Skip to content

MSC Cruises Durban to Portuguese Island 2022/2023 - Cruise Specials

MSC Cruises' Durban to Portuguese Island route on any of the MSC Cruise ships is one of the most popular travel destinations for South Africans. 

If it is on a 3-night weekend getaway or a 5-night midweek mini-break, a Portuguese Island cruise is perfect to get away to a remote private island!

Here is all the information you need to make a decision for your next cruise.

(4 Reviews)

Portugues Island Cruise | 3 nights | MSC Musica | Durban - Portuguese Island - Durban | UHIA | MSC Cruises 2022 prices

"The team at hupla is the best, every time when I needed to ask some questions, the agents are super quick to respond!"

Phumzile, Ekurhuleni

MSC Orchestra, Jan 2020

Includes & Excludes in your Cruise Fare

  • All meals onboard MSC Orchestra included
  • 3 Main Restaurants - L'Oleandro / Belle Epoque & Gli Archi Buffet
  • 1 Speciality Restaurant - Kaito Sushi Bar ($/€)
  • Duty-Free shopping gallery ($/€)
  • Library & game room
  • Kids club for all ages
  • Daily service charges / gratuities are included
  • Accommodation in well-appointed cabins
  • Water, coffee and some juices are included in certain areas of the ship
  • Most on-board activities such as group games, competitions, quizzes, crafts classes are included
  • No entrance fee for the disco / nightclub
  • 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 experiences)
  • Wifi (unless specified otherwise)
  • Casino, photos, shops
  • Service fees (please check - it is INCLUDED in some markets)
  • Aditional Kids activities

Portuguese Island Cruise Specials

With the MSC Cruises 2021/2022 South Africa season almost over, get ready for the next season with some MSC Special Offers and MSC Cruise Deals. 

2022/2023 Season

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Jan 13, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Jan 16, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4407*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Jan 20, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Jan 23, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4407*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Jan 27, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Jan 30, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4407*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Feb 3, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Feb 6, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4407*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Feb 10, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Feb 13, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4407*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Feb 17, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Feb 20, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4407*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Feb 24, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Feb 27, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4407*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Mar 3, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Mar 6, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4707*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Mar 10, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Mar 13, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4707*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Mar 24, 2023
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Mar 27, 2023
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4707*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Nov 25, 2022
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Nov 28, 2022
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 4957*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Dec 9, 2022
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Dec 12, 2022
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 5207*

3 Nights to Portuguese Island

Durban, Portuguese Island (Mozambique), Durban
DEP
Dec 16, 2022
Durban, South Africa
ARR
Dec 19, 2022
Durban, South Africa
MSC ORCHESTRA
3 Nights
FROM

R 5207*

View Available Dates

We booked our MSC Cruise online through Hupla. After the deposit was paid we had many questions and Victor was super patient and helped us all the way to the day of departure. He really had our back.

Busisiwe Khalema
MSC Orchestra | March 2022

The cruise to Portuguese Island was absolutely amazing. The ship was great, the MSC staff really nice and the food was amazing. Thank you Victor and Alex for assisting us with this great experience.

Alison
MSC Orchestra | February 2022

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.

As you can see below, an MSC Cruise from Durban to Portuguese Island will bring you to a pristine remote island. The island is completely unspoiled. 

" frameborder="0" style="border:0;" allowfullscreen="" aria-hidden="false" tabindex="0">
On an MSC Cruise Durban to Portuguese Island you will have the privilege of visiting a pristine unspoilt Island in the Maputo Bay just outside Inhaca Island

How do you travel from the ship to Portuguese Island?

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.
Tips: similar to the tender in Pomene, the trip from the ship can be very bumpy and wet. We often got caught in the late afternoon Mozambican showers. 

The tender boat MSC Flamingo landing passengers on Portuguese Island beach in Mozambique on a cruise with MSC Cruises to the indian ocean | Portuguese Island cruise 2022 prices

A typical day on Portuguese Island

Portuguese Island is a small, uninhabited island situated across the bay from Maputo, a stone's throw away from Inhaca Island. 

During the cruise season, it is considered as MSC Cruises private Indian Ocean island.

The destination is on 90% of MSC Cruises departures from Durban and it is a great way to get an insight into Mozambique.
The island has no permanent residents or structures, no pollution, no roads and no traffic, only white sandy beaches and a paradise-like feel.

After breakfast onboard, passengers arrange a tender ticket to disembark to cross to Portuguese Island. (The tender is included in the cruise)

Each and every passenger receives a time slot to access the various tender boats.

