My mom and I have wanted to go on an MSC cruise for years, so last year September we decided to make our dream a reality by booking a cruise for March 2015 on the MSC Opera to Mozambique and Madagascar.
Obviously it was fantastic – I loved spending every day in the sun and visiting such exotic places.
But, being Anja, there were many things about the cruise that made me want to hand out a few taaiklappe.
So if you’re thinking of going on a cruise yourself, here are the pros and cons:
1. All meals are included
That’s right, folks. Every single meal of the day is included. In the mornings you can go to the buffet breakfast and get everything from Coco Pops to omelettes.
For lunch you can either go to the restaurant where you’ll receive a 3-course meal, or you can go to the buffet. The same goes for dinner. We had dinner at the restaurant every night, and it was lovely to dress up after a day of living in a bikini.
2. Your room gets cleaned twice a day
In the mornings when you leave, and at night when you’re having dinner. This is included in your cruise fee, and you don’t have to tip room service as the ship operates on a credit card/cashless system.
3. You can swim and tan the day away
Hell is public swimming pools. All that sweat, pee and suntan lotion… But the swimming pools on the MSC ships are drained every night, and in the mornings they fill it with new water from the ocean.
I am a notorious swimming pool snob, so believe me when I say that the pools are pristine. I swam in them every day, all day and it was fantastic.
4. There are phenomenal shows
You’ll be treated to an excellent show at the theatre every night. I enjoyed Sweet Dreams and Mytheon the most – the guest dancers and contortionists made my jaw drop.
After the show there’s a movie, and you can decide if you want to watch it or rather go dancing at the club, join the Dream Team by the pool deck or play bingo.
5. There are endless activities
During the day you can play games with the Dream Team, swim, go shopping at the duty-free stores, go to the casino or visit the library or spa.
At night there are a bunch of different activities or themes – our cruise had a 60s Night, Tropical Night, Captain’s Ball and Gala Night.
6. The excursions are awesome
On the second day we docked at the Portuguese Islands at Mozambique. We were given the option of going to Inhaca Island, or Portuguese Island. My mom and I decided on Inhaca Island because it’s inhabited (Portuguese island isn’t), which would give us more opportunity to do some sightseeing.
The island is pretty much a glorified Green Market Square, with the same African curio. But I was fascinated by their houses and way of life. Check out some photos of the island below.
Later on in the cruise we were given the opportunity to go to Fort Dauphin in Madagascar. The island looked like Paarl/Stellenbosch by the sea – it was incredible to see how similar our biodiversity is.
We went on a city tour of Fort Dauphin which broke my heart. Yes, it’s a beautiful place, but it’s poverty stricken. When we got out of the bus at a lookout point, we were bombarded with children trying to sell us things. School isn’t obligatory in Madagascar, and it was depressing to see so many small children wandering around in the middle of the day.
Later on in the tour we drove past their local market, which was filled with potholes and heaps of garbage. There is no service delivery in Fort Dauphin, and most of the money made by tourism is pocketed by politicians.
Most of the people live in tiny houses made of reed, which they built themselves. They have big families because the more kids they have, the more hands they’ll have for labour. It was really impressive to see how hard working they are – just look at this dude.
After the city tour we went to the botanical garden, which was BEAUTIFUL. We saw lemurs – they are the cutest little things! Take a look at the photos below and see for yourself how much their nature resembles ours.
So, now that I’ve discussed the positive side of the trip, the time has come to list the cons.
I had to hold this in the whole trip, because they wifi was too expensive to vent on Twitter. But my time has come.
1. Boarding is a bitch
MSC found a way to:
- Generate its own electricity
- Have Wifi in the middle of the ocean
- Pump fresh sea water into a pool every morning
- Feed 2500 people three times a day
They could perform this sorcery, but they couldn’t find a way to board passengers in a simple, efficient way.
Let me explain. When we arrived at Durban harbour all starry-eyed and excited, we were soon brought back down to earth when we had to stand in a queue for 2 hours.
There were no ushers.
No prompts by the MSC crew.
No proper queue.
No place to sit.
No water. (It was hot)
No one to help you with your luggage.
By the time my mom and I got to the front of the queue, I had already made a mental note of all the people I was going to push overboard.
2. The buffet is hell
Imagine shopping malls on a Saturday after payday. Multiply that by 100000. That’s what the buffet looks like.
Every morning my mom and I would wake up in a good mood. Every morning we would walk out of the buffet dik bedonnerd.
People have NO MANNERS. NONE. They’d stand in line and dish for 5 people, take their sweet time to look for feta in green salads or push you out of the way to get a table.
3. Nobody has any manners
Like I said, manners are optional on a cruise.
If you want to lick your knife during dinner – do it. So what if it makes you a Neanderthal? You’re on a cruise, you can do whatever you want!
Didn’t have time to go for a bikini wax? Why not use our cabin’s reflective window to tuck your pubes into your bikini broek? That’s right, Jungle Koek. We saw you.
And let’s not forget the ignorant whites who had the following discussion with our lovely tour guide at Fort Dauphin.
*Driving through the poverty stricken side of Fort Dauphin*
Ignorant White: You are obviously of a higher class than these people. Do you have a house?
Tour Guide: Yes, a two-bedroom house.
Ignorant White: Oh, so you live in a proper house?
Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
4. Drinks are kak expensive
I will never complain about the price of booze again, because most drinks on the boat are $4.80. And then some people still managed to get drunk… HOW?
5. You’ll get an overdose of humans
There’s no escaping them – they’re EVERYWHERE. And boy, are they loud… During a play on Greek Mythology a lady behind me said: “Ag,ek verstaan nou nie waaroor hierdie storie gaan nie.”
Should’ve used your cruise money to buy a book or two.
During the same play someone said: “Kyk, daar is die koning van die see, Zeus!”
So the trip had its bad moments too, but the good outweighed the bad. And it was fantastic to live in the sun for 8 days straight. If you want to see the world in style, MSC is the way to go!