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Escape to paradise on a Portuguese Island cruise! Crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches — your dream getaway awaits

Thrilling, budget-friendly adventures!
Swim in the warm waters of Mozambique.
Joyful family moments together.
Meal & entertainment include.

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The memories you will make will last a lifetime.

  • Number 1 cruise destination for South Africans.
  • Cruise to an amazing uninhabited Island in Mozambique.
  • This will be a vacation you'll never forget.
  • All meals and entertainment are included on and off the ship.
  • Transfer from the ship to the island included.

hupla_4.7 stars4.7/5 by thousands of cruisers

Where is Portuguese Island?

Portuguese Island is off the coast of Mozambique, in Maputo Bay between Maputo and Inhaca Island. It is situated in the Indian Ocean about 600 kilometres from Durban.

Portuguese Island was discovered by Vasco da Gama in 1498 during his second voyage to India. The island was named Ilha de Santa Cruz - the Christian Holy Cross Island - and was the first territory in Africa to be colonised by Europeans.

The history of Portuguese Island is a rich one, with many interesting facts about its discovery, settlement and development. Vasco da Gama himself spent three weeks on the island whilst he replenished his water supplies before continuing on his voyage back to Europe.

A Map of the location of the uninhabited island of Portugues Island in the bay of Maputo outside the Southern Africans country of Mozambique - in the Indian Ocean on the African Coast

An icon of a ship to represent how to get from the ship to the island
Getting from the ship

The ship anchors a couple of miles off the coast of Portuguese Island. Passengers will travel for approximately 20 minutes to the island by tender, which is similar to a speedboat that carries approximately 150 passengers.
Guests are required to get a disembarkation tender ticket with a number on it from one of the lounges prior to leaving the ship 

Icon of a map with two points
With one day in port

In the morning, turn left when you get on the Island to enjoy sunbathing and swimming in the calm waters away from the crowd. Indulge in a delicious lunch buffet with live music. Browse the vibrant local market for unique Mozambican souvenirs after lunch. Have an other swim after lunch and take the tender back to the ship 2 hours before the last departure to avoid congestion.

Fast facts icon 50x50
Fast Facts

Currency: Rand (Zar) or USD ($)
Language: English
Visas: On arrival for most countries - double check with us for your specifics
Wi-fi: no wi-fi
Money: Pay with your cruise card at the bar
Fun Facts: The island is only 6 km wide and take 1,5 hours to walk around it

About MSC Cruises Durban to Portuguese Island

The vast, unpopulated beaches attract travellers from all over the world who camp on the white-sand shores next to thatch-roofed huts or makeshift campsites. 

As MSC Cruises focuses on holidays for families, you will have a lot of activities around family and children. From beach volleyball and watersports to shore excursions, here are some of the exciting things you can look forward to:

Relax and enjoy the beach

With its white sand beaches and crystalline ocean waters, Portuguese Islands is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. Take a stroll along the beach, build sandcastles with the kids or go for a swim in the warm waters of Mozambique. The MSC entertainment crew will have beach activities with games, music and dance to keep you entertained.

Having a cocktail overlooking the sea on Portuguese Islands on a cruises from Durban South Africa on MSC Orchestra

Explore Portuguese Island

If you’re feeling active, there are plenty of things to do on the island. To walk around the island takes about an hour walk (+- 6km) and you will barely see anyone else. While not take a pleasant stroll on the other side of Portugese island and enjoy the fantastic beaches all for yourself! (our favorite part)

White Sandy beach of the Portuguese Islands on a cruise from Durban South Africa on MSC Orchestra

Activities on Portuguese Island

Rent you Beach Lounge on an MSC Cruises 2023 - Durban to Portuguese Islands prices see below
Duration 8 hour(s)
Beach Lounge

Experience ultimate relaxation on the beach at Portuguese Island. The "Beach Lounge" offers a perfect setting for couples or families. Enjoy full day access to a beach lounger and umbrella. Limited spaces available.


Image showing 2 man and one women in front of beach lounger on a cruises from Durban South Africa to the Portuguese Islands
Duration 8 hour(s)
Exclusive beach lounger

Experience the upgraded "Exclusive Beach Lounge" at Portuguese Island. Enjoy exceptional services like a Private Bar with a free soft drink and fruit basket. Relax on a beach lounger with umbrella and drink table. Plus, get a cold towel and floating mat for 2.


