Rating 4/5: "My friend is to be married in March 2016 and so had her bachelorette party on a MSC Cruise from Durban in January 2016. We had an amazing time on the cruise. The staff were super friendly, entertaining and helpful. There was always plenty to do on-board and so we were never bored. Since my experience with MSC, my husband and I are planning to have our honeymoon on the ship. We are very much looking forward to it." Alyssa Balwanth
13 May 2015: Rating 5/5: "A sea-cruise? Oh well, I did not really feel like it, but the ladies in my wateraerobics class were adament...we must go! Some of them have been before and they insisted: it’s cheap, it’s grand, it’s wonderful, it’s idyllic, and so they badgered and cajoled until we booked...and started counting the “slapies” - a full 265 of them! We downloaded pictures of the MSC Opera and the islands and posted it on our Whats App group, we downloaded deck plans, and the bar lists and menus. We bought drinks packages and exchanged our rands for dollars. We downloaded maps for our destinations, especially Maputo, all in all we practically reached fever-pitch a week before our departure date! We went our separate ways towards Durban, and only met on the wonderful Opera at 17h00 as pre-arranged...and we had an absolute, unforgettable ball!"
"We danced every single night with the delightful and sexy dancing instructors teaching us, we fell about during the sailing-away party until we found our wobly sea-legs, and we thoroughly enjoyed the tropical evening, dancing until 01h20...We had cocktails, too many to count (and my sister and I, not being big drinkers, sometimes had the zero-proofs without telling anyone, so they thought we could really guzzle all those beautiful drinks without being the worse for wear!) We had smoothies from the ice-cream bar, we lounged like rich bitc#@s on the upper deck, sipping from a tall glass and contemplating life in its unsoiled and unspoiled splendour from the top of the gloriously beautiful ship, with a cool sea breeze ruffling our hair and funky music sounding from the deck as background."
"We attended every show, and breathtaking they were, with the Bollywood one my personal favourite! Lights out for 1 second and bang, there is an elephant on the stage!! And of course, we roared with laughter with the one and only Stephen Cloete, who had us laughing so much during the late-evening show that I nearly fell off my chair! We attended the quizzes, and every evening decided we are going to the disco, but that never realised, we either danced in the bar, partied on the deck, attended shows, visited with our friends, and before we could believe it it was, once again, after 01h00, and we had te retire to our luxurious and comfortable cabin to catch our beauty sleep before the next hectic wonderful day. (We are, after all, not spring chickens anymore!) Never in my life was I more grateful for my short hair...there simply was no time to do my hair, too many things awaited: sunrise, a jog on the track, a quick gym session before starting the day with the lovely croissants and real filter coffee...excursions to Maputo, to the tropical paradises of Portuguese Island and especially Inhaca, and the restful day slowly cruising back within sight of the ever-changing coastline. We adored the rocking motion of the big Opera, which made for very sound sleeping. And we ate...delightful meals, absolutely devine pastries, breads and pizzas, lovely fruit and food indigenous to the places we visited! The ship newspaper with all the stuff we could do for the next day we had to read in the privacy of a small place...there simply was no other time to read it!!"
"And then, too soon, it was Friday and we came into Durban harbour...and we felt like crying. My sister and I were standing on the deck, and we started saying goodbye to our favourite places, the back of the ship on our deck (deck 9, where the water rushed out and away, leaving a white trail in the blue water..., and the upper deck with the sun rising over the sea...and we stood there with tears in our eyes...and woved: we are coming back: 2017 we are doing it again! It will take us 2 years to save enough to go on a 7 day cruise, because there is so much that we must still do...visit the library, take a chance in the casino, go for a relaxing bali massage, learn how to fold napkins properly, really go dancing in the disco, go for coffee in the afternoon, eating in the bars and not only at the buffet and in “our” restaurant, trying even more cocktails and drinks, and sitting inside the lounges during the day...which we did only once, when we boarded the ship!!"
"So you will see our names on the booking lists in the future, because we must be lulled to sleep again, and watch the sun setting and rising over the ocean, we must dance under the stars once more, and feel free, safe, privilidged and spoiled again...thank you MSC Opera, and like Arnold Schwarzenegger said in Terminator1: I will be back!!". Alta Landman
06 January 2015: Rating 4.5/5: "On the 8th to the 12th of December 2014, I went on a cruise to Portuguese islands and Inhaca islands, when checking in at Durban port ,the procedure took so long as I had to wait for almost an hour to get through but it was worth waiting for ,as the moment I entered that paradise hall , I knew that I belonged there, ,as I was welcomed by friendly cruise attendants,who explained every little thing I needed to know sufficiently. To top it all safety was enforced by the crew by demonstrating to us how to use life jackets in case of an emergency, and also our safety spots to rush to during the emergency alarm moments. The entertainment life is so fabouuuloous on that ship as it caters for all age groups, oow I even won the brains of the day award on the 8th of December 2014 during the daily afternoon quiz session. I am very certain that my next cruise I am taking my husband, mom, mom in law, brothers, my three kids as kids cruise for free and so much fun for them with the love showered by cruise attendants during their activities. Thank you MSC cruise team for a wonderful experience". Botho Seitshiro.
