MSC Cruises is going even bigger in South Africa for the 2023/24 cruise season, deploying its newer and larger cruise ship MSC Splendida to replace MSC Orchestra.
Between November, 2023 and March, 2024, MSC Splendida will homeport in Durban, sailing roundtrip itineraries to destinations in the Indian Ocean.
These voyages will last between 2 and 14 nights, visiting Inhaca Island near Maputo, Pomene Bay in Mozambique and Mauritius.
MSC Cruises has yet to reveal the full cruise itineraries on offer, but has indicated that MSC Splendida will cruise roundtrip from both Durban and Cape Town during the season, just as MSC Orchestra is doing this year.
From Cape Town, she’ll sail a range of cruises to Walvis Bay in Namibia and Mossel Bay in South Africa. There are a total of 35 scheduled cruises from South Africa, according to MSC.
“MSC Splendida will take cruising in South Africa to the next level and her deployment further demonstrates our commitment to help drive both the country’s tourism industry and the cruising sector with a resultant positive economic impact to the nation,” said Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises South Africa.
“The ship will be staffed by nearly 1,400 crew, many of whom will be sourced and trained locally through our own Shosholoza Ocean Academy in Durban,” he added.
MSC Splendida carries 1,000 more passengers than MSC Orchestra at full capacity, and is more than 40,000 gross tons larger in total size.
There are 6 dining rooms, 13 cafes and bars, 5 pools, and 14 Jacuzzis, in addition to a full-size spa, gym and beauty salon, two-deck theatre, 4D Cinema, adventure zones for toddlers, children and teens, a retail area and more.
The ship is so big, it has its own bowling alley, and incidentally the bowling alley’s Sports Bar serves free burgers and sandwhiches 24 hours, while the cafe next door to the smoking bar serves croissants and sandwhiches for free throughout the day.
Cruise Arabia & Africa cruised aboard MSC Splendida during a recent Dubai cruise season and wrote a full write up about the ship here.
While MSC Splendida is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in South Africa for the full cruise season, she won’t represent an increase in capacity for South Africa’s cruise sector unless MSC Cruises continues the practice of deploying one ship to both Durban and Cape Town.
At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether MSC Splendida will be homeporting on her own or alongside another MSC ship.