MSC Cruises has announced a new cruise destination on its South African cruise itineraries out of Durban.
The new marine safari and resort destination of Pomene Bay, Mozambique, was visited by passengers aboard MSC Sinfonia for the first time during the 2017 cruise season.
We’d already mentioned the addition of Pomene Bay when we announced that MSC Cruises was replacing Sinfonia with the much larger MSC Musica, but now MSC Cruises have let us know a bit more about the cruise destination and what it offers for South African cruise passengers.
Ross Volk, MSC Cruises’ country manager South Africa said: “The addition of Pomene Bay will give guests more reasons to cruise with MSC Cruises. Portuguese Island represents a day of fun and festivities, Pomene Bay will enhance the cruise experience with an element of tranquillity, serenity and discovery, bringing something fresh and exciting to our itineraries.”
The bay lies adjacent to a remote and unspoiled peninsula, 605km north of Mozambique’s Capital Maputo and 170km south of Vilanculos. The peninsula features its own cruise beach, developed by MSC Cruises for the exclusive use of its passengers on the South African itineraries.
There are unique marine safari experiences on offer and there is also the MSC Pomene Safari Beach Club, with private cabanas and a pool area, which is also exclusively for MSC Cruises guests.
The addition of the cruise beach and its amenities is a reflection of MSC Cruises commitment to innovate and enhance its South African cruise product offering, according to Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman.
“The addition to South African itineraries of Pomene Bay will be a game-changer for cruise holidays in the region,” he said. “It is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to innovation, also when it comes to destinations and guest experiences.”
Vago added that the new cruise beach for South African cruise passengers, would give them access to the kinds of cruise destination features being rolled out by MSC Cruises in other markets, such as the Carbbean, where it is developing the Ocean Kay MSC Marine Reserve.
There is a spa, pool and private beach cabanas for use by MSC Cruises passengers.
“Our vision for creating this unique marine safari experience is to give our guests exclusive access to some of the most beautiful and remote destinations in the world, as we are already doing for example with the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Caribbean,” he said.
“We want guests to discover the rich and varied marine life that inhabits the waters around Pomene Bay within a context that puts the preservation and respect of the local environment as our top, uncompromising priority,” he added.
The establishment of the cruise beach at Pomene Bay is the first phase is a wider plan by the cruise line.
“We hope that in the future we can establish Pomene Bay as an official marine reserve,” says Vago. “In the meantime, we committed to developing its facilities in harmony with the natural surroundings and with a strong environmental focus. We are also working with the local community to ensure a positive, long-term impact.”
MSC Cruises developed this destination with careful consideration of the local ecology and economy and in close cooperation with the local community, according to the cruise line.
Shore excursions on offer include a tour of the Pomene Hotel ruins, and snorkeling and kayaking in the bay.
All construction and refurbishing works have been carried out in a way to protect the environmental integrity of the peninsula and an energy-efficient infrastructure will help put a sustainable operation in place.
There is also a ‘no trash’ policy with all garbage taken back on board and delivered to the adequate port facilities in Durban.
To create a positive economic impact, MSC Cruises has employed local construction firms for the renovation and construction work and will employ local people to operate the shore excursions and other activities, training them where necessary to meet international tourism standards.
The development of Pomene Bay is a small part of MSC Cruises’ unprecedented, R100-billion-plus investment plan, which includes the building of 11 next-generation smart ships, coming into service between 2017 and 2026, as well as the development of the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas.
The latest of these newbuilds, MSC Seaside, was delivered in a major celebration event in late 2017. She heralds an entirely new class of cruise ship in the world fleet, with several first at sea amenities and features.