Johannesburg - For travellers who have to reach into their pockets for a shaky currency, the latest Brexit or no Brexit, you can still make an exotic escape without breaking the bank.
That is, if you are smart about how you do it.
Instead of reaching for your phone and booking flights, cars, and hotels, why don’t you just hop online and book a cruise?
There are 47 MSC cruises from South Africa between November and April, and every one of them is a “best value” deal, with so much included in the fare.
The plush accommodation, the formal restaurants or the 22-hour-a-day buffet (laid out in eye-popping abundance day and night), the non-stop entertainment, and activity after activity - it’s all included in one, surprisingly affordable, price. You can eat, dance, sing, play, swim, splash, golf, jog, gym, and soak in all the ocean vibes you can handle without paying an extra cent for any of it.
It gets even more affordable for families, because children who share their parents’ cabins stay and eat free. They even have endless hours of free entertainment for kids, including clubs, LEGO play areas, a spray park, kiddie discos, parties, magic shows and themed events that turn out to be a whopping cost saver for parents. A particular boon over the festive period.
And MSC Cruises happens to go overboard with its festive season cruises. Cruise ships are decked in fairy lights, laden with festive cuisine, and bursting with magical entertainment.
Needless to say, with a festive season departure you spend zero hours slaving in a hot kitchen, there’s no worrying about fussy eaters, and there is definitely no mountain of pots, plates and bowls to deal with afterwards. That in itself sounds like heaven.
This year for Christmas you can set sail on a glittery seven-night cruise from Durban to Mozambique, stopping off at tropical playground Portuguese Island for some enviable summer fun - including the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest beach braai, hosted by the Sinfonia chefs themselves.
Then it’s on to Ilha de Mozambique, a World Heritage Site that offers great beaches, restaurants, and awesome history, with museums, churches and buildings that date back to the 15th century.
The popular 11-night New Year cruise visits Reunion - if this island’s not on your bucket list, it should be - and spends three days in magical Mauritius.
Other ports of call from Durban during the summer cruise season include Maputo, Portuguese Island, and Cape Town.
From Cape Town you can cruise to Walvis Bay, Luderitz, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, and Durban.
No matter which ports you visit during your cruise, or how many out-of-this-world beaches you link your name to, it’s all so utterly effortless. You unpack once for the whole voyage.
Unpacking is one of the few things you need to do. MSC Cruises takes care of all the other details, such as airport-to-ship transfers and shore excursions, while you’re free to do precisely what it takes to blow your hair back at any given moment.
You can laze by the pool, splash around, or step into the glass-enclosed solarium. Stretch out in the relaxation room, hit the gym, hit the jackpot, take a walk, take a run, or take in a show. There is no shortage of things to do.
And the best part is that almost everything is included in your fare.