MSC Cruise to Pomene Mozambique: Everything you need to know to have the best holiday
Cruising has been a holiday of choice for families and sunseekers for years, and in South Africa, it is a budget-friendly way of having a holiday out of the country, when travelling overseas is prohibitive for many. So, while you may not be over the seas, you are on the seas and it can feel completely otherworldly.
In an effort to keep the South African cruise market fresh and enticing, MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line company, has added a new destination to their itinerary – the gorgeous island of Pomene in Mozambique, which we recently visited. If you are considering booking an MSC cruise to Pomene, check out our helpful tips to make the most of your Pomene experience.
The Latest Destination – MSC Cruise to Pomene Bay Mozambique
Pomene Bay is an unspoilt area found roughly 600 km north of Maputo and 170 km south of Vilanculos. The location of the bay affords visitors a strip of immaculate beach with the warm Indian Ocean on one side and a pristine natural estuary on the other.
MSC opted to take over what was previously Pomene Lodge and have created an island pitstop for cruising guests and they have done an incredible job.
If you haven’t cruised before, it can be a little overwhelming at first but you have to put it into perspective. The MSC Sinfonia can accommodate up to around 2600 guests, and being that you are contained within a ship, you will be seeing your fellow travellers a lot. It would be much the same if you booked into one of the city’s largest hotels for a few days and you were all entertained and dined in the hotel for the duration of the stay. It’s a lot of people and the scale of the task to feed and entertain this group of people is monolithic, but the MSC team have it down pat.
What to Expect on your MSC cruise to Pomene
As with many package holiday deals, on a cruise, your meals are all included but you will pay for your drinks (there is a voucher system which is a more cost-effective way to plan if you have a budget). Also, one of the biggest appeals, especially if you are travelling with kids, is the entertainment factor. MSC has a dedicated entertainment team that work around the clock to keep kids and adults busy and having fun.
From babies to pre-teens and teenagers, there is a schedule of events every day, as well as trained minders to watch over young ones (minders in the créche are trained nurses).
The Doremi Splash Park is safe and will keep kids entertained for hours.
Adults are not forgotten though, and every day, an internal newsletter will be delivered to your cabin detailing shows, games and entertainment happening for the day.
A Quieter MSC Cruise Experience
We’re all different, of course, and we like to holiday in different ways. For some, being entertained 24-7, being able to meet new people and taking part in group activities is the ideal way to let loose. For others though, you may prefer a less inclusive version, where you work on your tan in relative quiet and have a bit of a luxury tropical island experience. This is possible if you know what to do.
Deck 13 on the MSC Sinfonia
If like us, you’re after that more peaceful and relaxing cruise, there are ways to do that. The MSC Sinfonia has Deck 13, a private solarium area complete with loungers, extra towels and what we dubbed, ‘pods’ – spherical bed with comfy mattresses that offer a shaded spot to lie back and read or tan. There is an extra cost to this, so you need to budget that in (it’s totally worth it).
Booking into a balcony cabin is another way to maximise your quiet time, if the busy pool area becomes too much, you can retire to your room and put your feet up and relax, still with a stunning ocean view.
Dial it back at the Aurea Spa
The Aurea Spa onboard is another area that you can book into for a little quiet time. They offer a range of relaxing treatments but if you’re not up for that, the thermal spa is a wonderful option. There are several steam and sauna rooms, rain showers and amazing heated seats with one of the best views over the open ocean on the ship.
What to do on the Island of Pomene Mozambique
If you’ve booked on the MSC cruise to Pomene, then your intent must be to disembark and spend the day on the island. MSC have developed the area into a beautiful island playground and there are plenty of things on offer.
Beautiful palm tree-lined and thatched decked areas with loungers provide ample shade.
There is a large pool area, the deck of which overlooks the estuary side of the island. The fine white sand and thatched umbrellas on the beach side will make you feel as though you have been transported to some far-flung tropical destination.
For us Capetonians, the notion of frolicking in warm water was almost too much to bear, so we headed straight across the scorching white sand and into the blue waters of the Indian Ocean and then spent the rest of the day between the bar, the BBQ lunch buffet and the soaking up sunny rays.
Excursions at Pomene Mozambique
To make the most of your MSC cruise to Pomene experience, you must book in for one of the day excursions offered. These range from snorkeling to a guided mangrove tour, an ocean safari, or a step back in time to visit some of the island’s ruins. If you’re after that aforementioned more secluded and luxurious escape, then book a private cabana for up to six, complete with snacks and drinks.
However you chose to spend your day in Pomene, you will no doubt find it impossible not to be caught up by the island vibe.
Palm trees sway in the gentle breeze, the smell of coconutty tanning oil pervades the air and the sunny, tropical warmth envelopes you like a hug from a good friend.
Tips to help you to make the best of your MSC Cruise to Pomene
>> Order a shuttle, uber or taxi to take you to the terminal, parking is limited and remember that 2000 odd other people are going to be making their way there too. Being dropped at the door is much more efficient.
>> If you have the budget, pay for priority onboarding, it does make the process at the terminal swifter. If you are travelling with kids or anyone elderly, it makes it a whole lot easier.
>> It may seem obvious but pack good sunscreen and reapply often. Even when the temperature is mild, the deck of the boat is like a giant solar panel and you will undoubtedly spend more time in the sun during the hottest times of the day than you normally would. There is no way to fix skin burnt on day one and you want to be able to enjoy the rest of your holiday. Look after your skin, you have to live in it for the rest of your life.
>> Take motion sickness tablets with you just in case you feel like you may be a little wobbly. But just be aware that generally, they make you drowsy.
>> Drink a lot of water, it will keep sun (and alcohol) induced dehydration at bay. This is especially important if you feel like you haven’t quite got your sea legs yet, dehydration can make it worse. Drinking cocktails in the sun all day sounds amazing but a hangover-dehydration combo is not fun.
>> Consider buying the drinks voucher packages sold prior to travel and onboard. The vouchers are usually discounted and if you are travelling with kids you can give them each a booklet to use themselves.
>> Make use of the fact that you can order coffee and pastries to your cabin in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day and is offered as a free service.
>> When you first get on board it will be disorientating to find your cabin as a lot of the hallways look the same. Map the quickest route from your cabin to the pool deck and restaurants, so that you don’t spend all your time finding your way around.
>> If you’re into fitness, jogging the deck is a great way to get a workout in with fresh sea air in your lungs. A jogging trail with distance has been marked on the deck. There is of course also the gym area which also has a fab view (and aircon!).
>> Be smart about how much you eat. It’s a known fact that mass consumption takes place aboard ships. That could be because food is on offer pretty much 24-hrs a day, or because you’ve been dieting incessantly to get into that bikini, or because it’s just there in huge quantities. Whatever the reason, a lot of eating takes place. My suggestions would be to definitely pick Italian options (the ships are operated by Italians and there is a definite influence in the food). The curry is a good option, as the chefs have been trained by real-deal Indian chefs from Durbs in the art of curry making. The breads made onboard, cold meats from Italy, cheese and ice cream (also brought in from Italy) are all also wins.
>> Don’t eat more just because it’s there, you still have to fit into that cozzie and there is also nothing worse than a gut full of rich food if you haven’t quite got your sea legs.
>> Make sure you disembark for the day trip to Pomene, it is beautiful and the chance to swim in the ocean and explore the island should not be missed.
>> Book a shore excursion. You only live once!
>> Lastly, never mention the T-word (*whispers* Titanic) onboard. It’s considered bad luck and not good cruise etiquette.
Ready to book your MSC cruise to Pomene? Get all the details you need at msccruises.co.za
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