The tender ride is an experience on its own. The boats are specially designed for this Mozambican island; contrary to most other tenders around the world, MSC doesn’t use the ship’s tender but a specialized high-speed boat with a capacity of +- 150 people.

Portuguese Island, Mozambique
Play a Day on Portuguese Island
Start with the transfer to Portuguese Islands - taken from a balcony cabin on MSC Sinfonia | msc cruises 2022 durban to portuguese islands prices

The tender boats deliver passengers directly onto the pristine white sandy beach of the uninhabited island.

MSC has built wooden structures with bars, decking, shade and an area for serving lunch, on the beach to cater for the 2,500 passengers who disembark every week. The ship crew brings everything on land from the drinks to the Feta Cheese!

Experience the crowd when you get on the Island and then start your journey again, but instead of turning right, turn left. You will find one of the best-kept secrets of the island: the perception of having the island to yourself. To walk around the island takes about an hour and a half (+- 6km) and you will barely see anyone else.

Find a great spot where you can lay your towels down and spend your morning sunbathing and swimming in the warm waters of Maputo Bay.

You will find yourself in paradise, with no noise, no rush and no worries. The only disturbance will be the waves breaking and the sound of birds, a true Robinson Crusoe experience.

Aerial view of Portuguese Island on a 4 day cruise to the portuguese islands prices
For the best msc cruises durban prices visit Hupla.co

Just before lunch, go back to the main area, and head up to the lunch buffet. Take this opportunity to enjoy sipping on a cocktail and listening to live music.

The ship crew is well known to create an island-like feel with the decor and the food served at the buffet.

After a filling lunch, go back in the water to enjoy the last couple of hours of this idyllic island.

Before returning to the vessel, browse the local market for some typical Mozambican souvenirs - wooden items and trinkets, traditional sarongs and powerful rum.

The market is really vibrant and colourful. Despite it not being very big and most of the stalls offering similar items, it is a great spot to meet some of the locals and support them with a purchase or two.

It is now time to return to the ship. The tenders only run from the ship to the beach at Portuguese Island between 08h00 and 12h00, then from the beach to the vessel between 12h00 and 15h00.

It takes around 20 minutes of queuing to get back to the ship and enjoy a shower before getting ready for the evening.

Do you need a visa for a cruise from Durban to 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.

What to do on Portuguese Island

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 excursions, here are some of the shore excursions that may be available on your cruise:

1) Eco Tour to Inhaca Island

You'll find incredible biodiversity and variety at Inhaca Island. The dunes, lagoons, coral reefs, mangroves, rocky shores and other intertidal areas make for one of the most diverse environments in Mozambique.

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. Inhaca Island offers many opportunities for the study of diverse ecosystems.

The local guide will take you to the Marine Biology Research Station for a brief, but informative visit.

Price: Adults $25.99 / Kids $22.99

2) Enjoy Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding is one of the best ways to enjoy time on the island. Easy to learn and great for all ages!

Price: Adults $19.99 / Kids: N/A

3) Beach Lounger Rental

Renting a beach lounger and an umbrella is a great way to treat yourself to relaxation.

It is a perfect option for the family to have a base while enjoying the warm waters. You will still be close to the activities and entertainment.

Price: Adults $25.99 / Kids $25.99

4) Other Watersport Activities

From snorkelling, floating on a soft-foam mat to enjoying a pedalo ride, the MSC staff on Portuguese Island have a range of options that will make your day memorable, fun and super relaxing!

Yellow and pink umbrella on the beach of Portuguese Island in Mozambique on an MSC Cruises itinerary

Where does the MSC Cruises' ship depart from in Durban, South Africa?

All MSC Cruises’ itineraries from Durban start at the Kwazulu Passenger Cruise Terminal. It is located at the end of the Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Point, Durban.  The old N-Shed is not in use anymore. Read the blog post for more information on Kwazulu Cruise Terminal.

 

MSC Orchestra

The MSC Orchestra is 92,409 tonnes, 2,550 passengers with 1,014 crew members. She is owned by MSC Cruises and is sister to the MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia and MSC Musica. The Orchestra was in SA during the 2019/2020 & replaced the MSC Musica during the 2021/2022 season. MSC Musica vs MSC Orchestra for a comparaison of the two ships.

