Huge interest in MSC SINFONIA - over 46,000 bookings a month ahead of ship’s arrival

Oct 14, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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MSC Sinfonia. Picture by Trevor C

First cruise departs Durban 14 November

A bumper summer cruise season is forecast for Southern Africa as passenger bookings for the largest and most modern ship ever to operate out of a local port have already soared to over 46,000 even though the ship’s arrival is still a month away.

The nine storey, 58,600 ton MSC SINFONIA with a capacity for 2,100 passengers, docks in Durban for the first time on 13 November after a maiden southbound cruise from the Mediterranean and a one day stop-over in Cape Town.

Described as the finest floating hotel ever to visit South Africa, MSC Sinfonia opens the season with a two day cruise out of Durban on 14 November. A full schedule of long and short cruises to Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Comores, Mauritius and Reunion continue through to April 2010.

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“Over 46,000 passengers have already booked cruises on MSC Sinfonia which makes it quite obvious that the ship has proved a major hit with the South African travelling public,” said Allan Foggit, director of Starlight Cruises, the general sales agents for MSC Crociere in South Africa.

MSC Sinfonia is one of 10 ships in the MSC Crociere fleet. As leaders in the Mediterranean cruise market, the MSC cruise ships - with their distinctive Italian design, style and service - represent the most modern cruise fleet in the world and operate in top destinations around the globe.

Mr Foggit said sales for MSC Sinfonia are currently 20% ahead of the combined sales at the same time last year for the two cruise ships, MSC Melody and MSC Rhapsody, operated out of Durban last year. This is in spite of the current trying financial times.

“We attribute this phenomenal response to the fact that MSC Sinfonia represents exceptional value especially with the option of up to two children under the age of 18 being able to cruise free if accompanied by two adults. It is certainly the most affordable, exotic, romantic and exciting local holiday option,” he said.

Taking over the helm of MSC Sinfonia on 16 October for the upcoming season will be the well known and highly respected Captain Ciro Pinto who has come to think of South Africa as a second home after some 30 years of regular sailing off her shores.

“I’m honoured to be captaining MSC Sinfonia during her maiden cruise season in Southern Africa. For me it will be like a proud home-coming to bring such a beautiful ship to a country that I’ve got to know so well as captain of MSC Melody and before that on MSC container vessels.

“South Africans can look forward to an entirely new floating resort experience on MSC Sinfonia. She is a newer and bigger ship and without doubt the best local hotel afloat. I am very excited about it and can’t wait to show her off.”

MSC Sinfonia sets a new standard in South African cruising by offering an extensive range of onboard facilities in an elegant, contemporary environment. It features 777 cabins, of which 132 are suites with private balconies, three restaurants and a buffet, seven bars, a cigar lounge, disco, casino, business and conference centre. There is also a Spa and beauty centre, two swimming pools, a sports centre, golf simulator, library, card room, children’s playroom, teenagers club, a shopping area with duty free shops and boutiques, an internet cafe and a medical centre.

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