Madagascar cruises in

Oct 31, 2005
Author: P&S

She’s arrived, and while the Madagascar may not be the biggest cruise ship to visit these parts, South Africa can at least say it has its very own cruise ship.
And a smart looking ship at that!

Madagascar arrived off Durban under grey skies and calm seas on Saturday after completing a long delivery voyage all the way from Odessa in the northern Black Sea.
Sailing down the East African coast the ship encountered heavy weather in the Indian Ocean but came through unscathed.

On arrival off Durban’s North breakwater on Saturday she looked remarkably impressive in her livery of a dark blue hull and white superstructure. Internally we are told the ship still has some refurbishment to complete with the finishing touches being added locally before her cruise itinerary starts in earnest on 11 November.

arriving off Durban on Saturday 29 October is Madagascar, a cruise ship now stationed full time in South African waters. Picture Terry Hutson

On hand to watch her arrival were a number of personnel from the Three Cities Hotels Group, who will manage and market the ship throughout her all-year round cruise season out of Durban. A hospitality staff of over 40 personnel, drawn from experienced staff within the Three Cities group of hotels and lodges, will look after the interests of passengers while 28 Ukrainian officers and crew will taka care of the running of the ship.

Over the next fortnight the ship will begin a number of one-night corporate cruises to nowhere, starting on 5 November off Durban to watch the fireworks display at Suncoast from out at sea and followed by a night of cruising. Other one-night corporate ‘party’ cruises will follow before the first ‘official’ 3-night cruise to Inhaca and Portuguese Island on 11 November.

This will be followed by a full season of cruises to the Mozambique coast and Indian Ocean islands, as well as planned cruises along the South African coast to East London, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay and Cape Town.

Andrew Thompson of Three Cities said he expected the majority of passengers will be South African with an average age group of up to 40 or 45.

Most of the island destinations offer opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, kayaking, parasailing and Cobra Cat activities in addition to walking trails, whale watching and generally relaxing on a tropical beach under the warm sun.

Some facts about the ship:

Madagascar was built in Germany as the Bremerhaven in 1960. Sun Line later acquired her and after an extensive conversion to make her suitable for Mediterranean cruising, she became the popular and quite famous in her day Stella Maris II. At least one cruise critic rated her as recently as 1998 as ‘the best little cruise ship in the world’ and a ‘princess among cruise yachts.’

Whether she will live up to those accolades out here is for others to decide. Carrying up to 232 passengers the ship has 83 cabins facing outwards and ten inside, with 16 of those facing outside deluxe in standard with large windows and generous proportions. Cabins are two, three or four-berth, en suite and have been newly furnished to high standards.

Technically the 3008-gt Madagascar meets with full classification requirements. Her motive power comes from two main engines that provide a relatively fast rated speed of 18.5 knots. Her length is 88.7m and she has a beam of 13.4m with a draft of 4.4m. Madagascar flies the flag of the Ukraine where she is registered.

The cruise itinerary can be seen at



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