First things first, I am obsessed with Sponge Bob’s pineapple house in Bikini Bottom. Plus being a piscean, I naturally love water. So, when an opportunity to take an MSC cruise from Durban to Mozambican islands I jumped at it.
After some tedious boarder procedures, I was excited to set foot on the boat. On the outside, it is beautiful, well kept and its imposing size makes you feel really small. With beautiful hosts welcoming you, you know you’ll be taken care of your entire journey.
Inside, the ship is a 12-storey building that looks and feels like a luxury hotel floating in the sea. I find out that there are nearly 3 000 passengers in this particular journey. My room is on the outer parts of the ship, and comes with a balcony, which is one of the luxury cabins the cruise offers. It’s fully kitted with a queen size bed and another pull out bed in case you’re travelling with kids. The balcony connects you to the water while sitting and taking in the fresh scent of sea and enjoying a conversation with your travel companion. In fact it’s a perfect setting for honeymooners.
But, we are not newlyweds, we are here to swim, party, and eat ourselves silly. And there is no shortage of restaurants to choose from. However the fun is on the top deck, where we watch the horn go off and the ship set sail. It’s the most mesmerising experience. To see something of that proportion start to move in water without feeling a thing, but watching it slowly pull out off the bay.
The top deck is where it’s at. The welcome party is starting and I run to my cabin to put on my swimming garb and sunscreen. When I come back, the party is in full swing. Lovers, friends, and families are on the dance floor shaking it like there’s no tomorrow. And once you embark on the ship, it really feels like there is no tomorrow. You forget everything you left behind on terra firma and your mind gets into holiday mode.
Lil’ones are too excited to sit down, and they immediately jump into the pools, while the rest of us, grab a cocktail and join in the party. The buffet area is open for lunch and drinks and there are many bars around as well. You can chill and relax under the shaded areas or choose to soak in the sun on the upper deck.
I then become Dorah The Explora and go downstairs to explore. I find out out that there are many floors and I do a walkabout, get lost a few times, but thankfully there’s always help around when you need it.
Soon, restaurants open for dinner and I meet up with my colleagues who are travelling with me at one of the beautiful restaurant. Though formal, the waiters entertain and interact with us. We all enjoy an a la carte meal and copious amounts of wine.
In the five days on board, the ship begins to feel like a small floating city. On the second night, we venture to new places we haven’t seen, and we are beckoned by a fun dance group where an instructor teaches you moves to go with the music. The sound of music from a cocktail lounge not so far lures us away. And to my surprise my most favourite fun thing do is happening here – Karaoke! It is on now! The performances are fun and hilarious. And we meet a group of friends whom we hang out with during the entire journey.
A few days later we decide to hit the club on the deck, and the scene is the same as in any club. DJs playing amazing music (and to hear local music in international waters and see staff from all over the world dancing to it is nothing short of amazing). Drinks are flowing and that extra added viewing deck outside makes this particular night out special.
We make a point not to leave the ship without seeing at least one show in the theatre. So, the next night, the whole squad makes their way to the theatre, and are wowed by the Burlesque-esque type of show we see. It is fun and the talent is amazing.
Once we reach the island, smaller boats take us ashore and landing on the pristine Mozambican island is a treat for the eye. Various activities, and excursions are on the menu and you can take your pick and go snorkeling, do water activities, explore the markets or just lounge and enjoy a buffet lunch or a braai.
It’s like a little paradise that makes your mind wonder if you could actually pack up and come to live here! The warm Indian ocean waters against the soft sands might convince you to stay forever. But, too much of a good thing can be bad, so we hang on to our little piece of paradise while we head back to the ship for the journey back home. And once on board we do it all again. Floating our way back we take it easy, enjoying the sun, and nurturing the friendships we’ve made by partying together every moment we get. Until we are woken up by the fresh smell of the bay again as the ship comes to dock a few days later. Feeling refreshed, we all head home with beautiful memories forever entrenched in our minds.