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Cruise to Mozambique

"I'd like to spend some time in Mozambique, the sunny sky is aqua blue." ~ Bob Dylan (Mozambique)

sunny 30 °C
View Cruise to Mozambique on Anja Fourie's travel map.

All the videos from this trip can be viewed on Youtube: MSC Sinfonia Mozambique

On a humid day in Durban, South Africa, we arrive at Durban Harbour ready to board the MSC Sinfonia. The MSC Sinfonia was built in 2002, with 9 passengers decks (12 in total), and a length of 252 metres. She is one of the newest ships in the MSC fleet and cost approximately $245 million to complete and furnish.

As we arrive at the port, we can only see the ship peeking out from behind the waiting hall. The next few hours are made up of waiting and some more waiting. Passengers are sent to the waiting hall, a hell of people, heat and humidity, to wait for their numbers to be called out. As soon as your number is called, you can proceed to the next part where passport check and hotel check-in happens.

1. MSC Sinfonia and the Waiting Hall
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As all food is included on this cruise, so the first thing we do as we hop onboard, is head down to lunch. The weather is a bit cloudy, but this does not make Durban lose any of its humid charm. After lunch, we head to the top deck to view the ship leaving Durban harbour. A crowd of people are already dancing on the deck as they introduce the so-called "Dream Team", the entertainment staff and take the crowd through music from the different countries onboard.

2. Leaving Durban Harbour
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3. MSC Sinfonia Stern
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As all food is included on this cruise, it should be no suprise that a massive amount of eating was done. With two buffet meals, a formal dinner at night and burger and pizza snacks between meals, no one will go hungry on this cruise.

4. Eating and drinking..that is all
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5. The Kardashians?
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The Christmas Cruise is a six night cruise from Durban Harbour up the east coast of South Africa towards Mozambique. Our first night onboard we had a formal dinner and introduction to the crew and captain. We all dressed up into our formal outfits and made our way to the ship's theater.

6. Formal Time
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In the theater, champagne and snacks were served. The captain came down the stairs to a very Afrikaans song, called Kaptein by Kurt Darren. The song name means Captain in Afrikaans, and has apparently become Captain Ciro Pinto's favourite song.

7. The Captain and his Crew
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The first port of call for the MSC Sinfonia on this cruise, was Inhambane. This is a city located about 470km northeast of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. As there is no harbour to speak of, the ship docks a distance away into the ocean. Boats are then taken to shore. You climb off into the waves and everyone and everything gets wet as you somehow fall off the boat and into deeper water than you expected. Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast of Mozambique as Muslim traders already inhabited this area as early as the 11th century.

The resort on the beach was called Barra Lodge and is situated on Barra Beach. Scuba diving is very popular in this area as Manta Rays, Whale Sharks and Turtles are plentiful in these waters. We opted for no exploring and rather chose a day of relaxing on the beach.

8. Inhambane / Barra Lodge Beach
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The weather in Mozambique was boiling, with beaches so hot they gave you blisters under your feet. As a result I burned into a crisp and couldn't even stand being out in the sun. Me, deck chair, wet orange towels to make sure no sun gets to me, and lots of shade was how I spent my next day.

9. Orange Towel Baby
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10. Christmas aboard the Sinfonia
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At the end of the trip, all bags are to be placed in the hallways at a certain time. The baggage checkers will then proceed to remove your bags and take them down ready to be taken off the ship. All the hallways were crowded with bags as people scrambled to get them out by their specific times and also to have all the necessary clothes out for the next day. In the morning, we had our last breakfast and then proceded to wait yet again in for our numbers to be called out so we could leave the ship.

11. Waiting Bags and Just Waiting
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Before leaving to go home, we had one day in Durban. We spent this day visiting Ushaka Marine World and seeing the Dolphin Show. Durban was wet, but unfortunately still humid and sticky.

12. Durban and Dolphin Show
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13. Finally Home - Cape Town International
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Posted by Anja Fourie 21:35 Archived in Mozambique Tagged ocean ship cruise summer heat white_sand maputo mozambique sinfonia inhambane portuegese_islands Comments (1)

Ahoy Mateys!