2 man on a Pedalo boat to illustrate the pedalo rental experience on a cruises from Durban South Africa - you can see the MSC orchestra in the background in very small
Duration 1 hour(s)
Pedalo boat rental

Experience the calm waters of Portuguese Island on our pedalo boats. Perfect for those who want more than just sitting and pedaling. Rent for an hour with friends and family (2-4 persons). Enjoy the beautiful beach environment.

Code: PIS50

On the Island of Inhaca on a cruises from Durban South Africa
Duration 1.5 hour(s)
Dhow bay experience

Experience the ultimate relaxation on a short cruise aboard a traditional wooden dhow. Marvel at the skilled crew as they navigate the ropes and sail. Enjoy a cool breeze, live music, and stunning views. Perfect for photographers and those seeking a romantic escape.

Code: PISL28

Floating Mat
Duration 1 hour(s)
Floating mats

Experience a day of ultimate relaxation and solitude with our beach excursions. Clear your mind, work on your tan, and enjoy the peacefulness of floating on the sea. De-stress while basking in the sun and taking in breathtaking views.

Code: PISL31

Banana boat ride
Duration 2 hour(s)
Banana boat ride

Experience the thrill of rocketing across the water on our 5-rider BANANA BOAT. Bounce and buck along the wake for 12 minutes of non-stop fun! Minimum age is 8, with parental supervision required for children aged 8-12. Maximum weight of 90 kg per person. Must be able swimmers.

Code: PISL33

Inhaca Transfer
Duration 1.5 hour(s)
Inhaca Transfers

Discover Inhaca Island's seafood restaurants, bars, and curio stalls. Immerse yourself in its rich bird population, a haven for bird watchers. Explore this mini-kingdom at your own pace. Boat ride included.

Code: PISL02

MSC Excursion - Inhaca reef drift snorkelling
Duration 1.5 hour(s)
Inhaca reef drift snorkelling

Experience the rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the majestic Dugong while snorkeling along the Inhaca shoreline. Depart from Portuguese island for a 20-minute sail to the snorkeling spot. Drift snorkel over a 1km long, 10m wide, and 1-3m deep reef, guided by the current. Enjoy added buoyancy with our inflatable snorkel vest, allowing you to focus on the adventure. Your boat will be waiting for you at the end of the drift.

Code: PISL03

Sea Kayak Rental
Duration 0.5 hour(s)
Sea kayak rental

Experience the hidden wonders of the ocean's biodiversity with our exhilarating excursions. Our Fluid Synergy kayaks feature a stable tri-hull, mellow keel for straight tracking, ample rocker for maneuverability, and a unique stern design for stability. Perfect for one or two paddlers, these kayaks are built to explore the last great frontier on this planet.

Code: PISL09

Speed Zone
Duration 0.1 hour(s)
Inflatable wake tubing adventure

Experience the thrill of jumping the wake and getting some air with the Speed Zone! This three rider towable or banana boat can accommodate up to 6 people. The oversized riding platform and fast water performance make it a must-try activity. With neoprene covered seat and back rests for added comfort, seat separating bolsters to keep you secure, and an outbound trajectory for an exhilarating ride.

Code: PISL16

Image for the excursion at Santa maria Snorkelling, some of the most beautiful waters you can find outside the Island in addition to your cruise
Duration 3 hour(s)
Santa maria Snorkelling

Experience the local culture with a stop in the village to buy souvenirs. Explore the lush bush and snorkel in Santa Maria for a mesmerizing underwater experience. Conclude your excursion with a scenic drive back to Inhaca beach and a thrilling banana boat ride to the Portuguese Islands.

Code: PISL25

Mask and Snorkel - on your Durban South Africa Cruise of the MSC Orchestra
Duration 1 hour(s)
Mask & snorkel rental

Explore the stunning underwater world of this island with our snorkeling expedition! Rent masks and snorkels to discover the hidden treasures at your own pace. Dive in for 1 hour and uncover the beauty beneath the surface. Equipment includes mask and snorkel only.

Code: PISL42

Paddle Board - one of the main excursions to choose from on the island - prices are subject to change
Duration 1 hour(s)
Stand up paddle board

Experience the latest water sport trend - stand-up paddle boarding. Easy to learn and incredibly fun, navigate the waters of Portuguese Island and enjoy stunning shoreline views. Maximize your vacation with this thrilling excursion.

Code: PISL30

Journey to Inhaca King  Turtle beach - a memorable excursion on a Durban South Africa cruise onboard MSC Orchestra
Duration 2.5 hour(s)
Journey to Inhaca King & Turtle Beach

Discover the true history of the Island and visit Turtle Beach. Meet the humble King at his home and purchase a fresh coconut. Take pictures and appreciate the surroundings at Turtle Beach. Return to Inhaca beach and be transferred back to the Portuguese Islands.