02 December 2013: Rating 4.5/5: Kerin really enjoyed her MSC Sinfonia cruise to Mozambique, despite an itinerary change due to bad weather.
22 September 2013 : Rating 3/5 : The last cruise I was on was in January 2013 to Maputo. It was supposed to be to Portuguese islands but we missed that and we spent a day just in reach of Maputo, but could not get off due to the weather. The following day we therefore went to Maputo and then straight back home. So we spent 3 days at sea and one day at port and that was it. And the funny thing is that just the previous December I was on the same ship on the New Years cruise to Mauritius and what was meant to be 3 days on the sunny island ended in a few hours only. So both my trips were very traumati. Even the staff asked what do I do for a living as I was cruising back to back almost. Hoping that his cruise will change my mind about cruising and I'm sure some cruise vouchers will ease the pain. Hope third time lucky to actually see what I'm going to see. Mary-Ann Warries.
30 August 2013 : Antonia and family cruise from Durban to Maputo on the MSC Sinfonia, dancing the night away, and visiting the buzzing market.
14 August 2013 : Rating 5/5 : My wife and I got married on 12 January 2013. Our dream honeymoon was to take a cruise ship from Durban, up the east coast of Africa. I contacted South Africa Travel Online for a quote and was pleasantly surprised with the speed at which I was contacted. I received great service and prices from Victor Bunjira, who did all the admin work quickly and professionally with a great attitude. A couple of days before we were to set of for the cruise I realised that I didn't save the e-tickets on my personal laptop we were taking with us. I called Victor, all stressed out, and he helped immediately and sent me the tickets. The cruise was an amazing experience for us, and something that we will never forget! All in all I received great service and I would definitely make use of the services of South Africa Travel Online again! Thank you for everything! Henko Spangenberg
4 August 2013 : Rating 4/5 : "Hi potential shipmates. Why don't you experience the most wonderful vacation ever. 31 January 2013 we departed on our third cruise that was organised in ten days. Thank you MSC for your professional service. We took our teenage daughters with - they were sixteen and we only paid port taxes. Needless to say they are hooked too and can't wait for our next cruise. We boarded a Mango flight to Durban at Oliver Tambo Airport. Comment: Flights two days before or after a cruise are often cheaper than flights on the the day cruises depart so why not stay over in Durban for a night or two. When the flight landed at King Shaka we just made the last bus to the ship. Comment : Next time we will use the shuttle service from the airport it costs R70 p/p. When we arrived at the boarding bay we were told that we are not cruising to Madagascar because there was a cylone. So our destination was the same as our previous cruise. Comment: You get a discount voucher if the Port of destination change. Get your discount voucher on the ship , no one told us an although we tried for weeks afterwards we could not get the voucher. We loved our cabin with a big window. The previous cruises we had an inside cabin. Comment: Get some motion sickness tablets at Clicks - it works perfectly and costs R29. Drink one before you board the ship. We went for a quick tour of the ship. Joined the departure party and did the emergency drill. Back to our cabin to get ready for the evening programme. Believe me the cabin is big enough for four ladies to shower, do hair and get dressed for the evening session. We went to the Bingo show, the concert, the lounge and the disco and then to bed for a few hours sleep. We went to shore at the Portuguese Island on the last boat because the sea was rough, an experience in itself. The sea and the sun is wonderful and MSC holds a great Italian braai on the shore. No boerewors or chops rather sausage and patties. Our motto: Do everything! Don't try to diet! The food was even better than the previous year and we enjoyed the exotic foods like turkey, duck and Indian food. Comment: Don't forget extra money for the beautiful photos, it is expensive but absolutely worth it. Bring basic medication, a headache pill can cost you a few dollars. The whole experience is like a fairytale. Leave everything behind and just focus on enjoying yourself. So relaxing to enjoy a few worryless days. This is a life changing experience." Marlene Heyns
2013. Samantha spends hardly any time in her cabin on her MSC Durban cruise - the guys travelling with her were lucky enough to meet up with the captain below deck and play cards with him!
2013. Anthea takes her kids on an MSC Opera cruise for the first time, and they lap it up, enjoying the poolside, theatre, dancing, jacuzzis and the splendour of the ship: "I have grown addicted to cruising and already looking at what my next route would be. The staff, service and everything about MSC is of such a calibre that no one wanted to leave".
2013. Craig heads off with the Mrs for a 25th anniversary cruise on the Sinfonia to Mauritius, Madagascar & Reunion: His adventures included bumping into a couple of sailor girls at Durban Harbour, and getting roped in as a wedding photographer.