Embarking on the Grandeur of the Seas

sunny 29 °C
View Mediterranean Cruise on Anja Fourie's travel map.

While waiting for the taxi to arrive I sit outside the hotel on the little wall and do some people-watching. Men wear small speedos and women only wear bikinis as they walk down the road. Liberal Europeans are definitely not afraid to show their bodies.

1. I am half-naked on the street and I can, because I am European
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At 11am the taxi arrives at the port. I go through the security check and board the ship. I look at the ship map and quickly take the lift up to Deck 9 where the spa is situated. This is where Laraine works. She takes me down to the room, but it is not long before she calls me up again. Having a friend who works in the spa does have its benefits. On the first day of the cruise, they have demonstrations and a tour of the spa for the guests. She arranges that I be the girl who the facials are demonstrated on. Turns out, it's a hot stone massage and I'll only covered with a little towel while guests have a look at the spa. But... it's a free hot stone massage. I'll take it.

The dry, salty air does work a number on your skin. Sometimes your skin feels really dry and sometimes it feels sticky from the sea air. The key on a cruise: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

2. Laraine hard at work in the Spa
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3. Some cathedral in Majorca you could see from the ship
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4. The ship's centrum (fancy word for the middle open part)
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5. More of Majorca from the ship
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On the first day I watch the ship leave the harbour and explore the different decks. If you walk in the opposite direction than what the ship is cruising in, it feels like the ship is moving at the speed of light. N At 9pm, the sun is still high in the sky. I also have no sign of motion sickness yet. I have a stronger stomache than I thought.

Next stop: Cannes/Monte Carlo

Posted by Anja Fourie 18:56 Archived in Spain Tagged sunset ship cruise fruit spa cannes ice_cream burger monte_carlo grandeur facial Comments (3)

The Year of the Cruise

semi-overcast 22 °C
View Argentina Trip on Anja Fourie's travel map.

On the 1st of April 2006, we enter Republica Argentina. It's the middle of the night. Sleep deprived and a little on edge, my family of four arrives at our hotel. It's my 17th birthday and I just received the first stamp in my brand new passport. The bright lights of Buenos Aires bounce off the Obelisco and I can't be more excited to finally be in South America.
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My brother, Etienne and I, at the Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires (3 April 2006).

In the words of Ernesto (Motorcycle Diaries): "How is it possible that I feel nostalgia for a world that I never knew?"

That was my first taste of foreign soil and it fueled my passion for exploring the world. Now, 5 years later, my worldly travels can finally continue.

MMXI, 2011. The Chinese year of the Rabbit. United Nations has designated 2011 the International Year of Forests and the International Year of Chemistry. Pantone predicts Honeysuckle (or Pink) will dominate our colour charts this year. For me, this is Anja's Year of the Cruise. With two cruises in my wake, my worldly travels will be continued on the water and not on land.

As a little girl, I watched Leonardo freeze to death and drown, while Kate desperately clings to a piece of debris. Titanic, the movie that cruise nightmares are made of, never awakened the spirit of cruise ship travel in me. This year I will undertake two cruises and my paranoia about ocean travel has been replaced by pure excitement.

In June 2011, I will be paying a visit to a friend who is a crewmember upon the Grandeur, a ship that is part of the Royal Caribbean fleet. From 26 June to 10 July, this ship will be docking in some of the most amazing ports in the Mediterranean. From Spain to France to Italy. My ticket has been bought and slowly the reality of this solo trip is sinking in. With 3 months to go, my day of departure can not come fast enough and my excitement can barely be contained.

Then, in December 2011, our family of four, will yet again undertake a brilliant holiday. We will be cruising with the MSC Sinfonia up the East coast of South Africa to Mozambique. Departing from Durban, the MSC Sinfonia will stop at the Portuguese Islands and Barra Lodge. This Christmas Cruise will be nothing, but amazing.

Hopefully, the Year of the Cruise, will be followed by the Year of Amazing Travel.

Posted by Anja Fourie 06:37 Tagged cruise flags argentina buenos_aires plaza_de_mayo obelisk Comments (0)

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