Cabins

MSC Grandiosa, Inside Cabin - 490 x 308 px

Interior

Cabin size: ≈13 m2 to 17 m2
Occupancy: 1 - 4 guests

275 Interior cabins

MSC Orchestra, Ocean View

Ocean View

Cabin size: ≈16m2 to ≈17m2
Occupancy: 1 - 4 guests

69 Ocean View

MSC Grandiosa, Balcony Cabin - 490 x 308 px

Balcony

Cabin size: ≈15m2 to 18m2
Occupancy: 1 - 4 guests

809 Balcony Cabins

MSC Orchestra, Suite

Suite

Cabin size: ≈26m2 with balcony ≈4m2
Occupancy: 1 - 3 guests

18 Suites

Ship Facilities

  • 2 Main Restaurants (L'Ibiscus & Villa Borghese)
  • 1 Buffet Restaurant (La Piazzetta)
  • 1 Speciality Restaurant - Shanghai ($/€)
  • 1 Theatre
  • 2 Lounges
  • 16 Bars
  • Casino
  • SPA with treatments rooms
  • Boutiques
  • Card Room & Library
  • Children Playroom
  • Mini-Golf
Enjoy the Pool on the MSC Orchestra when you Book msc cruise online south africa through Hupla.co
MSC Orchestra, Mini Golf on your msc boat trips
MSC Orchestra, 4 Buffet on your mfc boat cruises
MSC Orchestra, The Jungle Adventure on your mcs cruise
Enjoy the Pool on the MSC Orchestra when you Book msc cruise online south africa through Hupla.co
MSC Orchestra, Mini Golf on your msc boat trips
MSC Orchestra, 4 Buffet on your mfc boat cruises
MSC Orchestra, The Jungle Adventure on your mcs cruise

FAQ for a Cruise to Portuguese Island

Do I need to be vaccinated?

From the 1st December 2021, all passengers 12 years and older have to be fully vaccinated in order to cruise to Portuguese Islands. Read more in the FAQ what is required to embark on an MSC Cruise from South Africa

Do I need a passport for this cruise?

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.

What is the currency on Portuguese Island?

All your drinks can be purchased with the ships' 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.

How long do we stay on the island?

The cruise vessel will anchor off Portuguese Island in the early hours of the morning. The last transfer is in the late afternoon. (Check the return time in the ship's gangway or ask the crew for the information)

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 loungers & umbrellas?

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.

Does the MSC Sinfonia go to Portuguese Island?

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

MSC Cruises 2021/2022 South Africa

In 2021/2022 only the MSC Orchestra is sailing in the South African Waters. In 2022/2023 season, the MSC Sinfonia will join the MSC Orchestra for the South African Season. 

How much is MSC Cruise in South Africa?

With an extensive season in South Africa, MSC offers a wide variety of cabin pricing. A two night cruise out of Durban is about R3,500.- per person. A 3 night cruise is around R4,700.- and a 4 night cruise around R5,800. All of those prices are in an inside cabin and booked well in advance.

What is the distance from Durban to Portuguese Island on a cruise?

A typical itinerary from Durban to Portuguese Island will have 1 Sea Day between the moment the ship leaves Durban until the ship reaches Portuguese Island. Coming back the MSC Orchestra will leave Portuguese Island in the Afternoon and arrive in Durban the next morning. 

Where do I park in Durban?

Any passengers can park their car directly at the KZN cruise terminal. For more information read: MSC Cruises Parking at Durban Harbour Guide.

All Cruise Specials from Durban on MSC Cruises

See the latest Specials and availablity from Durban on any of the MSC Cruises ships.

All Cruise Special in South Africa

Portuguese Island - Passengers Review

You can't go wrong with a cruise on MSC Cruises from Durban to Portuguese Island and Pomene. The food is amazing and the entertainment will leave you speechless!

Nombuzo
from Joburg | Cruised in Jan 2020 - 5*

I'm sure you've all heard about Portuguese Island, and if not, it's time to make a change! And the Musica is amazing, I don't know what their secret is but they really do have some of the best food ever with excellent staff members too.

Joy
from Paarl | Cruised in Nov 2019

The Portuguese Island stopover was a highlight of our 11-days cruise. It's an uninhabited nature reserve with pristine beaches, dense vegetation that is pleasant to explore, and small patches of mangrove for the adventurous types!

Hayley
from Cape Town | Cruised in Dec 2019

Portuguese Island was such an amazing cruise. Our cabins, the evening Shows and excursions with MSC Cruises were amazing.

David
from Mbombela | Cruised in Feb 2020 - 5*

We’re Recognised By

MSC Cruises Logo
CLIA 2021 Membership 135x90
NCL logo