2013. Ingrid & Eddie sail from Durban to Portuguese Island: "Eddie was in hospital for 1 week in July and 2 weeks in September… all I have to say is he made it, by the grace of God he is still here today and this trip was to celebrate life!"
2013. Nisha & Riaaz cruise from Durban to Inhambane: "As nature lovers and people who appreciate the beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants, we were in absolute euphoria. With increased jubilation, we decided to swim in the cool blue waters of the shores of Inhambane Bay".
2013. Fairouza wins a Sinfonia cruise from Durban as a work incentive: "I’m saving every penny as I wish to take my family along on my next cruise. The 1st words from my hubby on my return at the airport was: ”Did you ever sleep?” I must confess I hardly slept there was just so much to do."
2012. Amanda cruises from Durban to Mauritius on the MSC Sinfonia with her family. We particularly liked this feedback: "I stumbled across the SouthAfrica.TO website, made an enquiry and got the best deal of my life! More helpful & professional will be hard to find!"
2010. Here's a review of a cruise from Durban on the MSC Sinfonia, by Chelna Mare, just after she started working at South Africa Travel Online.
South Africa has 3 ports which have been nominated for the 25 annual World Travel Awards in the 'Africa and Indian Ocean leading cruise port for 2018', Durban port being one of them. The port has seen over 180 000 passengers in the year of 2017 through 56 vessel calls. Durban has one of the busiest ports in Africa and can also be seen as home for MSC ships here in South Africa. For the 2017/2018 cruise season, Durban will be welcoming the MSC Musica for the first time. The MSC Musica is even larger than the MSC Sinfonia which has retired from South African waters and ventured on to Europe. The difference is size might due to and expectation of an increase in number of passengers based on the 173% increase in number of passengers accommodated by the port in 2017 as compared to 10 years before.
The Port of Durban is the busiest in South Africa and has the largest container terminal in the southern hemisphere. It's common to see ships waiting outside the harbour for their turn to enter.
Ships are guided (piloted) in and out of the harbour by a guide. Pilotage of ships into and out of the Port of Durban is compulsory. The pilot is picked up by helicopter from the ship once it has been guided out of the port. Alternatively, for ships entering the port, a helicopter drops the pilot off on the ship before it enters the port - the rendezvous point is 3 nautical miles north-east of the habour's entrance.
The port serves not only Durban, but is also used as a point from which to transport goods to and from Gauteng, the economic hub of South Africa. The Port of Durban is run by Transnet National Ports Authority. A major initiative being looked at is developing a dig-out port where the old Durban International Airport was located (south of Durban), and moving the single buoy mooring oil loading facility.
Cruise ships berth outside N Shed, T-Jetty, at the dedicated passenger terminal facility. In addition to cargo and cruises, there are also quays for commercial fishing boats at the Silt Channel & Maydon Wharf and marinas for yachting.
A new terminal is being built, and recently Transnet announced that a JV between the Africa Armada Consortium (30% ownership) & MSC Cruises SA (70% ownership) has been announced as the preferred bidder (their JV is called "KwaZulu Cruise Terminal") - they've quoted R100m for the job. Africa Armada Consortium is a BEE company. It is expected that the new terminal will be operational by October 2019, and that KwaZulu Cruise Terminal will be granted a 25 year concession to operate the terminal.
Most passengers who are cruising with MSC book their shuttle service between the airport and the port. We have found that for groups of 3 or more it's more cost effective to book with Uber.
There's a large car park at Durban harbour where cruise passengers can leave their vehicles whilst they enjoy their boat trip.
As you leave the Port of Durban and head north you'll pass Richards Bay - keep an eye out for loads of ships ferrying coal from South Africa to India and China - it's quite a sight to behold.
Durban offers perfect beach weather all year round even when the rest of the country is freezing! So the number one thing to do while you are in Durban is head to the beach for a day of fun in the sun. The famous North beach stretch is great for surfing and swimming and also offers some great spots to eat and drink with a view of the sea. Within walking distance is uShaka Marine World which is a must visit for families. Here the kids (and young at heart) can enjoy loads of fun water slides as well as dolphin and seal shows and an aquarium.
Adventure seekers should be sure to visit the Moses Mabhida Stadium which hosted some 2010 soccer world cup matches. Here, visitors can try out the SkyCar ride to the top of the stadium's arch to enjoy spectacular views of Durban. The stadium also boasts the world's only stadium Big Swing which is not for the faint hearted.
If you are feeling lucky, visit the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World to try your hand at some gambling. For the shopaholics, Gateway Theatre of shopping will not disappoint.
Durban is famous for its curries so make sure you don't leave without trying one!
Hola! Thank you for reading to the bottom of the page :) Hopefully you now have all the info you require to book your cruise from Durban (with us, of course) - if not, then please pop us a question in the comment box below (in fact drop us a note anyway, we love it when clients say hello). And remember, please take lots of photos of your cruise and email some to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (we just love it when clients share their adventures). Ciao. Wishing you blue skies and calm waters.
Author : Rob Baker (mostly)