Code: PISL34

MSC Excursions Jet Ski - an other one of the excursions to choose from. Speed in the Maputo Bay under the cover of the Inhaca Island
Duration 0.1 hour(s)
Jet ski aqua jet

Experience the ultimate thrill on our Jet Ski excursions! Feel the freedom and exhilaration as you ride your own jet ski and explore the stunning blue waters of paradise. Unforgettable adventure awaits!

Code: PISL39

Inhaca island Eco Tour
Duration 1 hour(s)
Inhaca Island Eco Tour

Explore the diverse ecosystems of Inhaca Island, from dunes to coral reefs. Relax on white sandy beaches and stay in charming thatched roofed huts. Visit the Marine Biology Research station for an informative experience. Perfect for eco-system enthusiasts.

Code: PIS41

Calor Tropical Sea Food Platter
Duration 2.5 hour(s)
Seafood lunch at Calor Tropical Restaurant

Experience great service, delicious food, and a friendly staff at The Calor Tropical Restaurant in Inhaca Village. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and island-style ambience. Sip on a refreshing tropical fruit juice welcome drink and indulge in a mouthwatering Mozambican Seafood Set Menu.

Code: PIS46

Portuguese Chicken lunch at Calor Tropical Restaurant -320x250
Duration 2.5 hour(s)
Portuguese chicken lunch at Calor Tropical

Experience great service, delicious food, and a friendly staff at The Calor Tropical Restaurant in Inhaca Village. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and island-style ambience. Start with a refreshing tropical fruit juice welcome drink, followed by a Flame-Grilled Set Menu of Portuguese Chicken.

Code: PIS48

Pestana Hotel Excursions-320x250
Duration 6 hour(s)
Pestana hotel Excursion

Explore Inhaca Island's diverse bird population at Inhaca Lodge Pestana Resort. Enjoy lunch and use hotel facilities. Discover the village or relax before returning to the ship via zodiac transfer.

Code: PISL24

Inhaca Beach Bar Seafood lunch -320x250
Duration 2 hour(s)
Inhca beach bar seafood lunch

Experience the rustic beauty of Mozambique while enjoying a delicious seafood platter. Sip on a typical Mozambican drink and savor a local starter at Inhaca Beach Bar. Indulge in calamari, fish, prawns, rice, chips, and salad. Return boat transfer included. Cash only for drinks.

Code: PISL36

Inhaca Highlights - PIS49
Duration 3 hour(s)
Inhaca highlights

Experience the traditions, history, and views of Inhaca Island. Boat ride from Portuguese Island to Inhaca, 4x4 journey to the King's home. Learn about the late King and his background. Enjoy panoramic views, lush surroundings, and diverse vegetation. Visit the iconic Lighthouse for stunning views. End at Lighthouse beach, spot turtle nests or whales.

Code: PIS49

Dolphin watching of the Island on your Durban South Africa
Duration 2 hour(s)
Dolphin Watching

Experience Mozambique's marine mammals. Dolphins communicate with unique signature whistles, varying from clicks to creaking doors. Watch them surf, jump 20 feet in the air, and hitch a ride to conserve energy and interact. Sit back, watch, and enjoy their fascinating behaviors. Dolphin sightings not guaranteed. Cash purchases available for drinks on the boat.

Code: PISL18

Deep sea fishing -320x250
Duration 3 hour(s)
Deep Sea fishing

Experience a thrilling 3-hour deep sea game fishing expedition. Hunt for game fish like King Mackerel, Wahoo, Dorado, Yellow Fin Tuna, Sailfish Marlin, and Barracuda. Share this unforgettable adventure with friends and family. Note: Not suitable for guests with mobility issues or sea sickness. Bring sunscreen, hat, shorts, and sandals. Catch and release policy.

Code: PISL45


Typical 3 nights to Portuguese Island

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Day 1 | Friday - Ship leaves at 18:00 from Durban
Day 2 | Saturday - At Sea - enjoy the ship
Day 3 | Sunday- Enjoy the Day on Portuguese Island
Day 4 | Monday - Back in Durban at 10:00

Your MSC Ship to Portuguese Island

MSC Musica  

  MSC Musica: 1,275 cabins | 3, 223 Guests | 1,04 Crew
  Last refurbished in 2019
  Diverse, age-tailored onboard entertainment.
 Affordable holiday to South African most desirable cruise destinations

What is included in your Cruise Fare

  • All meals in the two main dining rooms, the buffet and selected other eateries.
  • All shows in the theatre and other venues are included!
  • Speciality Restaurant ($/€) for a unique dining experience!
  • Shop ’til you drop in the duty-free shopping gallery ($/€)!
  • Get your reading on in the library & game room
  • Keep the little ones entertained with our award-winning kids club for all ages
  • Service fees /gratuities are included so you don’t have to worry about a thing
  • Accommodation in well-appointed cabins - as a crusie vacation is all about spoiling yourself
  • Water, coffee and some juices are included in certain areas of the ship
  • Most on-board activities such as group games, competitions, quizzes, and crafts classes are included - something for everyone to enjoy
  • No entrance fee for the disco / nightclub - let's get this party started!
  • All evening shows are free to enjoy
  • All drinks beyond water, tea, coffee and selected juices in the buffet
  • Shore Excursions
  • SPA treatments & access to SPA area (Subject to experience)
  • Wifi (unless specified otherwise)
  • Casino, photos, shops
  • Service fees (please check - it is INCLUDED in some markets)
  • Aditional Kids activities

Number 1 Holiday Destination
for South Africans

Learn more about your cruise to Portuguese Islands - [FAQ]

Do I need a Passport to Portuguese Island?

Even if Portuguese Island is a tender and not an actual port, you still need a passport as you are exiting the Republic of South Africa. Immigration in the port of Durban will check your passport details and give you an exit stamp.

Do I need a Visa for Portuguese Island?

South African citizens and most SADC nationals will not need a visa for Portuguese Island, Inhaca Island or for Pomene.
For those travellers that do, the cruise ship will take care of the visa for you. The cost of the visa is normally about USD 50.- and will be settled with your onboard cruise spend at the end of your holiday.

All your drinks can be purchased with the ship's cruise card. The drinks packages can also be used on the island. For any purchases you want to make in the local market, the vendors will accept South African Rands and US Dollars. If you have local currencies (such as Meticais) they will accept them too.

The cruise ship will anchor off Portuguese Island in the early hours of the morning. The last transfer is in the late afternoon.

Do I need to bring my own towels?

You can take the towels that are provided in your cabin onshore, so you don't have to bring your own. Just don't forget to bring them back.

What about umbrellas & loungers?

You can rent loungers & beach umbrellas as part of packages sold onboard the cruise ship. Ask reception or check the daily program for any more details and for things to do.

The MSC Sinfonia, during her 2022/2023 season is not scheduled to go to Portuguese Island. She is staying in and around Cape Town.

The MSC Opera, is not currently scheduled to come to South Africa for the 2023/2024 season. 

During the 2023/2024 South Africa Season, the MSC Splendida will be in mainly stationed in Durban with a couple of departure out of Cape Town.

To book your cabin, you will need to pay a R3,300 deposit. The balance of your payment will be due 75 days before departure. If you book within 75 days of departure, you will need to pay the full amount at the time of booking.
The quoted prices are subject to change - but will not change once the deposit is paid. 

The ship anchors a couple of miles off the coast of Portuguese Island. Passengers will travel for approximately 20 minutes to the island by tender, which is similar to a speedboat that carries approximately 150 passengers.

Guests are required to get a disembarkation tender ticket with a number on it from one of the lounges prior to leaving the ship. The exact lounge is advertised in the daily newsletter that you get on your bed in your cabin. We recommend that you get a ticket early and then enjoy your breakfast until you get called by the ship.

When the ship is ready to start with the transfer of guests, the reception will call each individual number. You then will join the queue to reach the tender boat.

Yes, on the Island, food is included. The buffet will features an array of dishes that cater to a range of preferences. This includes fish, juicy hamburgers, and an assortment of salads, among other delights.

However, it's important to note that while the buffet offers a vast selection of food, drinks are not included in this provision. All beverages are to be purchased separately at the Island's various bars (using your cruise card).

No, you don't need to be vaccinated for a Portuguese Island, Mozambique Cruise. However, if you're not vaccinated, you will be required to take a PCR test before boarding the cruise ship. If you are vaccinated you will need an Antigen test. Both tests within 48 hours of departure.

Read more in the FAQ about what is required to embark on an MSC Cruise from South Africa

MSC Cruises to Portuguese Island prices & availability

2024/205 season is Open ! Grap the last 2023/2024 cruises - MSC Special Offers and MSC Cruise Deals on Portuguese Island.

7 Feb  -  
10 Feb, 2025
ZAR 6,145
Early Booking rates
Check Availability
*Per person - inc mandatory
23 Dec  -  
29 Dec, 2024
ZAR 16,729
Early Booking rates
Check Availability
*Per person - inc mandatory
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